From: Ed Felien Date: 1:30am, Aug 23
For those of you still living under a rock, there is very real possibility that the voters of Minneapolis will get an opportunity to vote on whether they want to contribute $600 to $900 million to the construction of a monument to head injuries and gladiatorial combat to benefit a New Jersey developer who was just found to be guilty of swindling a partner out of $21 million.
Judge Phillip Bush took the matter under advisement and will issue a ruling sometime early next week. He asked petitioner Doug Mann for further clarification on some points. Doug Mann is a candidate for Mayor and a member of the Green Party and the Farmer Labor Association.
If Judge Bush rules in favor of the petition, grants the Writ of Mandamus and orders the City to hold a referendum on whether City money should be used to support the new stadium, it will stop the construction. The City would most certainly appeal the ruling, but in the meantime no bonds could be sold. Who would buy bonds when there was no clear agreement they would be paid by tax revenues? And, along with the faltering contribution of the State, the stadium bubble would pop.
The implications of this are profound.
Citizens of Minneapolis have twice amended the City Charter to demand the right to vote on whether funding a sports stadium is more important than basic services. They have demanded the right to be heard on this question. A practical nurse with only slight training as a paralegal, Doug Mann has taken on this challenge. His first oral argument before a district court (in what Judge Bush called “not Law School 101, but more a graduate course”) was brilliant and courageous.
If you believe in the rule of law, if you believe in the people’s right to govern themselves, then you must applaud Doug Mann’s struggle, no matter how you feel about the Purple People Eaters.
From: Jack Ferman Date: 3:52pm, Aug 24
Let all remember that the Viking sweetener deal was a Republican bill and was voted up with wide scale suburban and rural Republican votes. Go back and count who voted Yes and No. Is there a get evenski push back?
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My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and as a result have a severe morale fibre deficiency so I should not be expected to save the world.”
From: Charley Underwood Date: 5:23pm, Aug 24
So I attached only stories from the Star Tribune, since arguably the Strib has the most financial interest in getting the Wilf Crystal Palace built, after the Wilf gang, Mortenson Construction, the Ryan Companies and perhaps Dan McConnell’s guys. (Although I would absolutely LOVE to see McConnell’s boys actually building something that would provide a public good, like installing a billion dollars worth of solar panels on public buildings or sending the guys over to Pigs Eye to build an anaerobic digester.)
Anyway, I find it amusing that the Strib is finally finding all these stories newsworthy, after years of acting as unofficial huckster for the Wilf organization.
So at this point, a judge is considering a Writ of Mandamus which would force the Minneapolis City Council into following the law that requires a referendum on the billion-dollar boondoggle.
We have a Minneapolis mayor and 4 Council Members likely to loose their seats, I would argue primarily because of the unpopular stadium vote. (Samuels isn’t running for city council, since he is pursuing a Quixotic run for mayor. Colvin Roy has decided not to run again. CMs Tuthill and Hofstede have lost their DFL endorsement to others, and are likely to lose.)
We have a governor who now wonders whether we should be doing business with a guy who the judge described as a fraudster and racketeer.
We have Wilf mouthpiece Lester Bagley describing how “unproductive” it would be to look further into the Wilf integrity. So he doesn’t want anyone to be peeking into the books. (Of course it would be “unproductive,” Lester. You might not get all our public money after all.)
This is interesting, at this point. It seems to me that we might now actually be in a position that we could save a billion dollars of public money by not giving all this cash to the Wilf gang. I am hopeful.
What do others think at this point? Is it reasonable to have a little hope?
From: Chuck Turchick Date: 7:08pm, Aug 24
Jack, when you call the “Viking sweetener deal” — which I’m assuming refers to the stadium bill passed in 2012 — a “Republican bill,” you’re right and you’re wrong.
1) The bill would not have passed without Democratic votes;
2) The only person with a veto pen was a Democrat; and
3) Julie Rosen, the bill’s author in the Minnesota Senate, explained on the Senate floor how a bill passed in one chamber with no referendum override provision and a bill passed in the other chamber with a referendum override limited only to Target Cernter expenditures resulted in a “compromise” provision with an [attempted] override provision for all stadium and Target Center expenditures. Her explanation? Minneapolis City officials insisted on the broad provision, which, of course, wasn’t a compromise between the two bills at all. And the last I looked, all of those “Minneapolis officials” were Democrats.
From: Fred Markus Date: 10:28am, Aug 25
IMHO the stadium episode was a foolish and irresponsible abuse of power – plenty of blame to go around and “innocent intent” would be a laughable notion if that faux defense were attempted.
The Minneapolis political elite who drank the toxic brew offered up by the Wilf crowd and their raucus supporters – sound and fury signifying nothing intelligible – deserve the public spanking coming their way.
At heart, this is about arrogance and a wilingness to indulge in flimsy rationales clearly meant to obfuscate and deny access to legitimate public review.
Fools and their money are soon parted.