Skol Girl over at The Daily Norseman has an epic post up called Perception vs. Reality in the Vikings Stadium Debate where she provides a purple
tinted tainted perspective on why we NEED to spend $600,000,000 to help make Zygi Wilf’s private business more profitable. Sure, we want it, but need? Please.
Skol Girl breaks down a series of Vikings stadium debate talking points (“Stadium myths exposed”). Few can come up with justifications for giving public money from a cash strapped state and county to a private businessman in New Jersey (Zygi Wilfare) better than Skol Girl. There are many amazing nuggets in here. In fact, it’s too much for one post, so I’m going to break it up a bit.
The Metrodome was built as a multi-use sports facility and the teams who played there dealt with it as best they could-kvetching the whole time. Baseball was supposed to be played under the summer sky to the sound of birds chirping and children laughing. It was simply a cryin’ shame to have the Gophers football team play off campus like sports refugees. And OMG, football was a game best appreciated with the smell of autumn leaves in the air and hazy sunshine glinting off natural turf.
No doubt about it. Too bad the Vikings didn’t agree to playing football in the existing outdoor football stadium when they had the chance. As the Metrodome’s Wikipedia page reminds us: “The biggest stadium in the area was the University of Minnesota’s Memorial Stadium, but the Vikings were not willing to be tenants in a college football stadium and demanded a new venue.”
So the Vikings can be blamed for the Metrodome, along with a generation of indoor baseball, indoor football, and off-campus Gopher games. But, after getting what they asked for, now that the Dome is paid off and their lease is ending, they want to reverse course once again (while sticking us with the bill).
And, don’t forget 2002, when a plan was brought forward for a combined Gophers / Vikings stadium on the University of Minnesota campus. That also went down in flames. Perhaps Red McCombs’ and the NFL’s combined contribution of $155 million was a bit to cheap to be taken seriously by our legislators? When the Gophers got their act together, they ended up building a stadium for $288.5 million. Sure, construction costs go up over time, but that was 2007-09.
I don’t debate those points and, having recently seen the Metrodome under the improved lighting that goes with its new roof, it’s difficult to come up with redeeming qualities for the Metrodome other than that it’s currently inflated.
Here are a few other redeeming qualities of the Metrodome to consider:
1. It’s paid for.
2. It’s supported by a wide variety of transit options, including expanding LRT routes.
3. It’s surrounded by multi-use parking rather than 21,000 low-use parking spaces.
4. It’s a conveniently located multi-use facility used for running, rollerblading, Gopher sports practices, high school tournaments, monster truck, concerts, the Timberwolves, Final Four, and other events.
What I do take issue with is that the University of Minnesota and the Pohlad family who own the Minnesota Twins are not considered chiseling rats for wanting new facilities, but the Wilfs and the Vikings, last remaining residents of the Metrodome, are ungrateful jerks because they want a better facility too. Yeah, that’s fair.
Wow, that is some seriously purple tainted revisionist history. Here is an example of the reporting from 2006 regarding the Twins stadium:
The new $522 million ballpark would be built with a controversial 0.15 percent sales tax increase in Hennepin County that would provide $392 million for the project, with the team contributing the remaining $130 million. The sales tax would be levied without a citizen referendum.
As the day began, a small group of protesters stood outside Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s official residence in St. Paul holding signs and being greeted occasionally by honking horns from passing motorists. “It’s just horrendous,” said Carrieann Johnson of Minneapolis, who held a sign that read, “Make Carl Pohlad Use His Own Money,” a reference to the Twins owner.
Or the land dispute?
Or the Gopher stadium:
The plan for the 50,000-seat horseshoe-shaped stadium requires $10.25 million in state general fund money for 25 years and includes $35 million through a naming rights deal with TCF Financial Corp., a land swap, and a maximum per student fee of $25 per year. It does not include a memorabilia tax that would have been imposed on sports apparel and gear.
The 43-24 vote in the Senate and the 96-37 vote in the House came after hard questions were asked about the propriety of the deal as opposed to other priorities for the university, its implications on forcing indebted students to foot a portion of the bill, and the value of the land swap.
“We are using general fund dollars and a tax on students to build a sports stadium. We could have put these general fund dollars towards the mission of the university,” said Sen. Mee Moua, DFL-St. Paul, who voted against the measure. “Why is it that we cannot get a commitment from the state to provide for our students’ academic needs but we have no problem using state funding to build a new venue for a football team?”
One would have to be painfully ignorant of history that’s only 5 years old to suggest that there weren’t strong debates regarding previous stadium welfare projects.
That said, it does seem like things are a bit tougher for Zygi Wilf when dealing with the legislature. It’s almost as if the economy has changed since the last time a stadium bill was approved.
Or, perhaps this gets the point across better. Below is a look at the US Unemployment Rate by Month going back to 2002.
If you think we’re in the same political climate today as we were in when the Twins and Gophers stadiums managed to get funded, you’re looking at this through purple tainted lenses.
If I had to blame this skewed perception on any one thing, I would have to call it a blatant failure, if not intentional screwing, of the Vikings by the local media.
Make sure you have your facts straight before passing blame, Skol Girl.
In a prissy, possibly even sophomoric, attempt to not be the bought dogs of a business interest, Twin Cities media outlets have gone to the opposite extreme to paint the Vikings’ stadium quest as some kind of puppy-raping corporate greed that takes advantage of the wholesome Minnesota taxpayers and puppies everywhere. Please, think of the puppies.
It’s as if Skol Girl spent years reading only the sports page, only to find out that other sections of the paper don’t share Sid’s enthusiasm for sports stadium welfare at any cost.
While it isn’t the media’s job to cheerlead a business’s efforts, one would hope it also wasn’t their goal to shamelessly, and carelessly, topedo a business that employs 115 (not including players and coaches) tax-paying Minnesota residents.
Purple tainted glasses at work. Perhaps the reason the Zygi Wilf and the Vikings are having a hard time with the media is because they are being greedy welfare queens during a bad economy?
Saving 115 jobs (or, more specifically, keeping those jobs in Minnesota) would be great, but spending $600,000,000 public dollars to do so seems ridiculous to me. It would be cheaper to just give each of those 115 people $200,000 a year for the next 25 years to NOT work.
This stadium-related informational imbalance annoys me.
It creates a ridiculous perception of the team and encourages an anti-stadium attitude that is based on little more than economic bigotry.
Bigotry against wealthy business owners in an extraordinarily profitable industry is the worst form of bigotry. Wait a second. Is Skol Girl really calling the questioning of welfare payments to a multi-millionaire so he can increase the profitability of his business “bigotry”? Here is a reality check for Skol Girl: IT’S NOT BIGOTRY TO TELL A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE THAT HE DOESN’T NEED OUR MONEY!
In thinking about the stadium issue it reminded me of an ad campaign by Rolling Stone magazine. Feeling that the flawed perception of the magazine was hurting its ability to attract ad revenue, in 1985 Rolling Stone created an ad campaign challenging those mistaken perceptions with the reality. Guess what I’m going to do…
You’re going to correct our mistaken perceptions after making mistaken purple tainted perceptions in your piece so far? This sounds amazing.
Okay, that’s it for Part I.