Hurry, hurry, step right this way! You don’t wanna be late for the Jermaine Reed tent revival and hymn sing. Monday, February 25th at 10 am sharp at 34th & The Paseo. Yes siree folks, this is where ya wannabe! Lemme hear amen. AMEN! AMEN!
Let us now sing the hymn of our fathers…
Typically, street naming ceremonies are honorable and stoic occasions where elected officials and city or county bureaucrats say a few words about the importance of the individual the street is being named for or why the change was important. The dias is normally crowded with elected officials, all eager to pay homage to the street namee. Then after a short program, the veil is lifted and the new street sign is presented for all to see. Sing it with me now!
“Lift every voice and sing…”
That’s how it normally goes. But on Monday February 25th at 34th street and The Paseo, what went down was a Jermaine Reed campaign event at taxpayer expense. It was a tent revival and hymn sing disguised as a city sponsored and sanctioned ceremony and it was an absolutely shameful spectacle to behold. Even the program that was passed out didn’t have any vestige of city logos or departmental markings on it. Instead it was crowded with SCLC Pastors making sure their bought and paid for politician followed through. Picture the well-orchestrated scene after The Paseo name change vote in the City Hall foyer of the 26th floor, transplant that to 34th and The Paseo on a frigid Monday morning, complete with the 2-block closure of The Paseo, and you get this Dog’s drift. Sing it with me now! Once again, this time with feeling!
“Till earth and heaven ring…”
This Dog, however, has questions. Was this an official City sanctioned event? Given the stark lack of elected officials and bureaucrats as well as the lack of City logos on the handouts, this Dog would say no. This position supports the theory that it was a Reed for Mayor campaign event, pure and simple. Shout out to Tony Botello over at the city’s most prolific blog, Tony’s Kansas City for callin’ this one straight on. Lemme hear an amen!
“Ring with the harmonies of Li-berty…”
So let’s advance the campaign event theory, shall we? Since it wasn’t an officially-sanctioned City event, we’d like to publicly ask Mr. Reed for a copy of the street closure permit. What about all those Parks & Recreation employees that were on hand, including the department’s director? What about all the KCPD Traffic officers, again at taxpayer expense, in attendance to ensure the street closure was observed in an orderly fashion? How about those three, fully staffed Public Works trucks? There were at least six or seven Public Works employees on hand to make sure the one guy in the bucket truck put the sign up correctly. Think that 34th street and The Paseo was a random location? Think again. It was right in front of the Lee A. Tolbert Academy. That name ring a bell? Bishop Mark C Tolbert, is the fifth son of Lee A Tolbert, the namesake of the school next door to Monday’s tent revival and hymn sing. That location wasn’t some random intersection, no siree. All about the optic with these people. The Dog is guessin’ this campaign event’s tab to the taxpayer ran close to $10,000 given all the City muscle on hand to pitch tents, light heaters, assemble the stage and close the street. That don’t come cheap. Amen brother.
“Let our rejoicing rise…”
Given Councilman Reed was the only elected official at this sham of a City event can’t be overstated. It would have been political suicide to be part of this charade and everyone but Reed knew the score. This straight thinking news-hound is hoping the voting public saw this for what it was as well and sends a strong message on election day. Your electorate is smarter than you think Mr. Reed.