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Pat Reusse calls stadium plan 'sensible,' 'doable'

Stadium chatter has revved back up, just when you didn’t think that was possible. Over at the Strib, Pat Reusse has had it with “cleaver”-wielding politicians: “I'm saying Minneapolis might be better off with politicians more impressed by the presence of an exceptional corporate citizen bringing a parade of employees downtown on a daily basis than a couple of hundred protesters sleeping overnight during an uncommonly warm fall and early winter. Target and other corporations, firms and retailers no doubt would ask this of Minneapolis politicians: to assist in keeping this a dynamic downtown — in the day, at night and on weekends. A sensible plan pricey but doable is now in place for a new stadium for the Vikings and those hundreds of other entities that have used the Metrodome. Architects will take this acreage and perform magic. We will be dazzled by the result, as was the case with Target Field, and Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.”

The Grand Forks Herald has some editorial page thoughts on that ineffable yet quantifiable “pride” factor we supposedly attach to teams and stadiums. “Money isn’t everything. More specifically, some things in life generate benefits that are real but can’t be measured in dollars and cents. And parks, sports facilities and university athletic programs are among them. The best place to see this is Green Bay, Wis., a city about the size of Fargo. For the purposes of this editorial, let’s accept the criticism that stadiums generate little or no new economic development, certainly not enough to offset the facilities’ cost. So, what can explain Green Bay’s support of Lambeau Field, home of the Packers? Why did Brown County, Wis., voters agree to a half-cent sales-tax increase in 2000 to pay for a $300 million renovation? Why did more than 100,000 new shareholders agree to buy $200-a-share stock — stock that doesn’t pay dividends, offers no season-ticket advantages and can’t rise in value — to raise more than $20 million for the renovation? Why is a similar stock sale that’s going on right now expected to raise $60 million more for another renovation? The answer is obvious: Money isn’t everything. Green Bay derives enormous pleasure from the Packers, so much so that residents not only tax themselves but also donate (via buying ‘stock’) huge sums to the team. In other words, it’s not the politicians in this case, it’s the voters who are ‘begging’ to give the team ‘hundreds of millions of dollars.’ The benefits those voters derive may be abstract — that is, not measurable in dollars and cents.
But they’re 100 percent real.”

The pro football website bloguin looks at the “deal” between Minneapolis and the Vikings and writes: “The deal takes pressure off of the Vikings in terms of relocation. It had been speculated that they were one of the teams that was being targeted to move to Los Angeles. The Vikings, at least for the moment, appear safe in the ongoing relocation debate. Other teams that have been mentioned have been the Chargers, Raiders, Rams, and Jaguars. There have been rumors that the Rams are working on securing renovations for the Edward Jones Dome, and the Jaguars' new owner, Shahid Khan, has repeatedly said he will make it work in Jacksonville. The Raiders' new owner, Mark Davis, has already said publicly that Los Angeles is indeed an option for the Raiders. ... In simple terms, moving back to Los Angeles makes a lot of sense for the Raiders, because they already have a fan base there. The other team that seems to be firmly in the running for relocation is the San Diego Chargers, currently playing at Qualcomm Stadium. ”   

Sen. Klobuchar is getting involved in the synthetic drug issue. The Forum papers story, by Dave Olson, says: “Federal laws are necessary, Klobuchar said, because state statutes like Minnesota’s are limited in what they can control. ‘We have the issue that many of these drugs are sold over the Internet, so they cross state lines and then we have the other issues that we have some states that haven’t dealt with this at all,’ Klobuchar said. Because until recently synthetic drugs could be sold at retail outlets, some people are under the dangerous and naive impression that they are safe, Moorhead Police Chief Dave Ebinger said.” Not to play on stereotypes, but Olson’s story also says, “[T]he proposed federal legislation is being stalled by a single Kentucky lawmaker who is filibustering the bills.”

On that LRT closure this morning, Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “Light rail is out of service between 38th Street and Franklin Avenue stations due to the closure of the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge over Hwy. 55 north of Lake Street, said Metro Transit spokesman John Siqveland. The bicycle and pedestrian bridge was closed late Sunday after a cable support broke, which then led to the failure of two other cables anchored father east on the bridge, city officials said. Crews are working now to put up shoring under the bridge deck. Along with light rail being affected, vehicle traffic on Hiawatha Avenue is also disrupted.”

Truckin’ fraud. The AP reports: “The owner of two South St. Paul trucking companies has been sentenced to more than a year in prison for defrauding drivers. Sixty-seven-year-old Marlon Louis Danner of Inver Grove Heights was sentenced Friday in federal court on one count of wire fraud. Danner also was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and $125,000 in restitution. Danner pleaded guilty last July. He admitted misleading truck drivers into returning to him settlement money they had received under an agreement between Danner and MnDOT. It started in 2008 and 2009, when Danner failed to pay a mandated truck rental rate to drivers hired for a state reconstruction project. Danner agreed to pay $185,000 to 27 truck drivers in 2010. But Danner told drivers it was a mistake and got back more than $120,000.” I tell ya, that would get my greasy side up in a hurry.

Interesting story from MPR’s Euan Kerr on a local push for 3-D filmmaking: “Minnesota Film and Television Board Executive Director Lucinda Winter is working to foster a brave new world of 3-D production. She says that while 3-D has not exploded the way people predicted it might a couple of years ago, there is a growing demand for content, and people with 3-D expertise are going to get work. ‘One day you may be doing a program for Mayo Clinic in 3-D, and then two weeks later you could be on a commercial shoot, depending on what your skills are,’ she said. The market for the skills extends beyond movies. ESPN has a 3-D sports network, there are 3-D video-games, and, Winter says, even some surgeons are experimenting with 3-D imaging in the operating room. ‘They all require people who understand 3-D technology, know how to produce it, know how to program it, know how to make it happen, and that to me represents opportunity for highly technical jobs in Minnesota,’ she said.”

Also at MPR, Mark Steil,  checks in on the ongoing drought and reports: “[R]ight now, there's no rainmaker in sight. National Weather Service officials say there is only a slight chance of drought busting precipitation in the upper Midwest though the end of May. Global air circulation patterns are pushing wet weather elsewhere, said Steve Buan, a National Weather Service coordination Hydrologist at the North Central River Forecast Center … ‘All indications are it's going to hold where it's at, at least for the foreseeable future.’ That ominous outlook means farmers may rethink some of this year's crop strategies. Many farmers have already sold or are planning to sell next fall's harvest right now. It's a way of locking in the attractive grain prices offered on the futures market.”

The Revolution reunion — sans Prince was a hit with pretty much everyone who attended. The Current’s Andrea Swensson writes: “That feeling of history being remade was palpable for even the most casual of Prince fans (of which there were few; most audience members were singing along word for word), as the band that backed the Purple One during the era that launched him into superstardom played note-perfect, emotionally charged renditions of many of his best songs. The band reportedly only practiced a few times before taking the stage on Sunday night, but you’d never have known it from the quality of their performance; starting with “Controversy,” Wendy Melvoin commanded the crowd from center stage, singing Prince’s melodies and handling many of the rhythm guitar parts while the band laid down a groove behind her. All of the key players were in attendance, including Lisa Coleman and Dr. Fink on keys, Brownmark on bass, Eric Leeds on sax, and Dez Dickerson trading off guitar solos with Melvoin. But the player that got the most attention was the night’s honoree, drummer Bobby Z, who organized the reunion as a way to raise awareness of heart disease and celebrate his recovery from a near-fatal attack last year.”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s designated conservative columnist, Mike Nichols, took an elevator ride with a character involved in Gov. Scott Walker’s side show “John Doe” controversy. Writes Nichols: “Mike Maistelman, Russell's attorney, warned him not to talk to us vultures as we climbed aboard. ‘Hey,’ I asked, standing by closed elevator doors as we moved between floors, ‘is there a stop button on this thing?’ Russell didn't laugh. But here's what I don't understand: How come more conservatives who, like me, believe Walker did the right and necessary thing by scaling back on collective bargaining rights for most public employees and giving us a chance to move into the future with some modicum of fiscal sanity don't look at Russell and scream? It's not the collective bargaining issue that could doom Walker in a recall. A recent Marquette University Law School poll of 573 people who say they are "absolutely certain" to vote had Walker beating Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk 51-42. Nearly three-quarters of Wisconsinites favor requiring state workers to pay more for pension and health benefits. And citizens are evenly split on whether unions should have the ability to bargain at all over benefits and non-wage issues. The left is energized. But there aren't enough of them without help to defeat those on the right and in the middle who know what Walker did is the most fundamental constraint on ever-growing state government in at least a generation. If Walker wins the recall, he'll become almost iconic to many nationally. Other conservatives, tepid by nature, will emulate him and be emboldened. The left knows it. That's why they'll throw everything they have at this race. … Russell's actions if prosecutors prove everything and voters can be convinced that Walker could reasonably have prevented them or was unusually foolish in who he trusted could tip the scales in the recall and bring down a governor."

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Comments (4)

Another vested interest heard from.

I'm stunned that Mr. Reusse would support a new Vikings stadium paid for with public funds. Simply stunned. Fargo, on the other hand, is welcome to send its check or, better yet, build its own stadium for the Fargo Vikings.

Stadium Shmadium

Ah, I see. We should dump the largest public subsidy in MN history on a company that promises no new jobs and no economic expansion because we'll be "dazzled". Well, why didn't you say so to begin with? Here's the difference between Green Bay and Minnesota: They got to vote on it. Here's another difference: when was the last time you went to Green Bay?

By the way Mr. Lambert

I notice that a net has be flung far and wide for sympathetic stadium stories. Is no one anywhere writing critical stories?

Pat Reusse

could always volunteer to fork over his money to a billionaire sports team owner.

Not with *my* money you don't.