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March 16, 2006

I'm packing it in (for now)

Well, just as I was feeling all "optimistic" over a Twins stadium bill this year, we get rumors of a potential debacle with the Gophers stadium chances at the capitol. I am so disheartened I don't even know what to say. This was supposed to be the "no brainer" of the bunch. Over the course of the fall we were told over and over again, "If any stadium gets approved, it will be the Gophers stadium." And now it looks like it is completely falling apart.

Are you serious? Here the University has bent over backwards, spent literally years putting this plan together that relies on over 60% of the money being raised by the University itself, and now Pogemiller and his cronies are flipping out over naming rights and student fees? I can't believe I agree with Abrams on this one, but where do they think the Carlson School of Management got its name? And furthermore, TCF is already all over this campus with branches and signage. Plus, the TCF logo is on all of our fricken IDs! What is wrong with these people?

We ... are ... governed ... by ... morons!!! All of the University's plans, all of the future private funding they would have received is now in jeopardy. Over a name? Our esteemed legislators would jeopardize all the good that a stadium would bring to this university ... over its potential name!!! We are lucky to have corporations in Minnesota willing to put this kind of money forward for the University, and our legislature is telling them to stick it!

What is the point? What is the point of all of this? If the University can't get any love from the legislature then I am packing it in. I'm taking a page from Hennepin County and I'm saying what is the point of worrying about any of this crap until the legislature gives me even the tiniest inkling of proof they walk and chew gum at the same time.

The legislature is taking a rock solid plan from the University that took YEARS to put together and they are completely mucking it up. Don't think it will happen to the Twins? I think it is a guarantee. Guess what? Does the Twins plan have public funding? Check. Does the plan have corporate naming rights? Check. Do you think some "genius" legislator is going to bring this up? You better believe it, not to mention all the other reasons not to do anything concerning a Twins stadium for the 11th year in a row.

This was the "easy" one, people. Our legislature is incapable of passing stadium legislation. They just can't do it. Better luck next year ... if there is one.

Posted by snackeru at March 16, 2006 8:24 AM | Stadiums 2006

Comments

Right on Shane. Pogemiller's bill (SF 2460)is even worse than what was described in the Strib.

I can understand that someone doesn't want the stadium named after a corporation. But you can't take away a funding source in hand and not replace it with something else. You'd don't want a Corporate name, then add those lost $$$ to the total contribution from the state.

The bill also requires that to the greatest extent possible that american steel be used for the construction. Again a decent sentiment, but it does add costs either in construction or in project management costs in demonstrating that american steel was used. Also the bill states that the University has to maintain affordable access to tickets for students. Great, why are you then taking away potential funding sources and adding costs to the project? Leaving higher ticket prices as one of the only remaining ways to raise funds for the stadium?

Pogemiller's bill is typical of a Minneapolis Legislator: let's add cost and process to your project and let's tie your hands in how you can raise non-state funds. Oh sorry we can't add any more state funds but we support your project. Go Gophers! snark.

Posted by: freealonzo at March 16, 2006 9:33 AM

Shane,

Before you get all wigged out about the 'morons' in the legislature, take another look at that last section of the article you've linked.

Dan Dorman, chairman of the House Capital Investment Committee, is quoted as saying: '"The more I look at it, the less I like the plan," he said of the overall stadium proposal. "It's starting to look like there's more and more problems with the way it was configured."'

Note that Dorman is a pro-stadium legislator, according to your Voter's Guide.

The goal should not be to get a stadium (or three) at any cost - it should be to get a stadium with a good deal, both for the public and for those using the stadium.

When pro-stadium people are saying 'the more I look at this deal, the less I like it', chances are good that it's not a very good deal. Don't you think?

Posted by: David Wintheiser at March 16, 2006 2:48 PM

Thanks for your insights, freealonzo and David. Dan Dorman's comments got my undies in the biggest bunch. Quite honestly, I trust the University to know what is best for the University, and what is the best way for them to raise money to build a stadium. I don't think this has anything to do with finding the best deal, these legislators just want the stadium to be named something different. Probably Memorial Stadium. If they can come up with a new funding source (probably more tax payer money) then great, but they are raising this stink and, as freelonzo says, not suggesting any other funding mechanism. And they are calling into question the U's academic mission. Seriously, if the U is going to get this kind of resistance, for a plan that raises so much private money, then forget about it. The Twins cause is hopeless.

Posted by: Shane at March 16, 2006 2:56 PM

Dorman's comments were the most infuriating. The financing plan hasn't changed one iota since it was introduced over a year ago except for the fact that costs have increased $9 million due to inflation because the legislature can't get their act together. The University is asking for 40 percent from the State and will raise 60 percent on its own. Of the approximately $148 million the U is bringing to the table, $35 is coming from TCF or about 24 percent of its total. Another chunk of financing is coming from students and an increase in student fees. Best Buy, the Alumni Association are on Board as well.

If Dorman has an issue, why now? nothing's changed. If he doesn't like the private sources, kick in more state money. If 40 percent is all the state can stomach, fine, the University has stated it will come up with the other 60 percent, now please let them raise the money. Instead these Legislators want to place the U in this netherworld of not providing enough funds for the stadium but dictating what kind of private funds the U can pursue.

Posted by: freealonzo at March 16, 2006 3:31 PM

Shane,

It's why so many of us left Minnesota and now the teams are getting smart and will hopefully do the same. Now that I'm out of MN, I would just love to see the Twins and Vikings move out of there. The people in charge of that state are complete DOLTS!!!...Almost as stupid as the people who elect them year after year after year.

Leaving MN was the best decision I made and so many I meet on a daily basis from MN who now live other places say the same thing. The teams will follow suit. Unfortunately the Gophers are stuck there to rot in eternal Metrodome hell.

Posted by: kevin in az at March 16, 2006 7:09 PM

Can you say Las Vegas Twins? Painful but all to likely. Vegas will help with a stadium.

Posted by: tim at March 16, 2006 11:16 PM

Hello:
I am a grad student at the U and a resident of Minneapolis. I do not see why we need to spend any money at all on ANY new stadiums! I have attended games and events at the metrodome. Was it great? The Twins in the cheap (really cheap) seats? Not really great, but not any worse than some other parks I have been in.
Why should we the people build another stadium for a baseball team, a football team and the college football team, when they already have a place to play? What a waste of public money and space! Let's consider why it makes sense for all these teams to play at a single venue! This market does not need three giant stadia sitting vacant for most of the year (there is no way you are going to be filling three when the metrodome is already underused.)
I say... a rich guy wants to charge rich fans to come and watch rich boys play a children's game...FINE! Just let them pay for it! And if they can go somewhere else and have them pay for it... BYE BYE!
As for the Gopher's... maybe they should start winning a few games before we decide to spend any money on new digs! If the school can somehow raise money for building such a structure, they should instead expend the same efforts and gather money to pay for the horrible mess that the university it currently in... money for infrastructure, tuition reduction and more!
Sports are great fun. But when I want to have fun I don't look to everyone else to pay for it.
My vote... no stadium for the Twins, the Vikes or the Gophers.
My 2-cents.

Posted by: Stadium Naysayer at March 17, 2006 11:26 PM

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