Star Survey Results Actually No Surprise at All
The Kansas City Star‘s Yael Abouhalkah seems surprised that voters in the Star‘s unscientific online survey rejected the question, “Should taxpayers build a downtown stadium for the Royals?”
- Strongly agree — 26 percent
- Agree — 9 percent
- Disagree — 14 percent
- Absolutely not — 51 percent
That’s a pretty strong vote of 65 percent opposition to the idea. Readers offered several dozen comments.
We at Show-Me had some immediate comments too. The least of which not being that you’d certainly have to work at the Star to be surprised by this result. Kansas City has had ruinous results in building big projects like this. For example:
- The Power & Light District remains a drain on city resources, having never lived up to the promises made by boosters.
- The Citadel Plaza project was never even built, yet it cost the city millions.
- The city got itself into a horrible bind by taking on huge responsibilities with Kemper Arena and then not meeting them.
- The city spent money studying a proposed streetcar expansion before voters had a chance to voice their views. They rejected it.
- The city spent hundreds of thousands pitching itself for the Republican Convention even though the economic impacts claimed by supporters were specious.
- The city proposed a $1.2 billion new airport terminal based on at least one false premise.
Furthermore, just as mega-events such as Republican Conventions and Super Bowls fail to generate economic benefits, stadiums and arenas fail as well. (Read here for studies by The Brookings Institution and The Atlantic.) Kansas City voters are wary of such promises, and they are either defeating such efforts as translational medicine taxes and streetcars or are demanding sign-off on efforts to build new airport terminals. Why this well-founded skepticism is surprising to anyone is itself a surprise. The city should focus on delivering basic and necessary services and leave the economic speculation to others.