TKC Note: Thanks to our blog community, we have the most COMPREHENSIVE ROUNDUP of the sitch going on @ 18th & Vine right now . . . Checkit:


Patrick Tuohey - Show-Me Institute

In late December, The Kansas City Star reported that “boosters of Kansas City’s 18th and Vine Jazz District are putting the finishing touches on a wish list of improvements for the City Council to consider in January.” That was for $7 million. Twelve days later the Star reported that number had increased to $18 million. As if to punctuate the absurdity of the proposal, the Star quoted U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver as saying, “18th and Vine is the third most recognized street in the U.S., after Broadway in New York and Hollywood Boulevard.”

This marks just the latest effort to throw millions of taxpayer dollars for a product that so far no one wants. Cleaver’s original effort to build something at 18th and Vine corresponded to the release of Robert Altman’s 1996 movie, “Kansas City.” The movie was a flop, and subsequent efforts to return life to the so-called district have produced similarly dismal results. As KCUR pointed out in 2011, the effort to return the area to its Pendergastian heyday has lasted longer than the heyday itself.

This is a clear example of government pushing something that the people do not want. Even former City Councilman Ed Ford, who once infamously told us that Kansas City was going to get a new airport whether they liked it or not, recognized that no one supports the District. “The marketplace has not embraced 18th and Vine,” he told KCUR before saying that the city is committed to its success. “Committed to success” likely means that city leaders will continue pouring money into a complete and utter failure. The Council voted Thursday to direct the City Manager to find a way to give the District $18 million more.

In two pieces for CityLab, a publication of The Atlantic, Brandon Reynolds argues that government will never succeed at propping up jazz, and he points to the success of Memphis’ Beale Street as an example. The man who made Beale Street a success, John Elkington, argued that only private investment will work. A 1998 Los Angeles Times piece compared Elkington’s reliance on private investment to Cleaver’s desire for public dollars:

"Some black leaders point to Kansas City’s revival of its jazz district as a preferable alternative to Elkington’s Beale project—a community renovation project overseen by a black mayor and tied to public funding that guarantees a role for black businesses and opportunity for neighborhood residents. In fact, Elkington and Kansas City Mayor Cleaver have toured each others’ projects—and both men argue that theirs is the only way to restore blighted black business sectors."

Twenty years later and we have a clear and irrefutable conclusion: Cleaver was wrong. Beale Street is a success and 18th and Vine is a failure. While some may want to point to past mismanagement or (incredibly) insufficient funding for 18th and Vine, the point is that jazz is not as big a thing today in Kansas City as we want to believe. Kansas City didn’t make it into the top 10 markets for the PBS documentary “Jazz” by Kens Burns (yet we were the top market for the women’s soccer World Cup). We’re just not that into it. Kansas City isn’t alone; jazz pianist and blogger Bill Anschell wrote that, “People who want to play jazz actually outnumber those who enjoy or even tolerate it, let alone pay to hear it.” The plan in Kansas City is to force people to pay for it.

The jazz heyday was a product of seedy bars, corrupt politics, segregation, and prohibition.musician and band leader David Basse said,

“You can’t start a string of bars and have them owned by the city or corporations and make them fun. You can’t do that. You’ll open one little corner dirty place and you sweep the floor and you start selling booze.”

Despite the best intentions, it’s unlikely that the same city government that banned smoking in bars and restaurants, raised the age to buy tobacco products, and regularly closes down bars and restaurants for small violations is going to be able to fund a resurgence in speakeasy-era entertainment. We have 20 years of failure behind us to make that point.


  1. Better title: Sound of Kansas City waste.

  2. Same old story with 18th & Vine.

    They keep on throwing money down the drain but expect different results. The City Manager is going to "manage" the new loan but doesn't let the public or the businesses know how.

    Talk about a recipe for failure.

  3. You have to make is secure before more visitors feel safe to visit. This should have been the new priority for funding.

  4. A lightning bolt will flash from the sky and strike the mangy Polar Bear dead in the head when he says this, but TKC is dead on with this dribble.

    Once again the "Black Reverend crowd" tries to bilk the taxpayers out of millions for a area that was/is/will continue to be blighted. The Model T is a relic of the past, much like 18th & Vine. Let Wiber Harrison sing about it, but we don't need to be paying the "Black Reverend crowd" any more taxpayer dollars. Those gluttons at the trough have seen their day come and go.

    Car Wash Cleaver, aka "the Reverend" has established himself, nationally, as one of the biggest black con men that has ever walked the halls of Congress. What a total waste of oxygen. Speaking of shit bombs. Cleaver is a walking shit bomb. Hopefully he will detonate sooner than later !

  5. So now we have an obligation to go around digging up dead black businesses with tax payer money and make sure they have no chance of failure? Exactly what is the lesson we all learn from that? Panderig to blacks will get you votes even if it really does not benefit anyone?

  6. Northlanders want sidewalks.... sorry, the city says, there's just no money. Northeast wants house ruins removed....sorry, the city says, there's just no money. Suddenly, there's 18 million dollars.

  7. Jebuz Tony. Sunday Special?

    More like Tony and his misery must have company. I'm not about 18th and Vine any more than the next guy, but how long has your blog been anything other than "my life sucks and I can chum up 2 dozen hits from those who share my dire outlook on life?"

    Damn man, get away from the computer and play outside. You are becoming the form of the unintended consequence of the internet.

  8. This project is the centerpiece for our former mayor's friends to be paid again. They have already been paid many many times. Troy has given no accountability for these Special political projects of our former mayor which yield no results for City taxpayers. The only visible improvement has been a gigantic 18th and Vine sign installed on top of an empty building on the corner. Stop these political con games on the East side and actually do something for the residents on East side...most of whom do not support this waste of money. The friends of our former mayor who stand to financially benefit from this deal are not even residents of KCMO. VOTE No on the E tax!! Recall Sly James!!! Clean out the entire TROY City Hall/EDC Corrupt Crime machine which is squandering taxpayer.

  9. I see that most people are realists concerning the nigger undertow, but some of you still may think that niggers are something more than barbaric animals. This is where I would differ from some: I believe negros are wild animals and should be treated as such.

    Sometime in the past, these animals were given equal standing with whites under the law; this was our first mistake. The second was the FORCED integration of niggers into human society.

    Here are a couple of quotes from Abraham Lincoln:

    “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the White and Black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with White people...” - Abraham Lincoln (Fourth Debate with Stephen Douglas at Charleston, Illinois on September 18, 1858, Vol. III, pp. 145-146 of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln).

    "I can conceive of no greater calamity than the assimilation of the Negro into our social and political life as our equal. . . We can never attain the ideal union our fathers dreamed, with millions of an alien, inferior race among us, whose assimilation is neither possible nor desirable." -- Abraham Lincoln

    Here is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

    "I have not been able to think out any solution to the terrible problem offered by the presence of the Negro on this continent. He is here and can neither be killed nor driven away." -- Theodore Roosevelt.

    At least some of our former presidents saw the nigger undertow in their days as well and surely saw that niggers could not be counted as citizens.

    As a white race, we are reaping what our ancestors have sown. If they knew niggers could not assimilate, then why did they allow it to happen? Maybe money, power, and politics were a big factor. The leftist media led politicians and others in the 1960s to assume that the only difference between the races were in skin color. This was an error which caused the Civil Rights Laws to be written giving Negroes more than they deserve.

    Niggers assume that all men are created equal which equates to them thinking there should be equal outcomes with whites. They will never succeed because of the IQ deficit. They will be perpetually angry because they will never achieve white achievement. They best we could do for them is relocate them in their native habitat and let Mother Nature take over as it was meant to do all along. Sadly niggers need more time to evolve into the modern world; but because they are animals, they should be placed apart from us. We should treat them as we would wild Chimpanzees.

  10. ^^^^^^^^^ damn......and ya'll call me

  11. Well the Nazis called jazz "Nigger - Jew music" and boy were they right.

  12. Dude's right, Polar Bear. 100% spot on correct.

    Not racist either. Shit's all fact.

    Can't argue with facts.

  13. It's quite interesting that Cleaver promotes 18th & Vine after it's been all but destroyed. The only existing building in that district is The Call and The Gem Theater. It is a black hole just like his Car Wash, Green Impact Zone, Chamber Big 5, etc., etc. He's a good liar, though. Excellent! Superb!

  14. 17, 18 million, big deal. It's not like we will ever pay it back.

  15. the only way to restore blighted black business sectors is by moving the blacks out

  16. Good lord, this blog sux ass.

  17. Good lord, this blog sux ass.

  18. 4:42, you do realize all 500 square miles of Kansas City, MO would become a shithole if the e-tax fails to pass right? No city could possibly withstand the loss of $200+ million out of the budget and maintain decent services.

  19. The success of Memphis Tennessee is the police are allowed to run over black folk with police cars.

  20. Cleaver: "18th and Vine is the third most recognized street in the U.S." If I remember right, the location the song made famous is 12th Street and Vine. And besides, 18th and Vine is an intersection of two streets, not "a street." Other than that, Cleaver is as on top of things as usual.

  21. The only thing lamer than Beale street is the rest of Memphis. It makes KC look like fucking San Francisco.

  22. Shit, Janet Jackson and Stevie Wonder passed on performing at the district. Prefer the white ghetto of the P&L district.

  23. 6:50 wants the waste and fraud to continue. City services suck now, tighten your belt city hall and live within your means. I do.

  24. 4:42 PM Knows what's going on. All of the Cleaver friends had CDC's that were sued and/or failed. The biggest failure was HEDFC and those hacks continue to get snouts up to the troth for feeding. Infusing 18 million into 18th Vine will actually infuse these old, busted seniors that refuse to take a permanent seat. Eating their young and using White people to spin their story. 4:42 has some insider knowledge or has sat on the sidelines watching. Either way, he's spot on.

  25. This is the inevitable anti-White malignancy that occurs in multiracial democracies with a large black and/or brown population.

    I'm working over 50 hours and driving over 230 miles a week to honestly earn my living and I'm being financially bled to support a sub-Saharan african sluts and punks culture and illegal mestizos.

    As a bonus, I'm eligible to be racially discriminated against for jobs, promotions, college admission etc. because I'm of the racial group that built the greatest nation in history.

    I don't have a problem with my tax money helping create a springy and prickly safety net that protects people from terrible economic luck and helps them get back on track and I like helping to finance the education of future engineers, auto mechanics, electricians etc.

    What's not acceptable is financially bleeding me to support Fri'chickenisha Sanders excreting more future TV addicted sluts and more pea brained punks.

    Whites in rest of the country had better learn what Whites in the Deep South understand.

    When you support more socialism you're not going to get Norway. You're going to get Birmingham, Jackson, and Detroit. You're getting the Black Death.

  26. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Word

  27. 8:24 don't forget the thieves like Byron.

  28. Looks like your chum for hate is fully complete Tony.

    Take a bow for the biggest pile of crap.

  29. It's not the Jazz District. It's the black district that wants the Money !

  30. Not one more penny to the jazz district. Let the place stand or fall on its own merit. Beale street never completely died like 18th and Vine. You can't resurrected something from the dead, particularly something that relies on black people to keep it alive. And don't emulate Memphis, it's a total shit hole.

  31. Is it the official position of the Rethuglican Party that they don't want people on disability to vote for them?

    You know, in case any of them were stupid enough to consider this.

  32. Great article, though. TKC, that was a copy-paste, right?

    And by the way, once every few months the Gem Theater halfway fills up with black people, and some promoter makes a thousand bucks. Beyond that, there's the Blue Room - run by blacks for the benefit of blacks....not JAZZ.
    Some lame blues bar across the street....
    That's about it.
    Aside from this, it's no place a white person in their right mind wants to be after dark.

  33. GOOD HEAVENS!!!!!!!!!

    Who is the truthful genius who contributed this post?

    I didn't quite understand, is this Botello's work or an anonymous contributor?

    Either way, this is simply OUTSTANDING reporting!!

    Thanks for this excellent article.

  34. Fuck You Stinkhouser, you taxpayers nightmare.

  35. Byron. People that deserve disability should get more. Thats what Republicans want. People that don't deserve disability (you and wife) get nothing. Thats what taxpayers want! You are the slime on the bottom of a septic tank.

  36. This City Counsel is clearly broken in its structure. The City has a long history of corruption and poor spending decisions and it is being hijacked by special interests on this issue.
    You will never create a vibrant 18th and Vine District due to the fact that there is a general impression that it is just simply not safe to go there. Local spending will never support this district.

  37. The City had better look out. The earning tax vote is coming up and the 18th and Vine $18 million adventure makes one wonder how much waste there is in the City budgets.
    Lets hope logic finally takes over and the City will not fund this project.
    Where is Sly James and his leadership?

  38. Sly James and leadership???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  39. Tony, has anybody who said, "Nobody goes there" actually been there? Or are they really saying, "I and none of my white friends go there because there might be black people, and we'd piss our pants at the sight of them. But thank you Tony for your free speech blog where we can pretend to be tough."

    You and your "Everything about Kansas City is bad, bad, bad" screeds have lost credibility a long time ago.

    And it doesn't help that you are down to using an over-privileged, neo-con tool like Patrick Tuohey to make your case for you. Hell, he's so damned dumb not even Jeff Roe will hire him.

  40. 5:24 for the win AND the Nobel prize!!! Oh how true, are the quotes from Roosevelt and LINCOLN!!

  41. Wait a second. We're supposed to think that
    $18 million for the jig center is ok but the Union Station expansion only gets slated for $7 million. What the fuck is wrong with this picture??

  42. The key element to this 18th and Vine crap is perhaps the part everyone seems to be missing. The musicians didn't make KC home. It was always a stopping off place for those seeking bigger and better somewhere else. In the end there was the guy who had to shut off the lights.

  43. Forest Tyson1/12/16, 8:37 AM

    Where was all this outrage when 17 million , supported by a 1 million per year in maintainance was diverted to the Swope Soccer fields when it had already been promised to residents in the form of upgrades to storm and water issues?

    Safe, well that's another issue, safe from what, or more appropriately from whom? You keep it safe just like you supposedly do at the Plaza or Power and Light with police presence, and then that's not a deterrent anymore because there are far too many idiots with access to guns who scare folks away from large gatherings.

    I would rather have my tax dollars go toward this effort than a 300 million dollar plus hotel just to accommodate the March Madness influx of visitors.

    Waste is such an objective term! Question, where would any of you spend the money, east of Troost? Just a thought!

    Suggestions of how to make it work would be a far more better use for our energy, but that's just me!

    1. Forest Tyson1/12/16, 8:43 AM

      In addition, since we are talking about waste, what about the Street Car, "Street Car, we don't need no freaking Street Car". We drive around in these parts, what we need downtown is affordable parking, multi-level parking structures in place of the many surface lots downtown.

  44. The $$$$ always goes in someone's pocket. People that are on city council, but have an interest in a company that will develop this or that. Typical Killa City politics.

    Fed up JACO tax payer.


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