Just in from Paul Carr, who with wife Libby Carr is heading up the group that is picking up the stalled proposal to build a plaza for the recast Alki Statue of Liberty. His unedited e-mail responding to recent comments, questions, and criticisms, as well as some questions of his own, and the latest on their committee’s efforts, all after the click:
My wife and I have read many of the comments directed to this effort; some have been supportive, some have been critical, and a few have been personally offensive. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not surprising. Whenever someone takes a position that asks people to put themselves out in front for a cause, there will be those take an opposing view, and there will be those who use the occasion as an excuse to vent their own petty fears and angers. We have seen both lately.
We thought of developing an itemized list, and answering questions one after another, but (1) thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tedious for everyone, and (2) it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make a bit of difference to the close-minded.
But for the record: We are not Ã¢â‚¬Å“new-comersÃ¢â‚¬Â to the area; Paul has lived with Libby at Alki almost five years. Libby, with the exception of the first five years of our marriage, has lived in Seattle since 1972. We have put a fair amount of time, and some money, into this effort. We have received no money or other gain for or from it. At some point, there may be a part-time paid administrator, but if there is, it will have to come from a separate, privately-funded, administrative grant for that purpose. We intend that all donations to the project through this committee go to direct costs to complete the project, exclusive of personal remuneration. We seriously doubt some of the people complaining about us have held themselves to this high a standard on other projects.
We have never promoted a Ã¢â‚¬Å“fancy-schmancy solutionÃ¢â‚¬Â; we are promoting the solution that a great majority of people, who took their time to respond as invited by the Parks Department, the Northwest Program for the Arts and the Alki Community Council, and who gave input and ideas over a two-year period working with the design team, approved. That collaboration resulted in this new plaza design. Unfortunately, we know those decisions wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make any difference to some people. They probably didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like the plan then, and they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like it nowÃ¢â‚¬â€this is just another chance for them to whine about Ã¢â‚¬Å“their statueÃ¢â‚¬Â, implying somehow that only they have a right to Ã¢â‚¬Å“ownÃ¢â‚¬Â it, whether it be the old statue or the new one. Silly usÃ¢â‚¬â€we think it is everybodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s symbol.
But for the rest of you, and thank you all for your kind words and personal e-mails, we are still right on track with what we have intended. If we havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been Ã¢â‚¬Å“bloggingÃ¢â‚¬Â much, quite frankly, it is because we have to make a living while we organize this effort, and answering every criticism is pretty far down on our list. As an FYI, we are independent business people; Paul is in real estate and Libby collaborates with her clients about retirement strategies. During certain times of the year, they have another endeavor, which you can read about at www.yulestory.com.
In the meantime, we are working on getting www.sealady.org up and running. The website was nearly ready, then seriously delayed when our IT person turned out to have far less time for this project than had been anticipated. We have regrouped, and are now being told by those now in charge of the project that it will be up in a week. We are certainly hoping.
In the interim, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you wish the 2nd edition of our newsletter, which will be out in a few days. It will put you up to date on Seattle Statue of Liberty CommitteeÃ¢â‚¬â€Phase II activities. Also, please feel free to e-mail us if you wish to be a part of that committee.
Everything else, however, has been good. We have donors and people interested in joining the committee still calling every day. Our affiliation with the new 501(c)(3) organization is close to completion, and we will then be accepting money for additional brick donations. Our organization is preparing plans for other fundraising activities.
Best of all, we are getting a lot of interest in our proposal at the Alki Community Council meeting in July to bring back the new statue to The Bathhouse. We have always understood that most people want Ã¢â‚¬Å“their statueÃ¢â‚¬Â back where they can see it as soon as possible. This proposal, we feel, is a great temporary solution. We know there is an effort to put the new statue on the old pedestal, but we suspect some of the people promoting that option havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really thought that through. In the first place, it is NOT what the community said it wanted. Second, it is false economy. In fact, it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t economy at allÃ¢â‚¬â€itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wasteful. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never heard any of the proponents for this solution volunteer to help raise money for this option; they just expect the City to pay for it (and those are our funds too). One person at City Parks Department has stated often to people, both in meetings and personally, that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the City can do something niceÃ¢â‚¬Â, or words to that effect. But the only time she was asked directly (at the Alki Community Council meeting in July) if she could speak for the City, or actually make any commitments, she stated she couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do thatÃ¢â‚¬â€she hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the authority.
Then there is the bricks problem. What could the City possibly do with the previously sold bricks that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t involve tearing up the present asphalt base and remodeling the area to accommodate those bricks? Can the old base even survive that work? The current asphalt is so buckled it will clearly need replacing. WonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the City have to go back and get a new Shoreline Management Act Approval (or at least a Waiver) to do that? And all of that could take more time, not less time, than the design the community agreed uponÃ¢â‚¬â€a design which already has Shoreline approval.
Next to last, where is Parks going to get the money? They are behind on projects now. Whose project, in what part of the City, would have to be robbed so we can have Ã¢â‚¬Å“ourÃ¢â‚¬Â statue back? And last, what about all the people who still want to buy a brick, or to buy another brick? The community plan has room for several thousand bricks; I seriously doubt the City is going to consent to being in the brick-selling business at all. So there goes another opportunity for people to participate in what should be a shining beacon of city statuary, and a symbol of liberty to us all.
It is silly to continue bickering when we can have it both ways. Bring our new statue to The Bathhouse so we can have her close, but build her a base and plaza worthy of her dignity and pride. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not Ã¢â‚¬Å“fancy-schmancyÃ¢â‚¬Â and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not too muchÃ¢â‚¬â€it is the least we should do.
Paul & Libby Carr, Co-Chairs, Seattle Statue of Liberty CommitteeÃ¢â‚¬â€Phase II