Hearne: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II; KC Needs Urban Movie Plex for Kids

Unruly kids, bad parenting, floodlights overhead, police on horseback, the latest Hollywood blockbusters…

This is not the stuff from which flash mobs are made. Maybe the one a couple years back. But sexy as the term "flash mob" is for lazy media types wanting to dial sensationalism into Plaza kid curfew stories, it’s time to deal with the realities of the situation.

Poor kids from poor parts of town want to go see blockbuster first-run movies just like their suburban counterparts.

It’s the American Condition. The kids see trailers for "Fright Night" and they wanna go see it.

Just one problem…

Unlike rich kids in the burbs, poor black kids in town have practically nowhere to go halfway close to where they live. And none of the few that are halfway close really wants them. The Plaza, Crown Center and Ward Parkway theaters, for example, have been doing their best to discourage the urban poor from frequenting their movies for years.

The Bannister Mall theaters are long gone. Who even remembers the Brywood 6 near the stadiums or the Blue Ridge theaters further east? Crown Center closed its movieplex years ago before guardedly reopening some of the screens with art house product only.

The bottom line: poor, urban kids have few options for major movies outside the Plaza, Ward Parkway and maybe AMC’s Main Street.

And forget about the proposed, city-sponsored DJ, night hoops and community center youth gang bangs. Designed, of course, to keep black kids out of mostly white areas where they’re not wanted.

But is it fair to target and only allow them to attend to 7 p.m. weekend movies – not 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. shows? Just because a couple kids broke the law and the upscale areas think they’re bad for biz?

There’s plenty of crime on the Plaza perpetrated by adult criminals but nobody’s figuring ways to keep them out.

And no way stuffy, older adults are capable of dreaming up cool things these kids are gonna want to do instead. They want to do the same stuff kids everywhere are doing; and that’s go to movies and going to the mall.

If KC wants to keep kids off the Plaza, why not build a first rate movie plex in the heart of the urban core?

You know, take the bull by the horns and offer up tax incentives and other perks to convince an exhibitor to take the plunge.

"There have been several attempts to do that and they’ve all failed," says former KC mayor Emanuel Cleaver II, now a Missouri Congressman in the 5th District. "And consequently, (the kids go) to the suburbs and the elite areas like the Plaza. It’s not fair to tell them they can’t go to the movies."

Not only is KC effectively keeping the kids from going to movies on their non school nights, "What they’re saying is, not only do we want you to not go to the movies and the Plaza," Cleaver says. "You can’t stay out past 9 p.m. and we’re not going to give you any interesting alternatives. It’s not right."

To that end, KC-based AMC or somebody building a state-of-the-art theater in the urban core is a must.

"Oh yeah, we’ve got to have it," Cleaver says. "We’ve got to have it."

KC Confidential movie man Jack Poessiger remembers basketball star Magic Johnson championing the building of urban movie plexes in the mid 1990s.

"There was talk about doing that in Kansas City," Poessiger says. "This was a plan by some local people who were going to follow that plan. I don’t know what happened – if there were money problems or what – but there was some very serious talk about it."

Poessiger agrees it’s not right to tell kids in the urban core they can only attend early shows on Friday and Saturday nights when they have no school the next day.  But that it’s OK to go to late movies on school nights.

"I agree, but what’s the answer?" Poessiger says. "And I see the other side of it, too. You can’t have those kinds of things (fights, shootings) happening on the Plaza."

As for convincing somebody to develope an inner city plex, "It’s free enterprise," Poessiger says. "And if a private developer wants to build a theater at 135th and Metcalf instead of 18th and Vine, that’s their right.

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23 Responses to Hearne: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II; KC Needs Urban Movie Plex for Kids

  1. Super Dave says:

    History Has Proven
    Seems to me everytime anything is built in the inner city areas for the inner city people it is either trashed or people stop going to it due to shootings fights or what nots.

    I mean lets be real here only in the inner city do you see a lot of bars over windows and rolling down metel doors to cover and protect the business that is there. Are these anti crime prevention things done to keep non inner city people out? No they are done to keep inner city people out.

    I have said for years you can’t address the issue till the inner city residents get up off their lazy butts and admit they are the problem and work at fixing their attitude issues first.

  2. nigga ain't got no bling says:

    if there was money to be made, they would already be built.

    ain’t no dough in the hood.

  3. GB says:

    AMC Mainstreet?
    I’ve heard it’s nice.

  4. mark smith says:

    Maybe Piggly Wiggly or Aldis will build one
    There are no major grocers in the Urban areas either. Know why? Because they would get robbed weekly. Who in their right mind would open a multi million dollar cinema in an area that is Murder central? Magic sold his theaters to AMC, I believe they have since been torn down, at least the one in LA on Crenshaw. The Plaza problem was not a problem of just a few bad apples. It was large groups, blocking sidewalks, streets, fighting, and acting like hoods. Until apologists in the Black Community handle their fucking business and squash the thug culture they have allowed to thrive, there wont be any new business investments on the east side. Unless you count Cricket stores, Gen X, and Penners.

  5. smartman says:

    Ain’t Misbehavin’
    Fuck dat nappy headed Richard Pryor lookin’ Satan Sandwich makin, can’t pay his taxes, free trip to Disney World, given his wife a bullshit job prick.

    Leave it to Cleaver?

    The issue with these urban juvenile unevolved miscreants is not access. It’s BEHAVIOR! Little black fuckers don’t know how to act at the picture show.

    Get a strawberry Fanta some popcorn and licorice and shut da fuck up bitches. Turn your phones off and leave your lazer pointers at home-boyee

    They shit in their own nest.

    Now they can wait for the movies to come out on DVD and they can steal them from Redbox and Blockbuster after they rob a Radio Shack and snag a Blu-Ray player and some HDMI cables.

    It’s Liberty and Justice for all not Liberty and movies for all.

    There’s plenty-o-money in the hood for weed, 40’s, meth, Glocks, Sean Jean and South Pole.
    They juzt ain’ts no crazey black-white-asian-latino or Barbarino muthafukaz STOOPID enough to roll the dice. Maybe Grits ‘n Gravy and Ashy Larry’ll fund that start up.

  6. chuck says:

    Welcome to the Seal Team 6 Cinemas.
    Where security is a Black Ops thang.

    Where the sound of the popcorn machine sends patrons diving to the floor.

    Where the seats are custom made for dem fine ass bidonkadonks.

    Where sound tracks go to die.

    Where half of the staff is constantly in court testifying or being arrainged.

    Where mom shields her children’s eyes from the violence the parking lot while hurrying in to “Machete”.

    Yeah, that should work.

  7. Merle Tagladucci says:

    I get so sick of hearing people drag out this “inner city kids have nowhere to go” nonsense. They have exactly the same places to go any other kids have. The difference is how they behave when they get there.

  8. BarKeeper says:

    Cleaver the Dick
    This worthless turd doesn’t have a clue about having a clue. He’s a full fledged black elitist, a stone to the bone racist, and a self-serving jackoff of the highest order. He only stays in office because his district is rigged so he can’t lose regardless of who runs against him. Hell, he doesn’t even campaign, and won’t attend town hall meetings because he might have to answer a tough question.

    A movie complex for the inner city? That’s a joke. Read your history. It’s mentioned in the article. Turn back the clock to Bannister Mall, Brywood, etc. They had their movie houses and wrecked ’em in short order. Any investor would be better off to make huge bonfire of hundred dollar bills at the remains of the Landing Shopping Center, and let people gather round and warm their hands from the heat.

    I don’t see any sign of Cleaver forming an investment group to make his wet dream come true. All he’s got is endless talk and finger pointing. As Smartman said above “They shit in their own nests”.

  9. chuck says:

    I checked out Magic’s Theaters on Google
    They actually look pretty good.

    What can I tell ya.

    They just remodeled the one on Crenshaw.

    What can I tell ya.

  10. rick says:

    Glaze is the answer
    Maybe Glazer should open up a urban comedy club. Or based on his sports columns maybe he could become a bookie on Troost. With his predictions a lot of urban folks will become rich and move to the suburbs.

  11. smartman says:

    Casino In da Hood
    Set up a not-for-profit. Get Colin Powell, JC Watts, or Herman Cain to be the Executive Director. Give ’em Bannister Mall and some guaranteed loans from Federal Stimulus to open up a land based casino.

    Gambling, movies, dining, shopping and killing all under one roof.

    All the money stays on the East Side to improve the “community”.

    Everything has to pass the MBE sniff test.

    If they can’t make that work to their benefit and spread some love and sunshine all around then FUCK ‘EM!

  12. Hearne Christopher says:

    I don’t know. I used to go to the movie theater in Oak Park Mall. But on the days and/or nights it was kid populated – mostly white suburbanites – it was nightmarish. I would be watching a movie and kids would run in and out, talk and generally be annoying and distracting.

    So I stopped going to that theater. Young kids – even at Oak Park Mall – like to laugh and run and do silly stuff.

    Most of the black kids on the Plaza are not fighting or shooting guns. Just as most of the white kids at Oak Park Mall were not ruining my movie experience. It only takes a few.

    My opinion is the Plaza isn’t just trying to avoid the odd shooting – how many others take place there each year that don’t garner much, if any, attention? My guess is they don’t like having hundreds of black kids floating around making some of their more conservative clientele uneasy

  13. chuck says:

    Hearne, thats just the point.
    “My opinion is the Plaza isn’t just trying to avoid the odd shooting – ”

    Ah, those pesky gun battles during dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

    Your killin me.

    “Honey, will you lay down some suppressing fire, take the point, and pass me the salt?”

    NO FUCKIN SHIT they are trying to avoid “the odd shooting”.

    Your killin me smalls.

    I guess there is a promotion in there somewhere.

    Today, during our 1/2 off sale, if there are shots fired, then take ANOTHER 50% OFF!!!!


    Your killin me…

  14. Rick says:

    Dead today
    Boy this site is pretty inactive today. Maybe someone should call Tracy Thomas to see what she thinks. She write more when she says she is not going to write then when she was writing.

  15. Hearne Christopher says:

    The operative word in that sentence, if you will, is “just”

    I don’t recall shootings at the Crown Center kid mobbed movies but Crown Center wanted them gone nonetheless.

    That shooting was an anomaly. Yes the mayor was there but had he gone to Westport, the P&L or anywhere where there was a large party crowd that could have happened. That it did happen this once in no way indicates that this was the norm.

    People get mugged on the Plaza month in and month out, I suspect.

    In my opinion – and I’ve been following these movie kid crowd deals for years – the Plaza wants the kids to go away. Bad for biz. Even without shootings.

  16. Rick says:

    WHAT’s BAD 4 business
    is apparently having the mayor’s son frequent your establishment.

  17. kcfred says:

    Go to any major city and see if there is a movie house in the black area. There isn’t. Why? Pretty easy to figure out…they get trashed beyond belief. I used to be an area manager for Redstone Theatres in the upper midwest. Gang fights, gun shots, literally shit on the floor. I saw this time after time in the inner city. So now, who’s to blame and how far can we bend over to cater to the people who don’t give a shit about anyone? Movie etiquette? Really? Movie etiquette in the hood means no one gets killed. So, now it’s bad for business that these kids are kept OUT of the plaza? Please explain this logic, Hearne. What do they buy? Do they buy anything or is “scare Whitey” what it’s all about? Hell, I’ll go back down there again, now. Look at all the things this sub culture has been given only to have it trashed beyond repair. They have no class, no skills, no money and NO desire to do anything else but what Momma did and that’s have six kids by the time they’re 22 and have no job to pay for them. Who let the black community down? The black community by their indifference to Kateshia and her three kids by 17. Until this subculture steps up and denounces this habit, things won’t get better. Yeah, let’s have more young driftless blacks on and around the Plaza. Let’s see whose business suffers then.

  18. harley says:

    okay whities….the black/hispanic coalition is taking over
    the nation.
    Just wait 10 years and the black and brown coalition runs america. With their voting power
    they join together and bring out 30 million voters and decide who gets elected and who
    gets the power.
    The demographics prove this out. If you dont help them…if you don’t pay attention to their needs…
    the anger will boil over and you’ll have major cities ablaze in hate filled anger.
    It’s coming whiteys….it coming to joco…its coming to north…its coming soon…so either
    you pay attention or you’l be going down.
    Can’t stop it….when they realize their power…it will be over for all us european de
    scendants in america…
    10 years…maybe sooner…another 30 million black and hispanic voters will tke
    over america….its’ coming to a town near you.
    Be there or be square.

  19. smartman says:

    The Strand
    The Strand on 35th and Troost is still open right? That’s in the hood.

  20. Hearne Christopher says:

    You call her

  21. harley says:

    it was about 4pm…was driving down wornal heading home…southwest was once the
    bastion of upscale white intelligent upper class students.
    I was amazed to see the security officers…the police patroling the area.
    didnt look like a lot of kids were coming out of the school…but noticed some
    young black kids acting like they were getting ready to go at it…saw the
    security and police looking at them intensely to see what was gong on.
    Is this waht other schools in kcmo have….security and police after
    school gets out. Hadn’t seen this before…but its a sad state of affairs if
    thats what we have to deal with.
    wow….a real shock. whats going on in these neighborhoods?

  22. the log says:

    Let the moochers riot
    I don’t get this threat coming from the left. Gimme what I wonts or der b trouble. We already know that whether Glazer’s boy Obama wins or loses the cities will burn. I say bring it. Lets get it over with.

  23. Merle Tagladucci says:

    Maybe Cleaver can get his inner city movie plex built and then ensure that it shows nothing but Tyler Perry movies so they don’t have any young white punk kids hanging around and loitering, messing up the vibe for all the good black folk who just want a nice night out on the town.

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