KC Considers Privatizing Ambulance Bill Again
June 19, 2014

Kansas City Mayor Sly James says collection ambulance fees for the city-owned ambulance service is not a basic function of the government.
James supports privatizing the work.
The city council votes on giving the contract to an outside firm, Advance Data Processing, Inc, Thursday afternoon.
“No government can do everything, James said Wednesday.
“This is not a core function. And if it’s not, and we can save money on one end, and make more money on the other, that’s the type of thing we ought to be looking at,” the Mayor added.
The move has opposition, Public Safety Chairman John Sharp says the Data Processing should not get the contract.
He thinks the deal before the city council is too one sided in the company’s favor.
“they promised us they’d collect about $2 million more a year. (So) put it in the contract!’,said Sharp.
“The contract lets them collect less than we’re collecting now. What kind of deal is that?”
Data’s Local attorney Pete Levi says the contract is not one sided. The city negotiated the terms with the firm.
Sharp also says the firm’s track record is poor.
He has a stack of documents from several cities who worked with Data Processing who complained about their work.
Sharp referred to a City Hall Report from Dallas where the company resigned over problems with that contract.
Levi says Data Keeps more than 90% of its clients, including Kansas City, Kansas and North Kansas City, Missouri.

KC Council Votes Down Complying with Mo. Law on Concealed Weapons & Intoxicated Permit Holders
March 7, 2014

The Kansas City Council couldn’t swallow what was thought to be a simple change in city law, to comply with a state law on concealed weapons and intoxication.
Missouri state law permits the holder of a concealed weapons permit to carry the weapon even if the holder is intoxicated.
The permit holder can carry the weapon while intoxicated as long as the owner does not use the weapon in a negligent fashion.
Most Council members think the state law on this is a poor one.
“It’s kind of like , well, it’s OK if you drive drunk, as long as you don’t hit anybody,” said Councilman John Sharp, ” you just have to be real careful”.
Sharp voted for the ordinance change to comply with the state law.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James, however, voted against it.
“Just because the 2nd Amendment mentions guns ( the idea) everybody and anybody ought to have the right to have whatever guns they want, whenever they want them, under any circumstances, in an urban seething, is in my mind, ludicrous,” the Mayor said.
The ordinance to comply to the state law failed by one vote.
The defeat is largely symbolic, a display of frustration by the council.
Eventually, the City will have to change the local law to comply with the state statute.

KC Parents Sound Off On Potential State Take Over of District
January 30, 2014


As the Missouri Board of Education weighs its options for the future of Kansas City Public Schools and other unaccredited districts in the states, parents got their chance to weigh in Wednesday night.

State education officials took part in a forum at Paseo Academy. A large crowd that included parents, teachers, school board members and political leaders turned out to share thoughts on the state’s plans.

A private consulting group known as CEE-Trust suggested rebuilding the district in a more decentralized way, giving individual principals more authority over decisions in their own buildings. Kansas City Public Schools responded with a plan of its own that grades schools on their individual performances.

“It’s criminal to have our children have the kind of education they are getting,” said district volunteer Sharon Saunders-Brooks.

“For state officials to criticize the results of local education and ask why it’s not more successful, they might want to look in the mirror for the answer,” said Kansas City Councilman John Sharp.

Teacher’s Union President Andrea Flinders said she takes issue with the claim that the schools are failing.

“Our children are learning. Our teachers are teaching, and they’re teaching with children that have many, many challenges,” she said.

“Our children are failing, Ms. Flinders. They are failing miserably,” said Melissa Eddy. “I agree with Ms. Saunders-Brooks. It is criminal, the level of education our children have been getting. It’s got to stop.”

The Missouri State Board of Education will decide what direction to take with the district in the coming months

KC Council Condemns Neo Nazis, Urged Citizens Not to Confront Them at Rally
November 1, 2013

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council is asking residents not to directly confront members of the National Socialist Party when the group holds a rally in Kansas City early in November.
The neo- Nazi group plans a gathering on the Jackson County Courthouse steps November 9th, according to a notice on its website. Other right wing extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation may also attend.
“Well this isn’t a tiny group of people, unfortunately. It is being advertised nationally on their website. Obviously, they don’t have many supporters, but it’s not going to be just a half dozen people,” said City Councilman John Sharp.
The Council passed a resolution Thursday stating its “unanimous opposition to the racist and anti-Semitic beliefs of the neo-Nazi movement”.
Instead of confrontation, City Councilman Sharp hopes Kansas Citians confront the group with words and deeds, not violence.
Sharp says he think the group selected Kansas City for the event because they were in town in 2005. At that time, not much was made of their rally. Sharp believes they mistakenly think Kansas City might tolerate the group.
Sharp says he brought the issue to the attention of the Police Board Thursday. He says the police are aware of the approaching event.
Sharp says he expects protesters opposing the neo-Nazis to show up.
“We’re hopeful persons who value human rights will have a rally—but away from theirs, without a confrontation of the two groups. But there may well be some protesters there,” he said.

City Hall Hunts for a Deal on Teen Curfews
May 1, 2013

The outlines of a deal on a year-round Kansas City Missouri curfew for teens under 18 may be emerging.
Two key players, curfew sponsor Jan Marcson, and a key opponent, Public Safety Committee Chairman John Sharp met with Kansas City Police recently to discuss the issue.
Marcason’s idea of a year-round, 9pm curfew for Kansas City teens under 18 has run into resistance.
The issue has come to the forefront again because of early spring crowds of teens gathering in the Country Club Plaza.
Marcason says the police tell her the curfew works. She says the police do not spend as much manpower and resources on curfew issues after the first week or two they’re in effect.
“The first two weeks,” said Marcason, is the test, “when they’re trying to get teenagers familiar with the time-table.”
Sharp opposes the 9pm curfew. He says it’s too early. He thinks it would prohibit an older teen from even going to a 7pm movie in many cases.
He also says the proposal has a problem because it holds parents of 17 year olds liable for their behavior.
“But 17 year olds are considered adults, for criminal purposes in Missouri. So we ought to change that.”
Sharp says the city already has several curfews, depending on the season and the age of the teen is aimed at.
He says the Police Dept. keeps a flow chart to track them all. He figures it would be just as hard for a teen to track them, too.
If there is one curfew, he thinks it should be consistent. He also thinks curfews should be “a tiny part”, of how the city helps keep teenagers safe.
Sharp and Marcason agree that it as handful of teens that start and cause the trouble on the Plaza, and other parts of town.
Another part of a potential compromise could be pushing the curfew time back.
“We don’t want it to go too late, maybe from 9 to 9:30. Maybe 10pm. A lot of the problems are 10 o’clock and later,” said Marcason.
The curfew issue is scheduled to go back to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee in mid May.