KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four Kansas City, Missouri, council members who represent the Northland gathered on Thursday to criticize a proposal by Mayor Quinton Lucas to reallocate funding for the city's police department.
Council members Dan Fowler, Kevin O'Neill, Heather Hall and Teresa Loar all said Lucas was not transparent, claiming they had no knowledge of the ordinances until he announced them.
"It's not transparent to tell us 20 minutes before we're going into a meeting that we're changing all these ordinances," Hall, 1st District councilwoman, said in a press briefing. "Unfortunately our colleagues and the mayor who are supporting this did not give us that luxury of affording us the sharing of this information."
A spokeswoman for the mayor said either the mayor himself or a member of his staff reached out to all members of the council prior to releasing details of the proposal Thursday morning.
The spokeswoman said the mayor specifically spoke with O’Neill and an aide to the mayor spoke with Fowler, and that Councilmembers Loar and Hall were also included as part of the outreach prior to Thursday morning's announcement.
Lucas' ordinances would amend KCPD's budget from 25.8% of Kansas City's general revenue to 20% — a change which represents nearly $46 million.
The money would then be reallocated to a Community Services and Prevention fund.
"This is absolutely the worst piece of legislation I've seen since I've been here at city hall," Loar, 2nd District At-Large councilwoman, said. "I learned about this at 11:33 this morning, so I had no indication that this was happening."
Lucas cited the continued violence in Kansas City as one of the reasons for proposing the changes earlier in the day, even mentioning the record breaking year for homicides in 2020.
"What we're doing right now ain't working," Lucas said during a press briefing. "It's not just an answer enough to say 'get more law enforcement.' Last year during Operation LeGend, the federal government sent hundreds of federal agents to Kansas City and we still broke a homicide record."
However, Hall refuted the claim and said KCPD isn't to blame for the ongoing violence in Kansas City.
"We keep saying 'help reduce violent crime.' Well, how about if people just stopped killing each other?" Hall said. "The truth is, the police are not the ones doing all the violence, they are having to respond. They can't respond within 319 square miles in an efficient amount of time with the staffing that they have right now."
The proposed ordinances will now head to a KCMO finance governance and public safety committee meeting for discussion next week.