The article about the departure of Guthrie Theater Artistic Director Joe Dowling (“The Guthrie after Joe,” June 8) noted that the number of season-ticket subscribers has dropped from about 25,000 to 17,000 since the new theater opened in 2006.

I am a former season-ticket holder. I believe the move to a larger venue with two main stages, and the need to produce more plays, resulted in a reduction of the overall quality of the plays. At Vineland Place, I could rely upon the shows being of the highest quality 90 percent of the time. However, the new venue demands more plays, more directors, more actors and more technical talent. While some plays were excellent, my husband and I sat through a number of mediocre to poor productions, leading us to question whether purchasing and committing to season tickets was a good use of our time and money. The answer was no.

Now we watch the reviews and pick and choose which plays we want to see. We simply cannot assume that because the Guthrie has chosen to put on a play, it will be an excellent production. And that is a great loss. It is my sincere hope that the Guthrie board and its new artistic director will find a way to revitalize the productions and draw people back, including me.

Rebecca Koehler, Shorewood


Here’s a way for pro athletes to give back

Re: the NFL wish list (“NFL had long, pricey Super wish list,” June 8), I wonder if it might not be helpful to remind the powers that be about JFK’s challenge (rephrased): “Ask not what your community can do for you; ask what you can do for your community.”

For starters, they might urge that time be set aside to pack sacks of groceries at local food shelves or to meet with local gang leaders to discuss ways to reduce street crime or to promote the value of education and job training.

Sports figures are heroes whose lifestyles and attitudes are closely imitated by our youth. True, athletes and sports executives write out checks to charities and visit children in hospitals. However, for the Super Bowl and the upcoming baseball All-Star Game, leaders in management and players’ associations could pursue a fresh and innovative direction. Why do they not, along with our civic leaders, make demands upon each other to address needs in our society? What’s wrong with the NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA and NHL pushing causes such as these?

James Schacher, Blaine

• • •

There is a simple solution: It’s long past time for the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to make the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) subject to the same open-records laws as most every other state agency. The MSFA should never have been permitted to duck open-records transparency in the first place.

Statute (13.02, Subd. 17) makes clear that the MSFA fits the definition of a state agency, as follows: “ ‘State agency’ means the state, the University of Minnesota, and any office, officer, department, division, bureau, board, commission, authority, district or agency of the state.”

Making the MSFA subject to open-records laws would go much further than the shoulder shrugs, specious claims of confidentiality or the weak proclamations of “that’s how it’s done” that are routinely parroted by our leaders today.

John P. Gavin, Plymouth



More reasons why rape culture thrives

In his Sunday commentary (“Gentleman’: A concept put asunder,” June 8) about today’s men, D.J. Tice misses the point, several times. First, rape hasn’t increased, but reporting has. The federal report about rape on campuses that recommends bystander intervention is not, as Tice says, “the most depressing evidence unearthed to date of America’s cultural decline.” Rape culture has thrived because we haven’t recognized when a woman in our midst is being targeted, so it’s great that we’re now learning to see it, and intervene.

Most men are not brutes, but #NotAllMen wasn’t a rebuttal to the #YesAllWomen hashtag that went viral worldwide; the reverse is true. #YesAllWomen was a response to all of the men online who said “Not all men” when women brought up rape culture, as an attempt to shut down the conversation.

Tice laments the passing of traditional manliness, but it’s part of the problem. Those men often think of women as lesser, as sex objects or as possessions. I prefer men who are strong enough to see women as equals and, frankly, being thought of as a “damsel in distress” is condescending. Tice adds that women, with our wombs, feel important in society, whereas men feel lonely and unimportant. Besides the fact that no woman wants to be reduced to her reproductive function, I’d venture that most people would agree that this is nonsense. Finally, winning a woman’s acceptance is one thing, but rape is quite another. “Misbehaving” in pursuit of women is a strange euphemism for the latter.

Kirsten Ragatz, Minneapolis



Spills are just too risky, so why take chances?

Mark Curwin’s reassurances about the safety of the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline ring hollow (“For pristine wetlands, oil boom is new threat,” June 8). He says his company has learned its lesson from a recent large spill. The people at Enbridge seem to be slow learners. Their largest Minnesota spill was in 1991, when 1.7 million gallons of oil fouled a wetland and the Prairie River on the edge of Grand Rapids. (The company was then called Lakehead.) There have been many spills since.

Curwin says new technology will save us. He forgets that technology is made by humans and that it is fallible. He says operators will immediately shut down any pipeline having a problem, but there was a similar rule in place in 1991. Operators were to take 10 minutes to determine if their low pressure readings were accurate and, if still in doubt, shut the pipe down. Instead, they let oil flow out of that burst pipe for over an hour.

Fool us once, Enbridge, shame on you. Fool us again and again, shame on us.

Mary Jean Port, Minneapolis



Want to honor Dad? Pick up your trash

Forget the tie, or the grill. I’m asking my family to join me for an hour in picking up trash along the entrance and exit ramps to the freeway where I get on and off daily and where, while waiting for the entrance light to turn green, I look around and see all of the litter that people throw out of the windows of their cars. Ugh!

William Wangensteen, Minneapolis