Editor: I’m a local business owner, a part of the McPherson Diversity Team, and a strong supporter of equal opportunity for everyone.  For the past 20 years I’ve resided in McPherson and own the McPherson School of Karate, Body Construction Fitness and Kansas Super Fights.  I was informed with a moment’s notice that there would be a meeting on whether to have a permit on pro fighting here in our community. It didn’t allow me time to prepare a speech or contact others on this matter. I have a little over 40 years experience in the martial arts and don’t understand the justification of requiring such a permit when I’m the only one hosting these types of events in our community. This situation is crystal clear to me that the city is either targeting me or the profession that I’m in. I don’t agree with the implementation of this permit because I already pay the state for each pro event. Why should I have to pay the city and the state when our city is under the state? When we have pro events in other cities we have to purchase an event permit through the Kansas Athletic Commission.  We teach a combination of wrestling, grappling, boxing and karate rolled into one, in a controlled atmosphere. We’ve went from the arena to floor, to mats to boxing ring, and now the Cage. We realize that the cage may intimidate some people but it was designed to protect the fighters and the spectators. You must look at it in the competitors view. If this is something you are not interested in, treat it like a movie — if you don’t like the show, don’t purchase a ticket. I feel this is an unnecessary road block when we already have to purchase a permit through the state.  We need to keep our youth from spilling over to the life of drugs and crime, but if we continue to nickel and dime our small businesses we will take positive activities away from our youth.  This leaves them with no choice but to once again turn back to a negative environment. We rather our fighters compete in a controlled environment than in their backyards, basements or on the streets. I hope this isn’t just a subtle way for McPherson to close its eyes and doors to new things and changes in our community. We need to continue teaching our youth not to go through life looking for handouts, but rather for a hand up. Kansas Super Fights will do what is necessary to keep having events here at home, but our city must broaden its horizons as well. You don’t still have a black and white TV, so why see the world that way. I will close with this strong quote from Spike Lee: ”Racism is when you have laws set up, systematically put in a way to keep people from advancing, to stop the advancement of people.” Just think about it.   In friendship, Sandra Price-Byrd