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Now, suddenly, Shakopee wants in on stadium sweepstakes

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Shakopee tribe details contributions; GOP finances draw new complaint; 3M fights back in pollution case; top DWI reading is 0.39; First Avenue gets competition; and more.
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Oh hell, the more the merrier, I guess. Now Shakopee wants to host a Vikings stadium. Says Mike Kaszuba at the Strib: “Shakopee is joining in on the bid to build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium — but the Vikings and Gov. Mark Dayton’s top stadium negotiator do not seem to be impressed. The newly elected mayor of Shakopee has called a press conference for 4 p.m. Wednesday to propose a site in his suburb for a new Vikings stadium. The Shakopee Valley News says that the property owner at the undisclosed location has signed a letter of intent to sell the land to the Vikings. But the Vikings and the governor’s point person on the stadium issue reacted coolly Wednesday to the idea of another site option being added to the mix. … Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson said the team was not interested in meeting with Shakopee officials.”

This inspires the Strib’s Michael Rand to post on his “RandBall” blog yet another late-arriving proposal, from a certain Mr. Clarence Swamptown, for a Vikings stadium location … in Goodhue County. “I called a few of my neighbors and we met at the truck stop in town to formulate our own Vikings stadium proposal. I will attach a copy of the letter we just sent to the Wilf brothers. Enjoy.

Dearest Mr. Mark and Zygi Wilf:

My name is Clarence Swamptown and I represent a consortium of landowners in rural Goodhue County. We would like you to consider our area for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. When compared to the other sites you are considering, I believe our proposal has a number of significant advantages:
Transportation: Most of the current proposals have limited transportation options. You can only drive to the Arden Hills or Shakopee sites. The Minneapolis proposals also have light rail. Well, our site has THREE convenient transportation options available:
1.       Wild Turkey Road: Okay, it’s a dirt road. And it’s narrow. But it’s a good road. My great-grandpa built that road. It’s rock solid and has very few washboards. And it’s only super busy during harvest or planting. It’s a good road.
2.       Cannon River: Downtown Cannon Falls has a place that rents canoes and inner tubes. You can float down the river, park on the shore, and then walk up to the game. Drink all you want! (Maybe wear a life jacket? Or don’t. I’m not your mom.)
3.       Cannon Valley Bike Trail: The bike trail would pass right by the stadium. I could even set up a bunch of fence posts so people can lock up their bikes. I’m not into all of that personal health stuff, but whatever man.
Environmental Cleanup:  The Arden Hills site requires millions of dollars in pollution abatement. Once I shovel up a few cow-pies and get rid of that old field cultivator, our site is pretty much good-to-go.
Entertainment Options: I know you guys are looking for expanded retail opportunities surrounding any potential stadium site. Let’s think outside of the box for a minute. You know what everyone loves? Paintball. Paintball is awesome. You can setup a paintball course in the woods and charge like $5 a head. Cha-ching! (cash register sound) Also, I’m willing to turn all of my fields into tailgating lots once the crops are off. We can charge like $20 per slot and split the take.”

And by looking at the map, I believe there’s plenty of room there for four, maybe five racinos.

Speaking of Shakopee … they taketh away, but they give … they say. The Strib’s David Peterson looks into the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux tribe’s impact on its home county: “The tribe’s formal accounting of aid it has provided to local governments over the years adds up to more than $18 million — much of it for road improvements, though the tribe concedes that most often it’s in ways that aid its own business enterprises. The tribe also lists ‘vendor payments’ for goods and services to providers inside Scott County as rising from $5.3 million in 2002 to a peak of nearly $18 million in 2008, then slipping back to just under $10 million by 2010. The peak seems to have coincided with major building expansion. Wages to Scott County residents, it adds, have soared from $51 million in 2002 to a shade over $70 million by 2009. It doesn’t provide a more recent number, but the total took a significant jump late last decade as the tribe added capacity, both in the casino itself and in other enterprises.”

It’s now a “formal filing” against the state GOP and “The [ex-] Chairman,” Tony Sutton. Says Jake Grovum of Politics in Minnesota: “The complaint (pdf) was brought against both the party and its former Chairman Tony Sutton. It alleges the party violated the Federal Election Campaign Act and an agreement it signed with the FEC late last year by “deliberately hiding its debts” from investigators. CREW is the same group that brought those previous allegations to the FEC, which ultimately led to a $170,000 fine. ‘The Republican Party of Minnesota’s FEC reports haven’t reflected the party’s actual financial condition for nearly a decade and make a mockery of the public’s right to know,’ CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement. ‘There appears to be ample evidence Mr. Sutton repeatedly lied to FEC investigators for years to achieve the party’s political goals.’ The federal complaint is the second formal allegation of wrongdoing to be filed in the wake of the party’s financial turmoil that ultimately led to Sutton’s resignation last year. Common Cause of Minnesota also filed a complaint against the party at the state level and said on Monday that it was told the Campaign Finance Board would investigate the allegations.” I sure hope the GOP knows some cheap lawyers.

Among the guys you might not want to have a beer with … Pat Pheifer’s Strib story says: “Multiple people tried to stop a very drunk Jason L. Schultz from jumping in his pickup truck and driving away from the Commercial Club bar in West St. Paul the night he dragged Kyle Kissinger for two blocks, causing a traumatic brain injury, according to court documents. Schultz, 24, was arrested at his home in West St. Paul shortly after the incident in the early morning hours Friday. He was charged Wednesday with criminal vehicular operation, a felony, and third-degree drunken driving, a gross misdemeanor. … ‘It is a tragedy to see a person trying to do the right thing and prevent his friend from driving while intoxicated injured so severely,’ said County Attorney Jim Backstrom. … Schultz’s girlfriend, Kissinger and others tried to take his keys, but he became angry, started pushing and shoving and managed to get in his truck, the complaint said. When Kissinger told Schultz to roll down his window, Schultz told him, ‘I’m [expletive] driving home,’ it said. Kissinger reached into the truck and tried to get the keys out of the ignition, but Schultz stepped on the gas and squealed out of the parking lot, dragging Kissinger with him, the complaint said. Schultz then braked suddenly, flinging Kissinger into the side of the truck. The witness ran after Schultz to try to help Kissinger, but Schultz drove away again with Kissinger still hanging on.”

3M is playing hardball with the Met Council, accusing it of also polluting the Mississippi. Says Bob Shaw’s PiPress story: “The 3M Co. has a new tactic to defend itself against a lawsuit filed by the state of Minnesota and the Metropolitan Council: If we polluted, so did you. In a counterclaim filed Monday, the company said that if it is found liable for polluting the Mississippi River, the Met Council also should pay. That’s because, 3M says, the planning agency for the seven-county Twin Cities area dumps chemicals into the river from its seven waste treatment plants. … The 3M document was filed in the Fourth District Court in Minneapolis. In it, the company said it has spent $100 million — double previous estimates — to clean up ground and river water in the past 10 years. Those efforts stand ‘in sharp contrast to the Met Council’s inaction,’ the document says.” The Met Council, Shaw notes, is in “no comment” mode.

A reading of 0.39 was the topper of  drivers nailed for DWI in December. Says a story in The Savage Pacer: “A statewide impaired driving (DWI) enforcement campaign in December resulted in the arrest of 2,573 motorists. Preliminary DWI arrest totals were reported to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety by 314 law enforcement agencies. The highest alcohol concentration reported was 0.39. Twenty agencies reported that their highest alcohol concentration in an arrest was at or above 0.30, and more than 100 agencies reported that their highest alcohol concentration was at or above 0.20. … The State Patrol reported 606 DWI arrests during the effort. In the Twin Cities, Minneapolis police led with 62 arrests, followed by Bloomington police and St. Paul police (each with 52); Eden Prairie police (42); Carver County Sheriff’s Office (32); Robbinsdale police (30); Crystal police (29); Edina police (24); and Maplewood police (22).”

First Avenue is getting some serious big corporate competition. The Strib’s Chris Riemenschneider says: “Poised to go head-to-head with independent local mainstay First Avenue, the new venue, named the Brick, will be in the former home of Christian rock haven Club 3 Degrees. The space, at 111 N. 5th St., has been under construction in recent months, but AEG has yet to announce its plans. … City licensing documents confirm that the venue would be run by AEG, which also manages the city-owned Target Center. A city inspector’s report lists its capacity tentatively at 2,100 people. That puts the Brick squarely between First Ave and Epic in size (1,400 and 2,400, respectively). … Based in Los Angeles, AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) has investments ranging from the Lakers and Kings sports teams to the Coachella Music Festival, Staples Center and London’s O2 Arena. Music-heavy venues in the AEG chain similar in size to the Brick include Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre, the Bluebird Theater in Denver and the Joint at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. First Avenue’s general manager Nate Kranz shuddered at having ‘such a deep-pocketed competitor,’ but he pointed to First Ave’s history with another large entertainment corporation, Clear Channel (now Live Nation). Clear Channel aggressively booked concerts at Quest nightclub in the early 2000s, but the company eventually backed off as a majority of bands chose to play First Ave instead.” First Avenue will always have the advantage of cred.

An editorial at Detroit Lakes On Line goes there ..l. It says, “Where did Bachmann and Pawlenty go wrong? Bachmann is a solid conservative in Congress and a strong advocate for limited government. Pawlenty served eight years as governor of Minnesota and blocked every effort that he could to raise taxes. Then there’s Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who presided over the passage of Romneycare. And Romneycare, of course, is the model for Obamacare. So, why is Romney the Republican front runner while Bachmann and Pawlenty dropped out? Here’s why: Romney’s the front runner because he’s a former governor who presided over the passage of Romneycare. And Bachmann and Pawlenty dropped out because she advocates for limited government while he blocked tax increases for eight years. In short, it’s not enough in American presidential politics to say ‘no.’ You have to say ‘yes’ to policy goals — and achieve them, as Romney has done. True, Romney’s signature achievement is Romneycare, the Massachusetts insurance and health-care mandate. Many Republicans hate the plan, a political fact that has dogged Romney for months. But at the same time, some fair share of Republicans clearly respect the fact that Romney got to ‘yes’ — that he came to terms and reached agreement with a Democratic Legislature on a landmark law. That matters.”