I talked to Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden before the latest Vikings stadium proposal surfaced, but she has opposed stadum proposals in the past and thinks her reasoning on the issue is sound and that it matches the sentiments of her Ward 8 residents.
Glidden, who was elected to the council in 2005, chairs the council’s Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee.
Glidden is our most recent interview with council members on the city’s stadium proposal. Here’s what she had to say.
MinnPost: Do you think Minneapolis is where the stadium belongs?
EG: I think Minneapolis is a wonderful place for the stadium, in part because we have built up the infrastructure that I think makes the stadium more economical, more hooked up with things that have already been built to support a stadium infrastructure. That includes how you get people to and from.
MP: But you have misgivings?
EG: Let me start with the fact that I disagree with the framework for the plan, that there needs to be a local partner that is paying a substantial portion for what really is a statewide facility.
I think that whole framing, that you need to have a local partner that is either a county or a city like Minneapolis, puts us in a financial position that’s just out of whack. The City of Minneapolis should not be supporting, yet again, another statewide facility.
If the state wants to make that kind of decision about how to use our public tax dollars, that’s their decision to make. But I think we are already supporting too many public facilities, and I don’t agree with that financing framework.
MP: So you think the city should be completely out of the financing plan?
EG: Yes. That’s an easy one. I don’t think we should be doing this, so that is the philosophical place that I’m coming from. I don’t think the city should be supporting a statewide facility.
I also think there are some good questions others are asking about whether we should be spending our public taxpayer dollars on a sports facility that only has eight or 10 games. Is that a wise choice for economic development? That’s the philosophical challenge I have with supporting a stadium.
But in addition, I have some questions about just how does the financing, at least on some of the previous deals, how does that work out?
“Because I have real questions about how Minneapolis, yet again, has financial obligations that are weighing even more heavily on our residents and our taxpayers in an unfair way, in a way that is out of balance and out of whack with the economic benefit we get.
MP: Does bypassing the City Charter calling for a referendum on sports facilities that cost the city more than $10 million also play a part in your opposition to the plan? There are suggestions that referendum could be set aside or that it might not be required?
EG: Why would the Legislature try to go around this requirement unless they thought it applied? Maybe those are lawyer-type questions, but it seems to me that there’s a thought that it [the charter] would apply. It’s broadly written. It’s something the City of Minneapolis residents voted on, and to that extent, I don’t understand how you can go around it”
I have no fear of making decisions about how to deal with taxpayer money. I have no fear of saying what my opinion is on this stadium — which is why I’m speaking about it now. But this [the charter amendment] is a requirement that the Minneapolis taxpayers, the Minneapolis residents, voted on.
MP: You have been opposed to the stadium proposal. Is there anything that could change you position?
EG: I don’t see something that’s going to change that.
MP: What kind of feedback are you getting from the residents of Ward 8, which has strong neighborhood groups and is dominated by residential property?
EG: It’s a very residential area. I think, in some sense, that residents are tired of this talk of stadiums. I am not receiving an overwhelming amount of comment from residents. But I think, in part, that’s because people feel like they’re tired of stadium talk. I’m certainly getting the sense that my thoughts are aligned with the thoughts of my residents.
I have heard from some members of the building trades, who are residents of my ward, that they certainly concerned about being able to have a project that they might be able to work on.”
There are some very real job concerns, and I get that, but I have to think of the big picture, not how someone might work on one particular job.
My big picture is I’m concerned about the fairness of the framework of the financing of the stadium. I’m also concerned about the nuts-and-bolts details. And are we in Minneapolis going to be on the bad side of a bad deal?”