When the Minnesota Vikings stadium battle reached a fever pitch at the legislature earlier this year, it was Governor Mark Dayton who was lauded for allegedly showing tremendous leadership in ultimately securing a bill. Who knew that "leadership" was little more than the state's chief executive poking his head above his self-exiled cubicle and emphasizing we need a stadium "for the people?" I guess we've set a pretty low bar for what constitutes leadership in Minnesota state government.
When the final numbers came out, the state would be responsible for $348 million (via taxes on electronic pull tabs - a pipe dream), Hennepin County $150 million and the Vikings organization $477 million.
Apparently the Governor is less than thrilled at how the Vikings organization plans on raising a percentage of its financial obligation.
In a letter to Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf on Tuesday, Dayton expressed concerns over the team's decision to play at least one home game in London while its new stadium is built and exploration of personal seat licenses (PSLs) to help fund the team's portion of the $1 billion project.
"The project's strong support came from many regular Minnesotans, not just rich Minnesotans, because they believed the Vikings are also their team," Dayton wrote. "If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built."
Yet another area where Gov. Dayton is obsessed with the rich. If he isn't trying to co-opt their earned wealth, he's hellbent on keeping them from enjoying prime seats at an NFL game. Oh and by the way, Governor? One already has to have a solid amount of dispensable income just to be able to have a family outing to a Vikings game. Like it or not, the already exorbitant cost of an NFL excursion is not exactly conducive to "regular Minnesotans."
The Governor's letter also featured what appeared to be a stunning admission of ignorance on his part (emphasis mine).
Dayton told the Wilfs in his letter that "I am greatly distressed by these developments and the future they portend. We negotiated in good faith. Not surprisingly, given the project's magnitude and complexity, some details were not fully understood and some differences still remain. They must be resolved consistent with Minnesota standards and values."Ah yes. The old progressive Democrat mantra of "we need to pass it to see what's in it." Is it any shock that a politician who was nicknamed "The Blunderer" while in the U.S. Senate would sign a bill as a member of the executive branch of government without fully comprehending its contents?
The Vikings organization issued a prompt response to Dayton's concerns.
The Minnesota Vikings greatly appreciate Governor Mark Dayton's support for the new multi-purpose stadium for the Vikings and the State of Minnesota. However, we are disappointed by his recent letter to the team, which does not recognize a key component of the stadium agreement struck by the Vikings, State and Local leaders this past spring.Translation: Suck it up, Sally. You signed it. You live with it.
The stadium bill, and the prior term sheet, that was negotiated with the Vikings over the last two legislative sessions by the Governor's own representatives and legislative leaders, includes provisions that expressly authorize the sale of stadium builder's licenses and include the proceeds of any sale in the project budget. Stadium builder's licenses were vetted by the Legislature, testified to by Vikings and State of Minnesota negotiators, and most importantly, specifically reflected in the stadium legislation that was passed and signed by the Governor.
The Vikings look forward to discussing this issue and moving forward with the agreement that was completed after many long years of effort.
In regards to the Governor himself, the phrase "Hoist with his own petard" comes to mind.