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