On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Kansas City voters will have an opportunity to right a horrible wrong perpetrated last year by a bunch of sell-out city politicians who decided to rewrite history by changing the name of The Paseo to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, all against the overwhelming will of Kansas City taxpayers and voters.
Here are a few points the News-Dog would like you to remember when heading to the ballot box Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Most recently, Dr. Vernon Howard, the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, (SCLC) has made the claim that the Save The Paseo group’s push to return The Paseo name to the nine-plus mile boulevard is based on racial motives.
Dr. Howard, the Dog would invite you to review the over 350 pages of documents and 2,800 signatures turned in to the city clerk’s office last April.
The signers of these petitions, as well as the Save The Paseo committee, represent a wide swath of racial and economic diversity, stating on the record they disagree with how the process was “hijacked” along with some sympathetic politicians who decided it was a good idea to live by the photo op instead of abiding by the will of the people who overwhelmingly, by a margin of 93 percent, objected to the name change.
Also something to keep in mind when you head to the ballot box is that Howard’s group of pastors have failed to produce the 2,000 signatures they claim to have collected from “neighborhood and community members” who allegedly back the change from The Paseo to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
On repeated occasions, this group seems to advance their politically-motivated cause, which is forbidden by state and federal law given their nonprofit status.
Let’s not forget a couple of key voting points in this election. This news outlet, in November 2018, reserved a venue on two separate dates in order to bring transparency and public comment to this issue.
By the time then-Councilman Quinton Lucas (one of the name change ordinance sponsors) responded, one public forum date had lapsed, leaving two days before the other preferred forum date—basically too late to allow proper public notice of a public forum on the matter.
In addition, let’s not forget what Northland Councilwoman Heather Hall brought to the debate in expert fashion.
Renaming The Paseo to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd would not only violate a city statute that limits memorial naming to one location (the city already has Martin Luther King, Jr. Square Park), but would also overturn a 2016 listing of the city’s Parks and Boulevard System as an official National Register Historic District.
The renaming is in direct conflict of the Department of Interior’s criteria as an officially designated Historic District.
Finally, no mention was made by those promoting the change to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd during any of this mess addressed the costs of the action to residents and businesses along The Paseo who had to bear the expense of an unwanted address change on all their official records, nor of annual royalties that must be paid to the King family for the use of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. name.
Let’s not forget the King family charged the foundation that built a monument Dr. King on the National Mall in Washington D.C. roughly $800,000 for the use of his words and image.
Here’s the bottom line: time and time again, Dr. Vernon Howard, the SCLC, and sellout politicians made backroom deals, hijacked the city’s process, and shredded the city charter all in an effort to allow a small cadre of their way.
The fix was in from the very beginning, and Tuesday will be the time for Kansas City voters to right this horrible wrong perpetrated against Kansas City taxpayers.
Vote to Save The Paseo on Question 5 next Tuesday and return The Paseo to its rightful place in history as Kansas City’s original grand boulevard.