July 13, 2004 By David Arthur Walters DOWNTOWN KANSAS CITY JOURNAL As Kansas Citians who still subscribe to Kansas City's daily press monopoly know very well, Knight-Ridder's The Kansas City Star pulled out all the stops and discarded every scrap of a scruple after accepting Mayor Kay Barnes' alleged $200,000,000 printingplant bribe to sell real estate projects to credulous taxpayers. One most glaring case of trumpery is the newly renovated downtown library housing, "Jonathan's building," monumental symbol of dynast Jonathan Kemper's virtual privatization of the Kansas City Public Library System. Jonathan Kemper raised over $50,000,000 to renovate "Jonathan's Building," the old First National Bank building across the street from the office where he presides over Commerce Bank. The elegant new downtown library building is now open for business, and its physical aspects are deeply appreciated by all - huge bank vault and all. The neoclassical edifice is Jonathan Kemper's central showpiece for the latest makeover of the Kemper Dynasty's traditional downtown campus - the area around the Commerce


Building - an eight-square-block commercial real estate revival dubbed the Library District. Jonathan Kemper is de facto chairman of the board of library trustees; de facto director of the downtown library; president of the bank doing business with private interests vested in the Library District; head of charitable institutions donating funds to the project. He conflict of interest is obvious, one that creates a glaring appearance of impropriety. Wherefore my recent request to Mayor Barnes, who appoints library trustees, to relieve Mr. Kemper of his overpowering position on the board. Mayor Barnes did not personally respond; an underling dismissed my request out of hand, praising the collusion of business and political leaders. Of course The Kansas City Star did not report my courteous request nor its denial by the Mayor's underling. Indeed, the twinkling Star did not and probably never will on its own accord question the continuous collusion of Kansas City's power elite, the handful of interests who have dominated Kansas City for decades. It will simply wink at the whole damn thing. As for the new library, the Star ignored more than a dozen objections to its one-sided, front-page trumpeting of the new library, a blatant propagandizing which led many disgusted readers to conclude that the daily paper, at least where the local power elite are concerned, does not know the difference between advertising and news. All four pretexts propagated by the rag on behalf of Mayor Barnes and Jonathan Kemper et al for the relocation of the library (i.e. the collection) from the old library housing to the new library building, were demonstrably false; this was pointed out to the editors and reporters on several occasions, yet the newspaper monopoly made not a single correction. The paper’s hireling’s praised Jonathan Kemper and the physical aspects of the new building to no end, ignoring multiple complaints about the mismanagement of the old library and its gutted-out collection. Notably, none of the more than $50,000,000 "donated" was devoted to the improvement of the collection and human resources. The Star knew about but failed to report on the exorbitant physical cost, of over $1,000 per square foot of net added library space, in comparison to a cost in Denver of less than $200 per foot for net additional library space. The newspaper monopoly knew about but ignored the fact that a brand new building could have been built at the same or less cost, and that the old building might have been renovated for far less money. No doubt the federal authorities will get around to inquiring into the financial arrangements. I have repeatedly suggested to editors and reporters that serious investigative reporters for the Star inquire into the details of the financial structure and the relationships of the parties involved before the authorities get around to it. Nothing criminal may have transpired: Jonathan's building might be just an ego trip, so let him


and his friends pay for it, thank you very much! However, if the police whistle is blown, the newspaper monopoly will not look as ridiculous as it does. Finally, a reporter did make an inquiry and a few details were revealed. The plan is to unload the renovated building and its high maintenance and lease expenses onto the public library entity, and then a campaign would be launched the save the library - the taxpayers would be asked to fund it. Today (July 13), the editors of The Kansas City Star, under the rubric, 'Library must pursue more ambitious path,' have referred to the fact that the library trustees have cut $500,000 for purchasing books and other materials. Hours may be cut back. And what should be done to save the library? "Library trustees should consider asking voters for additional funds." What free lunch? But of course! That was the plan of the "Indian givers" all along. Excuse me for using the stereotypical expression that whites projected onto Native Americans long ago. We all must know that ninety-nine percent of all the treaties were broken by the white man when he translated the treaties into English while writing them down later, just as the oral agreement for the new library's cafe was allegedly broken by Jonathan Kemper and the trustees because someone else wanted the real estate. What really needs to be done? Clean house. First of all, replace the establishment’s press lackeys with editors and reporters dedicated to reporting nothing but the truth and all the truth. Then the taxpayer-investor will be better informed. And this must be done soon, before Gustave Flaubert's God of the Grotesque, Yuk, seizes beloved Truth from Satan and (expletive deleted) her to death. (1)

(1)The scene where Yuk, in a monstrous accouplement, (expletive deleted) Truth to death can be found in Flaubert's juvenalia, a Faustian drama entitled Smahr, finished in 1839

IMPORTANT ADDENDUM: the new library is fabulous irrespective of the means and manner in which it was established.


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