What challenges do you face working in a weak mayoral system?
Policing particularly is an space the place you frankly want that robust place and that potential to — if the voters votes for you — to say, “We’re going to change.” So, you already know, plenty of my opponents on the precise prefer to say, “Look, this is horrible as a result of his aim was to get us beneath 100 homicides a yr.” That was true and it has not occurred. In truth, the precise reverse has occurred. We have seen will increase.
However to me, nothing is extra irritating than after I discuss to the folks of Kansas City and they are saying, “We wish you to attempt new efforts. We wish you to attempt violence prevention. We wish you to attempt outreach proper and methods that you may break down gangs.” And we simply sit again and say, “Oh, there’s nothing we will do.” And you already know that you simply mainly have a police superintendent that is answerable to nobody, that you’ve a board of commissioners that reply solely to the governor of Missouri, who is not, I believe, politically aligned in some ways with the folks of Kansas City in addressing public security. It is an actual downside.
As a Black mayor throughout this period of racial reckoning, are you able to speak about how that affected you and possibly how that made it simpler or to not handle the disaster?
To be 100% sincere, after I heard in regards to the George Floyd homicide, I did not need to watch the video. I have been Black my entire life. I keep in mind being a child and questioning why the L.A. law enforcement officials have been acquitted [after the Rodney King trial]. I’ve seen too many movies of Black males both getting overwhelmed or dying on display. And so I used to be initially type of like, “You recognize what, I am not even going to [watch it].” I did not make an announcement. I did not do something. However the protests nonetheless got here, as a result of I believe there was a real reckoning in my very own metropolis about justice, social justice, the legal justice system.
By way of what I did then, I imply, you are checked out not simply as a mayor, proper, however you are checked out as any person who’s both standing up in your folks or promoting out your folks. Conversations have been robust, together with with the police chief, who is white. I might say, “You recognize, these aren’t people who find themselves hooligans. There are lots of people feeling like they’ve by no means been heard.”
I saved that perspective all through. And I believe it has helped me. It has helped me proceed pushing at occasions when it has been robust. Our police price range battle final yr was difficult. And it created one other recall. …
I believe it helps having a background I had. I am from the internal metropolis. I knew homelessness rising up. I used to be raised by a single mom, and I say that not as a degree of disappointment or disgrace, however as a degree of pleasure. Anyone who labored her tail off to get me and my sisters to the positions we’re in now, and it helps you talk with folks otherwise.
Which means regardless of the neighborhood, regardless of the difficulty, regardless of the folks, it may be a room of 100 Trump Republicans who hate the whole lot I am about. I will be in that room. I’ll present up. I’ll pay attention. I am going to be sure that we’re doing one thing to make a distinction.