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Rybak: Minneapolis can put $300 million into Vikes stadium

MORNING EDITION

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak says the city will … eventually … have $300 million to throw at a new Vikings Stadium on the Metrodome site. Mike Kaszuba of the Strib says: “Rybak said Tuesday the city would contribute $300 million to a new Minnesota Vikings stadium built at the Metrodome, and that an enhanced fan experience would include using the nearby Minneapolis Armory as an ‘event space’ on game days. Rybak’s comments, coming on another day of high-profile stadium debate at the state Capitol, were made at a second Minnesota Senate hearing on a new Vikings stadium and how to finance it. The testimony also included officials from Ramsey County, where the Vikings want to build a $1.1 billion stadium in suburban Arden Hills. But while Ramsey County officials said they were still working on a financing plan, Rybak was forceful in saying the city wanted to keep the team in the state’s largest city. ‘We are prepared, with existing revenue streams, to put $300 million on the table,’ said the mayor, who met with the Vikings on Monday and with Senate Republican leaders earlier Tuesday. ‘We do have the plan that will create all of the revenue options that are necessary for the Vikings.’ ”

MnDOT has gone official with its opposition to the so-called “lower and cheaper” St. Croix bridge. Mary Divine of the PiPress says: “State transportation officials on Tuesday again slammed a plan for a smaller alternative to the proposed $690 million St. Croix River Crossing, saying that the lower, narrower bridge would have a significant environmental impact and could delay the start of construction until 2019. The Minnesota Department of Transportation issued the report in response to a report issued in November by a group called the Sensible Stillwater Bridge Partnership. The partnership’s proposal is a three-lane bridge that would cross the river diagonally from near the Oasis Cafe, just south of downtown Stillwater, to where the Stillwater Lift Bridge hits the bluff on the Wisconsin side of the river. The center lane of three would vary in direction depending on the time of day. MnDOT’s Adam Josephson said the main problem with the plan is its location. Locating the bridge among so many natural and cultural resources would have a significant environmental impact, he said.” What “cultural resources” is he talking about?

The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees is not happy with the judge who stopped the vote on unionizing day care providers. On their “Workday Minnesota” website, they say: “In issuing a temporary restraining order, Judge Dale Lindman said the unionization issue should have gone through the Legislature. But taking our case to the Legislature would be futile. It’s led by the same Republican legislators whose lawsuit denies providers their right to vote and have a voice in decisions that affect their work and the families they serve. These are the same legislators who cut providers’ pay, who slashed quality improvement grants for child care, and who have ignored the 7,000 families waiting for child care so they can go to work. For six years, providers have been fighting for a voice in decisions that affect their profession and we will not give up fighting for Minnesota’s children and their parents.”

I know you’ve been on pins and needles … but the Timberwolves will open their regular season Dec. 26 against Oklahoma City. Ray Richardson in the PiPress writes: “The Minnesota Timberwolves will open the season with six of their first seven games at Target Center, including the opener against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 26. Durant is among several marquee players and teams that will make early appearances at Target Center, setting up a potentially tough transition for first-year Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and his young roster.” A “tough transition”? Is that a euphemism for “more of the same”?

Oh … come … on … Maricella Miranda of the PiPress reports:It was taboo, wrong and sick. That’s how a judge Tuesday described acts committed by a Rosemount man who forced a girl he was baby-sitting to wear diapers and urinate on herself while he took pictures and video to post online. Dakota County District Judge Timothy McManus sentenced Richard Michael Marquardt, 36, to 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty of five felonies. Marquardt will serve at least two-thirds — or eight years — of the sentence in prison before he’s eligible for conditional release. … ‘You are a predatory offender,’ McManus told Marquardt. ‘You are sick, and you need help. If you don’t get help, you have these tendencies that are wrong. This is taboo. This is wrong, and it’s sick.’ Rosemount police began investigating the allegations after the girl, 8 at the time, told her mother last January that Marquardt took pictures of her naked, according to a criminal complaint. … Marquardt took the images at his house, in a restroom at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley and at several local parks and playgrounds, according to the complaint. Marquardt posted some of the images online.” Do you ever wonder, “Could this guy have been standing next to me at the supermarket?”

A couple of DFL warhorses lay into their GOP colleagues for the state’s debt problems. In a Strib commentary, Sen. Dick Cohen and Rep. Lyndon Carlson write:“In eight of 10 years, the state has faced a deficit. Instead of making permanent adjustments to our budget, we have used one-time dollars, accounting shifts, and borrowing. All this patchwork and duct tape hasn’t solved the problem. Part of the reason is that the budget passed by Republicans included record amounts of borrowing from our schools. We extended what’s called a ‘school shift’ to a 40/60 level, which amounts to nearly $3 billion. As a result of this record borrowing, we’re seeing two out of every three schools being forced to borrow money of their own. To put the size of this borrowing in perspective, only one state has ever borrowed from schools like this: California, which is not exactly a poster child for fiscal stability. And Minnesota’s shift was more than twice the size of theirs.”

Kind of like Chicago, where there’s always another generation of Daleys, Kari Dziedzic has been chosen to run for Larry Pogemiller’s Senate seat. Says Eric Roper in the Strib: “Kari Dziedzic won a hard-fought victory Tuesday night in the DFL primary to replace state Sen. Larry Pogemiller in eastern Minneapolis. Dziedzic’s victory ended a primary race that drew more attention and serious challengers than any of the three other special elections in Minneapolis this year. Pogemiller’s departure this fall to head the state’s Office of Higher Education sent a slew of candidates vying for his seat, most carrying name recognition or high-profile endorsements. Dziedzic, a policy aide to Hennepin Commissioner Mark Stenglein, pulled away with 32 percent of the vote in the five-person race.”

Ethanol will do just fine without federal subsidies. That’s the message in a David Shaffer story in the Strib: “The founder of the world’s largest ethanol company said Tuesday that the industry will survive without a tax credit that costs the federal government more than $5 billion a year. The subsidy expires Dec. 31, and Poet LLC founder and CEO Jeff Broin credited it with helping the industry become increasingly efficient and able to stand on its own. ‘Ethanol is now able to compete with gasoline without a tax break,’ said Broin, whose Sioux Falls-based company operates 27 ethanol plants, including four in Minnesota. Broin, speaking to reporters on a conference call, said gas pump prices likely will rise about 4 cents per gallon when the credit goes away. Congress has not acted to renew the subsidy, which has existed in some form since 1978.”

If your lieutenant governor (also facing a recall election) doesn’t support you, who will? In a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel commentary, Rebecca Kleefisch, Scott Walker’s No. 2, writes: “As a mom with two small kids, I’m glad that Scott Walker is looking out for families like ours. As lieutenant governor, I see his leadership skills helping Wisconsin families like mine. It was a rare thing to cover a politician who said what he’d do and do what he said. Walker is that rare type. He promised to reform government and put it back on the side of the people. He promised to protect taxpayers and truly balance the budget. He promised to help the people of Wisconsin create more good jobs. Walker showed his respect for the hardworking people of our state by keeping those promises. … At a women’s small business round table meeting in Madison, I watched him listen to entrepreneurs talk about their struggles and successes, chiming in only when the ladies shared how they balanced work with picking up sick kids at school. He has answered the call from the school health room, too (and packed his share of cold lunches). Walker will continue to make bold promises about how we can help small businesses put more people to work in our state and how we can improve the quality of life for all of our citizens. And just as he has shown since Jan. 3, Walker will keep those promises because he is committed to working together to move Wisconsin forward. And that’s not just a promise from a governor. That’s a promise from a parent who cares as much about his kids’ Wisconsin as you care about yours.” I’m not sure, did she actually say anything?

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by William Pappas on 12/07/2011 - 06:43 am.

    Brian, MNDOT and the bridge supporters like the Coalition are making a big deal of the impact a lower and slower bridge would have on the excursion boat business docked north of the Oasis Cafe and the views of the valley south of Stillwater. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the sprawl sure to follow on the Wisconsin side should have a major visual and auditory impact on the river experience. The canard of the ten-year delay is being disproven as we speak. Opposition to the megabridge in congress is already starting a dialogue with Interior about using the approval process employed in the 35W bridge rebuild to serve as a guide to shorten this time period to construction for a smaller designed span. The shorter span should also have a significantly shorter construction schedule. MNDOT simply cannot rise above their arrogance to recognize that the mega bridge design is and always will be illegal. And the signals from the Obama administration through Interior is that a costly new span that basically ignores and tramples the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act will ultimately be vetoed! MNDOT chose to unilaterally pursue this crossing and ignore the Interior Department and the Park Service when designing the mega bridge. That was a major mistake. The smaller bridge designers will work with both departments to reduce the present footprint of the sensible solution and further reduce cost and impact on the environment. MNDOT has basically driven up the cost of the alternative through demands made on the roadways coming into Minnesota. The problem in a nutshell as that any span must serve to restrict growth in Wisconsin. That’s a central impact of the bridge provision in the WSRA. MNDOT just doesn’t get it, still demanding bridges that must service nearly 50,000 cars in 2030 when in the last decade there has been a 0% increase in traffic from the present 16000 cars.

  2. Submitted by William Pappas on 12/07/2011 - 06:49 am.

    One more thing Brian, there is so much misinformation coming from MNDOT that there should be an investigation into who, why and how come MNDOT is explicitly deviating from their 50-year plan to encourage a major new span and convert this corridor from minor to major status necessitating even more money from their budget after the mega bridge is completed to enlarge roads everywhere around it. Their information campaign, complete with computer generated graphics of what the new mega bridge experience will be like, is pure propoganda with all of the attendant massaging of facts. Check that video out. Notice when you float under the bridge how small the piers look. In reality you can’t pass under the bridge and get that far away to make those massive piers seem that small. Great slight of hand by the video masters at MNDOT.

  3. Submitted by John West on 12/07/2011 - 09:07 am.

    I don’t see where hizhonor has the mandate to promise any money whatsoever to the Vikes! It’s not his money! Let the MN legislator debate the merits of paying for the Vikes to stay around- not Minneapolis/officials!

  4. Submitted by Tom Clark on 12/07/2011 - 09:59 am.

    “The problem in a nutshell as that any span must serve to restrict growth in Wisconsin. That’s a central impact of the bridge provision in the WSRA.”

    The problem with this assertion is that there’s no such provision in the Wild and Scenic Rivers act. With respect to impacts on the river, restricting growth in Wisconsin while allowing it in Minnesota seems, well, a bit silly when it comes to the scenery of the lower St. Croix River.

    The problems with the proposed “sensible” bridge were already discussed when all the proposed bridge crossings were evaluated six years ago, and it mostly comes down to the fact that there’s simply not sufficient room between the bluff and the river to accommodate an adequate interchange. (Sorry, but a roundabout just won’t work given the volume of traffic.)

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/07/2011 - 10:29 am.

    God, I feel so, so bad for those poor government union bosses. If they can’t even get daycare business owners under their thumb, what chance do they have for scooping up the catering truck owners?

    So ethanol is cost competitive with gasoline, it just cost more….

  6. Submitted by Josh Williams on 12/07/2011 - 11:38 am.

    MNDOT objecting to the smaller bridge proposal on the basis of impacts on the basis of environmental impact is literally one of the most absurd things I have ever heard.

    I don’t know whether Mr. Clark’s assertion (#4) regarding the lack of room for an interchange is correct or not, but this would seem to be a design and traffic control issue, not the kind of problem that could prevent a bridge from being built.

  7. Submitted by T J Simplot on 12/07/2011 - 12:34 pm.

    “In issuing a temporary restraining order, Judge Dale Lindman said the unionization issue should have gone through the Legislature. But taking our case to the Legislature would be futile.”

    Welcome to the world of politics. Lots of legislation gets stopped by the Legislature (regardless of which party is in control). That doesn’t mean the Governor should automatically issue an executive order.

  8. Submitted by Tom Clark on 12/07/2011 - 02:34 pm.

    Mr. Williams, I don’t know if you can do links in comments, but you can find a map that depicts the interchange that was proposed for the “D” alternative which has the same corridor as the so-called “sensible” bridge proposal:

    http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/stcroix/pdfs/sdeis/St.%20Croix%20SDEIS/Chapter%205/SDEIS%20Figure%205-3d.pdf

    The problem, as you can hopefully see, is that not only would there be exit and entrance ramps right next to the river, they would also have very sharp curves. The environmental impact from road runoff from rain and snow on the ramps (including salt and sand loads) would either have to go directly into the river or detention ponds that would, again, have to be build right next to the St. Croix River. That’s why MnDoT has said the environmental impact of the “sensible” bridge would be greater than the bridge that was approved back in 2006 after the review process looked at all the alternatives.

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