Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the moment we lose perspective on the future. It is entirely possible that in three or four years we will be reading about the sale of the Vikings for a profit of $100 million or $200 million as a result of the new stadium financed virtually entirely by the taxpayer and the fans. And, yes, there will be stories about how Zygi Wilf outfoxed those representing the public.
However, on the other side of town in a newly refurbished Orchestra Hall, there will be no sounds of Brahms or Copland or Sibelius, but the stillness of silence.
We will wonder how we could pass a Legacy Amendment designed to properly fund the outdoors and the arts, pour hundreds of millions into a facility that ultimately moved Wilf from millionaire into billionaire status, and then stand by while our own world-class symphony orchestra disintegrated.
We will ask — where were our priorities? How could we go so overboard for one and yet be so detached from the other? Since when do the arts not play a major role in defining our quality of life, and is it not that same quality of life that attracts business job growth?
And then we will wonder about our leadership. What is hard to comprehend is why the Legacy Amendment, the overgenerosity of the public in the stadium deal and the lack of progress in the stalemate at Orchestra Hall do not pose an opportunity for the governor, the mayor and legislative leaders to come together and figure out how some money can be moved in order to permit us to retain the Vikings (with an increased share of participation from Wilf) as well as a treasured world-class symphony. We owe this to ourselves and to our future. Let’s get moving.
Arne Carlson is a former governor of Minnesota. He wrote this for his blog, govarnecarlson.blogspot.com.