Commissioner: Ramsey Co. charter may yet trip up Vikings

Ramsey County Charter Commissioner Peter Hendricks was one of the 10 “no” votes that sank a stadium referendum effort on Tuesday night in St. Paul.

(Clarification here: he cast a no vote on a proposed charter amendment that would have required a referendum on county funding for pro sports — not against the stadium itself. It’s complicated.)

But Hendricks told fellow commissioners that the charter commission wasn’t charged with setting public policy for the county, and that they were treading to close to that line, by his estimate.

Others cited his argument during the debate this week, even suggesting that they might invite legislative action to curb Ramsey County’s home-rule charter if opponents used it to throw up a roadblock to the Vikings proposed new home in Arden Hills.

That said, Hendricks doesn’t think the Vikings or lawmakers have heard the last of Ramsey County citizens. He points out that voters can put any deal the county signs up for a post-facto vote.

Hendricks also suggests that there would be a “high probability” that there would be a court battle between the county’s home rule rights and any legislative waiver of a referendum on a stadium tax.

He’s not saying who he thinks might win that.

But court cases and legal surprises have proven key points in stadium development before, like the land acquisition for Target Field, and Harry Crump’s order for the Twins to play ball — literally, in 2002.

Here’s the letter Hendricks sent today:

Ramsey County Charter and Vikings

  • Joe

    Big deal, the legislature can trump all and it may be too late to stop the 1/2 cent sales tax anyway once it gets 4 of the 7 votes.

    This is just wishful thinking and MPR keeps giving the opposition a platform. Agenda much? Quit trying to make a story where their isn’t one as you seem to be the only ones with the daily updates on the crappy Minnesota Voter Alliance losers who can’t accept a 10-6 ruling.

    This stadium IS going to happen so get over it. As for the courts if it comes to it, I like the Vikings chances more than some BS charter board or the residents of Ramsey County. The Vikes will find a sympatheic judge with a Nordic name and it will be all good.

    Nice try.

  • AAA

    If the state does’t have the right to wave a local referendum on sales taxes to Ramsey County, as the opponents of the Stadium claim, why was this not brought up during (or after) he transit tax was thrust upon Ramsey County with out a vote?