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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Eminent Domain

I took Mo to this exhibition by Matt Rahner at the downtown central branch of the KCMO public library.

It documents the abuse of power by Kansas City, Missouri's sorry excuse for 'government' at the expense of some of its most vulnerable citizens.

Basically four blocks of the inner city was taken by eminent domain and razed to make way for a new police station. At least a police station is a public building, these kinds of shenanigans are most often gotten up to to put, say, a Home Depot and Costco in a spot taken by a dirty book store, a funky old jazz club and a half dozen prostitutes. Or, worse, to put a BMW dealership where some middle class people had old-ish houses and a car dealer was content to sell VWs.

As far as how vulnerable this neighborhood was, how unlikely they were to be able to muster the means to thwart a city takeover, one of the subjects in these photos was murdered about a year after his portrait was taken on moving day; another subject was wearing a t-shirt memorializing another youth who was gunned down before he was old enough to legally drink. For those of us who grew up in suburbia it's hard to even grasp this, if a teenager is killed in the burbs it's front page news for about six years. It's not something that happens a couple of times in a four block area every year or two.

The abuse is so bad, I think we really have to look at taking eminent domain authority away from governments altogether. Especially city governments: the only reason Merriam wanted to consider a few blocks of homes 'blight' is because BMWs sold at Baron's would yield more sales tax than the area was coughing up in combined sales tax on VWs and property taxes on modest, old-ish homes. They over-reached, and it took a decade or more before IKEA built an ugly-ass store on part of the 'blight.'

So I say take the authority away. Let them whine about how they had to spread their police station out over seven sites in a twelve block area because they weren't allowed to push people out against their will. Deal with it, you pricks, you shouldn't have abused your authority.

I don't think Mo dug it as much as I did. And we had a total transportation fail because I drove there, meaning I had to hunt the access to the parking garage (which is a cool garage, made to look like a bookshelf), and then had to fight traffic that spoke in quarter inches coming out of downtown because of some event at Bartle Hall. If me and Mo had walked a block from my house we could have caught the 101 bus which goes about a block from the library. I'd be out of pocket a whole dollar more than I was as it was, but I wouldn't have had to jack with that parking and traffic bullshit.

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