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April 25, 2006

There are wackos and then there are opponents

A representative just sent me this email that a Minnesota citizen is sending to all the members of the House. It kind of speaks for itself:

Dear Representatives:

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL. There is no ambiguity in that commandment.

If you are instrumental in taking money from the taxpayers and giving it to a bunch of rich bastards, I wouldn't worry about facing the wrath of the voters; it's your immortal souls you should be worried about.

When you die and are trying to get into heaven, this will certainly come up. You all know deep in your heart it is wrong to steal from the poor and give to the rich. The only uncertainly is whether God will let you try and explain yourselves before he sends you directly to hell where you belong.

Quite frankly this email makes me sick. You know, I am pro-stadium. I don't think that is a secret. But one thing I have tried my hardest to hold off on is coming across as a complete nut case. I talk with proponents and opponents alike and I try to do so in a respectful manner. But this is too much. This is sickening. People ... we are talking about building a ballpark. We are not talking about killing puppies or baby seals, we are talking about putting together a building where people will be able to watch other people play baseball. That's it, and its something that a lot of other cities have already done. Will Carl Pohlad make money? Yes, he will. He has done it before and he'll do it again. But I don't understand why so many people care. Get over it. It isn't worth fretting over. We don't fret over the Xcel Energy Center, or the Target Center, or the Metrodome or any of the other buildings that were built with taxpayer money. And by the way, some individuals made a ton of money off of them.

I'm tired. But one thing I will be sure to do is thank the legislators that have voted for the stadium. They deserve to know that some people are happy with them. And I won't email the legislators that voted no, and I certainly won't condemn their souls to hell. They have their opinion and I respect that. Let's all take a deep breath and try to be civil to each other. If you are anti-stadium you are not the voice of morality or God or all that is good. You do not have a monopoly on the truth! You have an opinion that is different than mine, one that I respect, but I do not agree with. Please, please, please, can we just leave it at that?

Posted by snackeru at April 25, 2006 2:18 PM | Stadiums 2006


It's amazing what 3 cents can do to people eh?

Posted by: Boof at April 25, 2006 3:47 PM

Sorry that you get harassed around here, Shane. Although I would ask that you do your best to ignore the wackos who write this stuff, and please don't publish the anonymous garbage here, especially if it hasn't been printed publicly elsewhere (i.e. "Gollum"). This kind of extremist stuff certainly frustrates you, but it does nothing to advance the debate, and in fact it puts well-reasoned stadium opponents on an unnecessary defensive. I can't tell you the number of times I've had stadium proponents lump me in with these nutcases. (Similar to how you get lumped in with hell-bound greedy billionaires and the like, I suppose)

Also, what do you think of the PiPress' coverage of the stadium issue today? I guess I can't link to it, but Laura Billings debunks some popular pro-stadium arguments. The article is called "FAQs on ballparks and billionaires" I believe. I especially like how she highlights the differences between the stadium and the new Guthrie (a tired comparison that still gets made by folks around here regularly).

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

Although she has a more deft touch than her husband, it is obvious that Laura Billings and Nick Coleman talk shop over dinner.

Frankly I'm not that impressed (surprise). I could go point by point, but she praises the Guthrie for raising 80 percent of their project costs privately. Funny, she doesn't seem to mention the fact that the Pohlad's are contributing the same dollar amount out of their pocket ($125 million) that the entire new Guthrie costs. Take that United Health Care CEO guy and your piddling $10 million!

Posted by: freealonzo at April 25, 2006 5:42 PM

I've never liked the comparisons to the Guthrie Theatre either, it really has no place in the stadium debate.

The rest of the article really is not all that impressive.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 25, 2006 5:42 PM

Actually, I would guess that letters like this accomplish the opposite of what they are trying to do.

If I got a letter like this, I would clearly re-evaluate my position if I agreed with someone like this.

Unless it was some sneaky fabrication by a "pro-stadium" supporter that really really wanted to make the other side seem loopy... That's planning.

Reminds me of another story... My grandma owned some land. She wanted to sell it to Target because they changed the use of the land to "retail", and she was being assessed $11,000 on the new road they built in front of her house. The 'opponents' of Target put together a petition and presented it to the board.

The board member stopped the meeting and said, "You know, I put great value in petitions like these. However. I was called by a resident who was harrassed, cornered, threatened, and co-erced into signing this petition just so they would leave them alone."

That was a moment.

Posted by: Drake33 at April 25, 2006 6:10 PM

Like it or not, a lot of pro-stadium people bring up the public involvement in the Guthrie and the Walker, even though they're not in the same stratosphere as the stadium, cost-wise or direct-community-ties-wise (i.e. they can't leave). I'm just glad someone in the media questioned that association.

Posted by: spycake at April 25, 2006 6:34 PM

What's wrong with killing puppies and baby seals?

Posted by: Cheesehead's wife at April 26, 2006 11:22 AM

I used to get a lot of mail like that when I wrote a moderately liberal newspaper column. It was actually kind of cool that they cared about the state of my soul.

Of course, old-school letter writing required some effort in the way of finding stamps and addressing envelopes. Email and blog comments make it way too easy for someone to spam you with their opinion about the state of your soul.

Anyway, Shane, maybe we can take in a ballgame in hell? I've always wanted to see Ty Cobb play.

Posted by: Kurtis at April 26, 2006 1:24 PM


If they have ballgames, how can it be hell?

Posted by: Jeff A at April 26, 2006 3:40 PM

That's a good question, Jeff.

Posted by: Kurtis at April 26, 2006 5:53 PM

Shane, legislators get nutty emails all the time. There are many reasoned arguments that say this is bad public policy.

This is a cheap shot to suggest that this email represents most of the public (strib and pioneer press polls both show that the public is strongly opposed to public funding/financing of professional sports stadiums).

Posted by: Eva Young at April 29, 2006 8:49 PM

Well, that is why I labeled the title of the post "There are wackos and then there are opponents." My intent was to suggest that there is a difference between a person like you, an opponent, and a person that is seriously crazy. That post was for the crazies. The ones that I fear will throw a brick through my window one night. I'm sorry it didn't come across like that to you.

So, no not a cheap shot. At least I didn't mean it to be. And per your polls argument, you are upholding polls given to the same public that usually vote down school referendums. Does this mean we shouldn't fund education either? :-)

Posted by: Shane at April 29, 2006 9:12 PM

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