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Kansas City residents upset that it took an All-Star Game to address blight

Jul 6, 2012, 8:53 AM EST

Kansas City Blight

Things to read while you sit shocked — SHOCKED! — that people who live in the poorer areas of Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia are having to wait much longer than people who live in the wealthier areas to have their power restored following last week’s storms:

Kansas City’s efforts to make a good impression for the rest of the world are bittersweet for residents of some inner-city neighborhoods who are asking why it took a baseball game to get city officials to do something about blight they say has been ignored for decades.

Missouri State House member Brandon Ellington:

“I think it’s a travesty,” he said. “The only time these poor neighborhoods get any treatment at all is when out-of-towners come to the city. It’s a lot like China before the Olympics. The infrastructure repair they’re doing now is only so the east side we know won’t be seen by out-of-towners.”

The sad fact of life: your elected officials will work to improve the lives of your area’s poorer citizens in direct relation to how much heat they’ll get if they don’t.

  1. redguy12588 - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Yes, compare your lack of AC to China.

    • dan1111 - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      I agree that this shows a complete lack of perspective. The differences are many, but the fact that these people are free to complain about this without government retaliation is a good place to start.

    • purpleronin - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      Either you miss understood Missouri State House member Brandon Ellington’s China reference, or were attempting a faux news style misrepresentation. He was comparing the blight on KC’s east side being cleaned up b4 the All-star Game to China’s clean-up b4 the olympics….

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Nice out of context comparison there.

  2. maynardstool - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Yeah I’d probably make sure certain people got their power turned back on first. You know, the ones that actually pay their bills.
    The woe is me mentality in this country is pathetic these days.

    • skids003 - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      You are right on. Plus, I imagine that those that pay actually pay city taxes toward city services get a little bit of privilege from it, too.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      What a worldly perspective you have. You’ve been everywhere and done everything and know everybody. Of course, you live in a mansion on a hill with a hot wife and have earned every penny. You’re the real American here, Sir.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      Right. Because everybody living in poor neighborhoods ae deadbeats who don’t pay their bills.

  3. 18thstreet - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Poor people don’t vote as much as rich people. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but it’s simply true.

    And politicians pay attention to voters.

    • dan1111 - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      I find it extremely unlikely that no one was paying attention to poverty in Kansas City until now. Everywhere I have lived there have been lots of people paying attention to and working to combat poverty. And these problems are serious and deserve attention, but there is generally a certain element that makes its living by complaining about the injustice of it all. And they will never stop complaining. Even if all the problems are solved, they will call it “gentrification” and keep complaining. These are rarely the same people who are actually working to make things better.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        And there is a “certain element” (nice classist reference there) that goes around complaining that poor people are lazy and are solely responsible for their surroundings and circumstances.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      Don’t forget that poor people are worth (if they’re lucky) 3/5 the value of a not-poor person. Their votes only partially count.

      ///sarc

  4. chill1184 - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Ending the state enforced quasi-monopoly that utility companies (electric, cable, etc) have would go a long way to solving long outage issues.

  5. Jonny 5 - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    No money no honey. Some things never change.

  6. jimbo75025 - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    Then why did the residents of these areas not take it upon themselves to clean up their own mess rather than awaiting the city to do it for them? Poor does not have to mean lacking in basic pride.

    • ajcardsfan - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      I know some of the areas of KC that are being referred to…trust me, stepping outside of a house or a car can be dangerous.

    • skeleteeth - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      I don’t understand the view that poverty is something that you can at any time just walk away from.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        It’s certainly something you can dig out of as an individual.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

        Over the long haul, yes, but not in a few years.

      • purpleronin - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        Poverty is nearly impossible to ‘dig yourself out of’ when 93% of all monetary gains are going to the wealthy.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:30 PM

        It’s definitely impossible when you stand there shaking your fist at rich folk.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:35 PM

        Is that what they’re doing, Stinky? Or is that only what you claim they happen to be doing?

        Something tells me you have no idea.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        Hey mitzy, I was replying not to the situation in KC. Fact of the matter is, i’m not there, I don’t know the people, or the politics of the area, and therefore have no understanding to make a judgement of those folks.

        My comment was direct right at the purple ronin, because the “it’s all the rich people’s fault” mentality is, in my opinion, flawed and accomplishes nothing except in getting people all riled up.

        My only context in this regard, is starting out as a dishwasher on the cheap and worked my ass off on several levels and across different job scapes to get to a job where I make a pretty good buck, give my 35% to the feds, and control my future, And didn’t shake my fist once.

        No college degree, just perseverence.

        But it was nice of you to take a knee jerk shot at me, sir!

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        Funny you take offense to your own presumed stereotypes of other people.

        Sure, sure, sure. All those poor people just resent the rich people and shake their fists at them, demanding some fair share.

        Or maybe they’re a bit frustrated about how slow things go when you get no assistance whatsoever because all they really want is a fair shake?

        Either way, I find it funny that you’re offended by my knee jerk commentary… enough to shake your fists at me.

        Stay classy.

      • jimbo75025 - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        My point was this-I grew up poor. My father always saw that our lawn/house was maintained in his spare time.. A neighbor asked him for help with the same-he was usually there to help or as I grew older was not sent to help. Do you think there was a MLB All Star Game in our city of 40K to do it for us or give someone an incentive to do so-no. Learning a work ethic and the fact that nothing is free in life is one of the cornerstones of my life and the comfortable status I now enjoy. Pity those do/did not learn the same but do not give them a free ticket and platform to complain..

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        Funny Mitzy, I’m not mad at all, just trying to clarify the picture for you.

        Fair shakes are earned, my point in writing that diatrabe speaks to the fact that there are people, every day out there, who work their way out of the shit. I come from a family that did just that when the crime rate boomed in Philly.

        But you can’t tell me the rhetoric of “woe is me and it’s their fault” is not out there. I come from that place, I know it’s there. And I pity them really, because as some of us come to find, a fair shake is earned, not given.

        Thanks for playing stranger, see you in the funny pages.

  7. icanspeel - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    It’s funny they are upset that it took an All-Star game to address the blight.. instead of being happy that an All-Star Game addressed the blight. If I was in that situation I wouldn’t care how or why things got better, would just be grateful they did.

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    The problem with restoring power to the poor neighborhoods is that it will provide them with light. If they have light in the poor neighborhoods, the rest of us will be able to see them. Even at night! Who wants to look at poor people at night? Not me, my friends, not me.

  9. mojosmagic - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    People need to get to a phone to report an outage.

  10. nategearhart - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    There is little being done. I live in Kansas City. There is a whole buttload of money being thrown at attracting tourists, which is fine. And I especially love the boost that the arts and culture have received lately around here. But meanwhile, the crime rate is one of the highest in the country, and the public schools aren’t even accredited. It’s not hyperbole when I say that this town is turning into another Kingston, Jamaica, where you can have a heavenly time if you just stay in the Sandals Resort area, but if you step out into the actual city you’re in deep shit. It’s sad, and it’s a little scary.

  11. contraryguy - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    “The sad fact of life: your elected officials will work to improve the lives of your area’s poorer citizens in direct relation to how much heat they’ll get if they don’t.”

    That sums up American politics for about the last 70 years. That said, isn’t this more of an Off The Bench article? Kinda missing the baseball in this one.

  12. The Rabbit - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    No news here Craig.
    The City of Philadelphia rounded up the homeless during the Republican National Convention.
    My friends in Utah complained about the expensive infrastructure changes to accomodate the Salt Lake City Olympics, so Mr. Missouri doesn’t need to reference China.
    It’s the “vacuum the living room before the company arrives” mentality.
    The complex issues of poverty and blight (both inner city and rural) are beyond the scope and interest of most politicians and the campaign contributors and lobbyists who support them, so don’t expect it to change.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Good afternoon, Rabbit. Thanks for reminding me that I need to vacuum. We have company coming

      • The Rabbit - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM

        Good afternoon Mr. Utley,
        You vacuum? You have any brothers who would like to move to the land of hunting, fishing, and camping? I have room.
        Catch ya during the Phillies game.

  13. jlovenotjlo - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Does being poor prevent someone from doing basic yard work and home upkeep? Just some elbow grease put into that lawn and a few buckets of paint and it doesn’t look like you live in a shanty anymore. Take some pride in where you live and quit worrying about if your TV will be back on in under 24 hours.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      What the hell is wrong with you people? We’re talking INFRASTRUCTURE here. That means streets, utilities and upkeep of government owned and run properties. Not individual homes. You know…the places people don’t control.

      Get a grip on the damn topic before spewing whatever the hell idiotic crap pops into your head.

      • dluxxx - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        Not to mention that most poor people don’t own thier homes. I don’t know a whole lot of renters who will put a “few buckets of paint” on their houses or apartements.

      • jlovenotjlo - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:25 PM

        I’m not really even talking about this topic. Just so sick of seeing people around here not put one second of effort into their homes. The picture got me going I guess, not the article.

    • mybrunoblog - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Jlove you are right on it. Even minimal upkeep of the place that one calls home isn’t too much to ask for is it?

  14. maynardstool - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    If a person is busting his/her but everyday and lives in poverty then I understand. There are just way too many people in this country that the only real effort they ever make is to make sure their first in the food stamp line.

    Personally coming from a family that didn’t have squat growing up, I don’t have much sympathy for all this. I busted my a** to get what I have while the rest of my family sat around and complained about “the man”.

    The real problem is that the elected officials that used to stand up for the middle class are now pandering to the poor just to be elected. Then they get elected and people are outraged when they don’t get their “change”

    • mybrunoblog - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:18 PM

      wait? Kansas City Mayor Sly James isn’t doing enough to fit poverty? Wow.

  15. mybrunoblog - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    *fight poverty…..Damm. I have issues spelling correctly when I use the name “Sly” in my posts.

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