Why do you text while driving, people doing good, more embracing winter, should federal law pre-empt Minnesota gun laws, and voices from Egypt.
Some eyebrows were raised a few weeks ago when the Minnesota Timberwolves hired several lobbyists to work the
Capitol crowd this session. Today we found out why.
The City of Minneapolis and the Timberwolves today unveiled a $150 million dollar renovation plan for Target Center.
That makes the $8 million for renovations in Gov. Mark Dayton's bonding proposal yesterday petty cash by comparison. It also makes it a long shot to get any more funding from the state, try as city and team officials did today.
First, the Timberwolves aren't threatening to move. Second, few people would care if they did. That perhaps is the reason why an afternoon news conference stressed the non-Timberwolves events. Only 25 percent of the events at Target Center are Timberwolves games, they said.
The officials used the term "renovations" during the news conference -- conjuring up the notion of a little tweaking here and a little tweaking there. But the proposal is actually a gutting of the current 20-year-old facility.
If those look familiar to you, you've probably been to Target Field. The proposal stresses plenty of glass, and a few restaurants, more premium seating, more corporate sponsorship opportunities.
Timberwolves owner Glenn Taylor did not indicate how much the team would contribute to the project.
Live-blog of the news conference follows:
1:08 p.m. - Mayor R. T. Rybak: "It's time to move forward. Minnesota is a state of practical people making tough decisions. He says the building represents Minnesota values. Says to make the building competitive, the state needs to invest in it.
"We saw what happened when Target Field opened. It electrified the city. It brought in revenue to the state."
1:12 p.m. - Council President Barbara Johnson says the renovation will relieve the taxpayers of Minnesota.
1:13 p.m. - Steve Mattson, of the company that manages Target Center , says 37% of "non-game event" tickets are sold to people outside the city.
1:15 p.m. - Glenn Taylor, owner of the Timberwolves. Says he's seen the financials on other NBA teams. "It would be nice to have a brand new facility, but I'm a Minnesotan who served in the Legislature. And I'm a taxpayer. We never brought up the idea of a new building. It's prudent, as an owner and taxpayer, that it's best to take advantage of a building already built.
1:20 p.m. - Sam Grabarski, Minneapolis Downtown Council, says keeping the Timberwolves competitive (Bob notes: the TWolves haven't been competitive in years and it's not the building's fault) is important.
1:22 p.m. - Todd Klingel, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce. "The state has a $7 million investment in Target Center; it's received back over $120 million in revenue. It's proven itself to have value while it's still in a strong state. It's the right time because financing is at historic lows, construction costs are at historic lows.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: Any conversation with people at the Legislature?
A: Rybak: "Yes, but they're just beginning."
Taylor: "We'll participate in this and we'll be up front in the conversations about how much we'll contribute to it."
Q: How will renovations make Target Center self sufficient?
A: Steve Mattson: The building is in a deficit. How will it keep us relevant. You've got to do the things the clients are asking you to do. These renovations will address those issues.
Rybak: "The return of investment of the building does not take place solely inside the building."
Q: Have you talked to the Vikings and Saints about combining on one bill?
A: Rybak: Only in general terms. It's early on that conversation.
Q: What's the $8 million from Gov. Dayton for?
A: Rybak: There's ongoing maintenance on the building. State money goes toward those projects. It's for right now. What's in the bonding bill is different than what we're talking about today.
We could wait until the building is obsolete and come back with a proposal like they did in Orlando -- a $480 million arena.
Q: What are you renovating?
A: Mattson: In the last several years, you've seen arenas open up the walls so you can feel energy. The mockup (above) is exactly that, capturing stairwell space and widening out the building.
Q: How long would this take?
A: The dollars reflect not shutting the building. 15-18 months.
Q: How long will the arena be competitive.
A: Rybak: The market is moving past us, there's no way to answer that. It's a 15-20 year vision for this building. It'll get us on a par with communities who have spent more.
Q: Is this why the Democrats chose Charlotte for their national convention?
A: Rybak: No.
Q: What do you say to taxpayers who are losing services?
A: Rybak: We cannot be in a position to put more property tax dollars into this because they cannot compete with the basic services of police and fire and fixing potholes. But it would be irresponsible to let this building deteriorate. There are many people having to make difficult decisions about their house; we do that to. Now is the time to put together a partnership that dwarfs what we'd have to do if we didn't.
Budget, cuts in child protection, same-sex marriage, guns, voter ID, abortion -- they've all put in an appearance in one fashion or another at the Capitol this year. When is the Vikings stadium going to make an appearance?
The new majority has a member to carry a Vikings stadium bill, but it hasn't been filed yet. It will eventually.
As with Target Field, the goal is to (a) make more money by (b) making it more expensive for you to attend. The trick is figuring out (c) how to make you not mind.
MPR's Tim Nelson has a story today that examines some of the ways this is going to be done.
Tomorrow on MPR's Midmorning, we're going to discuss all of this and, hopefully, say something about public financing of stadiums that hasn't been said before.
The guests are:
Ted Mondale, chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission
Judith Grant Long, associate professor of urban planning at Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Neil deMause, co-author of "Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit"
I'll be live-blogging the hour to provide your analysis. Supply it in the "comments" section below.
To lead us off, here's a study issued last year on sports franchises and the economic impact of communities. It finely details the various details that teams get.(20 Comments)
We posed the question to sources in our Public Insight Network, on Facebook and online: Who are you?
The responses we received offer a fascinating glimpse into how we define ourselves even as the definitions themselves change:
Who I am is as old as America. Mixed race: while it is being acknowledged in ways that are slightly different, it is nothing new. Why only now are we talking about the mixed composition of people's complexion and ethnicity when it has been the reality for most Americans, especially African Americans for the past 400 years? I am--my son is America. We come from the African and European Diasporas as well as the indigenous peoples of this continent. People will call my son and I African American. It seems that we should not have to talk about this, but in America, we do. The discussion continues.
-Clarence White, St. Paul (he blogs here)
I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. I moved with my family in 1997 when I was 16 and I have lived in Rochester and now in Burnsville. I'm married to a girl from Mexico as well and we have four children we are a very traditional family with very strong Spanish background. We have adopted the American culture as our own and we are teaching our children to understand and to care for both cultures, the Spanish and the American, so they can benefit from this changing environment and take advantage of the opportunities of being multicultural as I have. We also own a small business so we teach our children to work hard and reach their goals and do their part to live the American dream. -Luis Magallon, Rochester
I am a Lebanese Christian American woman married to a Berber Muslim Algerian American man. In other words, an Arab Christian married to a Non-Arab Muslim. Every day of my life I am mindful of my race and ethnicity. I am extremely proud to be an Arab. Very proud of my loving, generous and hardworking immigrant husband. And very aware of the perceptions the outside world has of "people like us."
-Lorie Haddad, Minneapolis
I'm an Irish-Catholic, fourth-generation St. Paulite. Have lived in only two zip codes in my life, and they are contiguous. My Irish-Catholic ethnicity is very much tied to place--St. Paul. My parents, grandparents and nearly all my friends are from St. Paul. My baptism & first communion, my sister's wedding, and both of my parent's funerals were held in the same church (Nativity). I could never live anywhere else. -Paul Bard, St. Paul
I am a white Minnesotan of Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Kentuckian descent whose Scandinavian relatives have farmed in this area for over five generations (there is even a family cemetery in southern Minnesota) and whose rapscallion relatives have roamed the Iowan countryside teaching and inciting subtle feminism. I am a linguist and returned Peace Corps volunteer. I am a teacher of English to immigrants and refugees. I am an atheist and secular humanist. I am the mother of a nine-month-old baby whose father is half Mexican, half French Creole but considers himself simply American.
-Sarah Hernandez, Plymouth
I am a student and sometimes teacher. I don't feel overwhelmingly attached to any of my ethnic backgrounds, of which there are at least four. I am American, female, raised middle class with college-educated parents. I'm the youngest of three, creative and moody, I like spicy food and I'm picky about movies. That description could fit many of my peers from many cities, no matter their convoluted combination of ethnicities. -Leah Hunczak, St. Cloud
When one is raised tri-culturally as we are (an ethnic minority growing up in a transracial household in the upper midwest), the question of identification can be a loaded question. The answer I give depends on who YOU are and how you ask me. But for the purpose of this poll, I am Rupa: an East Indian adoptee.
I am a 31 year-old mother of two and wife to a great guy. We are both of German descent and feel that keeping that alive in our children is important. But we are Americans first. -Melissa Timm, Hampton
I'm black and in a inter-racial marriage. My kids are bi-racial. We celebrate Loving Day every year. Our relatives and friends are in similar relationships. We chose a faith community that is multi-culturally inclusive. It's our generational new norm however, being the one blessed with the most melanin in our family, I'm patently aware of clueless, insensitive jerks.
With the passing of my mother in 2009, I inherited her copious family files. The prize, a family bible with live births going back to the 1860s. I've also learned from a land deed out of Baton Rouge, LA that my great grandmother and her brother purchased plots of land after the war. They were creole. Freed. And I seized on their identity. In today's lexicon, my kin are seen as being separate from both black and white races. And we, my present-day family has an outward racial identity that seems to give people social cues that don't work with us. Because they no longer apply.
-Rachel Dykoski, Minneapolis
I'm a first generation Hmong French American immigrant woman who is married to a white American man of Polish descent. I am conscious of my cultural heritage and the impact of my outward characteristics (skin color, accent, racial group, etc.). I make a point to be a good ambassador for my community by debunking myths/stereotypes with my choices and lifestyles and aspirations while celebrating the richness of my culture without mystifying it. -Kao Yongvang, Minneapolis
We also spoke with a few people who responded for tonight's All Things Considered. Give a listen:
So, who are you? Tell us here.