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March 23, 2012
Minneapolis council still holding firm on Vikings stadium opposition
Looks like Minnesota Vikings stadium advocates are trying to target Sandy Colvin Roy to be the Michelle Spence-Jones of the Minneapolis city council:
Stadium supporters sent in the plan's chief financial consultant and development director Chuck Lutz to meet with Colvin Roy. She said it wasn't a brow-beating.
"They didn't try to give me any pressure. Mark Kaplan and Chuck Lutz gave me the financial runs," Colvin Roy said. "Most of the pressure is coming from me internally, frankly. Because this is a very important decision for the city of Minneapolis for a very long time."
So far, from the sound of it, Colvin Roy isn't inclined to be the key seventh councilmember to provide a letter of support for the Vikings project, something the state legislature has required if it's going to even continue hearings on the matter. ("Nothing got signed today," said Colvin Roy yesterday.) If the Spence-Jones experience in Miami is any precedent, we won't see how this turns out until stadium supporters stop sending in their financial advisors and start sending in their horse traders.
"I had a knee-jerk reaction to subsidies for sports stadiums," Colvin Roy said as she left City Hall. "But I have been listening to the financial projections. I've been listening to the city attorney. I've been listening to my constituents."
Actually, it sounds like it will only be a matter of time until Colvin Roy's views 'evolve' and the stadium goes forward. In the end, it doesn't matter that the economic projections are phony and the stadium is a money-loser - that's pretty much the point of publicly funded sports palaces, isn't it? Without the massive transfer of wealth, the stadium wouldn't be a very appealing project to the boosters. Colvin Roy seems unaware of this. I expect her to be the deciding vote.
I am not even so sure she is the deciding vote. I know the pro stadium forces who are trying to shape the story make it sound that way, but when I did a count based on a story in the Strib a few weeks back, it sounded like the no votes already were a majority without Reich and Roy. Or at least, they needed Reich AND Roy. BUt this is the stadium supporters MO. They make it sound like there is just one party that needs to be swung: one council member, one council, one speaker, when in reality, a whole mass of people oppose this and they are trying to pick them off one by one, suggesting they are the only missing link.
Yes, It is a bad sign she considers the vote so momentous. It's not like saying "no" to a stadium subsidy dooms mankind or anything. None of them believed they'd be David-and-Goliath with big money to end all big money- the NFL. But they are. Governor De-Con and Mayor Flyspeck caved like a Chinese coal mine- so Sandy is face to face with the NFL and it's local stooges at high noon. Go Sandy. I'll sure work for you next time.
In "breaking news," it looks like the fig leaf has been found, views have "evolved" and the sacking of the taxpayers will begin:
"Stadium supporters claim they have a majority on Minneapolis city council"
-Star Tribune, March 26
Wow, they got *two* councilmembers to switch sides. Wonder what the quid pro quo was.
What ever they got for this, it isn't enough. My council man is Reich and I'm waiting to hear back from him. I figured he would do this since he carefully parsed his words, e.g., he will not vote for anything that violates the City Charter, but he also doesn't believe that spending $150 Million upfront and another $180 million maintenance doesn't violate the charter. It's a shame that politicians can live with themselves after lying like this.