Is it Worth Speaking at Vikings Stadium Public Hearings?

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.

Just wondering….


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?

One thought on “Is it Worth Speaking at Vikings Stadium Public Hearings?”

  1. Was pondering what would I say if I had my 3 minutes–
    1–This Arden Hills proposal is a preposterous waste of limited gov’t resources and an complete over-reach of an even more limited Ramsey County (for all the reasons already expressed, so I feel no call to repeat them in my 3 minutes).
    2–Instead I’d call to question ‘what is the better use of limited government money toward incenting jobs and community’…
    —–2b–I’d say IF big money needs to be spent it should not be–
    (a) on out of state owned businesses that would drain any income off the top away from the community, and
    (b) spent via out of state owned BANKS that would also drain any “interest” and “fees” off the top away from the community.

    3–Toward those ends, before any big money gov’t spending is considered, beforehand or as part of this effort–
    (a) a State Bank of Minnesota should be set up based on the successful State Bank of ND model to ensure the banking funds remain in MN circulating and improving the lives of Minnesotans.
    (b) the big money spent should be required to go to Minnesotan-owned businesses that step into the next generation industries providing new jobs in new technologies and not idle entertainment or wasteful gambling which do nothing to improve our lives here.

    4–Lacking a clearcut 3b (that no green energy or medical breakthrough technology can be incented) Minnesotan-owned business can be found or even researched via the UofM, then why spend any big money that we don’t have?

    I believe my 3 minutes is up.

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