James Torgerson, President
Board of Directors
Anchorage Symphony Orchestra
Dear Mr. Torgerson,
It is my understanding that the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra intends to preface this coming Saturday's concert with a request for the audience to applaud Exxon for their generous contribution toward production costs of the event. I have asked your orchestra's Executive Director to have you consider other options at your Wednesday meeting.
Plaintiffs in the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case, Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker (07-219), knowing my long and honorable relationship with the ensemble, have asked me to convey that you consider either not audibly acknowledging Exxon's support for this important event, or to have a representative of Exxon ask the audience to request a moment of silence for the over four thousand plaintiffs who have passed away, waiting for their share of a settlement. Or for the hundreds whose lives have been continuously devastated by the aftermath of Exxon's negligence in March of 1989. Or for the dozens who took their own lives in the grief over their inability to deal with losses caused by this tragedy.
Saturday evening, at the Atwood Concert Hall, there will be about three thousand people. A third less people than have expired while Exxon failed to, as Don Cornett, your predecessor as President of this board once promised them, "If you can show that you have a loss as a result of this spill, we will compensate it. . . . We will consider whatever it takes to make you whole."
Scores of thousands of plaintiffs, most ex-governors of Alaska, our National Legislative delegation, our sitting State Legislature, and current Governor have already shown themselves to be friends of the plaintiffs through their various friend of the court briefs.
It would be an indelible stain on the honor of the members of the orchestra, the 30,000 Alaska plaintiffs, and all concerned Alaskans to applaud Exxon exactly three days and twelve hours before the most important litigation ever against that corporation is argued by our highest court.
I would be happy to attend your Wednesday evening board meeting to answer any questions on this matter.
Update - Wednesday noon: The Alaska Report has front paged this letter. Thanks, Dennis! I'm getting a lot of e-mails of support from artists and composers who DO NOT want their names made public in concern for retribution against them in the future.