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Readers Write (Nov. 29): Orchestra, Benghazi, schools, pedestrians, light rail

  • November 28, 2012 - 6:46 PM

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

Its status renders some suggestions infeasible

 

The Nov. 28 letters concerning the Minnesota Orchestra displayed a basic misunderstanding of how symphony orchestras operate. They are nonprofit organizations; it is not possible to set ticket prices high enough to cover expenses.

Even one of the most successful combinations, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, brought in only a little over half of its budget through ticket sales, if memory serves. And ticket prices are much higher in New York than this market would bear. This makes the suggestion of profit sharing a moot point; there is no profit.

That is why orchestras must rely on contributions to bridge the gap, and this community has done a wonderful job in this respect over the years. It seems the management has done some manipulating of the finances recently -- showing a balanced budget at the height of the recession and a shortfall as we are pulling out of the recession. It seems there is something else going on here -- is this management part of a nationwide effort at union-busting?

MIKE HIPPS, EDEN PRAIRIE

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BENGHAZI

Criticisms are political, lacking in perspective

 

It infuriates me that the Star Tribune and other publications continue to report stories on the conflict between Susan Rice and three Republican senators without attempting to put their complaints into perspective. Both the Bush and the Obama administrations publicly stated that, while we have made much progress in defending the U.S. against terrorist attacks, there would be more attacks and we would not prevent all of them. The Benghazi incident was one of the few we were unable to prevent.

Unfortunately, four Americans, including an ambassador, were killed. In terms of scope, however, this incident pales in relation to the thousands of Americans, Iraqis, Afghans and many others who have been killed since the original 9/11 attacks. I don't believe there was a clear explanation from the U.S. intelligence services or administrations immediately following many of these incidents.

The fact that Susan Rice did not have complete information and was reporting what she had been told several days after the incident should have nothing to do with her qualifications to be secretary of state, if she were nominated. I don't recall that Condoleezza Rice was considered unfit for that office after ignoring intelligence memos warning of a terrorist attack prior to 9/11 or her public pronouncements of Iraq having devastating (but later proven to be absent) nuclear weapons. How can the Republicans keep suggesting equivalency in these two situations without being called on it in every media story written?

PETE H. SAMMOND, MINNETONKA

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SCHOOLS

Taxpayers are about to get burned again

 

Concerning "Financing for K-12 targeted" in the Nov. 28 issue: Delano just passed two levy referendums because the Legislature has not seen fit to meet the constitutional requirements for funding schools for several years.

Our per-pupil expenditures are traditionally in the lowest 20 percent statewide (approximately $8,200, significantly below the state average), and our per-pupil performance has traditionally been in the top 10 percent statewide (for more than 25 years).

I am r-r-r-e-e-e-a-a-a-l-l-l excited about the prospect of being required to turn over $300 per pupil of that levy to a state pool to be run by public servants who can't fulfill existing legal obligations. I think this would qualify under the old saw "no good deed goes unpunished."

DALE VANDER LINDEN, DELANO

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PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

Barrier would make smart decisions clear

 

I am saddened to see yet another death of a person dashing across Hwy. 10 in the Anoka-Ramsey area ("Teen struck, killed while crossing busy stretch of Hwy. 10," Nov. 28).

Pedestrians dashing across the highway is an all-too-common sight. I read that the Minnesota Department of Transportation is going to "study" the matter.

There is a simple, fairly inexpensive, solution that can be put into place quickly. Place a 6-foot (or higher) chain-link fence down the middle of the median. While this will not stop pedestrians from trying to cross at intersections, it will stop them from running across the highway in the "middle of the block." This will make it easier for motorists to watch for areas where they might encounter pedestrians.

BARBARA DEEDS BALDWIN, ANOKA

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LIGHT RAIL

Is the true Central community served?

 

The Central Corridor has always been a connecting line between the Twin Cities. The original streetcar lines from 1890 to 1953 created a sense of cohesion between St. Paul and Minneapolis. White flight in the mid-20th century sucked the life out of the corridor, leading to its dismal present state. However with the addition of the Green Line to the light-rail network, how will the effects of reurbanization treat the Central Corridor?

The corridor is a cultural melting pot, bringing together Mexican, white, African-American, Hmong and other groups. I fear that the rekindling of the old "interurban" transit system will force out the ethnic neighborhoods that have developed. I always hear that our environment changes more quickly than we can change ourselves. Once the Green Line is complete is 2014, it will not be long until mixed-use developments, the focus of reurbanization, begin to pop up.

My concern lies with fashioning the central corridor as the new "it" spot -- the new Hennepin-Lake or Grand Avenue district. As a whole, the corridor has a low income level. While programs are starting, it will be interesting to see how the new residents mix with the culture of the corridor. There needs to be a focus of integrating the history of the neighborhoods with the lifestyles of its new residents.

MATT NOONAN, MENDOTA HEIGHTS

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