Who’s telling the truth? Who’s the audience?

A Nov. 15 commentary, as is typical in opinions by those on the Minnesota Orchestra board, neglected at least two crucial facts.

When George Mitchell (who was agreed on by both sides as a mediator and who, incidentally, solved the rift in Northern Ireland) put forth a proposed process, it was accepted by the musicians and rejected by the board. The alleged $20,000 bonus offer to musicians had a poison pill of almost immediate acceptance or withdrawal that made it invalid in a situation where many have had to take offers for substitute jobs. These two items alone tilt the playing field, and this doesn’t even mention the dishonest presentation to the state for bonding money for the hall renovation.

It is time for both the city and state to step in with serious steps to end the lockout.

State Rep. PHYLLIS KAHN, DFL-Minneapolis

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Lee Henderson’s vision for the orchestra’s “fresh start” as a collaborative Minnesota Symphony (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 13) is a good one in most respects. His view of the symphony audience, however, is limited. He doesn’t ask the whole community to take back its orchestra, only those who can afford to pay “higher ticket prices” and give annual contributions.

Middle-class music lovers already ask themselves whether they can afford a season ticket, or even a mini season ticket, and often answer “no.” Going to one or two concerts a year is all they can afford. The Guthrie Theater offers affordable season tickets for senior citizens like me, but the Minnesota Orchestra has not. More parents and grandparents would take their children and grandchildren to concerts if the tickets for the adults were as affordable as the student tickets. For music lovers who can barely get by, a symphony is an unaffordable luxury.

We need a larger audience, not necessarily a wealthier audience, to keep the orchestra in Minneapolis. As Henderson points out, it is a question of value as well as vision. To undermine my affordability argument in the previous paragraph, families with limited means buy football tickets.

As a community, we need to learn to value major-league arts as much as we value major-league sports. For the audience to grow, grade-school children need to go to concerts, meet musicians and have the opportunity to learn to play instruments. I hope to live to see the day when there is as much community and governmental enthusiasm for maintaining the symphony as there is for keeping our major-league teams. For this to happen, Minnesota Symphony backers, bring us all in, not just a few.


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Please, please spare the vast majority of readers from the incessant bleating about the Minnesota Orchestra situation.

We just don’t care!

I’ve lived here for all of my 55-plus years, have never attended, and can’t see any circumstance getting me to do so. Am I in the minority? I say nay, nay.

As suspected, a review of 2012 attendance shows it amounted to less than 4 percent of the entire state’s population. Owing to repeat attendees, I’d guess that half as many individuals made up that figure, meaning that the amount of coverage afforded the subject by the Star Tribune is highly unwarranted, if not downright annoying.

To quote loosely an unspecified source: “Never has so much been made of so little by so many, for the benefit of so few.”

Please give it a (silent) rest.

JEFF BECKER, Bloomington



Multiuse buildings should be in the mix

If transportation costs are rising to meet housing costs, it might help to lower those costs (“Holy Angels’ land sale plan stirs uproar,” Nov. 14). If someone wants to build retail buildings on the Holy Angels site, maybe Richfield could require them to make buildings of two or three stories with retail on the ground floor and apartments above, like we used to see in many places. When we separate and spread out commercial and residential property, we deprive people of the opportunity to make choices to reduce their housing and transportation costs. On top of that, when we subsidize automobile use, starve public transportation and make it unsafe to ride bicycles, we force people to transport themselves by the most expensive means: a personal car.

Steven White, Minneapolis



President is exceeding constitutional authority

Is Barack Obama our president or our king? He signed the Affordable Care Act and then, by presidential edict, exempted some unions and big businesses from it for a period of time. Now he proclaims that the rest of us should have a year of grace from it. Does he know that Congress enacts laws and he just chooses whether to sign them? Congress needs to speak up about this power grab


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Ever notice that presidential second terms go badly? Isn’t it time we consider amending the Constitution to limit presidential terms to one six-year period? That’s enough time to try to accomplish one or two initiatives and be forced to live with the result. While we’re at it, shouldn’t we be limiting House and Senate terms also?

GARY HAYS, Bloomington



A Nov. 15 letter asserted that moose-hunting permits continue to be issued in Minnesota. The state Department of Natural Resources has said that it will not allow further moose hunting unless the population of the species recovers.