TruthToTell Monday, June 23- 9AM: MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA TODAY: New Life for the World-Class Ensemble; TruthToTell Monday, June 16: ENCORE: TRANSIT EQUITY: Riders and Residents Deserve


Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.



Today is something of departure from our usual public affairs focus to catch up with one of Minnesota’s critical cultural institutions – The Minnesota Orchestra. It’s actually back with a vengeance after nearly two years of roiled relationships between the Orchestral Association and its musicians. This group of extraordinary talents found itself confronted by the take-it-or-leave it offer during negotiations of a 32% cut in their pay, among other items, or face a lockout. The predictable outcome was to reject the offer. All music activity ceased.

Lockouts have increasingly used by management of all sorts of industries, but to counter strikes by union employees. The public simply was caught unaware that this could happen to a revered bunch of professionals like the 95 tuxedoed classical musicians. The management – Michael Henson and the board chair at the time, Jon Campbell, wanted to pare the orchestra’s size – significant, according to the members, to maintain the high quality of musicianship.

After 15 months of a very painful lockout during which the world class conductor, Osmo Vänskä, resigned when a Carnegie Hall concert long scheduled had to cancel. Last straw for Vänskä, so he moved to the sideline, but not too far. He conducted several concerts staged by the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra in a few local venues, joined by well-known concert soloists like pianist Emanuel Ax. Other former music directors came “home” to lead the ensemble in other concerts - Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Edo de Waart and Eiji Oue.

Finally, the swords were sheathed enough to come to agreement and the lockout ended January 14th.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS will talk with three men intimately in the Orchestra’s operation, negotiations, performing and reporting on it all. Then, we’ll hear selections from the Grammy-winning recording of the Jean Sibelius’ symphonies, and a treat – some live cello from Tony Ross, and the amazing season now planned.


TONY ROSS - Principal Cellist, Minnesota Orchestra and part of the musicians’ negotiating team.

KEVIN SMITH - formerly President of the Minnesota Opera, will serve as interim President and CEO, following Michael Henson’s August 31 departure until a permanent successor is identified.


MICHAEL ANTHONY – Long-time StarTribune Minnesota Orchestra critic, reviewer and observer, now a Minneapolis-based free-lance writer and critic.

No comments yet - be the first!



Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, June 16, 2014



This last weekend the Green Line (Central Corridor) started rolling for its inaugural trip along the 11 miles connected downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, to the so-called “Target Central” station, where most of the rail systems serving the Cities and the region hereabouts will ultimately converge  and become the Metro region’s transit hub and even an entertainment venue (presumably to keep. Keeping our focus on the LRT and other transit equity issues seems apropos in returning to this topic this week.

A whole hell of a lot of angst emerged from the disruptions for small business outlets along University Ave, especially, in St. Paul, most of them owned and operated by entrepreneurs of color.

Equity issues can still be found in most aspects of the design and construction of the Green Line well beyond the impacts on business. New lines are planned to cut through sensitive neighborhoods, but not necessarily ready to serve the equity needs for the new parts of North Minneapolis and the entire Southwest Corridor stretching to Eden Prairie. Some of the issues rearing their heads again, many new ones have highlighted the uniqueness of each project – how does the Northwest-bound Bottineau Light Rail Transitway (Blue Line extension) actually serve the nerve center of the North Side’s African-American community. The natural corridor, Broadway Ave, weaves through already distressed neighborhoods, too narrow without the capacity to carry a standard light rail system. Smaller-gauge rails – like those of streetcars – would fit. Is that a solution to fair and equitable access to transit for Northsiders. Riders there could connect to the Bottineau via streetcar. But what other issues confront these folks?

Then, not far from the Bottineau, the Southwest Light Rail system (Green Line)planned through the near-North Harrison neighborhood before swinging Southwest through five cities – Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. The battle lines here have been complicated by the role older freight rails and the alignment through the Cedar Lake complex of lakes, bike and hiking trails.

Southwest will be covered as the Metropolitan Council, the Minneapolis City Counciland the City of St. Louis Park where well-heeled West Minneapolitans and St. Louis Parkers are demanding their amenities of one sort or another be preserved as they see it. Some of the issues have been partially resolved, but where does the equity play out in this scenario selecting the routes for those segments of the SWLRT.

This time out, we’ll explore the equity issues for the two lines on the west of the city and its suburban sisters and North Side under serious debate and organizing around them along their respective corridors.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS talk with the active organizers directing their efforts to ensure equity and neighborhood concerns are addressed.


RUSS ADAMS – Executive Director, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability

KENNEDY WILLIS – Executive Director, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Mpls.



MICHAEL MCDOWELL – Transit Organizer, NOC (Neighborhoods Organizing for Change)

AASIM SHABAZZ – Co-Chair, Blue Line (Bottineau Transitway) Coalition (North Side)