Board has advantage in getting out message

The Nov. 5 Short Takes belabored the point that we don’t know what the musicians want in the Minnesota Orchestra’s labor/management impasse. It has bothered me from the beginning that the orchestra board and management have a huge advantage in the messaging business. I only have a mini-season ticket, but I can count 14 e-mails and even more snail-mail letters from management, and none from the musicians. It’s not the musicians’ fault that management happens to have custody of the list of patrons who, in fairness, were attracted to the institution primarily by the musicians’ excellence.

So, to the management: Allow the musicians to use your e-mail and mailing list to communicate with subscribers. This would be a huge boost to good-faith negotiations, I am sure, and would help you immensely in the eyes of the community.




Affordable options must be in the equation

From the Nov. 5 article “Rentals abound, yet rents rise, too” it is clear that rental costs are driven by business demand, and not by community need. While thousands of new apartments have become available in the Twin Cities during the last year, most are marketed as luxury units for young urban professionals. For thousands of residents, however, the cost of renting in the Cities places increased stress on already thin resources.

Currently, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority estimates that the waitlist for low-income housing may be a year, and it is not even accepting applications for Section 8. Residents who qualify for these programs often have families and work full time, but do not make enough money to live above the poverty line. As a result, many residents live in cheap, privately owned apartments and houses that are not properly zoned or up to code.

With the increase in rental units available, landlords should include affordable housing in at least 25 percent of all new apartment complexes. This housing, based on income, would hardly impact profits, since rentals have such a low vacancy rate. Instead, stable and affordable housing would promote continued growth for all members of the community.

JEREMY FREER, Minneapolis



It’s in the workplace, and it’s not just men

I appreciate the Nov. 5 Letter of the Day writer who characterized NFL bullying as “machismo endemic in sports,” as well as how bullying in general is excused or ignored, even with adults. He’s right.

It isn’t just males or athletes who bully, however. Studies have shown that the majority of workplace bullying is directed at females, and mostly by other females.

I have experienced and witnessed it. These bullies present themselves as sweet, smiling innocents in front of others. When coworkers or supervisors are not there, however, they inflict verbal abuse, slander and physical intimidation. It’s really sick.

There are adults who bully other adults at work. It’s real, it happens. Employers would be well-served by consulting experts in how to identify and neutralize bullies before things become so serious that courts have to get involved.




Two sides to every story (sometimes more)

I hate my leaf blower (“Disturbing the peace …” Nov. 5.) It’s not particularly efficient. It’s so noisy I have to wear ear protection, which isolates me from an otherwise beautiful fall day. I won’t have a gasoline model, but the electrical cord keeps getting in the way. In short, it’s a real pain.

But then I live with pain. An hour’s workout with a rake will set off my tendinitis and leave me in agony. The eight to 10 hours it would take to rake my whole yard would leave me disabled (literally) for a week or more. I bought the blower in desperation, to come to some workable (if not entirely amicable) arrangement with my trees. It beats chopping them down.

I’m always amazed at the anger that gets dumped on leaf blowers. I use mine once a year, far less often than my noisier lawn mower. Yet every year we see these diatribes, reminding us that if we’d only use “solutions” that are not viable for many of us, the world would be a better place. So while I agree with Mager, I have to respectfully point out that (as with most issues) there’s more than more than one side.


• • •

I write to add agreement to the commentary about leaf blowers. But I also write in regard to the greater assault on our hearing. In particular airports, the loud TVs that blare at each gate; Atlanta (home to CNN) is the worst offender. There is no quiet space. Then you have the tree-saving Dyson hand dryers and toilets that sound like jet engines taking off. I’ve seen small children scream in fright. They are also being installed in “quiet” hotel rooms. I almost had a heart attack after the first flush. Who on Earth designed these water-saving, heart-stopping devices?

Yes, get out the rakes, get some exercise, please bring back paper towels — and how fast does a toilet really need to flush?


• • •

Anyone with moral fiber recognizes that the leaf blower is designed by the devil. This is why.

The good Lord drops the leaves where He or She wants them. Then, along comes the infidel, with his mortal blower, and rearranges them. Behold, once the heathen is finished, the good Lord puts the leaves right back to where they were.

Even an atheist can understand. Nature bats last.

MICHAEL D. HOY, Excelsior