Letters from the week of July 2
Why is it that so-called city employees don’t want to do their jobs? If Mark One Electric Company is illegally getting contract work, why did it take so long to find out? Is the city administration so incompetent, or are they receiving something on the side? Either way, maybe it’s time for Gayle Holliday to get a new job outside of the city, since she doesn’t seem to know her current job requirements for monitoring minority contracts. Goodbye, Ms. Holliday! Hope you can find another job in this economy — maybe call up Mark One.
Kansas City, Missouri
I was, and still am, shocked to read an article about a former boss of mine. I was city clerk in Westwood, Kansas, for seven years. In fact, I prepared the 1992 proclamation recognizing Gay and Lesbian Pride Week mentioned in David Martin’s article. Bill Kostar didn’t seem to think twice about signing it, because it was the right thing to do. He did, however, worry about plans for the gay pride parade that would start in Kansas and end in Missouri. His concern wasn’t for himself or how it would look; it was for the safety of the citizens. Plans were carefully made to control traffic, protesters, etc. In fact, they were the same precautions taken when the presidential debate was held in Fairway. You see, Bill loved the city he led.
Now to the real reason I have decided to comment. I’ve been a city clerk since the early ’80s. I’ve worked for a lot of excellent city leaders. There have been none more ethical, dedicated and respected than Bill Kostar. I never saw or heard anything that was even remotely inappropriate from him. His pride, ethics and excellent leadership skills were envied. Over the years as a public official, I have shared his quotes and, yes, his ideas, to make my city better. I can only hope that he hasn’t been discouraged to the point that he no longer is serving the public. What a loss that would be.
In closing, I want to express my hope that Lake Lotawana is thriving and still the beautiful area I remember.
Whatever the squabbles are among the residents of Lake Lotawana and the city’s employees, it is unfortunate that they have spilled onto Bill Kostar. Bill was the mayor of Westwood, Kansas, for 20 of my 43 years in Westwood. Not only have I known him and voted for him, but I also served on the City Council and had the opportunity to see his administrative skills in action. Westwood does not have a city administrator, so that is essentially a function of the office of the mayor. When Bill resigned as our mayor, I became mayor of Westwood. At his departure, our city was on very solid ground. Bill is a fiscal conservative who insisted on well-reasoned budgeting. He gave much of himself to the job of mayor of Westwood. I notice that the former mayor of Lake Lotawana, Ed Stratemeier, thanked Bill for his work toward balancing that city’s budget and resolving issues with neighboring cities. “He moved the city from a posture of battling with its neighbors to one of cooperation.” That is the Bill Kostar I know.
Karen I. Johnson
David Martin: the Best in the Country
Last week, Pitch columnist David Martin headed up past Nova Scotia, Canada, to Prince Edward Island. His mission? To accept this year’s prestigious Golden Quill Award, bestowed by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors, which holds its yearly conference there. The award, which Martin picked up during a June 26 ceremony, recognizes opinion writing in non-daily journalism; according to ISWNE, more than 150 journalists from around the country typically enter the contest. Martin beat them all with his August 19, 2008, column about how Deutsche Bank was (and likely still is) the largest owner of foreclosed properties in Greater Kansas City. In “Deutsche Bags,” Martin exposed how a German institution worth $48 billion was letting the city rot.
That column, along with all of our other award-winning work, is archived online at pitch.com. And consider yourselves warned, d-bags of all other varieties: Martin’s back in town.
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