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Ted Mondale touts Vikings stadium's economic importance to region

Ted Mondale predicted a Minneapolis deal is unlikely to happen before the end of the session.
MinnPost photo by Kaeti Hinck
Ted Mondale predicted a Minneapolis deal is unlikely to happen before the end of the session.

Ted Mondale, the new head of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, made his case Monday for the regional value of a new Vikings stadium, saying that professional sports, particularly football, are crucial to the area's job growth and in attracting and retaining employees.

He also argued that previous stadium investments have generated good financial returns for the state.

Appearing at a MinnPost Asks interview session attended by more than 100, Gov. Mark Dayton's point man on the stadium — noting that the issue was changing by the hour — said he was told "not to make news tonight." But Fox9 News, MPR and the Star Tribune all sent reporters, hoping for a good sound bite.

As for whether state money would be better spent on helping the poor and disabled, Mondale said: "There will never be enough to take care of those who are disadvantaged, if the economy is not growing." And government investment is the key to economic growth, he said.

Mondale said he was neutral on the site for the stadium — whether it be Arden Hills, the Dome or the recently dropped Minneapolis Farmers Market location. Even so, he seemed to say that transportation costs and delays for an environmental impact statement could doom the Ramsey County project. If that happens and the Vikings go back to the drawing board, the Farmer's Market site appears to make the most sense from a regional infrastructure standpoint, he indicated.

He thinks the stadium deal should get done soon: "We may not have the opportunity in the future." But a Minneapolis deal is unlikely to happen before the end of the session, and unless the costs come down, neither is an Arden Hills deal, he said.

And in the course of a free-wheeling question-and-answer session, the son of Walter Mondale noted his career path as a former state legislator who served as the appointed head of the Metropolitan Council and was appointed by the governor to head stadium commission. He got a big laugh with this line:

"Mondales are not good at getting elected. We get appointed."

When Mondale showed up for the forum, he was greeted by a small group of anti-stadium protesters on the sidewalk outside Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis.

The protesters — carrying signs that said "Welcome Taxin' Ted," and "Stop Stadium Taxes" — said Mondale walked right by them, a cell phone to his ear. So they went on waving their signs and engaging passers-by.

Said protester Chris David of Minneapolis: "Regardless of where it is, funding a stadium is not the function of government, especially in this time of deficit."

Later, in his talk with MinnPost's Jay Weiner, Mondale mentioned seeing the protesters outside: "They called me an idiot."

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Comments (7)

After purchasing some season tickets for the Twins at a silent auction, my partner and I headed to the Legend's Restaurant. We were stopped by a "gatekeeper" asking to see our tickets. He refused us access to the restaurant as our tickets were not in the "luxury" category; in a caste system, we would be called "untouchables." On one hand, Mr. Mondale spoke of the need for "luxury suites" in the Viking stadium and on the other hand he spoke of a "people's stadium." The questions is would this proposed "People's Stadium" ask us to contribute our tax dollars but restrict our full access?

On the other hand, I attended the event last night and found it most enlightening. The discussion, led by Jay Weiner, was pointed and razor sharp and Mr. Mondale responded in kind.

Your story is a sad commentary on Ted Mondale's values; even his Dad must be very disappointed, when Ted says there is never enough funding to help the poor in a down economy, but Mr. Mondale has no trouble finding $600+ Million in public funds for a NJ Billionaire Real Estate Developer to build a football stadium for what is a private business.

Mondale and his boss have real gall; to call Zygi's Vikings Stadium, The People's Stadium, even though neither Mondale or Gov. Dayton have the political courage to put the new sales taxes that they expect either the people of Minneapolis or Ramsey County to pay for 30 years for their boongoggle to a referendum vote of the People!

Mondale, Gov. Dayton, nor their PR Firm can make this utter hypocrisy look respectable to to people that vote.

I'm sure post MinnPost readers will disagree with me, but here's what I found sad - when Mondale said government investment is the key to economic growth...

The idea that the Vikings can or will somehow stimulate economic growth is absurd on the face of it. Want to know what MN looks like without the Vikings, look around, it looks exactly like today... and the other 355 days a year the Vikings don't play in MN. And since they just be moving the exact same show from one place to another why would expect growth? If we want to create construction jobs we should create jobs building infrastructure, not revenue streams for millionaires.

By the way TJ, I suppose the lack of government investment is why Somalia is such an economic power house eh?

I don't know that anyone has pinned down the economics. I certainly find it counterintuitive that losing major league sports is a benefit to an area, and having them in the central city is seems part of preventing a doughnut hole. I can see public uses to a stadium where the Dome sits, just like we have with Dome plus more if we're creative. We'd survive losing the Vikings, but just surviving seems like a low standard of success. Moreover, may I point out to opponents that if we lose the Vikings, we'll someday do whatever it takes to get another team, just like after the North Stars left. That will require a new stadium at 100% public expense, and at a time when construction and borrowing costs will be higher. Build it now, when the team will contribute, when unemployment is high --- especially in construction, when bonds will carry a low interest rate, and construction costs are unusually low.

Mall of America is never mentioned, is the "fix" in? MOA Naming Rights of $1 Billion due to its Worldwide Fame are possible meaning "No Tax Money" but Ted Mondale won't talk about it, why?

MOA Stadium as part of the long awaited Phase II will bring bac 15 Million Tourists and create 12,000 Tourism & 8,000 Construction Jobs for $100 Billion Economic Impact or $300 Million a yr. in State Tax revenue, but Ted won't talk about it, Minnpost how about you? Also no Stadium for Zygi until his law suit for fraud is settled and then there's the MSFC money, and that's the... vikingbuzz.

Eric,

I think I do a pretty good job nailing down the economics: http://pudstrand.fatcow.com/blog/?p=108

We don't "need" a football team, so it simply isn't true that if we lose the one we've got we'll have to pay more for one later. No one is going to die or even be seriously inconvenienced if the Vikings move. It is not governments job to provide professional sports.