In the beginning, James gave speech after speech about moving KCMO forward, working with small business and getting this town rolling again.
But lately he’s been almost impossible to find.
Where is he? What’s he up to?
Past mayors Emanuel Cleaver, Kay Barnes – even Funky Mark – were high profile and all over the news on a weekly, if not daily basis. That’s not been the case with James. By comparison, it’s almost as if he’s in hiding. Or so it seems.
Maybe it’s because his son Kyle has been in legal trouble since day one. The mayor’s son was arrested in the Power and Light for not paying a restaurant bill, acting crazy and then telling the officer who cuffed him, “Hey, do you know who I am? I will have you fired.”
Shortly after that arrest he made his way to the cover of the SLAMMER for another police run in, this time in Brookside. This past April, Kyle was on the scene when a rapper friend of his was gunned down in Westport. And rumors are rampant that the mayor’s son has a few more reasons to worry, but thus far nothing really has happened…yet. Police are keeping an eye on the troubled 23 year old.
The mayor’s best known event was dodging bullets on the Plaza from young blacks while he was trying to calm things down after some small riots in the shopping and entertainment district.
Violent crime is still high in KCMO. Small businesses complain to me that when confronted with their issues the mayor turns a deaf ear.
In other words, everything that was bad before remains about the same.
Westport has shown the biggest improvement. It’s driven the hip-hop crowd out for the most part. That crowd has now migrated to downtown’s Power and Light, Martini Corner and back to the east side. Still there are plenty of issues late at night in Kansas City.
The Mayor can’t fix all this by himself, but his disappearing act is odd.
He’s basically evolved into just another guy who wanted to say, hey I’m the mayor.
That’s about it.
Small businesses have asked for relief from small things like health cards and liquor cards that are meaningless but cost money and give cops a reason to bother the clubs and restaurants. But the Mayor has stood silent.
He promised to change things in the city, make it business friendly, but it’s not. Most everything is the about same.
And don’t you love how the Kansas City Star and other media still pretend that Sprint and the Power and Light are winners? Really. Less events at Sprint in year five – far less that matter – no sports teams as promised. And check out Power and Light any night but Saturday – much of it is closed. Less than 8,000 people now live in the “new downtown.”