Readers of The Daily Norseman,
I received this email from a Vikes fan named Mike, and it's pretty much the best written letter, from a fan perspective, that I have ever seen regarding the Arden Hills stadium.
I want you to read this, and if you agree, sign it at the bottom as a comment. Then I want you to send this link to your friends and family, and have them send it to their friends and family, and get all of them to sign it in the comments section as well. We need to open the eyes of the political leaders in St. Paul, and we need to do our part to get this stadium bill passed once and for all.
I want to get as many people to sign this in the comments section as I can, and I'm going to mail this link to Sen. Koch and Speaker Zellers. Let them know a lot more people support the stadium than oppose it.
I'm writing you today asking for you to reconsider your stance regarding the stadium bill. While I admire your attempt to "take a stand" against the additional tax burdens to the people of Minnesota, I strongly feel it's short-sighted and symptomatic of the politics-as-usual that has lead to unprecedented distrust and lack of confidence in those who "lead" us. I enthusiastically support fiscal restraint, and I'm in absolute agreement with strong budget reforms addressing the issues that plague the people of Minnesota, and the people of our great nation for that matter.
With that being said, I'm thoroughly confused over your stance on the stadium bill.
I'm weary of the tired rhetoric hinting at corporate welfare and reductionistic political statements claiming the stadium only benefits those who will go to the games, or the economic impact of a stadium only benefits a small area around Arden Hills. While we all commonly talk about learning from history, I'm befuddled that you, our politicians, insist we repeat it.
Do you remember all the conversation following the North Stars move to Dallas? Do you remember all the conversation as to why it was beneficial for St. Paul to get the Wild? Remember all the conversation about the Timberwolves and the Target Center? Don't you still hear the enthusiasm about the Twins (even with a losing record) and the impact of their new ballpark?
Here's the truth that nobody will contest, professional sports generate revenue. The truth is, the State of Minnesota will get all, and more, of it's investment back. The truth is, in tough economic times it means all that much more to gather with family and friends to simply enjoy a baseball game, a basketball game, a football game, or a hockey game whether it be in person, or in our living rooms...do you not see great value in that? While other citizens laud you for your stance against raising taxes, so many more shake their heads wondering what our politicians are thinking, if they're thinking at all.
I believe this is where where you and I may part company. I feel your responsibility is to make pioneering decisions in the best interest of our future, not to appease the political climate of the present. That's what leaders do…they LEAD. I know you feel you're doing just that, but I'm afraid out-of-touch political thinking has persuaded you to actually believe your opinion in this matter is somehow the best thing. This reactionary style of leadership simply leaves me scratching my head along with every other rational and logical tax payer.
You see, this kind of leadership over the past decades is how we've got into this mess. Our politicians used to make investments in things that benefited the people whether it be in the form of infrastructure improvements, different kinds of incentives, or great policies promoting growth and competition. Now politicians are known for pet policies, entitlements, inefficient programs, political polls and maneuverings. We need politicians who have the guts to lead, to fight the right battles, and to stop pandering to a lack of vision.
If you want to do something helpful, make certain this bill passes with the proper provisions to our benefit. For example, write into the bill a guarantee the tax be repealed when the state has earned it's investment back (including the interest accrued). Take the time to remember our history by reviewing what the North Stars, the Wild, the Twins, and the Vikings and others have contributed economically over the years, and educate those who mistakenly see this bill as form corporate welfare. Help people understand the principle of what's good for Arden Hills is also good for St. Paul, which is also good for Ramsey County, which is also good for the State of Minnesota.
Don't undervalue and dismiss the intangible benefits of celebration, gatherings, water cooler conversations, laughter, hot dogs, and shared experiences, especially in these times. Help restore trust that our politicians are truly for the people and not a just group of myopic figureheads. I truly hope you will help lead us in this matter, and I believe you have it in you. I was always told, "Do what's right even at the expense of yourself."
Please think big...so few politicians do that anymore.
Respectfully from a FAN of the great State of Minnesota,