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April 26, 2006

Today is the day

Well, I'm not really sure what to say. It would not be exaggeration to say that today is a very important day for the Minnesota Twins. I'll just leave it at that, because God forbid I turn into a drooling idiot. All of our emails, all of our phone calls, all of our debates and arguments ... it all comes down to this moment. Of course, if this bill passes the House it is far from over, but for right now, this is it.

At 9:00 AM today (or sometime around there), the House floor will debate HF2480, "Baseball stadium financing, construction, and operation provided; Minnesota Ballpark Authority established; and Hennepin County sales tax authorized." You can all watch it over the Interweb.

I'll try to update you on what is happening in the proceedings, and hopefully if I miss something you can update me in the comments below (I do have to work, you know).

Anyway, I'm nervous and excited all at once. Let's get this done. See you soon.

UPDATE I: 9:20 AM -- Both the DFL and the Republican parties have requested caucus meetings until 10:00. So, the House is in recess until then. I wonder what they will be talking about? Hmmmmm ...

UPDATE II: 10:33 AM -- Sigh. As I've said before, one thing I have learned about the legislature is that they are always late. When they say 10:00 they probably mean 10:30, or in the case of today, maybe 11:00 or 11:30. I can just imagine the "discussions" they are having in their caucus meetings right now.

UPDATE III: 11:05 -- Looks like it will be starting soon. Unfortunately I have a meeting to attend, so if anything interesting happens between now and 1:00 PM (especially a referendum amendment) leave a comment!

UPDATE IV: 1:07 -- I'm back, and thanks to all the commenters below, I can report that the referendum amendment on the floor was defeated 64-66. It is looking good people. Very, very good.

UPDATE V: 1:10 -- I gotta say, if Erhardt is anti-stadium (which I'm not totally sure of), an amendment to put a roof on that uses state-wide tax money is a sure-fire way to kill this bill. I'm pretty confident it will be defeated.

UPDATE VI: 1:31 -- The Speaker just said there are 12 amendments to go. Woo-hoo! Let's get past these and move on.

UPDATE VII: 1:50 -- Holy crap. Klinzing has just brought out the "taxation without representation argument" and alluded to blood being spilled over the stadium (although she admitted that it probably won't happen over a stadium). Egads, I should hope not. The amendment she is moving would have the tax imposed only on residents of the county where the representative has voted in favor of the bill. Very creative.

Plus, an anonymous commenter has given us all a link that lists out the remaining amendments (and the ones they've already covered) and the text of those amendments. Very cool.

UPDATE VIII: 2:07 -- You know, Klinzing is being a little disingenuous. A typical family in Hennepin County maybe spends $600 on taxable goods in a week (actually I'm pretty sure I spend less). That means they will pay maybe 50 cents 90 cents a week for the stadium (correction by freealonzo). Is it more than not paying anything? Yes. Is it substantial and noticeable? No. (thanks to freealonzo for supplying these figures). It isn't as doom and gloom as Klinzing is making it out to be. Her amendment failed.

UPDATE IX: 2:16 -- Kelliher is moving an amendment to use the yearly left over funds (from the tax, after debt service) to pay for youth sports and/or extended library hours. I am torn about this amendment. On the one hand, it is a great idea, but on the other hand I would like any left over funds to be used to pay off the debt quicker. Abrams is rightly saying this bill is for a ballpark only. Let's just pay for that. -- Huh, Kelliher pulled the amendment. Interesting.

UPDATE X: 2:40 -- Wow, that was interesting. You could just see all the votes switching to yes. I thought the Wagenius amendment would be defeated. Someone help me on this one ... does this mean that the "public" will get 18% of the sale price of the Twins no matter when the Twins are sold? The bill stipulated that the public would share in the sale price only up to 10 years after the stadium is built. Anyone?

UPDATE XI: 2:45 -- Kahn has an interesting amendment: put together a "ballpark account" and immediately put into it the money from the sale of the Metrodome. Then, use the money to pay off part of the ballpark. Interesting. We'll see how this one shakes out.

Interesting. Right now the sale price of the Metrodome would go into an account to build a football stadium. Likely the new stadium in Anoka County. Kahn is arguing that the funds should stay in Minneapolis. She might be making sense... Well it wasn't adopted.

UPDATE XII: Ah ... the Hennepin County Twins amendment. Stupid, but in the end I don't really care. Put an "HC" on the hat and I would still cheer for them. This really is, though, a waste of time.

Man! I cannot believe how much time they are wasting on this! Incredible.

Finally, it has been soundly defeated. What a phenomenal waste of time.

UPDATE XIII: Bernardy is moving an amendment that will try to assure the Twins will be on TV to as much of the state as possible. How? She withdraws, although it still took like 15 minutes of debate. Ugh.

UPDATE XIV: Well, if you've wondered why I haven't updated for a while, WCCO news is in my office right now interviewing me. So, me and the Greet Machine should be on the news tonight! Amazing heh? We'll see how the story comes out. I hope they get my good side!

What would really tick me off, though, is if they make me miss the vote!

UPDATE XV: It looks like there are about 3 amendments to go. We should see a vote maybe around 5:30!

UPDATE XVI: Yikes! I'm back. Oh man ... I guess I'm going to be on the 10:00 news tonight. But enough about me. Let's get back to business...

UPDATE XVII: I love Dan Dorman. I love his passion, and his intelligence. He is a great legislator to have on our side.

Two amendments to go according to Sviggum. Let's get the vote on!

UPDATE XVIII: I have totally been thrown off by this WCCO interview. Man! I probably said some stupid stuff.

Last amendment! Finally. Krinkie is moving the amendment, which doesn't sound too bad, but then again, I'm not sure why it is necessary.
Sertich is saying the amendment is beyond the purview of the state of Minnesota government. There are national broadcast rights that leagues sign with the media that we can't mess with. Why the heck is Krinkie wasting our time with this? Sheesh!!!

Wow. The amendment was barely defeated.

UPDATE XIX: Well, Hilty is moving to reconsider the "community ownership" amendment. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it was defeated in the first place. It has been passed.

3rd reading. Let the grandstanding begin ...

Juhnke is saying it is time to move on (amen brother!). We've had bills, we've had meetings, we've had task forces, we've had screening committees. It is time to get this done.

Urdahl is speaking in favor of the bill. Minnesota has a lot of memories with Minnesota Twins baseball. Baseball has a way of identifying who we are, our quality of like, our heroes, and it is about us. Let's build this ballpark and keep the Twins in Minnesota.

Gazelka is saying he has switched his vote to YES! Awesome. Paraphrasing: Do the Twins benefit the state? Yes. Will the Twins leave? The risk is too great to take that chance. He voted for the referendum, but this is the plan we have. We help a lot of businesses and we are going to keep jobs in Minnesota. Thank you Rep. Gazelka!

Wagenius wants to talk about another tradition of giving back to the community. 3M and the McKnight Foundation, or Alan Page's organization. One doesn't make a huge amount of money in this state unless they have reaped the benefit of having a well educated population. Carl Pohlad wants to promote a culture of greed, getting something for nothing. Let's just say she is not in favor...

Hausman: This is a simple proposal. Everyone loves the Twins, but no one wants to pay for them. That is what we've learned today. And now we are going to tax a small population (? small?) because no one wants to pay for them.

And she has taken a shot at Pawlenty! She is on a roll. Oops! And there is the education argument, and yep ... the transportation argument. Let's just say she is not in favor.

Demmer next. He is perplexed at all the gnashing of teeth over Hennepin County getting a $500 million public works project. He said counties in his area would be falling over themselves for the chance at public works projects at even a fraction of the cost. Good point (but I am pretty biased ... I'll admit it!).

And now he is bringing up the old people, nursing home argument! Goooooo Demmer!!! Just say no to the Las Vegas Twins!

Peterson from Bloomington. Great guy. Watched the North Stars leave and doesn't want to watch another team leave. He's talking about meeting Pohlad as a banker and how impressed he was with him. Pohlad has done so much as a benefactor to this community.

Greg Olson -- ugh. Republic? Democracy? No we are a plutocracy. Definition: A system of government whereby wealth and the benefits that wealth accrues lead to a concentration of power in the hands of those with disproportionate access to financial resources. This is ridiculous. We are building a ballpark, Rep. Olson. That's it.

Finstad -- We are solving a problems. Thanks to Hennepin County for taking the advice of the state and the governor and coming up with a proposal that works. A green vote will put this issue behind us and allow us to move on.

God bless you Rep. Finstad. Let's get this job done.

Erhardt -- Just compared this to the "land grab" that got the Dutch Manhattan island for a few "beads and trinkets." Erhardt will be a no vote.

Dorman -- This is a good bill. People that say the team won't leave don't know the history of Minnesota. The Lakers left. He wants to make sure his kids will be able to take their kids to a Twins game. Teams sometimes do leave, and we don't want this to happen in Minnesota. It would have cost us $10 million to keep the North Stars, and $200 million to get a team back. Let's not make the same mistake that allowed the Lakers to leave, and the North Stars to leave.

Nice Dorman, very nice.

Bernardy is saying that we've now spent more time on stadiums than education and other more important issues. Yes! I agree, and it is people like you that are to blame! We could have saved millions of dollars and tons of time if we would have done this 10 years ago! Sheesh!

Westerberg -- He's brining up the Vikings stadium bill. I can't worry about that yet. At least Anoka county legislators are in favor of the plan, unlike the legislators from Hennepin County.

Dempsey -- Jobs, ????, and no money from the general fund! Can anyone fill in the blank? I missed it. I think it is "Keeping baseball in Minnesota"

Sertich -- Speaking about 3/4 of a billion dollars in new investment in the area of the stadium. Tons of jobs, and maintaining a good quality of life. Schools should be funded too! The two issues are mutually exclusive. Let's do both.

Nelson -- Moving a relative into a nursing home he came across an old newspaper article talking about contraction. We need to do this now and not have to go through this again. It will cost a lot more money to get a team back. We should just keep the team we have. This is the best plan we are going to get.

Klinzing -- She is skeptical about the "creation of new jobs." "It just isn't so." She is saying that new jobs were not created when we tore down Met Stadium because those jobs moved to the Mall of America. Yeah ... about 10 years later ... this speech is a little confusing. Wants baseball to be treated like any business in the free market.

Holberg -- Looking for direction from the legislators in Hennepin County. She is concerned that we are ignoring the wishes of the representatives of the County. "This is a major steamroller. It is so wrong."

Hornstein -- The main reason we are here is because Hennepin County does not want to do a referendum. They want to circumvent state law (I don't agree with this). He doesn't know what HC is so afraid of. Referendums have passed all over the country for stadiums.

Kahn -- Wants to talk about her grandchildren, one of which was born in Montreal. She says Montreal isn't a "cold Omaha" but a fantastic city. Her grandkids have great health care, state subsidized, and Montreal doesn't miss the Expos at all. (This is just a horrible argument)

Delaforest -- $850 million investment and we don't know what the economic benefits are. No one can say. "Show me the due dilligence." Jobs won't be created, but they may be lost also because these businesses will be paying this tax.

Westrom -- Wants to talk about the roof. Ugh. Give it up. For more information on this topic, check out this.

Lanning -- Not so gung ho on a roof anymore. We just can't afford it! Plus the land selected just won't work. It isn't feasible.

Krinkie -- We passed the Gopher stadium bill, we are probably going to pass the Twins bill, and we will probably pass a Vikings stadium. Who is in the on-deck circle? The Target Center. It is the 7th oldest arena in the NBA. Members ask yourself, how many hundreds of millions do you want to spend to subsidize professional sports?

Greiling -- This is the second "strike out" for the taxpayers of the state of Minnesota. The next batter up is the Vikings stadium.

Marquart -- Will a roof be put on in conference committee? Could it be put on in conference committee?

Finstad -- There isn't enough dollars to get it done. The concourses will be heated and cooled and double the size of the Metrodome concourses. There will be shields to protect people from the sun. There is no roof on this proposal.

Peter Nelson -- Touch em all Kirby Puckett! Touch em all!

The bill passed 76-55. Wow, that is more than I thought it would be.

76-55: The bill passes!


And with that, I leave you for tonight. Let's party!

Posted by snackeru at April 26, 2006 8:35 AM | Stadiums 2006


Shane, Today by coincidence is Building Trades Lobbying day at the state capitol! We need organized Labor to let the Minneapolis legislative
delegation know that we must build this Ballpark !

Posted by: jimj at April 26, 2006 10:20 AM

Lenczewski brings forth a referendum amendment....

Posted by: Anonymous at April 26, 2006 11:42 AM

Holberg scolding everyone who's going to vote for it without a referendum.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 26, 2006 11:57 AM

This is the vote that'll be the dangerous one

there are also rumblings at the capitol that this bill could get joined to the other stadia.

Posted by: BT at April 26, 2006 12:00 PM

Love to help out Shane, but I haven't been able to connect with the server there.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 26, 2006 12:24 PM

Neil Peterson just made an outstanding speech outlining the departure of the North Stars! When he was on the Bloomington city Council he and others refused to support an upgrade for the Met
Sports Center. And the NORTH STARS went to Dallas!
He told the HOUSE to learn from this mistake, and
realize that the Twins could leave if the stadium
is not approved !!

Posted by: jimj at April 26, 2006 12:26 PM

And the amendment.......is defeated 66-64!!!!!
Holy crap, that was close.

Posted by: AW at April 26, 2006 12:35 PM

They held the vote...
Yes:64 No: 66

whew that was close

Posted by: BT at April 26, 2006 12:35 PM

I think the referendum just went down 66 nos 64 yeas.


Posted by: freealonzo at April 26, 2006 12:36 PM

correct, it went down. Now the roof/state sales tax ammendment

Posted by: skoalvikings at April 26, 2006 12:53 PM

Roof Amendment was defeated. I think it was something like 80 nos and 40 yes

Posted by: Vince at April 26, 2006 1:34 PM

Wow, that was close!

Posted by: Boof at April 26, 2006 1:41 PM

Which amendment just got defeated by something like 64-68?

Posted by: AW at April 26, 2006 1:42 PM

It was an amendment for kids' sports. No biggie if it passed or failed.

The next amendment to be defeated would have given the County the proceeds from events other than Twins games. It was also defeated.

Posted by: Shane at April 26, 2006 1:45 PM

6 total amendments next including Klinzing's

Posted by: Anonymous at April 26, 2006 1:47 PM

Here's a link for the remaining Amendments:


Posted by: Anonymous at April 26, 2006 1:48 PM

Klingzing really is the dumbest representative I've ever heard speak. I doubt she got anything higher than a C- in her high school civics class.

Posted by: Vince at April 26, 2006 1:57 PM

Hey Shane,

Didn't realize I had forgotten to include my name. Klinzing sure railed on everyone, but my favorite scolding of the day was Holberg. She sure seemed mad. I wonder if she's calmed down yet...

Posted by: Myles L at April 26, 2006 1:58 PM

What did the vote have to be for an amendment to pass? Is it a 2/3 majority?

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 26, 2006 2:02 PM

I would think just a majority...

Posted by: Shane at April 26, 2006 2:03 PM

simple majority is needed to pass MOST ammendments

Posted by: BT at April 26, 2006 2:04 PM

The remaining amendments don't seem so egregious. Even Kahn's amendment seems ok although I am not intimate with the Dome financing needs. I think we are almost there!!!

Anyone else have any insight on whether the remaining amendments are deal killers?

Posted by: freealonzo at April 26, 2006 2:12 PM

Krinkie just added an Amendment requiring a public hearing about a tax being added at least a month ahead of time. If 5% of voters in the county are against the tax and sign a petition, then a vote would be required.

Posted by: Myles L at April 26, 2006 2:18 PM

The Krinkie ammendment is the equivalent to another referendum ammendment and would be just as deadly to the bill

Posted by: David Howe at April 26, 2006 2:23 PM

Sorry Shane, didn't quite get the numbers right. To get to 50 cents a week, we're talking about spending $333 a week on taxable items. Spending $600 a week would mean about 90 cents. But I think for a typical family, spending $600 a week, every week on taxable items in Hennepin County is high. Consider that your mortgage, groceries, clothing, car payment, and medicine aren't included as taxable items - what do you spend after that on weekly basis? Sure I might buy a new couch and my taxable spending may be high for that week, but I usually ratchet down after that to absorb the hit on my bank account.

Posted by: freealonzo at April 26, 2006 2:26 PM

Wait what amendment just got adpoted i'm watching the thing but had to go and do some things for 20 minutes adn i came back and some admendment just got passed

Posted by: Paul at April 26, 2006 2:42 PM

More amendments added... Mullery (first right of refusal to buy team if going to be sold), Kahn (about sale of team)was there and now isn't when I view, Vandeveer (about Ballpark Authority members), Larson (change the name to Hennepin County Twins)

Posted by: Myles L at April 26, 2006 2:44 PM

Hilarious ... Hennepin County Twins. Why the heck not? Just as long as the Twins stay in Minnesota.

I predict this one will be soundly defeated.

Posted by: Shane at April 26, 2006 2:48 PM

keep the updates coming Shane...THANK YOU!!!

Posted by: kevin in az at April 26, 2006 2:52 PM

I love the 18% of sale to the public ammendment! Not that I see this happening, but it will make owners think twice before selling.

Posted by: Tim R. at April 26, 2006 2:58 PM

Boy, Rep. Larson got snippy over that Hennepin County Twins bill. Yikes

Posted by: freealonzo at April 26, 2006 3:10 PM

How did the Vandeveer amendment (Ballpark Authority members) come out? Will there be a place for an "average Joe" or maybe an obsessed blogger (Shane).

Posted by: Jiminstpaul at April 26, 2006 4:13 PM

Krinkie is such a blowhard! (Plus he looks like a Zombie). If the votes on the amendments hold for the whole bill, it looks like it will pass. But this doesn't stop stadium opponents from presenting amendment after amendment! God I hate I politics!

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at April 26, 2006 4:18 PM

Amendment to force the Twins to contribute 50% instead of the approximately 25% that they'll do now was just defeated 64-68. Now another referendum-type amendment by Krinkie. If this one's defeated, it looks like they may vote on the bill itself relatively soon.

Posted by: AW at April 26, 2006 4:19 PM

Thank you for posting all this info. I appreciate being able to know what's going on while I'm at work!

Posted by: Lucy in Mpls at April 26, 2006 4:22 PM

Shane, isn't Representative Latz your Rep? Does he know who lives in his District?

Also I'm smitten with Representative Brod. She's both smart and attractive.

Posted by: freealonzo at April 26, 2006 4:38 PM

Whoo Hooo! Party at Shane's house! I'll bring the cheese.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 26, 2006 4:48 PM

freealonzo ... HA! You are hilarious! Yes, Latz is my representative. I don't think he likes me anymore.

Posted by: Shane at April 26, 2006 4:48 PM

WCCO had me on once when I was at a Twins game in Fort Meyers. I was a little buzzed and kind of dopey. Mark Rosen is a heck of a nice guy though.

Posted by: Kurtis at April 26, 2006 5:50 PM

Shane, how about a running tally of the votes?

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 26, 2006 5:56 PM

Wow, that would be tough, CC. I'm not sure I could keep up!

Posted by: Shane at April 26, 2006 5:57 PM

But... you're the Greet Machine... master of all that is known of stadium bills and rabbits and chickens...

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 26, 2006 5:59 PM

Just realized, this is just posturing, no votes going on yet. Carry on.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 26, 2006 6:05 PM

Are you going to tape the news? I'm going out this evening, but it would be cool to see it if you could digitize the important parts and put it online or something. Not that I approve of copyright infringement.

Posted by: Kurtis at April 26, 2006 6:10 PM

Just wait for a few hours and you can get all the
votes in the House Journal!!

Posted by: jimj at April 26, 2006 6:10 PM

people sitting upstairs in the house need to start chanting...VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!!!!

Posted by: kevin in az at April 26, 2006 6:12 PM

Would Klinzing sit down already!!! She sounds like she's stoned...What a retard!!

Posted by: kevin in az at April 26, 2006 6:15 PM


Posted by: jimj at April 26, 2006 6:16 PM

We're gonna be here until Midnight.

Posted by: kevin in az at April 26, 2006 6:34 PM

yes yes yes one more step.

Posted by: paul at April 26, 2006 6:40 PM

This is the longest post and comments section in the Greet Machine's history. Think the Vikings stadium issues will be this lengthy?

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 26, 2006 6:42 PM

Break out the virgin jello shots!

Posted by: ss at April 26, 2006 6:44 PM

Do you have any site traffic info, Shane? Did we shatter some records today?

Posted by: spycake at April 26, 2006 7:16 PM

O.k. Majority Leader Johnson and Senator Pogemiller, two balls are in your court (sorry I'm a Gophers rube too). Let's see some action!!!

Posted by: freealonzo at April 26, 2006 9:35 PM

Shane... awesome coverage as usual.

Let's get those Senate whip numbers in place, and gear up for the next fight.

Sharpen your teeth Twins fans: Pogey and John Marty await us in the Senate taxes committee.

Posted by: BT at April 26, 2006 9:38 PM

Wow Shane you're famous! I just saw you on the news - they seemed pretty incredulous that "a guy who works in a library at the U" (like you shelve books for a living or something) could have such power, influence and clairvoyance. Apparently WCCO thinks that people who work in libraries are a bunch of schmucky morons - but we know the truth, oh yes! Bwah ha ha!

Nice interview, and congrats on the vote!

Posted by: Liz at April 26, 2006 10:17 PM

Shane doesn't hide his tracking data. He had 727 visits today (so far) and 2840 page views.

I think my blog gets that many hits in about 3 years.

Posted by: Kurtis at April 26, 2006 11:09 PM

I still wish a roof were being considered. Sure, maybe 2-3 games a year are called due to rain in comparable-weather cities, but how many of them are still played out after miserable 2hr rain delays?
I grew up 4 1/2hr away in NW MN, and when I got to the few games I could get to, I wanted to see them played, and be able to enjoy them.

Posted by: dlarso01 at April 27, 2006 7:27 AM

Nice office Shane, I think we need to get the space management folks to take a look at your space. It appears that you exceed the 120 square feet of office space everyone at the U is alloted.

Posted by: freealonzo at April 27, 2006 7:47 AM

Keep us updated Shane. Thanks a lot for this blog. Want more updates like this one from u.

Posted by: joe at May 1, 2006 6:46 AM

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