As the Orchestra settles, the Guthrie furloughs for a week


The Strib’s coverage of the Minnesota Orchestra settlement, written by Graydon Royce, says: “The orchestra had sought to save $5 million in labor costs. The new contract saves them $3.5 million in the first year. In addition to the salary figures, the contract allows the board flexibility in hiring musicians. There are 77 musicians in the orchestra now, and the contract stipulates a full complement of 95. However, the terms of this deal require the board to hire only seven musicians over the three years, bringing the force to 84.”

MinnPost has Doug Grow’s coverage of Tuesday’s Orchestra events here and here.

Euan Kerr’s MPR story says: “Save Our Symphony Minnesota, a group working to end the contract dispute, recently called on the City of Minneapolis to assume control of Orchestra Hall — and the Orchestra’s multi-million dollar endowment. Now that the labor dispute is over, Save Our Symphony Minnesota Vice Chair Jon Eisenberg said he’s pleased with the agreement. But Eisenberg said he hopes new leadership on the board will involve the broader community in more decisions about the orchestra.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of downtown … Rohan Preston of the Strib says: “The Guthrie Theater is furloughing most of its full-time staff for a week during January, a theater official confirmed Tuesday. The Guthrie has about 120 full-time employees, a figure that swells when productions are up on its three stages. … The latest furloughs come in the wake of the news that the Guthrie ended its latest fiscal year with a deficit of nearly $438,000. That figure is on top of a cut of $1.1 million in expenses that the theater undertook during the year.”

Vortex redux?  At MPR, Paul Huttner writes: “It’s early and I wouldn’t bet the farm on this just yet. But there are indications that after our balmy thaw early next week, another bitterly cold Polar Vortex may take a swipe at the Upper Midwest. The Global Forecast System has been consistent for a few runs now that much colder air may invade by the weekend of Jan. 25-26.”

Speaking of weather … that dispute between DirecTV and The Weather Channel that led to the satellite folks dumping perpetually storm-drenched Jim Cantore et al. would seem to be a bit of a victory for Paul Douglas, who created the replacement, WeatherNation. In USA Today, Roger Yu writes: “In the run-up to the expiration of its contract with DirecTV Monday, the Weather Company — owned by NBC Universal and private-equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital — sought to portray its weather coverage as playing a critical public safety role as it demanded an increase in fees. … The Weather Channel called WeatherNation ‘a cheap start-up that does weather forecasting on a three-hour taped loop, has no field coverage, no weather experts.’ ” Dang, I was kinda groovin’ on those “When Weather Attacks” videos.

Also at MPR, Tim Nelson reports that the state Supreme Court has told both sides in the fight over funding for the Vikings stadium to make their arguments …in writing … and succinctly: “The justices said stadium opponent Doug Mann and Minnesota Management and Budget need to make their arguments in writing to the court by the end of business on Thursday. They’ve got 10 pages to make their case. … another letter from Supreme Court Commissioner Rita DeMeules said the court will NOT be granting the request by the MSFA to hold a hearing on the authority’s motion this week, ‘but will notify the parties if a hearing on the motion is scheduled.’” Ten pages! Most attorneys can’t get their full name and address down in ten measly pages.

At City Pages, Aaron Rupar talked with Mann: “[How could officials possibly not see this coming? After all, the language in the aforementioned constitutional provision seems clear. ‘I honestly don’t think they expected anybody to challenge it,’ Mann replied. ‘I think they realized there was a danger there but they didn’t seriously consider the possibility of somebody going up against them and the people who are behind this thing.’ ‘The reason [state officials] came up with this unusual financing mechanism for paying off the bonds is that they were trying to circumvent the charter provision that prevents the city of Minneapolis from incurring more than $15 million in debt for stadiums without a referendum.’ ”

What could possibly go wrong? The AP says: “Bullets and beer long have been part of the lore in Deadwood, the western South Dakota gambling town where Wild Bill Hickok met his demise during an 1876 poker game. Now, an FBI agent nearing retirement hopes to tap that history by opening a combined indoor shooting range and saloon a block off Deadwood’s historic Main Street. The Deadwood Guns complex proposed by Greg Vecchi would host several businesses, including a gun shop, a pawn shop, the shooting range and a bar called the Bullets and Beer Saloon.”

And then to the east of us … A Slate story by Emma Roller says: “[Daniel] Bice’s No Quarter blog has been holding Wisconsin politicians’ feet to the fire for years, and as such he’s been accused of liberal hackery since Gov. Scott Walker was elected. But a recent story broken by the Wisconsin State Journal’s Dee Hall and reported by Bice is a pretty breathtaking display of crony politics. … [Rep. Joel] Kleefisch, who is married to Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, sponsored a bill that was narrowly tailored to further the interests of a major campaign donor. The donor, Michael Eisenga … a multimillionaire, had recently tried and failed to get a judge to lower the amount of child support he pays to his ex-wife for their three children.” I tell ya, it’s getting almost as good as Texas over there.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 01/15/2014 - 07:03 am.

    Three hour taped loop

    I’m actually okay with a three hour taped loop. After all, I tune in to a weather channel to get the weather – not to sit through the latest episode of “Suicidal Storm Chasers” in hopes that my attention doesn’t wander for those two seconds when the weather forecast I’m actually interested in seeing scrolls across the bottom of the screen.

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 01/15/2014 - 10:14 am.

    MMB an advocate? MSFA ethics !!

    Since when is Minnesota Management and Budget supposed to be an advocate for programs ? Here is its own stated mission, from its web site:

    “Our mission is to increase state government’s capacity to manage and utilize financial, human, information and analytical resources in order to provide exceptional service and value for Minnesota’s citizens.”

    What the heck does this mission have to do with whether the Vikings’ stadium financing scheme comports with the MN constitution ?

    Another thing – the MSFA has now ceased all pretenses that they do not embrace the value system and ethics of the Wilfs. They not only feed at the same trough, but now they have adopted a legal strategy straight out of the Wilfs’ playbook – to make it financially nigh unto impossible for the other side to continue a suit.

    Except in this case, the MSFA is seeking to slam the courtroom door in the face of ANY CITIZEN who has the temerity to challenge the legality of the financing scam. That is the exact intent of their motion that the 3 citizens who brought the action should bear the burden of a $50 million bond, AS IF challenging the scam made them responsible for its expenses.

    This is a sick perversion of the legal process, but it does give an opportunity for the public to see just how low the MSFA is willing to go – right down to the Wilfs’ level. The values and ethics of these two entities appear indistinguishable.

  3. Submitted by Todd Menier on 01/26/2014 - 09:54 am.

    “Fix” for Guthrie’s budget problems?

    One budget item that apparently was not on the table amid the Guthrie’s cuts and furloughs was artistic director Joe Dowling’s salary, which the current issue of Minnesota Monthly lists at $701,743 for 2014. Reason enough for me to take no pity on (nor donate a dime to) this “struggling” non-profit.

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