Question Google deal
The monopolistic giveaway to Google is unprecedented. No other utility has been allowed to place prior restrictions on whom they will or will not serve.
People move in and out on regular basis. If Google has to have a guarantee, then the product must be questionable. Maybe we should take a pass.
The homeowner should have that service option without exception. Fiber Internet is inevitable.
If Google will not provide full-service options, just wait a bit and some other company will.
Kill KC streetcar
Anyone who thinks public transportation on rails is going to magically transform economic development along Main Street is either dreaming or clueless.
Those few riders who need to travel between downtown and Crown Center are already well-served by the ATA’s Max buses, which run nearly empty most of the day.
The contention that streetcars will boost downtown’s “coolness factor” is imaginary. If public transportation improved economic development, it would have happened years ago. It hasn’t, and it won’t because a two-mile streetcar line is useless in a big city.
Streetcars likely would make things worse. The law of unintended consequences would dilute the ATA’s already inadequate revenues by siphoning away riders, cause businesses along the streetcar route to move elsewhere and waste the $100 million construction cost that could otherwise be used for sewers, roads, bridges or schools.
Kansas City is already up to its ears in debt. It spends millions of dollars annually subsidizing the ATA, the 18th and Vine District and the Power & Light District. The last thing we need right now is more debt.
Face reality and kill the streetcar project.
I live in Kansas now, but for most of my life I lived in Missouri, and I remember when the state began regular reassessment of real estate (9-3, A4, Assessors call for change”).
I was living in a fairly new house, and I actually got a slight reduction in taxes because of older houses having to pay higher taxes after the reassessment.
Some of my older co-workers who had owned their houses for many years complained bitterly about their higher taxes. When the selling prices of homes were steadily climbing, the assessor’s office had ample resources to regularly increase the appraisals of all houses because this meant steadily increasing taxes.
As the old saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Now, surprise, surprise, with home prices falling (or, at least, having fallen), the counties in Missouri just can’t seem to manage reassessment, which would result in lower taxes.
Reassessment seems to work only in one direction — up.
Vernon C. Hales
Improving urban core
At best, the money spent on the urban core will slow its decline. At worst, it will make progress/change slower to happen (9-4, A1, “Plan aims to reverse urban core’s decline”).
The biggest reasons for decline of any area are a lack of jobs and a lack of good schools, which in turn makes for a lack of people identifying with and caring about a neighborhood.
The city needs to let these neighborhoods die. Once dead, the city should buy up the land and offer it to any company that will create jobs, partner with the local school system to make it the best in the region and allow people to care about these areas.
The land does not always need to be residential. It can be a mixed use of office/manufacturing, but it has to create jobs and hope.
Pouring more money into residential uses feels good but will only make us poorer.
Ed J. Hennessy
Political sharing needed
I used to be a conservative Republican, ala Ronald Reagan, who actually functioned as a moderate. Recall how he and House Speaker Tip O’Neill negotiated fiercely over issues but afterward would go play golf together.
Both understood the benefit of not getting everything on his agenda, but each gets something worthwhile when willing to give and take for the greater good. Now both parties have gone so wacky they can’t even speak courteously about the other.
Republicans are the worst. And they label Republican moderates like me as not having firm convictions or definite opinions.
I voted for Claire McCaskill every time I could while a Missouri resident. She has been out front on many situations, like the poor treatment of servicemen in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the “lost” billions of dollars on Iraq contracts. She fights earmarks on Senate bills.
McCaskill also helped the girl from Trenton, Mo., stay in America and the veteran find and adopt his Army dog. Fantastic.
Contrast her work to that of Sen. Pat, Who? And Jerry “Still Doing Nothing” Moran, the most invisible characters in Washington, D.C.
How I wish I could vote for McCaskill again.
Think before voting
I’m just “Akin” to know how any Missourian with a “legitimate” brain would even consider voting Republican this year, unless he/she “has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Mars jobs project
Before I jump on the bandwagon of saying what a misdirecting of money the Mars explorer project is, I’d like to know how much of that $2.5 billion was spent on employing U.S. citizens. I’m guessing that a large amount of that went to the employment of American designers, engineers, component manufacturing companies, parts manufacturers, assembly personnel and support teams.
All of the people I saw in the control room looked like happy, gainfully employed Americans. Isn’t providing jobs a good use of government spending?
I’m betting that project provided a huge number of American jobs. After all, that was a specialty item and not built with mass-produced parts.
For-profit college value
I am concerned that Sen. Tom Harkin’s assault on schools like the University of Phoenix will undermine the positive contributions made by successful institutions. For-profit schools fill a void in the educational system.
There are a lot of students like me who wish to pursue advanced degrees but cannot afford to give up full-time jobs, seniority or tenure to do so. Schools like the University of Phoenix offer non-traditional students a level of flexibility, quality instruction and excellent student services not found at community colleges or public universities.
I would not have earned two degrees if it were not for the University of Phoenix.
The other accusation that needs to be addressed is the idea that it is the school’s fault when a student does not succeed.
In a brick-and-mortar school, there are people with you in the classroom. In the online environment, the success of the student is totally up to the student.
The studies take more dedication and determination. My instructors were available to me for advice and to answer questions at any time day or night.
The idea that the university does not invest in its students is without merit.
GOP’s ‘Invisible Man’
Ralph Ellison wrote one of the great American novels about race and identity with the “Invisible Man” in 1952. Ellison has his black male narrator open the novel with the following observation:
“I am an invisible man. … I am invisible, understand, because people simply refuse to see me. … When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imaginations — indeed, everything and anything except me.”
What a painfully prophetic description of Clint Eastwood and his empty chair representing President Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention last week.
KC losses top wins
What is this win-loss mentality in Kansas City? When is it a win to spend large amounts of sales tax dollars in a union-graft city?
Is throwing money at an age-old problem such as the Kansas City Public Schools a win?
Your precious public park sidewalks and improvements will be the most expensive square yards of concrete dollars known to any union man.
Many of the suburbs are built without sidewalks or just a very few sidewalks..
The sidewalks are also much smaller in square yards.
Future repairs, if any, are near nothing. Contrast that with Kansas City property owners’ expense.
Do not forget you live in a high-tax city. Kansas City outspends a lot of cities its size.
Kansas City still lacks many basic new improvements. Kansas City has many more city government employees than other cities its size such as Oklahoma City.
It’s a sad “win” for the people.