Thursday, August 2, 2012

Final thoughts and a follow up to the Korean Bell of Friendship situation.

I took the bull by the horns and made contact with two different officials at
the Los Angeles Republic of Korea Consulate office. Using the English phone
menu, I reached out and spoke with a gentleman about this matter, who gave
me the direct phone number to another gentleman, who spoke excellent English and discussed this issue with me for about ten to fifteen minutes it seemed.

It turns out that the consulate is aware of the state of the monument. It was
reiterated that it was a gift from their people to ours, and that maintenance
was now being done by the Parks and Recreation Department of Los Angeles.
He brought up a repair that the Korean government had to make to the bell
because the city cried poverty. Neither of us knew the exact terminology, but
there was a problem with what the bell hangs from, and it required the Korean
government spending around $100 grand to fix, because we couldn’t pay for it. He said that they were concerned about the bell(by the way it weighs 17 tons) and so they fixed that problem.

I suggested that perhaps a call from them to a higher up at Parks and Recreation might result in the cleanup being started right away and that I would
get is hours spent on hold and playing phone tag. He assured me that he felt
that Parks and Recreation would get this bell cleaned up prior to the ceremony-
I was right that some of their people might be there, and possibly city officials as well.

He also told me that he has visited the site and noticed the same thing that I did, the bird droppings everywhere. I told him that the officials might better be
careful where they placed their feet, we both chuckled at that, and he thanked
me for calling, and I thanked him for listening.

This closes the issue for me. I have nothing further to do. The right people
evidently know about this, and the folks who gave it to us have even had to pay for repairs, because we were too broke to pay for it. I doubt that the media
would be interested, and if they were and published this story, the Parks and
Recreation folks would just pull out a work order and say that what’s the big deal, we are going to get on it next week lol.

I am not giving out the names of the men that I talked to because I couldn’t spell or remember their names which were in Korean. I wouldn’t give them out
anyway, just out of concern for their positions and privacy. I do not know the
internal office politics of their consulate and would not wish them any harm for
helping me.

I have yet to hear back from the emails, and if I do, it will probably be a form letter advising me of what I now already know, that the monument is our baby, and we own it.
07272012kfbell 038

Let me finally say that the local politics on the other hand, involving our bureaucracy is something that I am interested in, and if I could, I would try to shake them up a little- one thing the man mentioned was that a council person they dealt with, who evidently was the one crying poverty as to the reason why the city could not fix the bell, is now a member of the House of Representatives
in Washington, DC. This next is my take on that- and this said person no doubt is crying poverty there as well, after all, leopards don’t change their spots!

There you have it, folks. End of story.

Unless one of you has ideas as to how we could get the bureaucrats to move on this a little faster. In fact, I am not satisfied knowing that this beautiful place
might be cleaned up just in time for an important ceremony involving the patrons who gave it to us, I feel that we should take ownership of this jewel
that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and toward its’ original homeland, and return it
to and keep it in the pristine condition it was in, when given.

That would bring honor to the giver and to the ones who received the gift.

Bill McDonald aka Morongobill

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