The RTD Board director apologized, mostly, for her birdbrained comments about Medal of Honor receipts and the board reversed their vote to approve the lease needed for a proposed location housing a museum honoring those brave heroes.
PeakNation will remember we criticized the board’s refusal last week to lease the gravel pit at Broadway and Colfax for the national museum site.
Denver was one of the final cities selected for the honor, and the final location decision is expected next month.
Board director Kate Williams and other members rejected the offer thinking the agency could get more money from leasing the property for scooter storage, food trucks or affordable housing.
And besides, Williams said at the time, preparing to jam her foot in her mouth:
I don’t know how many national Medal of Honor winners there are that they need a museum,” she said.
Williams now says her comments prompted a storm of criticism, even death threats, and blamed staff for failing to provide the board with adequate information before the vote.
According to Denverite, Williams’ apology was heartfelt. Here’s her full statement:
I will be voting in favor of the National Medal of Honor Museum being welcomed here to Denver, and I apologize if my words gave the impression that I was opposed to the museum. I am not a politician, even though this is an elected position. I am an advocate for older adults and people with disabilities, and I was asked to run for this seat to speak for them. I acknowledge that my constituents include many more who do not fall in those categories, and that I need to represent their interests as well.
The threats against my life and the unimaginably vile statements made to me on my phone over my previous vote on this issue have frightened me beyond words. I am not brave and honorable like the 3500 awardees who will be enshrined in the museum across the street from RTD’s property. I apologize to those veterans and all our active service people who I have offended, and I apologize to my constituents, both those who asked me to stand my ground on this vote, and those who asked me to reconsider. I am just one person doing my best to represent a very diverse constituency.
For this record, I still believe that there may be better uses for this property. But that doesn’t mean that this is not a good use. It is of note that a variety of business and civic interests have contacted me since I voted against selling our leasehold on a 20,000 sq. foot piece of land which is separated from the proposed museum site by 5 lanes of traffic on one of our busiest streets. None of these interests contacted me prior to last week’s vote to discuss the importance of this project or the relevance of the independent piece of land. The information that was presented to me by RTD staff, RTD’s General Manager, and the current Chair of the RTD Board, was minimal and casual. They neglected to give me complete and defensible reasons for the sale of a piece of land that IS NOT the museum site – but that does not excuse my poorly chosen words.
I sincerely hope that our city council, which has not yet approved the funding to make this purchase a reality, receives more complete information prior to being asked to vote on this same proposal. At this time, I’m losing my personal safety over what may be a moot point if the City and County of Denver does not approve the funding for this transaction. Again, I ask that you all accept my apology, and I thank you for your tolerance in permitting this statement.