Kansas City Council | KCUR

Kansas City Council

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Former Kansas City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Alissia Canady has filed to run for Missouri Lieutenant Governor.

Canady served one term representing the city’s 5th district before announcing her mayoral bid in 2018.

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The Kansas City Council passed a $1.7 billion budget Thursday even though the city does not yet know the full extent of the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on the city’s revenues.

“We are in a most serious time,” Councilwoman Teresa Loar said during Thursday’s four-hour debate. “We should just pass a budget, see where we’re at, and then we will take care of things as we go.”

Screenshot - Kansas City, Missouri

A Kansas City Council committee on Wednesday advanced a $1.7 billion city budget in a chaotic, difficult-to-follow meeting in which most of the committee was not physically present.

“Obviously this is unusual times, so we’re trying to continue the business of the people, but yet do it in a way that’s safe for all of us,” councilwoman Katheryn Shields said to begin the meeting.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Renters in Kansas City, Missouri, are giving Mayor Quinton Lucas a Friday deadline to find money to fund an office that would enforce tenants’ rights.

Members of the tenant’s rights organization KC Tenants also accused Lucas of “gaslighting” them for characterizing them as “crazy” or “entitled” for demanding the money.

The tenants’ bill of rights, which was drafted by KC Tenants alongside the mayor’s office, passed overwhelmingly in December. Among other things, the package codifies protections for renters and requires landlords to disclose information about utilities.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is rethinking some of his proposed budget cuts.

The budget Lucas announced earlier this month included major cuts to arts, tourism and entrepreneurship programs. 

But in a letter to the city council late Friday afternoon, Lucas said he will restore funding to the Kansas City Film Commission and Children’s Mercy Hospital.

At the city’s first budget hearing in February, dozens of filmmakers, artists and arts supporters testified against the reductions.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Alissia Canady is a black woman from Kansas City’s east side. In the crowded primary race for mayor last year — there were 11 candidates — she was the only woman of color.

Canady, who is 40, came in third. But don’t call that outcome a failure.

Quinton Lucas was one of Canady’s opponents in the primary race to be Kansas City’s mayor. Lucas ultimately won the election, and made Canady the chairperson of the very prominent Tax Increment Financing Commission.

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Taxpayers in Kansas City, Missouri, have a chance between now and March 3 to influence how the city spends their money.

Mayor Quinton Lucas released his proposed budget last week. The budget prioritizes fighting violent crime, increasing the city’s stock of affordable housing and fixing potholes, but it falls roughly $3 million short of another of the mayor's priorities: eliminating bus fares.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is set to release his proposed budget Thursday, and it’s roughly $3 million short of what transportation officials say they need to get rid of bus fares.

Kansas City, Missouri, got national attention last year when the city council pledged to find the money to go fare-free. Officials at the time estimated that it would cost $8 million to pull off.

Center School District / Facebook

School districts and churches in Kansas City, Missouri, will no longer have increased power to keep liquor stores and bars out of neighborhoods.

On Thursday, the Kansas City Council unanimously passed an ordinance saying that churches and school districts have the same level of input as homeowners and other property owners when it comes to approvals for new bars and restaurants.

Previously, bars and restaurants selling liquor could not open within 300 feet of a school or church without the consent of those schools or churches.

Waddell and Reed

Kansas City, Missouri, has finally agreed to hold up its end of the so-called economic border war truce with Kansas.

The move on Thursday came more than five months after Missouri and Kansas agreed to stop poaching companies from one side of the state line to the other.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City voters will decide in April whether to increase the city sales tax to help maintain buildings and buy new vehicles for the fire department.

The City Council voted 10-2 on Thursday to place the issue on the ballot in April. Councilmembers Melissa Robinson and Eric Bunch voted against the measure. Mayor Quinton Lucas was absent.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

While we’re glued to the news gushing daily out of Washington — impeachment, immigration, health care — the truth is we should be paying just as close attention to what local governments are up to.

Seg. 1: Vision Zero Proposal | Seg. 2: Far-Flung Chiefs Bars

Jan 16, 2020

Segment 1: Kansas City councilman is aiming for zero annual traffic deaths by 2030.

The goal of Vision Zero is simple: eliminate all traffic-related deaths through smarter engineering, education and enforcement. Despite various levels of success in other metropolitan areas, one city official who is convinced it can work explains how.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Council this week will discuss an ambitious proposal to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2030.

The measure, dubbed Vision Zero, was introduced following the death of a well-known Kansas City cyclist late last year.

The strategy, first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, has seen success in Europe, but American cities that have followed suit have struggled to lower traffic fatalities.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Councilwoman Teresa Loar has come under fire for comments she made about a bike infrastructure plan in the wake of a well-known bicyclist’s death.

Pablo Sanders died last month after being struck by a car while crossing Southwest Trafficway on his bike on Christmas Eve.

KC Pet Project

Eight years ago, 70% of the animals that came into Kansas City, Missouri’s animal shelter were euthanized. 

“It was dreadful,” Kansas City Councilwoman Teresa Loar said. “It was a death camp.”

But after the nonprofit KC Pet Project took over shelter operations in 2012 and converted it to no-kill, attitudes began to change, she said. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Council on Thursday resoundingly passed what advocates are calling a historic resolution, codifying protections for renters.

Mayor Quinton Lucas, who often talks about his lack of stable housing growing up in Kansas City, made affordable housing a flagship issue of his campaign.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is poised to become the largest city in the country to eliminate bus fares.

The Kansas City Council on Thursday enthusiastically endorsed the idea, voting unanimously to direct the city manager to identify up to $8 million from the city budget to fund free bus service.

Fourth District Councilman Eric Bunch, who co-sponsored the measure along with Mayor Quinton Lucas, acknowledged the importance of the change.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

By the end of 2019, police expect 150 homicides in Kansas City, most at the point of a gun. Authorities say another 500 people will be shot and wounded.

Many of the survivors, plus their families and neighbors, will spend the rest of their lives dealing with the aftermath of a gunshot wound. A new program is seeking to give people the help they need to heal both their physical and mental wounds.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

There is no doubt Jackson County has some monumental, vexing problems.

The county jail is in desperate need of being replaced. The downtown courthouse needs to be renovated after flooding earlier this year. And the property reassessment process is a mess, with appeals that will stretch into 2020.

Riding in to apparently try and fix all of this is Troy Schulte, who in September announced he was stepping down as Kansas City's city manager after a decade on the job. The county legislature will discuss a proposed contract with him on Monday.

BNIM and HOK

A scaled-back incentives request for the proposed $133 million Strata project has been approved by the Kansas City Council despite becoming a lightning rod for how the newly elected officials will approach economic incentives for major developments.

The 7-4 vote came after tense and heated debate Thursday on whether to grant incentives to the high-end office tower that has been languishing in City Hall for much of the last year. The project was first announced in late 2018.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Two years ago, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority gave veterans free bus passes. The next year, students became the beneficiaries of the zero fare policy. According to KCATA, 23% of riders over the past several years have not paid a dime to ride the bus.  

Transit officials argue the policy gives individuals and families more money to pump back into the local economy and that it improves the safety and efficiency of the system.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Therapists who attempt to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ minors through conversion therapy could be fined up to $500 and spend as much as six months in jail, if the Kansas City Council approves an ordinance passed by a committee Wednesday.

The proposed ban calls conversion therapy "ineffective" and "harmful." It’s also been debunked by the American Psychological Association.

But, opponents say outlawing it would infringe on the rights of people who want the therapy.

Segment 1: KC Tenants will introduce a set of guidelines and protections for tenant-landlord disputes.

Since February, a Kansas City tenants group has been pushing for safe, fair, affordable housing for all. Their latest efforts have been drafting and garnering support for a tenant bill of rights, which they will present to City Council on Thursday.

Avery Gott / KCUR 89.3

Voters throughout Kansas City, Missouri, are being asked to decide whether to reverse a city council decision from earlier this year and change the name of what is now Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard back to Paseo Boulevard.

EJ Holtze Corp.

A $63 million luxury hotel proposed near the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will face a tougher road to a city incentive package after a big rejection on Thursday.

Avery Gott / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City, Missouri, city council committee on Wednesday unanimously passed a measure that would wipe out a municipal violation for anyone caught with 35g or less of marijuana after 180 days.

What started as an ordinance sponsored by Third District Councilman Brandon Ellington to decriminalize up to 100 grams of marijuana was changed considerably and passed without a second public hearing, angering dozens of supporters who showed up to speak.

Segment 1: Schulte talks of the progress and set-backs Kansas City faced during his term as city manager.

Troy Schulte's 10-year term as manager of Kansas City, Missouri, will in a few months come to a close. He said one of the hardest things about his job was finding a balance in handling pressing crises and working toward long-term goals. Schulte talked about things he's proud of, like the new airport terminal design, which is set to acheive net-zero carbon emissions. He also spoke of critical issues, like the overcrowding in city jails.

Kansas City Health Deparment

In the past, Kansas City officials had no authority to rectify health and safety problems in rental properties. But in August 2018, voters approved an initiative that allowed the health department to investigate complaints and to seek remedies.

In August of this year, the City Council expanded that authority to include federally subsidized Section 8 housing like the Englewood Apartments, as well as nonprofit rental housing.

File photo / BigStock Images

People from all over Kansas City packed a city council hearing Wednesday to support a change in the city's marijuana laws. 

The committee delayed a decision on the proposed ordinance, sponsored by newly elected Councilman Brandon Ellington, which would essentially decriminalize the possession of 100 grams or less of marijuana.

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