KCUR News
2:46 am
Fri May 8, 2009

Protest Disrupts Council Meeting

Kansas City, MO – Thursday's Kansas City city council meeting included an example of cooperation, a small protest demonstration and an expression of indignation.

Cooperation between the city and Jackson County will give Sheriff's officers the power to make routine arrests for small offenses within the city limits where till now they had to call a Kansas City police officer to make the arrest, do the paperwork and follow through with court appearances.

The short protest demonstration was over an ordinance endorsing the SOAP and SODA initiatives under which drug and prostitution offenders on parole will be told to stay out of problem neighborhoods for those offenses. When ordered from the room, the small group shouted the slogan, "No SOAP!"

The seven protesters were from a group that supports former offenders. They later said the ordinance criminalizes those who have done their time and separates them from neighborhoods where they live and get support.

Despite the disruption, the ordinance passed.

The indignation was over being disqualified by the state for stimulus money for the homeless because the city had received other federal money for a similar purpose. Ed Ford made the point that it was the most recent in a series of slights, alluding to unfair allocation of funds for roads, transportation and housing as well as for the homeless programs.

The council will send a resolution of concern to Missouri officials including Governor Nixon.