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Kansas City mayor’s task force on violence posts recommendations that leave some unhappy

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A year after Kansas City’s Mayor created a Citizen’s Task Force on Violence, the group has come up with some solutions. The nine recommendations are still listed as unofficial, so perhaps that could explain why it`s just half a page.

That`s compared to similar task forces that met in 2006 and 2011 that produced plans of 40 and 161 pages.

Community activist and task force appointee Pat Clarke said he stopped going to monthly meetings after the group made up of mostly lawyers and politicians seemed to be holding them more for show. He says they weren`t interested in going out and getting the opinions of people living in crime-ridden neighborhoods.

“Any conversation you have like this is worthwhile having but there are so many things that were brought up that didn’t get the attention, I’m still waiting on them to meet me on 35th and Prospect,” Clarke said.

Clarke says he supports a few of the nine tersely worded recommendations the task force laid out. He's especially in favor of things like creating a homicide review board, or establishing community resource centers.

But he thinks Mayor Sly James and the task force missed a chance to create real change in the community.

“What I would like to do is put together a task force of people who work out here, there’s guys that work for Aim for Peace that should have been sitting at the table, there’s other organizations that work endlessly that should have been sitting at that table,” Clarke said.

“I don’t care if it’s 120, 100, 90, or 80 people are dying,” Mayor Sly James said when he announced the task force in 2015, a year that saw 111 homicides.

As of December 13th, Kansas City, Mo.'s homicide rate is at 120. Neither the mayor or the task force chair could be reached for comment on how they plan to put these recommendations to stop violence into action.

An aide to Chairwoman Jolie Justus said it's unclear at this point whether the task force will have a 12th and final meeting, or simply submit the nine recommendations to the mayor or city council.

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