Hundreds Rally in KC at Trayvon Martin Protest
March 27, 2012

(photo: Tony’s Kansas City. KC Mayor Sly James at Trayvon Martin Plaza rally)
KC Star:
Here and in cities across the country, crowds gathered Monday to mourn and rally for the 17-year-old high school student Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed a month ago by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
George Zimmerman, 28, says Martin attacked him. The teen’s parents and supporters accuse Zimmerman of racial profiling and shooting an unarmed youth returning to the home of his father’s girlfriend.
“We shouldn’t have to be out here,” said Virginia Alder of Lee’s Summit, one of those who gathered Monday at the J.C. Nichols Fountain near the Country Club Plaza. “We shouldn’t have to rally and get angry. This was about the color of Trayvon’s skin and this thing shouldn’t have gotten this far.”

Martin was black. Zimmerman is the son of a white father and Hispanic mother.
At rallies in Kansas City and elsewhere, people expressed anger and sadness, but perhaps the biggest emotion was disbelief.
People said they have a hard time understanding how Zimmerman could go against police instructions to stand down, then encounter the teen and shoot him.
“You raise your children to be honorable and academically driven and then someone just comes along and kills him,” Artesha Gladney said at the Plaza rally. “Well, I’m here to let the world know it’s not OK to do that to anyone’s kid.”
Keveion Robinson, 18, of south Kansas City, sat nearby in his hoodie with a bag of Skittles.
“You should be able to walk anywhere in this country without anybody following you because they think you’re doing something wrong,” Robinson said. “I’m grieving for his family.”
Zimmerman not being arrested has frustrated many.
“We are trapped between hopelessness and obligation,” Derecka Purnell, one of the organizers of the Kansas City rally, told the crowd.
“How can this happen and nothing be done?”
The political science major at the University of Missouri-Kansas City said if it can happen in Florida, it can happen here.
“We don’t want to wait until a child dies here before we realize KC has a problem,” Purnell said.
For the most part, the Plaza rally was about solidarity and peace.
The first mention of Zimmerman’s name brought only a single boo from the crowd.
Mayor Sly James pushed for racial harmony by having everyone grab somebody’s hand, preferable from another race.
“See, it’s about the same temperature and has the same number of fingers,” James said.
As Dave Winters, a retired Presbyterian pastor, arrived, he pulled on a blue hoodie and surveyed the crowd.
“We saw an incredible tragedy in Florida and it’s important that we get a diverse showing here today,” Winters said.
Then he smiled.
“Particularly with all the hoodies. We can all look suspicious together.”

New Council Overrides Plaza High Rise Veto. City-wide Vote Looms
May 5, 2011

The three measures vetoed by Former Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser were easily rejected by the new city council at it’s first meeting.
The impact of the veto overrides is that the Save-the-Plaza neighbhood group will now accelerate its effort to collect about 7,000 voter signatures and put the issue of more high-rise office buildings on the Plaza to a city-wide vote.
That vote would probably take place in November 2011, just weeks before the area hits its high season of the holidays. Developing.

Save Plaza Crowd Prepares for Veto Override Battle at New Council’s Very 1st Meeting
May 5, 2011

Plaza Showdown Thursday
March 16, 2011

Thursday may be the day when the fate of the new Posinelli law firm building planned for the Country Club Plaza is determined.

City councilman Bill Skaggs is introducing an ordinance  permitting the construction of the building.

The City plans Comission did not endorse the project last month.

Wednesday afternoon, the opponents of the plan blasted Skagggs’ move.

“We are disappointed that Councilman Skaggs is introducing the ordinance when it has been rejected by the City Plan Commission after a full hearing of the planning and zoning issues” said Scott Lane, one of the leaders of the group. “The Planning Commission spent hours hearing from both sides and determined that the building should not proceed”. Opponents raised serious issues about rezoning from residential to office use for the proposed 200,000 square foot building and the 2300 car trips a day it will generate.

Vicki Noteis, architect and urban planner and former head of Kansas City’s Planning Department, serves as an expert for Friends of the Plaza on planning and land use issues. “This building does not and never has complied with the Plaza Plan. The proposed site should not be rezoned from residential to the more intense office use, it is too big, generates too much traffic and devalues the original historic retail part of the Plaza. This is a hundred year decision about one of Kansas City’s major assets.