Saturday, April 03, 2010

To Boo or Not to Boo?

I see from Chad's post that today's festive Twins exhibition game at the sparkly new Target Field will be turned into a bona fide boopportunity.

1:02 p.m. -- Ceremonial first pitches by legislators who contributed to the
creation of Target Field


Far be it from me to interject negativity into what should be a grand day at the ball park, rain or shine. But I didn't invite these ego tripping politicians into what should be an entirely non-political event.

The legislators responsible for funneling hundreds of millions in tax dollars to subsidize the Twins are now being given a once in a lifetime honor and special access to the game by the Twins. This is what people with common sense call "the appearance of impropriety". Even if you like the idea of public money going to professional sports stadiums, the spectacle of those who made it happen personally benefitting from their decisions is malodorous. For a politician to gleefully accept this offer, this flaunting of ethics in front of tens of thousands of the public, tells you how much they think the voters care about what happens to the public's money.

It also remains to be seen who the "legislators who contributed to the creation of Target Field" are specifically. The greatest credit has to go to the four members of the Hennepin County Board of Supervisors who provided the barest 4-3 majority to let the countywide sales tax to kick in. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to: Peter McLaughlin, Mike Opat, Randy Johnson, and Mark Stenglein.

As they're not technically legislators, maybe they're saving their rapturous curtain calls for a World Series game or something.

The Minnesota state legislature did provide a key vote in approving this funding source. The results from the House of Representatives are listed here. The results from the Senate here.

Among the noteworthy names voting yes, please give a hardy Minnesota cheer to current gubernatorial candidates: Matt Entenza, Margaret Anderson Keliher, and Tom Rukavina.

Note that two other gubernatorial candidates will not be invited by the Twins to take bows and receive special favors. They voted "no" and are relegated to watching from the stands along with the hoi polloi: Tom Emmer and Marty Seifert.

Also of note to 6th District voters, voting yes for the government to take hundreds of millions of dollars from the public and channel it to a preferred special interest, DFL endorsed candidate Tarryl Clark. Voting no, let the people keep their money and spend it on the entertainment they chose: Michele Bachmann.

That's not to say that support for Twins funding was a purely partisan affair. Among the "yes" votes, and potentially taking their bows Saturday afternoon, are Republicans like Laura Brod, Dave Senjem, and Steve Sviggum. In terms of booing options, there's something for everybody.

Will the people boo or just sit on their hands, or even applaud these legislators, while the political class stinks up this place of honor takes their bows and throws out the first pitch? Knowing Minnesotans as I do, I predict the latter.

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