Personal seat licenses: Greedy or practical?


Did the loyal, purple-bleeding Vikings fans honestly think that team owner Zygi Wilf was going to let them off the hook for the privilege of watching games in the new palace ("Governor won't stand for stadium seat licenses," Nov. 14)? Make room for the one-percenters who want your seat, and put a Band-Aid on your lilac-bleeding wound.


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I feel like I live in bizarro world where nothing makes sense. When the Minnesota Vikings were coming after the public to fund their new stadium, the team's cheerleaders -- including Gov. Mark Dayton, newspaper columnists and other "fans" stomping in the State Capitol in their purple gear -- were totally OK with that. After all, they said, we need to do it to be a first-class community. Now, when the Vikings want to have the actual people who use and enjoy the stadium pay more via personal seat licenses, these same cheerleaders cry foul, saying it is a "people's stadium."

I personally think the Vikings should have footed the whole bill to begin with, recouping the costs from those who use the stadium. But either way, it makes infinitely more sense to charge the people actually attending the games than it does to charge taxpayers in Minneapolis, most of whom will never attend -- especially when the possibility of seat licenses was in the language of the legislation that Dayton signed. Maybe, like Nancy Pelosi, he had to pass the legislation before he knew what was in it.


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I would ask the governor to consider a few points:

1) If the new version of charitable gaming fails to generate the needed revenues for the state's share of the stadium, the money will come out of the general fund. What other state expenses will you be willing to cut in order to keep this new stadium funded? If nothing will be cut, then what new taxes will be added to make up the deficit?

2) Minneapolis residents will face much higher property taxes if Mayor R.T. Rybak's plan of renovating Target Center and the Convention Center and funding the city's share of the new stadium requires more funds than the entertainment taxes provide. The mayor's promise of "immediate property tax relief" has already failed to materialize, and I fully expect that higher property taxes (not lower) will be needed to fund this new stadium in the long run.

3) This legislation was made possible by doing an end run around the Minneapolis charter, which required a citizens referendum on issues like this. You, along with Rybak, completely disregarded this provision, which many of our residents worked very hard to get added to the charter back in the 1990s.

It would have been nice if you had shown as much concern for taxpayers as you are for Vikings fans.


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Minnesota Orchestra

The art of the counterproposal


Dear Minnesota Orchestra musicians: You must not know what a counterproposal looks like, since you've been unable to make one since your negotiations began in April. So, let me help you: Management has offered you $89,000 a year. You could ask for $91,000. You've been offered 10 weeks of paid vacation. You could ask for 11. Not so hard, is it?

Unlike the rest of us who've had our incomes reduced or kept flat since 2008, you've had a 20 percent increase, so I'm sure you're used to having more money every year. So, let me help you there, too. You could change your cable TV and cellphone plans, use coupons at the grocery store and gas station, combine errands to save on gas, eat out less often, and buy and sell things on Craigslist. It takes a bit of extra work, but you'll live.

Get going on that counterproposal -- I want to come to your concerts again.


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I believe that the musicians haven't made a dollars-and-cents counteroffer because not doing so says to the board: "You can't be serious -- a 40 percent pay cut and 250 contract changes?" To make a counteroffer would legitimize an obvious, over-the-top attempt by the board to bust the union.

Orchestra CEO Michael Henson has spent months traveling the country meeting with the CEOs of other orchestras to formulate a plan to neutralize union power. The fact that the scripts that have played out in Detroit, Atlanta, Indianapolis and St. Paul are so similar is no accident.

Because of this bullying approach to negotiations, I have stopped my monthly contributions to the orchestra's guaranty fund and have redirected them to the musician's strike fund, and I will continue to do so until I am convinced that the board is making an honest, realistic proposal to the musicians.


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The right to know one's full history


November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and Saturday is National Adoption Day. Many Minnesota citizens and even lawmakers do not realize that many Minnesota-born adoptees are not allowed access to their original birth certificates. When they learn this, they say, "You got to be kidding!"

Adoptees should have a right to this legal piece of paper, just as nonadoptees do. The Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform is again working to change our law as other states have done. (Rhode Island was the latest to reform, in July). Ask your legislator if he or she is aware of this legislation. Like, right now. This November.