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May 18, 2005

I have connections

Believe it or not, I know someone on the Taxes committee. Not an aide, or some pimple faced page, but a legislator actually on the committee. I know, amazing! I told him that I wouldn't give away his identity, but let's just say that he is "family" of sorts. I have held off on writing him because I knew that at some point I would want to harass him about the Taxes committee. What follows is some of my correspondence with him today.

At first I asked him some general questions about what he thinks the chances are of this bill making it out of the committee. He gave me some wishy washy answers and then he asked me how I knew that the vote would be so close. I admitted that I actually track this issue pretty religiously and that I have a web site devoted to it. I thought this would clam him up immediately, but he sent me this reply:

Then, off the record, I'll tell you this. Ross Kramer just came around shaking me down for votes in Tax committee. He had a hard list with checks by names and he did not look too happy. Nonetheless, Kurt Zellars and I just went down the list in the red book and the numbers look pretty tight to us. That said, the only one's lobbying on this right now is the pro side. The lawyer dude from Minneapolis sent me one e-mail. Nothing else. Zero. Zilch.

Ross Kramer is a Twins lobbyist. I am not surprised that he is not happy. I was also surprised to read that the anti-stadium people he has heard from is limited to Mr. Knight. And based on his comment about lobbying, maybe we should all take this opportunity to write the committee a few pro-stadium letters, hmmm? Next I sent him my list of yes/no votes on the committee and asked if he wouldn't mind verifying my predictions. He wrote back:

I think Vandeveer is a no. But I am not certain how accurate your list is on two - Abrams & Erhardt. You could be right, it's just that the jury is out on them in my book.

This completely blew me away. Abrams? As the former chair of the Taxes committee he has consistently crushed Twins stadium efforts over the years. So, obviously, the thought of Abrams actually favoring the Hennepin County proposal was almost too much for me to believe. I asked my contact to clarify just why he thinks Abrams will be a yes:

Something weird I heard a week back. But I was waiting for confirmation, so I put him in my "dunno" column.

Do'h! I think I'll keep Abrams in the "no" column. Anyway, while I don't have any good news in terms of the Taxes committee, I do pretty much have verification that things will be tough for this bill. That is unfortunate. I will be sure to write my contact more as time goes on to try to get his impressions concerning this issue. Again, I'm sorry that my news isn't more positive.

Finally, believe it or not, I have also been corresponding with Linda Koblick, the Hennepin County commissioner most opposed to this plan. Our correspondence has been very instructive and while I understand her views much better, unfortunately I have been unable to convince her to change her position concerning this proposal. Shoot. Anyway, just tonight she sent me an email which closed with this parenthetical statement:

(I think it will pass, btw)

So, take that for whatever it is worth. I know that little statement will give me enough hope to continue fighting the good fight. See you soon...

Posted by snackeru at May 18, 2005 10:03 PM | Stadiums


For the moment, it looks like we can take a short break from stadium talk - the bill isn't on today's schedule to be heard in Taxes, and the committee won't meet again until next Tuesday (unless the committee decides to meet outside the normal schedule, which is certainly possible but seems unlikely).

Still trying to figure out the ramifications of an amendment vs. 'killing' in Taxes - I do know if the bill is merely tabled, it can be brought back up for consideration in that committee at any time, even after a session break. On the other hand, given your 'contact' on the inside, I'd imagine you can get far better info than I can on this question, so I'll look forward to the inevitable clarification.

Posted by: David Wintheiser at May 19, 2005 5:51 AM

Can I be the first member of "Shane's Posse"? I mean, now that you are 'connected'...you need 'people' to create a buffer zone for you when you go out into public. I think my horns alone would be cause for people to stay 50-feet back from Mr. Nackerud.

Posted by: Brian Maas at May 19, 2005 8:47 AM

Just a word to all the anti-stadium people that read this site. Take a look at today's editorial section in the Star-Tribune. There is a very good read asking the State to not block the stadium funding. It goes on to say the stadium plan is between the Twins and Hennepin County and the State should not stand in the way. Good read for everyone!

Posted by: Steve at May 19, 2005 12:21 PM

Too... many... responses... to... Brian's... comment... cannot... choose... one... gaaaahhhh!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 19, 2005 12:49 PM

Brian, you are the first official member of my posse. Thanks for the offer. And since Cheesehead has seen fit to ridicule the idea he is banned from my posse and should be the first spearing victim of your mighty horns. Stay back Cheesehead! Don't mess with the posse!

Posted by: Shane at May 19, 2005 12:54 PM

I mock you and your silly opossums! Mock Mock! Mock Mock!

Now go away before I mock you a 2nd time.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 19, 2005 2:19 PM

Mr. Cheesehead...please step back sir. Mr. Nackerud does not appreciate your humor and say's to inform you that you are "a 10K brain attached to a 9600 baud mouth".

If I may be so bold, let me add that like your hero Brettsy Favre, you are a 20th century man...a guy who has no future.

So, again, please step back and let the Shane Posse pass. We have serious work to do.

Posted by: Brian Maas at May 19, 2005 3:21 PM

Yeah!! Take that Cheese(butt)head! Take your sickly little modem and go download a 20th century brain ... or whatever! Skol Vikings!

Posted by: Shane at May 19, 2005 3:34 PM

Perhaps next year's Syttende Mai pogrom should focus on your German-American neighbors. Leave us poor Hansons alone.

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at May 19, 2005 4:02 PM

Good point Curt. The Germans did take over Norway during WWII. I think a little payback is in order!

Posted by: Shane at May 19, 2005 4:13 PM

Some posse: a gangly, lumbering, uncoordinated white guy and his short, horny, inferiority-complex sidekick. The world hasn't seen this pathetic a group since the Apple Dumpling Gang.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 19, 2005 4:35 PM

Are you and Cheesehead going to any Brewers Twins games this weekend?

Posted by: VInce at May 19, 2005 5:26 PM

Vince, sadly no. Cheesehead is going on a business trip this weekend so we will miss all three games. However, as you probably know, the outcome of these games is certainly not in question. The Twins will most assuredly sweep the Brewers.

Posted by: Shane at May 19, 2005 5:51 PM

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