After reading the comments to the last post, I want to say something and that something is that this blogger does not hate all things Kansas City! I love the fact that there are some world class amenities here, and some things that our city does very well. I like our sports teams, our Plaza, our boulevards. I like what comes here because of what we have here.
As one of the comments alluded to, it is a balancing act between insuring that essentials are taken care of and investing in things that look forward. Anything that looks forward is by its nature risky, since we can't tell the future. As anyone who has run a small business, or been close to a small business, knows you must look forward, as well as maintaining the quality of the work you do now. If you don't, you run the risk of falling behind.
I do think that if we underestimate the risk we are at right now, we could end up in a bad spot. Maybe not East St. Louis bad, or Detroit bad, but still in a place we don't wish to be as a city.
I have long felt that a prolonged diet of bad news, as provided by the "if it bleeds, it leads" media, is bad for one's personal outlook. The news programming feeds fear. I have long maintained that the decay of the Bannister Mall area was accelerated by the news coverage given to each and every incident. This was compounded by the mall's poor PR efforts. The enclosed mall might have eventually died anyway, as many have in the metro, but from the more natural causes of changes in consumers' habits. The death would have been slower; thus easier to prepare for and less damaging to the self esteem and unity of the community. When the movie theater opened at Red Bridge not long ago, I remarked to a friend that I hoped that folks from Johnson County would come over to enjoy the art films and smaller venue offered by the cinema. My friend didn't think JoCo people would come over. This startled me, and when I said something, my friend said they were scared to come over.
Part of our quandary is trying to figure out our identity. There was a period in the 1970s and early 1980s--paradoxically when eastern cities were really struggling--where it looked like Kansas City would become more then just a pleasant medium large city. Along the way, sometime in the late 1980s or 1990s, something changed. I am not sure what is was, but something changed in this city, and in the economic conditions surrounding it. Kansas City stopped looking so go-go. I think those go-go times are past--and that is not a slam on the city. We are what we are. We are not New York, Chicago, or LA. Some of the things we've done may have been too big for our britches. We need to learn from that, and settle on our identity, and glory in that.
What is happening on the East Side of town does impact all the city. People don't take in the fact that that is just a small part of the city, and lump the whole town in to the East Side. It requires our attention. Furthermore, the trust issue with City Hall needs to be resolved. City Hall needs to prove that it really is good with the money. The grifters need to be stuffed, sent away empty handed.
So no, I don't have a grim view of the city's future. I have a cautious view of the city's future. I have an investment of time and treasure here. I have investments in the people here. I want to see success, not failure. I just think we need to be careful, and not reckless in the risks we take.
(A little choppy, but written in reaction to other stuff. )
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