Tony: Maybe It’s Time To Move To The Suburbs

This week featured an amazing amount of failure from Kansas City, Missouri.

So much so that fleeing to the suburbs like so many middle-class people have in this town’s recent history seems to be a somewhat viable alternative.

I’ve always noted that all of JoCo is nothing more than a vast cultural wasteland, but this week it seems that Kansas City Proper is moving closer to becoming a sprawling urban wasteland. It might be time to leave.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Kansas City, Missouri School District Closings are not a sign of success – The nation and the world noted that public education has failed within the KCMSD. Closing half of all schools isn’t a sign that we’re on the right track, it’s simply an acknowledgment that this town is forced to cut our losses. The future looks bleak as Brookside and Waldo could be the next School District to jump ship creating the same kind of de-facto racial segregation that gave way to the landmark deseg case which was the precursor to this historic failure in the first place. Long story short, Kansas City is where public education went to die. A town without schools (not counting all of the other districts) is a town without a future.

2. A City without a Mayor – It’s not just me, most local political watchers agree that by bringing back Gloria Squitiro into City Hall the Mayor has all but given up his chances at reelection. I’m not going to waste time denouncing Mayor Funky here, however I will note that we’re in for one of the most vicious and divisive elections this town has seen in quite a long time. Sticking around to see well-funded campaigns beat Kansas City over the head with sloppy slogans doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend the next year.

3. The Warmer Weather Shootout – Winter didn’t bring a halt to the homicides but we all know Kansas City’s Eastside becomes a killing field during the summer for reasons that nobody really likes to discuss. Stray bullets taking out innocent bystanders marked last summer. Sticking around to watch a gunfight is never a good idea.

4. There’s no Waldo Area Rapist in the suburbs – Not only is a rapist currently at large in the Waldo/Brookside area but the response to the series of sexual assaults has precipitated a racially charged debate over vigilantism, profiling and disparity. Crime in the suburbs isn’t nearly as complex as KC Proper. In the Golden Ghetto, maybe a tragic case of Missing White Woman Syndrome arises and dominates the discourse for the entire metro area while d-bags like me grumble in the urban core; but it’s never as contentious as Kansas City Crime.

5. The Renaissance that never happened – People in KC Proper have the privilege of paying for unprofitable parties, museums and areas that never brought forth a boom of revenue and development that was promised. Meanwhile, nearby suburbanites can simply enjoy the amenities and scurry back home before the bill comes due.

For all these reasons the move to the suburbs doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. If the downward spiral of my beloved Cowtown wasn’t so damn interesting I might consider the option.

Tony Botello

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3 Responses to Tony: Maybe It’s Time To Move To The Suburbs

  1. Anonymous says:

    I lived in central KCK the first 34 years of my life before moving to Merriam this past June. I struggled mightily with my decision to do so.

    On one hand, I wrestled with the notion that I was selling my soul; I felt I was abandoning the place that had been my home for so long–the place that shaped me.

    On the other, I knew I was moving to a safer place with less crime, where my fiancee felt safe getting gas or going to an ATM after dark (she had been harassed multiple times doing both).

    It’s nine months later, and I’m pissed I didn’t move sooner.

    Sure, there’s a sense of pride in coming from a place that isn’t well off–a place that’s been beaten down for decades. The expectations are so low, and it’s that much more satisfying to surpass them.

    It’s also easy to roll one’s eyes at the suburbs growing up, just knowing they MUST have had it so much easier. I know I did it.

    But damn if life isn’t good over here. I no longer have to drive nearly 20 minutes to get to a decent grocery store or a movie theater. There are well-used parks and trails where I can spend time outdoors. I don’t have kids, but the families who live around me are happy with the schools.

    Most of all, people are simply nice here.

    So while KCMO struggles with a hard-headed mayor, the debacle that is the school district (though the new super has it going in the difficult-but-correct direction), and the economic boondoggle that is downtown/P&L, I’ll enjoy my life in northern JoCo.

    P.S. Shocking as this may be to a Westsider–my cul-de-sac (yes, I still gag a little when I say that) has *gasp* almost as many black and brown families as white families. True story!

  2. Anonymous says:

    KCMO is dead. It was dead long ago. The
    carpetbaggers and vultures went in for the
    final kill when they used all that tif money
    for these outrageous projects.
    Sprint is aging fast. An empty arena that sits
    taht long wears down fast. Liewicke and company
    took kate and the rest of the vultures on another
    scam ride.
    P and L will last for the few weeks out of the
    year when an event like the big 12 tournament’
    occurs but its still going to go downhill as
    a new place for the kids t o party opens up.
    Everyone claimed how great kc was holding events
    like this…every city is great for events like
    KCMO schools are going going gone. Property taxes
    are starting to go up and the vultures who are
    left running the city willpick the bones of the
    dollars left to run the city.
    We’re already seeing the influx of kcmo people
    in to joco…and its creating problems over
    in our area too.
    Along with these people comes crimes…gangs
    at oak park mall and the deterioration of
    our great county.
    lOOK AT THE ONCE great stretch of street called
    metcalf…its becoming a poor mans street…
    financecar lots…pay day loans..title loans..
    pawn shops…etc…a sigm that the once golden
    ghetto is becoming run down.
    I’m moving further south…I want nothing to
    do with those elements.
    A perfect example is ballys health club in
    jo co.
    They started taking ethnics into their clubs.
    Soon there were break ins/crime etc in their
    parking lots. The white females fled to other
    clubs because of the safety issue. Now both
    ballys are almost dead (one closed down …the
    other is probably following it).
    Its not racism…its just a fact tht we see
    everday but we don’t talk about.
    and tony…stay where you are….we don’t want
    you in our golden ghetto eating all our
    crispy creme donuts.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Gulliver Foyle, Jr.
    You know, there are parts of Johnson County that are sufficiently close to all the KC attractions. But you know this as Hearne hangs out within a mile of the state-line, in, as you say, Perfect Village. He is not all that far from Waldo, but close to the Plaza, Westport, not all that far from downtown.
    The schools are good, shopping is close, and we get the benefits of the suburbs but the proximity to the action, so to speak. We got home from the basketball in 17 minutes, and from the Uptown (Flogging Molly) in about 12.
    We don’t get to vote, but do hope you get a decent mayor and improving schools, but things look pretty good from our house.

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