CRAIG GLAZER OFFERS KANSAS CITY INSIGHT ON THE ECONOMIC BORDER WAR RAGING BETWEEN MISSOURI AND KANSAS!!!
TKC NOTE: Tonight Kansas City media impresario Craig Glazer offers his insight on an economic battle that's raging between Missouri and Kansas right now. We asked Mr. Glazer to write this piece because he has a unique insight on business success on both sides of the State Line.Check it:
CRAIG GLAZER DISCUSSES THE ECONOMIC BORDER WAR BETWEEN MISSOURI AND KANSAS
‘I’m going to Kansas City, Kansas City, here I come…’
I’ve had businesses in both Kansas City Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas over the last two and a half decades. Stanford and Sons was opened in Westport in 1975. We left Kansas City, Missouri and Westport in 2003. I’m often asked why Kansas City, Missouri has fallen so far behind their sister city across the state line.
The first best answer I can give is poor leadership on the Missouri side. Kansas City, Missouri was a happening city up through the 1960’s. A few decades earlier it was considered a ‘wide open’ city. What really stopped it’s growth was the takeover in local government by ‘the evil do-gooders’. Sometime in the ‘70’s and into the 1980’s the politically correct ‘wanna-be’s’ took charge of what was once a business friendly community.
Most of the new political leaders in the city council all the way up to the mayor’s office wanted to make the city safer, cleaner, and open to everyone no matter your race, creed or color. The statistics prove none of that worked. The murder rate has never decreased much over the last two decades. What was once a city that was worried about organized crime now has to worry about daily drive by shootings, robberies, rapes and car-jackings.
Former Mayor Emmanuel Cleaver talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. At one time I had a close relationship with Cleaver. Together, we presented a movie I produced in 1990 called ‘Champions Forever’ as a two-part special on local television. The then Mayor felt his emphasis should be on spending a lot of money to fix up blighted areas in predominately black neighborhoods. Our school systems not only fell off the map but became unaccredited not long after his mayoral tenure. Cleaver never really led the way to solve racial unrest and violence in the mid-town and especially the Westport/Plaza area.
I would have to say that, although he was a charismatic leader and a great speaker; he didn’t move the chains forward at all. Furthermore, the mayors that followed him (Kay Barnes and Mark Funkhouser, respectively) were even worse.
One thing these mayors had in common was no business background, no marketing skills, and, with the exception of Cleaver, no national presence. To make matters worse, the hundreds of millions that were spent under these regimes have been nearly a total disaster. 18th and Vine is a joke and yet it cost a quarter billion dollars in renovations. River quay and the river market have never worked and pretending you’ve redone our downtown to the tune of over 1 billion dollars spent is a sad joke. With the exception of the Crossroads Art District, nobody has moved downtown since the Power and Light District and Sprint Center were completed. It has no retail stores, no Quik Trips, no new gas stations and one new grocery store. I don’t call that ‘major city improvements’.
The two billion dollars wasted should have been spent pumping up areas that do work such as the Country Club Plaza, Westport (which has made dramatic improvements since moving the young hip-hop/rap crowds out of the area), and Waldo/Brookside. Here’s why: This is where the money is. Fix what can be fixed. Clean up your downtown, but don’t try and renovate it with an insufficient amount of money in an area which has been overly crime ridden and mostly abandoned for decades. Doing that takes MANY billions of dollars. If you disagree, look at Chicago’s downtown and look into what they spent to renovate it.
If you had elected someone with a strong business and marketing background, a new arena might have been built near the plaza which would have not only raised more revenue, but perhaps brought a professional hockey and/or basketball franchise to the city which would have further increased earnings. KC, MO is more worried about liquor cards, turning down new business licensing and DUI checkpoints than building another nice area like the plaza. To find that, you have to go to North Kansas City.
On the Kansas side, it has had progressive leadership from people like former Mayor Carol Marinovich and former Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Under Marinovich’s watch KCK was able to get the NASCAR track, Village West and the Legends which now is home to Livestrong Stadium, the finest outdoor stadium in the Midwest. Even though Legends and Village West has their own financial troubles, that may be resolved now that new ownership is in place led by RED, Legacy and Dan Lowe. Their retail and entertainment are moving back up led by the new Hollywood Casino and the addition of new trendier retail outlets like UnderArmour, Nike and Adidas to name a few. The school system in Johnson County is one of the best in the nation top to bottom.
Give credit to Johnson County Law Enforcement, though some including myself consider them overly rigid, violent crime is extremely low.
In summation, if you don’t think the Kansas side is better, check it out when it snows. The major streets on the Kansas side are cleared almost immediately, on the Missouri side good luck! It’s a tale of two cities, the Kansas side is moving on up and the Missouri side has been moving on down for way too long.
Both sides suffer from poor national marketing. You need to have a national ‘face’; we do not have that at all. Sorry, other than the Chiefs, Royals and barbecue, we are known for nothing. The city has no identity. No one that doesn’t live here has any idea what Kansas City looks like or is even about. It might help if leadership knew more about running a business, marketing and promotion.
During our ten plus years on the Kansas side, we have been treated much better by City and State government; they have mostly just left us alone. KC, MO needs to follow some of the more business friendly programs that their sister city has enacted. They would be better off.
‘…they got some crazy little women there and I’m gonna get me one