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February 26, 2009
Teams gear up to demand "stimulus" funds
As I was afraid of, It looks like more teams are going to be following the New Jersey Nets' lead and trying to get a piece of states' federal stimulus funding for their stadium or arena projects. The Minnesota Vikings are pushing their $954 million stadium plan as "a significant jobs and economic stimulus package," while a developer in Sparks, Nevada, is arguing that an arena is "shovel-ready." Legislators in both states sounded skeptical — Nevada assemblymember Debbie Smith, who represents Sparks, told the Las Vegas Sun, "I just can't picture how the general public would think that is the best way to spend our stimulus money" — but hope springs eternal in the stadium game.
There's some talk that because many of KJ's supporters were early Obama supporters that Mayor KJ is now in position to make a similar argument for Cal Expo Arena.
I didn't vote for mayor, because I don't like KJ or Fargo, but if we squander Federal stimulus dollars on an arena when the County and City each have $50M+ deficits, I'd definitely vote to recall KJ, given a chance.
Talk about misplaced priorities.
It has been proven over and over that most jobs involved with stadium construction are not permanent and any permanent jobs created are not living wage jobs. I suppose if we just keep on building new stadiums.....
Our Minnesota legislators may be saying they oppose it now but they can not be trusted. They bypassed our state law that calls for a referendum when a new local sales tax is being considered, and that's how we ended up buying Carl Pohlad a new stadium for the Twins.
Speaking of the Twins stadium, it has been beset with problems from the beginning of the project: from purchase price of the land, to mitigating the smell of the nearby garbage burner, to the ridiculous 9 million dollar tunnel they want to construct under the stadium for bikers. These problems are the by-products of wheeling and dealing and the swift sleight of hand maneuvers of desperadoes trying to close a deal before the taxpayers find out how self-serving it is.