Monday, September 30, 2013

The Sounds of Silence


Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the moment that we lose perspective of the future. It is entirely possible that in three or four years from now we will be reading about the sale of the Vikings football team for a profit of $100 or $200 million as a result of the new stadium financed virtually entirely by the taxpayer and the fans. And, yes, there will be stories of how Zygi Wilf outfoxed and outmaneuvered those representing the interests of the public.

However, on the other side of town in a newly refurbished Orchestra Hall there will be no sounds of Brahms, Copeland, or Sibelius but rather the stillness of silence.

We will publicly wonder how we could pass a Legacy Amendment (by way of disclosure, Governor Wendell Anderson and I served as co-chairs) designed to properly fund the outdoors and the arts, pour hundreds of millions into a facility that ultimately moved Wilf from millionaire into billionaire status, and then stand by while our own world class symphony orchestra disintegrated.

We will understandably ask - where were our priorities? How could we go so overboard for one and yet be so detached from the other? Since when do the arts not play a major role in defining our quality of life and is it not that some quality of life that attracts business job growth? And then, will we wonder about our leadership?

What is hard to comprehend is why the Legacy Amendment, the over generosity of the public in the stadium deal, and the lack of progress in the stalemate at Orchestra Hall do not pose an opportunity for the Governor, the Mayor, and legislative leaders to come together and figure out how some money can be moved in order to permit us to retain the Vikings (with an increased share of participation from Wilf) as well as a treasured world class symphony. We owe this to ourselves and to our future. Let’s get moving