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Vikings stadium sacked at public meeting

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Stadium has defenders, too; ready for some Fargo “Wood Chipper” beer? And it’s booya season; Slate offers unflattering look at Bachmann and Perry; and more.
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Well, that went well, didn’t it? Who knew that in the midst of a grinding recession — set off by rapacious money men (who have yet to feel any consequences) — the average schmoe would object to paying more taxes to help a multimillionaire enhance the value of his investment? Tim Nelson at MPR was at last night’s public meeting on the Vikings stadium tax: “It was a two-and-a-half-hour marathon of almost unbroken objection to the team’s plans to pay for the facility on the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site along Interstate 35W. More than 50 people spoke at the public hearing, including Cindi Aarsvold Nickel, who lives in Shoreview. She drew cheers after telling the Ramsey County Charter Commission they should change the county’s constitution to require a referendum on taxpayer funding for pro sports stadiums of any kind — and the Vikings in particular.”

Rochelle Olson of the Strib reports: “Allison Seaborn of Little Canada wore her Vikings jersey and professed to also sporting a team tattoo. But she said she still wants to vote on the stadium. She said NFL owners are willing to use cheap labor to make memorabilia and ‘make the highest profit possible’ but when it comes to building stadiums, they take the ‘socialist path’ and want public help. Randy Porter of North Oaks argued that the millions the state and county would put in ‘is not an investment, it’s a giveaway. … We need a better deal.’ “

Frederick Melo of the PiPress says: “Linda Swanson of Arden Hills reminded the commissioners that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf — a real estate mogul who has built properties in virtually every state in America — expects development rights to large parcels of land surrounding the stadium to the north and south. Those could become anything from a hotel or a convention center to retail. ‘The only person that is going to be rich off this is Zygi,’ Swanson said. ‘We all know that. … It’s not going to stop at the stadium. It’s going to become Zygi world out there.’ She also noted the general lack of public transit serving the area’s already-overburdened roads. ‘We don’t have the infrastructure,’ Swanson said.”

At the fan site Viking Update, John Holler sees things a bit differently: “You can’t blame those that came out in opposition of the stadium proposal. If they’re not football fans, why should they be taxed for a stadium that would employ hundreds, if not thousands, of their fellow Ramsey County citizens? Let’s ignore that the county’s $300 million contribution would be more than matched in the income that unemployed construction workers and the ancillary craftsmen would be paid (and pay taxes on). Let’s forget that the ‘Garden Spot’ of the Twin Cities metro area — an abandoned piece of property that served as a hub of commerce during the Cold War — would remain a diseased, pocked clump of ground with grass growing in the concrete. Nothing sells more in terms of the charm of Arden Hills like a piece of property abandoned by the government. How bad does property have to be when the government says, ‘Ah, screw it’? Let’s forget that there is clear empirical evidence that supports that any tax cost to the ‘average’ resident of Ramsey County will be made up by reduced property taxes when factored in with a ‘big fish’ joining the pond. Let’s forget all of these things. The simple reality is that a quasi-political dog-and-pony show (it’s only a political dog-and-pony show if those conducting the show are elected officials) can have enough impact to bring any stadium progress to a standstill.” Am I reading that right? Is he saying the stadium’s presence in Arden Hills will reduce property taxes in Ramsey County?

Today’s news in beer. The AP reports: “First there was Fargo, the movie. Now there’s Fargo, the beer. Four native sons are hoping that the name recognition generated from the 15-year-old Coen brothers flick will help launch their fledgling brewing company in North Dakota’s largest city. Their first beer is called Wood Chipper, a whimsical reference to the famous prop from the movie. ‘We probably won’t go with that sort of tongue-in-cheek movie reference for all of our beers,’ said Chris Anderson, brew master of the Fargo Beer Co. ‘We just thought it was just a great way to start out.’ The name Wood Chipper also rolls off the tongue, Anderson noted — so it’s easy to order.” So how about a “Big Lebowski” ale? You know, like, “Careful, Man, There’s A Beverage Here” stout?

Speaking of beer … John Brewer of the PiPress notes that it is booya time in east metro and western Wisconsin. “The season for booya — the soup (or is it a stew?) served out of gigantic vats at bars, churches and VFWs — is in full swing, with at least a dozen feeds coming up through November. Most sites sell the concoction by the bowl and some offer it in containers to go. The St. Charles booya in Bayport on Oct. 8 even goes so far as to provide curbside ‘drive-through’ booya for folks on the run. The foodstuff is of mysterious origin, by most accounts. Some cooks have said it’s Czech, others say it’s French. ‘Oh, it’s French. In France, booya is boiled soup. But they don’t spell it the way we do. That’s bouillabaisse,’ said Walt Books, organizer of the World Championship Booya Contest in South St. Paul on Saturday.” Dang. Here I always thought it was invented by three drunk Packers fans.

Today. n Bachmannia: Our Favorite Congresswoman gets compared, side by side, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a Slate piece by Jessica Grose titled “Crazy vs. Stupid”. Says Grose: “The infamous Newsweek ‘crazy eyes’ cover perfectly encapsulates the dominant narrative about the candidate. Progressive bloggers go on MSNBC and call her ‘crazy’ (in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi ups the ante and calls her ‘bat[bleep] crazy’). Crazy is not a quality that anyone wants in the person potentially dealing with nuclear weapons. Perry, meanwhile, comfortably fits into the Republican archetype of the stupid male candidate. We had a former Texas governor in the White House for eight years who took pride in his anti-intellectual cred — it made him more relatable. As Steve Benen at Washington Monthly points out, Perry even took a page from the Bush playbook by bragging about his crap grades at Texas A&M. Though the Houston Press may have a random generator of dumb things Rick Perry says, this sort of admission tends to draw cheers from conservative audiences.” But hey, either way, it’s “win-win” for the base.

The final verdict on the weirdness surrounding Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election says the Republican Waukesha County clerk violated election law in how she handled the count but was in no posoition to actually cook up the 7,000 votes that swung the election to the GOP judge. Says Eric Kleefeld at Talking Points Memo: “[T]he report concludes that [Kathy] Nickolaus could not have possibly manipulated vote totals, as some members of the public came to believe — because the City of Brookfield, the center of the vote-counting controversy, had in fact independently reported its correct vote totals to local media sources on election night. However, Nickolaus may have violated the law requiring county clerks to post all detailed results that night, when she made the mistake in calculating the county’s spreadsheet.”

At Bluestem Prairie, Sally Jo Sorensen is still having fun with GOP Sen. Gretchen Hoffman. She links to a Fargo Forum commentary from DFL Rep. Paul Marquart, who says: “Hoffman … in a Sept. 21 Forum opinion column, just wants to blame others for rising property taxes after she and her GOP colleagues pushed through over $600 million in permanent cuts to programs designed to provide important property tax relief to rural Minnesotans. Hoffman and other legislators will have you believe that the state can slash over half a billion dollars of property tax relief aids and credits to homeowners and communities without having any impact on rising property taxes. Really? They will have you believe that the state can wipe out the Homestead Credit — a direct property tax benefit of up to $304 for homeowners — and not force up property taxes. Get serious.  The elimination of the Homestead Credit is especially burdensome for rural Minnesota. As Hoffman tried to justify why she and her colleagues took your Homestead Credit away, she did not mention in her column that rural Minnesota homeowners receive 55 percent of the state’s Homestead Credit and that almost 60 percent of the $270 million projected increase in statewide property taxes will be borne by rural Minnesotans. That’s right —senior citizens on fixed incomes, families, farmers and small businesses in rural Minnesota will have to pick up the tab.” Riiight. But none of those people are “jobs creators,” are they?