Here’s a question I received via email today that I’m interested in some feedback on:
I was curious, since you come off as such a strong stadium opponent, that you did not speak at the hearing yesterday. It was open to the public.
Good question! (Reminder: Send a quarter to DeRusha.)
The short term reason was because I was in the middle of a contract negotiation with a prospective client. The deal closed today, which means that Minnesota’s economy will soon have more money to devote to Zygi Wilf.
But, longer term, I’m not convinced that testifying at hearings has the ability to sway the opinions of legislators. A truly extraordinary 3 minutes at the mic may have a shot, but in general, I think it’s more theater. Perhaps that’s a bit too cynical, but that’s my take.
I don’t have to worry about influencing John Marty, who has worked to come up with a fiscally sane plan for the Vikings stadium. A plan that was too fiscally responsible to be taken seriously by the Wilf family. People on the left who think that government can do a lot of good, but shouldn’t be meddling with subsidies for private entertainment businesses don’t need to be reminded that they are on the right side of this issue.
And, on the right, I don’t need to convince:
Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, and Kathy Lohmer, R-Lake Elmo, are members of the Minnesota House. This article was coauthored by the following Republican House members: Doug Wardlow of Eagan, David Hancock of Bemidji, Linda Runbeck of Circle Pines, Ernie Leidiger of Mayer, Bruce Anderson of Buffalo Township, Mary Franson of Alexandria, Glenn Gruenhagen of Glencoe, Ron Shimanski of Silver Lake, Kurt Bills of Rosemount, Peggy Scott of Andover, Joe McDonald of Delano, Kurt Daudt of Crown, Kelby Woodard of Belle Plaine and Sondra Erickson of Princeton.
Who penned an editorial in the StarTribune titled: State GOP leaders: New Vikings stadium not a necessity.
Then there are legislators like Rep. Morry Lanning, who doesn’t think $900 million is enough to spend on a stadium. The man criticized Minneapolis for being willing to provide $300 million toward a stadium deal, which goes to show how delusional he is. Obviously, if the guy was willing to write a check for the $693 million Zygi Wilf is demanding from the public, this would be a done deal. Instead, Rep. Lanning is holding out for a $200 million in public subsidies to build a 21,000 car parking lot in Arden Hills.
Is it really possible to influence any of these people in 3 minutes? I have my doubts. It’s the same group that shut down the government this summer due to a lack of ability to compromise.
So, instead, I dribble out some posts here that help present facts in what I hope are a clear and concise manner along with some editorializing on how stupid it would be for the public to subsidize one private business at the expense of every other locally owned business in the State of Minnesota that competes for Minnesotan’s discretionary income.
What do you think? Does speaking at hearings like yesterday’s Vikings hearing actually make a difference? If so, what’s the key to making a difference?