Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The stadium issue.

The basic idea behind the stadium debate is that a couple hundred million dollars of tax payer money ends up in the hands of pro sports owners. Clearly given that all other arguments for giving in on ownerships demands better are pretty darn good. The best argument the pro stadium crowd has is that the presence of pro sports improves quality of life. Of course this argument implies the absence of new stadiums forces teams away, and while that is a long term possibility it absolutely is not true in the short term. The second part of this though is that all substitutions for pro sports make life worse. As if a few extra camping trips or extra time at the park will make life worse. A few extra hundred dollars to spend going to the movies will make life worse. Then you get people who site the improvements of bars and restaurants within a quarter mile radius of a stadium as an economic boom. I'm sorry but I will never care about the success of individual businesses that represent at best 1% of the downtown economy. I've been to some of these bars at 5 PM on a game night they are beyond packed, if there business does not work when half the tables are filled that’s not the tax payers problem.

Then there’s my favorite argument. Everyone else is doing it, I don't recall a new stadium in New York or Los Angeles, and I don't recall a new stadium in Topeka, Kansas or Omaha, Nebraska. Those that are doing it are the cowards who lack political convictions. I'm not part of that group and most of Minnesota isn't part of that group.

I have no problem with Carl Pohlad or any other owner asking for the handout, in fact I would question them if they didn't given the success rate, but the fact that they are asking does not mean we have any obligation to ever change are stance on the issue. There is no rule that you can only say no 72 times before you have to cave.

In an era of satellite TV and the expanding role of the internet you’re not going to miss out on pro sports, and the drive to Kansas City or Chicago is not that long for those that can't live without it. It's just not government’s job to guarantee your entertainment.

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