Thursday, May 10, 2012

Build It

I bleed Purple, so much so that when the traitor from Green Bay showed up to booby trap our team, I refused to get on that bandwagon. Once he left, decimating our ball club, I pulled the purple back out. Those were two long year without a 'Viking' team, I'm not sure I could do that again. We needed a new stadium to keep them here, and to me, it was a no brainer.

I'm not sure why the Lege made it so difficult. I supported the idea of simply using any direct revenues we would lose in player and team admin/management payroll taxes and roll that into the package. Seriously, no one can argue that this money would flee the state with the team, and drain the General fund of those monies. Player salaries alone, over the course of a 30 year lease, would bring in $460 Million. This doesn't even count non player employees. For all the talk of a Yes vote costing the state over 500 Million in general fund money that could be use for roads, bridges, schools, and other government supported activities needed to accept the alternative. A no vote would cost is about the same.

To be balanced, we need to look at my Good Friend, and now State Legislator, King Banaian's take, recently feature on Time's 'Keeping Score' blog. Admittedly more of a Giants fan the a Queenie supporter, his decision came down to pure economics. And as a Professor of Economics at my Alma Mater, St. Cloud State University, he certainly has credibility.

But Banaian has run the numbers, and believes the $443 million public cost is too prohibitive, especially in a down economy. Minnesota governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, says stadium construction will deliver 8,000 jobs: Banaian estimates that the project will add 2,000-2,500 jobs. Economic study after economic study has shown that the promises of stadium windfalls don’t come true. One major reason is the substitution effect: if people don’t spend their discretionary dollars on season tickets and hot dogs and parking and other costs associated with attending sports events, they’ll spend it on other activities and businesses within a metropolitan area (the movies, the car dealership, restaurants). Or maybe individuals will — gasp — save that Vikings money, which might not help local GDP in the short-term, but could greatly benefit an individual down the road.
 I tried to avoid including revenues that could be subject to the substitution effect, and like I stated above, payroll tax revenues leave the state with the team, there is no substitution. The Conference committee report that passed the House early this AM, and now goes to the Senate, shows the state's share at $348 Million. 460 - 348 is a net WIN for the general fund coffers, and we get to keep the Queenies home, warts and all. I look forward to an opportunity to pick King's brain on this one.

Skol Vikings


Friday, May 04, 2012

My Senser(y) Imperception

I used to being wrong. Jury came back saying she had to have known she hit someone and should have a) stopped to give aid, and B) reported the incident. They let her off on the reckless charge but convicted on the lesser careless charge. She's looking at 4 years, meaning she'll do about 3. It will be quite the culture shock, that's for sure.

I wasn't there but am still surprised at the verdict. I just didn't think there was a way the Jurors could say, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she had to have known she hit someone. Now, I was on the foreman on a 3rd degree assault jury years ago, and I began the trail, as one should, with acquittal on mind. Based on the evidence I saw, I was still at acquittal, until the jury instructions from the Judge. At that point I had no choice but to vote guilty. There was only a couple that were unsure, but once we explained the judges instruction, they agreed we really didn't have a choice. We sent a question tot he court, for clarification, and went off too lunch. Upon return we entered the court room to have our questions read, and the judge's answer was we could only go by his original instructions. We returned within the hour with our guilty verdict.

The first hint at the the mindset of the jury concluded they believe 'that the damage to Senser's care made it clear something 'very serious happened'

Best coverage of the case, including this verdict synopsis, can be found at the Minnesota Criminal Defense Blog.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Senser(y) Perception

Since I am confident everyone wants to know where I stand on the Amy Senser trail, I'll share.

She did it, but it seems to me there is more than reasonable doubt that she knew she hit a person. Her actions later that evening and her conversation with her Husband the next morning support that.

The question the jury asked, yesterday, leads me to believe they are leaning that way as well:
About 5 p.m., the jury asked the judge: In order to convict her of leaving the scene of an accident, "at what point did she have to know that she hit someone?"
The judge told them, "At the time of the accident or immediately thereafter."
I think the prosecutor here had their hand forced, making it difficult to plea this down. Amy will be acquitted, and since they didn't offer the jury any lesser charges then the three felony counts, she walks.

The Civil case, will be a completely different matter.