The Tribune has printed a series of supposed news stories about opposition growing to the merger of the city's culture department with the visitors and convention bureau. This propaganda effort culminated with an editorial by Hank Waters on June 26, which told Columbia residents their city manager is meddling. Mr. Waters suggested this merger "should be politely removed from consideration."
In this writer's opinion, Mr. Waters is attempting to intimidate your new city manager because the good old boys like the good old special-interest ways. It seems curious that Mr. Matthes chose the culture department to pick on, perhaps because that department and its advisory board have done a pathetically poor job and wasted so much money.
Case in point — the tinted glass (art?) at the new parking garage at Fifth and Walnut. If you were to descend an unconditioned 10-story stairwell on the northwest corner, you would see expensive dirt-covered blue glass panels showing the various shades of blue sky on a solstice day, a sight that would not even make the pages of a most-boring science textbook.
This pathetic idea of art cost $140,000 plus a ton of interest to come. Let these artsy folks defend this if they can, but I speculate they don't have anything like it in their own window panes. They just want to experiment on the citizens at taxpayer expense. I call on the citizens of Columbia who have common sense to contact their councilperson. Tell them to stand behind Mr. Matthes and his excellent accountability/merger idea.
In recent days, I ventured to the second floor of the City Building to view three large paintings near the manager's office that are the latest 1 Percent for the Arts project. Needless to say, I was not impressed.
The worst painting was on the north wall. I asked a city employee what he thought. He said it looked like a dragon on a red field. I saw glaze runing down on the margin. Perhaps this was meant to represent the heat of Dante's Inferno. However, faint lettering spelled out "digital landscape."
I'm at a loss to fathom what this has to do with Columbia. The color used in all three works are scarlet red, white and black. I believe the use of red, white and blue would have been appropriate.
Look for yourselves. Could the arts committee have done better? You decide if your tax dollars are well spent. .
Roger Gadbois is a retired tradesman who is concerned about civic affairs. He is a Boone County resident.