My 7-step solution to labor dispute
1) The CEO should resign.
2) The current board of directors should step down.
3) The Minnesota Orchestra musicians should select a new board, composed of smart, legally and financially astute individuals, who love classical music and care about the welfare of the musicians.
4) The new board should then select a new CEO.
5) The new management should have access to the endowment, and make very careful selections of the companies that will manage it.
6) A new organization called “The Minnesota Orchestral Society” could absorb many former board members. Its sole purpose would be to raise funds for the orchestra.
7) The conductor, together with the musicians, should decide the programs for the season. They should also define the mission of the orchestra as it was intended to be.
If some of the above can happen, many guarantors will return to supporting the orchestra with even larger contributions than in the past, as well as the thousands of people who have attended the sold-out concerts the orchestra and conductors have given us. We have been starved for classical music, and will do all we can to help this world-class orchestra survive.
Margaret Chipman, Minneapolis
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Watching the ongoing Minnesota Orchestra disaster is like watching a divorce. While you hope they both forgive and get back together, you also know which spouse has more to atone for. In this case, the board and management are the errant spouse.
Their regular letters assure the public that they want the orchestra to survive, and for the musicians to look to the future, accept reality and stop talking about the past — all the while reinforcing that the musicians are overpaid and ungrateful.
However, it is past board actions that make negotiating so difficult for the musicians. This looks more and more like a strategically timed crisis engineered to extract maximum concessions from the artists while the hall was out of commission. This follows years of apparent deficit manipulation that supported fundraising when needed.
Musicians have deep reservations about the many changes to their working conditions, deep salary cuts and the general strategy for the orchestra, and understandably, little faith in their leadership.
It’s time for the wayward spouse to apologize, stop pretending to have all the answers and bring in some impartial expertise to help ensure that the orchestra is sustainable, but not just as measured by a balance sheet.
Mike Hess, Minneapolis
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Here, police shouldn’t be voice of authority
Why would Gov. Mark Dayton listen to the police over the medical community when considering the value of medical marijuana? (“Medical marijuana supporters push for legalization,” May 3.)
A front-page story the same day noted that suicide deaths have risen sharply among baby boomers because we have such easy access to prescription pain killers, drugs that are easy to take in a large enough amount to kill us.
Are we outlawing them because they kill people? Heck, no, even though they are widely abused by all age groups, including young people.
But medical marijuana for pain relief (a drug that no one dies from) is unacceptable to the governor because the cops say it is a “gateway drug.” And the loudest voice here seems to be a police officer, Dennis Flaherty — who is not a medical professional — telling us that the police are not really convinced marijuana works for pain relief.
What’s next? Will the governor appoint a cop to lead the state’s health care agency?
Alice Tibbetts, St. Paul
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Fulfillment aside, all of us need a greater guide
The May 6 Letter of the Day (“What we risk when we don’t offer paths to fulfillment”) notes that the elder Boston bomber was denied a boxing dream, leading to frustration and openness to violence. But many people who face obstacles persist and overcome them.
Further, can we really shelter the entire young population from adverse experiences? Where do people go when life is not fair? They go to their most deeply held value.
If that is the conviction that they are beloved children of a creator who cares for them and has a plan in the midst of chaos, and further if they hold to the teaching of Jesus that we should love even our enemies, they will rise above the circumstances.
On the other hand, if they believe in a culture of honor through revenge and especially if other people are seen as somehow unimportant as individuals, violence may result regardless of all other factors.
Eliminate poverty, promote education, provide employment, develop avenues for participation in public policy and build self-esteem in every individual, but if the human heart is not transformed, the solution will not be found.
Ross Olson, Minneapolis
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Topics: Chris Kluwe, College in the Schools
Note to Chris Kluwe: Cash check, shut mouth.
C.J. Peterson, Big Lake, Minn.
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An important point being missed in the College in the Schools curriculum debate (“An error of omission,” May 1): Why should Dostoyevsky have a monopoly on the classics? The contemporary books read and loved by students today will be the classics of tomorrow.
Katie Seltz, Afton