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December 2, 2004

First things first

• OK, first things first. I can't believe it, but it appears that Pawlenty is in the midst of creating yet another stadium working group to try to solve this sticky issue. Members will come from both the House and Senate and it will be co-chaired by Andy Westerberg R-Blaine who, according the my voter guide, is pro-stadium. Don't get me wrong, I think this is great news, but this seems to me to be an effort in futility. What is this, the 3rd or 4th stadium working group that has been created? And with a $700 million deficit on the horizon whatever recommendations this group comes up with will, at best, be totally ignored. We've seen it all before. Every stadium working group so far has recommended building two stadiums using a variety of funding sources including ticket taxes, lottery games, taxes on sports memorabilia, taxes in the stadium district, metro area liquor and car rental taxes, etc. etc. This plan is usually thwarted by anti-stadium legislators who amend the resulting bill to death until no one wants to vote for it anymore. That is if the bill even makes it out of committee. I'm beginning to believe that our legislature is incapable of doing anything of value when it comes to stadiums (or possibly anything else I care about, such as funding for higher education) . Curse this Norwegian pessimism!

Ah! But there may be a silver lining in all of this. According to the article above, the Senate Majority leader Dean Johnson may reopen "the door for Indian gambling to fund stadiums." Again, the tribes have already suggested this and appear willing to work towards making this happen. How is this not a good idea? I've already talked a little about why I think it is a good idea, so I don't want to repeat everything, but I will say that this plan would NOT use any new, state, local, metro, clothing, take your pick, it would NOT USE ANY TAXES OF ANY KIND. It would finally solve this huge mess, make the Native American tribes heroes in our state, and keep a good working relationship between the tribes and the state government. Oh well, I'm sure Pawlenty will screw this up somehow.

Having said that, the Minnesota Daily reported something very interesting today:

But if stadium plans will be discussed, Pawlenty said more emphasis will be necessary to complete stadium plans for the Twins and Vikings.

An on-campus stadium would be easier to approve than a professional stadium, Pawlenty said, because the University is a public institution and it will raise a lot of the money.

“They’re the one team that can’t leave,” he said.

I don't want to get too enthusiastic about this, but Pawlenty is right. The Gophers can't leave. And while I wish and hope that every single stadium problem can be solved this session, the Twins and the Vikings (especially the Twins) will not stay in the Metrodome forever. This problem needs to be solved.

• Speaking of the Twins, it appears that the Twins will up their offer to Corey Koskie a whole $1 million for a total of $8 million over two years. I'm sure he is getting 3 year deals for at least $5 million per year from other teams. We will soon find out how much he really wants to stay in Minnesota. I'm a little torn about this. While I hope Koskie signs with the Twins, I also think they could do reasonably well with Tiffee at 3rd or by moving Cuddyer to 3rd. Regardless of what happens, the Twins have got to get Cuddyer some consistent at-bats. He has payed his dues. It is time for him to start.

• Finally, here is today's clue for what I got my wife for her birthday. And I've got to say, don't expect this to be the greatest gift ever. I feel like I'm hyping it up too much with all of these clues. I think my wife will love the gift, but keep in mind that I am buying this gift on a librarian's salary:

        Beatles single released April 1965

Now we are getting a little easier.

Posted by snackeru at December 2, 2004 9:01 AM | Stadiums | Twins


If the Twins sign Koskie, will they still have enough for Radke? I think most baseball people would say that Radke is much more important than even a 100% all the time healthy Koskie. The pitching staff looks awfully weak without Radke there....

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at December 2, 2004 9:12 AM

In my personal experience, commissioning a study (or convening a blue-ribbon panel) is a classic governmental strategy of deferral that allows indefinite fence-straddling. It communicates to the pro-group that you are "moving forward" on their issue, and it communicates to the con-group that you are neutral, and so responsible that you won't spend a dime unless/until some experts have weighed in.

I'm not saying that's Pawlenty's deal, but if this is the 3rd or 4th study, I wonder...

Posted by: Sno Cones at December 2, 2004 10:05 AM

The Twins will have enough for Radke, that they are certain of. The Twins are pretty much letting Koskie walk.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 2, 2004 11:12 AM

I can't stand the suspense! I think you bought her a "ticket to ride" to Phoenix, AZ!

Posted by: Summer in Portland at December 2, 2004 5:35 PM

I have already decided that if recently resigned national security guy Tom Ridge wants to move to Minnesota and run for Governor he has my vote. If you recall while he was Gov of Pennsylvania he managed to figure out how to build 4 new stadiums in about 4 years; Steelers, Pirates, Eagles and Phillies. I can recall being in a friend's living room for one of those meet the candidate things with Pawlenty when he was running for Governor. I of course asked him point blank if he would find a way to build stadiums for the Twins and Vikings. He pretty much said right to my face that he was not in favor of the state getting involved in stadium construction (just as he voted as a legistlator). In my opinion, so far during his term, he has just been trying to appease folks like us by forming these commisions, comittees, etc... It is time to start the Tom Ridge for Governor campaign. Let's bring him to Minnesota and let's build some fricken stadiums.

Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at December 2, 2004 7:48 PM

Okay, the 'librarian's salary' hint finally did it for me.

I'm sure your wife will be tickled at receiving the Ticket to Ride board game!


David Wintheiser

Posted by: David Wintheiser at December 2, 2004 8:46 PM

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