Thursday, May 11, 2017
TKC MUST READ!!! QUESTION: WILL EVEN MORE TAXPAYER CASH SAVE THE EAST SIDE OR CREATE YET ANOTHER CORRUPT KANSAS CITY SLUSH FUND DISASTER?!?!
The sordid topic of taxpayer subsidy and the turbulent racial history of Kansas City is up for discussion once again thanks to a brilliant article that deserves consideration by any adult who seeks to understand some of the politics of development and this town.
Citylab - Can Kansas City Come Together? Voters from around the city just approved a citizen-led tax initiative that will funnel funds only to the long-neglected east side. But Kansas City’s racial fractures may be hard to heal.
The only minor quibble with the article is that it didn't name the Central City Economic Development Initiative which voters approved.
Here's more description:
The proposal would (will) impose an 1/8 cent sales tax on city residents for 10 years, collecting more than $8 million a year to be spent within the district boundaries on projects and initiatives large and small. Most neighborhoods in the city voted in favor of the tax, regardless of geography, demographics, or whether the improvements would directly affect them. Leaders here hope the broad approval of the east side improvements is a sign—a critical acknowledgement that the urban core has been ignored for too long, and a rudimentary step towards healing one of the most racially fractured cities in America.
And here's where the premise of the screed is promising but flimsy . . . Have Kansas City voters had a racial awakening that now holds hope for unity and focus on the problems of the East Side in order to overcome historic oppression??? Or did a bunch of special interests cram into polling places in a low turnout election that earned curious results given that it was raining and just about every polling place in the city was a virtual ghost town that didn't seem to match up with results??? Real talk . . . Let's not forget that this town has a history with stuffing ballot boxes that isn't as distant as people would like to imagine. TKC won't go the Alex Jones route and we can live with the results of this vote . . . But it's also important to know that RIGGING ELECTIONS IS PART OF KANSAS CITY'S CULTURE.
But I digress . . .
Here's the point and a moment of doubt . . .
$8 million a year will be no match for the deep systemic problems on the city’s east side; development there “confronts too much poverty, too much unemployment, and too much need to have any measurable impact.” Kansas City has many neighborhoods that offer affordable housing, development opportunities, and far less crime and entrenched poverty than the Prospect corridor.
The question of where to spend the revenue will be addressed in the coming weeks, as the city convenes a five-person commission made up of city, county, and school board appointees.
And that's where this thing falls apart like so many other best-laid plans of mice and men.
Let's not forget that $100 MILLION since 1990 hasn't saved 18th & Vine which still can't draw a crowd this size of the recent Westside/Crossroads Cinco De Mayo festivities that mostly included corny urban mariachis and unlicensed burrito trucks as entertainment.
On a more serious note, the article does mention the Citadel Plaza toxic waste dump whilst attempting to uphold the company line about an East Side police station qualifying as development.
Fact is, for the good of all Kansas City let's hope this isn't just another effort to throw money down a bottomless pit . . .
In the final analysis, any consideration of social justice, economic or development on Kansas City's east side is incomplete without discussion of violence and crime.
LIKE IT OR NOT, EVERY EAST SIDE DEVELOPMENT WILL FALTER UNLESS SECURITY AND SAFETY FOR PATRONS IS ADDRESSED FIRST AND FOREMOST!!!
TRANSLATION: AS LONG AS PROSPECT AND SO MUCH OF THE EAST SIDE REMAIN KILLING FIELDS . . . TAXPAYER INVESTMENT IS ALL BUT WASTED!!!
There's always an attempt to turn this truism into a chicken and the egg argument. A flimsy thesis suggests that people need jobs, healthcare, a pizza party or a hug before they stop shooting one another. Nothing could be further from the truth given that the overwhelming majority of East Side residents get no such special consideration but still remain in danger from the same kind of violence that social justice warriors would attempt to justify as an expression of civic unrest.
And so we offer this note and open question not because we want to see yet more Kansas City money wasted but as a warning that any plan that doesn't put public safety FIRST is most likely doomed to FAIL.
You decide . . .