Monday, August 10, 2009

In her defense

Local blog (that also does a TV broadcast) KMBC posted a story last week about how Kansas City, Mo., ranks at the top of Forbes' America's Abandoned Cities list.
Forbes magazine analyzed the vacancy rate for rental properties and homes, and Kansas City came out as No. 1.

The vacancy rate for rentals in the metro area rose to 15 percent over the past year. The homeowner vacancy rate has nearly doubled to 3.8 percent.

Nationally, the average homeowner vacancy rate in the country's 75 largest cities improved to 2.7 percent, while the rental vacancy rate is at 10.2 percent.
Many local bloggers (I assume) took advantage of the report to launch another volley of vitriol at the KCMO's short comings, citing the daffy mayor and the political mess in city hall, the crumbling sewer and street infrastructure, the multiple missteps in business recruitment and development, the horrible pre-Renaissance quality of the school system, and the so-called "high" so-called "murder rate" of the city's east side.

And sure, if you only focus on the negative it's easy to come up with rationalizations for why people would leave KCMO's urban core.

But while everyone is kvetching about how bad thing are, let me just say that I enjoy KCMO. I think the town has a lot to offer. There are a couple of lovable sports teams in the Royals and Chiefs. Oh sure they may not win many games, but their bumbling and incompetent ways are endearing, like Otis the Drunk in the Andy Griffith show.

Speaking of bumbling and incompetent, KCMO's city council (and mayors, TIFF commissions, park boards, etc) is as entertaining and full of drama as Desperate Housewives, and almost as meaningful. If not for the hijinks of these various boards, councils and barefoot volunteers, most newspapers and bloggers in KCMO wouldn't have anything to writer about.

So I say cheers to Kansas City, Missouri. It may only be a suburb of Johnson County, but it's still one of my favorite places to visit on weekends and avoid during the week.

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  1. You have excellent writing skills, are articulate and insightful in many of your posts, and have a general ability to further the debate and progression of this city--which makes it all the more shameful that you can turn out a shit post like this. Disappointing at best and fulfilling a Johnson County stereotype at worst.

  2. Thank you for cheering for my favorite suburb, too! :)

    Don't forget to mention that while you can't get 911 to answer a call, the city is great foodie spot. And, since my house hasn't been broken in to yet AND I like good food, I wouldn't consider any other place home.

  3. With all due respect, SMH, I take exception to your characterization of me as "articulate and insightful". How dare you.

    Catherine, thanks for having a great sense of humor.

  4. I'm fine with Kansas City being the most abandoned city. As long as we only have JOCO a-holes in town to pay for our expensive spruce goose in the middle of downtown, I'll gladly hide out in downtown to stay away from the mess that is Overland Park and Leawood.

  5. I think you should do a little more research for me . . . 'metro area' usually refers to the MSA, or Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Kansas City proper makes up only, guessing here - about 25%. So yes, these strikingly high vacancy rates have a lot to do with white flight and disinvestment in our urban core, it has a ton more to do with more and more house being built further and further out in the edge nodes of our city, leaving our older suburbs empty and our construction companies happy. But hey - maybe Forbes said metro area but meant just the city . . . I mean, the writers there probably don't research as much as bloggers.


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