Your article on the State Fair concerts ("State fair shakedown," Dec. 3) seems overly dramatic and disingenuous. Leaving aside the question of who, specifically, is being "shaken down," the cover of the newspaper proclaims alarmingly that the State Fair has lost $900,000 on its concerts, but it's not until the twentieth paragraph of the article that the reader learns that all the concerts were free prior to 2002.
From that historical perspective, it might be more accurate to say that the ticket sales have saved the state fair $1.5 million that they otherwise would have spent on free concerts, while (as the article states) reducing the long lines for seating that were pulling attendees away from other areas of the fair. Sounds like a win-win to me.
While there are certainly valid questions raised about the booking process, the level of experience of Ms. Brannen and the appeal of the artists booked, the notion that this $900,000 expense represents a serious financial burden on an enterprise that netted $24 million in the same approximate period is laughable. The total amount of money under discussion is less than 10 percent of the profits that the fair generates. From that perspective, and considering that the fair is a self-sustaining enterprise that costs the taxpayers exactly zero, it hardly seems worth getting worked up into a lather over.
Art Cohen, Garner