KC gets Wal-Mart-ed
Okay, now let me get this straight. According The Kansas City Star, David and Dan Glass made the decision to renege on their promise to let the Stadium Task Force Working Group do its downtown baseball stadium feasibility study during the Super Bowl.
Maybe the conversation went something like this at halftime:
David: Ya know, son...Ive been thinking about this downtown ballpark study thing. I dont think we should back it.
Dan: But dad, we said we would.
David: Look, I made you Royals president, thats all. If I say its a bad idea, its a bad idea.
Dan: Money thing, dad? If so, we could get out of it by saying that by not having to invest in a downtown stadium, we would have the money to get better ball players. (The chairman of Wal-Mart Inc. gives his son a stern look.) I guess I shouldnt say that, huh dad.
David: Remember, were in this to make money. Baseball or badminton, its about the bottom line. In this case, the competition needs to take a lesson the Wal-Mart way.
Dan: Whos the competition, dad?
David: Have you been hit by a foul ball? The competition are those dreamers downtown who think they can resuscitate downtown with a baseball stadium and have us fork over millions to help.
Dan: Sorry, dad. I forgot that building on what once was farmland is the cheapest way. Ill get a press release ready.
David: And dont say anything about having the money to buy better players. Have some flunky say that, maybe Baird. Remember boy, its about parity in baseball, its about small markets, its about our fans
Dan: They want a winner!
David: No dummy, they want us to stay at Kauffman! Thats what you say.
Dan: Can I start on it after Paul McCartney stops playing?
David: Is that who that is? I thought it was Elton Jones.
Dan: John, dad Elton John.
All right, I wasnt there, I dont know what was said and, frankly, Im pretty ambivalent about where the Royals play. Like every fan, I just want a winning team at Kauffman, at a downtown stadium or at the 3&2 complex off Bannister Road.
What the Royals decision is about, and the fallout from it, is that a privately owned enterprise of which we know little about its finances just told a city of 1.7 million what for. Why its almost government-like isnt it! The Royals say no, and scores of business people, government bureaucrats, a few elected officials and an unknown number of the public, stop what their doing or thinking when it comes to a project that could have far-reaching benefit for the city.
Talk about clout! Its just like Wal-Mart going into a small town, building on the outskirts, and leaving the city fathers to deal with their dying downtown!
Mayor Kay Barnes could have told David and Dan, Thank you very much, but were going through with this study. Its far too important for the future of downtown and I think the public has a right to know if financially its doable.
Of course, Barnes didnt and wouldnt. Shes still thinking about life after city hall, and the Glass family likely make campaign contributions to the right candidate. Plus, Barnes loves big business.
So folks, weve just experienced, first hand, in Cowtown, what its like to live in a corporate-ruled world where the public good follows behind private want, where decisions affecting millions of dollars, many people and a potentially better quality of life (at least economically downtown) are made by one privately owned business, and we all living in a supposed democracy just have to take it.
Aha, capitalism. Dont you just love it! Go Royals! Our hometown team.
Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at publisher_editEKC@kcactive.com.
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