Mission Hills, Kan. – Mission Hills is doing unusually well in tough times, but it has always been an unusual place. There are only three business - all country clubs - in the whole city. It has no police department. Law enforcement, snow plowing and just about every other city service is contracted from outside the city. Clinging to the Kansas side of the State Line, Mission Hills is just a sliver of two square miles, home to just 3,500 people.
By Maria Carter, KCUR; Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio
Kansas City, Mo; St. Louis, Mo. – On Tuesday, voters in St. Louis and Kansas City will have their first chance to determine the future of their cities' 1 percent earnings taxes, which are imposed on the wages of everyone who lives or works in the cities.
It's on the ballot following statewide approval last November of Proposition A.
The lead-up to the vote has been very different in the two cities.
KANSAS CITY, MO. – Some forces for an against Kansas City's earnings tax almost agree on a lack of fairness in its collection, but for different reasons. Both sides remain firmly entrenched.
The city's Baptist Ministers Union came out today encouraging congregations to vote for the E Tax April 5th. Doctor Reverend Wallace Hartzfield II responded to a suggestion the tax could be considered unequal, millionaires paying the same rate as the working poor, for whom a dollar has more meaning.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City voters have chosen Sly James as their next mayor.
James ran on a platform of uniting Kansas City. Speaking to a crowd of several hundred inside the atrium of the American Jazz and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum last night, James said he'll work tirelessly with residents, with the new council and city manager, to create jobs, reduce crime, and make city government more accountable.
KANSAS CITY, MO. – Mike Burke was gracious in defeat as he watched Sly James take the lead to become Kansas City's next mayor . KCUR's Dan Verbeck watched the Burke team in its final hours of political life and filed this account.
Analysts were unhappy from the outset, sitting in a windowless room positioned right underneath the waterfall in the Westin Crown Center, one floor below. Not a sound permeated to muffle sentences like " If we can't pull 75 percent in the center city .."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sly James and Mike Burke appear to be neck and neck going in to Tuesday's election. For some added perspective, KCUR's Susan B. Wilson sat down with three reporters who have distinct takes on local politics - KC Hispanic News editor and publisher Joe Arce, the Call reporter Eric Wesson and David Martin, of the Pitch.
Kansas City, Mo. – Pundits are saying the election of Kansas City's mayoral race could be the most important in a generation. But we have what's called a "weak" mayor system here, so almost as important are the 12 city council members. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross takes a look at the six at-large races, in which all Kansas Citians vote.
KANSAS CITY, MO. – Kansas City organized labor has always heavily engaged in the battle for the Mayor's office. The ardor is strong with the election next week. This time there is a division of forces; labor is split between candidates. KCUR's Dan Verbeck was once actively involved in labor as a volunteer shop steward for a broadcaster's union. He no longer has that association. Here is his report on the making of the Mayor via labor.
Kansas City – Salary, expenses, and marketing records reveal excessive spending on the part of the Kansas Bioscience Authority. At least that's what some on the Commerce Committee feel.
The Committee has been holding hearings in recent weeks to address perceptions of fiscal irresponsibility, and has a bill on the Senate floor to put the Secretaries of Commerce and Revenue on the Board of the KBA.
KANSAS CITY, MO. – No longer do Kansas City's two mayoral candidates appear to be virtual clones on issues facing the city. Clear definitions surfaced during a debate before the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and The Kansas City Business Journal.
On the mid town hot button issue of the Highwoods Properties high rise in the Country Club Plaza, James would mediate between those who want it and those who don't, fearing loss of jobs to Kansas.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Federal law prohibits unions from requiring workers to belong. But in most states, workers in union shops can be required to pay some fees, because the union is obligated to represent them in collective bargaining. In the 1950s, states began passing "right-to-work" legislation (the term is controversial), which means workers didn't have to pay dues or fees to the union. Twenty-two states now have these laws, including Kansas. Many are in the Deep South and the West.
Lots of states are facing huge budget deficits this year, and many are considering drastic steps to address them. Kansas could be the only state, or at least the first, to completely eliminate the state agency that supports the arts.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, Mo – Kansas could be the only state, or at least the first, to completely eliminate the state agency that supports the arts. KCUR's Laura Spencer gives us this update.
The Senate Federal and State Affairs committee has recommended rejecting Governor Sam Brownback's plan to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission. Brownback has signed an executive order to replace the Arts Commission with a private, non-profit group.
By Stephen Koranda, KPR
Topeka, KS – Governor Brownback says his plan will save the state around 600 thousand dollars during a tough budget crunch. KPR's Stephen Koranda has more.
TOPEKA, Ks. – The Kansas House has given first-round approval to bills that would place more restrictions on abortion in the state. The heated debate lasted nearly two hours Wednesday. Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda was there and has this report.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It's an attractive sounding proposal: no more income tax. --just a simple sales tax of 7 percent, not quite twice the present rate.
But Amy Blouin of the Missouri Budget Project is concerned that a House committee has endorsed a constitutional amendment to do that.
She says it would take a 12 percent sales tax to maintain state services, even if the tax extends to services including medical care... and it would reduce total taxes paid only for the wealthiest 5 percent.
Kansas City, Mo. – Tuesday's primary elections in Kansas City yielded some serious surprises: a pink-haired Libertarian is still in the running for a seat on the City Council; a Kansas City mayor has been denied a second term for the first time in almost a century; and the woman who, until recently, was the highest-ranking politician in Johnson County, Kansas showed up at the victory party of one of the winning mayoral candidates.
Kansas City, Mo. – One month to go before Kansas City voters pick the next mayor and it will be either Mike Burke or Sly James. The two lawyers advance to the general election from a field that leaves four other candidates wondering what went wrong. KCUR's Dan Verbeck watched the Burke celebration
It was a political name crowd at the Northland lawyer's election eve party in Westport, celebrating a candidate for whom things went right' by finishing second in a pack of six.
Kansas City, Mo. – Among a pool of six, Sly James finished first in yesterday's primary for Kansas City mayor. James, a longtime lawyer who's never held office, will face former council member Mike Burke in next month's election.
In his victory speech to a crowd of about 100 last night, James said he wants to keep a positive tone and focus the next four weeks on uniting Kansas City.
Kansas City, Mo. – In the course of a few hours, Mark Funkhouser went from incumbent seeking a second term, to a lame duck Kansas City mayor. The power of being the office-holder failed the one-term mayor after votes were counted in Tuesday's city primary.
"I was pretty confident we would win," said Funkhouser. "I've always had a lot of confidence in the wisdom of regular folks and I figured that we would come through, alright."
A behind-the-scenes effort to retain the Kansas Arts Commission is being led by a Republican lawmaker at the Statehouse.
Topeka, KS – A behind-the-scenes effort to retain the Kansas Arts Commission is being led by a Republican lawmaker at the Statehouse. State Senator Roger Reitz of Manhattan says Governor Sam Brownback's decision to privatize the Arts Commission is bad for the state and he says there is enough support to override the move.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Candidates running in Kansas City's 6th District At Large gathered at a forum last week at RC's Restaurant and Lounge by the railroads in Martin City. That's on the southern end of KC, where the 6th District spans the city from state line to Longview Road, going almost all the way around Grandview.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 3rd District encompasses the old northeast, and the east side down to Brush Creek. It has the highest rates of poverty and crime in the city, and neighborhoods are struggling to deal with vacancies and blight. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross talked to three candidates for the 3rd District At-Large for their perspectives on solving some of these problems. Those candidates are Melba Curls, Brandon Ellington, and Durwin Rice.
KANSAS CITY, Mo – The 4th district stretches from the Missouri River south to 79th Street and between Troost and State Line, including much of downtown and midtown. Five candidates might seem like a lot of plans and philosophies to sift through, but, for the most part, all five candidates have nearly identical ideas on what the city council should do. Voters will see the five following candidates on the ballot: John Crawford,Jim Glover,Anne McGregor,Edward Pace, and Annie Presley.