Support the music, and a whole lot more

Bravo to the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. And bravo to whoever said “enough.” It was so dumb to dis the musicians and conductor. I promise to support the orchestra as best I can, along with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera, the Guthrie, the Twins, the Vikings, the Timberwolves and the Wild. I can’t wait to get back to Orchestra Hall, and I can’t wait for the new facility where the Vikings will play. Yay, Minnesota.


• • •

Like all Minnesota lovers of fine music, I am delighted about the end of the lockout between the musicians and the Minnesota Orchestral Association. We must learn from this unfortunate episode and ensure that it never happens again. The distinction between the musicians and music we love and the MOA was clearly demonstrated. The MOA is a social and, yes, philanthropic tool of the wealthy. Its dedication to the very finest in music is ancillary.

I urge the various organizations and efforts recently dedicated to maintaining the quality of the Minnesota Orchestra to now concentrate their efforts on the establishment of an alternative means of support for these world-class musicians to supplement their salaries from the MOA. While the contribution would be small in proportion to their regular salaries, this alternative organization would dilute to some extent the power of the MOA to control the presentation of classical music in Minneapolis. Both the MOA and this new organization can and should survive. But unless your giving is in the tens of thousands and you can buy a seat on the board, it is better given to an alternative organization, which will ensure that the MOA maintains a vision on the music.


• • •

The orchestra deal is worthy of Page One? While the most obvious hate-crime story (“Teen convicted for role in brutal St Paul beating”) is relegated to small print at the bottom of the page? The Red Star’s priorities are misplaced.




Less hibernation might help finances

With all due respect to the theater we love, the Guthrie, I have to wonder about a business that complains about historical financial losses, then chooses to forgo revenue activity for two weeks in September and nearly six weeks in January and February? How many businesses can afford no sales for almost eight weeks in a year? Seriously, how long does it take to clean the carpet, polish up the lobby and tune up the lights?

Despite previous letters to the editor complaining about legroom and profanity, in truth, that’s not it. The Guthrie is an amazing, enviable theater venue that no one complains about when they’re enraptured in one of the fabulous plays the Guthrie company — or another local troupe — often puts on in the facility. The crowds that flocked to the Tony Kushner season, to “End of the Rainbow” and to many other productions were just happy. More recently, however, too many of the plays have been those where people going for a lift out of a long winter’s seasonal affective disorder have found themselves unable to return for the second dose of dismal after intermission. Is it time for some new energy and balance in the playbill lineup — especially in winter?




Corporate budgets clearly have flexibility

I thank Yosseph Budle for his Jan. 14 commentary about how minimum-wage increases would squeeze or eliminate his profits in home health care (“On wage hike, consider the risks”). But wouldn’t insurers and public employers have to raise their reimbursement rates to comparable levels?

Budle argues that the suggested increases are “artificially high,” but we have long had such “artificially high” minimum-wage laws, just not such miserably low ones. The current minimum is out of whack; adjusted for inflation, it is 20 percent below the rate in 1967, and one can no longer live on that amount. Minimum is just that — minimum, not “adequate.” I’d be happy to pay much more for a Whopper Jr. if I knew that the increase was going to the workers.

Shouldn’t we instead be arguing more frequently and vociferously that corporations should adjust their executives’ and directors’ salaries downward and loosen up their overflowing coffers to pay employees a decent wage? What kind of country do we aspire to be?




Absent hovercraft or pothole repairs …

The only thing on the road that is more dangerous than the litany of potholes on Interstate 394 between Penn and Hwy. 100 are the drivers who are forced to violently swerve their vehicles around them.

At one point, the state had a fund to pay for damaged vehicles. It may be time to revisit such a plan if it intends to avoid fixing the roadway.

ERIK SELDEN, Minneapolis



With deposit, litter isn’t litter for long

I lived in Michigan when that state passed a “bottle bill” (“Bottles pile up in trash,” Jan. 14). It added 10 cents on all carbonated-beverage containers.

I can say there were no bottles or cans to be seen on the sides of the roads or in the gutters. If the person who bought the beverage was too lazy to get the deposit, someone else was there to pick it up.




Homes sales are hot? It’s chilly where I live.

If home sales are doing so well (“Housing prices hit five-year high,” Jan. 14), why are there four places sitting empty across and down my road? I live on a small farm in Princeton. One of the homes has 2 acres; one has 10 acres. They are nice homes, and the prices recently have dropped.

BEV CARLSON, Princeton, Minn.