KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Sly James hardly blinked an eye when he was interrupted by a shouting man on stage during his State of the City speech Tuesday, and continued focusing on the message he wanted citizens to hear, about his tenure and goals for Kansas City.
He spoke about efficiency, employment, education and enforcement, and where he sees Kansas City going during the next 12 months.
Mayor James identified the items on his wish-list, including public streetcars and more money-generating events like the upcoming NCAA tournament at the Sprint Center.
He told the public his plans to use $700 million that voters approved in November to install new sewers, improve roads and add streetcars.
“I don’t think any other city can say the same things,” he said. “That means fewer potholes, smoother roads, better accessibility for residents with disabilities — all of which are actions which suggest you’re acting responsibly.”
Mayor James said he views Kansas City as a modern destination for tourism.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have the Big 12, NAIA, MIAA, etc. Now, with the NCAA, we’ll have even more people to find how great of a city Kansas City is, and hopefully they’ll bring their families back when they want to go on vacations.”
Mayor James wants more funds invested in the city’s existing infrastructure, pointing to the recent upgrades at Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums, and Union Station and Crown Center.
He reminded people of the year 1976, when the city invested $5 million to help attract that year’s Republican National Convention. He said the future of the city is just as bright.
The mayor also talked about the city’s strategy to fight crime. Less than a year ago, Kansas City Police Chief Daryl Forte began his ‘hotspot’ policing, putting officers in areas identified for their high-crime rates. Even though the city’s overall murder rate remains unchanged, the mayor said the plan will continue because the program has helped contain other violent crime.
“We all agree that any life belonging to anybody, whether you consider them a good person or bad person, a white person or black person, an urban or suburban person. Any life lost is too much,” Mayor James said.