Sunday, February 02, 2020
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas Newsletter
We share this note from the Mayor in order to offer space for response and consideration of the young politico's promises and how he hopes to enact them.
CHECK THE LATEST NEWSLETTER FROM MAYOR LUCAS:
ADDRESSING VIOLENT CRIME IN 2020
The beginning of the new year always provides an opportunity to examine what we hope to accomplish in the coming year. In 2020, my first full year in office, I am committed to continuing our work to curb the epidemic of violent crime that has plagued our city.
We cannot become numb to our violence problem, shrug our shoulders like this is too big of an issue to solve, or waste time yelling at officials in Jefferson City or Washington, blaming our own inaction on them. Instead, my office continues to work as quickly, strategically and creatively as possible to curb this epidemic.
Our upcoming city budget will include funding to hire more police officers and social workers and to build out a diverse, well-trained department. Our budget will also include funding to expand mental health resources for survivors of shootings and the friends and families of homicide victims. I fully intend to break the cycle in which today’s friend or relative of a victim is tomorrow’s victim or potential assailant.
This month, we took another bold, creative step to curb gun violence by filing a lawsuit against several firearm manufacturers, dealers and individuals that allegedly trafficked more than 75 handguns into the Kansas City region over a five-year period. This makes Kansas City the first city to file a lawsuit against the gun industry in more than 10 years.
Reducing violent crime remains my top priority as we head into the new year.
Rejoicing in this team and our city reminds me of what can be accomplished when we focus on our shared goals. The 300 level section of Arrowhead Stadium is my favorite place in the world. Not the fancy box seats, or the seats behind the goal line. The gotta bring your binoculars, might get a nosebleed, cheapest in the house kind of seats. It’s those seats where you are surrounded by the most diverse, sometimes odd, but always, always loud and passionate fans you could ever find. It’s the people that got the tickets for Christmas, or after saving all year. They don’t care if the person next to them is a democrat or republican, rich or poor, white or black – all that matters is the shared joy of cheering on our home team.
I hope you all are able to get out to support some local establishments and our chiefs for Sunday’s big game. As always, Go Chiefs!
HONORING DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
January 20, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, was a day for pause and reflection.
I enjoyed participating in celebrations at the Cleaver Family YMCA, Rev. Fuzzy Dr. Nelson “Fuzzy” Thompson Community Luncheon, and many other services around town. I especially enjoyed paying tribute to Dr. King with my fellow Kansas Citians and Missourians.
The world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around… But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared those words in his famous “Sermon on the Mount” Speech—the last public remarks he would deliver before an assassin would cut his life short at 39.
He goes on…
And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding--something is happening in our world… The masses of the people are rising up… the cry is always the same… We want to be free.”
But, as those of you who fought and struggled then, and fight and struggle now, know well, “freedom” didn’t mean just freedom from the billy clubs and attack dogs of the Apartheid South, it meant to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his last night alive, it means to this body freedom from “hurt and neglect” by the policies of a nation, a state, and a City that rarely take into account why a black man has a life expectancy in Kansas City that is twenty years less than his white counterparts two miles to our west. We understand that freedom means economic dignity for the hardworking black women in our country whose inflation-adjusted earnings actually fell—their earnings fell—from 2017 to today. And, black women continue to earn 61 cents on the dollar for what a white man of comparable skills makes; 75 cents compared to a white woman makes in our country.
“Freedom” means that our young brothers won’t be suspended from school at a disproportionate rate, convicted at a higher rate and with longer sentences than our white counterparts. Freedom means that we all live a life with the same rules, the same chances, and the same forgiveness.
This Martin Luther King, Jr. day we remembered what Dr. King fought for. And then we continued his fight.
ADVOCATING FOR KC PRIORITIES AT THE STATE CAPITOL
This month, I traveled to Jefferson City to speak to our state leaders from across Missouri. While there, I testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee on #ZeroFareTransit and Kansas City’s continued work to be accessible for all. I believe this is good, sound policy that will have a tremendous effect on the people in our community who struggle to make ends meet. Removing this one small barrier in someone’s day and routine can make a tremendous difference – frankly, both financially and emotionally.
I look forward to working with all areas of our state to continue building on Zero Fare Transit and our regional transportation and infrastructure priorities. I hope that we can work together to update our city’s and state’s road infrastructure, prioritize public transportation and connectivity, and keep working to make Missouri a good place to live for all.
I also advocated for mental health services, infrastructure improvements and witness relocation services, and met with several legislators and Governor Parson to share Kansas City’s priorities for this legislative session. It’s important that we work across city lines to implement smart, strategic, and equality-driven policies to ensure a government that works for everyone.
REBUILDING THE BUCK O’NEIL BRIDGE
During Governor Parson’s State of the State, he announced that Missouri Department of Transportation will contribute the funds necessary to rebuild the Buck O’Neil Bridge.
I have been engaged in conversations with Governor Parson and MoDOT for several months to strike an agreement to rebuild this historic and important bridge in our community. This is great news for our city and I thank those who have advocated for this project for years. I will continue working with Governor Parson and MoDOT to ensure this project is completed safely, quickly and affordably.
ATTENDING U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS
This month, I attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, D.C. with mayors from across the country. While there, I highlighted Kansas City’s work in two particular realms:
Mayor’s Ambassadors: Next month I will be welcoming a group of older or retired Kansas Citians to my team at city hall. I spoke on a panel with The Hill to highlight how important it is to engage older adults and make their voices heard. My office strives every day to be an inclusive, welcoming space for Kansas Citians from all walks of life, and we look forward to welcoming our new Ambassadors and their expertise to our office as we continue working to make sure our local government works for all.
Creative ways to combat gun violence: In a panel session about the current issues in policing, I spoke about how illegal gun trafficking has led to violent crime in our city and shared and received best practices from my colleagues as we work to make our communities safer.
CELEBRATING WITH FIRST DRUG COURT GRADUATES OF 2020
This week, I celebrated the first graduation from the municipal Drug Court Program in 2020. The Kansas City Municipal Court has an outstanding Drug Court Program that allows us to reduce nights spent in jail, provide people second chances and make our community safer. Programs like this are vital to making our community safer. One should not spend time in City jail for a non-violent crime, especially when access to support and health care can be provided outside of jail.
I see Kansas City as a place of opportunity. But my mission as mayor is to ensure these opportunities are equally available to all. What is now legal should not continue to prevent people from gaining employment, or a place to live.
I look forward to the changes being made to Drug Court, which will no longer require treatment in jail and instead offer a diversion track. The issues that face Kansas City—homelessness, drug abuse, inadequate education, gun violence, are not one-offs. They are all interconnected and to fix any one of these issues means we need to acknowledge all of them.
So that’s why programs like drug court aren’t just about providing better opportunities for a few. It means creating a better system for the entire community. It means more workers, more homeowners, more money in our economy. It means more children in school, more jobs for their parents and more opportunities for everyone.
For these graduates, this is the end of a journey — and, importantly, it’s the beginning of a new one.
We’re here with you along the way.
ANNOUNCING $13.9 MILLION HUD GRANT
This week, I announced, along with Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Alvey and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Jason Mohr a $13.9 million grant that will support more than 30 local homeless housing and service programs across the Kansas City region. This grant is a testament to the local work the Kansas City region is doing to provide affordable housing to our residents and will allow us to complete new projects and maintain existing ones.
Our homeless brothers and sisters, perhaps the most vulnerable among us, need and deserve a government that works for them, and I am encouraged that Kansas City continues to be a leader in creative housing policy – but our work is far from done. I appreciate the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s commitment to assisting our local agencies in this important work and I’ll continue to engage all levels of government to ensure that all Kansas Citians have a fair shot at a safe, clean and affordable home.
As always, please never hesitate to reach out with comments, questions, concerns or ideas. You can reach us on twitter @MayorLucasKC, by email at MayorQ@kcmo.org, or by phone at 816-513-3500.
You decide . . .