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This architect’s rendering of the new stadium shows a wall of glass at the west end looking toward downtown Minneapolis.

Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings,

Readers write (May 21): Vikings stadium design, Legislature, public pensions

  • May 20, 2013 - 7:28 PM

VIKINGS STADIUM

Readers weigh in on design

On Sunday, we noted that the design unveiled last week for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium was not universally appreciated among members of the Star Tribune Editorial Board, and we invited readers to weigh in. Here’s a selection of the responses:

What do I think of the new Vikings stadium design? I don’t like it.

It is cool if you are an architect trying to win an award, but once the awards dinner is over, we will have to look at it for 75 years.

I just returned from a 20-day trip in Europe, followed by five days in Boston. What sights were all the tourists visiting and enamored of? Classic, old, stone buildings with designs that were warm and welcoming. The new stadium looks like something that fell from outer space. Sure, it is a cool design that would catch my eye in a magazine. Would I want it in my back yard, as I’d like TCF Stadium or Target Field? Absolutely not.

Rick Manning, Wayzata

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The architects clearly recycled previous plans for a megachurch, and simply replaced a rendering of Jesus at the top of the chapel with a glorified Viking.

Praise be? Not from me.

Angie Eilers, St. Louis Park

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Its origami artist folds the sobriquet raider’s weapon to a piercing point that guts the public’s purse for great spillage of coin …

Joel Shinder, Golden Valley

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I realized the new stadium probably would not completely resemble the artist’s rendition that was portrayed in the paper last year. The futuristic version looked like a 1960s foam house and would not be a practical build.

However, the sterile glass “greenhouse” lacks texture from other building materials. I would think you would fry like an ant under a magnifying glass!

How long will it be before people tire of looking at this giant “airplane hangar” and want something different? After all, we can always find money for the impractical!

Tom Rasinski, Coon Rapids

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So … lots and lots of glass! Has anyone thought how horrible this is for birds? You should see the number of birds that lay dead near the Hennepin County Government Center, victims of trying to simply fly on their course. It will be as bad, if not worse, for birds at the new stadium.

William Lundquist, Bloomington

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To be blunt, I speak for the Minnesotans who oppose construction of a new stadium.

Many years ago, Alistair Cooke (the original host for Masterpiece Theater and a widely respected savant) shocked his distinguished audience at the Mayo Clinic, gathered to celebrate the opening of a new laboratory building, by saying that it’s not so important what a building looks like as it is what goes on inside it.

So, if the building is only going to be used for pro football fewer than 10 times a year, it would be really foolish to sink very much money into it.

Yet the plan calls for a building twice the size of the Metrodome that has a rigid roof and will require climate control.

If it is built, will they come? What if spending two seasons playing at TCF Bank Stadium converts Viking fans into believing in old-fashioned outdoor football — the way it was meant to be played?

The bottom line is that nobody really wants to pay for the stadium, apart from the Wilf family. Gov. Mark Dayton trots out one sin tax after another in order to appease the faithful. If the stadium plan, funded with a general tax, wouldn’t pass on a statewide referendum, then let’s just move on.

John F. Hick, St. Paul

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The Editorial Board also sought comments online, which elicited comparisons such as “dead ringer for Noah’s Ark” (from three sides at least) and “Chinese food takeout carton,” in addition to complaints about the lack of sustainability measures and concerns over the maintenance of the clear roof. However, the online crowd also included a few fans, who offered compliments such as “bold, beautiful piece of architecture” and “stadium disguised as a work of art.”

“In three years when this is open, you’ll all get it,” wrote one commenter. “Sure, it doesn’t look like a stadium, but that’s a good thing. With the addition of the new park and development accompanying it, this is a huge game-changer. I can’t wait!”

David Banks, Assistant Commentary Editor

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THE LEGISLATURE

Another session down, and much to criticize

The Legislature may be compared to the board of directors of a corporation that does $40 billion in business every two years.

Can one imagine such a board making its key decisions in the middle of the night, when its members are weary, exhausted, stressed, on edge and facing a firm deadline? The business would not long survive.

This nonsense happens every two years, regardless of partisan control of the Legislature. No wonder the public revolts at the proposal of a pay raise for these “public servants.”

George M. Woytanowitz, Minneapolis

• • •

The May 18 picture of Republican legislators pretending to read newspapers during the bonding debate showed that they are not concerned about unemployed Minnesotans. Their rejection of bonding when interest rates are at the lowest we will ever see lays bare their false claims of fiscal responsibility.

Robert A. Swart, Mankato, Minn.

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Imagine that state-backed construction were to begin for dozens of projects, including new (necessarily needed?) buildings at state colleges and universities; light rail, and regional civic centers.

Architects and other essential technical personnel would be hired. Bidding contractors would be selected, with hundreds and possibly thousands of trade and/or nontrade workers being hired in a job-creation initiative. Staging areas would be set up for assembling materials and equipment. Work would continue for several years until much of it were completed. Layoffs then would begin for all nonessential personnel. Most nonemployees of companies would be dismissed. Hundreds, maybe thousands of jobs would be lost for all temporarily hired workers, who then would flood the state offices to collect unemployment compensation checks. State (borrowed?) funds would cover all costs and/or expenses. Job-creation initiative complete; few if any, permanent jobs created.

Might I suggest that our legislators leave the job-creation issue to corporations, companies and other permanent businesses? Jobs with those entities have much greater success at permanency.

Kenneth A. Hanauska, Rogers

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I’ve always been astonished by the willingness of Republicans (“Showdown over child care’s future,” May 19) to spend time and effort to protect the sacred right of workers to be underpaid, particularly if that underpayment could be ameliorated by unionization.

John Sherman, Moorhead, Minn.

• • •

The lost opportunity to enact tax reform merits an F for both Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature. Their failure has consequences for all Minnesota taxpayers, individuals and corporations alike. Tax reform could have put an end to the roller-coaster instability of revenue sources, in addition to reducing disparities between middle class and wealthiest taxpayers and clearing the way for long-term business decisions. But that is not to be. The failure to act is no mystery. It was largely based on polling data and special-interest pressure, making it clear that staying in office is the highest priority for our current crop of legislators on both sides of the aisle and for Dayton as well.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to matter which party is in the majority — the political environment seems to bring out the worst in everyone.

John Helgerson, Victoria

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The latest tax increase is a great opportunity for nonpolitical organizations to do some serious independent research and find out exactly how it affects Minnesota in terms of job creation — how many businesses relocate out of state, as well as which ones stay and expand.

It gets nauseating to hear all these dire predictions about our horrible business climate, public education, political climate, health care and other issues only to find out that studies indicate we are doing pretty well, and not just compared with the rest of the nation. No doubt some individuals and businesses are having a difficult time, and we should do all we can to provide assistance. But to say that the state is teetering on the brink of collapse only adds to cynicism and an unwillingness to even try to listen in on the conversation to solve our ongoing problems. Let’s gather the evidence, discuss the facts, and stop bombarding our brains and the media with nonsense.

Wayne Mostek, Roseville

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PUBLIC PENSIONS

A more businesslike approach is viable

A recent Opinion Exchange article (“How come ‘they’ get bailed out and you don’t?” May 16) attempted to instruct us on the “promise” that we (taxpayers) made to public employees regarding their pensions. I don’t pretend to know the details of that “promise,” but I can suggest the writer is not entirely correct in his analysis of what private employers can do when faced with an underfunding situation in their defined-benefit retirement fund.

True, one part of the solution is to increase contributions. But what the author failed to recognize is a complementary approach. My employer fund has chosen to minimize contributions by not providing increases in pension payouts, in fact for the past 19 years. That is perhaps the key to keeping the fund solvent. Imagine where the public pension funds would be today if they followed this businesslike approach. Or imagine how much money my employer would have had to “cough up” (in the writers words) to keep the plan solvent. Which is what we taxpayers, many of whom are on private employer defined-benefit plans, are being subjected to by the projected surcharge on certain insurance policies.

Joe Theissen, Woodbury

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