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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chamber of Commerce Urban Core Initiative

I am thrilled by the announcement that the Chamber of Commerce will engage in an urban core neighborhood initiative, with leadership by Terry Dunn of JE Dunn Construction and Brent Stewart of the United Way.  I'm not sure what they have in mind, but I'm eager to learn more.  I'm sure lots of neighborhoods will be lining up to work with them. Or maybe not.  Business people can get tired of endless meetings that only seem to lead to further meetings.  Jesus could speak admiringly about the ability of business people to get things done.  Read Luke, Chapter 16:1-8.  We've got lots of resources to work with.  Just think about the 63rd Street and Meyer Blvd. corridor.  It is almost wall-to-wall schools from Wornall to 71 Highway:  Southwest, Border Star, St. Peter's, University Academy, Banneker Charter, Hogan Prep High and Middle, the new Kauffman Charter, Nazarene Seminary, Brookside Charter.  And there are commercial anchors - or potential ones - from one end to another: Brookside Shopping Center, The Landing, The Citadel, Research Medical Center.  UMKC and Rockhurst are just a few blocks away.  I would think that Highwoods would be eager to redevelop the areas east of Brookside to protect their investment. Just think what we could make of this - all of those kids coming into this corridor every day, all of those teachers and administrators, doctors, nurses and patients.  With the right know-how, and economic and political ability, we could make a huge difference in the lives of the students.  Could we break through the school against school competition and work together for the kids, mornings and evenings, weekends and summers?  With all these kids already here, why would they need to flock to the Plaza if there were something constructive to keep them here?  Could the Chamber get done with others haven't been able to do?  To turn The Landing into a transportation hub and destination for residents from both sides of Troost?  Get the Citadel going with a decent supermarket?  It would be difficult, surely.  But not as difficult as raising the dead.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another shooting today

Another shooting today.  This time people in two cars were shooting at each.  Kids from the school were outside for PE.  None of the kids was hurt, but one from the car was wounded.   But this is the fourth shooting close to St. Therese in four years, the second this summer.  Neighbors are abandoning the neighborhood, almost 30% between 1980 -1990, more than 20% between 1990 - 2000, less than 20% between 2000 - 2010.  Is it getting better or does it just mean those who have the ability have already gone?  Families with kids are leaving fast.  Older folks are the ones left.  They're committed because they own their homes.  Today I felt like telling everybody to get out.  Maybe we all ought to move to Leawood or Blue Springs.  Chester set me straight - we can't give up hope.  Sometimes the pastor needs pastoring.  I'm glad Mayor Sly James has reconstituted a commission to reduce violent crimes. God bless them but I'm not going to hold my breath.  If this was happening  on the Plaza it would get fixed fast.  Where people have economic power, City Council acts like greased lightning.  When people are poor or live in red-lined communities - official or not - their school kids have to brave the bullets from assault rifles firing from cars  driving by the playground.  I'm not saying there are fast and easy fixes.  Again, nobody will talk.  The rogue who got shot won't say who shot him.  What does any of this have to do with having a "well regulated militia"?  I say, let people have assault weapons, or even a tanks, but where's the well regulated part in what's happening on our streets?  If these guys want to play with guns, let them join the national guard.