Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Last Spring, Mayor Sly James held a press event to determine the best way for the city to pay homage to the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That rather contentious presser led the formation of another of the Mayor’s blue ribbon committees to determine just exactly how our fair city should honor the slain civil rights leader in a proper and fitting way. The Dog penned a piece on April 11th of this year that was critical of the process and the sudden need to throw The Paseo’s 110-year history under the bus.

In June, that committee released three naming options for the city to pursue to honor Dr. King. At the top of that list was naming a terminal at the new airport after Dr. King. At the bottom of the list, you guessed it, attaching Dr. King’s name to the iconic Paseo. That was until a few weeks back when Councilman & Mayoral candidate Quinton Lucas broke bread with some prominent Pastors from the Black community who apparently didn’t think the terminal naming idea was enough, commissioning Lucas to carry their water and introduce, out of the clear blue sky, an ordinance to rename the Paseo after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Here’s a history lesson straight from the Dog about the Paseo. It was the brainchild of the city’s first Parks Board commissioner A. R. Meyer, who, in the early 1900’s, worked with prominent Landscape Architect George Kessler on the layout, design and positioning of a series of parks and sunken gardens along its length. It is named for the prominent boulevard that bisects Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma.

Strangely absent from this conversation is the city’s Latino community. Where are groups like the LaRaza Political Club or the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce? The Hispanic Economic Development Committee, The Mattie Rhodes Center, and the Guadalupe Center haven’t entered the fray either. These heavy hitters have weighed in on issues with far fewer political implications and made their voices heard, often enacting change in the process. One would certainly think that if roughly 110 years of rich cultural heritage was stripped from the city’s history books as Councilman Lucas’ ridiculous ordinance would do, there would be rioting in the streets. The only thing we’re hearing from these groups, sadly, is crickets. Is Councilman Lucas that much of a political juggernaut that he is not to be tussled with?

Lucas’ ordinance was tabled initially last month to allow for more community comment on the matter. A community forum was tentatively scheduled by this news outlet but Lucas strategically didn’t respond until after one available date was passed and the next available date was less than 24 hours away. As for public comment, one recent poll showed an overwhelming 95% of respondents vehemently against the renaming of The Paseo. We’ll just stop right there because that same 95% was all for honoring Dr. King but in a more fitting manor or rather, picking a different right of way, say for example, 63rd Street, the MLK Advisory Committee’s second choice, or another prominent east-west street that bisects the city’s urban core.

The matter was heard in last Thursday’s council legislative session and the resulting “I wanna feel good about myself” circus, and we use the term loosely, was nothing less than a sad sham, at some points difficult to watch as substitute after substitute was thrown up, every one worse than the initial proposal. Operative verb phrase: thrown-up. For once, this dog agrees with Councilman Jermaine Reed, who angrily chided his council colleagues for allowing such ridiculous alternatives to even be considered in order to cozy up to the city’s coveted Black vote.

The Dog agrees. Stop. Just stop. Leave The Paseo and its over 110 year heritage of honoring a great Latin American boulevard alone. One idea that has surfaced on social media is re-naming the 18th & Vine area after Dr. King, an idea this Dog could really get behind. The 63rd Street idea also has merit given the diversity of Kansas City communities that thoroughfare connects. Note to Councilman Lucas: the dog has but one question. Why is it you’re hellbent on proceeding with a pet project that literally 95% of the polled people oppose?

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Comments are closed.

  • Anatomy of a Hack Piece

    December 5th, 2018

    Once again our ol buddies over at The Pitch magazine have broken new ground in an attempt to remain relevant […]

    Guest Column by Councilman Quinton Lucas

    November 28th, 2018

    With all the hub-bub surrounding the ordinance that would effectively change the name on The Paseo, the News-dog is yielding […]

    BUZZ EXTRA: Editorial Assistant Johanna Pounds shares her thoughts on the 2018 Midterm elections

    November 14th, 2018

    Johanna Pounds Editorial Assistant Northeast News Although I try to come off as non-partisan as possible when reporting, in my […]

    Election winners and losers

    November 14th, 2018

    As the old saying goes, ya win some, ya lose some. There were big winners last Tuesday thanks to the […]

    Agree to disagree

    November 7th, 2018

    Let’s agree to disagree and live to tell the tale about civil discourse. I think that’s the problem today. Too […]

  • Ballot Language BINGO

    October 31st, 2018

    With the mid-term election on us, the Dog would like to offer up some insight on some of the ballot […]

    Things that make you go hmmm – part 2

    October 24th, 2018

    Last week we wrapped up our column with a thought about the things that make you go hmmm. This week, […]

    A taxing question

    October 17th, 2018

    This past Sunday the Kansas City Star’s Editorial Board released an editorial that questioned two taxes that will be on […]

    Hello to a new adventure

    October 10th, 2018

    In March of 2016, a young journalist from KU interviewed with us here at the House of News and was […]

    It’s a tough job!

    October 3rd, 2018

    It’s tough! Keeping the city’s parks in presentable condition seven days a week, 365 days a year. This critically thinking […]

  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Operation Santa kicks off today at Della Lamb, serving over 1,000 local residents

    This project will serve over 1,000 low-income families, giving them all the items needed for a full Christmas.

    Congressman Cleaver announces $25 million grant to improve Buck O’Neil Bridge

    The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant will include creating a wider bridge span, separated facilities for pedestrians bicyclists, and connector ramps.

    retorts illustrated by bryan stalder