Friday, February 22, 2008

Rage against the PR machine

I submitted the following letter to the editor to several area newspapers. I don’t think it was published by any of them.

It’s easy to make the case for your position when you can manipulate the facts to fit your conclusion, as Tim Henry did in Wednesday, February 6th’s “As I See It” column regarding the city’s ongoing push to put a huge bridge in Minor Park.

If there were truly a consensus, why did so many people withdraw from the “alternatives study” in protest? The answer: It was not a public process, but a charade. As the project manager stated, the participants were there merely to observe. At all times, the consultant controlled everything, including a biased survey that was employed not to inform the project team about the community’s desires for the Red Bridge area, but to lead to the same pre-determined conclusion they come to every time. In fact, the contract drawn up with the consultant demanded that the result be the same big-bridge plan. What kind of alternative is that? Henry also mis-states the facts in regard to the differences between the latest proposal and the previous one. Only by comparing it to the proposal before the proposal before the last proposal can you say that the latest one is any kind of reduction. Even former councilman Chuck Eddy said that 5-year-old plan was “never serious”.

Why is the city so determined to build such a big bridge on such a little road? The answer is obvious to many in south K.C., and it was in fact stated early on in the process by a Public Works official, then never repeated: Red Bridge Road is to be a highway alternate, helping to handle the tens of thousands of trucks that will be servicing the freight and warehouse facilities being constructed at the old Richards-Gebaur Air Force base.

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