11 May 2000

That's The Brakes

By Jon A. Brake, Editor

After last Sunday's Manhattan Mercury Editorial Joe Knopp needs a good attorney. Oh, that's right, Joe is a good attorney.
The Mercury said that the Third Street redevelopment issue "doesn't need cheap shots from a public figure who ought to
know better."

Then the Mercury said: "Yet Joe Knopp, an attorney who represents some Third Street property owners opposed to the
redevelopment, is dispensing them (cheap shots) generously."

Sounds like the Mercury has not hired an attorney lately. If you or I made them they would be cheap shots but if they are
made by an attorney (any attorney) they are not cheap.

But look at the cheap shots the Mercury makes: "Mr. Knopp, a former state legislator, knows better than most citizens the
importance of trust in an elected body. He also knows the five citizens on the City Commission, though capable of making
mistakes, will do what they believe is best for this community. Commissioners may well become convinced that this project is
in the city's interest, but Mr. Knopp knows they won't sacrifice Third Street residents on some altar of special interests."

Hello, is this the Manhattan Mercury speaking? The Manhattan City Commission has been meeting behind closed doors for
the last four years. They talk about every subject under the sun and the Mercury goes along with it. "He knows the five
citizens on the City Commission will do what they believe is best for this community." Where has the Mercury been? This
Commission has had it's own agenda for the past year. They are not interested in what is best for the City of Manhattan.

Lets see if we can understand where Mr. Knopp is coming from:

1. He has represented Wal-Mart in its purchase of land on the East side of Tuttle Creek Blvd. They have purchased a large
tract of land from several owners. They did not ask the City of Manhattan to condemn the properties. They negotiated with
the owners and purchased the property when the "owners" thought the price was right.

2. Mr. Knopp represented the Wal-Mart Company when they went before the City Commission to put a Wal-Mart store on
the West side of Manhattan. The land had been zoned in the Mid-'80 for a Wal-Mart. The streets had been changed by the
City and State to get traffic into the location.

What should have been a short item on the Commission's Consent Agenda became a name-calling, knock down, and drag
out fight.

And what about the Commission? They were asking questions. "How tall will the tree be?" "You need to change the color of
the building so no one can see it." "Is this going to be another box development?"

And what about the Commission's questions about the Third Street Project? What Questions? The only questions asked by
the Commission was: "Is there anyone else who wants to speak against this project?"

And what about the questions being asked by the Fleet Footed Daily? What questions? They knew about this project months
before the Free Press broke the story. And then they waited unit four day's before the Commission meeting to tell about it.
And they have yet asked any questions.

For them to pick on Joe Knopp Sunday it must have been a slow day. They could have written about the new roundabouts
before someone gets killed but the roundabouts were approved by this Commission and we all know the Mercury will not go
against the City.