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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Segregation isn't intent of relocation

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

How can two groups of people view the very same set of facts and draw such opposite conclusions? Before you answer that just understand that there is no answer. And there never will be.

A civil rights group gathered in Kansas City this week to criticize urban areas for allowing business and industry to move away from the city itself and quite often relocate or expand to the suburban areas. The civil rights groups viewed this decades-old trend as promoting racial segregation. I view it so very differently.

When a business or industry is seeking a location, countless factors come into play. First, is land available and, if so, at what price? Have you tried finding ample land in a downtown urban center these days? Don't waste your time. Business and industry also look at traffic congestion to allow their workers the opportunity to travel to their business location. And then they look at items like insurance, utilities, access to rail or truck transportation and a million or so other factors.

But to these civil rights groups it amounts to a conspiracy between industry and the government to abandon the urban areas, thereby leaving them racially segregated and moving the "white folk" to the suburbs.

The spokesman for the civil rights group told the gathering "Our growth patterns don't serve any of us well. We have to create a region where all parts are economically healthy." Has he not heard of the massive tax incentives available to business and industry to locate in urban areas? Has he not heard of the financial benefits available to business and industry if they remain in urban centers? No my friend, we have bent over backward in an attempt to keep vibrant inner cities. But the practical and business decisions are often driven by multiple factors.

These groups act as if they just woke up and realized that - gosh - businesses are leaving the cities because it is better for their concerns to locate elsewhere. Well that trend has been under way for decades and it will continue. And well it should.

Now what excuse will these groups have somewhere in the future when the industries in the suburbs face the very same problems and they decide to move to rural areas like Sikeston. I wonder what their excuse will be then?



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