What kind of fresh insight can you expect from a guy that has been endorsed by Charlie Wheeler, Kay Barnes, and Jim Nutter? What kind of change can you expect from a guy who brags that he’s clued into the current staff of city hall? How can you feel optimistic about a guy whose plan to create new jobs is (I kid you not) to “Work with local chambers, the EDC, and the Kansas City Area Development Council to develop a strategic plan to market Kansas City, targeting specific industries and businesses”, and to go to Jefferson City to beg for more incentives to give to developers and their lawyers?
When you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Mike Burke cannot help it – he sincerely believes that if you want to get something accomplished, you should talk to rich developers and make them richer. It’s what he has done for his entire career, and now he wants to have more meetings and more committees with chambers and development groups.
The problem is not just that Mike Burke has a boring proposal, it is that his proposals amount to doing exactly the same things that have failed in the past. Hey, Mike, here’s another old idea for you – why don’t you propose to “Revamp and expand the business retention program of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in cooperation with local business groups.”
Oops, I see that you already found that tired, same old, same old idea. Notice that he loves meeting with business groups?
Reading Mike Burke’s campaign material is like reading copies of the Star from the 1950s. Been there, done that, didn’t work.
Sly James has a better way than going back to what doesn’t work. Sly has created a “Get to Work” program for Kansas City, and it represents a strengths-based approach to jobs creation for Kansas City. Download a 2 page executive summary from this page, and you’ll be impressed that FINALLY, someone is trying to help Kansas City succeed based upon its real merits. Mike Burke might believe that we are just one more expensive developer boondoggle away from becoming a convention mecca (the Allis Plaza hotel didn’t do it, the convention center didn’t do it, the P&L Center didn’t do it, so let’s try one more time with another hotel? What’s next on the developer wish list?).
How about if, instead of spending all our money in hare-brained schemes to become a glamorous convention destination (so we can change bedsheets for the world?), we build upon the real strengths that Kansas City has. Sly James isn’t dreaming of Kansas City becoming the next Orlando or Las Vegas – he has the common sense to notice that “Located at the juncture of three interstate highways, four interstate linkages, and 10 federal highways, Kansas City is served by more than 300 motor freight carriers. Kansas City is the third largest truck terminal in the United States, the second-largest rail center in the United States and is served by four of the country’s eight Class I rail carriers, as well as three regional lines and one local switching carrier (Kansas City Terminal).”
Sly’s talking about GOOD jobs – jobs in life sciences, health care, green jobs, and international trade, including light manufacturing. That’s exciting – that’s sustainable, and that is common sense.
Or we could try the old way one more time.