From 1986 to 1991, my husband and I visited family in Minneapolis from our assignment in Europe, and since 1992 from our retirement home in Ireland. Through those years we have become enamored of your city (OK, St. Paul, too), and as theater, concert and art fans wallow in the wealth of opportunities you present to residents and tourists.
Therefore, it has been with great interest I’ve followed the career of Joe Dowling as he began to influence the development of not only theater but of the whole area with his choice of the site for the new Guthrie along the Mississippi. I recall well the fight he had to make in order to succeed, and succeed he did. Now when we come to Minneapolis, a day’s outing may be at that site to see what else is being developed and improved there, and is often a highlight of our stay.
Irish newspapers are full these days of stories of those who left “the old sod,” some good to read, others very sad. Because Dowling has had the ability to spread his talent thin enough to share with the citizens of Minnesota and much of the United States, and has enhanced the development not only of the arts but of the landscape and development of your city, might it be suitable for the Guthrie board to declare a new name, “The Guthrie-Dowling Theatre,” upon his retirement? He and Sir Tyrone Guthrie are both Irish, after all. By the way, Ireland is looking forward to Dowling’s presence post-retirement, too. Not only will he be working with Dublin thespians, he and Siobhan (and I’m sure the rest of their family) will often be found home in Dublin.
Jeanette F. Huber, County Cork, Ireland
As dispute boils, a question, a criticism and an invitation
I question the reasoning of the GOP for wanting to limit the role of the Minnesota state auditor (“Auditor’s role is latest holdup,” June 4). How does it save taxpayers’ money to hire multiple private auditors to review local governments’ finances when Minnesota already has one competent state auditor to do the task? That’s without looking at the politics of privatizing a valuable public function and a suspicion that some may be afraid that Rebecca Otto, the current state auditor, has future ambitions.
The role of inspecting how our local funds are spent is important. When it is done well, it gives us confidence about our government’s accountability. Better that it be done following clear, consistent guidelines.
Sheri Smith, St. Paul
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The two DFL lawmakers who complained that the provision to allow counties to opt out of state auditor review because of the “3 a.m.” modifications (Readers Write, June 4) are like many of their colleagues: not doing their job.
If you as a lawmaker don’t understand what is contained in a piece of legislation, you have no business voting on it. Leadership fouls the public nest when it creates these toxic combinations of funding and policy.
It’s time to get back to basics: Simplify bills so the policy can be debated publicly and openly in regular session. No more 3 a.m. deals. House members stop voting for garbage bills. Inform leadership and insist on clear, simple language that everyone can understand.
George Hutchinson, Minneapolis
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I would like to hear a comment from a former state auditor who was a Republican to hear how he feels about the latest roadblock that is keeping the special session from happening. C’mon, Gov. Arne Carlson, tell us really what you think of this ploy.
Alan Stone, Minnetonka
RACE AND JUSTICE
Time passes in Minneapolis, but biases remain the same
It is disturbing that an ACLU study shows Minneapolis police arresting African-American men for minor offenses like “disorderly conduct” at a rate almost nine times as high as whites (“ACLU examines arrests by race,” June 3). What is even more disturbing is that a study of Minneapolis policing by the Council on Crime and Justice documented the same racial bias in minor-offense enforcement in 2004. The city said then that it would work on the issue. Now 11 years have gone by with no improvement.
John Stuart, Minneapolis
NEED FOR PIPELINES
Can we put this into words an eighth-grader could understand?
Recently, for eight hours, I sat through a riveting Public Utilities Commission hearing on whether to grant a Certificate of Need (“CN”) to the North Dakota Pipeline Co. to run the Sandpiper Pipeline from North Dakota’s oil fields straight across the 10,000-lakes region of Minnesota, through the wild-rice lakes of our native people and across the headwaters of the Mississippi River to Lake Superior. As it ended, I tried to imagine my daughter teaching this social studies lesson to her eighth-graders:
“You see, if a company has a need — ‘company needs,’ children, are always driven by its need to grow or its need to have more profit — it can request the Public Utilities Commission grant them a CN. To decide whether to grant the CN, the commission must tumble over itself holding meetings and ordering up studies from consultants and government agencies, which can be quite a bill for taxpayers to pay. After that, the commission can decide whether oil can be piped through our prized 10,000-lakes region, across our Indians’ wild-rice lakes and across the headwaters of the Mississippi.”
“What?! Are you kidding us?” the students say. “We wouldn’t need a study to decide that. And anyway, why don’t the Indians apply for a CN for wild-rice harvesting? Or why can’t someone file for a CN to preserve the fresh water of the 10,000 lakes?”
“Well, kids, because the economy is the most important thing. So only companies can apply for a CN.”
“Oh, you’re kidding us, Ms. Smith. This story you’re telling us can’t be right.”
Barbara Draper, Minneapolis
Events eliminated? Says who?
Like many others, I’m saddened that the milk-carton race and the sand sculpture contest have been cut from the Minneapolis Aquatennial, but I’m also confused as to why those events cannot be organized by regular citizens without the sponsorship of the Downtown Council. Who is to stop a bunch of enthusiasts from congregating at Lake Calhoun with milk cartons or pails and shovels?
Rowena (Ronnie) Hartman, Minneapolis
SCULPTURE GARDEN TREES
This is not creative destruction
A short while back, I read in the Star Tribune about architect Ralph Rapson and his “iconic building,” the original Tyrone Guthrie Theater — which was torn down at the insistence of the Walker Art Center. Now, the Walker wants to strip out trees in its Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (Opinion Exchange, June 4). Apparently, the folks at the Walker have trouble distinguishing between art and bulldozers.
Jeff Moses, Minneapolis