Government

KCUR News
10:46 am
Mon April 4, 2011

An Election in Mission Hills

Mission Hills City Hall. Photo by missionhillsks.gov

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.

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KCUR News
9:39 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Kansas City Voters Decide Future of Earnings Tax

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Newly elected Kansas City Mayor Sly James hasn't even taken office yet, but in his acceptance speech on election night he acknowledged he's got a big job ahead of him.

"I need you to tell your friends, I need you to educate your neighbors. We need to make sure we renew that earnings tax," said James.

Kansas City, Missouri voters will decide the future of the earning tax on Tuesday. Both sides of the debate say the vote is critical to future growth of the city.

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KCUR News
9:55 am
Thu March 31, 2011

Examining the Earnings Tax in St. Louis and Kansas City

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.

Today, we have two reports.

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KCUR News
9:36 am
Tue March 29, 2011

Miles Apart: E-Tax Pro and Con

Baptist Ministers' Union supports retention of one percent earnings tax for K.C.
photo by Dan Verbeck

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.

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KCUR News
1:28 am
Fri March 25, 2011

New City Budget Keeps Spending Flat

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City officially has a budget for the coming fiscal year, and it looks a lot like the one for this year.

The only change from the budget plan the council reviewed earlier this month is a small increase for neighborhood clean-up programs and bulky item pick-up.

Finance co-chair Deb Hermann the plan as "really a continuation of last year's budget"

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KCUR News
2:26 am
Wed March 23, 2011

Sly James Victorious in Mayor's Race

Family and friends surround Sly James during his victory speech.
Photo by Elana Gordon

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.

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KCUR News
12:36 am
Wed March 23, 2011

Defeated Burke Gracious

Well wishers went this way at Westin Crown Center. They left disappointed.
photo by Dan Verbeck

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 .."

He didn't.

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KCUR News
2:15 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Final Kansas City, Missouri Mayor's Debate

Mike Burke and Sly James at Up to Date's primary debate, February 2011.
Photo: Michael Crane/KCUR

Kansas City, Mo. –

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KCUR News
11:28 am
Mon March 21, 2011

KC Weeklies Weigh In on Mayor's Race

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.

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KCUR News
10:50 am
Mon March 21, 2011

Missouri House Passes Late Abortion Ban

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House passed legislation on Thursday to ban so-called "late term" abortions in the Show-Me State.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks unless two doctors verify that a fetus is either not viable or is a medical threat to the mother.

The sponsor, House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka), called abortions after 20 weeks a "barbaric practice that puts mothers at risk."

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KCUR News
10:14 am
Fri March 18, 2011

City Council Candidates' Final Push Before Election

Kansas City, Mo., City Hall.

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.

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KCUR News
5:06 pm
Thu March 17, 2011

For Mayor: Labor Pro and Con

Jobs creation is only part of labor interest in mayoral race. Cranes over downtown KC.
photo by Dan Verbeck

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.

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Government
8:08 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Senate Votes on Kansas Arts Commission

The Kansas Senate on Wednesday afternoon takes up a resolution that could determine the fate of the state arts agency. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

Kansas City, Mo – The Kansas Senate on Wednesday afternoon takes up a resolution that could determine the fate of the Kansas Arts Commission. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

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KCUR News
2:13 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

Big Donor Draw Drips Dollars in KC Mayor Quest

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Barely a week before Kansas City's municipal election the two candidates for mayor are showing the money." Sly James has the bigger campaign coffer.

One thing that's the same between candidates accounting files: law firms. Both Mike Burke and James' input reports show more lawyers and law firms donating than we have space to mention here.

Overall, James has taken in a little more than $800 thousand to Burke's 440 thousand. Burke is in debt on his campaign by some $120 thousand whereas Sly James doesn't owe anything.

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KCUR News
3:21 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Kansas Legislature Wants More Accountability From Kansas Bioscience Authority

 

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.

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KCUR News
6:35 pm
Wed March 9, 2011

Water, Sewer Increases in New KC Budget

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City city council has set the wheels in motion for adoption of next year's city budget. And it will include some higher fees for basic services.

Many details of next year's spending plan are still not finalized. But it's for certain that proposed increases in sewer and water rates will be part of it.

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KCUR News
5:45 pm
Wed March 9, 2011

Mayor Hopefuls Emerge as Own Men

Candidates for KC Mayor emerge into debate as polite but definite in views.
photo by dan verbeck

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.

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KCUR News
1:12 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

Missouri Legislature Looks at 'Right to Work' Bill

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.

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Government
8:56 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Kansas Arts Commission Update

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.

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.

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Government
10:08 am
Thu March 3, 2011

Senate Committee Recommends Keeping KS Arts Commission

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.

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.

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KCUR News
12:38 pm
Thu February 24, 2011

Ks. House Advances Abortion Bills

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.

 

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KCUR News
1:25 am
Thu February 24, 2011

Missouri House Committee Backs Income Tax Repeal

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.

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KCUR News
12:00 pm
Wed February 23, 2011

Surprise Upsets in Tuesday's Primary

Mike Burke (left) faces Sly James (right) in the March 22 general election.

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.

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KCUR News
11:47 am
Wed February 23, 2011

Mike Burke Finishes Second, Faces Sly James in General Election

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.

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KCUR News
11:45 am
Wed February 23, 2011

Sly James Finishes First In KC Mayoral Primary

Mayoral candidate Sly James

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.

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KCUR News
11:28 am
Wed February 23, 2011

Mayor Mark Funkhouser Defeated in Primary

Mark Funkhouser is questioned, immediately post election-loss.
photo: Dan Verbeck/KCUR

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."

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Government
12:27 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Efforts to Preserve Kansas Arts Commission Led by Republican Lawmaker

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.

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KCUR News
11:18 am
Mon February 21, 2011

Seven Candidates Vie for Open Seat in 6th District At Large

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.

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KCUR News
11:04 am
Mon February 21, 2011

3rd District At Large Candidates Discuss Vacancies, Crime

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.

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KCUR News
10:58 am
Mon February 21, 2011

4th District At Large Candidates Share Visions for Development

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.

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