Management, board also want quality


As one of the volunteer members of the Minnesota Orchestral Association Board, I'm bothered by the implications made by some musicians that management and the board want anything less than a world-class orchestra.

For the past several years, this group of dedicated music lovers has done everything in its power to protect the musicians from the financial challenges that put the very future of the orchestra at risk.

The Minnesota Orchestra's management and administration have already taken salary and staff reductions and have reduced budgets across the organization. They've also established bold plans for the future, but if we want to succeed, we need help from our musicians.

We all want the same thing -- an artistically excellent, fiscally stable community resource we can be proud of. I hope that we can keep that perspective in mind as negotiations continue.


• • •

I watch more football than orchestra performances.

Nevertheless, I find it disturbing that the NFL officials will be getting about $200,000 a year for about 16 to 20 games, while the talented musicians at our orchestra make about half that and are being asked to accept cuts. What does this say about our society? The arts are to our culture as color is to a painting. Let's support our musicians.


* * *


What would Iran do with the bomb?


Former President Richard Nixon said once: I always try to imagine what my opponent is thinking while shaving in the morning. We should ask the same question about the leaders of Iran: What would they do with the bomb? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself hinted at the answer in a recent interview. If we used it first, he said -- and I paraphrase -- we would bring upon us assured destruction. The press largely ignored this comment, and the authors of an Oct. 2 commentary ("Look before leaping") also failed to ask and answer the question.


* * *


If anything, getting calmer and safer


An Oct. 2 letter writer missed the mark when she tried to blame La Crosse's culture of drinking on reality TV and other modern-day ills. La Crosse is a rough-and-tumble, hard-partying river city and always has been. Oktoberfest has always been a reflection -- and at times, a celebration -- of that culture.

Growing up there, stories of mass arrests and overturned cars were common, and we thought nothing of waking up Sunday to the sight of festgoers sleeping on our lawn. So if anything, Oktoberfest has calmed down in recent years. That and the ongoing effectiveness of Operation River Watch would seem to be cause for optimism, not alarm.


* * *


You can please some of the people ...


I am the 99 percent. I can tell from my modest south Minneapolis home with the refinanced mortgage, 2.5 kids and aging dog. But my patience for special privileges for a very small percentage of the population was lost this morning when I saw the latest Minneapolis effort to make itself into the most bike-friendly city in the Milky Way.

City leaders saw fit to take the recently repaved Park Avenue from three lanes of traffic and one standard bike lane down to two lanes for cars in order to accommodate an enormous bike lane for the very small population that commutes on bike to downtown. This comes on the heels of remaking Hiawatha Avenue into one of the most painful routes to drive due to computer technologies (or lack thereof) being unable to get the lights to work in sync with both light rail and traffic.

I love the fact that so many people bike to work, and I am a big proponent (and part-time user) of light rail. But there are a lot of people who have to use a car for their job; or have physical limitations, or, like me, need to drop off or pick up kids every day.

I am tired of bending over backwards and now forwards for a small part of the population. My taxes helped to pay for that repaving, and now I will get to study it up close and personal as I idle in traffic. The 1 percent gets 33 percent more, and the rest of us get the crankshaft and lower fuel economy.


• • •

A big thanks to the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County for their recent neighborhood- and bike-friendly improvements to Park Avenue!

As a resident who lives a few blocks away from this street, I have always been frustrated by the fact that this massive, freeway-like road runs through my neighborhood when there is usually so little traffic.

I'm thrilled that significant stretches have been narrowed from three to two lanes. Now it seems that cars actually go through at the speed limit rather than racing through like they did when there were three lanes. This makes my residential neighborhood feel safer, more walkable and more livable.

I'm also thrilled that the bike lane was moved from the left to right side of the street and that there is now a buffer between the bike and car lanes. Previously, I found riding on Park to be a harrowing experience.

I can't wait for the same changes to be made on Portland Avenue.