ood event in Platte City on Sunday afternoon that drew a crowd despite very limited advance promotion. Brian Cooper, a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness in Platte City, put together what he called a “Unity and Diversity Celebration.” It began at the steps of the Platte County Courthouse with a gathering of about 80 people of various shapes, sizes, colors and background. Despite the heat, many of those 80 then marched from downtown to the Platte County High School.
“I’ve heard and seen some things in Platte City that could divide us if we let it. We can disagree with one another but we can still love one another,” Cooper said in explaining his motivation for putting together the event, which he emphasized was a celebration, not a protest. It was to show Platte City “is not going to be divided,” he said.
So Parkville (a very impressive 600 in attendance) and Platte City have recently hosted successful “march for unity” type celebrations.
What’s up, Weston?
A group tried to put together a similar event in downtown Weston but it was scrapped when the pre-game planning was getting a little testy, apparently. I’ll let Beth McPherson, editor of the Weston Chronicle, explain it from here, per her column in the July 1 Chronicle:
“There was supposed to be a gathering to hear speakers talk about the need for equality and freedom, especially for blacks and Hispanic members of the population. The event had started out as a rally to support Black Lives Matter, but after some pushback it was changed to “Walk With Weston.” Part of it was a short march planned from O’Malley’s to the City Park because the insurance costs required by the city to walk down Main Street (wut?) were too high. Then, they were told there would be a group of guys calling themselves Patriots stationed in the park, as they said, to protect the marchers. All in all, a lot of people were frightened, there have been apologies all around, misunderstandings abound and the event was canceled. Everyone needs to take a hard look at their parts in this and remember the old adage–If you want to soar like an eagle, don’t fly with turkeys.”
By the way, the “wut?” is my incredulous contribution to the discussion, not Beth’s.
Here is something to think about while pondering the growing speculation that the $43 million Northland Soccer Complex, which was approved to be constructed in Platte County by a Kansas City council vote in April, could be chopped from the city’s plans.
Is it just a coincidence that the potential chopping comes after the Platte County Commission thus far has held onto $6 million in CARES funds that it was asked by the state treasurer to pass along to the City of Kansas City but hasn’t?
Maybe it’s simply coincidence. Maybe KC would be talking about killing the project regardless of the county commission’s decision to thus far keep their hands on that $6 million in relief funds. And keep in mind the county has that $6 million based solely on the fact that half of the county’s population resides within the city limits of Kansas City.
Sure, the timing could be coincidental and it’s possible those two things are not at all related. I sincerely accept that as a possibility.
It doesn’t change the fact that the relationship between two government agencies that in the past have been partners on joint projects is likely feeling a little strained right now. How could it not?
Consider some things we know to be fact, not possibilities:
*Platte County Commissioners talked in favor of the Northland Soccer Complex and took action to support its development. Dagmar Wood, first district commissioner, in particular was extremely giddy about it, and went on and on ad nauseam about how important it would be to Platte County.
*The COVID-19 pandemic hits. Platte County commissioners publicly lose control of their bodily functions over steps taken by the Platte County Health Department in response to the health threat. A three-hour bullying roast of the local health director ensues at a commission meeting on May 4. It was like an episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News. This means you know the commissioners really didn’t approve of steps taken by the Kansas City Health Department, whose approach was more restrictive than the county health agency.
*In her online anger and frustration to support her apparent stance that COVID-19 is overblown and isn’t really a threat to Platte Countians, Dagmar Wood, first district commissioner, starts playing games with the numbers when publicly talking about the number of COVID-19 cases in Platte County. Wood begins reporting only the numbers of positive cases within the county health department jurisdiction, failing to include the number of positive COVID cases among folks who live within the Kansas City portion of Platte County. The first district commissioner, it seemed, did not want to acknowledge the existence of Kansas City residents in the county in which she is elected and paid handsomely by taxpayers to serve.
*The state treasurer, in passing on $12 million in federal CARES money for COVID-19 relief efforts to Platte County, had asked the county commission to pass on $6 million of that to the City of Kansas City, based on the fact half of the county’s population is comprised of residents who live within the City of Kansas City boundaries. The county commission thus far has declined, citing “worries” that Kansas City would spend the money in portions of the city not within Platte County and citing the fact that Jackson County has not yet passed on dollars designated for Kansas City. Whether those are legitimate concerns or whether this is simply another example of our county commissioners dangerously believing they are smarter than anyone else in the room is a matter for your own personal interpretation.
*Media reports then surface that Kansas City is seriously considering chopping the $43 million Northland Soccer Complex in Platte County out of its plans. Some sources have reported it as though the decision to kill it has already been made. Others still list it merely as a possibility.
As we said last week, stay tuned.
(Get more Foley and less Tucker Carlson on Twitter @ivanfoley and watch plattecountylandmark.com for upcoming episodes of Landmark Live)