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Another Minneapolis council member favors stadium referendum

One of the Minneapolis council members previously uncommitted on the stadium deal has come out in favor of a public referendum. Curtis Gilbert at MPR reports: “Council Member Kevin Reich on Wednesday told MPR News he believes the city's voters need to approve the plan in a referendum — something stadium proponents argue would kill the project. He had previously been circumspect on the issue. So far four council members have publicly endorsed the proposal. It will take seven votes to pass. Stadium proponents say the proposal is unlikely to survive if it is put to a referendum in Minneapolis. … [Mayor R.T.] Rybak argues the deal is structured in a way that avoids the referendum requirement. And he says there's still time to convince the council of that. ‘I think there's been so much counting and recounting and miscounting and early counting of where people are at, that the reality is we just have to let this settle in for a couple days as we work with people,’ Rybak said. Reich says he's skeptical of that argument. ‘There's no proposal before us that wouldn't trigger a referendum, and so I stand by our charter,’ Reich said. ‘I'm very supportive of the stadium site. It needs to be that site. The infrastructure is there, but we just need to find a way to do it that fits within our city program.' "

The House may see a stadium bill next Monday. Mike Kaszuba at the Strib says: “Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said the bill probably won't be introduced until Monday, ‘unless something comes up that delays it.’ That is five days before the first deadline for proposals to pass through a committee. The timing is critical because Republican leaders, who control the House and Senate, have talked about adjourning in late April. Lanning acknowledged that many may be surprised the bill still hadn't been formally introduced, even though Gov. Mark Dayton, the city of Minneapolis and the Vikings announced a tentative agreement a week ago to build the $975 million stadium. ‘It was natural for people to think that when [we had] this big announcement last Thursday, everything was all set to go and a deal was done’, he said. ‘But, you know, we only had a framework. We had terms of agreement. We had a term sheet.’ ” Oh, we’re aware there a few details left to be worked out.

Have you and your hophead buddies considered crowd-sourcing for start-up money? Tom Robertson of MPR files a story on three Bemidji home brewers who got creative. “[T]hree young entrepreneurs think they know how to make beer that people will like. But finding the money to start a micro brewery is a tall order, perhaps more demanding and complicated than making the beer. They can use the cooperative's certified kitchen to start small and keep initial costs low, but to build on that advantage they have turned to a national crowd-funding website called Kickstarter. The New York-based website was founded in 2008. It lets entrepreneurs apply for a specific amount of money for a proposed creative project. If Kickstarter approves, the projects are posted online, where anyone can contribute money to the venture. People who believe in the project make contributions in exchange for small gifts like t-shirts or invitations to special events. If the fundraising goal isn't met, no money changes hands. If it succeeds, Kickstarter gets 5 percent.”

Wisconsin’s attorney general is not having any of the judge’s ruling putting a stop to the state’s new Voter ID bill. The AP story says: “Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he and his staff will move quickly to bring the ruling before an appellate court. He issued a statement shortly after the state's Republican Party filed a formal complaint against the judge who ruled in the case. Van Hollen defended the law for its aim to stop illegal and fraudulent voting. He said he is confident the law will be upheld. He also said a majority of eligible Wisconsin voters either have a qualifying photo ID or can obtain one without significant burdens. He said there are accommodations for the rest. Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan granted a temporary injunction on Tuesday. It comes from a lawsuit brought on by the NAACP's Milwaukee branch and immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera. The injunction stops the contentious law from being in effect for the state's April 3 presidential primary election.”

What are they trying to turn us into? A cold Oklahoma? Susan Hogan of the Strib has this to say about GOP Sen. Dave Thompson’s "anti-sharia bill": “State Sen. Dave Thompson, a Lakeville Republican, introduced a bill this week only to withdraw it a few hours later. In between, area Muslim leaders called a press conference in which they, along with key Christian and Jewish leaders, denounced the bill for what it was: veiled anti-Muslim bigotry. ... Whether wittingly or not, Thompson found himself caught up in the anti-Muslim antics of David Yerushalmi, a nationally known anti-Muslim activist. He was the force behind the deluge of bills introduced in more than 20 states last year opposing Islamic religious law known as sharia, which guides Muslim behavior, actions and spiritual life. Yerushalmi, an attorney, has a history of making ‘controversial statements about race, immigration and Islam,’ according to the New York Times. ‘Despite his lack of formal training in Islamic law, [he] has come to exercise a striking influence over American public discourse about sharia.’ ” Is there ever anything “witting” about these stunts?

The guy charged in the iron-vise-throwing incident in Bloomington apparently has been at it for a while. Nicole Norfleet of the Strib reports: “Gerret Parks, 39, has been charged with four counts of property damage in the first degree and one count of first-degree assault in connection with 14 incidents in which objects were hurled at cars and trucks on Normandale Blvd. between Dec. 29 and Feb. 27. Police are currently searching for Parks, who posted bail early Sunday morning from Hennepin County jail where he was being held in connection to the property damage incidents. On Monday, he was bailed out of the Polk county, Wis., jail after being arrested for drunk driving and fighting with police. The objects allegedly thrown at vehicles including a one-gallon water jug, a 15-pound dumbell and ‘an anvil-shaped object.’ A Bloomington police department investigator reported he was able to link Parks to five of the incidents, including the one that sent National Guard Sgt. Jon Stacke to the hospital last Monday, breaking his jaw and knocking out several of his teeth.”

Robert Stephens, creator of The Geek Squad, is leaving Best Buy. The Strib story, by Thomas Lee, says: “In his blog today, Stephens wrote: ‘I never really told anyone, but 10 years was always the outside number. It's as simple as this: After founding The Geek Squad 18 years ago, and acquiring Best Buy 10 years ago, I'm ready to build new companies. I never thought I would or could last this long. Hell, nobody did. I later learned that after the merger was announced, friends and advisors of mine bet each other how long before I quit or got kicked out. Most founders seem to leave within a year or so. I can say that motivated me to prove them wrong.' "

If he didn’t play football, few would pay any attention to this, but … Dave Hanners' PiPress story on the Chris Cook domestic violence case says: “The woman that Vikings cornerback Chris Cook is accused of strangling and assaulting last year testified today he never strangled her and the whole fracas was her fault. And that was her testimony as a witness for the prosecution. In a voice at times inaudible, Chantel Baker, 21, of Norfolk, Va., described the fight at Cook's Eden Prairie town home last October that led to his arrest and trial on two felonies. She told jurors she originally made the claims about being choked because she was mad at Cook, whom she'd been dating for 10 months, and ‘at that time, that night, I wanted him to go to jail.’ Her claims Cook twice placed his hand around her neck? A lie, she said. Her statement to a cop that she couldn't breath? Made up, she said. Her silence while police held a ruler to her neck to photograph a red mark? She was confused and besides, the mark was a hickey Cook gave her, she told jurors.” Oh … TMI.

At the Minnesota Progressive Project, Bill Prendergast puts up the (very) conservative Minnesota Family Council’s ratings of state legislators: “Here are some items from the ‘legislative scorecards’ distributed by the Minnesota Family Council (MFC). The MFC is a state-level operation allied with the national religious right; for example, James Dobson's Family Research Council. Look at the names of Minnesota legislators, and how they are ‘rated’ for voters by the MFC ...
Steve Drazkowski (-R)  Score: 100
(That's a very good score, by MFC standards. That score means that in 2011, Rep. Drazkowski voted "the right way" on major issues of concern to conservative evangelical Christians.)
Kathy Lohmer (-R) Score: 100
(Rep. Lohmer is my representative in Stillwater, district 56A. She used to work for Bachmann campaigns.) You can check out how your Minnesota legislators rate with state's religious right by consulting the link at the bottom of this diary.
Matt Dean (-R) Score: 100
Yeah... Dean's the Minnesota House Majority leader ... and it looks like he's passed this test with flying colors ... this ‘sectarian religion in politics test’ that the Minnesota Family Council and Family Research Council do for elected officials."

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Comments (18)

For the first time in the nations history

Conservatives talk about the founders, and our heritage, and our beliefs. For the first time in our history we have an explicit religious party in the GOP. This is truly ahistorical and unAmerican. Parties have always been influenced by their beliefs, but today's GOP goes beyond influence, and religion is codified into their party. You must publicly profess your fervent religious beliefs to have any chance of being elected a Republican. After two hundred plus years, we have reverted back to what our founders fled so long ago.


If the republicans are worried about sharia law, penetrating our laws, perhaps they should look in the mirror.



Yeah because

the 80% of the U.S. citizenry who are Christians are so out of step with your world.

Using your percentage of 80%,

I guarantee a very strong majority of Christians don't accept the religious agenda of the right wing republican party.

Interesting that in the same column . . . .

It is noted that legislation was introduced (even if later withdrawn) against Sharia law, but legislators are praised for toeing the line on major issues of concern to conservative evangelical Christians.

Apparently it's okay to mix up religion with government only as long as it's the RIGHT religion you're mixing up with government . . . . .

The council needs to be convinced

"... the reality is we just have to let this settle in for a couple days as we 'work with people,’ Rybak said." ($$$)

The reality is

that some council members want to try and inoculate themselves from the inevitable backlash from angry constituents. The stadium is going to be built in downtown Minneapolis, was always going to be built in downtown Minneapolis, and all the rest is just details. The only thing I can see the threat of a Minneapolis referendum accomplishing is to get the Republicans in the legislature to cough up more dough from the state. Which they will, while also complaining about it and also trying to inoculate themselves from angry constituents.


So, let me see if I have this right: Mayor Rybak has devised a way for Minneapolis to build the Vikings a new stadium by cutting the city out of the decision-making process. Genius.

MFC ratings

More religion in politics and government? That works so well in Iran.
What's the difference between Sharia law and Old Testament law? The book it's written in.

Baffling stadium politics

Let me say right at the start, I'm not accusing anyone of anything illegal, but these stadium deals clearly reveal a corrupt political process. The fact that politicians "struggle" with these votes betrays the existence of a hidden process because referendums should be no-brainer risk free political cover. The deals themselves are irrational and outrageously expensive, which the public realizes instinctively. There is no political downside to supporting a referendum, the worse case scenario is that the public rejects the plan, and a team goes elsewhere. If this were to happen, not only would it have minimal impact on the community, but any complaints would have to be directed back towards the public who voted it down. Politicians could easily dodge the blame, and rightly so, by pointing out it wasn't their decision. So the question becomes: who's the constituency for voting against a referendum?

By the way, courage has nothing to with this. The champions of these stadiums deals display no courage because they clearly don't believe that they are actually risking anything, it's certainly not their money. When Rybak taunts his constituents to vote him out of office in two years, he clearly thinks that's a remote possibility. Politicians don't betray their legitimate constituents because they've got the guts to do it, they do because they think they can get away with it, and the worse that can happen is they lose an election some day.

Not the Worst Case

The worst case is NOT that the Vikings leave the state. The worst case is they build the stadium somewhere out in Arden Hills or another non-city location.

Such a development would tremendously hurt our region for decades. Not only do we not have the infrastructure investment (particularly transit) to support such a location, such a location with the associated retail, hotel, etc. development would severely worsen our region's sprawl problem and kill whatever retail is left in the downtowns. That would have very severe negative impact on our city and our entire region. Think about all of the money we would spend to build highways and bus/rail service to such a location. Now think how all they money could be used to strengthen our existing transportation system. A suburban stadium is so far out of our existing, sensible regional development framework that it would be laughable were the consequences not so serious.

If we're going to build a stadium (and I believe we are, however much I oppose it), it must be built in one of the downtowns.

Those calling for "obvious" support of a referendum are being far too simplistic. The charter change itself was simplistic and I would have voted against it had I been a resident at the time. Governing by referendum is a spectacularly bad idea.

Look, we're going to build a stadium. We are, really! Once you accept it's going to happen, a yes vote by the Minneapolis council is easy to support.

Worse case?

Actually David, any stadium that diverts $40 million a year into a new stadium will harm the economy no matter where it's built. This would actually be the largest public subsidy of a private company in state history. MPLS will be trading in a $1.5 million a year sports obligation for a $16 million a year obligation, and that money will all have to come out of someone else budget, albeit with state approval. Meanwhile the state is creating a completely new revenue stream that may not generate sufficient funds, and diverts $40 million a year away from any other public project or need. Your right, it would be worse in Arden hills, one can make a pretty argument that losing the team is a better outcome than giving the largest subsidy in the states history to a company that support 19 full time jobs at the dome, and employs a mere handful of people full time year-round.

Dave Thompson....

the perfect example of what wit & wisdom you get when you elect a minor league Rush Limbaugh to your legislature.

I don't know about "reality," but…

Tom Clark is probably correct. I agree that – if the Vikings are actually the "civic asset" that their fans believe them to be – somewhere in downtown Minneapolis is the most likely and least costly place to build a new stadium. My City Council representative is very much in favor, so Clark's estimation of the result of a public referendum seems pretty much on-target.

I don't get what they have against Sharia law

From what I understand, it's more or less exactly what they want. So confusing!

How about a bill that prohibits

laws based on superstition, generally? Of course, that would require a fair amount of house cleaning, given the number of such laws already on the books.

Re: Locating in the suburbs

Not only would an Arden Hills location deprive the downtown area of business activity before and after games, but Ramsey County -- having once been suckered to pay $300 million-plus (over $600 million with interest) would end up having to build the roads, water/sewer and other infrastructure Zygi would need for his "village."

A b-a-d deal the county should be grateful not to enter into, but then I'm anti-stadium and consider that it would be a bad deal for Minneapolis as well.