Folks vent on special session

AFTERNOON EDITION

Reaction to news that the Vikings will get a special session to decide the taxpayer end of their stadium fate has kept building through the day. Mike Kaszuba at the Strib says: “Meanwhile, a new poll by a conservative, anti-tax group showed again that Minnesotans are overwhelmingly opposed to tax subsidies for a new stadium. John Cooney, the state director of Americans for Prosperity-Minnesota, said that ‘today, it is clear that Minnesotans oppose this reckless spending of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars.’ There were also signs Monday that a petition drive is gaining steam to force a referendum in Ramsey County on a half-percent sales tax increase for the project. Stadium backers said a referendum could be fatal.”

Strib colleague Kevin Duchschere writes: “An assortment of elected leaders, professionals and stadium opponents said Monday that they’re organizing a petition drive to prevent the county from imposing a sales tax to pay for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium in Arden Hills. ‘We want to send a strong message to the governor and the Legislature that we are not supportive of this, no matter what our elected representatives are doing,’ said Shoreview City Council Member Ady Wickstrom, a lead organizer. The ad hoc group came together since last week, when the Ramsey County Charter Commission rejected a referendum on the proposed sales tax. … If the group opts to seek a charter amendment mandating a sales tax referendum, it will need to gather 14,874 signatures; if it wants to pass an ordinance, it will have to get 27,817 names. Both figures are based on county voting numbers in recent elections. What’s unclear is whether the group must get the signatures within a prescribed time frame.”

Best comment to that story? From “mishmouse”: Oct. 18, 11 8:02 AM: “Why build a new stadium when they are having problems filling their current stadium? Now, if the vikes actually were winning games instead of being a bunch of pathetic losers, it may be a different story. If they add the .5% sales tax how will it benefit the people? Will the price of a ticket be cheaper? Will the people get free parking? If the vikes keep playing up to the level they are currently at the people of MN just might buy them the plane ticket to LA. Oh, and if the vikes think they will make it in LA they are on drugs. I have an idea instead of moving to an already bloated market, move to another state that doesn’t have a team. How about Nebraska or North Dakota or even Montana?” I hear the Yukon is available, too.

Over at the PiPress, Brian Murphy and Doug Belden check up on Dayton’s meeting with NFL executives: “Owners dispatched vice presidents Eric Grubman and Neil Glat to St. Paul for a political progress report on the Vikings’ bid to secure state financing to build a new stadium in Arden Hills. Grubman and Glat, who report directly to commissioner Roger Goodell, also have met with legislative leaders and are scheduled to brief reporters this afternoon. The presence of the NFL’s chief finance and stadium development executives underscores the urgency to resolve the issue before the Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome expires Feb. 1. … Grubman, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, is a veteran negotiator and one of Goodell’s most trusted advisors. They are scheduled to report back to owners on the stadium and finance committees, which are monitoring the Vikings’ stadium debate.”  Maybe Grubman could stop down at the OccupyMN demonstration and pass out hot coffee, or money clips.

MPR’s Tim Nelson files a piece off a Dayton interview with “MidMorning”: “Dayton also talked about the possibility of signing off on a stadium bill, just days before a scheduled state financial forecast likely to show yet another budget deficit. A $6 billion gap all but paralyzed the last regular legislative session and resulted in a partial state government shut down over the summer. ‘You know, the financing of the stadium is separate from whatever the current fiscal situation of the state would be,’ Dayton said. ‘And the purpose of the [new] stadium is to create jobs, along with other projects and economic growth, so we won’t have future deficits. That’s our solution to these chronic deficits, along with progressive income taxes.’ ” Riiight. And we’re so close to progressive taxation …

At City Pages, Mike Mullen adds: “Under the current terms, the $1.1 billion stadium would get $300 million from the state, $350 million from Ramsey County taxpayers, and the remaining $420 million from… who are we leaving out? Oh, that’s right, the Vikings. Earlier this month, the Ramsey County Charter Commission voted down the notion of turning over the tax hike to voters, essentially saying, ‘We’ll handle this guys, don’t worry.’ And now the Minnesota legislature and executive branch will storm the State Capitol once more, in the hopes of reviving the magic that was the Minnesota Shutdown of 2011. Whatever happens inside there, it’s unlikely they’ll stop to ask voters and taxpayers first: Those groups hardly seemed like top priorities during the shutdown and its deeply flawed resolution. So instead, you can have your voice heard on the Vikings stadium right here, on this very site.” As of 2:30 p.m., Mullen’s poll — in which each option was a “yes” — was running 27.27% in favor of “Yes! I love the Vikings, rain, shine, or bankruptcy!”

Two months is all the life the St. Paul Ford plant has left in it. Gita Sitamariah’s PiPress story says: “The 86-year-old facility will close Dec. 19. About 800 employees will be affected when the company shuts down the Twin Cities Assembly Plant, where it builds the Ranger pickup truck. Ford has long planned to close the plant in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood, but until Monday, no date had been announced. Jim Eagle, chairman of United Auto Workers Local 879, which represents St. Paul workers, was in tears after the company gave union officials the news. ‘Everybody expected it, but until it comes, you just don’t know how you’re going to react,’ said Eagle, a 24-year employee who said he doesn’t know what he’ll do next. The closing affects 769 hourly employees and about 40 supervisors, Eagle said.” BTW, have you seen the new Ranger that Ford will not be building or selling in the States?

Today in Bachmannia: Our Favorite Congresswoman is heading back to California Thursday. Writes Josh Richman of the Oakland Tribune: “[Michele] Bachmann will speak on ‘The Revival of American Competitiveness’ on Thursday at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco. The club said she’ll ‘present her views on pro-business economic policies that will allow private sector businesses to compete in the global market while addressing the need for job-skill retraining, innovation, comprehensive tax reform and reduction of regulations that threaten jobs. She will also share her thoughts on how to revive America’s competitive edge and restore the United States to the top of global competitiveness.’ … It’s almost time for Bachmann to strike her campaign tent, said Ron Nehring, the California Republican Party’s immediate past chairman. ‘I think Michele Bachmann’s next call should be to the Minnesota Secretary of State, to pull papers to run for re-election to the House,’ he said, noting that calling this a loss depends on what you believe her goals were to begin with. ‘She has elevated her profile nationally, she has built a larger (supporter) list. If you define victory as those two things, she won.’ ” Three, if you count a job with FoxNews.

The kids at Jezebel point out that despite all your snickering, 200,000 listened in to Our Gal and The Donald on The Phone last night: “The man with the hair we’re supposed to ignore and the woman with the eyes we can’t ignore have teamed up to have a phone conversation that we wish we could ignore. Donald Trump joined Michele Bachmann on a phone call to promote the Minnesota Congresswoman’s Presidential campaign on Monday, and, as you might expect, it was brought to you by the letters W, T, and F. The ‘tele town hall,’ which is almost as terrible a neologism as ‘webinar,’ was held as a means for Bachmann to showcase, I don’t know, the fact that she has a friend with a swimming pool.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/18/2011 - 04:13 pm.

    Personally, I like the money clip suggestion, Brian…

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/18/2011 - 04:36 pm.

    If you’d like to let your legislators know how you feel about the stadium, you’ll find their email addresses here:

    http://www.house.leg.state.mn.​us/members/housemembers.asp

    http://www.senate.leg.state.mn​.us/members/index.php?ls#heade​r

    If you live in Ramsey County, let them know you won’t stand for your vote being taken away as part of any deal.

  3. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 10/18/2011 - 09:00 pm.

    Let’s see, a Special Session starting the day before Thanksgiving to rubber stamp a decision that must already be agreed upon before the session starts. Sounds like open representative government to me. What clown thought of this?

  4. Submitted by Hillary Drake on 10/18/2011 - 09:57 pm.

    James, thanks for the reminder. I emailed my rep and my senator.

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