VIKINGS STADIUM

Taxpayers will be at the center of the debate

Regarding the momentum for a Vikings stadium ("Vikings stadium deal heating up," April 8): It seems to me to be a no-brainer. While I respect the opinion of those who oppose additional taxes, I have to ask if they've felt the difference since Target Field was approved. All I know is that what is occurring with the Twins makes us feel good and adds to our quality of life, and we can do the same with the Vikings.

For those who say we are lining the pockets of billionaires, look around. Cities have lined up to build new facilities for sports teams across the country. It's the price of doing business.

If we want the Vikings in Minnesota, we will have to pay. We have an out-of-state owner who looks around and sees public money spent on new stadiums and arenas all over the country, as well as in our own back yard. Why wouldn't he expect some help for the most popular team in town?

So it's easy, folks: Pay up or run the risk of losing the Vikings.

JIM STAMOS, SHAKOPEE

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I find it very interesting that the three people from the Legislature who commented on the proposed Vikings stadium all represent areas outside the metro area. As a taxpayer in Hennepin County, I am still fuming about the new taxes being shoved down my throat by legislators who were not affected by the Target Field bill they were passing. They knew these taxes never would have been approved in a public referendum.

My recommendation to outstate legislators who want to give the Vikings a new home with public money is this: Demand the money from your own constituents, who are hurting in a down economy, and explain to them why a millionaire needs their help. My recommendation to Minnesota taxpayers: Contact your legislators now to put a stop to this nonsense of using our hard-earned money to fund the hobbies of millionaires.

TRACY STEINER, MINNEAPOLIS

bachmann-palin rally

Really want economic freedom? End the wars.

At her Minneapolis Convention Center and "Tea Party Express" rallies this week, I heard U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., continually lambast the reckless spending in Washington, D.C. Bachmann touted how she clips coupons and buys her family's clothes in consignment shops.

But the three giant luxury buses that carried the Tea Party road show to the Twin Cities, complete with musicians and elaborate production, appeared to be anything but a low budget, grass-roots affair. Each bus was professionally painted with patriotic insignia, photos (including a prominent one of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin) and slogans like "End the Bailouts" and "Restore Liberty: Honor the Constitution."

It's hard to disagree with those sentiments. However, we never heard Bachmann or Palin mention, even once, the elephant in the room: the ill-conceived, costly wars that they blindly support.

Their Tea Party talks conveniently ignore the fact that U.S. occupations are costing trillions of dollars, and that these costs are bankrupting our country.

Bachmann and Palin repeatedly chanted "God bless our freedom," but they seem unaware of the famous observation of James Madison, the father of the Constitution, who wisely taught, "No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

COLEEN ROWLEY, APPLE VALLEY

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Bureaucrats shouldn't supersede court ruling

Minnesota bureaucrats apparently will not rest until speech is regulated again, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case.

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board's recent decision to require corporations to speak through separate political committees directly conflicts with the recent ruling.

In Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the court struck down restrictions on corporate speech because those restrictions "necessarily reduce the quantity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration, and the size of the audience reached." It also found that requiring corporations to speak through separate political committees "does not allow corporations to speak."

A political action committee is an entirely separate organization and, as the court noted, "PACs are burdensome alternatives; they are expensive to administer and subject to extensive regulations." Simply stated, political committees are subjected to a raft of red tape and regulations designed to make it much harder for them to speak.

Instead of heeding the Supreme Court's decision, Minnesota bureaucrats are brazenly ignoring it. The result will be less freedom of speech in Minnesota. If this power play is not stopped voluntarily, it will eventually be stopped in court.

ANTHONY B. SANDERS, STAFF ATTORNEY, INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE, MINNESOTA CHAPTER

bicycle city

Tops in biking, but high in riding violations, too

I can see why Minneapolis was chosen as the most bicycle friendly city in the country ("When it comes to two wheels ... we're No. 1," April 7).

Traffic laws are routinely ignored. Traffic lights, stop signs, one-way streets and traffic lanes cease to exist. Riders who obey the law and actually wait at a red light are a small minority.

I would like to see bicyclists held to the same standards as the rest of the traffic, and if they violate laws, they should be fined at the same rates as other violators are. That could be a large, untapped revenue source to cover city shortfalls.

GARY DAHLGREN, CHASKA

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We certainly have a lot of lovely bike paths and trails, but the bike routes on Hennepin and 1st Avenues in downtown Minneapolis leave much to be desired.

The lane on Hennepin is heavily used by cars, and the markings are so worn as to be almost unreadable. Cars parked on 1st Avenue S. often pinch the bike lane to next to nothing. If we truly want to be bike-friendly, we need to make downtown routes safer for bikes.

MICHELE IRELAND, MINNEAPOLIS