Council Talks Tough To Power & Light District | KCUR

Council Talks Tough To Power & Light District

Nov 20, 2009

Kansas City, MO – In the early afternoon business session on Thursday, the city council endorsed a city study released last week that strongly implies that the Power and Light District has discriminated against blacks and Latinos.

Mayor Mark Funkhouser started the discussion with a strong statement: "In my estimation, civil rights of individuals were violated, and that is not in this city going to be tolerated. We are going to enforce the public accommodations law."

Area leaders of the NAACP, Urban League and Southern Christian Leadership Conference renounced the latest Cordish proposal of a committee to oversee dress code enforcement in the Power and Light District as another move to draw attention away from a history of discrimination.

Local Urban League president Gwen Grant said,"They [Cordish] have every right to establish any board they want. However, the Urban League will not put our imprimatur on Cordish's ill-conceived dress code and exclusionary practices."

The civil rights leaders found no disagreement among the assembled council.

Councilman John Sharp said he had already refused to be on the Cordish committee, which he said seemed to be "one more diversion, one more scam."

His statement was greeted by applause from the full spectator gallery.

The council resolved to continue monitoring dress code enforcement and to see to it that violations result in prosecution.

Several members said they wished the city could sever its contractual partnership with Cordish in the district, and would be unlikely to partner with the company in any future developments.