NFL worried about ‘alternative plan in another city’


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.”

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/19/2011 - 07:47 am.

    Why aren’t immigration issues ever framed about who we allow in, noot just who we want to keep out? Think about how much better off we’d be had we denied entry to Michelle’s ancestors.

  2. Submitted by William Souder on 10/19/2011 - 08:41 am.

    I assume Mr. Grubman left a bloody horse’s head under Governor Dayton’s covers…just to make sure we got the message.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/19/2011 - 09:03 am.

    “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…”

    How dare those families allow someone to get sick and actually use their health “insurance.” The nerve…

    Also notice that Mr. Hemsley didn’t mention the effect his multi-million-dollar salary and bonuses might have on the company’s fiscal bottom line.

    Thanks to William Souder for comment #2. A subhead to the ‘Strib’s front page story this morning on the proposed Vikings stadium has Mr. Grubman quoted as saying, “Great cities are defined by the great institutions that they support.” That leaves me wondering why I’ve never heard of an NFL team from Paris, or London, or…

    Being fairly new here, I also wonder if the Walker or the Guthrie – or even Target Field – cost a billion dollars…

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/19/2011 - 09:10 am.

    If the perennially hapless, heartbreaking Vikings leave the state, it will likely decrease the overall depression/frustration/anxiety/chemical use levels of football fans, statewide, by a massive amount.

    Diehard fans will then be free to chose whatever teams they want to buoy their weekend spirits and even to follow college and high school football which, overall, are far more interesting and a lot more fun than the Vikings have EVER been (at least in the past thirty years).

    Considering the state of our state’s economy, the number of unemployed, and the ways we have cut core services over the past decade, in effect, destroying the seeds needed to plant future crops,…

    giving even a penny to billionaire owners and millionaire players would be unconscionable.

    Of course local sports beat reporters would need to shift gears, but considering the way the media now approaches coverage of political campaigns as if they were sports competitions (rather than bothering to research and provide us with cogent analysis of the substance of the various candidates’ views and their likely policies if elected),…

    and the massive money about to be spent on campaign ads after the SCOTUS’ “citizens united” decision,…

    those former Vikings reporters can just shift to political reporting. It’s essentially the same beat. They’ll fit right in.

  5. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/19/2011 - 09:28 am.

    I’m not sure Mr. Grubman has his facts straight. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Mr. Grubman is intentionally misleading. I don’t remember ever hearing that the Vikes couldn’t renew their lease. If there’s “no lease,” that’s the Vikings’ choice and problem.

    Regarding cooperatives: “…farmers have a long history of banding together to improve their economic clout” sounds a lot like a…gasp!…union! We’d better keep those farmers from getting too uppity. It’s wrong to let them use their collective power to make more money. People shouldn’t have to pay more for their butter or cheese! It’s those greedy farmers that are milking every last dime out of us poor tax payers.

  6. Submitted by myles spicer on 10/19/2011 - 10:28 am.

    Actually, I live in Palm Desert CA in the winters, and get the LA Times regularily. The new stadium and acquiring a tems in LA is not a slam dunk. They have issues (and resistance) too. Additionally, there are several other teams LA is wooing ahead of the Vikes, and even more likely to seek a new home. San Diego, right down the road and a CA favorite would be #1.

    Sure, the Vikes are “nice” to have around (at the right cost). Pro sports has gotten so bent out of shape, they will definately have issues with their price points going forward. Minnesota will survive if they go away.

  7. Submitted by Iven Coffee on 10/19/2011 - 10:29 am.

    That’s interesting that Michelle Bachman would go on record favoring a tax increase on business.

  8. Submitted by William Souder on 10/19/2011 - 10:43 am.

    Mr. Schoch…Target Field was of course a classic welfare-for-the-rich boondoggle. I’m not sure what, if any, public monies went into the Walker or the Guthrie. But I know neither is owned and operated for profit by a billionaire.

    I also love the little detail in today’s story to the effect that the NFL would pick up around $150 million of the Wilfs’ $400 million end of the deal. Zigi is about to take us to the cleaners…wait for that convention center…and our interests are being watched over by Mark Dayton, as weak and ineffective as they come. Show of hands: Who feels good about that.

  9. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 10/19/2011 - 10:44 am.

    Always amused by the memorabilia tax. Why not increase the beer and pizza tax, cuz lots of people drink beer and eat pizza when they watch the Vikings?

  10. Submitted by greg copeland on 10/19/2011 - 11:20 am.

    Don’t by the NFL Hype!

    If you don’t like the idea of our Legislators spending your tax dollars to participate in a Special Session in November to tax us in the future for the benefit of Zygi Wilf’s Viking Corporation; Call Governor Dayton today at 651-201-3400 and tell him! NO SPECIAL SESSION IN 2011!

  11. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/19/2011 - 12:14 pm.

    Just a quick reality check on the United health care numbers…

    $1.27 billion dollars divided by 3 months of $1000 insurance premiums equals 420,000.

    What does that 420,000 equal?

    It’s either the premiums of 420,000 people whose premiums in that quarter went entirely for UHG’s purposes, not healthcare.

    Or, it’s 420,000 uninsured people who could have had insurance if that $1.27 billion had been devoted to covering the uninsured instead of going to UHG.

    Now multiply that by all of the insurance companies.

  12. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/19/2011 - 12:41 pm.

    I know all you lefties are knee-jerk anti-competition, which is why you hate sports and keeping score etc., but shouldn’t you be considering how the construction of the local stadiums affect the labor unions?

    Good grief, are you so out-of-touch with real working people that you’d let your hatred of professional sports franchises expose your fraudulent concern for your alleged brothers and sisters in the trades? There can’t be that many of them who vote republican.

  13. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/19/2011 - 01:17 pm.

    Mr. Souder: Thanks. I assumed Target Field was built in a similar fiscal fashion as Coors Field in Denver, though in Denver, people also voted to tax themselves to build “Invesco Field at Mile High” to replace plain ol’ “Mile High Stadium,” which didn’t have enough luxury suites to suitably line the pockets of the team’s owner.

    Mention of a convention center down the road (Wilf is, after all, a real estate developer – the Vikings are a hobby) simply reinforces my bias that both relevant Mayors, Ryback and Coleman, should make it plain to everyone concerned that they’ll make life as unpleasant as possible for anyone in the legislature or the Governor’s office who supports this particular trip to the cleaners in Arden Hills.

    Your point about ownership of the Walker and the Guthrie is one I assumed / hoped to be the case.

  14. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/19/2011 - 02:54 pm.

    #11 – Neal. Wendell Potter points out that insurers consider paying out money for claims is a “loss” rather than what the money paid in premiums is supposed to be used for.

    United HealthCare and other HMOs who contract with the state to care for low-income patients still refuse to open their books or (except for UCare) to return any of the many millions of dollars in profit (above and beyond what they would actually need to pay should there be an epidemic of some kind). So they are earning interest on it while continuing to charge the state more than necessary AND still refuse to open their books to state examination.

    #12 – Dennis. The number of jobs for a new stadium would be small compared to the thousands of people who could work at permanent union jobs repairing, updating and/or replacing roads, bridges and older school buildings, plus developing and producing energy from non-polluting renewable resources.

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