The stadium hearings are still going on at the State Capitol, but there was a very, very interesting solution presented a little bit ago from a very unlikely source. (I thought I might have misheard it, but the folks at the Minnesota Vikings Fan Page confirmed that I didn't mishear it at all.)
A lot of folks from the powerful Indian gaming lobby in Minnesota have testified today, and almost all of them spoke about how it would hurt them, how it would violate their exclusivity, and the other sort of stuff that you would expect. Then a member from the White Earth Band of Ojibwa got a chance to testify, and presented a solution rather than a complaint.
The White Earth Nation would build a casino at the Arden Hills location and would fund the public portion of the stadium.
Go ahead. Read that again.
This was completely unexpected, and I'm not sure how seriously it will be taken. . .heck, if I'm Zygi Wilf, I'm on the phone with the tribal leaders right now. . .but I fail to see a problem with this. It doesn't put any new taxes out there on anybody, it preserves the exclusivity of the Indian gaming lobby and, most importantly, gets the stadium built with no worries about the team moving. The White Earth Nation operates the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, so they clearly have experience with this sort of thing.
Now, I'm sure it will also be met with what I, personally, have termed the "WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN" defense, how gambling takes advantage of addicts and things of that nature. Yes, people get addicted to gambling. I realize that. People also get addicted to alcohol, but we still have bars and liquor stores. People get addicted to fast food, too, but I don't hear anyone clamoring to shut down all of the McDonald's and Wendy's franchises in the Twin Cities, either.
You can get more details about the proposal right here.