It's not often that I get to drive through a blighted area of Joplin, but I did stop by the Wal-Mart Supercenter Saturday night to pick up a few groceries.
Most of the time, I try to shop at Dillon's or Smitty's. After all, who wants to drive alone at night in an area that the local TIF Commission and apparently, the Joplin City Council, consider blighted.
I haven't seen any statistics on how much crime occurs at the Supercenter. I know it's a jungle in its parking lot. No wonder the city council is anxious to give all of those tax advantages to rich developers so the Wal-Mart Supercenter can continue to be a shining example of the powers of urban renewal.
Seriously, tonight is the night the City Council will make its final decision on whether to declare the area a TIF zone and provide tax breaks to a company that wants to put a shopping center on the old K-Mart property. The whole idea of tax increment financing is flawed and it's even more flawed in cases like this. Why take away from our tax base to bring in businesses that will take away business from the ones already here. On top of that, you are giving these new businesses tax breaks that are not available to the already-existing businesses.
It's bad policy and I am not just saying that because I work for a taxpayer-supported entity, the Joplin R-8 School District, that will lose funding because of this.
The basic concept of TIF, to improve property that is actually blighted, is an admirable goal. This property is among the most valuable in the city of Joplin. It will be developed and can be done without harming the taxpayers in the process.
It is amazing how selective the memory can be. The latest fiction to spread in the war between Nexstar, owner of KSNF and operator (and de facto owner) of KODE is that cable originally came into being to carry local stations.
If I recall correctly, no cable company ever came into this area, selling KODE, KSN and KOAM. It has always been the stations like CNN, ESPN, the Weather Channel, C-SPAN, TBS, TNT, and USA Network have spurred cable hookups.
Local stations had to go to the federal government 12 years ago to make sure that cable companies carried the local stations, even though most of them were. The thought then was that the local stations needed cable to ensure that they reach as many customers as possible.
The more pressing need now appears to be for another source of revenue flow. In the past, the networks paid local stations for carrying their programming. That is now a thing of the past. Plus, the added competition for the advertising dollar has hurt the bottom line at local TV stations. In the past, the stations competed against each other and newspapers and radio stations for the advertising dollar. Now the cable stations and the Internet have come into play.
That could be one reason why you see the constant flow of infomercials, many in prominent time periods (not just the wee hours of the morning) on channels 12 and 16. KODE used to carry the Andy Griffith Show at 11 a.m. Now it offers infomercials, KSNF used to carry Frasier at 12:30 p.m. Now it has a different infomercial every day, a surefire lead-in for NBC's afternoon soap operas.
Plus, you now have KODE and KSNF sharing ad sales, enabling the companies to offer better deals to advertisers.
If Nexstar can get one of the local cable outfits to cave in, it won't be long before the others are forced to follow suit. In this area, Cox would appear to be the weak link since its multi-tiered setup has already been much criticized.
The Joplin Globe is continuing to rake in big bucks from the controversy. KSN and KODE ran full-page advertisements in the Sunday and Monday Globe while Dish Network had a full-page ad in the Sunday edition.
The Newton County Sheriff's race was selected as the top news story of 2004 by the Neosho Daily News. And it was a major story that the Daily did its best to jump on. The biggest problem the Daily and other media sources have had with the controversies surrounding Ron Doerge is that it is hard to cover the story thoroughly when your main (and only) source is Doerge himself.
The story will continue in 2005 since reports are that Doerge received a deputy's commission and will remain an integral part of the Newton County Sheriff's Department.
That is not going to make things easy on his successor, Ken Copeland.
For those of you who have Cable One and have not receieved an antenna, check out Channel 67 (which is not provided by the cable company). KSNF is available on that channel.
I finally broke down ond bought an antenna (I didn't want to get one of the freebies since I write about Cable One in this blog.) just in time to see Marty Schottenheimer's latest playoff adventure. I left at halftime of the San Diego-New York Jets game Saturday night and bought an antenna at a store in the middle of a blighted area of Joplin.
All right. I know I have talked about this time and time again, but why do the local newspapers (primarily the Neosho Daily News and The Carthage Press) insist on putting the phrase "From staff reports" on articles that staff members contributed nothing to?
The latest example came on page one of the Sunday Neosho Daily News, which featured a press release on State Senator Gary Nodler's appointment as chairman of the Education Committee. No one is going to think less of the Daily if it simply says that it is a press release and tells where it came from. Or get on the phone, find some more information and make it into your own story. Then any information from the press release can be labeled, "according to the press release," or "the press release said."
Two Southeast Kansas radio stations have been sold to Southeast Kansas Independent Living (SKIL), according to the Pittsburg Morning Sun. KSEK, 1340 AM and 99.1 FM, is expected to keep the same format on both of its stations, though all sports activities will now be on the AM side, according to the Morning Sun article.