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April 20, 2006

Sigh. I'm not in Bloomington.

• This is a rambling, probably boring, post. I'm not sure I am giving any interesting information, so read if you want or don't. No biggie.

• You may not be able to believe this, but I am not actually at the hearing. The Tax Committee Circus with Ringmaster Phil Krinkie is going on without me. I don't know why I feel like I have to explain myself, but the fact of the matter is as a father of 3 kids I have too much going on all of the time. Tonight I attended a Cub Scout Pack meeting with my 7 year old son. I am the Tiger Den Leader, and 4 of my scouts were getting their Tiger badges. That is kind of a big deal. Plus, my Den was scheduled to be the Color Guard. So, I made the tought decision to skip the Tax Committee hearing.

And I don't regret it. It was the right decision. The Pack meeting was fun, and I heard rumors that the Tax Committee would not be able to vote on the bill tonight anyway. Plus, I am pretty confident I have made a nice contribution to the Twins stadium effort already. So, there you have it.

You know what really ticks me off, though? Krinkie's effort to "bring democracy to the people" actually decreased the number of people this hearing reached because it wasn't on legislative TV and it wasn't broadcast over the Internet. The only way anyone outside of Oak Grove in Bloomington could listen to the Committee meeting was through WCCO, which I must admit I didn't even know about. I'm listening now, but it sounds like everything is over.

Mike Max has interviewed Mike Opat, Penny Steele, Steve Sviggum, and Phil Krinkie so far. Sviggum had some really nice and strong comments in favor of the plan, and Krinkie actually admitted that this is the best plan the Twins have come up with so far. That doesn't mean he is in favor of the plan, of course, but it was a shock to hear him say anything favorable about the plan. He also reiterated that his main opposition to the plan centers around the fact that the Twins are asking the public to pay for more than infrastructure. He said he didn't mind paying for roads or other infrastructure around the ballpark, but having the public pay for the bulk of the stadium itself ... well he has a big problem with that. Sviggum shot back that the state gives a ton of assistance to a lot of businesses beyond infrastructure, which Krinkie seemed to concede. Of course, I think it all comes down to the fact that a ballpark costs so stinking much. Anyway, it was interesting.

Sviggum also said that he thinks the bill could get to the House floor by next week and that he expects it to pass. Can you believe that? Next week? Oh boy, I can't even imagine this thing passing. I think I would have a heart attack. Someone better get a defibrillator ready!

Mike Max pointed out to Krinkie that the crowd at Oak Grove seemed to be at least 6 to 1 in favor of the Twins. That is good to hear. Krinkie almost seemed to be conceding defeat, too, and Max asked him if he expects the bill to pass. Krinkie didn't admit it, but it sounded like Krinkie can see the writing on the wall.

Max is interviewing Joe Atkins and Jim Davnie now, two members of the Taxes Committee. Atkins has admitted that he is leaning towards voting in favor of the plan without a referendum (as predicted) and Davnie is pretty much saying he is against. Again, nothing really unexpected is happening here.

Did anyone go to the hearing? Do you have any interesting stories about the hearing, or any insights into what happened? Please, let us know what you saw or heard in the comments below. I would absolutely love to hear your take on what the feel was in the auditorium.. Please share your experience!

• Finally, it has been announced that the hearing will continue tomorrow (Friday) at the Capitol. This is when we'll get to see if this bill can 1) get out of the Taxes Committee and 2) do so without a referendum attached. You better believe I'll be following that hearing.

More tomorrow, I'm sure.

UPDATE: Well apparently the hearing is still going on (it is 10:10 PM right now). I just heard on the 10:00 news that they are debating the referendum as I type this. If the referendum is defeated, well, that will be a pretty good indicator of where this bill is headed. We'll see...

Posted by snackeru at April 20, 2006 8:31 PM | Stadiums 2006

Comments

I think what shocked me most about Krinkie's interview is that after saying that it was the best deal they had seen, he claimed that he would like to think that his opposition over the years helped cause that. Wow.

Posted by: Grant at April 20, 2006 9:42 PM

Grant, are you accusing Krinkie of being arrogant???? No not Phil! What you're seeing is posturing. This weasel is going to run for a higher office and doesn't want to come off looking like a loser. He's got way too much foolish pride to change his mind to the reasonable side of this issue, so he'll just assume that the deal presented is because of all his hard-lining. Yes Phil, today's deal is because of all your hard-lining. Thanks for dragging this on for 10 years and increasing the inevitable cost you IDIOT!

Posted by: kevin in az at April 20, 2006 9:54 PM

The early strib article put a big focus on the fact that there were a lot of pro-ballpark fans there, even questioning whether or not the Bloomington hearing is backfiring on opponents.

Also it appears the referendum amendment may get voted on tonight.

Posted by: freealonzo at April 20, 2006 10:25 PM

Even if it passes the House, which it will, I think, we still have to get through the Senate, which could be a problem. Larry Pogemillar seems hell bent on not letting these stadiums get built. Does the Twins bill have to go through his committee??

Posted by: skoalvikings at April 20, 2006 10:26 PM

Just heard on Dark Star's show, Eric Eskala just reported that the referendum amendment was defeated...WOO HOO!!!

Posted by: kevin in az at April 20, 2006 10:44 PM

Greet Machine:
You heard it here. You deserve to. Since you couldn't attend, I made sure I did.

The anti-referendum vote happened. The votes on the committee were already in place, so there were no surprises. When the caucuses make the demand, "on the request of the governor" what would you expect? The big surprise was the arrogance and ignorance of some legislators. You can figure that part out.

You were right to choose your family with your investment in obligations that will have a payoff you can enjoy for life.

I'm a family gal. I even brought my husband along for the show.

Enjoy...

Posted by: Linda at April 21, 2006 12:12 AM

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Skoalvikings, yes, I have heard the Senate Tax Committee is going to be an issue. I'll have more information about this next week. But yes, it definitely has to go through this committee. I think the votes are there to get it out, though.

Posted by: Shane at April 21, 2006 7:11 AM

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