The Establishment Strikes Back
The publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal is not at all impressed with his neighbors’ method for objecting to government policy. In a piece titled Attack of the EEZ, he writes of a recent public meeting about Enhanced Enterprise Zones (EEZs):
Rules like repeating past discussion points, being respectful and not talking over each other went right out the window early on. Several people that live or own property in the proposed zone acted like they had never even been to a public or council meeting – and perhaps they haven’t.
The author may be right. Most of these people have spent a lifetime being busy working, trying to earn incomes and pay the federal, state, and local taxes that Lee’s Summit city officials now want to spend on an economic development tool that does exactly nothing. But what he characterizes as “an anti-government rally, complete with cat calls, cheering and cries of ‘you’re not taking my property!’ echoing throughout the room” seemed to me to be a very civil meeting of 250 people. People who, while intellectually opposed to what the Lee’s Summit City Council was considering, remained very civil. You can judge the proceeding for yourself online here.
It may be true that citizens of Lee’s Summit do not understand EEZs and fear the impact on their homes. But it is also likely true that members of the EEZ Advisory Board and City Council do not understand EEZs either. Because if they were familiar with the research on EEZs, they wouldn’t be wasting so much time on a policy that is such a complete failure.
Sure, members of the establishment like these taxpayer giveaways — which amount to nothing more than corporate welfare — because they will be first in line to receive them. The consultants and state employees who encourage such programs also benefit. Having to stand in the dock and answer questions from mere voters made them uncomfortable. The Journal publisher wrote that he:
. . . felt sorry for city staff, for EEZ Advisory Board chair Keith Asel, for city consultant Chris Sally and for the five councilmen that were lined up along the back wall during the two-hour event.
Poor dears. I hope they recover. (Note, most of the councilmen snuck out long before the meeting adjourned.) And I hope the people of Lee’s Summit continue to demand answers to difficult and unpleasant questions. Even if — or better yet, because — it makes those in the establishment earn their keep.