LTE: Every Problem Is An Opportunity In Disguise

“Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.”

When I was growing up, my father had this John Adams quote prominently displayed in his home office. Although he probably posted it as a reminder to himself, it also resonated with his eight children. It certainly did with me. A current, serious problem in the Northeast and North Blue Ridge Neighborhoods is an increase in negative and destructive encounters occurring between residents and transient individuals that result in property damage, physical assaults, house fires and excessive trash. Homeowners in the neighborhood are rightfully angry when they are cited and fined for code violations that are the result of vandals when law enforcement is generally unresponsive because of weak and unclear ordinances.

The affected neighborhoods are composed of working-class people, many of whom rely on social services to supplement their low incomes or who work at several jobs to make ends meet. Many are elderly and/or disabled, and their homes are modest. They strive to maintain a level of dignity for their neighborhood and for their neighbors. They also are generous and want to help support those who have even less, but the price they are paying is too high.

When the North Blue Ridge Neighborhood Association brought this to my attention, we used this as an opportunity to bring together city officials, law enforcement, social service providers and neighborhood leaders in a forum type setting with the desire to seek solutions toward common goals. We were very grateful to each entity for bringing their stories of accomplishments, resources, and challenges, and we implemented some measures that offer improvements toward reducing harmful actions. Although one organization did not want to compromise, we left with opportunity to continue seeking solutions.

There are many strong advocates for the homeless in our community who do good work within the vacuum of current available services. The goal of such groups does not need to be at odds with the goals of neighborhoods and city government. Homelessness is a social condition that encompasses a complicated web of contributing factors. Our opportunity this problem presents is to work hard for solutions, not to get contentious and walk away from each other. We are all working for a better community. I encourage us to come back to the table and continue the conversation for how we can best serve all of our neighbors. I believe there is a path toward mutual benefit – which begs the question, can we find it?

Missouri State Representative Ingrid Burnett represents Legislative District 19 which includes Northeast Kansas City and parts of Independence and Sugar Creek.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

One response to “LTE: Every Problem Is An Opportunity In Disguise”

  • Crime in Kansas City and St. Louis Five Years After Ferguson

    August 13th, 2019

    Dr. Ernest Evans Professor of political science and criminal justice studies at KCKCC   On August 9, 2014 a black […]

    LTE: Remembering Lee Ann Miller

    July 10th, 2019

    The death of Lee Ann Miller marks a  devastating loss to Historic Northeast. As president of the Indian Mound Neighborhood […]

    LTE: Infrastructure in Eastern Jackson County should be a priority

    June 5th, 2019

    Dear Editor,   I recently had to drive to Independence on several days during the recent rains.  I drove through […]

    LTE: Clean up Gladstone Boulevard!

    May 1st, 2019

      My partner and I were doing a little trash pick up today in celebration of Earth Day and we […]

    LTE: The mayoral election is about Troy Schulte

    April 24th, 2019

    The upcoming mayoral election will likely leave Historic Northeast without a voice. Neither Quinton Lucas nor Jolie Justus has shown […]

  • LTE: Bike plan lacks community input

    February 27th, 2019

    To the dismay of many in Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood, the KCMO Bike KC plans for Historic Northeast, specifically Gladstone Boulevard, […]

    LTE: Questions about bike lanes

    February 27th, 2019

    Why is our local government so eager to paint brand new bike lanes over our pot-holed streets?  Is it so […]

    LTE: KC area public school districts remain concerned about aspects of Mayor James’ sales tax proposal to fund early childhood education

    February 6th, 2019

    Dr. Gayden Carruth Special to Northeast News Improving and expanding early childhood education is vitally important to Cooperating School Districts […]

    LTE: Elections have consequences

    January 2nd, 2019

    Missouri’s 100th General Assembly will convene Jan. 9, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. Members will be sworn in and special guests […]

    LTE: Who would you rather help?

    November 14th, 2018

    Recently, a Northeast family with a young child and an infant on the way was hit with a series of […]

  • Faces Of Northeast

  • Postcard

    Burgers and Bowling

    September 18th, 2019

  • Remember This?

    Remember This? Big Boy

    September 18th, 2019

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.