I was very pleased to see The Times cover the story of Robert Bell and his plans to construct a memorial monument in West Hollywood to honor those who have died of AIDS ("Memorial for AIDS Victims Stirs Dispute," Metro, June 17). But I find it ironic that West Hollywood's year-old Fine Arts Advisory Board is impeding a creative idea that its city council's already approved. Much like the quilt, the memorial is an excellent idea to evoke AIDS awareness, education and compassion.
It seems the board may resent the fact they didn't create the idea themselves. So now they want to turn Bell's original idea into a gala international competition. Which may not be a bad idea, as long as the competition is held for the right reasons. Not because the board's vice chairman, John Christofferson, is afraid they'll be " . . . upstaged by an AIDS memorial in Kalamazoo or somewhere else a year from now."
If the Fine Arts Advisory Board really wants to enhance the image of the Creative City, they should encourage people like Bell to become members. He seems to have a more perceptive grasp on art as passion, not politics.