Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


NFL worried about ‘alternative plan in another city’

MORNING EDITION ALSO: Bachmann’s debate performance; Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.’s final appeal; crackdown on driveway sealants; good results for co-ops and UnitedHealth; and more.
Read Tuesday Afternoon Edition


The NFL suits didn’t come to town just to enjoy the weather and have a Culver’s malt. Kevin Seifert at ESPN says they had a message: ” ‘We’re worried about a stalemate,” [league VP for operations Eric] Grubman said after the meeting. ‘A stalemate means there’s no lease, or the lease is about to expire; there’s no plan for a stadium, and there’s an alternative plan in another city.’ Grubman said that would increase the probability of the Vikings moving somewhere else, though he wouldn’t speculate just how likely. ‘Our job is to make sure that doesn’t happen,’ he said, but added the greater responsibility lies with Dayton and state lawmakers. … Grubman said the league could contribute as much as $150 million to the Vikings’ share, pegged to be at least $400 million and possibly more if there are cost overruns.” If the NFL picked up both the county and state’s “share” of the stadium, would they miss it?

From the progressive think tank Minnesota 2020, David Mindeman writes: “[D]espite all of our cuts to local communities, schools and health care services, the Vikings stadium issue will end up on the front burner. And, given that we have no real choice in the matter, there should, at least, be some basic absolute principles adhered to.
1. No Ramsey County Tax — Since Ramsey County doesn’t get to vote on the issue, then the tax should not be imposed.
2. Vikings Need To Pay More — Wilf,, are telling us that they expect to pay more than the $400 million on the table for the Arden Hills project. Well, if that is the case, then let’s see more serious green and let’s also lock in the Vikings to pay for cost overruns on the project. The Arden Hills report seems to indicate that this could be a significant problem. If Wilf insists on this site, then he needs to pony up the difference and any future differences.
3. State Portion Must Come From Memorabilia Tax — The state MUST say no to use of general funds or any kind of tax that comes from non-users.”

Today in Bachmannia: There was (yet another) GOP presidential debate last night. Our Gal’s line of the night was about everybody paying some tax. NewsMax says: “Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann noted during the opening moments of the GOP debate here tonight that she hopes this is one instance in which whatever happens in Vegas doesn’t stay here because the nation needs to address its problems. Bachmann said she wants to encourage an ‘economic miracle’ that came about under President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s. As candidates heatedly debated Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, Bachmann said that, when it comes to the tax code, ‘everyone should pay something … even if it’s a dollar.’ ” So … since corporations are people, too, General Electric will now have to pay $1.

Or maybe she’ll get the mileage out of the business about President Obama’s illegal relatives. Says Alexander Burns at Politico: “Teeing off an immigration-themed exchange between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, Bachmann said it’s Obama who has the immigration problem — because of “his uncle and his aunt who have been allowed to stay in this country despite the fact that they’re illegal.’ The immigration travails of Obama’s long-lost relatives have been well documented and there’s no indication that the president or his administration has done anything to influence their status.”

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. now says he’s mentally disabled. Dave Kolpack of the AP says: “Lawyers for a man sentenced to death for killing a University of North Dakota student submitted a document in Fargo Tuesday for what is considered the final step in the appeals process, claiming his trial team was ineffective and that the man is mentally disabled. The 298-page document was filed in federal court for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who was convicted of kidnapping resulting in the death of Dru Sjodin of Pequot Lakes, Minn. Rodriguez, 58, of Crookston, Minn., is being held on death row at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.”

Who knew that thick, smelly asphalt was a health hazard? Laurie Blake of the Strib says: “In the 18 months since White Bear Lake became the first Minnesota city to forbid a common type of driveway sealant, about a dozen others have followed, as evidence mounts that chemicals from the sealants are creating a hazardous and expensive problem in storm-water ponds. The bans on coal-tar sealants apply to homeowners who seal their own driveways and contractors who apply sealants commercially. Both are now expected to choose safer, asphalt-based sealers. Although the sealant industry disputes the findings, research by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency shows a connection between coal-tar sealants put on driveways and parking lots and the PAHes (poly aromatic hydrocarbons) that are showing up in city storm-water ponds, said Don Berger, state program administrator of storm-water policy in the MPCA’s municipal division.” I’d say the ball is on the tee for one of Joe Soucheray’s “nanny state” rants.

Good column from the Strib’s Jon Tevlin on raw-knuckle politics in … leafy Edina’s school board election. Tevlin writes: “In August, [Jason] Berger filed to run for the Edina school board. Then he started blogging for one of the hyper-local websites ( about his position on school issues, such straight-forward stuff as fiscal responsibility and teaching the fundamentals. That’s when Dick Novack, a long-time political activist for Republicans such as Arne Carlson, got a tip that Berger might be hiding ‘a moral agenda’ from moderate voters. Novack, who has done opposition research for candidates and on his own against both far-right and far-left candidates, sifted through Internet blogs to find what he considered ‘radical’ ideas promoted by Berger. He wrote about them on the same patch website. The entries Novack found include this: ‘ … the Democratic Party has become the party of single women, soft males, and homosexuals.’ Those softies ‘empathize with feminism’ and are an ‘equal partner’ in their marriages, he wrote. And this: ‘Homosexual marriage is a fruitless endeavor, devoid of natural life. Feminism is the whispering of Satan in the ears of women to say, ‘You’re getting a raw deal, eat of the apple and become like men’!”

We loves our cooperatives. Tom Webb of the PiPress has a story saying: “A new national survey said Minnesota is home to four of the Top Ten cooperatives in the nation. Three others also made the Top 100 list, released Tuesday by NCB, a bank for cooperatives. Farm and energy cooperative CHS Inc., based in Inver Grove Heights, ranked as the nation’s largest cooperative, with annual revenues of $25 billion. Dairy and farmer cooperative Land O’Lakes, based in Arden Hills, ranked as the nation’s second largest, with $11 billion in revenues. Agricultural lender AgriBank, based in St. Paul, ranked No. 8, with nearly $4 billion in revenues. And health insurer HealthPartners, based in Bloomington, ranked No. 10 with $3.5 billion in revenues. Why is Minnesota such fertile ground for the nation’s most prosperous cooperatives? Experts cite the rural traditions in this region, where distant farmers have a long history of banding together to improve their economic clout.”

UnitedHealth’s 3Q performance was only “better than expected,” so the CEO is talking cautious. Tom Murphy of the AP says: “CEO Stephen J. Hemsley told analysts he expects earnings to grow next year, but high unemployment rates, growing care use and the health care overhaul will pressure the Minnetonka, Minn., insurer’s performance. He didn’t offer a specific forecast for next year. The company is saving that for its Nov. 29 investor conference. … UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. health insurer based on revenue, reported net income of $1.27 billion, or $1.17 per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30. That compares with $1.28 billion, or $1.14 per share, in the same quarter last year, when the company had more shares outstanding. Revenue rose 7 percent to $25.28 billion. Analysts forecast earnings of $1.12 per share on $25.41 billion in revenue. The insurer also said it now expects 2011 earnings to range between $4.40 and $4.45 per share on more than $101 billion in revenue. That’s up from its previous forecast for earnings of $4.15 to $4.25 per share on $101 billion in revenue.”