Church's move to downtown Kingman wasn't a negotiation (Guest Column)

Regarding Bret Johnson's (pastor of the Kingman Central Church) letter to the Miner, he glibly refers to a negotiation between the church and the city for the use of the Central Commercial Building. ["Church ready to greet its new downtown Kingman neighbors," Feb. 18, Page 6]

Negotiation implies a meeting of the minds in which each party gets something it desires. Actually, the threat of a $3 million lawsuit if the church was not allowed to get its way was the deciding factor.

This is not negotiating. This is coercion. The city had already denied the limited use permit for the building and, I feel, for good reasons. Thus the threat by the church, ending with the city caving to its wishes.

I had read that the city had spent $500,000 renovating the building to attract retail and commercial occupants and that would be a better fit than a church at that location. Also it would provide a revenue source, through taxes and fees, which the church would not provide.

Why else would the city spend money on a privately owned building?

The city, I'm sure, had an understanding or agreement with the owner of the building, a Ms. Carol Ott, about what the building would be used for.

At least I hope there was an understanding and a contract. If not, we need new city management. Especially in light of some of its budget woes (embezzlement budget woes, money spent here).

Strangely, Ms. Ott sided with the church in the lawsuit, apparently anxious to rent the building regardless of the city's dilemma about revenue. Is she liable to repay the money spent on her building? She should be.

The title of Johnson's self-serving entry to the Miner is "Church Ready to Greet Its New Neighbors." But should the city be anxious to greet the church? The denial of the permit to the church was weighted by consideration of many factors, but the church didn't care about that. They wanted the property and resorted to their heavy-handed lawsuit threat.

Isn't "Christian" and "lawsuit" an oxymoron?

Finally, in Mr. Johnson's letter, there is a quote by a Mr. BoSena, where he states how thankful and grateful the church is for the use of Lee Williams High School where they have been allowed to hold their meetings.

Apparently their gratitude toward my city didn't affect their desire to get their way.

I wonder how this will affect our monthly "Chillin' on Beale Street" car event in downtown. Suppose there were a conflict between a church event and the car event. Should we expect the church to behave in the same fashion as it has on the building occupancy?