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Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota • Page 24
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Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota • Page 24

Star Tribunei
Minneapolis, Minnesota
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PAGE A24 STAR TRIBUNE THURSDAY. AUGUST 13 1998 Editorials, labeled "Our represent the institutional voice of the Star Tribune. They are prepared by tlie Editorial Department, which is independent of the newsroom. StarTribune Editorial John R. Schueier Publisher Newt Tim McGuke Editor Pam Fine Managing Editor Editorial: Susan WbrigM' Editor, Editorial Pages Jm Boyd Deputy Editor, Editorial Pages opinionstartribune.corn Our perspective iTeneADiN- WiTH KiDS B3CK PRoM MOON CAMP thaw our Grandpa LOAD UPTHeiXMy AND CAT CLONeSf' Move the Shubert Minneapolis needs an idea with sizzle 99991 A-D.

I JM THe world as We KNOW iT CRASHeS ATMiDNiGHT, DecetABer3i, WAT BACK iN 1998 WHGN TH6Y "FiXeD me Y2K GUTCHi THerONLY ADDeD2liGiTS Safe The Minneapolis City Council should vote Friday to move the Shu-bert Theater from Block to a new home beside the Hennepin Center for the Arts on Block D. The council should approve the move not simply to get the Shubert out of the way of Block redevelopment but because a renovated Shubert in its new location would create an exciting, visionary development for the Hennepin Avenue theater district. By agreeing to move the Shubert, the council not only would be preserving a historic structure something previous councils too frequently failed to do it also would be helping create a superb performance space for the local arts community and giving a boost to Hennepin Avenue redevelopment. Renovating the Shubert where it sits is impractical; tearing it down is unthinkable, but moving it is inspired. What makes this issue difficult is that reasonable people disagree so strongly about it.

Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, joined by other city officials whose job it is to worry about finances, opposes the move. She argues that the city cannot possibly save every theater, and points with pride to the refurbished State and Orpheum, plus plans to renovate the Mann. Given those successes, she argues, tearing down the Shubert isn't so bad. But the refurbished State and Orpheum theaters, though glorious, are dedicated to large-scale commercial theater of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Disney variety. A similar future is envisioned for a renovated Mann.

By contrast, the Shubert, moved to Block and renovated by the nonprofit Art-space, would be available to community-based groups especially dance troupes that have no good space in which to perform. With substantial city subsidy devoted to creating a place for big-money touring performances of "Cats" and "The Lion King," surely the City Council cannot balk at modest subsidies for a performance space that would be available to smaller artistic groups based in the Twin Cities. Saving the Mann for commercial theater alongside the State and Orpheum while rejecting the far superior Shubert for community theater would be an incredible affront to those who make such valuable daily contributions to the region's cultural life. From the worries voiced by those who favor destroying the Shubert despite its great acoustics and terrific sightlines, particularly for dance you'd think the $5 million in city subsidies required for a move were gargantuan. Can they be serious? This is, after all, the same city administration that is willing to subsidize a downtown Target store to the tune of more than $30 million.

Those same critics raise eyebrows and furl brows over Artspace's financial projections. City Finance Officer John Moir warns that Artspace's assumptions range from "optimistic at best" to "wildly optimistic." Perhaps Moir is right, but Minneapolis-based Artspace has a remarkably consistent record of performing as promised in projects across the country a record it surely does not wish to jeopardize. That's the question this issue becomes: Will the Minneapolis City Council believe in Artspace enough to embrace its sizzling vision for the Shubert and Hennepin Avenue, or will the council be dominated by its traditional tuna hot dish mentality and fear of failure? For once, the council should say, "Enough with tuna; give us sizzle." Legal Services Scrimping on justice for the poor Letters from readers formers who appeared on the stage offers a surprisingly intimate relationship between audience and stage. To move it or to demolish it will require a significant chunk of change. The city is now offered an exciting proposal from Artspace Projects which will save the theater, provide a venue for small and midsized local performing groups, and present a chance to revitalize Hennepin Center for the Arts.

Currently, Hennepin Avenue offers no showcase for local performances; as the director of Ruth Mackenzie's phenomenal "Kalevala," which recently played to 16 sold-out performances at the Guthrie Lab space (capacity 350), I believe the Shubert offers a potential answer to the question of where and when "Kalevala" will be staged again. The State and the Orpheum are far too large and expensive for most local groups to consider. An 800-seat house, on downtown's main drag, offers not only opportunity for the local artists to present work, but also for downtown tourists to sample performances which give Minneapolis its reputation as one of the top theater towns in the country. Artspace's plan of linking the Shubert to the Hennepin Center provides for an exciting mix of rehearsal, performance and office space that would give downtown the badly needed arts center that the city lacks. It would also prevent one more tragic example of a city destroying its own history.

If the Shubert were a sports facility, would the City Council still be dragging its feet? It's time for the city to demonstrate the same commitment to the arts that the state has shown. Wendy Knox, artistic director, Frank Theatre, Minneapolis. Kudos to Garcia Although I am sure she will receive a lot of heat for it, Rep. Edwina Garcia should be commended for the courage she showed in her Aug. 6 letter to the Star Tribune.

It is rare that any elected official will admit to casting a wrong vote, especially when that vote was on the winning side of a controversial issue such as the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. If I lived in Garcia's district she would certainly receive my support for reelection. I hope that someday soon she and the rest of the state Legislature will get the chance to vote against DOMA and this grossly unjust law will be repealed. Dean A. Lanz, St.

Paul Hitting turbulence So the GOP has passed on Minneapolis for its next convention. Thank the Metropolitan Airports Commission and Northwest Airlines for that. Remember: First impressions make lasting impressions. To attend, all the conventioneers would have to fly in on one airline. They have no choice but to pay the extortion fee MAC has allowed Northwest to assess any visitor.

Once they land, they would have to lug all their baggage to the far side of the airport to get to the waiting vans for the ride downtown. MAC has a new rule stating that vans and other commercial vehicles servicing the airport and paying ever-increasing fees will now have to parkload and unload far away from the airport doors while private (nonpaying) vehicles are allowed curbside service. The Republican Party, as with other groups, knows Minnesota has a lot to offer visiting VIPs, but that first shock is a lot to overcome. And not worth the risk. You want a world-class city? We need a world-class airport.

Mark Anthony, Minneapolis. Attorney General candidate David Lillehaug is right on the money, calling NWA an "unhealthy dominance" of the region's air traffic (Star Tribune, Aug. 11). I think a couple of gates at the end of the red concourse would be suitable for Northwest. That would free up many more gates for some of the better airlines.

Mr. Lillehaug, chalk up another vote and call me when you form your task force. RA. Seeger, Bloomington. Shubert foot-dragging If John Moir, Minneapolis' chief financial officer, truly believes (as he wrote in a recent memo) that "demolishing the Shubert after spending $4.7 million to move it would probably make it the most expensive such event in the history of Western civilization," it would behoove him to return to Western Civ 101.

Clearly, the Shubert Theater represents a challenge to the development of Block E. Yet Block has languished for 10 years, waiting for its next life. Having had an opportunity to tour both it and the Mann Theater last spring, it was clear to me that the Shubert is a phenomenal theater space, which in addition to its historical architectural significance and roster of historic per- Remembering Coyne I was saddened to learn of the death on Aug. 6 of retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Mary Jeanne Coyne. She was kind to me.

We met in 1965 when she was a prominent civil appellate lawyer and I was a law student and law library employee. After passing the bar and just before moving to work as a prosecutor, I was her guest for lunch at a fine restaurant. She urged me to watch Al Weinberg defend a criminal case and Bob Nolan try a civil case. They were the best lawyers in Duluth, she said, and also gentlemen. And she cautioned me against becoming a hard and cynical prosecutor.

One Friday afternoon many years later, on her way to her lake cabin, she stopped at my law office, just to say hi and see how I was doing. I'm grateful for having known her. Above all, she was a good and kind person. Thomas J. Bieter, Duluth, Minn.

Public-private puzzlers I am deeply disturbed by recent reports in the Star Tribune (July 31, Aug. 6) about the nurses serving the Anoka County jail and their struggle with their employer, a private firm centered in Colorado, over paychecks that have bounced. The nurses' situation bore an uncanny resemblance to the more dire experience of teachers and others in today's Russia, who go for months without pay. Most disconcerting in the detailed initial report was news that the county has washed its hands of responsibility for the nurses' plight in the year and a half since it hired the private firm. Your reporter is right to point out the wider dilemma posed by such moves to privatize once-public services.

Both the first account and the brief follow-up reporting clarified the issues and brought to readers the anguish of individual nurses. In this respect they are allied with other recent Star Tribune reports on Royal Zeno and his struggle with MAC, on the drying up of affordable housing in the metro area, and on the long-running Koch Refinery Pollution Control Agency scandal all of which center on this era's peculiar relationships between public agencies and private firms. Zeno's problem was easier for many of us to act upon than some of these other issues, but I'm glad the Star Tribune is highlighting them and giving us a forum in which to speak up. Miriam Butwin, Minneapolis. restricted the kinds of work its lawyers can do.

This year LSC's opponents sought to build on that trend, persuading the House Appropriations Committee to cut the nonprofit's budget in half. That sabotage effort failed last week on the House floor, thank heavens. But though LSC may have been spared a double amputation, it isn't really in a spot to be jumping for joy. For starters, the House did nothing to roll back the rule that keeps legal-aid lawyers from filing class-action suits thereby barring poor Americans from using a crucial tool in the quest for justice. And though the House did fight off the drastic GOP-backed cut for LSC, the budget it approved is anything but generous.

It calls for just $250 million less than last year's bare-bones budget of $283 million and considerably below the $340 million LSC budget proposed by the White House. A glimmer of hope still shines in the Senate bill, which prescribes a more sensible $300 million for next year. House-Senate conferees can fulfill the hope by seizing upon the ampler figure. But even if they do, they shouldn't stop long to congratulate themselves. As things stand, more than 80 percent of poor Americans who need civil legal help can't get it.

Throwing a few more drops in the legal-aid bucket might help a few of these justice-seekers. But many more could be helped if the Legal Services Corporation got the respect, and the funding, it deserves. The Legal Services Corporation is the Rodney Dangerfield of Capitol Hill: It gets absolutely no respect. Every year the nonprofit group that funds legal help for the poor gets knocked around by GOP lawmakers. These guys can't find a way to wipe LSC off the federal stage, so they settle for heckling and harrying instead.

If they keep it up, sooner or later the Republicans are sure to hound Legal Services right out of the federal budget. LSC has a long history of helping low-income people take civil cases to court, and that drives its mostly Republican critics crazy. They can't see why any taxpayer should have to underwrite someone else's lawsuit. They've been howling for years about the LSC's "liberal agenda," and its unseemly "anti-establishment" crusade. But if Legal Services is on a crusade, it's one the U.S.

Republicans should have no trouble backing. All legal-aid lawyers do is fight for the protections Congress has granted to all citizens. Last year these lawyers helped more than a million poor clients challenge job discrimination, fight wrongful evictions, pursue Social Security benefits, escape broken marriages, win child support and otherwise demand fair treatment. Indeed, it's fair to say that the LSC's mission is actually quite conservative. It seeks nothing more than full enforcement of the law not just for the well-off, but for everyone.

Somehow this doesn't sit well with LSC's critics. In recent years, they've slashed the organization's budget and At least greedy deans admit they want money more than brains Other points of view By Robert Reno Newsday NEW YORK I refuse to be shocked by a just-released poll of 291 business-school deans that shows 49 percent of them might admit a stupid applicant whose family gave $1 million to the school. Did we really need a poll to tell us that fund-raising has replaced learning or, heaven forbid, teaching as the chief priority of the leaders in American higher education? Did any educated person not already know that business schools the once-de- billy goat. Actually, the figure is much higher. This is because a little more than 10 percent of the deans had no opinion were spineless, wishy-washy toads, actually about whether they'd admit the dummy ahead of more qualified applicants.

Only 39 percent came flat out and said they'd spit in the eye of a $1 million contributor. But wait, the pollsters asked only about a million-dollar donor. They did not ask the deans how they'd act if the donation were raised to $5 million, $20 million or $50 million. Since every dean must have his price and the richer schools must have higher ones, we can only presume that of the 39 percent who come across as such ethical goody-goodies, a large number would at some point succumb and admit an illiterate oaf. Actually, I am a bit surprised that spaces in so many schools can be bought fof as little as $1 million.

You have to consider the extreme pressure business-school deans are under in a field that has become brutally competitive. To keep quality faculty often attracted by higher salaries in the business sector they are forced to pay more than other university professors get. And they must compete for institutional funds in a college world still dominated by the liberal arts, where business schools are more tolerated and envied than respected. Anyway, I want to congratulate the 291 brave deans who didn't throw this survey in the garbage when they received it. I'd have worried that the people who conducted this anonymous poll had secretly marked the ballots with invisible ink and might reveal which deans were toads.

One of the authors of the poll, Joanne Rockness, Cameron professor of accountancy at UNC, assures me personally that there were no such tricks. I believe her. And I guess the 49 percent of the deans who were candid enough to admit what they'd do for a million dollars must be commended for their honesty. True, they were given anonymity. But at great cost to the dignity and reputation of deans everywhere they have forthrighdy confessed to the love of money which, after all, is what getting an MBA is all about.

By blabbing to these pollsters, they may have devalued the degrees they confer and besmirched the fair name of business education. But at least they didn't dodge the question. spised stepcolleges in a system where the liberal arts were sovereign have become the most cherished cash machines of America's greatest universities? The anonymous poll was the brilliant idea of four professors, three at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and one from Cornell. But I must say the figures are unfair and misleading if taken to mean nearly half the business-school deans have the ethics of a.

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