06 May

We're truly a wasteful, throw-away society

You've seen those National Geograhic (Nat Geo for you haughty peeps that need a shortened version of every word) episodes where they go to third-world countries and show just how poor they are. You know, when a million-dollar, high-tech, High-Definition camera, which costs about as much as all the huts in the city cost to build, goes around and films the daily life of city dwellers.

If only we could hand those poor residents a laptop and show them videos of the Vikings stadium debates.

As many of you know, the Metrodome roof collapsed last year. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), who owns and operates that nearly 30-year-old structure, had an insurance policy out on the fiberglass roof. The replacement cost? BirdAir Inc. is going to replace the roof at a cost of $17,973,245. Cost to MN? Only a very modest deductible.

So everything is just fine, right? We've got a new roof... Vikings are happy because they can play at home again... those that use the Metrodome can now resume their activities... no real substantial cost to MN to fix the roof. All is good!

But wait...

What happens in another year?

To answer this question, let's imagine we're a pick-a-path book. Damn I loved those books. I remember reading The Great Baseball Championship.

Ah, yes, The Great Baseball Championship

You could be on the last page of the book, and then your answer to the question could lead you a completely different direction (and back near the front of the book). What a country!

Anyway, pick a scenario. There will be three of them. We'll see how it plays out. Keep in mind, there's nearly $18M worth of new tiles put up to repair the current Metrodome. Also keep in mind, the Vikings lease in the Metrodome will end after the 2011 football season.

Vikings get their new stadium on the Metrodome site

Vikings have already admitted the current Metrodome will not work. Renovating the dome will not work either. Thus, we'd have to move the Vikes to TCF Field for a few seasons while they destroy the Metrodome and rebuild. Destroy the Metrodome. Destroy. That means, the ceiling tiles go bye-bye.

Vikings get their new stadium NOT on the Metrodome site

Vikings will play out the 2011 season in the dome. That means the $11-$12 million dollar budget  would need to be supported by all the other activities that occur in the Metrodome during the year... revenue which currently totals about $2 million. MSFC says they will not be able to operate the Metrodome with that revenue and would have to close it down. No more use for the ceiling tiles. Bye-bye ceiling tiles.

Vikings do not get their new stadium and leave

(see previous answer)

So maybe you see an issue here. The multi-million dollars that were spent replacing the ceiling tiles are going to get torn down regardless of the outcome of the stadium issue (unless some subsidized payments to keep the dome operating come from the state..... yeah, d'okay!)

What a f-d up slap in the face to the third world countries, courtesy of the United States. Hey, look at us... we can throw away money like it doesn't matter!!! Meanwhile, you're living in huts made with straw and wood just trying to make it!

We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Oh, and I get it. Technically, we had insurance and insurance is holding its end of the bargain... I get it. Really, I do. Also, I get the fact that the Vikings are under a lease agreement for the dome for this last year, so you have to have the Metrodome in playable condition. I get that too.

But we're supposed to then completely ignore all sense of wastefulness?

The Vikings have really wanted nothing more than to be out of the lease. MSFC doesn't want that any sooner than necessary. But if it's ultimate doom for the dome, why bother replacing it? MSFC should have accepted some sort of settlement w/ the insurance company in lieu of replacement -- you know, just like you do when you file a claim w/ your auto insurer. Do you really take that $500 check and bring your car to the repair shop so they can get a couple of tiny hail dings out of your hood? Naw, I didn't think so. You pocket that shizzle, head on over to the Big Wheel Rossi and get your chrome on... or your spinnin' rims, either one.

Oh, here's an option... allow the Vikings to be out of the lease and do as they please!

Now of course this sounds absurd. Few Minnesotans would really want that to happen. The state doesn't want that to happen. And really, the Vikes probably don't either, because with such short notice, they'd have to play at TCF Field, where they would lose about $13 million for the year (heard that fact on the radio, so sorry, I don't have the link)

So what MSFC did makes sense.... from a financial perspective.

But I wish we would have at least taken a step back and thought, "Gee, aren't we being a little wasteful?" Ceiling tiles for one year?

As the old saying goes, there's a starving kid who'd love to eat what you're throwing away.

Categories: Gripe