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Mpls Council Opposes Stadium Deal Without Referendum

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – There was strong opposition to a Vikings stadium Thursday in a place the Vikings can least afford it.

The Minneapolis City Council is opposing a stadium deal without a public referendum. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said getting city council support to spend money on a Vikings stadium is “tough, but doable.”

He’s absolutely right about the first part. The city council making it clear: this is far from “doable.”

Council members didn’t hide their frustration with Rybak, and a football team they think are trying to do an end run on them.

“Right now the calls are coming into my office 10 to 1 against, and people are absolutely indignant about this situation with the charter,” said Lisa Goodman with the Minneapolis City Council. “It makes me cry when I see you are trying to get around this. It makes me say why am I even here?”

The Minneapolis city charter limits the amount of money the city can spend on a sports facility, and a majority of council members said they won’t support one without a public referendum.

“Looking across the street at Occupy Minnesota and thinking about what’s going on in our country right now, some of the discussions that are going on relative to government. Can we trust them or not, I can’t countenance going around that referendum,” said Council Member Sandra Colvin Roy.

Even the council president, who supports the stadium, complained about the city picking up a stadium tab the rest of the state should share.

“They’re not willing to raise their hands and say I am willing to tax my citizens to keep these professional teams in Minnesota,” said Barbara Johnson.

Rybak’s warning: Time is running out.

“Let’s get real with ourselves here folks. This is a risk, but there’s also an enormous risk of doing nothing,” said Rybak.

Despite the strong opposition voiced at the council Thursday, Rybak told reporters there will be no referendum on a stadium in Minneapolis. He said the only referendum will be when he runs for re-election two years from now.

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