As usual your highly regarded [publisher] was very "insightful" in his Aug. 30 "Turning 'We' and 'They' into 'Us.'" To clarify several points, however:
* I do not oppose "orchestrated development." My actual quote was "Market Square is a place for creative entrepreneurship rather than an orchestrated business plan." In context the reference was to an imposed-from-the-outside business plan. Perhaps I could have been clearer. The whole purpose of the Historic Market Square Association is to "orchestrate" redevelopment and then sustain it.
* Members of HMSA have reached for the baton. Anyone who attended the HMSA-sponsored presentation by Robert Gibbs on "Retail Trends" at the Radisson Hotel on Aug. 23 could not have avoided the conclusion that the entire downtown is positioned to take advantage of a nationwide new urbanist redevelopment movement. Although we have retained Gibbs as a consultant for the redevelopment of Market Square, the potential for serendipitous spillover for the rest of downtown is very high.
* Outsiders look for factions among the property owners on the Square. While it is true that each owner's situation is different, more unites us than divides us. After almost four years of being whipsawed by KCDC, WWI, RK, Elkington, more KCDC, etc., our expenses and losses are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of us want a 90-day postponement in the adoption of the redevelopment plan to obtain the Gibbs report and, hopefully, cancel the RFP process; some of us think that the RFP process is inevitable and want to get on with it so it will end sooner (February 2002), thinking that a Market Square proposal would ultimately be selected. In my personal opinion, this process will be very costly for all parties, especially the property owners; the process should be avoided and the city should expedite redevelopment and work directly with us and our consultant, Robert Gibbs.
Historic Market Square Association
Thanks for publishing the excellent article on the Highlander Center, now as always a beacon for progressive causes not only for the South but the whole country. I was a little puzzled, however, by the blurb on the front of the paper, describing Highlanders as "unapologetic radicals."
What do left-liberal radicals have to apologize for? The minimum wage? Women's and African Americans' right to vote? The forty-hour week? Health care for the aged and the poor? Desegregation? Emancipation, perhaps?
It seems to me that progressive radicalism has brought this country much of what makes it livable today. If that weren't the case, then why would the conservative media need to spin so hard to convince us otherwise?
Joe Tarr's [Aug. 23] story on the Highlander Center, "Challenging Power," brought back memories of how the local press was eager to paint inflammatory pictures of the activities there because of the race mixing in the early 1960s. Once, after a wee-hours raid by the Knoxville Police Department, one of the daily papers described how the black and white guests were "partially clad." Should they have been fully dressed in bed?
At another time, when the building caught fire where the Center was housed on Clinch Avenue, an assistant fire chief of the Knoxville Fire Department was quoted in a daily paper about all the Communist literature he found there. He cited Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto.
At the time I wondered what the poor man would do if he saw that kind of stuff at the Lawson McGhee Library.
Robert J. Booker