Letters from the week of August 17, 2000

Letters 

Letters from the week of August 17, 2000

Trash Talk
Abraham Maslow would be damn proud of Bruce Rodgers' appraisal of some Kansas Citians and recycling ("Strictly Mainstream," August 3). If you're living in poverty, it is kind of hard to understand why you should pay an additional two bucks a month for the privilege of sorting things you would otherwise throw in the trash. If your main concern is saving your own hide, saving the environment is a distant second.

In the past four years I have lived in Lee's Summit, Topeka, Overland Park, and now rural Missouri. All of these municipalities have recycling by mandate. Is curbside recycling a good idea in Kansas City? Sure, it's a good idea anywhere. But all of those cities lack the major problems prevalent in the inner city. -- Steven Melling

Maryville, Missouri

Monument Valley
Patrick Dobson's article about the Liberty Memorial ("A Monumental Failure?" August 10) was an unabashed endorsement of the activities of Ms. Jane Flynn and her supporters on the Historic Kansas City Foundation. I thought editorials were reserved for the editorial page. I suggest Mr. Dobson treat the restoration project as a news story and ask these additional questions:

1) Mr. Solomon (Mel Solomon, former head of the Landmarks Commission), in 1919 the organization in charge of constructing the Liberty Memorial took a vote approving "a monument, plus a building, not for utilitarian purposes but to house trophies of war with other matters closely related thereto." How do you interpret that statement to mean there was no intention to build a museum at the Liberty Memorial?

2) Ms. Flynn, in 1998 the voters of Kansas City, Missouri, approved a sales tax levy to raise money for the restoration of the Liberty Memorial. Included in that proposal was the plan to build a new museum with private donations. I do not recall hearing any opposition by you or the HKCF to those proposals during the sales tax levy campaign. Why are you now objecting to the restoration plan after it has been approved by the voters?

3) Ms. Flynn, the original plan for the construction of Union Station in 1914 did not include an Extreme Theater or a covered walkway to Crown Center. I do not recall hearing any objection from you or the Historic Kansas City Foundation about those changes to the architectural integrity of the Union Station. However, you and your supporters are objecting to the construction of a new museum at the Liberty Memorial on the grounds it violates the original architectural integrity of the monument. Why is the architectural integrity of the Liberty Memorial different than that of Union Station?

4) Ms. Flynn, $7.5 million has been raised through private donations for the construction of a new museum at the Liberty Memorial. Many of these donations have come from individuals and groups across the country. Additionally, some of the money was raised from schoolchildren in the Kansas City area. If you are successful in stopping the construction of a museum, how will you explain to these private donors that the money they contributed to the Liberty Memorial Museum effort was not used for that purpose at all?

5) Ms. Flynn, in a public ceremony at the Liberty Memorial on November 11, 1998, bricks were presented to World War I veterans McKinley Wooden and Elmer Rash with their names engraved upon them. Mr. Wooden and Mr. Rash were told these bricks would be placed in a Wall of Honor outside the new museum at the Liberty Memorial, which would tell the story of the sacrifices they, and many others, made during their service to their country. Within one and one-half months, Mr. Wooden and Mr. Rash passed away. If you are successful in stopping the construction of the museum at the Liberty Memorial, how would you explain to the heirs and friends of Mr. Wooden and Mr. Rash that the story of their sacrifice will be lost to history?-- Jay R. Jennings II

Mission

Throughout the article about Jane Flynn and her pursuit to stop the funding/building of a war museum at the Liberty Memorial with public dollars, we heard from several people who referred to her as a "hobbyist" and a non-"professional" in her endeavors. It looks to me that the people who said that are people who have a financial interest in seeing the project go forward.

Flynn seems to lay out a pretty good argument that the funds to renovate are being used to prepare for a new museum. Yet those are tax dollars, and they weren't supposed to be used for that. Private moneys were supposed to do that, and it sounds as though those dollars haven't been collected yet.

I couldn't help but chuckle when Mark McHenry, Parks and Recreation Department deputy director, tried to put this thing back in Flynn's lap by stating that "delaying museum preparation could significantly increase the costs." Cydney Millstein chimes in the same way. If that's the case why don't they hit the streets and start peddling for private dollars, not tax dollars?

I'm thinking that the reason they don't is that private dollars are in the hands of folks like Bill Hall, president of the Hall Family Foundation, and they have interest in the renovation of the existing monument only. Hall said, "We feel that altering the south entrance for the museum is not, in the long run, beneficial to the memorial or the public." If they feel that way, I'm willing to bet other donors feel the same way and that's why the other $18 million isn't sitting on the table.

The last thing that really had me wondering is why hasn't this proposed audit been performed before? Is Parks and Recreation out there by itself? No one to answer to? Where's city hall? You know ... their bosses? I hope an unbiased audit will straighten this thing out.

In the meantime, as a taxpayer, I don't relish the thought of walking through a new museum at an old memorial and seeing body parts lying around. I'll bet that the original builders of the Liberty Memorial had a different idea than that in mind.-- Bob Wilson

Shawnee

Hack It Up
It is clear to me that Jeff Brown does not know what the fuck he is talking about, regarding his review of MDFMK (Soundbites, June 29). KMFDM had nothing to do with the Columbine tragedy and, thus, the name change is irrelevant to the incident. All this hack did was slag a band that, for all intents and purposes, is a new incarnation. I agree that in the past KMFDM had name-checked themselves to death, but the Symbols album and the transitional Adios brought things up to speed.

Brown did not even make the slightest effort to contain his prejudice and blatant misrepresentation of fact, but he does get to tell his parents at Christmas, "Yeah, I am a big writer." Let me in on this free money, if that is all it takes to be employed at the Pitch. I'll come in late and just throw some pouty bullshit on your desk and take home a nice check.

Do something original. Thanks.-- Sean Murphy

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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