KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For starters, yours truly doesn’t consider midnight hoops and feral dance parties as economic progress.
Nor do I believe it’s the city’s responsibility to entertain our children. That said, according to the FBI, Kansas City ranks #1 nationally (per capita) in black-on-black homicide and ninth in total homicidal activity.
With internecine warfare statistics that dismal, Mayor Sly James and his embattled cabinet of city council members have no choice but to fabricate a diversion, right?
In comes Club KC (now in its second year) where late night parties are thrown at a handful of community centers throughout the Metropolitan area with an emphasis on giving young people (ahem) something to do.
See, it’s my opinion that most people are satisfied when they’re generating income.
Rather than expend hundreds of thousands of dollars into a late night extravaganza, why not use that currency to concoct more employment opportunities?
Many of us would agree that too many people have become dependent upon government subsidies.
There’s a vile sense of entitlement that permeates our community, and it really has to stop.
Work-for-pay sends a much better message to the economically-disgruntled.
Club KC’s organizer Jeff Atkins, however, insists the mayor’s party program is suitable for everybody – not just disenchanted youth.
“You might think it’s for kids who start trouble, but it’s not,” said Atkins.
“It’s for everyone.”
For what it’s worth, the parties are relatively safe and hundreds of kids are sequestered from street corners (albeit for only a couple of hours).
Not sure what type of impact Club KC is having on the local crime scene. But, the event has become so popular, the venues usually reach capacity just minutes after the doors open.
Now kids are lining up an hour or so in advance just to secure admission.
Hmm… why can’t we have this type of turn-out for trade school?
Nevertheless, the participants equate Club KC to heaven on earth.
“It’s a good place to be,” said a 14-year-old party-rocker last Friday night.
“There’s no fights out here. Basically, it’s a blessing.”
Another man added, “It’s better because it keeps us out of house parties. I feel more protected with the police around.”
It should be noted, Club KC ain’t cheap.
This year, the budget doubled to roughly $400,000, the parties have been extended an additional four weeks, and the city added a fourth community center to the mix.
Is it taxpayer money well spent?
Depends on who you ask.
“There’s a pretty big void as far as any private organizations on the east side,” said Roosevelt Lyons, senior adviser for civic and community engagement in the mayor’s office.
“The least we could do was open those (the community centers) up and offer a safe place for young people to go on the weekends.”
Again, Club KC shouldn’t be construed as economic progress.
But, hell, at least the kids are happy.