Stadium deal foes rally before Minneapolis vote

  • Article by: ERIC ROPER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 24, 2012 - 11:52 AM

Minneapolis City Council is expected to give final approval on Friday.

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A conceptual drawing of a new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis on a game day.

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Opponents of the plan to fund a new Vikings stadium flocked to Minneapolis City Hall on Wednesday, a day before the City Council begins two days of voting.

The Taxpayers League of Minnesota rolled out results of an unscientific phone survey Wednesday morning saying that about 56 percent of Minneapolis voters from the 2009 rolls in select wards oppose the stadium plan. Hours later, about 50 anti-stadium activists demonstrated outside City Hall.

Wednesday's efforts will likely prove to be too little, too late to stop council approval of the stadium deal, however. Council Member Cam Gordon, an opponent of the stadium plan, told the rally that "I don't think we've got that seventh vote to stop this."

The council's intergovernmental relations committee will take a preliminary vote on the stadium plan Thursday morning, followed by a final vote at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

The group that turned out on a windy day to voice opposition to the deal shouted chants including "Stop the stadium scam now!" and "Council members, vote no!"

Gordon said he would be "violating my oath of office" if he approved the deal, which bypasses a charter provision to hold a citywide vote on stadiums. The city attorney argues the provision was never applicable.

"It violates not only the spirit, but I believe the letter of the charter that says we shall not use city sales taxes to fund a stadium [without a referendum], and that's what we're going to be doing," Gordon said.

Other council opponents of the plan expressed frustration Wednesday that they would not be allowed to offer amendments during the final meetings. The city attorney's office advised them that such motions would be deemed "out of order," since it would conflict with state law.

"To suggest we would be out of order by simply making motions with amendments is a way to stifle conversation and debate," Council Member Lisa Goodman wrote in an e-mail. Council Member Gary Schiff called the decision "the ultimate failure of democracy here."

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732 Twitter: @StribRoper

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