Saturday, November 09, 2019
TKC MUST READ!!! KANSAS CITY POLITICAL LEADER SHARES EPIC TAKE ON THE DEFEAT OF MLK BLVD!!!
By far this is the smartest written analysis we've seen on the Save The Paseo election victory over MLK Blvd. We're highlighting and linking this public post passage in order to share some of the complex reasoning regarding this issue from urban core denizens and voters working to understand the contradictory implications of the vote.
Once again, this rising, local political star demonstrates superior intellect and keen insight in her nuanced perspective.
Michele L. Watley Shares Her Perspective On MLK Blvd Vs. Save The Paseo Vote Aftermath
Don't tell me that race was not a factor at all. It's in there, some of y'all just missed it.
When clergy and other Black led political orgs/leaders flexed their political muscle during a mayoral election cycle in which several members of the city council were running for the seat (because at what other time would council members consider this proposition...) to push for the street name change, they did so without building a strong base of support in the Black community along the Paseo. While there were committee hearings and listening sessions, clergy and Black org leaders have direct access to the Black community and could have leveraged that connection to ensure buy in and support from the Black community.
A Black vote to save the Paseo was likely a vote to let clergy and other Black led political orgs/leaders know that enough is enough. Black people who voted to save the Paseo are not pawns, or dumb, or Toms. They are simply fed up with those in "leadership" and rightfully so. And had clergy and other Black led political orgs/leaders gained the support of the community, the undercurrent of racism would have been easier to spot.
When clergy and Black led political orgs/leaders hit residents with that flex, and were successful in their bid to change the street name (a street in a rapidly gentrifying area btw), the response was what we see around the country when there are efforts to change streets to honor MLK. (Data and research wonks - google Derek Alderman)
Arguments regarding cost, location, preserving Kansas City’s history, the say of Paseo residents, and the negative perception the comes with living on a MLK boulevard rang loud and clear - as they do in every city that has considered a MLK blvd - but the loudest argument was based on the process used to pass the ordinance.
And when it came time to mobilize, dissenters didn’t seek to challenge or change the process that they claimed was illegal and fraudulent - the process that led to the name change. And although they claimed there were better ways to honor MLK, they have yet to champion a plan to do so. They filed a petition to change the name back, leaving the decision up to the entire city to decide.
A vote to save the Paseo was a vote to preserve tradition and history at all cost - even if it meant that the entire nation would view our beloved city as racist, to circumvent the will of the residents by allowing those who would not be directly impacted to be in on the decision making process, and was an attempt to retaliate against clergy and other Black led political orgs/leaders for having the audacity to assert their political power by getting the ordinance passed.
Read her post in its entirety.
You decide . . .