— Gov. Mark Dayton has written a letter to Minnesota Vikings owners saying that he is “greatly distressed” that the team is considering a plan to charge season ticket holders a fee that would help pay the team’s share of a new $975 million stadium. Dayton stressed that the private contribution is the team’s responsibility and not the responsibility of season ticket holders.
From Bob Collins’ New Cut blog:
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, quoted in the Star Tribune: "We are making sure we have not had" enough people in the room to require a public meeting."
That’s a Minnesota senator seemingly proud in proclaiming that the spirit of the Minnesota Open Meeting Law was crushed as negotiations between legislators, Mayor R.T. Rybak, the Vikings, and other interested parties not named Minnesota Taxpayer took place in secrecy before a final bill was unveiled. How it came to be the final bill? Good question.
It was just two months ago that the Center for Public Integrity handed Minnesota a D+ because of this very situation, partly because the state doesn’t have a history of public corruption and hasn’t kept its clean-government laws up to date — like lowering the number of people in a room to require an open meeting, for example.
Maybe everybody got lucky and the legislation that emerged from the secret meetings early this morning was clean. But when the nice suits want the cone of silence lowered on what’s supposed to be an open process, there’s usually a reason.
It may well be that the stadium bill that the Senate will rubber stamp today was, in fact, the best possible deal the legislators and governor could make. We’ll never know because they don’t want us to.