KCUR News
11:13 am
Sun May 3, 2009

Northeast Area To Dealers, Hookers: 'Stay Out'

Kansas City, MO – A consortium of neighborhood organizations says SOAP and SODA can eliminate drug traffic and prostitution in the Northeast area. And their plan goes to the Kansas City City Council Floor on Thursday.

SOAP and SODA stand for "stay out of areas of prostitution" and "stay out of drug areas." Those are the orders the neighborhood groups would have parole officers give to their charges with conviction records in the two critical areas -- thus ending the revolving door of jail... out of jail... back on the block.

But Will Royster of the Scarritt Northeast Neighborhood Association says it has to apply to a more expansive territory than the failed "Independence Avenue Initiative" or the 1990s. He says that experiment merely displaced the illegal activity from Independence Avenue itself north and south into the very neighborhoods the city sought to protect.

Royster says trying again with a larger "stay out" zone is crucial now because of a larger menace. He says there is reliable evidence that the Mexican drug cartels have established a presence in the Northeast area, and something needs to be done to prevent them from getting a strong foothold.

According to Royster, the "stay out" system is constitutional and it has been tried successfully in several cities including Seattle.

The city council is scheduled to vote on an enabling ordinance this week.