KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Missouri Council member Jermaine Reed has been on the job less than a year, but some critics in the city’s 3rd District say that is long enough and are now pushing to have him recalled.
Signs saying “Recall Reed” have been popping up along main 3rd District thoroughfares like Troost and Prospect, and critics of Reed say that he should have never been elected to office in the first place.
At the center of the Reed controversy is the new Kansas City Police Department Crime Lab, set to be built near 27th and Prospect. Reed opponents say that the project is forcing more than 60 people from their homes, and that when Reed’s constituents asked him for help, he turned his back on them.
“People are complaining about being displaced and the young man said, to the people who are moving from their homes, being asked to move from their homes, he said, ‘Get over it’,” said Rev. L. Henderson Bell.
Bell and others calling for Reed’s recall say that Michael Fletcher should have been elected as their City Council representative, but a panel of judges ruled that Fletcher did not qualify to be elected because he wasn’t a legal city resident. But they say that just 10 months later, a similar panel of judges ruled that a white woman was a city resident and therefore could remain a municipal judge – even though she only spent one night in Kansas City during a 60-day period.
Some of those calling for Reed’s recall say that is a double standard based on race.
“I think the voters should be outraged,” said Reed opponent Rachel Riley. “The voters voted for the person they believe would represent their neighborhood, when that’s taken away the injustice is very apparent.”
For his part, Reed says that the citizens are entitled to circulate petitions to remove him from office, but that won’t change the way he does his job.
“I’m frankly not concerned about any recall efforts. I’m laser focused on addressing needs and concerns of citizens in the 3rd District – that’s jobs, that’s creating economic development opportunities and reducing crime and violence in neighborhood,” said Reed.
Last fall, Reed was heavily criticized for wanted to change the name of Prospect Avenue to Martin Luther King Boulevard, a move that even his supporters concede was a blunder.
“I also oppose the effort to rename Prospect to Martin Luther King Boulevard. That was misguided, trivial, not something substantive,” said Reed supporter Clinton Adams. “Just because I disagree with him on that, that’s not sufficient basis for recall.”
Adams says that Reed’s supporters will quash the recall effort. Recall organizers say that they will begin collecting petition signatures in February.