MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

Re-form as cooperative, discard management

A modest proposal: Let the Minnesota Orchestra management go on as it likes, with no orchestra to play for it. Perhaps it can be happy to just manage Orchestra Hall. Meanwhile, the actual orchestra should reincorporate as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra as a cooperative of the musicians. Preferably, all the funds of the Minnesota Orchestra would be transferred to the new organization, which would then be free to choose its own management.

The American Symphony Orchestra was incorporated as a cooperative, as I recall. I have great memories of attending MSO concerts at Northrop Auditorium, and I consider that preferable to Orchestra Hall. The truth is, Orchestra Hall’s acoustics have never been that good. There is too much reverberation, and that is not suitable for deep listening. A concert hall should not sound like a stereo recording. The goal should be clarity and balance, not echo. The bright sounds of brass and percussion should never bounce off the walls.

Additionally, there is a St. Paul orchestra that deserves equal recognition, so it is not really suitable to use a statewide name.

SAUL DAVIS, Philadelphia and Minneapolis

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WOLF HUNTING

Opponents’ voices must be heard

Special-interest groups (hunters, trappers, ranchers) lobbied the Legislature for a wolf hunt as soon as the wolf was removed from the endangered species list (“Wolf hunting season to return,” July 10). The 2012 Legislature narrowly passed the wolf hunt bill. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources then rushed to implement the trophy hunting of wolves. The majority of Minnesotans, who don’t hunt or trap, had no opportunity to be heard.

This is the time for us to speak. The wolf hunt is bad policy, is undemocratic and needs to be stopped. The precipitous drop in the wolf population demonstrates that we don’t know what we are doing.

MICHAEL CHUTICH, St. Paul

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Evidently the quoted opponents of Minnesota’s wolf-hunting season have been drawn into the numbers game of “sustainable harvest” quotas. But that is not the issue that moves most informed Minnesotans and others around the world to decry killing wolves for sport and for their fur. The suffering of those injured and not immediately killed, and the social and emotional disruption of pack relationships that can weaken the strength of the pack and hunting success, cannot be discounted. Nor can the ecological value of high wolf numbers to balance coyote numbers, which can reduce red fox numbers shown in some studies to be significant in controlling Lyme and other tick-borne disease-carrying rodents.

The Star Tribune’s July 10 article notes that the DNR depopulated whitetail deer excessively in some areas. This certainly meant some wolves starved to death, were ravaged by mange or turned to killing livestock. The juggernaut of DNR-managed exploitation of wildlife must be stopped and a science-based approach to ecologically sound, biodiversity-enhancing and compassionate conservation policies and practices adopted.

MICHAEL W. FOX, Minneapolis

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FARM BILL

Attacks on food aid are risky, unwarranted

For many months, I have been dismayed about the proposed cuts to food stamps. The GOP now has talked about splitting the farm bill between farm programs and food stamps. Apparently the idea is to facilitate even larger cuts. On the other hand, the June 14 commentary “Hunger: Our leaders need to feel the pain” clearly explained the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Usage of the SNAP program has risen dramatically in recent years, primarily because of the bad economy. Yes, the program is working just as designed — more people receive benefits when more people need them. Even here in Minnesota, one in eight have struggled to afford food during the previous 12 months (Food Research and Action, February 2013). Our churches and charitable organizations simply cannot take up the slack. If SNAP is cut, people will go hungry.

Despite frequent anecdotal accounts, the SNAP program is not fraught with errors and abuse. According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, error rates are low, and trafficking (the exchange of benefits for cash) has been reduced from 4 percent to 1 percent. Furthermore, the program does not create dependency. Participants are on the program for an average of nine months.

CAROL DUBAY, Eden Prairie

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GUN DEATHS

Manufacturer liability would be slippery slope

In response to a July 9 letter writer who was frustrated by her perception of firearms manufacturers’ lack of legal exposure, personal liability is the underlying reason, and rightly so. With liberty comes responsibility, and I doubt she, or any of us, truly desire what she is asking. If we apply her logic to other problems, then carmakers would be sued for a motorist running a red light or driving under the influence of alcohol; Weyerhaeuser could be sued for children getting a splinter from the new deck you just built, and mountain bike manufacturers could be sued for countless injuries riders sustain from taking the “really steep one” their buddies dared them to ride.

It is a very slippery slope, indeed, so I’ll take another path, thank you.

JIM WIZIK, Lindstrom, Minn.