Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Prosecute Mall Protest Organizers

Before I get started... If you appreciate MinnPost, please donate some money to them TODAY. I finally pried open my wallet yesterday in order to help them meet a year end goal. Unlike me, they actually need some income to operate.
I know neither of these statements will surprise you.
  1. I disagree with some of the Liberal commenters regarding the following MinnPost article.
  2. The MinnPost moderators and I have a difference of opinion regarding what is an acceptable comment...
MinnPost Make and Example

So here we go...
"I don't understand what is happening in this country. Nor do I like it. Maybe it's a generational thing, but lawlessness isn't the answer.
 
These protestors were warned by MOA letters, and personal police visits, that they would be BREAKING the LAW, as the MOA is private property. So they all should have been arrested on site.
 
Also, all of my adult life~I'm a Sr~it was commonly known (and perhaps the law) that while one could protest peacefully, one could not 'impede commerce'. So no blocking of highways or entrances or exits of businesses. No physical damage, either. Etc.
 
I don't know when things changed. Or if they officially have. But getting involved proactively in the formal processes is a far better use of one's time and energy than mob mentality protests. And one has to wonder why so many folks have so much time to spend protesting, too. Do they not have jobs, and have homes & families to attend to? Or volunteer activities to participate in?
 
I don't see any positive gains in all of these protests. In the case of ongoing protests still in Missouri, who is paying for all of it?? The extra police presence, the store & other property damage? That is normally a tax payer expense. But again, if many of the protestors aren't working, they aren't paying taxes....
 
We all need to be grown ups and learn to calmly discuss issues and work on and negotiate practical resolutions that work well for the masses. Not to just always REACT." LK
 
"First, let me note that the protestors did not block entrances or exits of stores, that is was the police and the mall security that did so.
 
Second, let me note that American history is replete with protests that not only impeded commerce but also did physical damage, but if you are over 250 years of age you may possibly remember a time when our country was not like this.
 
Our nation was born of protest that impeded trade and actually damaged property, that being of course the Tea Party. In fact, pretty much nothing about our nation's birth was 'legal'.
 
The illegal protests, sometimes including damage to property or actual violence, went on to such things as the whisky rebellion all the way to the labor movement riots in the early 20th century.
 
The 60's of course hardly need to be mentioned as an example of not just protests but violent riots.
 
There was no time in American history devoid of protests, and in fact this point in time is relatively quiet compared to some. Things have not changed- a nation born in protest continues in protest- and even gainfully employed people with homes and families do have time to engage in them." Theo
 
"I am fine if people choose to break the law to make a point or generate publicity.
 
That is if they are fine accepting the punishment for choosing to break the law.
 
To break the law and assume there should be no punishment "because they arre protesting" seems silly.
 
I hope they enjoy their time in jail, paying restitution and/or paying fines. And that the publicity they gained was adequate to justify these expenses." G2A
 
"I'm not sure if your statement above was really a reply to mine or a separate point altogether because I'm not seeing a connection. Are you somehow thinking my argument was that nobody should be punished...because I'm not sure how you could from what I wrote(?).
 
My understanding is that about a dozen protestors got arrested, and they are therefore being punished. Going after the organizers for further punishment is ridiculous. Nobody participating in the protests are under the organizer's control, they all made individual decisions to participate and each took on the individual risk of arrest and some of them took the punishment that such risk can result in." Theo
Now for the first concept I can not get past Moderators...
"Theo,  So are you saying that people should be free to organize events that they know are illegal with no fear of consequences?  Does this make sense?  Does this mean someone could plan crimes without risk prosecution?  As long as they don't commit the crime..." G2A
Now here is the other string. 
"I wouldn't find it very amusing for people to protest on my private property. Illegal activity should have consequences." Alfred

"Protests on my property would not last long." Pavel

"Is that a challenge? Post the location of your private property and let's see how long it does last." Matthew
 And my response...
 "Matthew, If you owned a business, would you really allow people to protest on your property?  Even if by doing so you may annoy or alienate your paying customers who disagree or are indifferent to the protestor's message?
 Thoughts?

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it ok for commerce to impede free speech? Which is to be preferred?

--Hiram

Laurie said...

I think the protest organizers will be convicted. The interesting part (for them) will be the punishment - jail time, fines, etc. I don't think they should have to pay Bloomington police for their overreaction, though what they did seemed to work out okay with ending the propest peacefully within a couple of hours. With fewer police the protest may have gone on longer.

I think the mall should be considered public property with protests allowed. It would make going shopping more interesting.

Sean said...

Just imagine the fuss if Rosa Parks happened today -- "She prevented a whole busload of people from getting home on time!"

John said...

Hiram,
Apparently property rights trump free speech in this case. You are free to say anything you want, just not while standing on some one else's private property.

Laurie,
I am not sure "interesting" is the word I would use. Maybe loud, chaotic, frustrating, congested, etc... Of course it wouldn't impact me since I only get to MOA ~2 times per year for a total of 8 hours...

Sean,
I assume Rosa Parks was on a public bus. That is more equivalent to the idiots who think standing in the middle of a freeway and inconveniencing thousands of people is acceptable behavior. Also, please remember that Rosa was just tired and fed up, I don't think she planned ahead to break the law like these folks.

Anonymous said...

Apparently property rights trump free speech in this case.

Has anyone gone to jail so far?

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

This is straight out of the Communist playbook. Organize a nominally "peaceful" protest, plan for it to get out of hand and when the police react properly, use that to demand that the whole government be brought down and replaced with YOU chowderheads. And to compare these idiots to the American revolutionaries is just ridiculous. I know that's how they see themselves, but of course they're so enamored by their own delusions of grandeur that it seems rational to them, even to the point where anything they do up to and including mass murder is simply means justified by their noble aims-- if they can define them at all.

What is more the pity is that any pretext whatsoever can be used, it seems, to launch one of these "protests" and they have the benefit of a complicit media by which their true aims and behavior go unrepported, in favor of the narrative they choose to cover their crimes.

I always want to ask these crazies, "Whatever happened to writing a letter to your Congressman?" Seems that would be a lot more effective in altering government policy, and certainly more likely to win people to your cause. I doubt I would get an answer, and I'm not going to wade into an angry, destructive mob to get one.

Unfortunately, you can't just tear gas and arrest the whole lot of them because the organizers (aka those conspiring to riot) generally escape and the poor besotted, mind-clouded fools who got swept up in the meaningless rhetoric pay the price. Here it is being done properly, by holding the leaders responsible and by arresting only the most obviously overzealous participants. I find it pretty difficult to be that understanding.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, MOA policy is that NO group is allowed such access, including our choir who wanted to sing Christmas carols for the shoppers. I say throw the book at 'em.

Anonymous said...

This is straight out of the Communist playbook

One way to deal with provocation tactics is not to allow oneself to be provoked.

--Hiram

Laurie said...

I believe Rosa Parks action to refuse to give up her seat was something she preplanned at a civil rights training.

I wonder how many large scale protests there would be if they were allowed at MOA. I don't think it would be many. I do think there would be individuals and small groups passing out leaflets. Maybe they should deisgnate a free speech area as there was taxpayer $ that went into building it. They could allow groups to sign up for a table near the food court for instance.

John said...

Rosa says she did not intend to get arrested that day. History Rosa Parks

Laurie said...

but she was part of a group that was planning protests.

jerrye92002 said...

I think MOA policy is a good one. They want people there to enjoy the shopping experience (something I have never understood, but...) and ANY form of "free speech" is going to distract and detract from the purpose of this, like it or not, private property. The gathering was unlawful and both organizers and participants should have been arrested. Those involved in actions beyond simple free speech should face harsher consequences. And anybody that thinks these sorts of protests somehow advance some noble cause needs a psych eval.

Anonymous said...

Does the Mall of America accept public money?

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

Wrong question. Just because our wastrel government leaders decide to throw money at a private enterprise, does not make it less of a private enterprise. If government wants to control, say, the Vikings, they should BUY the Vikings, not just gift them 1/2 a billion bucks.

John said...

I assume the MOA got tax breaks and roads, but probably no actual cash. And I am assuming that money has been paid back hundreds of times over in additional sales and property taxes...

As for the Vikings, we really have not given them a dime. We helped to build a public building that they can play in. If they leave, we still have the building.

Anonymous said...



I assume the MOA got tax breaks and roads, but probably no actual cash. And I am assuming that money has been paid back hundreds of times over in additional sales and property taxes...

And that's a problem since it arguably makes the mall a public facility where first amendment rights apply.

--Hiram

John said...

You are so funny. We all get tax breaks for our homes, children, selves, etc. By your strange logic we are all public property then?

jerrye92002 said...

"As for the Vikings, we really have not given them a dime. "

That's more strange logic. The Vikings wanted a new stadium and didn't want to pay the full price. The gummint was cajoled/coerced/convinced to put up half the money in exchange for a contract to stay in MN for 30 years. That's a gift of real value, in exchange for roughly nothing.

John said...

Now I didn't support building a new stadium, however even I know we get a whole lot more than "roughly nothing".

Anonymous said...

Do people live at the mall of America? Do you hold your home out to visits by members of the public you don't know?

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

"I know we get a whole lot more than "roughly nothing".

That sounds like the arguments being made for spending half a billion dollars of taxpayer money to provide a workplace for a few millionaires, owned by a billionaire. I opposed the stadium because I thought the value proposition was horribly lopsided, the returns to the taxpayer being "roughly nothing." You're welcome to do the math to prove otherwise.

At the time, I proposed simply giving the Metrodome and everything involved with it to the Vikings organization for $1. That would have left the taxpayers completely out of it, given the Vikings an equivalent boost in revenue to what the new stadium will supposedly generate, and left them with the freedom to build a new stadium any time or place they chose.

John said...

Hiram, You are reaching again, however I will play. So every dentist office, gas station, Church, planned parenthood office, gay/lesbian counseling center, political office space, etc is "public" space and everyone should be able to enter and protest at will?

And if these are public spaces, will the government help pay the rent or mortgage if these groups fall on hard times?

Anonymous said...

"So every dentist office, gas station, Church, planned parenthood office, gay/lesbian counseling center, political office space, etc is "public" space and everyone should be able to enter and protest at will?"

Are you arguing that these tax subsidized spaces open to all are not public spaces? Doesn't taking public dollars entail certain obligations?

--Hiram

John said...

I still find that "roughly nothing" fascinating... I mean a good chunk of the money is recaptured immediately.

The State spends $500 million and the Vikings spend $500 million. All of which generates Sales, Income, Corporate, Payroll, Gas Taxes, etc. And it doesn't just do it once, that money gets spent in the community where it is taxed again and again. Let's just say that 20% of the $1 trillion of the funds go immediately back into the government coffers. That would be ~$200 million reclaimed, I would not call that "roughly nothing".

Then on top of this, the project is a huge make work project with many minority employment requirements. Therefore the state should be paying less to support unemployed or underemployed minorities.

On top of this the State will get to host the Super Bowl, Final Four and a host of other activities that we probably would not have had a chance at.

Then we have all the intangibles. MN state pride at having a piece of "structural art" that will be seen all around the world. The perception that MN is a progressive, successful, etc state where incredible companies and highly skilled employees want to come to work.

Personally I think the State and the tax payers will get their $500 million back. Now it would have been nice if the Wilf's would have picked up the whole tab for all these benefits, but I think that would have been unfair.

Besides, since it is a public place, maybe the protestors will be allowed to do their thing there...

John said...

Let's repeat, they are not taking "public dollars". They are using tax policy to pay fewer taxes.

This is a HUGE difference, that Liberals seem to have a challenge sanctioning. Maybe because they think all property and wealth should belong to the state.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives are not wrong when they they express concerns to the effect that when you take government money, government rules come with it. The Mall of America was willing, eager even, to take money from the government. That has consequences.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

Let's repeat, they are not taking "public dollars".

Really? Then why are we so concerned that the electronic pull tab business is going to be insufficient to "pay off the bonds for the stadium"? It is government revenue that COULD have been spent elsewhere or, better yet, left in the hands of taxpayers, who would ALSO have saved or invested it in ways that drove economic growth and government revenue. The stadium was NOT the only choice for spending that money, by a long shot.

As for the additional economic activity, it applies regardless of whether the Wilfs or the taxpayers put up the money, and only generates income for the owners of the facility on those few occasions (something giving the Vikings the Metrodome would also have done) when many out-of-State visitors pour in.

And those "intangibles" may not be as valuable as you think they are. Being known as a "progressive" state could also be seen as being a "spendthrift" and "high tax" environment. Not the reputation I want for the state.

And I know how we got sidetracked, here. The argument that protestors have a right to a protest (regardless of real or claimed "peacefulness") on private property, and what private properties are considered public spaces. Courts have already ruled that those receiving tax breaks do not incur public obligations, and those receiving direct tax subsidies do so only to the degree the contract spells out such shared ownership or obligation. For example, the $500Billion given to Solyndra did not confer any taxpayer ownership of the potential profits, no special access to the facilities, and no claim even on the assets of the bankrupt corporation. It was a gift, in simple terms, pretty much the same deal the Vikings got.

John said...

Hiram,
Now what money do you think MOA received from the government?

Anonymous said...

Let's repeat, they are not taking "public dollars".

In that case, there argument for being a private space gets stronger. And I won't expect to see them back at the legislature again.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

Now what money do you think MOA received from the government?

I believe they receive various wealth redistributions in the form of tax breaks and infrastructure support.

--Hiram

John said...

Jerry,
I think the money concern is a question of pockets. All that money is coming back into the government (ie tax payer), just not to the account that has to pay back the bond.

And yes the money could have been spent elsewhere, however where else would it have guaranteed a matching $500 million investment in our community by out of state investors?

As I have said above, there are pros and cons to the deal. I can see both sides.

Sean said...

I'm not opposed to stadium deals for the intangible benefits they bring, but any notion that they pay for themselves is absurd.

Most of the fan-generated spending is just redirected from other local businesses, and the construction of the stadium has fewer long-term economic benefits than, say, strategically building $1 billion in new roads.

Getting the one-time events is beneficial, but usually they fail to live up to the rosy projections.

See, for instance, this year's MLB All-Star Game, which may have as little as 1/3 of the original projected impact:

http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/282360031.html

John said...

Star Tribune All Star Game

John said...

"just redirected from other local businesses"

You are kidding aren't you? I think of all the folks from out state and out of state who come in just for games. I don't think many of these folks would be spending that money in Mpls/St Paul if it was not for the stadiums, professional teams and MOA.

Regarding the All Star Game, not sure what the exact dollars were. But I know that I ended up getting my customers rooms in Waconia because everything in town was full. I am thinking that means a whole lot of people from out of town were visiting and spending.

I also wonder where all those airline ticket purchase fees and taxes went? Would they show up in the MN Sales Tax?

Sean said...

"I think of all the folks from out state and out of state who come in just for games. I don't think many of these folks would be spending that money in Mpls/St Paul if it was not for the stadiums, professional teams and MOA."

This has been studied over and over again by many leading economists (Google Roger Noll, a Stanford economist, who has done significant work on this topic). Yes, there is some tourism generated by stadiums and professional sports, but as I said, the broad majority of such spending comes from folks in the local area who would otherwise spend that money at other places in the community were the stadium not there.

Sure, the All-Star Game was nice. But even at the top-end economic impact of $55 million, you need to have roughly 10 of them to get back the cost of Target Field.

jerrye92002 said...

Sean, I like your straight-up economic analysis. I know things like the Olympics and political conventions, billed as big money-makers, usually fail to make back even the money spent on the facilities. I think the stadium(s) were built for the same reason as the light rail lines. That is, to show what a "progressive" city we are, with all the things the other big cities have. Politicians pointing with pride can be very expensive.

John said...

You don't need "10 of them" because you made a lot of the money back right out of the chute.

Remember that the State paid $500 million and the Vikings/NFL matched it. You would need to build a very interesting road/bridge to generate this kind of immediate return on investment.

Yes it would have been great if the NFL/Vikings had been willing to come in spend the whole $1 Billion, but they wouldn't have.

That means that $500 million in economic spend would have gone elsewhere. I wonder where the Vikings claim residency, if it is MN that is pretty good for our income tax revenues also.

Sean said...

"Remember that the State paid $500 million and the Vikings/NFL matched it. You would need to build a very interesting road/bridge to generate this kind of immediate return on investment."

Well, I was talking about Target Field in my previous post, not the Vikings stadium.

But, the Vikings matching the state contribution to the new football stadium does not constitute "return on investment".

It's also not at all clear that the $500M in Vikings spend would go elsewhere without the public contribution. Let's remember that the Vikings $500M is not Zygi Wilf cutting a check. Most of the Wilf contribution is financed over time, which means it will actually be paid in large part by the team's fans through the stadium revenues that team will collect via the public-private agreement that built the stadium in the first place. In other words, without the new stadium, the Wilf contribution wouldn't exist in the first place.

Economists will give you widely varying estimates of their return on investment in roads. A fairly typical average is anywhere between 1.5-1.8 per dollar spent.

Is the new Vikings stadium going to generate $1.5 billion in economic activity? I doubt it.

jerrye92002 said...

John, your spending logic sounds like Nancy Pelosi's contention that unemployment checks create economic growth. The so-called "return on investment" from any government spending assumes that there is an actual investment in some capital good that over time creates greater economic activity than could be obtained by some other use of the money and greater than the total economic cost of buying that piece of capital in the first place.

Therefore, paying workers to build the stadium isn't a return, but part of the cost, since we could have employed those workers someplace else more useful (like a pipeline). The stadium IS a capital project (unlike welfare spending) and can be expected to generate an economic return, all of which will go to the Wilfs. The additional income of the hotels, players, etc. will be taxed and some revenue will flow to the state, but only a tiny fraction of what the Vikings will make, and incidental to the stadium, since the Vikings would be playing here without it, or some other recreational activity would be engaging that consumer spending.

Likewise, any private money put up is not a return to the State either, but simply adds to the cost which must be repaid over time. Again, the Wilf's value proposition is far better than the State's, since the Wilf's return on is the same but their investment is only half of the value of the stadium.

And the idea that the Vikings would leave without it makes me cry. It's not obvious where they could go, or that more favorable terms (for the taxpayers)could not have been negotiated. For $500 million, we could have simply bought controlling interest in the team, made them stay, and shared in the profit.

John said...

Each party is paying their portion of the bill by taking on debt. The state and citizens get the fastest payback since it is almost immediate. (ie tax receipts, jobs, etc)

We will have to agree to disagree if it was a good deal, bad deal or a neutral deal. I think the stadium will be roughly a break even adventure for the state and tax payers.

As for Target Field, it looks like that brought in $167 million of private investment and greatly improved the neighborhood.

"On February 12, 2008, the Twins announced $22.4 million in upgrades to the original design, increased the Twins ownership stake in the new ballpark to $167.4 million, bringing the total ballpark cost to $412 million."

John said...

Jerry,
I am shocked !!! Even considering government ownership of a private firm !!! You Socialist you !!! (hahahaha)

jerrye92002 said...

Correct. Government has no business owning a football team. (You think team management is bad NOW?) So by extension the government has no business owning a football stadium, either, do they? Or being half owner? Or taking any revenue whatsoever from this private enterprise, except general taxes that apply equally to everybody? And after violating all of these sensible boundaries, to then add the additional crippling requirement for "free speech"? It boggles.