A Public Solution to Public Outrage

Representative John Kavanagh The Arizona Republic simply does not know how to accept the public’s view of the world.

For instance, about 15 people, almost all reporters, showed up at the 9-11 Memorial in Wesley Bolin Plaza yesterday to listen to LD8 Republican Representative John Kavanagh announce his bill to resolve the controversy over the slogans engraved into the steel ring of the memorial.  The slogan panels will be removed and replaced with a time line of events.  Other informational pieces will be installed at the site to tell of other parts of the day.  This bill has such huge support that more than 80 of the 90 members of the Legislature signed-on as sponsors.

The Republic reports, “But the proposal aired Wednesday is drawing complaints. Some feel it usurps the public process that a citizen commission followed in creating, and then amending, the memorial just east of the state Capitol.”

Yeah, the complaints issue might be correct, if a reporter’s questions could be viewed as “complaints.”  But, when did questions asked by reporters during a press conference become “public complaints?”

Or, maybe the reporter could be referring to Billy Shields, the ex-union executive and fireman who chaired the committee that created the repulsive slogans to begin with.

Yeah, he complained to her about a “public process” being bypassed.  He ignores the fact that the change being supported by the Legislature was also arrived at in public meetings with opportunity for public comments.  It was then drafted into a bill and signed by most of the Republicans and Democrats elected by the public to make such decisions.  In fact, there will be more public hearings before the bill becomes law.

Or, maybe she is referring to the artist, turned state representative, Steve Farley.

He wouldn’t sign Kavanagh’s bill because it interfered with artistic license. “The last thing we want is for Arizona to have a reputation where artists don’t want to do work because politicians are looking over their shoulder, telling them what to do.”  Wasn’t it a  government appointed commission that decided what would be included in the art?  Why wasn’t that a problem for Farley?

Let’s see, the art is going to belong to the state and be displayed on state property.  Seems it would be of public interest that the art is acceptable to most of the people of the state.  This idea that selection is censorship ignores the basic fact that even artists are censors of their work when they decide what to create and art galleries and art museums make censorship decisions every day in what they will display.  The state should do the same. No, this is also a matter of sponsorship by the taxpayers of Arizona.

The commission that created this monstrosity knows the public didn’t get involved in the original process because the public never imagined the idea that a 9-11 memorial would be tarnished by slogans praising or memorializing the enemy.

Only the Arizona Republic would want to make a controversy out of a bi-partisan plan to fix an on-going controversial problem of mean-spirited slogans on a monument that Kavanagh described as “embarrassing to Arizona” and so far in disrepute with the public that many citizens of the state simply won’t visit it.  Kavanagh said, “9-11 belongs to all of us.”

Kavanagh’s plan is a good resolution to an ugly problem.


  1. In their hearts, the AZ Republic reporters agree with the anti-American rantings of Billy Sheilds and Steve Farley.

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