Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Should Equal Rights Apply Only During Economic Good Times

One of my City Councilmembers, Beth Gottstein, has introduced a proposed ordinance to ban discriminatory dress codes in publicly subsidized redevelopment plans and projects. The ordinance is, of course, a reaction to the dress code that the people at the Cordish Companies have used to deny access to the tax-advantaged Power & Light District for people dressed in, shall we say, an "urban" style. Not surprisingly, the ban on ball caps and white t-shirts was sometimes ignored for shall we say, "suburban" looking people.

Beth Gottstein, along with Terry Riley, Mayor Funkhouser and John Sharp, has come out against having our tax dollars subsidizing discrimination. Who could possibly disagree?

Sure enough, the local blogosphere provides an example of someone willing to stand up for prejudice if it's profitable. Over at the Kansas City Post, we are instructed that "As far as the P&L, our primary concern right now should be revenue." The focus should not be on equal rights in a time of economic crisis, it should be on revenue. "I would like to see the numbers on how many potential patrons are turned away, and what the projected lost revenue is. I doubt it's even a drop in the bucket." It's not that they're too black, it's that they're not green enough?

I'm grateful that Councilmember Gottstein has found a revenue-neutral way to help our city become a better, more welcoming place. Her dedication to building bridges and reaching out to all facets of our community has been an important part of her character for years - long before we were fortunate enough to gain her leadership on the Council.

Some things remain more important than revenue, even during times of economic crisis. While some among us feel that "Hard economic times call for singular focus," leaders like Gottstein realize that good people don't turn on each other during hard economic times. Martin Luther King, Jr., pointed out that "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Thank you, Beth, for helping Kansas City stand in a goood place at a time of challenge. That's why we voted for you.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good way to expedite the failure of the district. You can call it biased, prejudice, or everyone's favorite, the blown out of proportion claim of racism. It's a simple idea of interest in the long term success. If letting everyone in, no matter how they dressed, made them more money I'm sure it would arranged.

2/25/2009 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

Don't create a controversy where this none. This is about money not race.

2/25/2009 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Funk = Bigot said...

Anyone who supported Funkhouser sees the world in terms of race.

2/25/2009 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, Dan, just ignore race as an issue until the times get good again and we can afford human dignity.

Is that an accurate quote? Did Forsythe really ask whether the people discriminated against would have spent enough money to make a difference?

What a creep! His political "career" (such as it was) is toast. Thanks be to God.

2/25/2009 10:30 PM  
Anonymous misguided said...

It's so cute how you let the voices in your head comment on your blog.

Maybe one of them would like to explain how a dress code can be be racist when it applies to everyone wearing "urban" (aka - gang) attire, regardless of their gender or race. Last I checked, an individual's choice of attire is not a protected civil right.

Please, have one of the voices in your head explain to us all how I am wrong.

2/26/2009 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this post Dan.

2/28/2009 2:53 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

To the contrary, a dress code can be racist when it has a disproportionate impact on one group, or in the case of the P&L when it is used as a tool to screen out one group while you allow others in the dominant group to get in. Here is example of a dress code that would have a disproportionate impact on whites. No Cowboy Boots, No Overly Tight Jeans, No Big Belt Buckles, No Plaid Shirts, No Cowboy Hats! Funny when you imagine what that person looks like!! Curious that Cordish can't ever give you a business reason for banning white T shirts. Why is a blue T shirt anymore upscale than a white T shirt? Why are long shorts banned, but mini-shorts are allowed? It is a code and we all know it. Cordish has accepted hundreds of millions in tax subsidies. That's like asking people to pay for a meal that they can't eat.

3/15/2009 8:55 PM  

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