There are probably three things that are the biggest problems with the murders on the East side. They're complex problems, with a lot of other moving parts, but if you fixed these three things, a lot of the problems would go away:
1) More police (which takes money from taxpayers)
2) Better Schools
3) More job opportunities or better public transit to the available job opportunities.
Scaring the hell out of people that KCMO is not safe -- causing people and businesses to not want to relocate here - is going to make at least 2, maybe 3, of these problems worse, not better.
It doesn't mean we should try to stop the problem -- but we should just run around waiving our hands that the sky is falling when it is all statistically very predictable.
1/06/2009 09:17:00 AM
Do You See Me? said...
This city was built on fear and continues to feed the suburban growth with the same fear mongering. We reap what we sow and now we don't know how to turn it around because it is out of control. The Eastside will turn around when we get the 3 things Brent identified. But those won't come until fear no longer works to the advantage of the white "haves." The city is exactly as we want it. Want something different? Do something different.
1/06/2009 11:04:00 AM
Better schools, more police amd more jobs aren't anything near new concepts.
They're meaningless statements, and bullshit platutudes that require no skill or critical thinking.
Now, ideas that will make these three, and other things, happen is another story.
1/06/2009 02:58:00 PM
This a running commentary on a story posted at Tony’s Kansas City about a blog post at Toellner Tells It concerning the record high murder rate on the Eastside of Kansas City – the poorest, mostly African-American and Latino part of the city. I used to live there. The original post on Toellner is of little interest to me, but the blog’s author, Bret made an amendment to his blog and posted it at TKC (above). I then commented on why things don’t change (Do You See Me?), followed by an acerbic retort from Mainstream (a frequent commenter on KC blogs). This is the kind of political conversation I am used to on a daily basis in Kansas City. I have searched in vain for such dialogue in the blogging community in South Jersey and Philadelphia.
Maybe people in the Philly part of the world are cynical or have given up. In contrast, the Midwest is often optimistic, often opinionated, and sometimes derogatory on its own condition. Kansas City is lamentably referred to as a “cow town” by its own people. Maybe the Philly area is so often the butt of jokes from outside the area that they don’t take themselves seriously? Consider how many “joisey” jokes you’ve ever heard. These two streams of thought – the political commentary about the urban condition and the activism of bloggers in KC and the lack of the same in Camden -- leads me to a couple of thoughts that will redirect my blog for awhile.
1. I learned a heck of a lot while I lived in KC and I continue to keep up with what’s going on there because it is an interesting political place for someone like me who really follows local issues and is dedicated to urban revitalization. So how I can I use what I learned there to affect improvement in Camden?
2. “Mainstream” has a point – we can make platitudes all day about revitalization, but what is the blueprint? I feel like I have worked on that my whole life and yet – what difference have I really made? What are the answers to “mainstream’s” questions and how can I make that a reality in Camden?
My best friend often says, play big or don’t play. I agree. I like to remind myself that if you aren’t in the game, you’re just taking up space on the planet. This is my game and I plan to play big.
In my next post I will have some preliminary thoughts on answering “mainstream’s” questions. I hope that the community of civic minded and thoughtful people in the Camden area will find this blog and begin a dialogue with me as well as bring me into whatever existing dialogues take place that I have yet to find.