KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Reverend L. Henderson Bell is trying to help his church thrive. However, the location of Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church has made that difficult. He says his congregation is commuting to church because everyone is moving out of the third district.
So, Bell was disappointed when he saw Councilman Jermaine Reed's response to upset homeowners.
He said, “I still recall people who were protesting and his response was 'Get over it', 'It's going to happen.' But because of his youth, he didn't understand that many of those people have invested their lives there."
The homeowners and renters will lose their homes in May to make way for the city's new crime lab and police station.
Bell said, “They can't find a place where they can actually maybe actually maybe live at the same quality of life. So, those people are going to be greatly disadvantaged.”
Bell wants to recall reed and has waged a campaign to make that happen. On Friday, there were ‘Recall Reed’ signs all over the third district. Bell’s group was responsible.
Meanwhile, the people in that neighborhood wait to learn what kind of cash the city will offer for their homes.
Homeowner Arleatha Mays explained, “I'm going to have to bite the bullet and do whatever I can to survive."
Mays has put years of blood, sweat and tears into restoring her historic home. She recently received the city's appraisal.
She reacted to the appraisal, “To see that a group of individuals just wants me to give it up and then they are not offering me what I've put into it. It kind of feels, it's rough."
It is stories like Mays’ that bell says have to be turned around. He said the change will have to start with elected officials.
Bell said, “You can't come in and say I'm in office and sit down. No, you're not in office to sit down. You're here to do something.”
According to the city clerk, recall requires at least a thousand voter signatures.
It's important to note, Bell originally campaigned for Reed's opponent, Michael Fletcher. Fletcher was disqualified from the race.
Bell said the idea to recall Reed came after a decision was made about the residency of Kansas City Municipal Judge Elena Franco. He thinks there was a double standard created between Franco and Fletcher.
Reed responded in a statement on Friday:
"Citizens are certainly welcome to avail themselves to the processes available in the City Charter concerning a recall.
"However, I’m laser-focused on creating jobs in the 3rd district, reducing crime and restoring economic development. The G.R.E.A.T. Jobs program is currently training hundreds young people to work on weatherizing homes and they are still recruiting more. The Bright Futures Program is getting underway, which will put our youth to work during the summer months.
"My office is working with the Jackson County Neighborhood Prosecution Teams to make business owners, with a tract record of violations, clean up their act and become responsible citizens of the community. We’ve seen successes with that program.
"Our community needs economic development. My office is working with public and private entities to get grocery stores in the food deserts. Again, I’m laser-focused on fulfilling my promises to the people to re-energize, restore and revitalize the 3rd district."
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