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Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for all 11 First Ladies in my lifetime, no matter their party affiliation.
Laura Bush’s planned visit to Roanoke (“Taubman bringing in Laura Bush,” Sept. 17 news story) represents a major factor in what is wrong with Roanoke.
It once again reenforces the stereotype of the Republican Party representing the rich, both local and nationally.
The Taubman Museum of Art is a white elephant memorial to Roanoke’s wealthy, who wanted a home for their art, thinking the world would come to see it.
God only knows and as has been proven, we do not have enough Republicans in the Roanoke Valley to support such a grandiose museum. Its operation will likely become a burden on the backs of the poor, struggling working class taxpayers for all the money City Council will continue to pour into it and all the other nonprofits that simply cannot make it on their own.
I can’t help but be amused at the cost to attend, $135, and $50 for a few young professionals. Define “young” and “professional.” Where is the break for “old seniors,” the young, hard-working, intelligent everyday John and Jane Doe, as if they could afford a half-price ticket to begin with.
I just hosted a guest for 10 days from the D.C. area, where admittance to some of the greatest museums in the world is free. Everywhere we went here the average price to get in was about $8. Many residents in this city who would like to see many of the attractions Roanoke offers simply cannot afford to do so.
Take for example Mill Mountain Zoo. A financially troubled tax drain that should have closed years, if not decades, ago.
So the powers that be don’t see and understand this, and with the millions spent on the Center in the Square, how does anyone thinks a butterfly exhibit will survive?
The city spent millions on the restoration of the Market Building and is not yet finished, with millions more to be spent in that area. Yet two people cannot walk side by side, nor a wheelchair get through the obstacle course around the market area due to outdoor dining, and the city accepts and condones this.
Millions are being spent for a new amphitheater in Elmwood Park when many an entertainment venue in the city never sells out because people simply cannot afford it. Only time will tell if this becomes another Taubman.
Roanoke needs to adopt the recruiting slogan from the Army, “Be all you can be.” Take what we have, maintain and keep it up, make it spit polish shine and sparkle and give the people a “wow” factor that would cost a fraction, as opposed to spending millions on projects that the bulk of the Valley’s population simply cannot afford.
I’m sure Bush will enjoy her visit and, from the elitist perspective that she will see it from, be in awe of our great city. She will not know and understand she is helping to support an elitist life style that the bulk of city residents will never see or enjoy. I’m not referring just to the Taubman, but all the museums, venues and entertainment potential that exist in Roanoke that only the affluent are able to afford.
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