Smoot’s recollection of $25,000 request for fireworks display ‘faulty’

Hallelujah — I’ve made the big time. James Smoot’s latest innuendo has elevated me to a status equal to that of the members of Lindbergh school board. I’m in good company at last.

James Smoot, president of the Green Park Chamber of Commerce, wrote a letter to the editor of the Call, which was published in the Dec. 20 issue. The innuendo I bring to your attention is Smoot’s suggestion that I solicited $25,000 from the Green Park business community via the Green Park Chamber of Commerce.

Smoot’s recollection is faulty.

To wit: The plan for the Villages at Gravois Creek ended the Busch family’s July Fourth fireworks display on the property adjacent to Grant’s Farm. I wrote to then-Green Park Mayor Steve Armstrong suggesting that he encourage the Busch family to move their display to Clydesdale Park and that the city host a companion community festival in the park. This annual event would showcase the city, bring commerce and create a sense of community — i.e. Webster, Kirkwood, et al.

Mayor Armstrong summarily rejected the idea.

My alderman suggested that I contact Smoot at the Chamber of Commerce. In my letter of Dec. 29, 2005, to Smoot, I stated in closing, “I am bringing the suggestion to you and request that you and your organization give serious consideration to sponsoring and developing such an event. The positive ramifications for the Green Park community are tremendous.”

No mention of money was made therein. Smoot responded by telephone. He, too, summarily rejected the idea of sponsoring a festival. He said his organization didn’t have the manpower or finances to manage a holiday festival. Why then would I solicit $25,000 from an organization that has no money? My idea was to have the Busch family sponsor — fund — the fireworks. Other expenses would be paid by vendor fees and profit sharing of gross receipts.

Smoot’s letter, though inaccurate concerning our conversation, did provide some tantalizing food for thought: There are hundreds of businesses in the city of Green Park, thus the potential for hundreds of Chamber of Commerce members. Why then does the Green Park Chamber of commerce lack finances and manpower?

Why are the chamber’s community activities limited to holiday fruit baskets and pretentious monetary awards to relatives and/or cohorts of Green Park’s elected officials?

Michael K. Broughton

Green Park