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Politicians make a lot of promises. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is no exception. Election campaigns provide a platform for candidates to make promises in exchange for votes, so what did Mayor Lucas say he would get done if elected? 41 Action News has compiled a list and will use those “promises” to track Lucas’ achievements in office. Promises given a gold star are things he said he would tackle in his first year in office. Mayor Lucas assumed office on Aug. 1, 2019.
Mayor Lucas mentioned several times on the campaign trail that he wants to get Kansas City off of the Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities list. The city ranks high nationally for its per-capita crime and homicide rates, so the goal is to change that.
USA Today created a comprehensive list of the most dangerous cities using data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. It takes the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults and ranks cities based off of those crimes. The list was created in February 2019 and uses the FBI's data from 2017, when Kansas City was ranked as the fifth most dangerous city in the U.S.
Mayor Lucas sat down with 41 Action News before his inauguration and touched on some of his goals for his term in office. One of those is getting the homicide number below 100 per year.
Kansas City has had well over 100 homicides in recent years, including 135 in 2018, 151 in 2017, 131 in 2016 and 111 in 2015. The last year with fewer than 100 homicides was 2014, when there were 82, according to KCPD crime data. The four years before that — 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 — all had more than 100 homicides in KCMO alone.
The number of homicides for the entire Kansas City area is included, the has been even greater.
"I do have a serious goal of getting us below 100 homicides per year in Kansas City and I think we need to do that, because we can’t sustain this going forward," Mayor Lucas said.
During a forum that took place before the mayoral election, Mayor Lucas said he planned to approach public safety by investing in community policing. He mentioned making sure cops aren't driving across town to handle crime but are getting the chance to "connect with communities" and learn about the neighborhood they're in.
Mayor Lucas said that another part of addressing public safety is hiring more detectives to clear homicides and prevent more deadly crimes from taking place.
Kansas City voters approved a measure in April 2017 that largely decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.
According to Ballotpedia, "A yes vote was a vote in favor of limiting the punishment for possession or control of 35 grams or less of marijuana to $25 with no possibility of jail and removing marijuana from the prohibition against drug paraphernalia."
Mayor Lucas said he wants to further that by aiding those who were convicted before the change was passed. He plans to do that with the pardon power given to the mayor in the city charter as soon as he's in office.
"I think that the pardon power with that is really just catching up to it," Mayor Lucas said. And saying to all those people who had the misfortune of being caught for these offenses prior to 2017, who run with that stigma on their records when they’re speaking to employers, any number of things, need a new second chance."
Mayor Lucas mentioned that social workers are an intervention step to help prevent crime within the community.
"It’s having a good presence in policing in Kansas City, and a good neighborly connection with police," he said. "Frankly, I think it’s making sure people are in our communities and know that we care about them."
Lucas wants to permanently fund the social worker program within the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department to help improve community policing and target the crime rate. Social workers are currently contracted employees. Lucas wants to give them a permanent spot in the city budget.
Kansas City residents voted to approve $800 million in general obligation bonds back in April 2017. The money will be used over a 20-year period to fund improvements for streets, sidewalks, flood control and "other infrastructure needs."
One year into the project, many projects money was allocated for do not include upgrading existing roads.
City officials define affordable housing as a household spending no more than 30% of its annual income on housing. Officials decided to create a $75-million housing development fund to create and preserve housing units in hopes of providing affordable options for Kansas City residents. Various ideas were suggested to fund the multi-million trust, including using revenue from electric scooter companies. The trust is yet to be funded, which is something Mayor Lucas wants to change.
A part of the affordable housing conversation is creating quality housing east of the Troost Dividing Line to help improved the quality of life in those communities and lower the crime rate. Mayor Lucas said the trust fund will address that and that he would like to tackle affordable housing east of Troost Avenue in his first year.
"I believe that that has to continue to be a key focus of the city’s housing policy long term," Lucas told 41 Action News.
Mayor Lucas discussed mental health on the campaign trail and said it needs to be a funding priority.
"I think the way you do that in your first year is through the city budget that we’ll adopt in the spring," he said. "And I do plan to call for, and I think we have the council votes to support, increasing our funding to mental health services."
Mayor Lucas also hopes to increase funding to indigent health service providers like Truman Medical Center, the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center and Children's Mercy Hopsital.
Lucas was very vocal about incentives for developers while serving on the KCMO City Council. He wants to continue allowing incentives for developers, but not necessarily in the form of tax breaks and wants to make sure any incentives are directed to areas that need the investment.
"What we need to change from is seeing incentives as just real estate tax breaks," Lucas told 41 Action News. "And instead, channel the incentives more to: how many jobs are you creating? Is this a new industry sector? Frankly, supporting entrepreneurs in more situations."
Missouri residents may obtain a state issued identification card if they do not hold a driver's license. Despite that, Mayor Lucas wants to create a KCMO Municipal ID card for city residents who may not have a driver's license or city residents who may not have legal immigration status.
Other cities already have similar IDs available, including the Kansas state capital of Topeka.
"I think everybody should have the opportunity to have good identification to help them get a job," Mayor Lucas said. "My view is, if you’re present in Kansas City, I don’t care what level of presence you are, I want you to have an opportunity to be a producer in our economy, be able to take care of your children, be able to be a part of the ecosystem of our city."
This item was achieved during Mayor Lucas' time in office.
Work In Progress
Mayor Lucas is actively working on completing this item.
Not Yet Started
No work has begun on this item.
Work started on this item, but the progress was derailed.
This item was not accomplished during Mayor Lucas' term, or he accomplished something else that actively worked against this item being completed.