The Vikings would prefer their reaction to the end of their lease and no new stadium plan to remain … ambiguous. So, essentially, reports Don Davis of the Forum papers, “A Minnesota Vikings vice president did not specifically say today what would happen if state leaders fail to approve a new stadium deal before the team’s Metrodome lease expires after this football stadium. Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, asked Lester Bagley if he was saying the Vikings would leave Minnesota after stadium talks fail. ‘Not at all,’ Bagley said. ‘What we are just saying [is] that we won’t have a lease.’ … ‘Waiting does not make this any cheaper,’ said Chairman Ted Mondale of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, estimating that construction expense would rise up to $50 million for each year a stadium is delayed. Mondale said a facility 40 percent larger than the existing Metrodome is needed, in part to make it accessible to the disabled and allow easier access to restrooms. ‘We are talking $700 million in public money to accommodate those things,’ said stadium opponent Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville.” Those would be some nice restrooms, I’m guessing.
Mike Kaszuba’s story for the Strib includes this: “In the sharpest exchange at Tuesday’s stadium hearing, Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, told Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak that the city might be too late in getting the new stadium built in Minneapolis. The exchange came after both the Vikings and Ramsey County detailed their preliminary agreement Tuesday at the hearing to build a stadium in Arden Hills. ‘There’s some who would say you’re a little late to the dance here,’ said Michel to the Minneapolis mayor. ‘What are you waiting for?’ Michel and others also said that Minneapolis, in offering three downtown sites for a new stadium, needed to support just one site. ‘You got three, you really got none,’ said Michel.”
At the Field of Schemes blog, Neil de Mause looks at the Vikings’ latest financing, well, scheme, and says, “… the Vikings are calling for what could be called the mother of all TIFs: funneling every last cent of tax money paid by anyone remotely associated with the team — whether it be income taxes paid by players or team employees or sales taxes on anything purchased by fans at the stadium — back to the team to pay off its stadium costs. The ad dubbed this the ‘purely purple financing package’ and the ‘but-for’ solution because, ‘All the money would come from sources that would not exist ‘but for’ the Vikings being in Minnesota.’ Except, of course, that this is tax money that the state collects currently, and much of which it would continue to collect even if the Vikings were to leave and fans had to spend their money on mine and cave tours or something. (The Minneapolis Star Tribune, to its credit, biting the hand that feeds its print ad department, noted that, ‘No mention is made in the advertisements, which ran in the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, of how the state would make up the revenue it would lose if it accepts the team’s plan.’)”
At the Strib, Jim Ragsdale has a bit more on the conservative lawsuit to stop the child-care union vote. “Dayton’s Nov. 15 executive order called for an election among some providers to determine if they want union representation. His order covers those providers who care for children receiving state subsidies — about 4,300 of 11,000 licensed providers. It does not require providers to join a union or pay union dues. … Republican legislative leaders and a number of child-care providers object to the years-long organizing efforts of two of the state’s largest unions, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). But while some opponents have sought to allow all providers to vote, the suit seeks to invalidate Dayton’s order altogether. The GOP-led Minnesota Senate announced late Monday that its Rules Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday on Dayton’s order. Some senators have said they may file a lawsuit against the governor, arguing that he exceeded his authority.”
All they need is $242 million. (Or roughly the difference between the smaller and larger St. Croix bridges.) Mark Sommerhauser at the St. Cloud Times checks out a MNDoT idea to alleviate congestion on I-94 through central Minnesota. “The proposed Interstate 94-to-Highway 10 freeway connection would be another way to improve traffic flow, according to the study. The freeway connection would run from Clear Lake to Clearwater, alleviating congestion on Minnesota Highway 24, the current link between those points.
The proposed connection has been studied extensively, with environmental review completed in 2007. But finding a way to pay for the $242 million project remains its chief obstacle. For now, funding won’t be available until sometime after 2028, according to the MnDOT project website.” Only 17 years? That’s almost the fast-track.
This went to court? At the PiPress, Richard Chin reports, “when a Minneapolis police officer turned her squad car spotlight on a couple of men, that did not amount to an unlawful seizure. So ruled the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday in the case of Michael Anthony Clark, who appealed his conviction on unlawful possession of a firearm.
“Clark was arrested Feb. 12, 2009, after a police officer who just heard of a report about two African-American men carrying shotguns shined her squad car spotlight on Clark and his brother as they were walking in Minneapolis. The two ran off. During the chase, Clark dropped a 9mm handgun, according to the appellate court.
“In his appeal, Clark said evidence of the handgun should not have been admitted in court because it was the product of an unconstitutional seizure — the shining spotlight — which was unsupported by a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.” It was a constitutional question, apparently.
Dan Gunderson of MPR looks at Moorhead’s efforts to restart housing (and its tax base) while clearing flood-damaged homes and building new levees. “Mayor Mark Voxland said it’s critical to build the city’s property tax base with new home construction. That’s particularly important during a time of decreased state aid to local governments, he said. But that’s not happening, the mayor said, because people are likely worried about the economy and more flooding. ‘I think the flood of 2009 stopped a lot of people in their tracks as far as wanting to build or even to move or put an addition on,’ Voxland said. ‘Everybody is kind of concerned where does it flood, where doesn’t if flood. It’s something that’s on everybody’s mind.’ Moorhead officials hope to kick-start the local housing market early next year with a mix of marketing and financial incentives. They’ll also tout their efforts to remove flood prone homes and build new permanent levees. So far, however, protecting the city from water hasn’t boosted the confidence of local residents. Across the Fargo-Moorhead region new housing starts are off 20 percent but in Moorhead new home construction is down 40 percent.”
Aaaaand … we’re Number #1! Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress writes, “A new study shows that Minnesota was the only state in the country that saw a significant decline over the past three years in the share of children with health insurance coverage. The report, which is being released today by the Children’s Defense Fund, finds that Minnesota in 2010 still had a lower uninsured rate among children than the national average. But where the nation’s rate improved from 9 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2010, Minnesota saw its uninsured rate get worse — growing from 5.8 percent to 6.6 percent, according to the report.”
Wait … we’re #2! AnnaMaria Andriotis at Smart Money is saying, “Data released this morning by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices shows that nationally home prices posted an annual decline of 3.9% in the third quarter compared to a year ago. But home prices fared far worse in cities that up until recently haven’t been associated with the housing crisis. ‘The poster children of the foreclosure problems are no longer the ones declining the most,’ says H. Pike Oliver, senior lecturer at Cornell University’s Department of City and Regional Planning. Homeowners in Atlanta have seen the biggest price drops over the past year – down a whopping 10% year over year — followed by Minneapolis where home prices are down 7.4%. Also, home prices in Seattle and Portland are down 6.5% and 5.7% respectively. These cities are dealing with slower economies, high unemployment and foreclosures, says Maureen Maitland, vice president at the S&P Indices.”