Between the front page and the opinion page, some battle lines.
Sure, he’s good with other people’s money
The contributions to Minnesota culture by U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis were profiled in a front-page article May 26 (“Banker body, preacher soul”). The paper lionizes his problem-solving.
Problem: The Minnesota Orchestra is losing money. Solution: Cut workers’ pay by 30 percent and shut down the orchestra until they accept it.
Problem: The Minnesota Vikings might move. Solution: Give $500 million of taxpayer money to build a stadium for team owners from New Jersey, thereby increasing the value of their team by $500 million.
Problem: Minneapolis wants the Super Bowl. Solution: Pledge $30 million of other people’s money and waive tens of millions of dollars in taxes, all for the benefit of the NFL.
The profile fawns over the Davis style: “Commanding” 60,000 employees, he bravely stands up to the governor, calling him Mark. (The paper does not mention his courage in standing up to the Vikings or the NFL). Before a presentation begging the NFL for the Super Bowl, he sings “We Are the Champions” with his high school sophomore class, er, I mean his co-presenters.
James McGovern, Minneapolis
WASP stewardship had its shortcomings
So, Bonnie Blodgett bemoans the demise of the WASP ascendancy (“Diminuendo: The dying sound of stewardship among the American ruling class,” May 25), then somehow connects that to the recent financial turbulence of the Minnesota Orchestra. While she lionizes the WASPs who she says understood the importance of supporting culture, she conveniently forgets that at the same time they were supporting orchestras they were restricting access to their schools, their clubs, their neighborhoods, their businesses, their law firms and the medical staff of their hospitals except to “their kind.”
As to the orchestra, perhaps she should know that in those bygone days, concert revenues covered 50 percent or more of the orchestra’s costs. Most recently they covered 22 percent. Hence the need to control costs.
Ken Cutler, Edina
What did he do to get such fine coverage?
How is it, we may ask, that Davis was honored with a front-page profile in the Sunday paper? The Star Tribune must feel that it owes him some special effort toward the rehabilitation of his public image. I think that the paper owes its readership an explanation of why this is so.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.