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Richard Crowson Commentary

Crowson: Westar Needs A Cute Little Mascot

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Hey! Remember Reddy Kilowatt? Loved that guy! What a stroke of genius it was for electrical monopolies to adopt a cute little cartoon figure mascot.

But as I’ve been following a local controversy involving Westar, I’ve been mindful of a glaring omission in their public relations. They don’t have a cute little cartoon mascot of their own.

And, boy, does Westar need an image-softening cute little cartoon mascot right now.

They have impaled blue-collar, mostly African-American neighborhoods in Wichita with gargantuan steel electrical poles right in their front yards. The values of those modest homes have been zapped down to practically nothing by those utility poles. These are homes that represent decades of sacrificial investment on the part of residents who are not exactly country club members. Westar says they’re trying to make amends with a fund for homeowners who have the monstrous poles in their yards. As if all the rest of the homes are unaffected.

So, wise up, Westar. Cushion the blow with a happy little grinning cartoon mascot. I’m willing to help you out. How about “Westie the Polecat?” Think “Pepe Le Pew” with a lightbulb nose! After all, polecats have the ability to ruin their immediate vicinity just like your poles are doing. And look at the symbolism! A black character with a white streak dissecting its back – just like a pole dissecting home values in black neighborhoods!

I’m sure Westie the Polecat will make it easier when giant utility poles are placed in the yards of Tallgrass and College Hill residents. Surely, Westar, you also plan to do it in higher income neighborhoods as well?