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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Giving boost to stadium crusade

    [size=18px]Giving boost to stadium crusade[/size]

    Dave Campbell, Associated Press
    Published Tuesday, March 07, 2006


    You might have got an e-mail from Bud Grant recently. He’s been sending a lot.

    Well, his name is at the bottom on them at least, and he’s doing the Minnesota Vikings a favor by injecting a fresh, supposedly trusted voice into the chalkboard screeching otherwise known as the stadium debate that has gone on in this state for the past decade-plus.

    Who knows if this will do any good, or bad, depending on your position. If you’re apathetic, then, well, what difference does it make anyway? But the old coach has taken time out from his fishing and hunting pursuits to offer a candid viewpoint on the latest proposal one of our professional sports teams has put on the table for a governmental body to ponder.

    “How can you turn that down?” Grant said, reflecting on the $1 billion owner Zygi Wilf has pledged to invest in this development project — dubbed Northern Lights — that will include shops, restaurants, office space, a medical center and preserved wetlands and trails in addition to the two-ton gorilla of a retractable-roof stadium that the team wants built in Blaine.

    In return, toward the $675 price tag on the stadium, owner Zygi Wilf is asking for $280 million from Anoka County and $115 million from the state.

    The Vikings are serious, and if you look and listen closely, desperate. They’ve hired a California public relations firm to push their plan and collected several notable, plain-speaking Minnesotans to help promote it. Grant is at the forefront of this.

    Loyalty, sure. Acknowledgment of his old team’s widespread popularity, yes.

    Passion for sports, of course. Grant sounds too, though, just as much like a gruff old man who — annoyed by all the empty promises and empty threats made by wishy-washy politicians — simply wants this issue to go away so we can all move on with our lives.

    “They never do anything about it,” Grant said in an interview this week.

    Oh, did he mention he’s fed up with the legislative and gubernatorial inaction?

    “We have no leadership. They rule by a herd. Nobody is in charge. ... It reminds me of a bunch of cows,” Grant said.

    Probably the biggest reason why these stadium problems have not been solved since the Twins first piped up about the Metrodome’s inadequacies in the mid-1990s is that the opposition has bipartisan roots.

    Nothing brings the antispenders and the social-service advocates together like a good old stadium plan!

    As a writer whose sports-fan soul was sold when I entered the business, I truly do not care if the Gophers or Twins or Vikings (alphabetized to eliminate perceived slights) find ways to build new homes. I would love to have better working conditions than that old decrepit Dome, but so would the people in accounts payable in the basement of your office building.

    I’ve got just as much skepticism and cynicism toward the rich as the next guy, but the “Build it yourself, Carl” and “Build it yourself, Zygi” arguments are SO old. Yes, they could foot the entire bill. But that’s not the way professional sports work, for right or for wrong. And yes, the public IS asked to subsidize private business, sometimes, when the government believes it can spur economic growth. It’s just that nobody notices unless a ball or a puck or a bat is involved.

    The weak-kneed, special-interested politicians are eye-rollers, sure, as is the sugary, “Go team!” garbage that’s constantly spewed from the front-office execs.

    What really gets me, though, is why everything in this world always has to be about revenue. There have to be some people who care more about, well, people than profits, right?

    How cool would it be if somebody, somewhere, sometime, stood up someday and said, “We know that we could make a little bit more money by doing this a little differently, but we happen to like it the way it is.” And then it would be just as cool to watch Selig or Tagliabue or any of those other suits go into convulsions immediately after.

    You have to wonder if anyone has ever suggested to Pohlad or Wilf or any of their peers that they pay for the stadium entirely out of their own pocket, put their name on it and be publicly praised for eternity as the people who saved their sport in their town.

    But that’s not reality, and what we’re left with is all the rhetoric. That’s why, even if nobody really listens to him, that it’s nice to hear Grant’s voice in this.

    At least it’s something different to write about.

    Giving boost to stadium crusade

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    purplegang's Avatar
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    Re: Giving boost to stadium crusade

    politicians, what are they good for, nothing, they should do away with them and have a community vote on the stadium.

  3. #3
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Giving boost to stadium crusade

    Posted on Mon, Mar. 06, 2006

    [size=18px]Wilf might ask state for less aid[/size]

    TIF request could be stumbling block

    BY ARON KAHN
    Pioneer Press


    Trying to pull even in the stadium race, Vikings lead owner Zygi Wilf says he might back off his request for a politically sensitive state subsidy if lawmakers grant his wish for an Anoka County sales tax.

    Wilf and the Anoka County Board, his public partner in the stadium quest, want Gov. Tim Pawlenty and lawmakers to allow the 0.75 percent tax — 15 cents on a $20 purchase — and grant an exemption from a state law requiring a county ballot issue on the levy.

    If they get permission to impose the tax, Wilf said, they might withdraw the state subsidy request, which would take the form of an unprecedented $115 million tax-increment financing district.

    "If a TIF district is not possible, we have to find another way to fund it,' he said, adding that he already has had meetings with financial consultants on the matter.

    Though the proposed sales tax has some Anoka residents upset, the state subsidy might encounter an even higher hurdle at the state Capitol, where stadium requests by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Twins are ranked higher than Wilf's.

    The tax-increment district aims to capture increases in revenue from sales taxes and player-income taxes generated in the stadium district and use the proceeds to help pay off the stadium. Wilf argues that the proceeds aren't state money because they wouldn't have existed without the stadium complex.

    Opponents say the revenues should go where other sales- and income-tax revenues are deposited — the state treasury.

    House Speaker Steve Sviggum said the Vikings plan generally looks good to him but added the team would have better odds at the Capitol without the tax district request. Most tax-increment districts focus on property taxes not sales and income taxes.

    "That's not going to set well in the Legislature,' Sviggum said. "Every business in the state would love to have that.'

    After refining the rough edges, the speaker contends, he'd like to see a vote on the Vikings plan this session, after saying recently the Vikings need to wait until next year.

    "I think all three (stadium) proposals are in the best interest of the state. A vote would be good,' he said. Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, says he also wants a vote on all three.

    Aron Kahn can be reached at [email protected] or 612-338-6516.

    Wilf might ask state for less aid

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  4. #4
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    Re: Giving boost to stadium crusade

    I hope this opens peoples eyes in MN, zigy is asking for a min amount of money and may possibly put more of his own money into the project. When has polad said anything like that?
    You republican whore!

  5. #5
    tastywaves's Avatar
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    Re: Giving boost to stadium crusade

    I give Zygi and crew credit for being a lot more agressive than Red ever was on getting a new stadium. This thing might actually happen.

  6. #6
    damien927's Avatar
    damien927 is offline Asst. Coach
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    Re: Giving boost to stadium crusade

    Why can't people realize that WIlf is putting over 1 billion into this complex himself. The jobs it will create alone whould be enough for the state to accept it. Where else is the state going to spend 115 mil and create 9,000 permanent jobs and thousands of construction jobs for years.

    Thanks Lotza!

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