By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Last week House Speaker Steve Sviggum, the state's top Republican, told the press he is forming a policy committee to examine stadium issues. It was another significant step forward for the Twins. Last year at this time no sane legislator would go near a microphone and utter the words Twins and stadium in the same breath.
"Have they primed the pump?" asks Rep. Krinkie. "Is their PR machine working? Yes. I heard a number of legislators say, 'Oh, this is very different from what it was in 1997.' But for a student of the stadium game, it's no different. It's the same thing. It's a billionaire coming over to get state money to build a ballpark."
In 1996, as the Twins were gearing up to take their first swing at the Legislature, Senator Marty began cranking up his own opposition campaign. Even before a plan was on the table, he had locked scores of legislators into a "no" vote. Marty is hoping to use the layoff before the 2002 legislative session to mount a similar effort.
But even he concedes that the Twins have gained the upper hand. "They could well get their stadium next year," Marty allows. "I would've said two years ago, or even a year ago, that the chances were slim. But never underestimate the power of lobbyists and millions of dollars and campaign contributions to make a difference in the political process. With that kind of money, they've got a pretty good head start on everybody else."