Kansas City Mayor Sly on Council District Charter Change: 'I Think It's A Bad Idea'
Proposed Kansas City charter change is one of the most controversial topics on the horizon for local politicos and the manner in which this issue was placed on the ballot is also generating a few heated reax . . .
A recent KCUR report notes that Mayor Sly James has fulfilled his commitment to community groups and put charter change on the ballot BUT he doesn't necessarily support the idea when it comes to creating more council districts.
Here's the money quote:
“I think it's a bad idea, too." James said. "That does not mean people should not have the right to vote on bad ideas. It happens every day in this country.”
This response has elicited a strong reaction from some Kansas City insiders . . .
"If that's the case, then why have a Mayor or a Council?," one Council District opponent questioned. "That's not really leadership, it's just returning favors to local special interests. We elect public officials to provide their own good judgement and not just run errands for people to whom they owe favors."
On the other hand . . .
HERE ARE THE TKC TOP 5 NEW REASONS TO SUPPORT ELIMINATION OF AT-LARGE KANSAS CITY COUNCIL DISTRICTS!!!
1. Better Representation
Previously, we featured an argument claiming that at-large district offered more representation to voters. But a real world test of this theory would reveal that any issue a voter would take up with an at-large council member out of their district would be subsequently directed toward their IN-DISTRICT representatives. That's just how things work. Therefore voting at-large candidates is mostly just a matter of public perception, biases and personal prejudice.
2. Bigger Better Cities Don't Have At-Large Districts
Kansas City keeps talking about and effort to become a "world class city" and this is where it starts. The at-large system is antiquated and no other big city uses it . . . Notably, none of the cities in JoCo use an at-large system. It's really nothing more than a legacy of the Pendergast days.
3. Reducing The Cost Of Running For Local Elected Office
More in-district elected officials will shrink council districts and make them "walkable" for most candidates. This offers DIRECT DEMOCRACY and a chance for a candidate who isn't part of machine politics or the civic elite to engage in a bit of competition without a huge bankroll.
4. Dead Tree Media Doesn't Want It
When the newspaper opposes a measure for Kansas City . . . It's usually a good idea. And in this case, legacy media opposition to more Council Districts is really just an attempt to hold on to their dwindling political influence.
5. What Has Your At-Large Out Of District Council Member Done For You Lately?!?!
Reality check . . . Most voters and/or reporters in Kansas City can't name all of the members of City Council.
Still . . . For these reasons and so many more . . . We'll follow this debate as it becomes more divisive and as Kansas City politicos attempt to cling to power.
Photobabe: Sophie Reade
Developing . . .