Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vikings to Arden Hills? XXIX -- Tiresias Perceives the Scene

I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest--
I too awaited the expected guest.

-- T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land"

Earlier today I questioned how Peter King, a nationally known columnist for Sports Illustrated, could be so certain in reporting that the Vikings were going to have a stadium deal. It seemed curious, especially given the great uncertainty in the Minnesota Senate following the departure of then-Majority Leader Amy Koch, who was rumored to be willing to deal on the stadium, even though she'd never said as much.

Well, now that we know the identity of Koch's replacement, there's reason to believe that King knew something we didn't know:

Senate Republicans have elected David Senjem to lead them into the 2012 session and election year following the sudden resignation of former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.

The election — which took place at an initially secret meeting room in the Roseville Radisson hotel — lasted more than 11 hours. Senjem said he was elected after only one ballot. He was elected via a secret ballot.

Here's the key thing to know about Senjem. From the article:

Senjem, who was first elected in 2002, previously served as minority leader in the Senate. He has been a champion of racino legislation in past sessions. Gazelka, however, said neither gambling expansion nor a new Vikings stadium was part of the discussion.

Gazelka is Paul Gazelka, who will be one of Senjem's lieutenants, by the way. And whether or not Gazelka's assertion concerning the discussions prior to Senjem's selection are true or not, it's not particularly relevant. Senjem has carried a lot of water for racino; having a racino supporter in charge of the Senate changes the discussion concerning the Vikings stadium completely. Mark Dayton will sign anything that passes and the racino (or racinos -- could be one at both Canterbury and at Running Aces) would become the putative funding mechanism for a stadium. Senjem's old buddy Dick Day, former state senator turned carnival barker for the racino interests, has suggested that the racino can fund darn near anything. It may even make hundreds of julienne fries in seconds. I have no idea if any of that is actually true, although as a rule gambling revenues don't meet the projections. But if the governor believes it, that matters.

The skids are getting greased. And now all eyes turn to Kurt Zellers and the House.


Anonymous said...

I thought you were talking Illinois politics for a minute there.


Anonymous said...

Tieing a stadium to increased gambling may be palatable to some because at first it involved fewer taxpayer dollars. There is a reason why gambling was outlawed in most states. Sounds to me like that would be a slippery slope indeed!

Mr. D said...

I thought you were talking Illinois politics for a minute there.

Increasingly, that's a distinction without a difference, Rich.