Good News! Cops have been seen making arrests in the Compassion Zone, the downtown Civic Center area designated by civic leaders as the proper place to be compassionate or tolerant towards houseless people, vagrants, ex-convicts, wanted criminals, and other individuals unwanted in nice neighborhoods. Of course weapons and drugs have been seized. It is great to see the unmarked and marked police cars and the paddy wagons around the neighborhood.
Not that the residents of the Compassion Zone want to see their neighborhood locked down by a police state. It's just that the cops have been too compassionate lately. They have the huge Greater Metropolitan Kansas City area to cover as well; their resources are insufficient, they are spread too thin. Five million more dollars right away would help.
But City Manager Wayne Cauthen just chopped a million bucks from the police department in the budget he presented to the City Council. He and Mayor Kaye Barnes have been busy raising untold millions of dollars for their pet developments. Of course those projects include, besides a half-billion dollars or more of tax-incentive handouts to favored big private developers, funds for fixing up the infrastructure all over town. Many millions were already available for that purpose but were unused, so the City Manager is hiring private consultants to cut the red tape for him because he lost his scissors in Denver.
Of course the most important part of any city's infrastructure, as we can see from the Iraq debacle, is security. We need a well-funded and effective police department that will serve to protect everyone equally. Incidentally, until the recent revolt in Iraq, the one or two people killed daily there reminded us of the KCTV 5 local crime news - local homicides however seem to be rising with the death toll in Iraq; why is that?
Anyway, Mayor Barnes recently insulted residents of the Compassion Zone, which among other needed things serves as a compassionate concourse between revolving doors of jails and prisons, when she implied the residents were imagining things in their neighborhood, like the knifings, shootings, door push-ins, and so on, things that make even those who really do not like cops very glad to see them around.
The "civic leaders" just do not get it: police security should come first. But the civic leaders and their press putas always put police protection at the bottom of their shopping list, or just above the grocery store, two things the people have clamored for to no avail because the first thing on the civic leaders' shopping list as composed by their press putas is the development of their friend's real estate into expensive condominiums and lofts. Expensive entertainment facilities and stores are at the top of the list too. Then the cops will have something worth protecting besides Vice President Cheney when he shows up at the Marriott.
Of course Compassion Zone residents have their own list. Police protection is at the top of it. Next is a new mayor and a new city manager. After that is a large grocery store and clothing store. Somewhere on that list is legislation to stop the legal graft or land-banking that the power elite uses to curb competition - otherwise the residents would already have the stores and neighborhoods they want downtown.
Of course the power elite, including the vested interests who like to get something for nothing, namely unearned income, would rather upgrade the city, run prices up and run residents of the Compassion Zone off. Many of them have already moved anyway, sick and tired of what is really going on in downtown Kansas City.
April 29, 2004, Kansas City, Missouri
Note: Some of the wishes of downtown residents have come true .