Governor Mark Dayton has his tighty whities in a bunch over the recent survey the Minnesota Vikings sent out regarding the potential use of PSL's to cover their portion of the new Vikings stadium.
As noted by the hardest working beat writer in show business, Tom Pelissero, the legislation Dayton agreed to...and signed in to law...allows for just that. The pull quote from Pelissero, which was pulled directly from the Vikings stadium bill:
On PSLs -- called Stadium Builders Licenses (SBLs) here -- there are two references that make clear the Vikings are permitted to market and sell the licenses on behalf of the newly created stadium authority:
• Subd. 2 - NFL Team/Private Contribution; timing of expenditures - (a) The NFL team/private contribution, including stadium builder's license proceeds, for stadium costs must be made in cash in the amount of $477,000,000.
• Subd. 14 - Stadium Builder's Licenses. - The authority shall own and retain the exclusive right to sell stadium builder's licenses in the stadium. The authority will retain the NFL team to act as the authority's agent in marketing and selling such licenses.
So when he whips off a letter that states, among other things, that
"The project's strong support came from many regular Minnesotans, not just rich Minnesotans, because they believed the Vikings are also their team. If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built,"
he comes off as one of two things: a political genius or a dope. And there's really no gray area here. See, because he was in on the negotiations from the beginning, he knew what was in the bill, or should have. Let's assume he knew what was in the bill, and we'll explore my 'genius' theory first.
First, let's assume he know every period, comma, and apostrophe in that bill. He knew before he wrote that letter to the Wilfs that the blurb about the PSL's was in the bill, yet wrote that letter anyway.
You evil genius, Governor Dayton. You hope that people don't remember that, during the stadium negotiations, you didn't care how the Vikings came up with their portion of the money, that you were just concerned about how the state was going to raise theirs. And they probably don't, you evil genius, you. You also just won this issue come re-election time, too.
'But Ted', you ask, 'how did he do that?'
Now that the Dems are back in control, I think he's just pandering to the base so when it comes time for re-election. He can simultaneously say that he helped to not only save the Vikings but he protected the little guy at the same time by standing up to the 'rich and powerful blah blah blah', never mind that he is one of those very same rich and powerful blah blahs himself.
That way he can secure his base while courting more moderate Republicans and Independents all in one fell swoop. It's a very smart move that puts whoever his potential opponent might be on defense right away. All they can do, whether it's in the primary or general election, is say that he/she either agrees with what the Governor did, or else he/she was in favor of the Vikings leaving or the state paying for the whole deal, essentially. Either way, Dayton just won this issue with the voters. It's pretty goddamn genius, if you ask me.
And he isn't going to the Legislature to un-do this bill he expended a ton of political capital on for something he himself approved to be in the bill.
Dayton is bluffing. He knows it and the Wilfs know it. He's just banking on most of the voters of Minnesota to NOT know it. And as disengaged as a lot of people are about the details of the stadium bill, that's a decent gamble.
He's a complete moron and didn't read the bill. And now he's pissed that he signed off on something that he didn't like and will go to the mattresses to get this out the stadium bill, to the point of nullifying the law. Could he do that? Sure, I guess he could. Like I mentioned earlier, the Democrats are back in control of both the House and Senate in Minnesota. I'm sure that people like John 'Suck It' Marty and Phyllis Khan (KKKKHAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN!!!!!) would jump at the opportunity to vote against this bill once more, but if he were to do that, that leaves the Vikings, once again, as a team with no lease in the Metrodome and essentially a free agent.
Again, he's bluffing. Because if he does, he looks like a moron. His opponents could make the argument that he was willing to sell out Minneapolis residents to pay more to get the state's financial requirement in order, yet he was okay in letting the deal die when the people that would actually go see the Vikings would have to fork over some more. That's political suicide, and he knows it.
Oh, and he would also be the Governor who was forever known as the guy that let the Vikings leave. No one is getting re-elected as governor of Minnesota if that is your most notable achievement.
Look, this is a whole lot of noise about nothing. The stadium is going to get built, the Vikings will finance this bill how they see fit within the constraints of the bill's language and under approval from the Minnesota Stadium Authority (also a Dayton entity, by the way), and the Governor will extract as much political blood from this turnip as he can between now and his re-election.
Remember kids, two things never sleep: A politician's ambition, and the engine of capitalism. It just so happens that we're dealing with both here.