To the editor:
“What kind of people live in our city?” A charismatic, well-dressed man asked this question as I sat at my desk in the weekly newspaper office where I had worked as editor in my first job out of journalism school. I don’t remember how I answered him. He bought the current edition of my newspaper and several back issues and hurried off.
Several years later, while working for a bigger newspaper in a different state, I was sent to a public relations seminar, where I finally learned what his question was all about.
A speaker explained that when planning expansion, business and industry leaders send advance personnel into communities to develop a profile of the people who will either be buying their product or, in the case of industry, will be working for them. We were told that progressive, positive-thinking people were more important to them than tax rates and land prices.
Negative writing that criticizes Independence city officials for the lack of progress in the Bass Pro development is understandable. But does criticism help solve the financial problem that is, and should be, a major concern for taxpaying citizens today? Or does it actually do just the opposite?
This should not be interpreted as a criticism of any letter writers or of your newspaper for carrying negative comments. There are at least two sides to most controversial questions and all sides should be heard. In most cases, however, for every negative letter there are many positive thinkers who don’t have time or feel the need to have their opinions appear in print.
The Examiner does an excellent job reporting on our city government. Channel 7 provides us with insight that helps us understand how our City Council works. There is no lack of transparency. I may not live to see it, but I believe the Bass Pro, and a whole lot of other shops, eventually will be producing the kind of revenue that will more than cover the costs of providing for them.
In the meantime, I have confidence that our City Council will handle the current shortfall in regard to the Bass Pro area development. If the current members can’t do it, I am confident we have citizens ready, willing and able to handle the challenge.