Today, a trio of Kansas City council members refuse to do their jobs in order to enact a racially charged vendetta against one of their colleagues.
Council members Eric Bunch, Kevin O'Neill and Melissa Robinson boycotted the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee and city biz couldn't get accomplished because there wasn't a quorum.
This 12th & Oak work stoppage stems from a dust up betwixt 2nd District-at-Large Council Lady Teresa Loar & 3rd District Council Member Melissa Robinson. .
The offending statement during a heated debate for those who don't remember, an exasperated Council Lady Loar said . . .
"That was a very nice speech someone wrote you, Miss Robinson."
Here's how local mainstream media translated the remark:
"An interaction from earlier this summer where she physically mocked Robinson, who is Black, and questioned her intelligence."
Was the comment rude? Probably. But, as we've noted previously, the argument was over ethics and special interests, not race and Council Lady Loar DID NOT MAKE A SINGLE REFERENCE TO RACE during the exchange.
It gets worse . . . The complaint over "physically mocking" has been hard to nail down and continues to "evolve" in this discussion. The initial dispute featured indignation over neck movement . . .
"Loar appeared to mock Robinson physically, with a neck roll and shimmy that Robinson and others who saw it read as overtly racial."
Now the "roll & shimmy" has been changed to objections over hand placement . . .
"A gesture in which Loar appeared to mock Robinson by putting her hands on her hips — a move considered by many to suggest the “angry Black woman” stereotype.
Of course, everyone is allowed and encouraged to share their feelings. But here are the facts:
DID COUNCIL LADY LOAR EVER USE A RACIST WORD OR MAKE ANY STATEMENT REGARDING RACE?!?! NOPE!!!
Regarding allegations of movement . . .
TKC HAS ANGERED ENOUGH WOMEN FROM VARIOUS BACKGROUNDS TO CONTEND THAT NECK ROLLING AND HANDS ON HIPS ARE UNIVERSAL FEMININE GESTURES!!!
More to the point and the punchline of this
THIS IS A CYNICAL COUNCIL POWER GRAB EXPLOITING FLIMSY, SILLY AND UNPROVEN ALLEGATIONS OF BIGOTRY!!! CRYING WOLF OVER THIS DISPUTE ACTUALLY HURTS REAL STRUGGLES AGAINST RACISM WHICH STILL CONFRONT KANSAS CITY!!!
At a time when the city budget is under horrific stress and more cuts loom as the coronavirus recession continues . . .
"Every item on the agenda — including contracts for road improvements and to replace water mains along the streetcar extension route and an agreement to put a solar farm at the airport — was pushed to next week’s meeting."
Again, we're talking about hurt feelings in this discussion and while there's a time and place consider interpersonal relationships, let's not forget that the council work stoppage also delays desperately needed infrastructure repair. We can only hope this that Councilmembers Bunch, O'Neill and Robinson will do some soul searching and realize that City Hall biz is more important than perceptions of racism with little basis in fact.
Meanwhile, throwing this crisis toward Mayor Lucas ignores the decision he has already made in this dispute when he sent Council Lady Loar to "implicit bias training" and attempted to get the council back on task.
Accordingly, we give the last word to Council Lady Loar who was ready to conduct city biz whilst her colleagues staged today's public protest.
Statement from Teresa Loar - Council Member for KCMO 2nd District-at-Large
Chairwoman of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee
As I enter my 35th year of public service, and my fourth term of service on the City Council, I am laser focused on meeting the needs of the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri.
Mature leadership is more critical than ever as people in our community face great economic challenges, food insecurity, and the threat of losing everything they’ve worked for as a result of a worldwide pandemic. It’s more important than at any time in my four terms at City Hall that we make smart decisions, and not become distracted by political gamesmanship.
My focus as Chairwoman of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee is to make sure we deliver on the basics; safe roads, bridges, and water services are essential to our quality of life. Additionally, we are in the midst of our largest infrastructure project in the City’s history at KCI. We must find ways to work together to benefit all of our citizens, putting aside short-term goals of individual political careers and making the survival and well-being of Kansas Citians our collective goal.
I have served four mayors on the aviation or transportation committees, and was Chair of those committees under Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II and Mayor Kay Barnes. In August of 2019 I agreed to serve as chair of Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations for Mayor Quinton Lucas. We both served on the aviation committee in the previous council and he wanted someone with experience to oversee the $1.5 billion dollar project at KCI. My work for Mayor Cleaver and Mayor Barnes, combined with my past experience working for America West airline, and my 12 years of council service in the Northland, gave Mayor Lucas confidence in ability to lead the committee.
As chair of the aviation committee for Mayor Barnes, we were in the midst of a $325,000,000 renovation when 9/11 struck. I immediately reached out to airport colleagues throughout the nation and convened an Airport Security Conference here in Kansas City within weeks of the tragedy, because we knew Congress would be implementing new security legislation that could severely impact midsize and smaller airports. Our 3-day conference was covered live by Dan Abrams of CNN and many of our resulting recommendations were adopted in the federal legislation, protecting the financial viability of KCI and similar airports nationwide.
I’ve been through many challenges in my three decades as a public servant. Whether protecting the diverse student population of the North Kansas City Schools as Board President, or helping our mayors achieve their goals as the go-to leader on aviation and infrastructure, I have earned a reputation of being down to earth with an open door policy and a sincere interest in helping our citizens, small businesses, first responders and community-builders to navigate the ins and outs of City Hall to achieve our goals.
My pledge to Mayor Lucas and my colleagues at City Hall is to continue to serve the best interests of all of our citizens, and to use my leadership experience to help guide our city through these tough times.
Check the link update:
KMBC: 3 Kansas City Council members boycott committee meeting; allege racist behavior by council member
KCUR: Kansas City Councilmembers Boycott Meeting, Call On Mayor To Remove Councilwoman From Leadership Over 'Racist' Behavior
KCTV5: The new call for Loar's removal also points fingers at Lucas for not acting.
Fox4: Three city council members boycott meeting, call on Mayor Lucas to remove chairperson
KCTV5: KC council members boycott meeting over committee chair
Developing . . .