Voters need to think about history before voting on stadium

If I remember anything from history class — and that’s a mighty big “if” — it’s the cliche that history repeats itself.
Long about 1992 a local owner started complaining about the stadium his team played in. Efforts were made over the course of several months to keep the team in Minnesota, but were to no avail.
Norm Green took his hockey team to Dallas. Four years later, St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman brought a new NHL team to Minnesota for about $150 million.
If somebody had ponied up four years sooner, the state would have paid far less for renovations to the Met.
Enter the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins are asking for a new stadium, and public approval is hovering around 40 percent. I’m not here to bore you with more stadium jargon — most of it goes in my left ear and out righty.
I’m just asking that voters think this time around. Is it worthwhile to build a stadium for the Twins? The knee-jerk reaction is ‘no.’ But think about it another way: are you willing to support building a stadium for a new team?
It shouldn’t make any difference whether the team is a new one or an old one, but it happened before. Soon after the Stars left Minnesota there were people working to bring another team to town. Some tried to lure a struggling Winnipeg team while others concentrated on getting an expansion team — and building a new stadium.
Did any of it have to happen? Not necessarily. Renovating Met Center or even the St. Paul Civic Center would have been cheaper, and would have kept the team in Minnesota.
Instead, “budget conscious” Minnesotans sent the Stars packing and built a new stadium.
Yes, Norm Green is no Carl Pohlad. To his credit, Pohlad has been very slow to make any move that would take the Twins out of Minnesota.
Green had the U-Hauls fired up before he even asked for improvements.
So the question sits before St. Paulites with election day four weeks off: will we build a new stadium for the Twins with a 0.5 percent tax hike?
I’d love a new stadium. Any writer that’s worked in the Metrodome would welcome a change and I think that automatically biases sports writers towards building a stadium.
But I’m not some pro-stadium zealot who demands you run out to your voting booth on Nov. 2 and vote yes. Truth be told, I’m still undecided on the issue.
I don’t like paying any taxes — except the ones that help pay for art exhibitions in New York — and I might not be compelled to vote in the Twins’ favor.
But on the other hand, I could see building a stadium for the Twins. What the heck, it’s only a half a percent, and it doesn’t look like Major League Baseball will be expanding anytime soon.
Whatever they decide, I just hope St. Paul voters are thinking about the past as well as the future.

Jim Schortemeyer is the sports editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]