Maybe you saw a comment on the home page yesterday from my friend Gus Buttice, a St. Louis resident, about an Associated Press story he read in the St. Louis-Post Dispatch.
The story, Gus said, essentially was about how the Kansas City suburbs were growing and how Kansas City seemed to be turning into a giant suburb.
I was able to track down that story, and while it’s interesting, it’s a bit misleading. It’s true that Kansas City, like many metropolitan areas, is becoming more and more suburban, but, fortunately, the city itself continues to grow.
Last week, Yael Abouhalkah of The Star’s editorial board wrote a column in which he laid out the population trends for our area. While some suburban cities, such as Shawnee, enjoyed the sharpest growth rates between July 1, 2000, and July 1, 2009, Kansas City’s numbers were impressive. According to the Census bureau, the city’s population went from 441,612 residents in 2000 to 482,299 last year — a 9.2 percent increase.
I would love to see us hit 500,000 in the 2010 Census, but that’s probably not realistic. However, I think the recession and its aftermath are prompting some people considering a move to think twice about moving farther out. If Kansas City can figure out a way to reduce its expenses — such as bloated pensions to retirees — and put more money toward improved city services, our future would be quite promising.
Oh, and by the way, a key element of the AP story was that some Johnson County folks are planning — well, maybe talking about — a “National Museum of Suburban History.” They contend that with more than 50 percent of the country living in places like Shawnee, “it’s past time to take the suburbs seriously.”
Perfect. The National Museum of Suburban History right here in suburban Kansas City. I wonder how big of a convention and visitors draw that would be. Do you think it a couple of caravans from Liberty and Lone Jack would hazard the westward journey?
Like most journalists, current and former, I love a good quote. Here’s one I think you’ll enjoy.
In Sunday’s New York Times, reporter Jeff Sommer wrote about a stock market forecaster named Robert Prechter, who said he is convinced that “we have entered a market decline of staggering proportions — perhaps the biggest of the last 300 years.”
His advice to individual investors is move completely out of the market and hold cash and cash equivalents, like Treasury bills, for years to come.
To balance out the story, Sommer interviewed another market analyst, a man named Ralph Acampora, who has more than 40 years experience in the market. When Sommer asked Acampora if he agreed with Prechter’s long-term theory, Acampora said he did not and added:
“I don’t want to agree with him, because if he’s right, we’ve basically got to go to the mountains with a gun and some soup cans, because it’s all over.”