GOP floats idea of tapping Legacy money for Vikes stadium


The state GOP’s dilemma of how not to appear to be the crowd that “loses the Vikings” … without appearing to raise, you know, t-a-x-e-s has them floating the idea of tapping The Legacy Fund for the team’s stadium dream. Tom Scheck and Tim Nelson at MPR write: “There isn’t an organized effort by legislative leaders to tap the Legacy funds yet, [Assistant Majority Leadert Kurt] Daudt said. But there is increasing talk among members and GOP staff that this may be the only way that the Republican-controlled House and Senate pass a Vikings stadium bill. Daudt said the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund could generate about $50 million annually to finance the stadium. He said that would be enough to pay both the state’s and Ramsey County’s share but is unsure if that would be the plan. ‘You certainly can’t argue that the Minnesota Vikings and these sports teams in the state of Minnesota aren’t a part of the state’s heritage and certainly part of the state’s legacy,’ Daudt said.” Oh, I think there’s a way to do that.

Roto-Rooter’s problems aren’t going away any time soon. Nicole Norfleet and Anthony Lonetree at the Strib write: “Minneapolis police are investigating plumbing giant Roto-Rooter on suspicion of fraud after numerous Twin Cities customers accused the company of suggesting thousands of dollars’ worth of unnecessary sewer repairs. On Oct. 3, police searched the Plymouth office of Roto-Rooter and seized 14 DVDs of drain lines, 32 customer files, the personnel file of Roto-Rooter employee Josh Lillquist and correspondence between the company and a subcontractor, Pipeline Industries Inc. … In February, the Star Tribune reported that numerous Minneapolis residents had accused Roto-Rooter of misleading them and using unfair tactics to pressure them into big-ticket repair jobs. Homeowners would summon the plumbers for a routine drain cleaning and then were told they needed to replace entire sewer pipes at a cost of $12,000 or more.”

The judge’s skepticism is probably warranted. Stribber Dan Browning’s continued focus on the $150 million Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme went to court this week: “Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis authorized the receiver, R.J. Zayed, to hire high-powered attorneys in Texas, New York and Georgia who specialize in recovering money from enterprises such as banks, law firms and the like whose actions or negligence may have facilitated fraud schemes. The attorneys said they’d work on their own nickel and only get paid if they recover money for the 700 or so investors who lost more than $150 million in the Cook fraud scheme. Many of Cook’s victims are retirees who are now nearly destitute. ‘We pay all the costs, bear all the costs,’ attorney William T. Reid IV told Davis Wednesday, when seeking permission to sign on to the case. ‘Say it louder,’ Davis responded, prompting laughter from the courtroom full of attorneys and a handful of Cook’s scorned investors. Reid said his firm — which has offices in Austin, Texas, and on Wall Street in New York — would get 17 1/2 percent of any pretrial settlement, or 30 percent of any recovery if a case goes to trial. ‘These are the lowest percentages I’ve agreed to,’ Reid said.”

Along with Doug Grow’s piece here at MinnPost, other journos are reporting on the redistricting plan created by the “Draw the Line” coalition and now moving — with other plans — toward the five-judge … deciders. Says Bill Salisbury at the PiPress: “The group didn’t set out to intentionally defeat — or protect — any incumbents, commission chair Candi Walz of Lindstrom said Thursday. Instead, it attempted to take partisanship out of the map-making process by not considering where incumbents live, Walz said. The map the commission produced is not intended as a rock-solid guide for the judicial panel, said commission vice chair Kent Kaiser of St. Paul. Instead, it’s an example of what a map would look like based on four key redistricting principles that the group recommended to the judicial panel. One of those principles is: ‘Do not intentionally protect or defeat incumbents.’ The group contended the needs of politicians shouldn’t outweigh the interests of voters. The commission’s map ‘basically came out neutral,’ Walz said. About one-third of the legislative districts would lean Democratic, one-third would lean Republican, and the remaining one-third would be competitive between the two parties. The group’s No. 1 principle is to ‘preserve communities of interest.’ They defined such communities as ‘a grouping of people in a geographic area that share common economic, cultural, demographic or other interests. Cities, counties and sovereign nations are also important communities of interest.’ ” Redistricting without the basic principle of building or protecting partisan fiefdoms … I mean really, how democratic is that?

In the wake of the death of Moammar Gaddafi Thursday, Republicans were, universally, generous in their praise for … everyone but President Obama. In San Francisco, Our Favorite Congresswoman went on record saying, according to the AP: “Republican presidential primary contender Michele Bachmann said Thursday that the world is better off without Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. But she said she stands by her position that the U.S. military shouldn’t have gotten involved. … ‘It is my hope that Gadhafi’s reign of terror will be replaced with a government that respects its people in Libya and one that will be a good partner with the United States,’ Bachmann said. ‘Hopefully, today will also bring to an end our military involvement in Libya, something that I have opposed from its beginning.’ “

Our Gal is included in Jon Stewart’s appraisal of GOP reaction to Gaddafi’s long-overdue demise.

MPR’s Euen Kerr gives some time to the Walker Art Center’s new show: “Few art forms have changed and expanded as much in the last decade as graphic design. Home computing and the Internet have opened the field to just about everyone. This weekend the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis launches a graphic design show surveying the best work over the last decade. … The show exhibits pieces by 250 artists. To keep it from getting any larger, the curators focused on traditional areas such as posters, typography, books and magazines. Nonetheless, the walls and display tables are crammed with graphics, logos, and pictures. It’s a visual feast, and hard not to gorge. There are newspaper graphics, music posters, Technicolor graphic visualizations of statistics, and crowd sourcing. There’s even a bright orange safety vest covered with warnings about the dangers of computers.”

At Power Line, John Hinderaker sees only a downside for Democrats associating themselves with the “Occupy” rabble: “The New York Post reports on a ‘chaotic’ Community Board meeting in which residents who are unfortunate enough to live in the vicinity of Zuccotti Park unloaded on the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters: ‘They are defecating on our doorsteps,’ fumed Katherine Hughes, a stay at home mom who has the misfortune of living one block from the chaos. ‘A lot of people are very frustrated. A lot of people are concerned about the safety of our kids.’ … The Democrats are crazy to align themselves with people–bums, essentially — who will annoy if not enrage the vast majority of voters. That Democrats are willing to take a chance on being the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ party is the clearest possible evidence of how desperate they are, and how much they fear next year’s elections.”

Our Guy, T-Paw, has recently picked up some board work. If the products, services and back stories of the companies involved kind of escape you, read through Sally Jo Sorensen’s post at her “Bluestem Prairie” blog. She quotes: “Following his election to the Miromatrix Board of Directors on Oct. 17, Pawlenty said, “I am extremely excited to join the board of a company that has the potential to improve human health in an historic way within its reach. In my view, Miromatrix likely will be Minnesota’s next medical and business miracle.” The company’s tissue regeneration technology grabbed headlines in the New York Times in January 2008, but pioneering scientist Doris Taylor was soon shown the door as the government subsidized Miromatrix moved her discovery toward the lucrative biomedical marketplace. Med City News reported in May: Even as Cohen prepares to raise capital and figure out a new product, he has had to deal with some dirty laundry being aired involving the ouster of Taylor from the company’s board. Cohen declined to comment on the matter, but said that her absence will not hurt the company’s prospects and fundraising efforts. The co-inventor remains on the board.”

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/21/2011 - 02:56 pm.

    Legacy funds for a stadium?! Are you freaking kidding me?
    This is what was on the ballot for the Legacy Amendment:
    “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to dedicate funding to protect our drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore our wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve our arts and cultural heritage; to support our parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore our lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater by increasing the sales and use tax rate beginning July 1, 2009, by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034?”

    This is how it’s to be used:
    80.25% to various environmental projects; and
    19.75% to a newly created Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to be spent only for arts, arts education, and arts access, and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage (approximately $48 million in FY 2010 and $54.5 million in FY 2011)

    So, they think that diverting ALL of the funding available for “arts, arts education, and arts access, and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage” is in the spirit of the amendment?!? When they griped to high heaven that a TINY FRACTION of that was used to host an author speaker at a library last year?! And how long will the Vikings be the sole source of arts, arts education, arts access, history, and heritage in this state?


  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/21/2011 - 04:16 pm.

    Oh, yeah, let’s take a poorly conceived dedicated tax and make it worse by using it to fund a stadium for the Vikings. Idiotic does not begin to describe the idea, but this is a moderated forum.

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/21/2011 - 04:22 pm.

    Say, Bri?

    You think the “arts community” would embrace the “football community” if Vike fans agreed to wear (purple) tux’s and affix their horns & pigtails to (purple) tophats?

    How about if Zygi changed the logo to an impressionistic interpretation of a Norse warrier?

    Oooooh, you know it’d be great, right?

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/21/2011 - 04:26 pm.

    re: Moammar Gaddafi

    Gaddafi’s final moments put the final nail in the coffin of the supposed humanitarian involvement of NATO and US in Libya. US drones tagged him for attack by French aircraft, stopping him for disposal by Libyans. It was a thin pretense to begin with and lost credibility quickly.

    Yes, the Libyan people are better off without Gaddafi, much as the Iraqis may be better off without Saddam. But at what cost to American integrity, if that’s not a complete oxymoron these days?

  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/21/2011 - 06:08 pm.

    Don’t worry, Rachel. The people proposing this are constitutional conservatives who regard the Minnesota Constitution as a sacred text, so they’d never do anything to tarnish that image…

    And if a Vikings helmet, all purple and gold and vinyl-covered wire, isn’t a work of art, why, what is? We just have to “educate” the public about the aesthetics involved, not to mention the Vikings historic association with Minnesota, when the first football players arrived in the virgin forests around Minneapolis and declared, “Paul Bunyan may be satisfied with a blue ox, but we need a stadium!!”

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/21/2011 - 08:02 pm.

    Here’s what happens if the Republicans steal the legacy fund money to pay for a Vikings stadium:

    They vote to do it (if Dayton will even go along, which I doubt), then start to build the stadium only to have law suits filed challenging the constitutionality of stealing the “legacy amendment” funding for a purpose which has nothing to do with the language of the actual amendment.

    Those law suits will be successful.

    The wording of the amendment is clear. The language used in debating it as it was put on the ballot was clear. To seek to use it for the Vikings would, therefore, be unconstitutional.

    So the funding for a half built stadium disappears. What do they do then (besides look like total morons – again)?

  7. Submitted by scott cantor on 10/21/2011 - 08:44 pm.

    Re: Raiding the Legacy Fund to build a new stadium for the billionaire owner of a highly profitable sports enterprise on a toxic waste site in the boonies.

    It’s official: I’m living inside a Simpsons episode.

  8. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/22/2011 - 09:27 am.

    Hmmm, Powerline, Evidently from your perspective, it is better to align with the 1% to manipulate the bureaucracy and steal legacy funding for a Billion $ play ground than the 99% for the fundamentals of life? I’ll take the Thoreau approach and go with the 99% what was the phrase “Serve the Devil as god and not know the difference?”

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/22/2011 - 10:23 am.

    $50 million? Would that be like half of the entire legacy fund? You want give half of a MN legacy fund to an our of state billionaire? I know the Republicans hate the legacy fund that’s ridiculous.

    By the way, I believe it’s “Brian” not “Bri”. If you don’t like the column don’t read it, otherwise show some respect. And it’s Swift, not “Swifty”. My two cents at any rate.

  10. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/22/2011 - 11:44 am.

    Is there a certain blindness to truth among those who are pushing for this deal? They do not seem to have noticed, or refuse to notice, that THE PEOPLE DO NOT WANT IT.

    Especially the people of St. Paul and Ramsey County who would be asked to pay $600-plus million over a period of years while the current right-wing legislature carries out the reduction of LGA to zero by 2014. Then, while paying the hundreds of millions to Mr. Wilf, we can watch schools and libraries and rec centers and parks and snowplowing and every other service fade away, a little at a time.

  11. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/22/2011 - 10:27 pm.

    If Legacy Amendment funds can be used for TC Pride, it has become just another slush fund for legislators and bureaucrats to hand out money.

    Time to repeal it.

  12. Submitted by Ott Lukk on 10/23/2011 - 08:11 pm.

    Just wondering what percentage would go to pay present or future Viking’s players bail?

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/25/2011 - 09:12 am.

    It’s not blindness Bernice, it’s disregard, and on a very fundamental level it’s reveals a corrupt system that is routinely hijacked on the behalf of the super wealthy. Imagine a situation where the “people” actually wanted a new stadium but Wilf didn’t; do you think Dayton would be calling for a special session? What frustrating about this for me is I voted for Dayton, as a liberal the Democrats are supposed to be my champions, yet here I am counting on Kock and Zellers to represent my interests and shoot down bogus public policy? And it’s not the first time; back in the 90s my Republican representative voted against the Twins deal and helped shoot it down. Then my Democratic representative voted for the Twins deal after telling me he wouldn’t. The Democrats pretend to be the party of the middle class but when the chips are down they’re more willing to cater to the wealthy than the Republicans- and they can’t figure out why they have so much trouble winning elections?

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