Board of Minnesota Dance Theatre resigns en masse

Abruptly, the entire board of the Minnesota Dance Theatre has resigned. Graydon Royce of the Strib says: “In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, the entire Minnesota Dance Theatre board resigned, saying ‘it is no longer able to serve the needs of the organization going forward.’ A statement signed by the board said “the organization remains solvent and critically successful. We hope that the company and school will continue to succeed in the hands of a new board and the artistic director.” … In a statement Tuesday night, artistic director Lise Houlton thanked the board for its service and said she anticipates moving forward with the company, which was founded by her mother, Loyce.” Were I a betting man, I’d say someone somewhere wasn’t playing well with others.

More “blasting” … At City Pages, under the headline “Mark Dayton blasted for publicly financed trip to Super Bowl,” Aaron Rupar writes: “[T]he fact that the bill for lodging and flights to this year’s Super Bowl site will be picked up by Minnesota taxpayers doesn’t sit well with Republican Marty Seifert, the former House minority leader who is currently running to take Dayton’s job. ‘A multimillionaire like Mark Dayton expecting average Minnesotans to foot the bill for his taxpayer-financed Super Bowl vacation is an insult,’ Seifert said in a release. ‘First, Mark Dayton raised their taxes to pay out-of-state billionaire owners for a new stadium and now, he’s expecting hardworking Minnesotans to pay for him to vacation with the same people.’ ” So that’s two — count ’em, two — overworked cliches in the same story.

But then … The AP reports: “Gov. Mark Dayton has canceled a scheduled trip to New York on Friday to promote Minnesota’s bid for a Super Bowl in order to deal with a shortage of heating fuel in the state. Instead, Dayton will convene a meeting of the state Executive Council to consider extending the state of emergency order he issued Monday to alleviate a shortage of propane and other home heating fuel supplies.”

Has anybody noticed that it is pretty darn ugly? MPR’s Curtis Gilbert writes: “If the Saint Paul Port Authority decides to demolish the downtown Macy’s building, it will have to come up with an estimated $13.5 million. The Port is scheduled to buy the property … for $3 million. It will immediately try to re-sell the property with the building intact. If that doesn’t work, the fallback plan is to tear the structure down and prepare the site for new construction.”

At the PiPress, Bill Salisbury detects bipartisanship on Capitol Hill: “Democratic and Republican lawmakers agree that online voter registration is a good idea — if it is done right. At least, that consensus emerged Tuesday during a House Elections Committee hearing on a bill that would authorize online registration and absentee ballot applications.”

So did the state get a better or worse deal on those stadium bonds? In the PiPress, Doug Belden reports: “Minnesota Management and Budget completed the bond sale for the new Vikings stadium Tuesday at a lower interest rate than it likely would have received two weeks ago, the head of the agency said. … Bloomberg reported this week that the state was likely to pay roughly an additional $15 million over the life of the bonds because they are backed by appropriations rather than the state’s full faith and credit. [Commissioner Jim] Schowalter said that’s a reasonable estimate. He said that because there is a risk — though extremely remote— that the state could fail to appropriate money for bond payments, the market charges a bit more.”

Target data breach check … Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib reports: “U.S. banks have spent more than $153 million so far replacing 15.3 million debit and credit cards after the huge data heist from Target Corp., and the numbers are only growing. The Consumer Bankers Association announced the numbers Tuesday, saying that as more retailers announce breaches, the price tag for banks could grow to ‘hundreds of millions of dollars, and possibly billions.’ It’s time for Target to step up to the plate and pay some of the costs for one of the largest data thefts recorded in the United States, the industry group said.” Well, there must be a way to pass this cost of doing business on to their consumers; I mean, “guests.”

Meanwhile, another Minnesota business, Punch Pizza, got a State of the Union invitation. Lindsey LaBelle at KMSP-TV says: “Founder and co-owner John Soranno and employee Nick Chute [were] recognized by President Barack Obama for establishing a starting wage of $10 an hour for their 8 Twin Cities locations. Punch announced in Nov. that it would increase wages to a minimum of $10 for entry-level employees and pay other positions higher wages to attract and retain quality employees. … Pizza cooks are paid $12-15 an hour, the most skilled cooks at a level equivalent of more than $30,000 a year.  New manager salary/bonus more than $50,000 a year and experienced general manager pay of $100,000 a year.”

Finally, while most of you were noting with some sadness the passing of Pete Seeger, Scott Johnson at Power Line was saying: “In the title of his excellent essay on Pete Seeger, Howard Husock (accurately) proclaimed Seeger ‘America’s most successful Communist.’ Seeger faithfully toed the Stalinist line through more than two decades and publicly declared that he was still a communist periodically ever after. … It is something beyond pathetic that the White House has issued this statement in the name of President Obama on Seeger’s death yesterday at the age of 94:

‘Once called ‘America’s tuning fork.’ Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song. But more importantly, he believed in the power of community — to stand up for what’s right, speak out against what’s wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be. …”

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Comments (26)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/29/2014 - 07:51 am.

    If Pete Seeger Were Compensated

    for what he added to American Society, he would have been a billionaire (which wouldn’t have mattered to him).

    If Scott Johnson were compensated in proportion to the amount of intelligence, accurate information, sensitivity, and intuitive connection with what’s really going on in the world that he constantly seeks to subtract from society, he would already be in the hole by several $billion.

    But then the jealousy on the right among those who believe that life is all about “I, me, mine” and “the one who dies with the most toys wins,” and seek to “make it big” by taking away what others have or should have had,…

    directed toward others who lift up and celebrate a vision of our society and world that’s all about we, ours, and a universal us, and “this land is your land, this land is my land,” and who use that shared vision to contribute to the well being of other people, society in general, and the planet, all without worshiping wealth or those who have it, is boundless.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/29/2014 - 10:58 am.

      Actually …

      He owned a 15 acre spread on the Hudson River, protected by a fence and no trespassing signs. “This land is my land.”

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 01/29/2014 - 07:57 am.

    Actually, I just feel pity…

    ….there are lots of good, decent, caring people who have dramatically different poltical views. Some of them are my best friends. How small and sad the life of Scott Johnson must be that he defines someone’s worth entirely on their politics.

  3. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/29/2014 - 08:17 am.

    Apparently, America’s most successful

    Communist was out chopping wood ten days before he died.

    Although it wasn’t his song, it was Woody Guthrie’s, no one with any heart at all can fail to be moved by Pete Seeger singing This Land is Your Land …

    A good man has died.

  4. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 01/29/2014 - 08:19 am.

    Thanks, Greg

    Well said.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/29/2014 - 08:27 am.

    The Punch Pizza example

    By using Punch Pizza as an example, Obama defeated his own argument and proved that we don’t need a government-mandated minimum wage.

    John Soranno didn’t need the government to tell him what to pay his employees. He made that decision based on his determination of what the market would bear and what was in the best interest of his business. Let the market decide.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/29/2014 - 08:44 am.

      Let the market decide, Mr. Tester?

      With respect to the minimum wage, that experiment has been tried.

      States with no minimum wage:

      South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana


    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/29/2014 - 09:02 am.

      What Punch Pizza Proves

      Is that businesses can remain tremendously prosperous and STILL pay their employees a living wage,…

      thus putting the lie to all those who claim that raising the minimum wage will destroy their business enterprises.

      Those who desire to pay their workers as little as possible are ignoring the host of logical and moral reasons for paying them more and doing so for entirely different reasons than whether or not their businesses could and would prosper if they did so.

      “Cheap labor” is an “I, me, mine” “true believer” ideology that has no basis in reality, nor any appreciation of wider macroeconomic realities, i.e. those who believe the workers of the world should not receive adequate compensation for their labor eventually produce a world in which most business enterprises grind to a halt because the vast majority of people have no money to spend.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/29/2014 - 11:04 am.

        You’re generalizing

        What makes the Punch story instructive is that the *business owner* decided what was affordable and still remain in business, but that equation will vary from business to business. As anyone who owns a business, or who has actually worked in a business, knows.

        Let the business owner (the market) decide what works for them.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/29/2014 - 10:15 am.

      The minimum wage

      is not directed at or required for the employer who, like John Sorrano, endeavours to pay a fair wage. It is, in a manner of speaking, a tax imposed upon those who would profit off of the labor of the weak, the poor and the uneducated and leave the job of providing for their needs to others.

      The battle over the minimum wage really is about a small percentage of the population, more symbol than substance, except for those at the very bottom of the economic ladder. Like working conditions, hours, child labor, and a thousand other aspects of government regulation of the workplace, it is made necessary by the actions of the relative few.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/01/2014 - 10:18 am.

        As one comedian noted:

        “If someone pays you minimum wage, he’s saying, ‘I wish I could pay you less.'”

    • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 01/29/2014 - 10:44 am.

      Fair enough

      Fair point. Of course, using your logic, if an atheist (or 2) does not violate the 10 Commandments, then it proves we don’t need religion. And if a person chooses not to steal out of a sense of right and wrong, we don’t need laws against theft. Agree?

  6. Submitted by Jeff Michaels on 01/29/2014 - 09:08 am.

    Scott Johnson nailed it

    Pete Seeger was a brilliant musician but he receives a failing grade when it comes to understanding the best philosophy for operating a government. His embrace of communism proves that point.

    Communism crumbled just after 70 years, as Ronald Reagan knew it would. Proponents of taking from some to give to others are doing no better in the 21st century. Venezuela has no electricity, Cuba has no toilet paper and North Korea has no food.

    Everyone can easily understand the difference between capitalism and communism, as well as its distant cousin that is sometimes referred to as liberalism. Communists had to put up a wall to keep their people in. Capitalists have to put up a fence to keep people out. A 10-year-old can figure out which system works best. Too bad the recently departed and very talented Mr. Seeger could not.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/29/2014 - 11:41 am.


      As Mr. Seeger put it:

      I still call myself a communist, because communism is no more what Russia made of it than Christianity is what the churches make of it.


      I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent the implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, make me less of an American.

      Interested readers, as well as modern day red-baiters, will find the article:

      When Pete Seeger Faced Down the House Un-American Activities Committee


    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/29/2014 - 11:55 am.

      Reagan was not Nostradamus, and you excluded China and Vietnam from the list of Communist countries… neither of which could be labeled as failed states, as both have (relatively) very strong economies over the last 15 years.

  7. Submitted by richard owens on 01/29/2014 - 09:37 am.

    What if they had an economy and nobody came?

    Republicans not only offend customers with their rhetoric and labels, they also fail to see the need for DEMAND, which is simply another word for Money to Spend.

    The more money Americans have to spend, the better our economy.

    But Mr. Tester must know that.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/29/2014 - 11:07 am.

      What even you must know

      is that taking spending money from one person and giving it to another to spend does not add anything to the economy. – Algebra 101

      • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/29/2014 - 01:45 pm.

        Your equation is only applicable to a zero sum game, Mr. Tester

        Henry Ford put money into the economy by paying his workers higher wages so that they could afford to buy his cars.l

        Although it might at first appear that this is a transfer of money from Mr. Ford to his workers, it in fact puts more money into the economy for commerce.

        You might want to do a little more reading in economics?

        On a related matter, Adam Smith was a supporter of progressive taxation for the same reason that Henry Ford paid his workers more than he had to. Progressive taxation is often categorized by those on the right as a transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor. Your algebra might lead one to believe that this does nothing for the economy. Evidence indicates otherwise.

        And by the way…

        Thank you for your comments. I note that most conservatives, including our friend Mr. Swift, don’t seem to comment any more here on MinnPost. Having a moderated – to prevent the kind of abuse found on twitter – discussion about politics is a blessing.

        My sincere thanks.

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/29/2014 - 04:32 pm.

          Henry Ford

          made that decision. It wasn’t forced upon him by the government. Which is my only point regarding the labor market. Let the market decide, not the government.

          Progressive taxation is a function of government. Henry Ford setting pay rates for his employees is a function of an individual business owner making that decision, not government. I would hope your chosen career will allow you to recognize the difference, but maybe not.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/29/2014 - 02:03 pm.

        Alegebra vs Economics

        Taking 1,000 dollars from someone with a yearly income of $1,000,000 and giving it to someone with a yearly income of $10,000 (for whom it represents 10 percent of their yearly income and will instantly go to things like food, clothing, housing, etc) DOES add to the economy.

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/29/2014 - 04:35 pm.

          No it doesn’t

          It’s the same $1,000 regardless of who gets to spend it. In a free society, the person who earned it gets to be the one to spend it.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 01/31/2014 - 10:12 am.

            Unless . . . .

            The first person leaves it sitting in an account somewhere. Or puts it into an offshore investment. Or uses it during a trip to Europe. Etc.

            Lots of ways that first person can keep that “same $1,000” out of the economy that the second person (who WILL spend it because there is no other choice) cannot.

  8. Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/29/2014 - 09:45 am.

    Macys other shoe

    looks like it’s about to drop, that being the fact that the circa 1964 building undoubtedly was built using asbestos fireretardent, making any re-use of the building in other than it’s present form highly expensive. Asbestos removal likely accounts for a large percentage of the estimated demolition cost.

    I suspect that a reporter looking into the public record would find that this problem was known to all involved in the purchase when the decision was made.

    The next chapter is where we learn that no one will pay $16+ million for the empty block where the building once stood.

  9. Submitted by Teresa Lynch on 01/30/2014 - 09:47 am.


    The multimillionaires do not end up spending that $1000. It is sitting somewhere earning interest and dividends or “points,” which is why the top one percent keeps on keeping more and more. The lower-income people are spending their $1000 on credit card, mortgage, student loan and payday loan interest.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 01/31/2014 - 04:36 pm.


      Also 100 people who make $10,000 per year will spend more money for goods and services than one person who makes $1,000,000 per year. Those one hundred people will need more clothes, food, washing machines, and so on than the one wealthy person. The poor will also spend their funds locally, as opposed to a second (or seventh) house in London, Paris, or Belize.

      Poor people have a much better multiplier on the economy than the rich.

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