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I need to clarify something important concerning the "OccupyKC not going away" column. At the time I spoke with Bruce Rodgers I was not aware of the vandalism-related events of earlier that day in Oakland.
When I blamed "poor police strategy," I was referring to the original confrontation in Oakland of days earlier, not the vandalism by a few protesters. Even Occupy Oakland has disavowed the vandals there, and I would expect that would be the general feelinig among people involved in the Occupation across the country.
Appeal for donations/action
Give Kansans a voice
Recently my neighbors and I ended up fighting for our property and way of life as Overland Park swooped in with a land grab of 8.4 square miles. An overwhelming majority of affected homeowners opposed the annexation, and were astonished to find we had no right to vote.
Kansas’ laws allowing for annexation without representation are wrong and must change. State lawmakers have drafted House Bill 2029 to correct outdated statutes. This bill would require a vote by landowners on involuntary annexation proposals. It would also require landowner approval for annexation of agricultural land of 21 acres or more. The Kansas House reviewed HB 2029 the week of February 16.
Please contact your state lawmakers and ask them to support HB 2029. To find contact information, learn more about our fight, and see how you can get more involved in this important issue go to www.noannexation.org.
God does not discriminate
The God I know welcomes all. I have often been asked, “How can you, as an ordained pastor, be in support of gay marriage?”
My response: “First of all, if I oppose gay marriage, it is discrimination. And the God I know does not discriminate against anyone. Secondly, when I sign a marriage license, I act as an agent for the state. And thus, I cannot discriminate against anyone. For who am I to deny anyone their legal rights?”
In other words, once marriage was taken out of the church, it became more than a holy commitment or covenant. It became a legally binding declaration, called a marriage license, which allows a married couple, for example, the right to purchase a home together, the right to be insured together, the right to share annuity and pension benefits, and the right to visit each other in the hospital. These are legal rights. This is not something that the church provides; it is something the state requires.
I believe the failure to discuss these two unique roles performed by clergy has led to the passage of Proposition 8. I hope and pray that God’s will be done in the future, so that all who seek the church’s approval may also gain California’s approval. Then the wedding bells can ring loud and true.
Blessings and peace.
—Rev. James “Buck” Firth, M.A.,
(Rev. Firth’s comments originally appeared in the Camp magazine, Kansas City’s voice for LBGT and Allied Communities)
What happens to the TIF when these "new" retail places move in? Well, the proponents will sing about the "new" revenue. But what is continually happening is that businesses that are now doing a good business will see a slight downturn in retail sales when the NEW place opens, and then move to the new venue because they need to compete.
The problem is that the City of Kansas City does not figure the difference between the old taxes that were being paid in the old location and the new taxes that were being paid by a business that moves to a new TIF'ed area. Since the TIF is on new taxes, there is a diversion from the general tax base to the new TIF requirements and voila we have a problem getting the money needed to pay city bills.
TIF could be strengthened if a business had to "prove" that it was new. But the developers will never let that happen.
It was a well-written and researched article. However, I found the overall tone to be negative and you have some misleading information regarding the Wizards and MLS that I would like to point out.
Below, you will find the Wizards attendance history. If you will notice that their attendance showed consistent improvement up until 2004. The reason for that is that Lamar Hunt put the team up for sale after the 2004 season. He cut the staff and budget for the team practically down to nothing and as you can see, the attendance took a nosedive.
OnGoal took the team over after the 2006 season and has been slowly increasing the fan base. But, as your article mentions they are limited by their temporary venue. If the Wizards were once able to average 14, 15 thousand people, they will be able to not only reach that number but exceed it with the proper care and marketing that the team once received from Hunt Sports Group.
Now, you also state that the MLS is receiving resistance to expansion. That is far from the truth. The MLS is adding Seattle next season, which has over 14,000 season ticket holders. They are also adding two more franchises for the 2011 season and have six ownership groups that have submitted bids to receive franchises: St. Louis, Atlanta, Miami, Vancouver, Ottawa and Portland. There are also a handful of other ownership groups that are prepared to submit bids in future expansion.
You also quote what was a laughable article written by Pat Hickey who stated, "Looking for growth? It’s nonexistent. The average attendance is lower than it was in the league’s 1996 inaugural season."
That statement is not only misleading but also not true. The league is growing rapidly and attendance has increased every single season up until the last season. The only reason for the decrease is that both Kansas City and San Jose are playing in temporary venues, which hold around 10K fans. Anyone who states the above has not followed the growth of MLS. If there were no growth in MLS, you would not see people such as Arthur Blank, Albert Pujols, Steve Nash, Drew Carey and other celebrities either having ownership or seeking ownership in the league.
You also state that cable viewership is down for the league. With the rise of DVR and online viewing, cable ratings are completely inaccurate. They’re about as useful as a car without tires. The MLS allows you to view all televised games on their website. Many MLS fans choose to watch the games in this manner. Also, with DVR many people choose to watch the games at a later time, which aren’t accounted for in the current ratings system.
Even when you take away the Wizards stadium, this is a solid project for a much needed area. You mention in your article that retail is in the dumps and office vacancies are high. Of course they are, we are in a recession. But, this is 2008. This project isn’t being built for 2008, it isn’t being built 2009, it isn’t really even being built for 2010. his project is being built for the future. We will not be in a recession forever and this project is going to be on pace to open when this country is rebounding. If you look at it this way, you will see that this may be the perfect time for such a project.
You may have your "glass is half empty view". But, many of us are excited about this project. The city is making a wise investment to an area that isn’t generating tax revenue but is actually costing the city money by remaining vacant and blighted.
Other factors to consider
I agree with you on many points, it is a risk, no one really knows what will happen and the city might be on the hook.
I would point out a couple of points to note, however:
I hope you get the time to do a follow up to see if
these factors can be considered.
With negative campaigning coming to a peak, it can only
get “naughtier” in these Aughties.
I also think that a lot of people are tired of trying to find the news among all of the advertising. It seems that the Star cannot make a change without making its situation worse.
How much did they spend on INK, which is nothing
but an advertisement for drinking and looking good? I was hoping that
they were going after The Pitch. Thanks again for the article.
Making bars even safer
Now, you can say just don't go to a bar, but I want the same freedom that a non-SMOKER has now to infringe upon my enjoyment.
I would also like all bars to go non-speaking, especially
loud sports bars...the decibel level must be murder on the employees.
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