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April 16, 2006

This is a very important week

• I hesitate to say that this is one of the most important weeks in Twins history; we've heard that before. But the outcomes of this week could indeed dictate the future of the franchise. Of course, I am talking about the House Tax committee hearings on the evenings of Wednesday and Thursday this week. I was forwarded a note from Dave St. Peter, President of the Twins, in which he had this to say:

In a unique move, Representative Phil Krinkie, chair of the House Tax Committee, has decided to hold two meetings to hear the Twins bill. The first meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 19 at 3 p.m. at the Capitol where testimony in favor of the bill will occur. The second meeting will take place on Thursday, April 20 at 6 p.m. at the Oak Grove Middle School auditorium in Bloomington where testimony in opposition to the bill will occur.

We are currently working to develop a slate of people to testify on Wednesday in favor of the bill including Twins fans, community organizations, former players, business and labor representatives.

Given the uncertain nature of Thursday’s meeting at the school, we are working to mobilize as many fans as possible to attend and demonstrate their support for the Twins bill by filling up the auditorium. This is where you come in. We strongly encourage ALL Twins [fans] to attend Thursday evenings’s hearing at Oak Grove Middle School ... And, we ask that all supporters wear something Twins-related to demonstrate your support of the team and the new stadium.

This is serious. The more I think about this "unique move" by Phil Krinkie the more I am bothered by it. Supporters of the bill have to travel to St. Paul in the middle of the afternoon to be heard, while Krinkie is giving those in opposition to the bill an evening start time and an easier place to get to. And all of this is being done under the guise of brining the democratic process to the people. That is a load of crap. If each side of the debate was given equal treatment, if each hearing was being held at Oak Grove Middle School in Bloomington, I might agree. In fact, that would be exciting. But this is such a blatant attempt to give one side of the debate more public sway it is really quite sickening. It is a chess move more than it is an example of democracy at work, and I sincerely hope Krinkie's move totally backfires on him.

If you are planning on attending the "debate" on Thursday evening here are the driving directions to Oak Grove Middle School from Minneapolis: Take I-35W south to the 106th Street Exit. Go west on 106th Street and arrive at 1300 W. 106th Street.

Twins fans should fill the auditorium. Of course we should be respectful of the debate, but I would also hope that cheers could go up anytime something favorable is said concerning the bill.

• And speaking of the "debate" ... hasn't it all been said already? Seriously, are any legislators' minds actually going to be changed on Wednesday or Thursday as a result of the testimony we've all heard so many times before? On Wednesday, Twins fans will speak in favor of the bill from an emotional and historical standpoint. Minneapolis business leaders will speak in favor of the bill in terms of downtown vibrancy and safety, not to mention what 81 games will do for Warehouse district bars and restaurants. Minnesota charities will speak in favor of the bill in terms of all the good that MLB and the Twins do for our state, and how much money the Twins have donated to state charities over the years. The Minneapolis Department of Parks and Recreation will probably speak on how valuable it is to have MLB in our state and how much it promotes baseball and the use of the ball fields in the city. And the AFL-CIO will probably speak to the fact of how important it will be to have all those jobs for the construction workers of the Twin Cities.

On Thursday night the same old antagonists will also give the same old tired arguments. Kenneth Zapp, an economist from Metro State University, will speak yet again against the plan saying the County is giving too much of the revenue to the Twins and how we should negotiate a deal more like the one in St. Louis (which was a pretty sweet deal for the Cardinals). Laura Lehmann of "Citizens for a Ballpark Referendum" will ask for ... yes, you guessed it! A referendum! Bruce Pomerantz, a citizen from Fridley will tell the commitee that if the Twins get this deal, then it sets a precedent that the Vikings will take advantage of (God forbid!). And Daniel Dobson of the "No Stadium Tax Coalition" will say the proposal is neither fair nor honest to taxpayers. This is all a given.

Here is what I think: we've heard all the same arguments. What is the point of all of this? The Tax committee hearing could get done in 20 minutes by first voting for or against a referendum amendment and then voting for or against the actual bill. 20 minutes! The rest of this is all for the benefit of grandstanding legislators. I ask again: is any of this "debate" actually going to change the mind of any legislator? I seriously wonder ...

• And speaking of legislators and other politicians, Joe Soucheray hit the nail on the head by lambasting our illustrious politicians while describing his 23rd reversal to now being in favor of the Hennepin County ballpark plan:

What turned me around this time was a photograph in the Enemy Paper on Tuesday morning about a guy in Washington, D.C., who works as a female impersonator at a club that would be demolished to make way for a new, publicly subsidized ballpark for the Washington Nationals. This guy was opposed to a new park and said that the only time he would go there "would be for protests.'' The implication seemed to be that hard-working female impersonators should not have to pay for a new ballpark for millionaire owners.

That's it. I'm on board. When it comes down to a new ballpark or preserving the working environment for female impersonators, I'm going with baseball.

Hilarious. But what Joe had me nodding my head even more over was the fact that our politicians are weak and "without fortitude." They are, quite frankly, afraid of their own shadows and wouldn't know a good deal if it bit them in the ass.

Minneapolis has no effective leadership. They stand to gain a $500 million public-works project and don't have a single solitary soul in the elected ranks who can make a case for it because they are all afraid of their various constituencies.

The state of Minnesota could get a new outdoor stadium and keep baseball for 3 cents on $20. We provide our public assistance recipients with enough money to afford 3 cents on $20. Well, people say, if it's a state benefit, maybe it should be a statewide tax then. It could be, I suppose, if you had anybody in the state who could get something done. I believe it is called taking the bull by the horns.

From the governor on down we have elected people who are gridlocked by conflicting ideologies the minute they take office.

I couldn't have said it any better myself. I gotta go to bed for now. More tomorrow, I'm sure.


Posted by snackeru at April 16, 2006 8:20 PM | Stadiums 2006

Comments

I would think it's more important for supporters to show up at the opposition meeting...drown them out!!! I'd be there if I could.

Posted by: kevin in az at April 16, 2006 10:53 PM

So, the question is:

Are YOU going to the Bloomington meeting Shane?

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 17, 2006 9:33 AM

How does it work in Bloomington with comments only reserved for ballpark deal opponents? If I sign up to testify and start talking in favor of the deal will I be removed, booed, beat-up, audited? Will my comments be considered out of order and stricken from the record? Will Dan Dobson call me a corporate tool (again)?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: freealonzo at April 17, 2006 9:40 AM

My understanding is that the Bloomington town hall meeting is for everyone. It's just going to be the focal point for the anti-American crowd to shout down the stadium.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 17, 2006 11:44 AM

The hearing is being held in Bloomington to take advantage of lead DFLer Anne Lenczewski's opposition to the stadium. She will have a group of "citizen opponents" to argue against the stadium. Her job is to kill the stadium in committee so her GUTLESS, DFL HACKS from MPLS. don't have to take a floor vote on the bill. She is master political chicanery ! She will try to attach every poison pill she can under the guise of "letting the people decide" like she did last
year in another committee!

Posted by: jim j at April 17, 2006 4:33 PM

I love that Dobson guy. He legally changed his first name to "Dann" just because he thought it was cooler that way.
-Jiminstpaul

Posted by: jiminstpaul at April 17, 2006 7:52 PM

Apparently Thursday meeting is going to be the focal point of the Twins' efforts to pull out the fans sitting in their back pocket and dump them in the auditorium to shout-down those who oppose this rotten deal.

Pathetic.

Posted by: David at April 18, 2006 4:59 PM

get over it david!

Posted by: kevin in az at April 18, 2006 11:24 PM

Go stadium !

Posted by: jimj at April 20, 2006 4:53 PM

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