January 3, 2005
Argh! Two things ...
Here I go again. Just in case you missed it, the Pioneer Press had a pretty good article in Saturday's paper concerning my favorite topic: Stadiums in play again. Most of it was the same old stuff we've read about for the past few years, but it also highlighted my new knight in shining armor for stadium financing in Minnesota, the Native American tribes:
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, under pressure from Gov. Tim Pawlenty to share its casino profits with the state, said it wants to discuss new joint ventures that could include helping finance a stadium. That potential support could make the difference in a traditionally difficult financing scheme. The quid pro quo: The band said it won't renegotiate compacts that give 11 tribes a monopoly on casino gaming and don't levy taxes on their earnings.
Johnson said the Twins have met with tribal leaders on the issue and that the addition of tribal money would be "a good strategy. There is much mud to be put on the walls in these issues, but it remains to be seen what's going to stick,'' he said.
Really, what is wrong with this plan? If there is anyone out there who has a problem with the tribes financing stadiums in exchange for retaining their gambling monopoly please let me know. Personally I have a big problem with using gambling money to help balance the state's general fund. That's what I have a problem with. I also have a problem with the state getting into the gambling game by building our own casino. And to top it all off, haven't we totally screwed the tribes enough thoughout American history as it is? So, the tribes themselves have offered to help pay for stadiums. I say we take them up on the offer and finally solve this problem.
Secondly, Dean Johnson mentions that the Twins have already talked with the tribes. This is news to me. The last I heard, Jerry Bell was tip toeing around the idea of combining baseball and gambling in any way. To hear that they've opened up discussions with the tribes is, I think, very promising. Like I said, this is my new "knight in shining armor." If this falls through ... well let's just not think about that.
Lastly, Charley Walters had some recent things to say about the upcoming sale of the Vikings that literally brought a tear to my eye. It may have been particularly dusty the morning I read this, but a tear came to my eye nonetheless. According to Walters, Glen Taylor recently said this concerning Tice's contract extension:
"I'm comfortable with whatever decisions they make, and we will live with whatever is in place. We're looking at the long run. (Tice's contract extension) won't deter or help either way."
Taylor was asked the status of a potential purchase of the Vikings by his investment group.
"(McCombs and I) are both watching the team try to get into the playoffs," he said. "That's what we're doing right now."
Now, I don't know about you, but this sounds like Taylor is more than serious about buying the team. This sounds like a person that is going to buy the team. I know, I know ... I'm grasping at straws here, but I AM A VIKINGS FAN! Straws are all I have to grasp. There is nothing else for me to hope for.
I think I asked in the past if any current major league baseball stadium has been built either directly with or indirectly with Indian casino money. I thought Major League Baseball had a problem with this. Isn't this one of the hold ups for ever putting a franchise in Las Vegas (the gambling conection)? I have eluded in the past to maybe the Prairie Island tribe getting behind a Twins ballpark due to their location (to St. Paul) and current advertising relationship. I agree with you in that I don't like expanding gambling but I would make an exception for a new Twins ballpark (in St. Paul).
Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at January 3, 2005 5:17 PM
Jim, I have never heard of a baseball stadium being built using any kind of gambling proceeds. I think Minnesota would be unique in that regard. However, as we know the idea has surfaced before. For years some people have wanted to fund the stadium using proceeds from slot machines at Canterbury Downs. And the proposal in Indianapolis to build a new Colts stadium calls for gambling proceeds from slot machines to pay for a large percentage of the stadium. So, I think the precedent is there. Is the political will power/desire? We shall see.
Posted by: Shane at January 4, 2005 8:27 AM