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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why I love Prairie Pravda

I remember Tom Barnard at KQRS once saying "I would just once like to read an editorial from the Star Tribune that I couldn't have predicted."
So, this editorial title really grabbed my interest "Stadiums Give State a Competitive Boost" Well, I had to read it. And as I did, there was so much wrong with it, I decided to do an analysis:

Not even in the World Series have the Twins scored a victory as important as last weekend's triumph at the State Capitol. - True enough, they did. The taxpayers lost. Score Carl Pohlad 122, Taxpayers 0. A new open-air ballpark in downtown Minneapolis secures baseball in Minnesota for generations to come. Really? Generations? Promise? The Metrodome is one generation old. In twenty plus years, this debate will raise its head again. The benefits will flow not to team owner Carl Pohlad (he's 90) or to wealthy players (they can always find a new city), but to millions of ordinary people throughout the Upper Midwest for whom the Twins are a part of life's fabric. Believe me, the people in Tomahawk, Wisconsin do not even have a single thread called The Twins in their fabric of life. Neither do I. Without a new home the team would not have survived many more seasons in Minnesota. Maybe. So?

Bolstered also is the competitive posture of the Twin Cities. I’m holding my breath here, editor girl or boy. Make your best case! In blessing the Twins-Hennepin County project, legislators affirmed this state's intention to compete for jobs and talent in a national marketplace where people can choose their city and where amenities -- including arts and sports -- matter increasingly.Hey Shirley. I’m thinking we should move, you and me and the kids to Minnesota. Now, they have a horrible business climate, a high personal tax along with a state sales tax. The possible snowfall season is nine months long and the summertime entertainment is watching the dogfights between small airplanes and the mosquitoes. But, look, they suspend laws they’ve already passed to force their income earners to pay another tax so they can have a professional baseball team. Good enough for me. Start packing Shirley!”

The Metrodome, for all its sterile practicality, killed the poetry so essential to baseball –I KNEW something was wrong. Now I know why I never heard Frost or Tennyson at the Dome. Hey, wait a minute editorial girl or boy. If we pipe e.e.cummings into the PA. system at The Dome, well, World Series and BCS Championship-HERE WE COME! And we can waste all that citizens’ money on something else just as stupid and vapid. and to another atmospheric sport: college football. Glenn Mason is the best NCAA Division I Coach in being able to squander a third quarter lead into a losing game. This alone is why he deserves a new stadium. By also approving a new on-campus stadium at the University of Minnesota, legislators affirmed that higher-education investment is not a zero-sum proposition. Yup. Nothing increases the GPA of Gopher Basketball players as much as a bottom of the Big Ten finish in a new stadium by their football brethren. A lively and engaging sports program produces a spirit and a loyalty which, in turn, can help propel a university's popularity, academic success and economic impact. I want whatever you’re drinking, smoking ,eating.

But the Twins' victory and income earning citizens defeat was especially sweet considering their torturous stadium odyssey stretching back to 1995. Gov. Tim Pawlenty deserves credit for crafting the framework and prodding behind the scenes Oh trust me. I give him all the credit he deserves in this. House Speaker Steve Sviggum and Rep. Brad Finstad, R-New Ulm, the bill's sponsor, were stalwarts, and Senate DFL Leader Dean Johnson came through in the late innings. And seems to me that all these people, including the Timmy, are all Hennepin County residents. Whoops. No, not any of them are. And they get shared credit too. Nice of them to take a state governed by laws and make it to one governed by men and their desires.

But the real heroes sit on the Hennepin County Board. There are heroes in this? I see many victims. The real heroes are the ones who voted principles. Not these sycophants. Future generations should be especially grateful to commissioners Mike Opat, Peter McLaughlin, Mark Stenglein and Chairman Randy Johnson. They supplied the true courage and foresight. They cast the tough votes. I know it’s tough to spend other people’s money. And when you do you become a hero from doing this and encouraging others to by-pass laws? I’m sure they agonized for milli-seconds on how hard it was to force people to spend their money on something they don’t want, don’t need and will never use. They stepped forward and unfortunately found solid footing rather than a 1000 foot drop-off. where the Legislature had failed. And unfortunately did not keep failing. McLaughlin's insistence that the project benefit youth sports and libraries was important. Johnson and Stenglein built bridges to the governor and the Republican House. Ah yes, the infamous bridges to nowhere.

But Opat did the heaviest lifting. And in so doing developed hernias of the brain, ethics, morals and principles He negotiated a tough deal with the Twins and a tough luck deal for the citizens. Yup, that was some tough deal. Gave Karl only a miserly and bare bones 97% of what he wanted and 0% of what the citizens wanted. I bet Karl and Jerry Bell cursed the day they ever crossed paths with that hard negotiator Mike Opat! Obviously a graduate, with honors, of the Neville Chamberlain School of Hard Negotiations. and never wavered in placing Minnesota's future ahead of day-to-day politics. Never wavered, but certainly waffled when it came to small items such as leadership, principles, ethics, real world economics etc. "We had forgotten how to dream in this state. We need to dream. (His dream, our nightmare) We need sometimes to do the things we want to do, not just the things we have to do," he said.” Things we want to do not just the things we have to do.” Seems to me that isn’t the difference between adults and children is that adults do what they need to do and children do what they want to do. So, Opat admits he’s a child leading adults. "Not everything revolves around adding social services or cutting taxes." In your mind it involves adding things we don’t need, want, etc AND increasing taxes.

The ballpark, along with light rail, Light rail… now, we finally have the absolute clinching comparative argument that puts all debate to rest represent a turning point for Minnesota in recognizing the need to renew its civic infrastructure, he said. “Civic infrastructure”? Like the politics of meaning, gravitas, speaking truth to power and whatever the next cutsie pootsie left wing turn of phrase might be? We also hope that corner has been turned. And we hope they turn the corner right into oncoming traffic populated by runaway fuel and cement trucks, curb to curb. Life will be better in these parts with Twins baseball under the sun and stars, and with Gophers football back on campus. Minnesotans will one day appreciate these decisions. Of course we will.You know us SO well. Ignore the fact that we loathe all you pukes and what you've forced us to do. After all, don’t you know what’s best for us? We’re such idiots. Please tell me when to floss my teeth. Will you let me tie my shoes? Or, being that I’m so incompetent to run my life, will you buy me slip ons?


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