Thursday, March 22, 2007

Building Bridges

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.

3 comments:

Brad Sjue said...

I have talked to a couple of people who are concerned that if you become mayor that international trade is going to suffer. They have heard that you are not a big fan of international trade and that people in the Hispanic and other ethnic communities who have worked hard on this are going to suffer if you become mayor. They have heard that the city manager will be out if you become mayor and they feel that if this happens their business and the economy of Kansas City will suffer. I am going to vote for you because I believe that you will make a positive difference for this city and that you have a vision I share.

Craig said...

Alvin Brooks likes to say that he doesn't need to take any more surveys; He knows what the people want.

He also says that the opponents of the plan to 4-lane Red Bridge Road are few in number.

It's clear that Mr. Brooks is seeing only what he wants to see. If he read his email (he doesn't), he would see over 600 messages in opposition. I know because I've received them BCC.

We in the 6th district know from 8 years of neglect by our representatives Brooks and Eddy that their true constituency is the interlocking combination of our corrupt and incompetent bureaucracy and the big-money corporations.

cwalex said...

Today is election day in KC and I hope everyone goes to their polling place and VOTES! In the 6th District we are especially interested in who is elected Mayor due to our impending Red Bridge Road project. While I (and most other Kansas Citians) will commend Alvin Brooks for his community activisim with the Ad Hoc group, his participation and support for the needs and concerns of the 6th District has been dismal. One of my concerns in electing a 75-year old man, is this will only result in a city led by a spend-happy City Manager and other close associates, rather than a "peoples" Mayor.

Maybe Mark Funkhouser can do better... I sure hope so.

As for the city council, I believe a new day is about to bloom.