minngov tim pawlenty, my runnin' rival, signed off on a new ballpark for my beloved twins tonight. earlier this week, he also signed off on a new football stadium for the minnversity.
football and baseball stadiums are polarizing propositions. i've straddled the fence for years, but finally came out with a bold pro-ballpark stance during my gubernatorial debate with t-paw and jonathon the impaler. while i'm less convinced that the minnversity needs a new football stadium, i remain cautiously optimistic that both stadiums could become decent community-building public works projects. or maybe i'm just putting a durkheimian gloss on my personal desire to sit in the sun and watch a ballgame in 2010.
these stands put me on t-paw's side, in stark opposition to the enormous noncomformist. barring injury, my lad thinks he has a fighting chance of actually playing in one of the new stadiums. still, he's vehemently opposed to public funding, accusing me of profligate spending that saddles his generation with the burden of my own self-indulgence. and i must admit he's got a pretty good point there (aside: yeah, i'm proud when the kids box me in with principled arguments).
yes, i know that i'm in the minority on this one. we ballpark supporters represent the sentimental don't-care-what-it-costs rubes, jock profiteers, and greedhead developers. the opposition is made up of a powerful coalition of righty cheapskates and lefty anti-corporate welfare-staters-but-not-for-these-guys (not to mention certain radical left tackles).
in truth, i'm conflicted and guilty about supporting a new ballpark. i would rather earmark such funds for transportation infrastructure, public schools, public safety, and health care. nevertheless, even if every arts and entertainment project in the state were mothballed, i'm skeptical that we'd really see greater investments in transportation infrastructure, public schools, public safety, and health care.
ralph nader thinks so. he wrote an op-ed today imploring t-paw to reject the ballpark bill. moreover, he jumped into bed with the spooky taxpayer's league (motto: "no new taxes, no old taxes, we're keepin' it all")to do so:
How can you possibly defend such disenfranchisement of local voters to enrich a commercial entertainment company? Even if you are a supporter of the public subsidization of stadiums for the benefit of private, monopoly entertainment, there is certainly no justification, other than autocracy, to deny residents the right to vote on having a tax levied upon them for such a purpose. But judging from past pledges, you are not a supporter of taxpayer funded stadiums. According to Citizens for a Stadium Tax Referendum, you pledged to specifically oppose public funding for professional sports facilities. And according to the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, you signed a Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising to "oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes."
i'm intrigued that a ballpark brings mr. nader out of the woodwork when he's kept quiet over myriad other (ahem) controversial expenditures. does he really think t-paw should "veto any and all efforts to increase taxes?" why is ballpark spending (and not, say, NASA spending or even halliburton spending) such a political lightning rod? is it the magnitude of the expenditure? obscene player salaries? something tells me that attention to pro- and anti-ballpark vitriol might tell us something about political and cultural divides that run a little deeper.
*note: kinda liked the new rhcp album. kinda loved john frusciante's guitaristry.