The House That Zygi (Hasn’t) Built
It seems everywhere I go this week, I hear talk of a new Vikings stadium. As I listen to the buzz surrounding the possibility of new digs for the purple, I can’t help but think there is a better shot of Brett Favre making a comeback for the Packers than this stadium has of being funded under the current governor. You see, the great state of Minnesota has elected (and re-elected) Timmy “The Veto” Pawlenty, who likes to play a little game called, “I am going to take my ball and go home.” The short of it is Pawlenty says no to anything that even resembles a tax increase. Despite the fact he was recently beaten at his own game, T-Paw simply will not budge.
Just to be clear, I am whole-heartedly in favor of the Vikings staying in Minnesota. I love football and cringe at the idea of seeing another purple and gold team move to Los Angeles. However, funding a new Vikings stadium is going to take some very creative thinking. Call me cynical, but I don’t picture lawmakers joining hands and singing Kum Ba Yah any time soon.
As long as we’re on the subject of spending, oh say, $791 million dollars, maybe we should ask the powers that be a few more questions. Jay Weiner of MinnPost did exactly that. He asked 13 insightful questions that very few of us have even begun to consider. The entire article is a worthwhile read, but for the sake of time, here is a sample:
9. Where are the “social responsibility” pieces of any deal?
Affordable tickets? Commitment to public transit? (If it’s at the Dome site, LRT [Light Rail Transit] is already in place.) Commitment to no TV blackouts? Affirmative action for the work force?
The Twins/Hennepin County deal provides funding for youth sports and libraries. That’s good.
In today’s Pioneer Press, there is a troubling story about cuts in junior high school sports. For the moment, let’s set aside all the other needs in the state. (For a moment.) And just focus on sports. Do we want a community in which we are whipping up a $700 million to $1 billion pro football stadium deal, but in which we can’t afford to cover the costs of junior high sports for boys and girls who really need it?
If I were asked to predict the future, I would say there will be a new Vikings stadium. On the other hand, I don’t think anything will be decided any time soon. For better or worse, these things move slowly…just like Brett Favre’s retirement plans.