Mayor Sly James And New Kansas City Council Members Sworn Into Office
Kansas City Mayor Sly James and the 12 newly elected city council members were sworn into office Saturday morning.
Hundreds packed the Gem Theater in the city's historic 18th and Vine District to hear James' inaugural speech and watch the council's first legislative session.
In his speech, James focused on successes from his first term like the roll out Google Fiber,lower homicide rates in 2014 and education. He also said he wants residents of Kansas City to feel like the city is unified despite cultural differences.
"Think about Kansas City as a community that gives no favor or disfavor based on whether you are white, black, brown, young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, Northlander, Midtowner or Southsider," James said to much applause. "The initials K.C. are as hot as Johnny Cueto's fastball."
Earlier this week, James appointed the chairs of city council committees, and named 1st District Councilman Scott Wagner as mayor pro tem.
Among James' committee chair choices was Quinton Lucas of the 3rd District. Lucas will head the new Housing committee, and he says he's ready to modernize the city's approach to housing.
"We continue to have some requirements in our zoning and planning codes that really harken back to a different time: a post-World War II style of development," Lucas said. "What I'd like to see is us actually try to modernize where we can, particularly in targeted areas of the community."
The council is also expected to come up with plans for KCI and Kemper Arena in the coming weeks. They'll also have to deal with the ongoing fighting between activists and business groups over the city's new minimum wage ordinance, which is currently caught between two rival initiative petitions.