Last week, we urged questions to be asked of the two Mayoral candidates about transparency in the Arts Community and giving smaller independent artists a seat at the big kid’s table when it comes to bidding and securing public arts projects.
The construction of the new $2 billion, single terminal hastens these questions given the amount of money that’s in play for public art projects. The Dog sincerely hopes the Public Art Administrator position that’s currently unfilled, doesn’t go to anyone responsible for last year’s Open Spaces debacle.
Over six months later and vendors for the event overseen by City Director of Creative Services, Megan Crigger, have still not been paid. Maybe that’s part of the gig— creatively trying to figure out how not to pay vendors.
The bottom line is she’s a carpetbagger from Austin, Texas and should be fired for the mess she presided over with the Open Spaces art event last fall.
This week, however, we shift our attention to economic development issues and how politics often gets in the way of growth here in this cowtown.
Earlier this year, the NewsDog learned from some very reliable sources that this mayoral administration refused a deal that would have meant potential employment for hundreds of union Harley-Davidson employees faced with the shuttering of the vehicle and powertrain operations plant near the airport.
Word is that when Czech firearms manufacturer CZ-USA wanted to expand their Kansas City, Kansas based headquarters to the Harley plant, this administration refused the company’s overtures for tax incentives much like Harley-Davidson enjoyed during their twenty-year tenure on North Congress Avenue.
The deal would have meant potential employment of over 500 workers with expansion plans in the short-term future. Apparently this Mayor didn’t want a weapons manufacturer taking up residence inside the city limits and put the kabosh on the deal.
We get it, though, the optic of the Mayor cutting the ribbon to the new weapons manufacturing facility in the morning, then later traveling to the site of the city’s latest homicide in the urban core and decrying gun violence and pushing an anti-gun agenda. Again. That just wouldn’t be a good optic and this Mayor is all about the optics.
After the snub in Kansas City, CZ announced that it would invest in a $90 million facility in Little Rock, Ark.
In an April 24th article in Ammoland, a publication centered on shooting sports, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. stated “Little Rock is open for business and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have CZ-USA at the Port of Little Rock.”
All of this leads the Dog to ask, how many other times has this occurred? How many jobs have left Kansas City because of a hostile administration? How much revenue left the city because the optic wasn’t good for the Mayor? The question for candidates Lucas and Justus is this: Will you or your administration put politics over progress? Are you prepared to make the tough decisions necessary on a daily basis to ensure growth and jobs for the city or will you continue the status quo as businesses continue to flee the city for greener, more welcoming municipalities out of state?
Mayor Lucas or Mayor Justus, the ball is in your court.