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February 21, 2005

Civics lesson

• Last Friday, the Pioneer Press published a story concerning some Anoka County residents' opposition to the county raising the sales tax to build a new Vikings stadium. According to the article, "That's akin to taxation without representation, say stadium opponents." That is where I about fell out of my seat. I would agree that it is akin to taxation without getting the approval of every resident in the county, but it is far from taxation without representation.

As you all probably know, the phrase "taxation without representation" goes back to early American colonial history, where the Americans were upset that Great Britain taxed them without having any colonists seated in Parliament. The Americans held to the view of actual representation, meaning that in order to be taxed by Parliament, the Americans rightly should have actual legislators seated and voting in London. While it can be debated whether or not actual representation would have circumvented the colonists anger over being taxed at all, in the end all they were demanding was to have representatives in London looking out for their best interests.

I would argue that the cry of "no taxation without representation" from some Anoka County residents would be a bit perplexing to the colonists of yesteryear. Anoka County residents are well represented by city council members, County board members, and of course the state legislators from their district(s). While a referendum on this issue is probably likely, the lack of one is hardly taxation without representation, and furthermore I feel it goes against the principles of representative democracy.

It reminds me of a story from my trip to Miller Park last year with Cheesehead Craig. On our way to Milwaukee, Cheesehead Craig and I stopped in Madison to eat around his old stomping grounds of the U of W. After eating we visited the restroom and while we were there an older gentleman noticed my Twins shirt and asked if we were heading to Miller Park to watch the game. I said yes, and that I was very much looking forward to seeing some outdoor baseball. He then said that he would never set foot in Miller Park, and that the "criminal" Bud Selig would never get a dime of his money. He added he would never set foot in Miller Park because there should have been a referendum so that the people could have voted on whether or not to build the place. Oh! A stadium debate! My heart quickened as I began thinking of a pithy response. Lamely, I happily answered that I would love it if we could build a stadium in Minnesota without a referendum. Then I wouldn't have to be traveling to Milwaukee to watch my team play outside. He then added, "Don't we live in a democracy? The people should vote on whether or not to build a stadium." Ack! This argument is so weak I could barely contain my excitement. I replied, "We live in a representative democracy where we vote people into government positions to make these decisions for us." Now keep in mind that we were both urinating at the time so it was hard to keep on the topic of conversation, so to speak, so I couldn't really elaborate. Anway, he grumbled that "the people" should have a say on big issues and he left the restroom wishing me a good time in Milwaukee.

Should we have more of a say on "big issues?" It is no secret that I am against any referendum to build a new stadium in Minnesota. Referendums are a huge cop-out and demonstrate, at least to me, a complete unwillingness by our legislators to do the job we elected them to do. If you don't want to make tough decisions then you shouldn't have run for office. In addition, if you want to make use of referedums, then I want to vote on the "conceal and carry" law, light rail, killing morning doves, seat belts, speed limits, really anything and everything that might impact me. It appears, at least in Minnesota, that my legislators only want me to vote on issues that could cost them their jobs. That upsets me a great deal and further illustrates the do-nothing attitude that is currently permeating the state capitol right now.

• Finally, we have some good news from our close personal friend Sid Hartman. Sid asked Fowler about his plans for a stadium in Minnesota and Fowler responded:

"We'd like to think there are many options," he said. "One of them, of course, is public funding or state funding. Another option is going privately. We have to evaluate those different options. But at the end of the day, we're confident that we can get something done."

Here is what I take this to mean: we will see how far the current plan in Anoka County will take us, but we are prepared to look at all of our options, including private financing. I'm starting to like Reggie more and more.

Posted by snackeru at February 21, 2005 8:51 AM | Stadiums


The St. Paul Pioneer Press Editorial Board is my hero!!! Did you see today's 2 picture spread? This is what I have been trying to tell people for the last few years. I want a stadium with a vista. Yeah, a vista! This is my new favorite word. I will type it again (in caps); VISTA. As much as I am a St. Paul guy, I would have settled for a Minneapolis ballpark at another site. The Guthrie riverfront site would have been great. I heard talk of the site on Washington Ave. where the Jaguar dealership is. It would have been great to park in Northeast, have a Summit at Nye's and then walk across the Hennipen Ave suspension bridge (the world's shortest suspension bridge and a big Mpls boondoggle of funds, but that is another topic) to the ballpark. I questioned a St. Paul offical one time why a St. Paul ballpark could not be orientated so that the Capitol and Cathedral domes would be visible over the outfield fences. I guess MLB requires that homeplate be positioned in the westerly portion of the ballpark so that the batter is never looking into the evening sun. That is why the Minneapolis view can not be improved, and even if there are better potential views in St. Paul, the one proposed is far superior to Minneapolis. I believe, Sports Illustrated recently ranked major league ballparks and the suprise number one was PNC in Pittsburgh. A major contributing factor to the top ranking was the surrounding vista. I think David should undertake an exhaustive study and see if there is any direct link between post season appearances and the quality of the views surrounding a stadium.
And I am tired of lightrail alway being brought up when a Minneapolis site is pushed. In recent St. Paul ballpark info, it is clearly pointed out that a St. Paul site would be serviced by the proposed central line that would run down University (the most likely next line to be funded).
I hope the editorial board is running those pictures in preparation for a legistlative debate. Maybe they have heard that the issue might be taken up soon. At least they are being proactive.
Shane, you like I, just want a ballpark to take our kids and grandkids to. Let's not settle for a below average site. We should want the best site, a site with a, dare I say it again, vista.

Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at February 21, 2005 5:07 PM

Your civics lesson is correct. What a pain it would be to have to vote for every little thing. Besides, if anyone complains to me about those issues anymore, I just point out them how much they detested having the Broward/Miami-Dade Slots issue on their ballot last November. After all, we're in Lee, why should we care if they have slots at their race tracks.

Interestingly enough, SBG sent an e-mail saying Bat-Girl has contracted for an upcoming game of Pepper!, so perhaps they worked out their differences. BG does not give me the time of day, but I think she'd be fun to have playing Pepper!, which is why I suggested it. Humor has it's places too.

As for links, none of you (with the exception of Twins Killings) links to my site, but it's not worth pushing it as it's only the minors and and I know you guys don't care about the minors. So what? Does this mean I should leave off reading your blogs?

Should I for example, make Miracle Fans a Greet free zone? And if I did, how the heck would I track down your site and read it if I'm off using a computer that does not have my book marks on it?

Posted by: Dianna at February 21, 2005 6:02 PM

The secret is out. B-G may show up one of these days on Pepper!

Posted by: Stick and Ball Guy at February 21, 2005 7:32 PM

Well, if A Cheesehead and a Vikings fan can openly link to each other's site (and find it enjoyable!), one would think that two people who root for the same team can somehow manage this crisis. Cheesehead and I are available for any Henry Kissinger type interventions. Just throw up a "bat signal" and we'll be there....24/7....unless its a Sunday during football season.

Posted by: Brian Maas at February 21, 2005 9:51 PM

It's a Rodney King moment! Can't we all get along!

Posted by: Stick and Ball Guy at February 21, 2005 10:46 PM

Agreed Brian,
I'd be happy to help mediate any differences. We can sit around and divide up all the Twins sites. They can call it the Treaty of Buffalo Wild Wings!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at February 21, 2005 10:48 PM

A thousand apologies Dianna! I will consider your comment to be a request to be linked from my site and act accordingly. You will now notice that your site "Miracle Fans" is now prominently feature on the Greet Machine.

Really, I'm just playing around with the whole Bat-girl thing. You'll note I could care less if she links to me, I just want her to link to SBG.

Posted by: Shane at February 22, 2005 10:00 AM

No...not really a request. Just a comment on the fact that there may be many reasons why someone is not linked and just because they are lacking a link is not a personal dump on them. Frankly, I think BG won't like SBG's site because she's too cussed lazy.

After all, given her links to the Yard (last updated October 8th), Baseball Boys and Twins Junkie (two sites that do update, but irregularly), plus the Ballpark at Twinsville (last updated in July), I gather she doesn't like sites with a lot of reading material on them. (How Seth got in there, I dunno.)

Posted by: Dianna at February 22, 2005 6:02 PM

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