This Pioneer Press article depicts Lester Bagley as playing the role of Vikings heavy:
As Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders tried to hand each other responsibility for the fate of the Vikings stadium bill Tuesday, April 17, the day after a major defeat in a House committee, Dayton raised the possibility that a new football stadium might have to wait till next year.
To which a team official responded: “There is no next year.” “The last governor said in 2006 we’ll come back and work on yours next year. That was six years ago,” said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development. “No action this year is a decision.”
Bagley struck the same slightly aggressive tone Monday night after the House Government Operations and Elections committee rejected the bill for a $975 million stadium on a 9-6 vote. He told reporters “it’s a mistake” to assume the team will continue operating under the status quo.
Bagley said there is support this year to get the bill done and it needs to get to the floor for a vote in both chambers. “Legislators are afraid of voting on this issue,” Bagley said.
Bagley should take a valium because everyone knows that a) the NFL won’t let the Vikings move to LA, b) there’s always next year and c) times have changed since the stadium boom of the 1990′s.
Los Angeles is always brought up as the Vikings destination as though it’s a rock-solid thing. It isn’t. First, considering the financial mess that is California, LA isn’t in position to support, week in and week out, a team.
That’s just reality. While LA would get alot of millionaires to buy season tickets and luxury boxes, that hardly fills a stadium. With California becoming more of an economic basket case and with people leaving the state, there’s no reason to think that LA is the gold mine it’s perceived to be.
It’s difficult to think of Bagley as a heavy. It’s apparent that he’s trying to play his hand well. It’s equally apparent that he’s playing a crappy hand.
What’s needed for the stadium to pass is to put a better funding mechanism together. If that doesn’t happen, it’ll be difficult to pass a stadium bill.
The other things that must be part of the bill is for the Vikings to pony up more money towards the cost of the stadium and for there to be a referendum on the tax increase.
That the Wilfs picked Bagley to be their heavy with the legislature wasn’t their best decision.
To be fair, the Wilfs have operated in a good faith fashion. It’s easy to understand their frustration. That doesn’t mean I’ll always agree with them. It just means that, in the name of fairness and accuracy, I’ll stick with what’s verifiable.