On Thanksgiving its appropriate to remember all those in the Kansas City metropolitan area who keep life interesting.
By YAEL T. ABOUHALKAH
The Kansas City Star
Simply put, they give us something to talk about and debate.
• The University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty, students and executives who unfortunately spoke out against renaming their school the University of Kansas City (or Kansas City University).
This idea was and remains a great way to brand the university with local donors and with prospective students.
Alas, Chancellor Leo Morton and others listened to too many who are tied to the tired brand of being linked to the University of Missouri as one of its satellite campuses. It was an opportunity lost.
• The Overland Park City Council, which has embarrassed itself with flip-flops on where to allow gun-toting citizens to stroll.
The disagreement has given gun-rights advocates more opportunities to trot out their nonsense that having more armed people is going to fight crime in Overland Park. Meanwhile, opponents duly wonder why it would make sense for a city with such a safe reputation to encourage people to strap on heat as they visit, say, their local ice cream shop.
At some point the council will make a final decision, then probably get sued. Ah, the American way.
• Kansas City Council member Cindy Circo, who along with others on the council think its fine to divert millions in tax revenue from schools, libraries and other taxing jurisdictions to help build a youth soccer complex in Swope Park.
I believe taxpayer dollars going to a public-private partnership project thats almost a totally public use is a good plan, said Circo.
Her comment illustrates the fact that City Hall too often brazenly thinks money from other entities that also serve the public such as the Raytown School District and the Mid-Continent Public Library system in this case should be used by the city for its own economic development purposes.
Unless a compromise comes along to well serve the schools and other taxing jurisdictions, they should continue fighting this project.
• Kansas City developers who requested excessive taxpayer incentives to redevelop the iconic Power & Light building.
The gap in funding reportedly was up to $9 million. Some naysayers will complain that City Halls failure to subsidize more downtown apartments shows it cant do anything right.
But look at the issue this way: The owner of the building wanted upward of $14 million for it. Why? It didnt appear to be worth that much, especially if it required multimillion-dollar subsidies to redevelop. So the seller could have brought the price down by millions of dollars, thereby making the project more feasible.
Instead, the seller and the buyer unsuccessfully tried to pressure taxpayers into backing the deal.
• Missourians who killed the latest cigarette tax increase, thus burnishing the states unwanted reputation as a haven for smokers.
While other states are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a year through cigarette taxes that average $1.49 a pack meaning more funds for public education, smoking cessation efforts and other basic services Missouri will be stuck with its lowest-in-the-nation tax of 17 cents a pack.
That means state taxpayers also will be stuck with subsidizing higher health care costs for smokers. It was a step backward for a state that needs to move forward on health care and other matters.
• Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, who have had lots of practice expressing their disappointment at the lousy product on the field.
Fans are wearing bags over their heads at Chiefs games. They are complaining about how much tickets and parking cost. And now they are moaning about all the public funds used to renovate the Truman Sports Complex.
But lets be realistic: If the Royals or Chiefs or both start winning again, these fans will be back, paying for the tickets and parking, and extolling the beauty of the stadiums.
So a final thanks today to this citys fickle, but almost ever-optimistic, sports fans.
To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or email email@example.com. He blogs at voices.kansascity.com. Twitter: @YaelTAbouhalkah