The Vikings stadium legislation/ordeal will almost certainly consume a fat chunk of a few peoples’ weekend. Tim Pugmire at MPR writes: “Republican leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate say it will take strong, bipartisan support to pass a Vikings stadium bill this session — but they won’t be seeing many “yes” votes from Minneapolis Democrats. Most of the lawmakers who represent the proposed host city for the nearly $1 billion, publicly subsidized stadium are firmly against the bill, as it currently stands. They also offer a wide variety of reasons for their opposition. … State Rep. Joe Mullery, an eight-term veteran of the Legislature, said he hasn’t decided which way he’ll vote. He’s been asking his constituents this week for advice. But Mullery said he already knows that there are a lot of concerns in the district about what he views as a bad deal for Minnesota and for Minneapolis. ‘I personally believe that the Vikings are really taking us on this, that it wasn’t a very good negotiation on behalf of government,’ Mullery said.” Do you think?
MPR also runs a commentary from former journalist Jim Foti on that immeasurable, ineffable, unquantifiable “big league-ness” we’d lose if the Vikings left: “[A]s Minnesota weighs whether to hand over enormous public subsidies toward the building of another stadium, here’s a tip for all those who proclaim to love the Vikings: No matter how good something feels, it isn’t love if you have to pay for it. … Professional sports are businesses that exist to funnel money from everyday people to extremely wealthy men. Those men do not live in our community and are continually looking for the next team or city that will make them even richer. Pro football’s owners and players do not at all care where or whom that money comes from. No matter how good something feels, it isn’t love if they don’t love you back. Whenever someone worries about the fate of Minnesota if the Vikings were to leave, I like to point to NFL-free places such as Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, with their vibrant cultures for young adults and growing populations. … It’s impossible to make the case that having a team is make-or-break for a major metropolitan area.” I’m curious if Mr. Foti offered this commentary to the Strib … and what they said?
The AP has a handy Q&A on the various aspects of the financing mechanisms/schemes for the stadium. A sample: “
Q: What is an appropriation bond?
A: The state would go through investors to get a lump sum of money to help pay builders of a stadium. The bonds are an obligation to repay debt with interest. The repayment comes in the form of a direct, regular appropriation by the Legislature. Nothing would guarantee the money would come through each year nor is a specific revenue stream formally pledged. But failure to make the appropriation would hurt the state’s credit rating. …
Q: Could the state treasury be exposed to risk?
A: If the gambling projections don’t pan out, differing versions of the bill contain extra funding sources. The House plan includes ‘blink-on funding’ such as taxes on luxury boxes, sports-themed lottery games, admission taxes and use of a Hennepin County tax. A Senate bill includes a stadium suite surcharge and, for now, also allows for slot machines at area horse tracks that would produce additional tax money. If the figures are way off, there is a chance future lawmakers would have to find money from other places in the budget.”
Meanwhile … her daughter says her mother wasn’t drunk. Brandt Williams of MPR, covering the Amy Senser trial, says: “Molly Senser 16, says she ‘knew her mom wasn’t drunk’ on the night of Aug. 23 last year, when Amy Senser struck and killed Anousone Phanthavong on the side of a freeway off ramp. Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Deborah Russell asked her how she knew. Molly Senser replied, ‘Because I saw her.’ Russell asked if she had ever seen her mom drunk before. Molly Senser said she hadn’t.” Well, that settles that.
Abby Simons’ Strib story includes this: “Under questioning by Amy Senser’s attorney, Eric Nelson, Molly Senser said she knew her mother was not drunk that night when she arrived home from the concert. She added that her mother told her she had ‘something.’ ‘Did your mom say that at some point, when this is all over, you can ask whatever you want to ask her’? Nelson asked. ‘Yes’. Molly Senser testified. Molly Senser also testified that her mother’s ‘AmyWorld’ was not that of someone flighty and irresponsible. ‘I guess you can say it’s where we go to have adventures and see the world around us, and use our imagination,’ she testified. ‘It’s spontaneous.’ For instance, she said, her mother once came up with an idea to use all the different types of transportation they could to get downtown. ‘She wanted to open us up to the world,’ she said.”
And Dad isn’t faring so well, either. Simons also reports: “The tensions of his wife’s trial apparently got former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser, who vented his frustrations Friday morning at photographers taking photos and video of him as he sat in the atrium of the Hennepin County Government Center. Senser, who was texting, stood up and walked toward the photojournalists. ‘Is there any more of this you want?’ he asked sarcastically, according to KARE-TV. ‘Why don’t you guys get a life?’ “
An “aggravated harassment hate crime”? Ex-Twin Delmon Young, now with the Detroit Tigers, may want to stick to smoothie shakes from room service. Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “Young was arrested in a drunken incident early Friday in Manhattan. The Detroit Free Press quoted New York City police detective Joseph Cavitolo as saying ‘there was an incident at the hotel [and] some anti-Semitic remarks’ during a physical clash between Young and a 32-year-old man at about 1:30 a.m. Young, now with the Detroit Tigers, faces an ‘aggravated harassment hate crime’ charge and will be booked later Friday on the misdemeanor count, Cavitolo told the newspaper. The New York Post, citing police sources, said that [the] outfielder was ‘highly intoxicated’ when he pushed the man to the ground outside the hotel.” Classy stuff.
Uh, yes. It certainly does appear that “mistakes were made.” Maura Lerner in the Strib reports, “Fairview officials now admit that ‘mistakes were made’ by debt collectors who allegedly hounded patients at its hospitals, and say they are considering cutting all ties to Accretive Health, an Illinois consulting firm at the heart of the allegations. ‘We’re not here to hide anything,’ Mark Eustis, president and CEO of Fairview, said in an interview Friday. ‘We want to acknowledge that mistakes were made, and we feel badly about them and we need to repair that damage’. The comments came three days after Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson released a scathing report about abusive debt collection practices that thrust Fairview into the national spotlight.” This reminds me of the classic Homer Simpson line to wife Marge: “Marge, I am SO sorry … I got caught.”
So now what do I do? Tad Veznor of the PiPress says the cops are on to the old blow-up-doll-to-sneak-down-the-diamond-lane-trick: “A state trooper pulled over a woman using Interstate 35W’s fast lane when her passenger seemed a little plastic. It turned out that Crystal Allen, 29, of Eden Prairie was chauffeuring a mannequin — deemed illicit company — during her morning commute in I-35W’s MnPASS lane. Drivers using the lane must either pay an electronic toll if traveling solo or, if using the lane for free, have at least one (human) passenger. The fiberglass mannequin, decked out in large orange sunglasses and sweatshirt, was in the back seat of the car when Allen was pulled over at 8:43 a.m. Thursday … on northbound I-35W at Minnesota 62.” Someone should tell Amy Koch and Michael Brodkorb that this is what constitutes “illicit company.”