Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It happened 25 years ago today.....

May 30, 1987.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. That evening I was going to attend a youth banquet sponsored by our church. Since we didn’t have to be to the downtown St Paul Radisson until 6:30 (and dinner wouldn’t be served until 7:30), a few us decided to meet at the Red Lobster in Maplewood. After enjoying a couple hours of food and fellowship we then got ready to head downtown. My buddy Scott had gotten a ride to the restaurant so he needed a lift to the Radisson. I was more than happy to oblige. My mom had lent me her 1985 Honda Accord for the evening. Since I was set to graduate from high school in less than a week I already had my official cap and gown. I took my “Class of 1987” tassel off of the cap and hung it on the rear view mirror of my Mom’s car (Of course, I didn’t do that until after I pulled out of the garage). Yes, I was looking forward to a fun evening.

I was following my friend, Todd, to the Radisson since I had never driven there on my own. As we were on 35E South a black, jacked-up Chevy Impala came flying up next to us. Since I didn’t want to let Todd out of my sight, I sped up so the Impala could get behind me. I didn’t want the guy to cut in front of me for fear I would lose sight of my friend. It was at that time that Scott started laughing at these guys in the Impala. Since Scott was a guy who knew so many people, I assumed the three guys in the big, black car were acquaintances. After a couple more minutes passed, I looked to my right to see three agitated occupants of the Impala, screaming obscenities and challenging us to fight. The guy in the back seat even showed us a baseball bat. At this point the driver was looking to plow us into the cement barrier which separated 35E North and South. I no longer worried about keeping up with Todd and starting concerning myself with ditching these lunatics. I deliberately did not exit off 10th Street since these guys would have easily caught us in the midst of downtown traffic. Instead, I veered off 35E South onto 94 West in an effort to ditch these guys. Seeing that, the Impala driver swerved over a couple lanes to get off the same exit and continue following us. Since I was not interested in causing an accident on the freeway, I got off the Rice St exit. As I drove north on Rice Street, I slowly pulled up to a green light figuring I would gun it through the intersection as soon as the light turned red. That way, the Impala would get caught in the traffic coming east-west through the intersection. No such luck, since there were no cars at this light.

As we continued north on Rice, we suddenly spotted a cop car in front of a café. Seeing the cop about to enter the café, I honked vigorously in an effort to get his attention but to no avail. This particular member of St Paul’s finest was safely inside. Within seconds after failing to flag down the cop, I heard a loud crash in the backseat of my car. The guy with the bat had just smashed in the rear windshield!! They then pulled up beside us with all three guys now challenging us to fight. They all had maniacal looks on their faces and were literally frothing at the mouth. I quickly took a right turn off of Rice and started heading east toward 35E. At some point, I exclaimed to Scott “What did you say to tick ‘em off??!!!” Scott said he was merely laughing at the guys. Since Scott was one of your more mischievous characters, I knew I wasn’t getting the whole story. Nevertheless, that wasn’t my immediate concern.

I was going dangerously close to 60 MPH down a side street but was still unsuccessful in shaking the Impala. In all of the chaos I came to my senses for a brief moment and told Scott to get the license plate number of the car that was again riding our bumper. Since we didn’t have a pen, he repeated it to himself over and over (“ABC 123”, “ABC 123”, “ABC 123…). That’s not the real plate number but I do in fact remember what it was, amazingly enough.

We finally got onto 35E North, and by this time we were going over 90 MPH… a Honda Accord!!! Unfortunately, we were no match for a muscle car with a V-8 engine. We were in the far left lane when the Impala pulled up beside us then in front of us. The Impala completely stopped (on the freeway, mind you), parked and the driver got out of his car and started running towards us. Absolutely petrified (good thing I was wearing a dark suit that night), I did what any scared-out-of-his-mind 18-year old would do: I put the car in reverse and started driving backwards….ON THE FRIGGIN’ FREEWAY!!! I was literally going 25-30 MPH in reverse with cars swerving to avoid me as they were driving north. After going in reverse for about 50 yards, I pulled onto the shoulder. I told Scott “We are not moving one inch until they drive away. If they want a piece of us they’ll have to come get us.”

After evading the lunatic driver, he and his two cohorts got back in the car and got off the Larpenteur Ave exit. I then got back on 35E north and went home to St Paul via 694. I didn’t want to take the chance of those maniacs finding us again driving on a side street.

I arrived back home trying to explain to my Mom what had happened. We then called the police, who came to our house to take our statement. Thankfully they were able to track down the perpetrators with the license plate number we gave to them. As it turned out, the three guys were brothers. Interesting gene pool, to say the least.

The following Monday, Scott was in school when one of his fellow students informed him that John Doe wanted to kick his butt. Scott was perplexed since he didn’t know John Doe. The other kid told Scott that Doe was looking for him because Scott was messing with him on the freeway over the weekend. Totally freaked out, Scott proceeded to run to the student parking lot and what do you suppose he found when he got there? You guessed it. That same black Chevy Impala. Since graduation was to take place at Scott’s school that week, he left that day and never went back. Scott even went so far to call “John” on the phone to try to reason with him. Apparently, John still hadn’t cooled down. Combine that with the fact that John’s old man came down pretty hard on him since he had to foot the bill for the broken windshield. Thankfully, Scott was able to avoid John and the certain retribution that was to come.

Out of curiosity, I decided to do a Google search on “John Doe” since I remembered his real name. Turns out, he’s married with two kids and is successful in the business world. Since he was merely a hot-headed dumb punk twenty five years ago, I won’t reveal his real name.

As for Scott, I haven’t seen him since the summer of 1999, shortly after the birth of his son. In his teens and 20s, Scott was one of those tragic figures. While he was the life of everyone’s party, a funny, talented showman, he could never avoid certain temptations in life. Things like drugs and sex always seemed to overtake Scott to the point where he would disappear from church for months at a time. I’d like to think that the birth of his son has caused him to walk the straight and narrow.

Despite the fact Scott and I didn’t hang out a whole lot in our younger years, we will be inextricably linked to a May evening in 1987.


Wrong on Wright

As a country music fan, I like Chely Wright. I believe she is an incredibly talented singer whose songs were equally fun (Sea of Cowboy Hats), heartfelt (I Already Do) and...uh....somewhat risque (Jezebel).

So two years ago I didn't suddenly dislike Wright's music when she publicly announced that she is a homosexual. Naturally many cultural elites focused their attention on the country music industry, waiting to pounce on their alleged intolerance.

Leave it to Oprah's buddy Gayle King to finally just come out and say it (Emphasis mine).

The Obama-supporting anchor targeted the country music industry for supposedly giving Wright the cold shoulder: "I'm a little disappointed and surprised by the reaction of the country music industry....they do seem, Chely, to have rejected you, ever since you came out."

King also gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up the musician's new documentary about her "coming out process." The CBS personality gushed, "Chely Wright, I have to say, your documentary took my heart and ripped it out a couple times when I was watching you."

The close associate of Oprah Winfrey previewed the Wright interview: "When she opened up about being gay, the door to country music stardom closed.

As I said at the outset, I personally love Wright's music. Unfortunately not enough other people do but it has nothing to do with her being gay. You see, Wright came out only two years ago. However, she hasn't had a top 40 hit since 2004, including her last four singles which didn't even chart. Wright isn't so much shunned from the industry for being gay as much as she's just not a big draw anymore. It's business.

For whatever reason, country music has seen scores of artists burst onto the scene only to vanish in less than five years. Does anyone happen to recall the names Wade Hayes, David Lee Murphy, Ty Herndon(Whoops. He's gay - ed.), Jeff Carson, Doug Supernaw and Bryan White? All topped the country charts in the mid-90s (around the same time Wright burst onto the scene) but none had any real success once the 21st century rolled around.

Maybe the country music industry also has a vendetta against heterosexual white males.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back to the way it was

Today, after 18 months of contract work, I begin a new venture in the permanent employment milieu! Yes, over a one week span I endured several interviews and meetings with various members of a certain downtown Minneapolis firm, which finally resulted in an official offer on May 17.

While I felt I represented myself very well in every step of the screening process, I didn't take for granted that I was a shoe in for the job. You see, I've been in similar situations in the past where I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going to be hired by a company only to be usurped by another candidate. As such, it was extremely difficult to get geared back up for the job I was actively working due to my becoming so emotionally invested in leaving. I was careful not to make that mistake this time. In fact, I took great comfort in the promise that the Lord sees the end from the beginning, meaning if this endeavor wasn't meant for me the ideal scenario will eventually come along. Combine that with the fact that family and close friends were offering up prayers on my behalf, I was at total peace as I awaited word on the final decision.

I don't mind telling you that when I received an official offer letter to join this company, I shed tears of joy! Months of uncertainty that accompanied working on a contract basis (I was inactive 14 weeks over the past year-and-a-half) can finally be put to rest. And some of the perks that go along with my new venture are pretty nice, too. There is an express coach bus I can take to and from my workplace, which means less wear and tear on my vehicle and no commuting nightmares! I also love the atmosphere of downtown Minneapolis, as I will be a mere three blocks from Target Field. But most of all, I feel confident in the fact I will enjoy my new co-workers.

To God be the glory.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Still many just don't understand about the reasons we are free....

It's the Memorial Day edition of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, as I will be hosting The Closer from 1:00 until 3 PM Central today. As such, I will be paying my respects to our fallen heroes by exercising one of many constitutional rights which they fought to protect.

In the first hour I will pay tribute to one soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice in July 1970 while serving in Vietnam. James Robert (Bob) Kalsu, Sr. (who played for the NFL's Buffalo Bills in 1968) was the first professional athlete to be killed in combat. You can hear his remarkable story as I am tentatively scheduled to be joined by Bob's widow Jan and daughter Jill.

December 2004 - Pointing out Bob Kalsu's name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

In the second hour we'll take a look back at the news week that was, which includes endorsement battles at the local level, lawsuits filed by the Catholic church and a certain vapid daughter of a former GOP Presidential candidate.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss any of the topics I plan on addressing. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....


Friday, May 25, 2012

Box Score of the Week

Going back to June 27, 1986 at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium where the Reds hosted the San Francisco Giants.


Giants infielder Robby Thompson set a rather inauspicious record by getting caught stealing four times in four attempts in this game, which is a record that still stands today.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Snobby misdirection

Leftist elites are quite snobbish about education. Their cohorts can be miserable failures in a given endeavor but somehow they're supposed to be given a pass because of their hoity toity Ivy League education (of course, that courtesy was not extended to Harvard grad George W. Bush, the only President to ever receive an MBA).

I point that out as I refer you to the Star Tribune's "Letter of the Day" Tuesday.

State Rep. Kurt Bills, newly endorsed by the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate race, is quoted as saying "we sent a lawyer, a community organizer and a comedian to Washington, D.C., and we get an economy that looks like it does today."

The line is cute, "quippy" and closely follows the Republican playbook established years ago by Karl Rove. In football, it is called a misdirection play. In politics, it says that when your qualifications are nowhere near those of your opponent, go personal and cute while avoiding actual résumé or accomplishment comparisons.

The avoidance/misdirection here is the omission of the qualifications of that lawyer (Sen. Amy Klobuchar), community organizer (President Obama, who's actually a lawyer, too) and comedian (Sen. Al Franken).

The three possess undergraduate degrees, respectively, from Yale, Columbia and Harvard. Klobuchar's and Obama's law degrees come from the University of Chicago and Harvard, respectively. And none of these individuals received a legacy admission.

Depending on the source, the lowest-ranked of those five degrees is Harvard Law, at No. 5 nationally. Franken, with his undergraduate degree from the No. 2 undergraduate university in the United States (No. 2 in the world) is really pulling down the average here.

Bills' alma mater, Winona State University, is a nice local school that doesn't attract the same caliber of student and whose graduates would be better served not denigrating people whose academic accomplishments dwarf their own.

ed.- I'm calling "fake name"), MINNEAPOLIS

The letter writer offered up a stunning display of irony here when he called Bills' attack a "misdirection play." Notice he does not refute Bills' assertion of the lefty triumvirate's dismal performance in handling the economy but instead diverts attention to the three's allegedly superior educational background.

The writer also goes on to make a definitive statement when saying a small school like Winona State doesn't attract the "same caliber of students" as an Ivy League school. To me, that's irrelevant. It's what a college graduate makes of his/her post-education life regardless of which college he/she attends. Ah, but in the writer's world, it's an empirical fact that someone who graduates from Harvard at, say, age 20 is somehow superior to a person who graduates from tiny Eureka College in central Illinois. With that in mind, the writer's logic would have you believe that "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski's accomplishments dwarf those of Ronald Reagan.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Bussin' it

Picture this: A 40-something Minnesota educator decides to jump into the political fray and challenge a popular, well-funded incumbent US Senator. Using a grassroots campaign, the upstart candidate makes campaign stops throughout the state in a custom school bus.....and emerges victorious.

Think that's a stretch?

Well, that exactly what happened in 1990 when college professor Paul Wellstone knocked off incumbent Senator Rudy Boschwitz.

Yes, I know the parallels aren't exactly the same, as Wellstone was a far left Democrat and 2012 GOP endorsed candidate (and HS economics teacher) Kurt Bills is a libertarian-ish Republican. But like Wellstone, Bills is going to have to rely on a strong grassroots backing in a effort to to overcome the well-funded and well-liked Senator Amy Klobuchar, all while making the rounds in "The Liberty Bus."

But the most interesting aspect of this contest will be the MN Ron Paul supporters, of whom a large majority worked to get Bills the endorsement. The Paul supporters, for the past several years, have been the proverbial dog chasing the the car down the country road but never catching it. However, one always wonders what would happen if the dog catches the car. Well now that has happened. The Paul supporters have their preferred Republican candidate running in a high profile national race. And as they're about to find out, winning a party endorsement and claiming victory in a statewide election are two entirely different animals. If the MN libertarian contingent is going to put Bills over the top, there will definitely have to be broader appeal. That won't happen if they revert to the tactics of claiming that their candidate's detractors hate liberty and the Constitution.

 As usual, stay tuned!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

I got shot through a space not long ago, I thought I knew the place so well.....

Back from a well-deserved week off, I am back for this week's edition of The Closer from 1-3 pm Central.

It was quite a weekend at the MN GOP state convention, so I'll spend much of the first hour rehashing the events. Perhaps the biggest news of the weekend was Kurt Bills securing the Republican nomination to oppose Sen. Amy Klobuchar this fall. Bills should join me sometime during the initial hour of the program (UPDATE: Bills to join the program via phone at 1:30!).

In the second hour I'll take a look at the end of the MN legislative session as well as the latest on the gubernatorial recall efforts in Wisconsin.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss any of the topics I plan on addressing. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....


Friday, May 18, 2012

Live from the MN State GOP convention!

I plan on tweeting the festivities, so please check out my twitter feed - @Brad_Carlson


Box Score of the Week

Recently Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in one game for the Texas Rangers. With that in mind, let's take a look at a game from 1993 where the St. Louis Cardinals' Mark Whiten went deep four times against the Cincinnati Reds.


When Josh Hamilton hit four home runs a week-and-a-half ago, it seemed to be a statistical anomaly when the same teammate (in this case, Elvis Andrus) was on base all four times. However, the same thing happened in September 1993 when the Cards' Mark Whiten went deep four times ---- teammate Gerald Perry scored in front each occasion.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

MN Senate endorsement

I'm of the same mindset as Mitch Berg and Mark Heuring when it comes to political endorsements in that no one really cares what I think. I find it laughable that I've received inquiries from the three campaigns wanting to publicly announce my support for their guy. Like that would carry any weight.

But since I'm a delegate to the MN GOP state convention this weekend, I'm going to have to cast a vote for one of the three candidates vying to oppose Sen. Amy Klobuchar this fall. So which candidate will receive my support?

Why, whichever one receives the actual endorsement of course.

Here's my strategy: On the first ballot, I will cast a vote for Candidate "A." When the results of the first ballot are announced and, say, Candidate "B" receives 56% of the vote (60% is needed for endorsement), I will switch my support to Candidate "B" to expedite the endorsement process. After all, the bottom line is to coalesce behind one candidate and move forward in ousting Klobuchar.

As I've alluded to previously, it's been a rather contentious atmosphere amongst the supporters of Dan Severson, Pete Hegseth and Kurt Bills. I'd rather save my invective for a Democrat, thanks very much.


Monday, May 14, 2012

John and Mary

No, I'm not referring to the 1969 Romantic Drama featuring Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow. Actually I'm alluding to a dramatic back and forth amongst Minnesota politicians named "John and Mary" which had none of the romantic overtones of its cinematic namesake

A very public war of words is brewing between two popular and controversial Minnesota House Republicans.

Over the weekend, Rep. John Kriesel logged onto Twitter to share parts of a bitter letter sent to him by Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer. In it, she wrote that the war veteran has “no courage.”

The frustration appears to have stemmed from the Vikings Stadium passage.

Kriesel sat in the front row when the Vikings bill was signed, which is a major accomplishment of his short legislative career. And he says for anyone to say he’s running away from it, or anything else, is absurd.

“I think to say that that’s not the reason I am not running is crazy,” said Kriesel.

But that’s exactly what fellow Kiffmeyer said. She’s telling voters the stadium bill was “forced” through the legislature — and Kriesel says that’s a “lie.”

While I have always disagreed with Kriesel's support of a Vikings stadium, I believe it's Kiffmeyer who's in the wrong in this war of words. Kriesel had been a proponent of the stadium from day one but never hinted of not seeking reelection until the past couple of months. As Rep. Branden Petersen told me via Twitter, Kriesel has never been concerned with political expediency as indicated by his support for the stadium as well his objections to the MN Marriage Amendment (he was one of only four House Republicans to vote "No" on putting the amendment on November's ballot).

Also, I was rather put off by Kiffmeyer's assertion that Kriesel lacked courage in not being willing to seek reelection, thus he wouldn't face the music for his stadium support. Any person who has lost both legs (as Kriesel did in Iraq in 2006) while fighting on behalf of our country can hardly be accused of backing down from a fight. Given that his military obligations, subsequent injuries and time in the Legislature over the past 5-6 years has put a heavy burden on his wife and two young sons, Kriesel decided that he owed it to his family to take a step back. I don't doubt for one second that was the catalyst for his decision.

Still seething from Kiffmeyer's criticism Sunday, Kriesel said via Twitter (tongue-in cheek, I'm assuming) that he would consider taking out a second mortgage on his house to donate to Kiffmeyer's opponent. Upon reading that, my pal Sheila Kihne zinged with "Well, that type of funding-mechanism would certainly fit nicely with your Vikings stadium financing logic."

I only wish Kiffmeyer had stuck to the issue at hand in that same fashion.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Box Score of the Week

We're going "new school" this week as we look at the Cubs-Reds game from just last week.


This matchup marks the first time in MLB history where both starting pitchers (Ryan Dempster and Homer Bailey) were celebrating a birthday.


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

With gay abandon.....

My sense is President Obama had decided some time ago that he was no longer opposed to same-sex marriage.

I recall a press conference he conducted around Christmas 2010, just after the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The President was asked by ABC's Jake Tapper if it's "intellectually consistent to say that gay and lesbians should be able to fight and die for this country, but they should not be able to marry the people they love?"

Even then the President said he struggled with the issue and that his long-time stance of opposing gay marriage was "evolving."

But he made it official Wednesday

Mr. Obama had been under intense pressure this week to lay out a clear stance on same-sex marriage after Vice President Joe Biden and other top advisers endorsed it. Mr. Obama said that after years of lengthy discussions with friends and family, including his wife and two young daughters, he now "personally" believes gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.

"I've been going through an evolution on this issue. I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally," Mr. Obama said in a television interview with ABC. "At a certain point I've just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

The timing is very interesting given that voters in North Carolina, a key swing state in the November election, overwhelmingly passed an amendment Tuesday which defined marriage as only between one woman and one man.

But overall, will this really harm Obama politically? Hard to say for sure. Despite the majority of Obama's largest constituency (the black community) being opposed to gay marriage, I don't see enough of them peeling away support to make much of an impact.

However, it will be interesting to see what happens in other key swing states like Florida and Ohio. In the sunshine state, which stance will Hispanics (the majority of whom are social conservatives) issue the larger rallying cry? Obama's gay marriage support or Mitt Romney's hard line position on immigration? Ohio, on the other hand, could be more problematic for the President. A recent poll showed only 35% of Ohioans surveyed favor same-sex marriage while 52% oppose it.

This fall, three states --- Minnesota, Maryland and Washington --- all have a marriage amendment of the ballot. While it is sure to draw a lot of social conservatives to polls, I find it difficult to believe that any of those states will flip to the "R" column as a result.

In the end, the President making such a declaration has little affect on me personally. Whether he's for or against same-sex marriage, Obama will never get my vote.


Monday, May 07, 2012

Circular firing squads

I've said for some time now that we in the Minnesota GOP have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to US Senate candidates. Truth be told, I like 'em all. And the advantage of having a radio talk show is I can use it as my own personal vetting process, as Dan Severson, Kurt Bills and Pete Hegseth have all appeared as guests on my program.

As I write this, I have yet to make a firm decision as to whom I will endorse come the state convention in 11 days. But if I had to rely on any of the three candidates' supporters to make their case via Twitter, I would truly be lost. Over the past few weeks, the proverbial circular firing squads amongst the three camps has reached a fever pitch as some tweets are delving in to the ad hominem attacks. Instead of touting the strengths of the candidate they support, the rhetoric all too often is how the other two candidates suck pond water.

With that in mind, I would like to ask a simple question of the supporters in each camp: What attributes drew you to the Senate candidate you're supporting? If it's because you truly believe the other two guys are duds, then so be it. But if there's a leadership attribute or policy stance or set of core values that really fired you up, then let's hear it!!! There are still GOP delegates to the state convention (myself included) who are willing to be convinced.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

It seems like yesterday, but it was long ago....

Happy Seis de Mayo! To celebrate, I plan on convening to the AM 1280 bunker for yet another installment of The Closer, which will air from 1:00 pm until 3:00 CT.

In addition to looking back at the week that was in political news, I'll also look ahead to what is sure to be an action-packed final week of the MN legislative session. As such, I will be joined by Rep. Branden Petersen at 1:30. Petersen was a chief co-sponsor of an education bill to repeal "last-in, first out," which protects teachers with the most seniority when school districts are hit with layoffs. Said repeal measure was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. Oh, and don't be surprised if a certain pro sports stadium enters the conversation.

Then at 2:30 I will be joined by baseball wonk Corey Ettinger to talk of the wretched play of the 2012 Minnesota Twins and if there's any hope for the immediate future.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss any of the topics I plan on addressing. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....


Friday, May 04, 2012

Box Score of the Week

Let's go back to May 15, 1989 when the Chicago White Sox visited Tiger Stadium to take on the Detroit Tigers.


Last Sunday the St. Louis Cardinals lost at home to the Milwaukee Brewers with the final out being recorded when Cards base runner Tyler Greene was caught trying to steal home. The last time an MLB game ended in such a manner? May 15, 1989 in the White Sox-Tigers game I referenced above.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Air of inevitability

Regarding the Vikings stadium, I have been saying from day one that the MN Legislature will figure out a way to jam it down the collective throats of Minnesota taxpayers. And despite a setback for the pro-stadium folks Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning, it appears the momentum has been reestablished.....for now.

The one thing that has rankled me throughout this whole process is how Gov. Mark Dayton has called this the "people's stadium." Well if that is really the case, why not have "the people" who use it actually pay for it?

Earlier this week, I heard a proposal along that line which actually might make some sense.

An unlikely trio of Minnesota senators has been pushing for a new twist in Vikings stadium financing: user fees.

The issue nearly derailed the stadium last week, after a proposal for a sales tax from DFL Sen. Tom Bakk morphed into a measure that put the entire bill for state share of the Vikings stadium on fans and spectators.

The issue actually prompted the Senate Taxes committee to adjourn at one point, because no one had any idea of the burden the user fees might represent. Now, it looks like they have an idea: Sen. John Howe, R-Red Wing, said an 18 percent levy on stadium activities -- including the Vikings share of NFL TV revenue -- would more than cover it. He said he's been working with Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, and Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, to refine the idea.

Howe said this afternoon that an estimate from the Minnesota Department of Revenue may even lower the user tax.

"Right now, it's an 18 percent user fee, to make [the state's stadium funding share] 100 percent user based, and we wouldn't have to do the charitable gambling electronic pull tabs," Howe said. "We're waiting to get that revenue estimate back, but it looks like it'll be less than 18 percent."

I still say that even facilitating the logistics for funding a sports stadium goes beyond the scope of government. However, if indeed a Vikings stadium is inevitable (like I believe it is) then why not enact a veritable "you use it, you pay for it" plan? Naturally the Vikings are not thrilled with this idea since there is a maximum amount for which they would charge fans for tickets. User fees would certainly eat in to their profit margin.

For the latest on this issue and where it goes from here, I direct you to Mr D's post from Wednesday evening.