Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spare change in Kansas City

There’s an energy of tension between citizens, businesses, and the city government. Our city’s school district leadership distanced from city hall. Our law enforcement with a chain-of-command directly into our governor’s office. The tension feels exciting, really. Change is in the air, Kansas City.

An election approaches where we can participate and speak.

People seem to be doing their best at the jobs they have. Those without jobs do their best to search. Businesses, wishing to do business, do their best to patiently tolerate the paper-stamping city hall bureaucrats. The bureaucrats mean well. This is a friendly city, friendlier than we know. This is not a town where people take to the streets in large numbers for protests. We’re content to watch that on television.

Change is in the air, Kansas City. All of this dynamic tension seems to be getting quantified on spreadsheets and in databases. Yes, it’s coming down to the numbers. We’re paying close attention to our (un)balance(d) sheets, personal, public, small business, big business, international corporation, not-for-profit, federal and local. The change is in the numbers before us, on our tax returns, on those receipts, within those online printable bank statements.

The rhetoric for change is no longer a narrative of morals or ideals, long past dream speeches of torch passing to a new society facing a cold monolithic war. Down from the clouds, we’re counting beans, each and every one. Down from the mountain top, we’re working hard to grow something in the valley. And along this confluence of rivers, in this city so very good, we’re busy doing practical things, data entry, bean counting, doing business, making things, creating art, teaching, learning, living.

The bean counting will dictate the change. The numbers and the resulting graphs and pie charts will graphically depict, clearly show that our city government will soon move from city hall to smaller digs, maybe. Our local law enforcement will come under council control due to the governor’s own fiscal worries. Take control…please, he’ll soon say.

There’s definitely change in the air, tension, uncertainty. But as we do here, as we always seem to patiently walk forward, we know that the practical, the sensible, the gracious thing to do is to live within our means and do our best. That’s what makes Kansas City such a wonderful town, warts and all.

And right now, we’re all trying to find that number that quantifies the acceptable, practical mean within which we can live. Oh, how we love tax time.

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