What would you do to revitalize Penn Valley Park to make it an active
and vibrant urban park?
The first step toward creating vibrant parks is making them attractive and safe. While I was City Auditor, my annual citizen surveys showed a large number of people were frightened to be in the parks, night or day. We keep talking about the fancy projects downtown and elsewhere, but we’ve got to do the basic stuff. As Mayor, I would work with both the Kansas City Police Department and the city parks department to ensure that our parks not only feel safe, but are safe places for families.
What do you think about gradually eliminating most of the unnecessary zoning restrictions in existence that prevent mixed usage of buildings and "smarter" urban planning?
Obviously I want to do smart urban planning, and I would look at zoning restrictions. I do think mixed-use development is the best way to go. There is an overall redesign of the city zoning ordinances under way right now. I’m a little worried because there has been relatively little public discussion on the topic.
Would you be willing to support TIFs if those projects need the TIFs
in order to be accomplished?
Not necessarily. Just because a project needs TIF support to be done, doesn’t mean it should be done. There are two conditions in which I would use a TIF. The first is when a project clearly produces an overall increase in net revenue for the city. The second is when a project is necessary for social justice reasons. For example I could envision supporting a TIF that would help build a brand new grocery store in a poor neighborhood, or one that would create jobs in a part of the city with high unemployment rates.
Would you attempt to change the situation with surrounding suburbs and
work to eliminate most of the back, and forth competition and fighting
that goes on between our city and the suburbs?
We have to jointly deal with problems that are regional problems like transit and water quality. Obviously we are going to cooperate and work on those kinds of things together. The idea that we will work together to restore peace in the valley with regard to tax incentives is not going to happen. Almost every elected official in every suburban town wants to lure new businesses and jobs across their borders. There has been an arms race of sorts as those officials compete to put together the most attractive package for prospective corporations. I have no optimism that that is going to stop by mutual agreement, so I’m going to unilaterally disarm.
Would you be willing to work with the leaders in Johnson County so we
can work together instead of fighting each other over growth?
I’m willing to work with anybody, anywhere, anytime.