Friday, August 11, 2006

Breeding suspicion

There seems to be no better way to breed suspicion than to announce loudly that you've got a great plan and then to say to a particularly interested group, "But I can't tell you about it."

An American Legion official claims that's exactly what the Veterans Administration and the city are doing regarding potential city involvement in developing part of the green space on the VA grounds. These are hallowed grounds for vets. They have a huge interest in what happens there.

David Kurtz of the American Legion says that city officials have repeatedly maintained that the VA directed them not to discuss the matter with veterans organizations. A VA official denied it, but a city official avoided the question when asked directly.

There is no reason to disbelieve Kurtz, although who came up with the bright idea to shut out the veterans is unclear. What is clear is how damaging that decision has been. The city essentially has been left in a position of saying: "Have we got a deal for you -- just trust us." Vets, many of whom spent a large part of their lives being lied to by various units of government, have no reason to do so. They are left instead to wonder what there is about the plans that no one wants to talk about.

The city's plans may be the finest in the world -- who knows? But the VA and the city, by refusing to communicate with a key constituency, have made the task of winning support for this project -- no matter how great it turns out to be -- that much harder.

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