I had a change to run a few questions past PR pro and Vikings corporate welfare booster, Nicole Lindaman while I was in Peru. She describes herself on Twitter like this:
Govt./media relations consultant. Conservative. Web designer/social media fan. Avid hunter-sports enthusiast! Consultant for www.savethevikes.org. Go #Vikings!
Being a self-described Conservative, I figured that she would be on board with figuring out non-government financed ways to pay for a new stadium for the Vikings. Here is what I asked:
So I looked at the plan. The plan proposes $590 million in taxes to publicly subsidize the $920 million cost for Zygi Wilf’s stadium (that $920 million figure doesn’t account for the cost of road construction associated with this project):
Now, admittedly, this proposal does not refer to all of those cash extractions from the public as taxes. Some are referred to as fees. Either way, they are ways to extract money from the public to pay for a private business’ infrastructure. Apparently, that’s the key to calling oneself a conservative while proposing new taxes on the public. (BTW, NRSC = National Republican Senatorial Committee.)
So, I asked again:
She also responded to this one:
I found that refreshing. While Nicole Lindaman claims to be a Conservative, she was willing to admit that welfare for the Vikings may be required to keep the team. It’s a pragmatic approach that solves a want but not a need. However, I wouldn’t call it Conservative to admit that you’re willing to throw public money at a private company that’s perfectly capable of building their own entertainment facilities, or using the one that’s already paid for. Or, does Nicole’s definition of conservative mean picking winners rather than letting the market decide?
We also differentiated on whether the term “welare queen” is an appropriate description for Zygi Wilf, a guy who is begging for $600 million dollars in public financing:
I also asked Nicole about taxpayer funding for the stadium. I thought this would be a pretty clear question:
She has a kind of a point there. A really sleazy point. Rather than asking the state to raise taxes to pay for a stadium for Zygi Wilf, the Save the Vikings crowd is asking the state to create an entirely new source of revenue: a Racino. Then, the Save the Vikings crowd is asking the state to give the profits from said Racino to the Vikings. See? Not a new tax. It’s simply a redistribution of wealth from the elderly and gambling addicts to Zygi Wilf.
Sure, this same tactic could be used by the state to raise new revenue for the general fund, but the Save the Vikings crowd has decided that they deserve it more than public universities, special education students, and people without health care. This isn’t exactly a lie on Nicole Lindaman’s part. It’s just misleading PR talk.
I learned a bit more about where Nicole Lindaman stands on the issue when she retweeted this Tweet from @savethevikesorg’s Cory Merrifield:
Again, Nicole Lindaman claims to be a conservative while supporting a position that’s out of line with the MN GOP’s own position on gambling expansion. As a reminder, here is the MN GOP platform’s position on gambling:
Limit the Influence of Gambling in our State
We seek to eliminate all state-sponsored gambling and oppose any expansion of gambling in Minnesota. In regards to casinos already in place, current gambling laws should be changed so that Minnesota is allowed to tax profits and revenue of tribal casino gambling in the state.
Apparently, it’s okay to support gambling in special cases, such as when the money goes to Zygi Wilf and not to Native Americans.
During my conversations with Nicole, I was also tweeting with @mnsotapop, who feels that the public costs of a stadium are justified as long as they publicly subsidize the cost of him bringing his son to a pro football game. I thought that was ridiculous. He asked me what I thought were justifiable public expenses, to which I responded with “healthcare, infrastructure, and education. Not entertainment welfare.” Nicole Lindaman decided to respond to that tweet:
I responded to that tweet with this:
And that’s the last I heard of Nicold Lindaman.
What did I learn from this? That there are people who are willing to support a millionaire’s dream of becoming a billionaire, no matter what the cost to the average citizen of Minnesota.