Friday, October 28, 2011

Vikings to Arden Hills? XXI -- Crazy TV Rybak

As I watched coverage of Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak's latest attempt at carnival barking, I was reminded of an old song I like. As for Rybak, it was the same old song:

Making his most intensive attempt yet to keep the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis, Mayor R.T. Rybak went to the State Capitol on Thursday to promote three plans that rely on a combination of new sales taxes or casino gambling revenue to pay for the local share of a downtown football stadium. 
He acknowledged that getting political backing for his plans will be tricky. 
"I'm here today because I'm comfortable standing up, and putting my neck and other parts of my anatomy on the line," he said.

In a testament to how difficult his task may be, Rybak made his Capitol pitch alone -- without no City Council members or downtown leaders by his side.

This is what it looks like when a politician is winging it. Rybak has no chance of getting any of these proposals through, but if nothing else he's been plenty entertaining, and revealing, in his efforts. Think about what he's doing:

  • He's demonstrated a willingness to tax anything that moves in Minneapolis.
  • He's proposing turning Block E into a gaming district.
  • He's offering up land he has no claim to, especially the "Linden Avenue" site.
He'll do anything, anything for a sale. He's Crazy TV Rybak! As he kept talking, I kept thinking of the old Tom Waits song "Step Right Up," as handy a compendium of pitchman sayings as you'll ever find. Tell me if this doesn't sound like Rybak to you:

They come in all colors, one size fits all
No muss, no fuss, no spills, you're tired of kitchen drudgery
Everything must go, going out of business, going out of business
Going out of business sale
Fifty percent off original retail price, skip the middle man
Don't settle for less
How do we do it? how do we do it? volume, volume, turn up the volume
Now you've heard it advertised, don't hesitate
Don't be caught with your drawers down
Don't be caught with your drawers down
Think I'm being mean? Consider some of the claims that Rybak is making for his various plans, as reported by the Star Tribune:

A consultant who appeared with Rybak said the sales tax plan would raise about $21 million a year in new revenue, part of which Rybak said he wants to use to replace city property taxes now paying the Target Center debt. That move, said the mayor, also would add $5 million in revenue annually to Minneapolis' budget, which Rybak wants to use for property tax relief.
It can do everything! Compare Rybak's claims to Waits:

That's right, it fillets, it chops, it dices, slices
Never stops, lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn
And it mows your lawn and it picks up the kids from school
It gets rid of unwanted facial hair
it gets rid of embarrassing age spots
It delivers a pizza, and it lengthens, and it strengthens
And it finds that slipper that's been at large under the chaise lounge for several weeks
And it plays a mean Rhythm Master
It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar
And it's only a dollar, step right up, it's only a dollar, step right up
Meanwhile, the real news is buried elsewhere in the Star Tribune article:
And just hours before Rybak touted his plans, several legislators from Minneapolis, including DFL Sen. Scott Dibble, appeared at a news conference with a group of Republican colleagues who oppose any expansion of gambling to help build a Vikings stadium. Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said advocates are minimizing that casino gambling "is highly destructive to individuals, to families."
That's a warning shot to Ramsey County, too. We'll be talking about that anon.


Night Writer said...

And it wins the election. Or not.

Didn't RT also promise that if we build a new stadium then we "can live in it, laugh in it, love in it, wwim in it, sleep in it?"

It also finds you a job - in fact, it is a job! It's also good for entertaining visiting relatives. And it's only a dollar.

Oh, wait, it's the current Vikings stadium that's only a dollar.

Mr. D said...

Didn't RT also promise that if we build a new stadium then we "can live in it, laugh in it, love in it, wwim in it, sleep in it?"

Could be -- would be a useful feature for the drunken rutting Iowa fans who've done such in the Metrodome.

Night Writer said...

Then they'll definitely be interested in that other benefit promised in the song; the one that rhymes with "election."