Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Introducing the Inter-City News

Prof. Ulichne and I, with a little help from our friends, are publishing a new newspaper called "The Inter-City News," which you can read online by visiting www.inter-citynews.com, or pick up a copy at businesses in the area.

This newspaper serves the area that for many years stood unincorporated between Independence and Kansas City. A lot of people don't remember the Inter-City.  Until the 1940s, the western boundary of Independence was Forest Avenue. The area between Independence and the city limits of Kansas City, which were moving eastward but still several miles away, was generally thought to be "Blue Valley" on account of the Blue River, important at that time for transportation and industrial uses. As the railroads and the street car lines started to connect the two cities, this unincorporated area became known as "Inter-City".

By the 1960s, nearly all of that area had been annexed by Independence and Kansas City, but because this area lies on the farthest reaches of those municipalities, it is the most under-served and blighted area of Independence, and Kansas City should be ashamed as well.

Politicians in both Independence and Kansas City (and even Sugar Creek, for that matter) have no trouble using and abusing Eminent Domain to seize land and homes that are NOT blighted in order to suit the needs of the corporate investors who line their campaign pockets, but for decades these same politicians have ignored the disgraceful blight that exists on the thoroughfares between I-435 and Sterling Avenue in Independence, and the same conditions west of I-435 in Kansas City.

The most painful spectacle of this to us, the publishers of the Inter-City News, is that stretch of 24 Highway that takes visitors that come from around the country and the world to visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. The entire metropolitan area should be ashamed of this stretch of roadway and its abandoned businesses, overgrown weeds, run-down houses, crime, tweakers, etc.  "Professor Joyboy" took us on a tour of this route last year in "The Road to Harry's Library," and if you'll click on that link, you'll see what we're up against. 

As we delivered our newspaper to businesses in the Inter-City, asking them to help us distribute them to residents, we heard the same stories over and over again from the business owners and citizens we spoke with.  100% of them feel like the local politicians have completely forgotten the area, or just abandoned it altogether.  "They don't care about us," and "They don't know we exist" were heard often, as Independence people contemplate the hundreds of millions of TIFF dollars handed over to develop the 39th street/1-70 area, which wasn't blighted at all or in need of economic development the way that Inter-City has been for decades.

And so comes The Inter-City News, aiming to use tactics that are "Revolutionary" in the Ben Franklin sense, to mobilize the citizens and catch the attention of the politicians who serve this area.  Thankfully, it's an election year.   Hopefully, this area that despite woeful economic conditions still turns out on Election Day in impressive numbers, will start getting the attention it desperately needs.  Suggestions and sumbissions to the Inter-City News are welcome.  Stay tuned...

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