Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting the 6th District. It's one of Kansas City's most unique and vibrant communities. It's very, diverse, yet it has remained a strong community because folks there have been able to see past their differences to find common ground. They've made their community a livable community despite neglect from City Hall.
Unfortunately the 6th District has become even more divided from City Hall, ironically, over the building of a bridge on Red Bridge Road. The reason for this is that the leaders who represent this community at City Hall -- Alvin Brooks and Chuck Eddy -- have been unwilling to build consensus.
I've talked with many, many folks in the 6th District. A lot of them are working on my campaign as volunteers. And time and time again I hear from them that they feel alienated from City Hall. They feel like they're being ignored by their representatives on the Council.
The bridge on Red Bridge Road has become a symbol of this.
City leaders have not respectfully listened to regular citizens in this process. They have not conducted business in an open and transparent manner. In short, the citizens do not trust their elected leaders - and that mistrust has extended, in some cases, to neighbor against neighbor.
Where is the leadership?
Leaders need to bring folks together, not divide them.
As Mayor, I will use my kind of consensus building to resolve that situation as amicably as possible. I know it's never possible to please everyone. But most people can feel good about a process in which they are asked to be involved, treated with respect and have open access to information - even if they don't agree with the end result.
I don't believe in ramming through projects that are devised in back rooms where the people of Kansas City have no say. To me, that's not consensus building at all.
As Mayor, I'll go to the 6th District, talk to residents and begin to restore their faith in a city leadership that has their best interests at heart. Working with them, I'll help find a solution. City bridges and roads should serve the neighborhoods where they're built.
Because that's how I build consensus: by being open, honest, straightforward and including all voices - not just those of a powerful few.