Debt service costlier than just funding gap


I am among those who are reluctantly in favor of public financing assistance for a new Vikings stadium. But the Nov. 16 editorial ("Stadium matchup is also one-sided") got me thinking.

It stated that in 2010, the Green Bay Packers generated $259 million in revenue, vs. $227 million for the Vikings. Is this really what the whole stadium debate is about -- a $32 million deficiency in annual revenue?

A little math produces the following analysis: The Vikings are proposing a stadium estimated currently to cost $1.1 billion. The team will contribute about $400 million, leaving about $700 million to be financed by the state and various other public entities.

In its September 2011 bond issue, the state paid an average of 2.8 percent on 20-year general obligation bonds. That's an average of about $46 million annually in public costs for repayment of a $700 million bond to build a new stadium.

Instead of building a stadium, with its unknown cost inflation and other imponderables, why not simply offer the Vikings an annual subsidy equal to the difference in annual revenue generated by the Packers and the Vikings.

During years the Vikings outearn the Packers, the state would owe nothing. Such a subsidy would cost substantially less than the debt service, would avoid further acrimony over a stadium and would test the overall seriousness of the Vikings ownership.


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The Twin Cities area is "falling behind" because of stadium development? Hardly.

It consistently ranks highly in quality of life on many metrics not related to or caused by the presence of pro sports. And Green Bay is to be considered a "major-league city"? With all due respect, is it known for anything other than its football club?

The proper form of the stadium question is this: What do we want to accomplish with our public resources? A significant majority of Minnesota citizens apparently feel that there are better uses for scarce resources


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Sometimes, citizens must apply pressure


As a participant in the November 1969 war moratorium march on Washington, I could not disagree more with the letter writer advising the Occupy movement to take its grievances to the voting booth. I was 19 years old in 1969 and did not have the right to vote at that time.

We were, however, able to start the process of changing the dialogue in Washington, which ultimately led to our exit from Vietnam and an amendment to the Constitution giving 18-year-olds the right to vote.

While I understand the injustice highlighted by those in the Occupy movement, I do note their lack of focus. How do they propose to fix the problem?

Currently, when we enter the voting booth, the choice we face is often: Do I vote for the candidate backed by this corporation, or for the other candidate, who is backed by a different corporation?

Even if all of the Occupiers contributed toward one candidate, the funds they raised would be drowned out by the funds accumulated by the magnificently wealthy.

It will take a lot more people than the current demonstrators to change the injustices in the current "capitalistic" system. But, once they have a clear, focused process for doing that, I am certain that they will succeed in getting the inequitable structure changed.


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Health care workers should be vaccinated


As the new flu season has started, it has been disheartening to find out that those we trust with our health care may not be getting a flu vaccine. The vaccine is a matter of choice for health care workers.

According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, nearly 60 percent of them remain unvaccinated against influenza each year, contributing to institutional outbreaks that put vulnerable patients at increased risk.

It is estimated that 35 million to 50 million Americans contract flu during each flu season, which typically lasts from November to March.

More than 200,000 people are hospitalized, and about 36,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year. It has been proven that the only way to prevent seasonal influenza infection is by annual vaccination.

It is time to require our health care workers to get the influenza vaccine. It is time for health care personnel to adhere to their code of conduct -- first do no harm -- and put the needs of their patients above their personal views of the flu vaccine.


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We are large; we contain multitudes


So the poor folks at St. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Minneapolis "said they didn't want to leave church on Sunday afternoon and see people coming out of bars" ("Church-spirit rules are outdated, unfair," editorial, Nov. 14).

What about the bargoers who would like to enjoy their pint on a Sunday afternoon and don't want to see people coming out of churches? What a curious basis for making public policy.


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Following sentencing, a sense of justice


March 23, 2007, was a tragedy that our family will never fully recover from.

Three family members (Otahl Saunders, Maria McLay and Brittany Kekedakis) were executed in their own home in front of their young children.

After hearing District Judge Joan Ericksen sentence the two men accused of this crime to three consecutive life sentences, there is a sense of justice ("3 life terms for 3 lives taken," Nov. 15).

We want to publicly acknowledge and recognize the many members of law enforcement, the U.S. Attorney's office and the federal court who worked tirelessly to investigate and prosecute this case.

Your dedication to this case was unwavering; your compassion for our family members was sincere, and your commitment to solving and prosecuting this case was fierce.

To our family, friends, coworkers, attorney and others who stood by our side -- I hope some day we can find a way to pay forward to other families the support you provided us.

Because of you -- we remain a strong and proud family.