It appears Mr. McClain provides more vision, passion and contribution to our city than his detractors combined.
Robert K. Briggs
Independence's day: I am writing in response to Kendrick Blackwood's article on Ken McClain and his activities in Independence. I am a 34-year-old resident who decided to return to Independence a few years ago to make a home for my family. A big factor in my decision to return to the neighborhood I grew up in (near the Truman home) was the efforts of Ken and the effect it has had on my area.
The square is currently at a 30-year high for occupancy. I am even considering moving my advertising agency to the Independence Square (something unheard of in the creative community). Just a few years ago, there were tumbleweeds blowing through where shoppers now walk.
We still have problems to overcome here. We even had people protesting our new hospital that opened in town to provide state-of-the-art health care for our citizens. I overheard a hospital employee at a Chamber of Commerce meeting saying that Independence is the only city they ever opened a new hospital where people protested. Other cities celebrate when better health care comes to town.
Ken McClain is making things happen. I support him in his efforts in general. Independence has lost too much over the past two generations to other areas of the metro. We need to get aggressive to catch up.
Health to pay: I was shocked to find Ken McClain, of all people, on the cover of the Pitch. I don't have any personal feelings about McClain at all. I've never met the man, though enough people have told me what an arrogant jerk he is, so I'm not in a hurry to meet him. Despite my nausea when reading the subhead, "just a regular guy," I forced myself to read the article.
It was quite clear that Kendrick Blackwood has neither lived in Independence nor attended Independence City Council meetings. I was then shocked to find that it was Mr. Blackwood who wrote an article last year on an HCA hospital. ("An Arm and a Leg," May 27, 2004). Someone with any clue about Independence city politics knows that the HCA purchase and the imminent closure of MCI and Independence Regional hospitals remain hot topics. We who attended City Council meetings on HCA know that it was McClain's CFI "dream team" who wrote the resolution that sanctified HCA.
McClain is no Pendergast, but Kendrick Blackwood should really do some research on CFI and the voting records of Jason White and Jim Schultz before trying to convince Pitch readers that McClain is some sort of "regular guy" and that guys like John Pennell are the problem.
If John Pennell is a gadfly, then I know what government at all levels need more of: gadflies. We would all be better off if more taxpayers began to irritate elected officials. We would all be better off with more Pennells in the world and fewer McClains.
Suit yourself: The Pitch's article on Independence attorney and developer Ken McClain contained an inaccuracy with regard to the litigation that arose out of Mr. McClain's involvement with the damage to county parkland. The county did not withdraw from arbitration. Mr. McClain's insurance carrier declined to accept arbitration. That is why the county was required to file suit.
Mr. McClain has done some marvelous work in reviving the historic Independence Square. For that work, he and Mrs. McClain were honored by the county in the 2003 State of the County address. The county recognizes his contributions, and for that reason, every effort was made to resolve the parkland issue without litigation. But as Ken McClain, a top-notch trial lawyer in his profession, knows better than most, when there is no alternative, some disputes must be settled in court.
Kansas City, Missouri