Readers Write (May 6): Minnesota Orchestra, civility, Chris Kluwe, U.S. Rep. John Kline, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann

  • Updated: May 5, 2013 - 7:05 PM

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Board’s PR game has grown annoying

The departure of Burt Hara, principal clarinet player of the Minnesota Orchestra, is indeed a serious loss of talent from our esteemed ensemble. Hara has brought acclaim and has earned excellent reviews as a soloist with both our own orchestra and as a guest player with other orchestras.

On the same day last week, Osmo Vänskä, music director, wrote a letter to the board of the orchestra, outlining his grave concerns about the current situation. He stated that if the situation is not resolved soon, the orchestra could lose its invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall, as it may be presumed that it would not be in top form after not performing for so many months. Vänskä also described the impact on his own tenure that such a development would create: he would find it necessary to resign.

The response from Jon Campbell, the orchestra board’s chairman, was both cavalier and most irritating to many of us audience members. He suggested that Vänskä’s letter should have been addressed to the musicians, since they are the ones holding up any progress. Perhaps he forgot that Vänskä reports to the board and that discussions of conditions surrounding his employment belong in that realm.

It truly is time for the board and its leadership to stop the PR game and start finding solutions. It is obvious that we are continuing to lose our talent and are going to lose more talent. They are failing as leaders and managers.

James Nastoff, Minneapolis

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How to make people subdue their emotions

Gov. Mark Dayton’s experience in Shakopee and the emotion that spawned it have me thinking about a recently published paper titled “Political Extremism Is Supported by an Illusion of Understanding.”

The authors observed that respondents’ views of complex issues were moderated by asking them to provide the “how” of implementation and, in turn, reveal their ignorance on the issue, which led to a more humbled, moderate position. The authors found that asking “why” respondents held a certain view served to reinforce, not moderate respondents’ positions.

For those of us tired of political discourse heavy on emotion and light on specifics, this shows an exciting way forward.

Mark Pearson, Roseville

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U.S. Rep. John Kline

He deserves praise for overtime bill

I was heartened to read two headlines on the May 3 Opinion Exchange page: “Let’s reintroduce the idea of dignity to our discourse” and “Hardworking Minnesotans need options.” According to the summary for the second article, “overtime should be compensated instead of paid, if they and their employees wish.”

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