While we take into account whether hosting the big game was a net benefit to the region (“Region’s Super Bowl effort paid large dividends,” editorial, May 30), we should consider how much we paid to play. The state forked over $348 million for the construction of U.S. Bank Stadium, and Minneapolis will be on the hook for $678 million by the time its bonds are repaid. It is also worth considering what else could have been done with that 20 acres of downtown land where our two light-rail lines converge. Just about any other use would be contributing to the local property tax base rather than relying on it.
Of course, the costs never really end. The stadium arms race will continue until regions begin to wise up and say no to the allure of hosting a big event or the threat of losing a beloved team. Regardless of whether things continue unabated, we can be sure that we’ll be asked to improve our new stadium to keep up with the amenities other teams are offering.
In a vacuum, playing host may have been worth it, but in reality it takes a few days to tear down the party and 30 years to pay off the tab.
Patrick Steele, Minneapolis
• • •
To those who question the economic benefits of hosting the Super Bowl (or ask who benefited), I submit one small data point: My small family made upward of $600 that weekend that we would not have otherwise earned. My wife and daughter both worked at the Super Bowl Players Tailgate Party, jointly earning about $375 in wages and tips. I drove Uber for that weekend (and that weekend only), making $212. All three of us had fun doing our temporary jobs. We also attended two of the downtown concerts — events that would not have been held were the Super Bowl not in town. Again, we’re just one data point, but it’s not hard to extrapolate that a lot of people had similar positive economic and personal experiences that a cold week in February would not have typically provided.
David Balestri, Minneapolis
ECONOMIC BENEFITS, PART II
Super Bowl, meet PolyMet, northern Minnesota’s big game
As mayor of Hoyt Lakes, Minn., a community of 2,000, I couldn’t help but compare the results of the economic impact study of Super Bowl LII, as reported May 30, to the “super bowl” we have tried to host for nearly 13 years now. That would be the PolyMet copper-nickel project.
The football game brought $370 million to the region, eliciting this comment from Gov. Mark Dayton: “The success of the enterprise is just phenomenal. Now they have the results to show for it.”
I don’t know how the Twin Cities region’s 4 million citizens shared this one-time economic bonanza, or how it may have moved the needle on the region’s already-low unemployment rate, but I know what our super bowl will mean to us in terms of sustainable jobs and genuine economic benefit.
Our big game will generate $515 million annually in economic benefits for St. Louis County, according to an economic impact study by the University of Minnesota Duluth. That’s $1.4 million a day for 20 years. In a county of 200,000 people with unemployment almost double that of the Twin Cities, that’s truly something to cheer about.
Those figures don’t count the nearly $1 billion in private capital investment (no public or government-subsidized “stadium” here) or 2 million construction hours estimated to build the project.
The environmental study and draft state permits show that PolyMet can produce these important metals without creating environmental harm. Significant economic benefits wait to be realized. It’s time for Minnesota to issue final permits.
Mark Skelton, Hoyt Lakes, Minn.
U.S. REP. ERIK PAULSEN
Finally, he takes questions* from constituents* in a public forum*
Regarding the May 31 article “Going face-to-face,” about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s three “town hall” meetings on Wednesday, I wish the reporter had looked at and reported on the context. After not holding any public meetings for six years, Paulsen chose to schedule these meetings on a workday, on short notice, and he required constituents to enter a “lottery” — his word — in order to attend.
When I attempted to sign up, I was told I was being put on a waiting list. I arrived at the Chanhassen venue and was told that because a full house was anticipated, no one from the waiting list would be admitted. About 15 of us who were on the waiting list waited outside the venue. After the meeting began, people inside the hall informed us that there were 13 empty seats, but Paulsen’s staff did not admit any of us. And, if you were to look at the photos of the meeting that took place later in the day in Brooklyn Park, there was clearly ample capacity to accommodate more constituents, but the congressman chose not to do so. Many people were also wait-listed for that meeting.
So, we can but conclude that this is not a town-hall meeting but a tightly scripted political stunt. Paulsen does not really want to hear the concerns of his constituents; he just wants to appear to be doing so.
Mary Yee, Edina
• • •
It’s a mystery to me why Paulsen could not simply answer “yes” or “no” to a question asked by three different people at different times during the town-hall session I attended in Brooklyn Park. The first person could not have been more clear when she asked him to respond “yes” or “no” to whether he would accept funds from the National Rifle Association. Paulsen insulted her and the rest of us by responding that he did not expect any contribution from the NRA.
Did he think we were stupid and would not notice his issue avoidance? That is when our frustrations with yet another non-answer to a question from someone in attendance boiled over and we became, in his words, “more boisterous” than those in attendance at the two town-hall sessions held earlier in the day. Yes, some of us briefly gave voice to our contempt.
A bit later, another person was selected to ask a question. He pointed out that Paulsen’s claim of not expecting a contribution from the NRA had not answered the previous question, so he posed it in a different way: “If the NRA sent you a check, would you send it back?” Again, Paulsen refused to give a direct answer and, again, our frustration erupted for a short time.
Finally, a third person asked Paulsen to answer the question, and the congressman said that he had given all the answer that he intended. By this time, many of us had given up protesting, because we knew he did not care what we thought.
All of the above leads me to ask the question: If Erik Paulsen is so sure that the NRA is not going to contribute to his campaign, why not just say he would not take their money and get it over with? It certainly appears that the NRA has some hold on Paulsen that even money cannot buy.
Michael Waring, Edina
COMPARE AND CONTRAST
The perorations and objurgations of Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee
Interesting! A brash and often vile female comedian makes a completely repugnant statement and immediately has a runaway hit show canceled (“ABC did ‘right thing’ canceling ‘Roseanne,’ ” editorial, May 31). Then a few days later a brash and often vile female comedian makes a completely repugnant statement and almost nothing happens (“Comic Samantha Bee apologizes to Ivanka Trump for slur,” StarTribune.com, May 31). What is the difference between them?
Richard Rivett, Chaska