Monday, July 21, 2008

My opponent gave you stuff 

A few nights ago I found my name in a post by fellow St. Cloud blogger "Political Muse", noting my opposition to sports stadia and wondering how I can square that with supporting Sen. Coleman's bid for re-election. I've met the senator and asked some tough questions of him in blogger conference calls, but I didn't know him as a mayor and thus never had the opportunity or incentive to ask his view of stadium subsidies. I did comment on Muse's post that in view of Franken's writings in Playboy I would find it much easier to vote for the re-election of Coleman.

Michael reports this morning that the Franken campaign has gone so far as to release an ad deriding Coleman's support of building the Xcel Energy Center.

I find the Franken campaign's choice odd. The reason these stadia keep getting public dollars is because the public believes somehow -- mistakenly, in the view of economists, but this is hardly the first time the public has chosen to ignore the economists -- that they are of benefit to a city and would be underprovided by private financing alone. Pointing out that Norm took from Peter to give to Paul is hardly a way to gain Paul's support in voting against Norm. There may be, there might be, a few Peters who are persuaded by the ad, but if that were true these stadium deals would not keep gaining passage. And support for hockey is enough in this state that even outstate arenas like St. Cloud and Bemidji draw public funding.

I wish there was a spokesman for the economists' view of public financing of sports stadia, but I don't think Al Franken is the right guy for that job either.

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