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April 10, 2006

An Open Letter to Nick Coleman

Mr. Coleman--

I don't always agree with what you write, but I appreciate your passion. One thing I definitely don't agree with is your stance on the Twins stadium issue. In fact, I find your stance a little inconsistent. I've read a lot of your past columns from the Pioneer Press, and I have found that you were in favor of the plan that built the Xcel Energy Center. As you know, that arena was built for $130 million, with $65 million from a no interest state loan to the Wild and $65 million from the taxpayers of St. Paul. Why was it OK to subsidize millionaires in this case, but not the Twins? Don't "kids' needs" also come before Bob Naegele? Is it just because you like hockey?

On March 23, 1998 you wrote a column that seemed to justify your stance in favor of the X by saying "[Sen. Roger] Moe forgets the reason the taxpayers balked over a new baseball stadium. We already provided one for the Twins: the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Similarly, we provided a basketball arena for the Timberwolves and state-of-the-art athletic facilities for the University of Minnesota. The only modern facility lacking in the Twin Cities is a hockey arena."

This was untrue. The Target Center could have easily been used as a hockey arena too. But using your same argument, we definitely do not have a ballpark already for the Twins. The Twins play in a football stadium.

Sorry to ramble on, but to wrap this up I ask you again, why was it OK for us to subsidize millionaires for a hockey arena, but not for a ballpark?



Posted by snackeru at April 10, 2006 1:24 PM | Stadiums 2006


I am not familiar with the details of the X-Center financing and how revenued is divided; but for starters, I think there is an obvious difference between a $65m taxpayer contribution and the $375m that the Twins want from the public with nothing substantial given back in return.

The hockey arena in St. Paul also draws crowds into the city where no major sports/concert arena had existed. A new ballpark in Mpls would generate a spike in baseball attendance for a couple seasons, but after that it would most likely just shift the already existing baseball crowd-flow from one part of downtown Mpls to another.

Posted by: frightwig at April 10, 2006 4:25 PM

Thanks frightwig. There are obvious differences. But I am really talking about the principle of the thing. I don't care about the details. Both deals call for millions of public dollars to go into the pockets of millionaires. One he supported, and one he does not. Is it as simple as the differences in cost? Or is it because he just liked hockey more and he wanted St. Paul to have an arena?

Regardless, I think his stance is a little hypocritical. From a "principle" point of view.

He'll probably write a column about this now and crush my measly argument, but that would be flattering in itself.

Posted by: Shane at April 10, 2006 4:32 PM

I don't know if Coleman has ever written a column to adequately crush anyone's argument. Don't hold your breath.

Posted by: bjhess at April 10, 2006 7:48 PM

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