FFM Bulletin 2/16/11

FFM Launches Minnesota State News

The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota today announced the launch of Minnesota State News, an online media service that provides timely, original political and public policy news from the State Capitol and around Minnesota.

Minnesota State News (www.mnstatenews.com) features free coverage and analysis of the state budget negotiations, high-impact investigative reports, in-depth video interviews with the state's political leaders, and more. The site also includes a frequently updated "Budget Buster" section that shines an unflattering spotlight upon those policymakers who seek to increase spending and expand government.
Please check out our new site, add it to your RSS feed, and let us know what you think. E-mail Jon Miltimore, director of Minnesota State News, with news tips, feedback, or other suggestions.

L.A. Stadium proposals spare taxpayers, boast private investment

Over the last few decades there has been a continuous wave throughout the country of requests and proposals for new sports stadiums, including an annual attempt from the Vikings at the Minnesota Legislature.

But a couple of competing stadium proposals in Los Angeles give a new meaning to west coast offense and may make the Vikings’ annual stadium push a lot more interesting.
The L.A. contenders are real estate businessman Edward P. Roski, and Anschutz Entertainment Group President Tim Leiweke, a former executive with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Roski’s proposition for the ultimate venue is an NFL-ready, open air stadium stocked with live theatres, restaurants and retail shops, 75,000 seats, and a huge parking lot specifically designed for tailgating. Meanwhile, Leiweke wants to build the 64,000 seat expandable stadium downtown, doubling as a convention center. 

The best part: they both want to fund the stadium with private investment.  
The Los Angeles stadium will generate over 18,000 jobs and millions of dollars of revenue for the entire Southern California region without public investment, according to Roski’s Los Angeles Stadium website.
L.A., one of the top media markets in the United States, has been without a football team since 1994. California taxpayers have repeatedly rejected the use of public funds for a new stadium, which would be the centerpiece in any attempt to convince an NFL franchise to re-locate. Since L.A. has not had a professional football team in over 16 years, there has been little emotional attachment to sway voters.

Overwhelmingly, Minnesotans share that sentiment. Poll after poll, year after year, shows taxpayers do not support general tax revenue to pay for a Vikings stadium.
In 2010 Minnesota taxpayers took a strong stand against excessive and non-essential spending.  Minnesota officials, lawmakers and media should be paying close attention as further stadium details are revealed in Los Angeles and Minnesota. The real winner in the Los Angeles stadium competition already appears to be the taxpayers and could be a game changer for other taxpayers, as well.

Short Takes

The City of Two Harbors is having trouble paying off a $500,000 bond on the city-owned Lake View National Golf Course, the same course that was forced to close 9 holes just last year because of turf issues. Normally, the city would use liquor store revenue to cover operation costs at the course; however, that money is now being used to cover “revenue shortfalls” at the liquor store. In municipal government terms, that's like using your Visa card to pay your Mastercard bill. Unfortunately, this will show up on the taxpayers' bill.

Last Thursday, Senator Al Franken announced he would not be submitting earmark requests for the upcoming fiscal year. The announcement came after Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said the committee would not be accepting earmarks for FY2012. This move puts Franken in the company of Minnesota’s Republican members of Congress who have pledged to abstain from earmark requests. 

The Wall Street Journal featured an excellent article revealing bias within the Social Science communityby one of their own at the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s conference where psychologists around the world discuss, among other things, bias and prejudice.

  • "[Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia] polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three. 

    'This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,' Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal."

Quote of the Week

"They don't even know where the 'on' button is." –Pam Lehmann, Lac qui Parle County Economic Development Authority Executive Director.

Lehmann was describing some of the citizens using the county’s mobile computer lab. The county hopes to deliver a high-speed fiber to the home network to residents by 2013 despite several private options already available and at least some percentage of residents who don’t know how to turn on a computer.


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