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Pro football’s honchos to talk about ‘franchise viability’

STD numbers rose in 2011; Rep. Franson’s outrage over ‘Pagan holiday’; City Pages’ ‘Best Scandal’; and more.

Rev up the choppers. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is coming to town and this is at least as big as Brett Favre. The AP story says, “Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers will come to Minnesota to meet with state lawmakers and urge progress on the struggling effort to build a new stadium for the Vikings. Dayton said he’d convene a Friday meeting in his office with Goodell, Art Rooney and the Legislature’s four caucus leaders. Rooney leads the NFL’s stadium committee. ‘If it isn’t passed this session, the league itself — beyond the Vikings — the league itself has serious concerns about the viability of the franchise here and the future of it here,’ Dayton said after a 20-minute phone conversation with Goodell and Rooney.” We trust the governor will deliver the taxpayers’ ultimatum to the NFL.

Earlier, Doug Belden’s PiPress story said, “Securing NFL team owners’ blessing for a relocation requires demonstrating a ‘stalemate’ exists in the local market. Assuming a stadium deal isn’t reached this year in Minnesota, ‘if a proposal were made that included some sort of relocation, I believe the criteria for stalemate would be met,’ [exec VP Eric] Grubman said. The team’s lease at the Metrodome expired after the 2011 season. The team has been flexible and patient, Grubman said, and ‘it has failed to even get to the floor for a serious vote.’  And it’s unclear what it would take to succeed, he said. …  A state senator who has introduced a bill to shift much of the stadium cost to the Vikings pushed back Wednesday against league warnings. ‘It’s disappointing to think the NFL or the Vikings are driving policy for Minnesota government,’ Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, said in an email. ‘They need to be willing to come back to the table and negotiate. The Vikings and NFL are in a much better financial position than our state….This can get done; we just cannot and should not simply give them everything they want.’ “ And may I just say, “Thank you and amen, Mr. Chamberlain.”

Kevin Seifert at ESPN writes, “It is important to note that a lot of emotional and inflammatory statements are going to start getting thrown around this issue. We’ve reached that point. But the basics of what Grubman said are totally realistic. As we’ve discussed many times, it’s highly doubtful that either the Wilfs or the NFL will want to remain in Minnesota indefinitely without a new stadium. And as Grubman said, there is nothing in the Minnesota political muck to suggest that the stadium would have a better chance in a special legislative session this fall or even in 2013. State leaders are probably going to need a full-blown crisis to feel the urgency of this issue, and we can see the parameters of that crisis forming already: The specter of Wilf putting the team up for sale. I don’t think Wilf wants to do that, but I also don’t think he wants to continue operating the franchise in the Metrodome.”

At MPR Phil Piccardi and Tim Nelson talked legislative stadium strategies. A sample:

“Picardi: What about in the Senate? We’ve had some news that the stadium might be moving over there again.

The Glean

“Nelson: That’s right. Minority leader Tom Bakk said the DFL is now willing to put up the votes in the Local Government committee to get the stadium going again. The bill stalled in March, in part because of doubts about whether it could win bi-partisan support. Bakk told Twin Cities Public Television last night that his caucus was now ready to move it to the tax committee. And majority leader Dave Senjem responded that the GOP will probably agree to hold at least one more hearing. But neither one was making any guarantees.

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Picardi: And an Arden Hills proposal made another appearance at the Capitol yesterday? 

Nelson: DFLer Tim Mahoney held a press conference to remind the Vikings that they still had options in the East Metro. He has proposed a 3 percent food and beverage tax, like the original Arden Hills plan — but only in the suburbs, and he says it would have to get voter approval.”

Apparently that safe-sex message has worn off. The Strib story says, “The number of sexually-transmitted diseases in Minnesota rose to an all-time high in 2011, with most cases occurring among young adults, a development that prompted state health officials to urge preventive measures and regular testing for people who are sexually active. Chlamydia was the most common reported disease, with 16,898 cases statewide and about one in three cases occurring in rural Minnesota. Gonorrhea remained second, with 2,283 cases. Nearly two-thirds of cases occurred among people aged 15 to 24 and cases were concentrated in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.”

I’m guessing here, but I think GOP Rep. Mary Franson — of the notorious “food stamp recipients are like wild animals” flap has read and re-re-read Michele Bachmann’s book. Aaron Rupar of City Pages writes, “The American Federation of Teachers recently put together a website that gives teachers guidance about how to commemorate Earth Day by integrating “green acts” into lessons plans. Seems pretty innocuous, right? After all, who would take objection to students learning about how toxic fumes affect the development of seedlings? Rep. Mary Franson, that’s who. Yesterday, the first-term Republican from Alexandria … took to Twitter to express outrage about the ‘celebration of a Pagan holiday, worship of Nature and not God’s Nature.’ ” By God, I tell you there’s media glare and fund-raising gold in talk like that.

Also, City Pages annual “Best of the Twin Cities,” which is the tallest leprechaun of the towns’ endless torrent of “best” lists, includes “Best Scandal,” the winner of which is no surprise at all. says CP,  “A broader term for the whole phenomena might be The Great MNGOP Implosion of 2011-12, since Brodkorb had already abruptly resigned his title months earlier along with former party chair Tony Sutton after it was revealed the party has racked up $2 million in debt. Koch seems to be lying low for the most part, but Brodkorb came back swinging. He says other staffers had sex with legislators and kept their jobs. And he wants them deposed. Now state politicos may have to make an ugly choice — preemptively acknowledge the affairs and tempt political suicide, or shell out for a settlement to keep Brodkorb from squawking.”

Speaking of our legislators’ laser-like focus on job creation … Dee DePass’ Strib story says, “After three months of strong job growth, Minnesota lost 200 jobs in March and saw the state unemployment rate tick up 0.1 percent to 5.8 percent. More sobering news came in the form of revisions for the month of February. Previously reported job gains were revised downward from 6,200 jobs to 5,800, state officials reported Thursday. Minnesota’s unemployment rate remains well below the national rate of 8.2 percent. Still March’s decline was somewhat of a psychological setback.”

Not that I’m surprised … but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a fan of Ted Nugent, the geezer rocker currently under Secret Service scrutiny for running his mouth off about what he’ll do if President Obama is re-elected. At The Huffington Post the story goes, “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker attended the National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis last weekend where Ted Nugent made threatening remarks about President Obama. The event reminded Walker of a previous NRA convention held in Milwaukee two years ago, where Walker gave the welcome address and loved meeting Nugent.

” ‘The best part was I got to meet Ted Nugent before he played the National Anthem on his guitar,’ he said with a wistful smile in a video [available at the link] shared on YouTube by James Carter, a public policy graduate student. … Walker was also asked about the Castle Doctrine he signed into law in Wisconsin last year. The measure is similar to Florida’s Stand Your Ground gun law, which has come under scrutiny in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. ‘Another thing I was proud to sign,’ he said. ‘For me thinking not only about people protecting their home and their property, but being able to protect their family and their loved ones in their home and on their property.’ ” Especially if some thug comes after them with a pack of Skittles.