Funkhouser Vows to Improve City Services
By Sylvia Maria Gross
Kansas City, MO – Kansas City's new mayor and city council were sworn in to office this morning at city hall. Before launching in to his priorities for the city in his inaugural address, Mayor Mark Funkhouser promised that his family would come first. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has more.
Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser praised the new council members' commitment to public service and said he looked forward to working with them.
FUNKHOUSER: We can engage in good politics, spirited debate and selfless compromise, or we can play the politics of personal gain, forsaking the public's trust and smiting one another for petty boosts in ego, and I speak for myself, as much as any of you, I'm human too.
Funkhouser praised Mayor Kay Barnes and the previous city council for making the city's skyline more dazzling and said that development was important for the future of the city. But he said the first tax-increment financing proposal that he signed, would be on the east side.
FUNKHOUSER: Developers and large businesses need not fear me, as long as they help us nurture smaller enterprises throughout the entire city.
Funkhouser said he would work with the council to go after negligent landlords, improve neighborhood services by instituting performance standards and reduce the city's debt load. He said he's still working on solutions to some of the city's most difficult problems, like fixing the sewer system and building the
FUNKHOUSER: The faith and trust that Kansas City voters placed in me five and a half weeks ago is both gratifying and humbling. I will not fail them. I promise not to cover up mistakes but learn from them, and keep moving forward.
And Funkhouser said if he ends up being run out of town, he hopes its on a light rail. As for the new council, he said when he saw the votes come in for the council members, he knew the newly elected officials were intelligent and passionate.
FUNKHOUSER: And then I met face to face with each of you. And it dawned on me that my enthusiastic assessment was a gross underestmation. Suffice it to say I am blown away and I am very hopeful for Kansas City.
For the first time ever, the council has a majority of female members. But third district councilwoman Sharon Sanders Brooks says she views them all as elected officials.
SANDERS BROOKS: My constituents could care less. They want to make sure that the person that they elected is responsible and accountable to them.
Sanders Brooks said Funkhouser's platform of financial accountability, improved neighborhood services and economic development in blighted areas, matches her constituents' priorities. In its first act this morning, the city council unanimously approved Funkhouser's new committees and assignments.