As a Spokane Symphony trustee, I read with deep pain the public debate, not because it is undesirable, but because it is not factual. I don’t know how or when the standoff between musicians and symphony will be resolved, but I know that unless we deal with the facts as they are, not as we wish them to be, we will not reach fair and reasonable solutions.
John Adams once said: “Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictums of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” What are these stubborn things?
1) Salaries of non-musician staff were not raised.
2) There is no budget surplus. In fact, the symphony had a deficit last year that a donor reversed at the last minute.
3) The administration did not walk away from negotiations.
4) Both parties made concessions.
I understand the desire to paint this as an epic struggle between good and evil. Such narrative generates a negative atmosphere that is toxic to all parties. The reality is that we are all trying to solve a difficult problem. I urge people to behave responsibly for the sake of this great organization.
Bassem A. Bejjani