Gifts That Keep On Giving

To: Santa


My mother told me many years ago that when writing to Santa, I should always include wishes for other people because it would impress Santa with my selflessness. In that spirit, these are my wishes as we enter into this New Year.

››› Target Corporation. The Dayton name is gone (even from the U.S. Senate), B. Dalton has left, but Target continues to grow and prosper here in its ancestral home. Target has planned a huge expansion to a 334-acre campus in Brooklyn Park featuring up to 8 million square feet of office space, 2 million square feet of retail, thousands of housing units, and approximately 30,000 jobs. This would anchor the burgeoning development on the west end of the Highway 610 corridor.

Target is seeking some tax abatement from Hennepin County to assist in the project. This is the kind of development we need in exactly the right location by precisely the right Minnesota corporation. Target is a wonderful neighbor—we’d like to see more of them. It is difficult to name a charitable organization or any worthwhile civic project that does not benefit from time and money from Target. Santa, appropriately decked out in red, my hope is that you will grant this gift to Target. Target is truly a gift that keeps giving.

››› University of Minnesota athletics. Santa, you granted an early holiday gift to the university with funding for a new outdoor, on-campus football stadium. However, my main wish is that honesty be brought to university sports. Therefore, Santa, I hope that the gift you give the university is the abolition of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). If an unrealistic structure is forced upon academic athletics, we end up with the absurdities of so-called secondary violations.

Let me give you two examples. Students on the women’s basketball team organized a flag-football game with two prospective players. A member of the coaching staff was present at the start of this game, and then went on a campus tour with the parents. This became an impermissible tryout in violation of NCAA rules. Men’s basketball, not to be outdone in its ability to violate the picayune NCAA rules, sent a prospective player a letter with an oversized photo of a U of M jersey. The photo was construed as a poster, which had value, and could be considered an impermissible gift.

Please Santa, no more of this. Let the university be honest and transparent in its dealings with students and with athletes. Abolishing the NCAA will allow the university to do exactly that.

››› Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, and all of those who won in the November elections. Santa, I hope you can make a DVD of all of the TV ads run by and on behalf of the winning candidates in the most recent elections. It would be my hope that the winning candidates would then be required, perhaps as a condition of ever receiving a gift from you in the future, to sit in a dark room and review those television ads uninterrupted for eight hours. The governor could watch ads describing the threat we all face from allowing resident illegal aliens who are high school graduates to attend our universities and colleges at residential tuition rates. Michele Bachmann could view—over and over and over again—the many ways it was alleged that Patty Wetterling had let us down. You could give Amy Klobuchar a DVD of all of her ads or its equivalent: 600 pounds of saccharin. These would be gifts we would all appreciate.

Well, Santa, that about wraps it up. These gifts would help provide for jobs, a better university, and improved political and civic life—and would be a gift to the undersigned, too.

Sincerely Yours,

Vance K. Opperman

Holiday Gift Wisher

Related Stories