publisher's note
February 14, 2005

 

KC gets ‘Wal-Mart-ed’
by Bruce Rodgers

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...I’ve been thinking about this downtown ballpark study thing. I don’t think we should back it.”

Dan: “But dad, we said we would.”

David: “Look, I made you Royals president, that’s all. If I say it’s a bad idea, it’s 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 shouldn’t say that, huh dad.”

David: “Remember, we’re in this to make money. Baseball or badminton, it’s about the bottom line. In this case, the competition needs to take a lesson the Wal-Mart way.

Dan: “Who’s 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. I’ll get a press release ready.”

David: “And don’t say anything about ‘having the money to buy better players.’ Have some flunky say that, maybe Baird. Remember boy, it’s about parity in baseball, it’s about small markets, it’s about our fans…

Dan: “They want a winner!”

David: “No dummy, they want us to stay at Kauffman! That’s 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 wasn’t there, I don’t know what was said and, frankly, I’m 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 it’s almost government-like isn’t 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! It’s 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 we’re going through with this study. It’s far too important for the future of downtown and I think the public has a right to know if financially it’s doable.”

Of course, Barnes didn’t and wouldn’t. She’s 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, we’ve just experienced, first hand, in Cowtown, what it’s 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. Don’t you just love it! Go Royals! Our hometown team.

Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at publisher_editEKC@kcactive.com.


              
              
                 

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