Tim Nelson’s stadium hearing post-mortem piece for MPR includes this nugget: “Vikings lobbyists and team vice president Lester Bagley were working the legislative crowd, hoping to restart the stadium effort. “There is no next year,” Bagley said. “We were told by the last governor in 2006 when the Twins bill and the Gophers bill were moving forward that the Vikings were going to have to stand down, we’ll come back next year. That was six years ago. After 10 plus years and an expired lease, we need to get this issue moving, get it done this year. Get it to the floor, let all 201, because there is support to get it to the floor, and let all the legislators get a shot at it because there is support in this building to get this done this year.”
And Nelson pretty much puts the finger on DFL Rep. Steve Simon as the guy who told Gov. Dayton he’d be “helpful” on that Vikings stadium vote … and wasn’t. After ruling out the three other DFLers, Nelson writes at MPR: “Which leaves the last male member of the DFL caucus serving on the House Government Operations and Elections committee: Rep. Steve Simon of St. Louis Park. ‘Yeah, I’m just going to keep my private deliberations private,’ Simon said, when asked if he was the lawmaker Dayton referred to as ‘going to be helpful, and then wasn’t.’ But interestingly, he said he’s still amenable to a Vikings stadium. ‘I’m open,’ Simon explained. ‘I’m open to a solution that would work. I voted for the Twins stadium, I voted for the Gophers stadium. I am not a person who is opposed in all cases to state support for cultural assets, whether it’s the Guthrie Theater or the Vikings or the Twins, or whatever. It has to be the right package. So I don’t draw a line like some members do, and say I never vote for government support, because I have. If it’s the right package, I’ll vote for it. If it’s not, I won’t.’ ” … Or “didn’t.”
Here’s some perspective you don’t ordinarily expect from the sports site Bleacher Report. Josh Zerkle writes: “Vikings fans in that state face as great a chance as ever of losing their team. The NFL’s formula for creating new stadiums, up to this point, has been tried and true: Make enough friends in the local government to whip up support for a public subsidy to build your team a new home. If that doesn’t work, threaten to skip town or promise a Super Bowl. Hey, you catch more flies with honey. … So what happens now with the Vikings? Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton says that the vote could prompt the team to move. But move where? To London or Los Angeles? What either of those markets offer in size, it would lack in a passionate fan base. … The Minnesota Vikings’ battle for stadium money could be the first sign of the NFL’s momentous pendulum swinging the other way. While other businesses and households have suffered through a nasty recession over the last half-decade, pro football hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down economically. At some point, we’ll all have to ask what problem the NFL has with one of its teams playing in a 30-year-old stadium. Furthermore, why do they expect everyone else to help them pay for a new one?”
Kevin Seifert at ESPN looks at the Vikings 2012 schedule through the lens of the stadium legislation collapse: “The Minnesota Vikings’ schedule reflects low expectations for their 2012 season. They’ll have one prime-time game, a Thursday night matchup in Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and all 13 of their other 15 games are scheduled for the early 1 p.m. ET Sunday time slot. … The collapse of the Vikings’ stadium bill puts the focus on their long-term future and begs this question: Will the Packers-Vikings game in Week 17 be the Vikings’ final game in Minnesota? In many ways, the Packers would be an appropriate opponent for that game. Minnesota was Packers country before the NFL placed the Vikings there in 1960.”
What made them think it was going to be any different this time? Tom Scheck at MPR covers the latest ethics hearing for GOP Sen. Geoff Michel and writes: “The Minnesota Senate Ethics Subcommittee is still deadlocked over whether Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, violated the Senate’s code of conduct in the way he responded to the affair between former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and fired Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb. The panel can’t decide whether Michel brought dishonor and disrepute to the Senate, whether to dismiss the complaint, whether to continue investigating or whether to delay the investigation until any pending lawsuits are resolved. The subcommittee is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans. That means bipartisan support is needed for the panel to decide anything. ‘We have deadlocked on every one of the questions in front of us,’ Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, announced near the end of today’s two-hour hearing.” The Strib’s Rachel Stassen-Berger updates the panel’s late-night, unsuccessful third try to make progress. Good work, folks. Take the rest of the year off.
The reliably conservative Wall Street Journal opinion page is guarding one of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s many exposed flanks: “On Monday Mr. Walker’s office released new data that show the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin’s municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state’s largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998 — by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner’s bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker’s collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts. The median home value did fall in 2011, by about 2.3%, which no doubt influenced the slight downward trend. But then values also fell in 2009 and 2010, by similar amounts, and the state’s take from the average taxpayer still climbed by 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. … The real gains will grow as local school districts continue repairing and rationalizing their budgets using the tools Mr. Walker gave them. Those include the ability to renegotiate perk-filled teacher contracts and requiring government workers to contribute more than 0% to their pensions. A year ago amid their sit-ins and other protests, the unions said such policies would lead to the decline and fall of civilization, but the only things that are falling are tax collections.” Does Tom Emmer write for them?
And that big rain Sunday-Monday didn’t hurt. Tom Webb’s PiPress on spring planting says: “In its weekly crop report, USDA said farmers have already seeded 77 percent of Minnesota’s oat acres, 56 percent of its spring wheat acres and 35 percent of the barley acres. Last year, spring wheat hadn’t been planted by this date, and just 3 percent of the oats were seeded. Corn farmers were also getting in the field early, USDA’s Minnesota Field Office reported Tuesday, April 17. USDA said 7 percent of Minnesota’s corn acres were planted, compared with an average of 2 percent by this date. USDA said 27 percent of the corn acres have been prepared for planting. Early planting was evident in other crops, too. Sugarbeets and potatoes are each 24 percent planted and green peas are 19 percent planted, USDA said.”
I mean, why waste any more on Newt? Also from MPR, Brett Neely in D.C. reports: “A super PAC founded by former Minnesota U.S. Senator Norm Coleman has received a $5 million donation from billionaire casino titan Sheldon Adelson, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Coleman founded the Congressional Leadership Fund last fall to take advantage of the unlimited fundraising and spending potential of super PACs, a less regulated form of political action committee. The Fund’s goal is to back Republican House candidates and is closely allied with House Speaker John Boehner. Former Minnesota U.S. Rep. Vin Weber is also involved with the group. … The $5 million donation by Adelson represents almost the entirety of the Congressional Leadership Fund’s fundraising in the first three months of the year.”
With the IRS taking its due, the Tea Party has been staging anti-government, anti-Socialist, anti-affordable health care, anti-renewable fuels, anti-calm and coherent thought rallies across the land. Thanks to Sally Jo Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie for catching this report from Carolyn Lange of Willmar’s West Central Tribune: “Starting with an opening prayer that called President Obama the “liar in chief,” the fourth annual Kandiyohi County tea party rally Monday night in Willmar featured a lengthy line-up of fire-brand speakers that encouraged participants to get involved with the 2012 election to oust Obama and Minnesota Democrats. … [Tom] Emmer said if he was now the Governor in the Republican-controlled House and Senate, Minnesota would ‘make Wisconsin look like the poor ugly step-child that they are’. … Speakers also mocked renewable energy and those involved with the ‘Occupy’ movement for being ‘politically impotent.’ ” Do read Sally Jo’s dissection of other speakers.