There’s a group trying to secure Kansas City as the site of the 2016 GOP convention. Gross.
Tag Archives: Kansas City Star
Writes the Kansas City Star’s editorial board:
Vacant, nuisance properties have become Kansas City’s latter-day plague, a kind of urban gangrene that can create a chronic downdraft in property values. In neighborhoods where the problem is severe, vacant houses draw rats, squatters, drug dealers, vandals and midnight dumpers.
Just how many of these “nuisance properties” are there?
Thousands of dilapidated properties are currently held by the city; estimates range from 4,000 to 12,000. Rotting, falling apart, and sitting idle, most were seized after the “owners” failed to pay rent to the government, or maintained the property as they saw fit, rather than follow a bureaucrat’s arbitrary plans.
Apparently kidnapping the “owners” hasn’t worked, because a few months ago KCTV5 reported that: “Kansas City, MO, police, along with the city, are cracking down and arresting homeowners who ignore repeated warnings to clean up.” Basically, if bureaucrats didn’t like your lawn they’d just kidnap you and hold you for ransom, the logical conclusion of such a policy.
The city government framed this in terms of fighting crime, namely drug use and prostitution, but if these two vices weren’t criminalized to begin with, there would be no such problem with abandoned homes. Michael Rozeff explained why this is true in a blog post on LRC regarding the city of Buffalo conducting SWAT raids on so-called “drug houses.”
So absent all of the problems created by prohibition, the only issue remaining is that dilapidated homes tend to reduce home values. This is another reason city governments regulate such items as where garbage cans may or may not be stored, what hours they are allowed to be on the curb, where and how RV campers are kept, and a whole host of issues related to aesthetics. But as Walter Block would argue, people don’t have a right to a nice view. This is where voluntary associations and neighborhood contracts can protect other property owners, but in no way should government become involved, which, as we see, knows only violence.
The city is now phasing out its Land Trust, the agency formerly in control of the properties. It was marked by “corruption and favoritism” and “strayed from the mission of improving city neighborhoods,” but city officials are hopeful that an even more powerful entity, the Land Bank, will solve this mess once and for all.
The supposed purpose of seizing these run-down properties was to preserve the neighborhoods’ aesthetics and maintain property values. But as has been clearly demonstrated, things have only deteriorated, and expanding the program will surely make things worse. Instead, city officials should publicly apologize to residents for aggravating the situation, and the remaining properties should be auctioned off, with proceeds going to restitution for the former owners.
Shamita Mahajan wants to save the Postal Service and she’s written a piece for the Kansas City Star making her case. In it, she addresses the rise of digital communication and how that has largely pushed physical mail out of the market, but that’s not the only reason for the Post Office’s dismal outlook. Sure, e-mail has largely nullified the traditional mail service, but were it not for the long-entrenched bureaucracy and labor unions, the USPS wouldn’t likely be in such a poor state.
In some ways I can agree with Mahajan on her point about hand-written letters. Letter writing is certainly becoming a lost art of sorts. Brett and Kate McKay over at the Art of Manliness have written a few times on hand-written letters and their place in the culture. And there was something extra special about sending and receiving hand-written letters between my wife and me while overseas.
However, two things struck me about Mahajan’s appeal, and she’s not alone in her thinking. Probably most Americans share her opinion about such government programs.
Those who enjoy letter-writing aren’t justified in forcing everyone else to support their hobby. This is a simple tenet of morality. It’s unjust to coerce individuals to do anything, let alone cough up money for things they don’t even want to use.
If Mahajan and her family decide to write more letters that’s great, but why must the federal government subsidize it? This is my second point: the industry should be opened up and the government should no longer prohibit companies from delivering letter mail.
As with everything else, the market has a remarkable way of working things out. In the absence of an anachronistic institution like the post office free individuals would step forward and offer to meet the needs of others. If letters can be delivered for cheaper than .45 cents, the market can make that happen; if they can’t, then those who want to send them should pay the difference.
The Kansas City Star reported that last night police conducted a bomb search at KCI when a flight in-bound from New York landed. FBI agents reportedly told passengers that an “unauthorized transmission” was made from aboard the plane, which prompted the investigation. According to the story, the FBI “wanted to interview passengers who might have used Internet-connected devices during the flight….”
An all too common discussion began in the comment section when one reader dared to question the police powers used. He wrote “So basically it’s safe to assume that some spy agency in the US is monitoring all our calls, eavesdropping on all our conversations and monitoring all internet traffic. […] So much for America being land of the free.”
Predictably, someone responded with the love-it-or-leave-it cliché. “The United States is most certainly the land of the free. It is so because dedicated people sacrifice to ensure that it stays so. Freedom comes at a cost. If you are not willing to pay that cost, feel free to pack your bags and get out.”
Why should we who resent living in a Police State have to get out? Why don’t instead, those who don’t object to being treated like a slave and a criminal move to a totalitarian society and leave the rest of us alone? There aren’t many places left to go for people who subscribe to the radical notion that everyone in society should abide the same moral code. And, on the other hand, literally dozens and dozens of places around the world are ruled by tyrannical governments with virtually no limit to their powers.
You don’t feel safe living in a society that respects others’ privacy and property? Move on. Since voting with our feet has all but been ruled out as an option for the liberty minded, the other side should vote with theirs.