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May 18, 2006

We're almost there

Last night's conference committee was a fascinating display of "strained politeness." Kelley and Finstad should be commended for keeping things cordial when it was obvious both were getting a little frustrated with each other. To recap:

A couple of things are clear to me: 1) The House and the governor definitely have the upper hand here, and 2) I seriously doubt the House or the governor are going to accept any kind of transit funding attached to this bill. It looks like to me that Kelley is trying desperately to do something to make his mark on this piece of legislation. Whether he is trying to bolster his campaign for governor, or if he really thinks transit should be a part of the bill (probably both) he is grasping at straws here. And if this is a play to somehow gain some traction in the race for governor, you can be assured that Pawlenty will not play along.

I'm pretty sure that when the conference committee meets again today, Finstad (who now controls the gavel) will propose the same thing he proposed last night: a Twins bill only. Transit will be removed again with the statement that "transit proposals should be heard in the Transportation Conference Committee." Obviously, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Posted by snackeru at May 18, 2006 7:30 AM | Stadiums 2006


This whole ordeal is stressing me out. I'm going on a 4-day bender so I can just get the news Monday and not worry about it until then.

BTW, Shane where do you get all of your stadium photos? I'd never seen the ballpark on the river--what's that about?

Posted by: N. Looper at May 18, 2006 9:47 AM

Do we know if the original Hennepin County sales proceeds mechanism is still in the bill. The one where the County would receive a sliding scale percentage of any Twins sales proceeds up to 10 years? I know the amendment where the County would receive 18 percent of sales whenever the team was sold is stripped out, not sure if the original language is still there.

That old River plan is from the mid- to late-90s. The new Guthrie now sits on the site. Too bad that plan was never approved, that ballpark design was fresh.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 18, 2006 10:13 AM

According to Finstad, the bill is almost nearly in its original form. I am positive this means that the "sliding scale" percentage is back in the bill. Hennepin County was pretty proud of this provision and it is very unique in terms of other stadium deals around the country.

And freealonzo is right, that was the Mississippi River plan which also included a retractable roof. I can't remember what the financing plan was exactly, although I think it was the plan that had the state giving the Twins a $300 million interest free loan. Wow was that ever a simple plan. And of course the legislature screwed it up. In fact, they never even voted on it.

That should give us all pause. The legislature is still very capable of screwing the pooch on this one. Let's not get our hopes too high.

Posted by: Shane at May 18, 2006 10:28 AM

I agree with not getting to optimistic. I won't believe it until they start digging the hole. Even if this does pass, I expect someone to sue over the referendum. Hopefully that will be dispatched of quickly as long as the legislature wrote thier law correctly back in 1999, but you never know.

Posted by: David H. at May 18, 2006 10:32 AM

Wasn't there are U of Minn stadium part of this whole mess too? Was that even discussed?

Posted by: J. Lichty at May 18, 2006 10:35 AM

The U of M bill is separate (thank the Lord). It is being discussed in another conference committee where the House is dilligently trying to strip Pogey's idiotic 13% memorabilia sales tax off the plan. What a mess the Senate has made of everything!

Posted by: Shane at May 18, 2006 10:37 AM

It doesn't matter what the legislature did back in 1999--they are free to change the law now as part of the stadium bill (assuming the gov signs) to explicitly allow for no referendum. One legistlature can't tie the hands of future legislatures. A lawsuit would have to allege a violation of the state or federal constitution, adn I'm not aware of any provision that would enable that.

Posted by: N. Looper at May 18, 2006 10:47 AM

Does anyone have a link for more pictures of the mid 90's river ballpark? That would have been awesome........

Posted by: MOJO at May 18, 2006 11:08 AM



This dude really knew his ballpark proposals. I wrote him a couple of years ago and he admitted to being totally burned out. His whole site, though, looks at all the plans (pre-HC) and has even more pictures of all the designs. It is pretty nifty.

Posted by: Shane at May 18, 2006 11:16 AM

Thanks Shane!!!

Posted by: MOJO at May 18, 2006 11:36 AM

Shane's right don't start building a ballpark yet ! But, if Kelley starts exaggerating the
transit stuff again,I am definitely going to name
VULNERABLE SENATE DFLERS in the NOV election through my own site! GET IT DONE!

Posted by: jimj at May 18, 2006 11:47 AM

I for one am finally ready to put my pessimism aside. In 12 years we've never been this close to getting a new Twins ballpark. Never. Yes, it's a close game and late in the 4th quarter. But the House committee members have a slim lead - and they control the ball. Please, please, please don't fumble this one. Also, the Twins canvassers are calling their ticket-buyer lists. If you didn't get a call, don't wait for it. Email, phone, or homing pigeon a message to your legislators letting them know you support the Hennepin County/House approved version of the Twins stadium bill.

Posted by: twayn at May 18, 2006 1:19 PM

What will Shane blog about when Twins Ballpark is passed?

1. New Gophers Baseball Stadium
2. New Saints ballpark
3. New Thunder Soccer Stadium
4. Renovate Target Center
5. New Outdoor Concert Venue like DC's Wolf Trap
6. Highway Improvements
7. Wilson Library Improvements

Please Shane don't make regular postings on the following topics:

1. Vikings Draft Analysis (see 4/24/04 post)
2. Timberwolves trades Analysis (see 1/26/06) post)

Posted by: freealonzo at May 18, 2006 2:12 PM

Are we there yet?

I have a big birthday coming up this Monday, one of those birthdays that has a 0 in it, and I'd sure like to have this ballpark deal done between now and Monday so I can celebrate my birthday in an appropriate fashion....

Posted by: mpls1934 at May 18, 2006 2:42 PM

freealonzo, you forgot about the most obvious topic: a new Vikings stadium. I keep telling myself I won't do it, but I don't know if I'll be able to help myself. The Vikings seem to need my help. :)

And thinking about that, I am a little concerned about promoting the Vikings plan when I don't live in Anoka County. It has been easy for me to harp on the Twins stadium proposal because I live in HC. Promoting a plan for Anoka County will be a little different.

And you dare question my ability to analyze the goings on in other sports? Actually, that gave me a chuckle. It is certainly good to know one's limitations.

mpls1934, things are still looking good. If the conference committee passes a Twins only bill out of the committee tonight (or if the governor by some miracle agrees with Kelley's transit proposal) we will be 80% there. Tomorrow or Saturday the House and Senate would vote on it again, and then on to the Governor's for his signature. It will be a sweet day when that happens. And it could be coming up soon. We will definitely know for sure by Monday.

Posted by: Shane at May 18, 2006 3:19 PM

Doesn't the MN state constitution say that the last to vote on legislation is the last working day this week? I'm not sure if I read that correctly. Are you sure that they can work on Saturday?

Posted by: Transic at May 18, 2006 3:25 PM

Shane, I think you should stay with baseball for your next efforts. John Anderson and the Gophers baseball team are going to need a stadium once the Twins leave the Dome. Seibert's in rough shape, which is putting it mildly, and I don't think we want them in the Dome all year.

Posted by: ML at May 18, 2006 3:27 PM

Shane, you could blog on a Vikings Stadium in Hennepin County. Now that Vikings have a year to get their act together, I think the Minneapolis, or Bloomington, or MOA, or Hennepin County officials should put their heads together and try to figure out a package that would entice Zygi and the boys to stay in Hennepin County, where they've played football for 45 years.

Perhaps the Star Tribune could get in on the act and do a joint venture with the Vikings on all those parking lots they own by the Dome and do a stadium at the Dome site. They could play in the new Gophers stadium for a year while the dome is torn down and replaced.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 18, 2006 3:30 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears as if the deal is pretty much done in the conference committee except for a few details. This bill (if it stays similar to the HC plan) will have no problem passing the House and Pawlenty will sign it. The whole issue of concern is how it will do on the Senate floor. I know Dean Johnson has said they have the votes but I worry alot of them will vote no because of the absence of a referendum. I'll continue to cross my fingers. Are we looking at a Saturday vote in the House and Senate? If it passes both floors when can we expect the Governor to sign it?

Posted by: BJ at May 18, 2006 3:38 PM

BJ, I've been told the votes are in the Senate, especially considering that not one Republican voted in favor of the Senate plan. We'll pick up some Republicans and we'll retain some DFL. It will probably be a bigger margin than when the Senate voted on Kelley's crappy bill.

Here is what Sviggum said about when things have to be done by:

"I wanted to finish a week ago. Here's where we are at. The constitution says we have to finish by the 22nd. We can not pass any bills that day. We're not going to meet next Sunday. That brings it to Saturday. That means to come out of conference committee you have to have an agreement no later than Thursday. Preferably, Wednesday. It takes some time to get back through the process and have bills drafted."

So, tonight is the night for a compromise. Then on to the floor of both the House and Senate, and then on to the governor. I'm not sure when he would sign, but I would think it would be shortly thereafter.

Posted by: Shane at May 18, 2006 3:52 PM

....let's have some dessert....throw in a retractable roof...we can use the facility all year long!!

....let's see if the Legislature can handle a squeeze play!!

Posted by: Anonymous at May 18, 2006 8:43 PM

...what is the url of the live web broadcast from the Capitol?

Posted by: Anonymous at May 18, 2006 8:45 PM

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