I thought I would title this post “Beggars can’t be choosers,” but in the case of the Wilfs, apparently they can.
I am growing tired of this stadium issue for a number of reasons, but perhaps the one reason I find most tiresome is Zygi Wilf and company calling the shots. Are they coming to us hat in hand looking for a handout or not? Just consider a few things…
We have thousands of Minnesotans who don’t even have a job and yet the multi-millionaire owner of a profitable business attempts to extort millions more from us all in the name of increasing his profits. What is the one reason why the Wilf’s say they need a new stadium? Profits. The games being played at the Metrodome play just fine, but Zygi isn’t making enough money. We should all have his problems, right?
Furthermore Wilf is a real estate developer first and a Vikings franchise owner second. I would suppose the largest expanse of undeveloped land in one of the nation’s larger metropolitan areas might interest the developer whether he owned a football franchise or not. And if you can extort millions from the cowering citizens to help bolster your position on that development, all the better. Wilf wants that land because he’s a developer.
I’m not sure why we give him the choice?
A city like Minneapolis already supports hundreds of businesses servings millions of people every year, including a flourishing sports entertainment economy. Moreover, Minnesotans have invested millions of dollars improving infrastructure in that area. Doesn’t it make more sense to support the people, most of whom are Minnesotans, and their business investments with any new stadium investment rather than building it in the wastes of an old munitions plant?
Plus, the last I noticed, the Twin Cities has a surplus of office and retail space. I’m not sure the amazing attraction of a new football stadium plunked down on the north end of town is going to change that reality. Hotels? Restaurants? No offense, Arden Hills, but if I am coming from out of town for business or pleasure, I might want something more than development sprawl in a forgotten corner of the metro as an attraction.
One last comment (maybe). I imagine the Wilfs probably fall under that awesome class of people known as “job creators.” You know the people, the ones Republicans like to talk about with almost religious adoration. If we have to let the beggars dig in our pockets for the pleasure of possible economic benefit and jobs, go blow off. But in reality that is exactly the way it works in this country. Subsidies, tax cuts, and the simple privilege of capital mean the “job creators” get more for less. Need proof? Look at beggars like Zygi Wilf.
So here we go…we’ll likely give the man what he wants, but why can’t we set the terms? Isn’t a gift of millions satisfactory? If tax dollars are going to subsidize a profitable billion dollar business like the NFL and one of its profitable franchise owners, I think we should demand more for our efforts. We should make this less a gift and more of a smart public investment, at least for as much as that is possible.
If Wilf wants his Zygiland in Arden Hills, he can pay for it. Tout suite.
- Wilf: Vikings’ contribution less if stadium in city (espn.go.com)
- Hope Holds Out That Vikings Will Remain Downtown (MPRNews.org)
- Vikings Stadium: If We’re Going to Do it… (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)