Friday, June 24, 2011

Kansas City's Most Pressing Problems

Things that gotta get fixed to make our little Big Town a better place to live--not going to provide solutions here, but just list out some important issues:

1. We need to get our minds and hands around the crime problem. We have to do two things at once: Put community, police, intellectual and spiritual resources around the issue of murder, especially in the Black community and work on keeping small stuff, like burglary and theft, from becoming big stuff. We must protect all neighborhoods from the fear that crime generates.

2. We must improve education, and we must be open minded about how we go about improving education. If this means abandoning the known public ed model, blowing up the KCMO school district--whatever. It is obvious that our educational system is failing our kids, even given that the kids are coming in to school less prepared than in the past.

3. Live within a budget and face facts about pensions. Doing things the old way will not work indefinitely, and people will get hurt. Better to take a lump now, than a BIG lump later, where retirees will get nothing. We also must find true waste and cut it. Whether it is too many firefighters, or too many $90,000 city hall lackeys, the waste has got to go.

4. Stop giving so many tax breaks for development. Kansas City will lose most tax break fights. Concentrate instead on basic services. Stop the downtown hotel. If crime is out of control, no one will want to have a convention here anyway--that's a fact, jack. If there are any breaks from taxes, they should go to individuals and small businesses.

5. Study what fields and occupations are generating jobs and consider easing the way for new businesses in those areas to start up. Smooth the regulatory way--I hear KCMO is an awful place to start a small biz--this is a bad thing, and needs to stop.

I was thinking on this after looking at the newspaper stories in the papers I uncovered during a cleaning project I am in the middle of. I kept having this feeling of retro deja vu--we were there, we did that, we're doing it again.

Let's see if we can put something on the done list.


Anonymous said...

I admire the effort. Mostly agree.

But PLEASE differentiate the "KCMO school district" issue from the entire city of KCMO. Only one school district in KCMO - the KCMSD - is a disaster, the result of KCMSD voters electing the wrong people to their board. To try and drag the full power and citizenry of KCMO area into a local school district matter is not correct, and it distracts attention from the real issue.

All of many "with distinction" districts inside KCMO elect competent board members and hire and retain competent education professionals. That is the secret of their relative success compared to KCMSD.

We all hope the KCMSD has reversed course and now has the kind of enlightened board members and management willing to make the tough decisions to get their district back on track. That will probably take at least another 10 years. But this effort needs to be done by voters in that one school district.

Citezens in other school districts inside KCMO have made the tough decisions for decades to build and maintain their award winning districts. We all wish KCMSD well, but the district needs to manage its own business. Leave other districts out of it.

The Observer said...

You are absolutely correct there. As a south KC citizen (below 87th St), my area harbors 2 school districts entirely in KCMO, and 2 that center on suburban towns.

I am proud of Hickman Mills C-1 for biting bullets that need to be bitten but am fearful that the same sort of worthless hangers-on are starting to come to the district's "leadership" as KCMSD. As a citizen, we must watch this and hold these bozos accountable. This is the part where all citizens can be involved--light makes cockroaches run away.

Here's how come the school district is important: There is a house diagonal across the street from me for sale. I would love for someone I know to buy it--it's a peach of a house even if it is 60 years old. I worry about the school district tho, which is something people with kids has to consider, and something that in the future will have an influence on the house's value. And that is just a simple example.

thanks for commenting, and making me be clear.

The Observer

chuck said...

Great ideas that are spot on.

I expect not one to be implemented.


Bob G. said...

If I didn't know better, I'd think you were talking about my city (Fort Wayne, IN)...

Guess misery DOES love company...or rather we all have similar problems in whatever city we live in.
Either way...good points that DO need to be addressed.

Excellent post.

Stay safe out there.