Vikes stadium gets rough reception at Capitol hearing

It may be time for another pro-stadium barrage from the Strib’s editorial page, given the bill’s 9-to-6 House committee defeat late Monday. Reporter Mike Kaszuba filed on last night’s less-than-enthusiastic hearing on a taxpayer-financed sports palace. “Facing its toughest test to date, the Minnesota Vikings stadium proposal came under harsh scrutiny Monday, including questions over a plan to sidestep a referendum in Minneapolis and generate stadium revenue by allowing sports-themed tip boards. Both features are among the most controversial components of financing plans proposed for the nearly $1 billion stadium. Monday night’s long hearing before a 15-member House panel came with time dwindling as legislators prepare to adjourn. The hearing began with a jolt when Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, asked point blank: ‘Why should the state of Minnesota contribute to a stadium for a billionaire’ owner?” Team officials were almost immediately peppered with questions asking why Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was not contributing more to the stadium, and how much the Vikings’ value would grow with a new stadium.” Why does this Urdahl person hate the quality of life football brings?

Elsewhere, Kevin Duchschere, also of the Strib, reports: “Hennepin County Board Chair Mike Opat is telling legislative leaders that the county board opposes using excess revenues from the county’s ballpark tax to backstop state funding for a new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis. In a strongly-worded letter sent Monday afternoon to Senate Majority Leader David Senjem and House Speaker Kurt Zellers, Opat said the county’s 0.15 percent sales tax was approved by both the board and the Legislature in 2006 only for specific ‘permitted uses.’ ‘Now, absent any consultation with members of the Hennepin County Board, the House bill would take the unprecedented step of effectively hijacking county revenue should charitable gaming revenue fall short,’ Opat wrote. He asked Senjem and Zellers to remove the provision from the stadium bill.”

Watching the Amy Senser case, Dave Hanners of the PiPress writes: “Amy Senser allegedly told one of her daughters that she had been drinking the night she struck and killed a man in a hit-and-run crash, a prosecutor told a judge during a pretrial hearing on Monday … While prosecutors have previously implied that Senser, 45, wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser, may have been drinking that evening, Russell’s comment marks the first time the state has said publicly that a member of the family claimed Senser said she’d been drinking.”

Ruben Rosario of the PiPress files a column on the surviving siblings of the man killed in that strange one-car mishap on the Mendota Bridge last week: “There were 14 siblings five years ago. Now there are only four. Two of their names are Fali and Issa Prosper, two orphaned brothers in mourning once again. They lost their parents in 2007 after a bloody civil war broke out in their African homeland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Then they lost a 4-year-old sister and a 7-year-old brother to malnutrition and malaria during a 500-mile trek to a refugee camp in Tanzania. They lost a 9-year-old brother to the same conditions at the camp. Six other siblings also perished during the civil war. Then on Thursday, April 12, they lost their surviving youngest brother, Medard Prosper, 19, after a freak traffic accident on the Mendota Bridge. ‘It’s hard. But who am I to question God?’ Issa, 21, told a close family friend over the phone the night he learned of his brother’s death.”

GOP Sen. Dave Thompson has an uncanny knack for unintentional irony. In a session wrap-up story for the Forum papers, Danielle Mordine and Don Davis write: “[House Speaker Kurt] Zellers admitted that Dayton’s opposition means some Republican projects will not survive. One probably is the GOP’s priority of cutting, and eventually eliminating, the statewide business property tax. Zellers said it would be ‘a huge lift’ given Dayton’s opposition, but a smaller business tax cut could remain possible. Of 42 bills lawmakers have passed, the major one is a proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to show photographic identifications before casting ballots. It did not need Dayton’s approval, but goes directly to voters Nov. 6. ‘I’d say that was the marquee accomplishment this year,’ said Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, sounding like the legislative session already is over.”

The Pulitzer Prize winners this year come with a couple of Minnesota connections. The Strib’s Claude Peck notes: “The winner in Poetry is Tracy K. Smith, for her book “Life on Mars,” which was published last year by Minneapolis-based Graywolf Press. The winner in Music is Kevin Puts, composer of the opera “Silent Night,” which was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera. The opera, inspired by the story of a holiday ceasefire in 1914 on a World War I battlefield, got its world premiere in November, 2011, at the Ordway Center in St. Paul.”

That idea about moving the fishing opener looks like a dead mackerel. Brian Bakst at the AP writes: “The appetite for letting Minnesota’s anglers hit the lakes a week earlier for the annual walleye opener seems to be fading at the state Capitol, judging by a hearing Monday. Minnesota senators involved in outdoors issues spoke against shifting the opener from May 12 to May 5 during a hearing where no vote was taken. The proposal could be added, however, to a broader fish and game bill that may get a vote by the full Senate as soon as Tuesday. Some senators who expressed openness to the speedup weeks ago are now on record against it, including Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bill Ingebrigtsen.”

The tale of $108 million in “integration aid” is an object lesson in the arcane. Kim McGuire of the Strib tries to explain: “A task force’s recommendations that could determine how Minnesota schools spend $108 million in integration aid is apparently stalled this session. The group was granted a long-awaited legislative hearing Monday before the House Education Finance Committee to explain the plan. Yet there was no mention of a legislative fix coming down this session … For almost a year, the bipartisan task force wrestled over whether the funds should be used to combat segregation, or, as Republicans have argued, use the money for literacy programs and other efforts to narrow the state’s achievement gap between white and nonwhite students. The task force ultimately issued recommendations in February that gave a nod to both.”

The guy grabbed as the likely perp in the shooting of a man on a bicycle last week … has a video alibi. Matt McKinney’s Strib story says: “The 24-year-old man was detained Wednesday evening near the home he shares with his mother in Minneapolis’ Folwell neighborhood. They live on the same block as the family of victim Jody Lynmarvin Patzner Jr. The man ‘might be a whole lot of things, but killing someone? That is not in his vocabulary,’ said the man’s mother. … She said her son had been in a corner convenience store at the time of the shooting, and that surveillance video from the store would prove that. The video could serve as strong evidence, but it also seems likely that authorities will need to find two or all three of the alleged assailants to gather needed evidence.”

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 04/17/2012 - 08:12 am.

    It is supply and demand that drives business not tax cuts

    The phony stance the republicans take on business tax cuts is purely nonsense. If a business doesn’t have the right product they won’t have the DEMAND they need to stay in business. There isn’t a business in Minnesota that stays in business because of a tax cut. The republicans are making the November voting decision easy for the public. If you see the word “incumbent” vote for someone else that will work for all Minnesotans.

  2. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 04/17/2012 - 08:24 am.

    Viking Stadium

    If football stadiums are such a good deal why aren’t the teams building their own stadiums? Why isn’t there any objective analysis showing what a good deal stadiums are vs subjective comments made by the team ownership. Why are they doing everything possible to not put the stadium issues in front of the voters as a referendum in November. Even voter ID, which is not a problem, and won’t require the kind of expenditure a stadium will is on the ballot. Granted it was voted down last night, but why are they even talking about it. Professional sports teams are as private a business as any other private business who doesn’t get the same level of support that the teams do. The politicians continue to prove they are not fit to serve ALL Minnesotans. They are making the November voting decision very easy for the public. If you see “incumbent” vote for someone else.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/17/2012 - 08:54 am.

    Voter Suppression is the Republican’s Marquee Accomplishment?

    I can only assume that our “conservative” Republican “friends” are hoping that, since they’ve given the general public absolutely ZERO reasons to return them to office and an extensive collection of reasons NOT to do so,…

    that they’re vainly hoping that, by suppressing likely DFL voters (which, lets face it, is what their ALEC-authored Voter I.D. amendment is all about), they’ll manage to weasel their way back into office, anyway.

    That approach is almost as effective as the approach taken by “conservative” leaders and counselors, with the whole-hearted support of the MN GOP leadership, who, lacking the ability to successfully counsel others whose marriages are in serious trouble (straight others, that is) or to discover how to preserve their own marriages when trouble arises,…

    project their fears that their own “wives, submit to your husbands” model of marriage may be impossible to maintain in this day and age onto GLBT folks and pass an amendment which enshrines their projected fears in the state constitution,…

    needlessly damaging the well being of those GLBT folks while doing absolutely nothing to protect and preserve the institution of straight marriage which they so claim to revere.

  4. Submitted by Jim Camery on 04/17/2012 - 09:20 am.

    Stadium Shmadium

    The stadium went down because it was a real crappy deal. In between the NFL subsidy and loan, the Wilfs were contributing just about nothing and being guaranteed a cash flow (with no real estate taxes). What was interesting to me is how the Pelissero/Rand/Charchian/Kriesel types on twitter spun this as a defeat for Dayton because he only got 1 Dem vote, when it was Zeillers calling all the shots. This would have been done months ago if Zeillers was behind it and will never be done if he isn’t.

  5. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 04/17/2012 - 09:22 am.

    Marquee accomplishment

    For this republican legislature is passing a proposed amendment to limit the right to vote. How lame. The real marquee accomplishment – the Senate republican sex scandal.

  6. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/17/2012 - 09:24 am.

    ‘I’d say that was the marquee accomplishment this year’

    Well, they have shown that they can find an effective remedy for a non-existent problem. Maybe next session they can take on jaywalking.

  7. Submitted by Grace Kelly on 04/17/2012 - 03:18 pm.

    Yeah, high quality journalism (sarcasm)

    How can you ask the question “Why does this Urdahl person hate the quality of life football brings?” in a news story? Do you ask “Why does this Urdahl person hate the poor?” or “Why does this Urdahl person hate education?” when those funds are cut? Why does one have to “hate the quality of life football brings?” to think that a billionaire owner ought to pay for it? Why don’t you ask “Why doesn’t a billionaire owner care enough to pay for all of it himself?” Does the billionaire owner give enough to Minnpost to make that kind of bias?

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