Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is our guest from Lessons learned from the NFL draft to an unrelenting wave of violence.
Three separate shootings in 30 minutes in what is shaping up to be the most deadly year on record.
Have we run out of answers?
Every week, at least 20 shots go off.
Sometimes you'll hear as many as 50 in one night.
Plus, new clashes over race.
The mayor has been complicit with racism against blacks in city government and transgender rights.
What does it mean for Kansas City to become a sanctuary city for transgender residents?
And how will state lawmakers respond?
Plus, a super hero swings into town.
George Guastello joins us with Union Station's latest blockbuster exhibit.
It's all coming up on this newsmaker edition of Week in Review.
Week in review is made possible through the generous support of AARP, Kansas City, RSM Dave and Jamie Cummings, Bob and Marlese Gourley, the Courtney S Turner Charitable Trust, John H. Mize and Bank of America and a co trustees.
The restaurant at 1900.
And by viewers like you.
I'm Nick Haynes.
We can ask our panel of reporters to tell us what on earth happened in our city this week and why.
All we can cut out the middle man and middle woman and go straight to the top.
Joining us around the cozy confines of what we can review table this week is Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.
Good of you to join us.
I see that the Chiefs have just been invited to the White House by President Biden.
June 5th is the date as the mayor of the city in which they play get to go to.
I do have the good fortune to be in their president.
Mayor James made it to the royal celebration of the White House with President obama.
I look forward to joining the chiefs, the president of the United States.
Other folks from Missouri and Kansas to celebrate really not just the last Super Bowl, but there was never a celebration from the 2020 victory.
So hopefully there's a whole lot of fun going on at the White House.
And we've just come from a huge celebration of the Chiefs in a sense, because we had the NFL draft in town.
What did we really hit it out of the park with on that event?
And what do we need to fix before we bring the World Cup to town?
I think that our whole team did an exceptional job, ranging from City Hall, the Sports Commission, Union Station, the National World War One museum, and frankly, so many folks, hardworking people who made sure it was clean, it was safe, it was well set up.
So I think what we saw was that Kansas City can do big events and do big events very well.
Things to work on next time are really just having more connections on transportation.
The streetcar line will be running to the Country Club Plaza by the time the 2026 World Cup comes around.
We want to make sure that the story of the excitement of the event isn't just a downtown Union Station story, but it's one that's impacting positively the whole region.
So we look forward to building more on that for our next set of big events in Kansas City.
What about the downtown businesses who complained, Some of them saying, hey, we got more traffic, more crowds when we have a volleyball tournament downtown than we did with the NFL draft.
We may not even open our doors when the World Cup comes.
You know, I think, first of all, there were different experiences for businesses.
I've talked to some businesses at 18th and Vine who were part of the NFL draft experience.
We had a wonderful set of returns.
Certainly our vendors did, too.
I am always interested in every business getting a bump from an event like this.
And I think what we need to make sure we're doing is pushing out things and opportunities for folks all around town, making sure that we're saying please still go to the city market, go to the country club Plaza, go to any other area of town, frankly, and make sure you're spending money, too.
I think the World Cup will be different because you have people here for a longer amount of time.
It's not just be a one event type of institution.
It's instead to be all around our community.
Speaking of business, we have been inundated by Airbnb owners who have told us you are putting them out of business this week.
There would be no future short term rentals in residential zones.
We would have to open them up here in the crossroads or in the West Bottoms.
They would not be allowed in the neighborhoods.
Now, if you haven't been tracking that story, the city council just voted to ban short term rentals in any residential area if it's not the owner's primary residence.
Is Kansas City shooting itself in the foot?
Because all we can expect these World Cup fans coming in here to stay at these Airbnb rentals.
We are absolutely not shooting ourselves in the foot here.
Here's the deal.
Single family, residential neighborhoods need to still be able to be residential neighborhoods, not just big hotels.
And what we did was, I think, came to a wonderful compromise.
Every person is the primary resident of a home in Kansas City, like me or my family or anyone else can still get on one of these platforms, can still get their home for short term rentals.
What you cannot do is do what we were seeing more of these large property companies owning companies that own 200 houses, 150, 100 that we're changing the face of entire neighborhoods and by the way, bring in parties and trash to boot.
Those were some of the challenges that folks had concerns with.
But you can still have Airbnbs in Kansas City if you find yourself in a commercially zoned neighborhood.
You don't need to be a resident to own Airbnbs.
I think we will continue to have capacity to support big events in Kansas City's future.
What stops an Airbnb owner from just ignoring all of these new rules?
Well, you know, I think we have a few different penalties for them.
First of all, there is taxation now as it relates to Airbnb.
If you don't pay your taxes, you do get in trouble typically and you have higher fees, higher fines along the way.
Subject it up to, of course, incarceration if you ever pay taxes.
I think the other steps that we would have, of course, are higher penalties each and every time that you are listed.
And that goes per day.
So the same penalty, it's an enforcement we have for unpaid tickets, for example, is the sort of thing that we'll be able to have for enforcement here.
I expect people to comply.
The challenge was before we had about 1800 unlicensed Airbnbs.
We heard concerns from neighborhoods.
We saw crime as a result of it in too many of our residential neighborhoods.
I think this is a good change and this is a change consistent with many other American cities.
Your Denver's of the world.
You're Austin's are the types of places who have these same types of regulations.
Missouri lawmakers this week followed through, and that is to put new transgender restrictions in place.
Kansas City is responding by looking at making Kansas City a sanctuary, very city for the transgender community.
How would that actually work?
The way it works is that Kansas City will not aid and abet the enforcement of any laws that take away, I think, the human rights and the civil rights of our transgender neighbors.
And what that means is that city hall will not help with enforcement either through its health department, through Parks and Rec, through other areas that that would respond perhaps to alleged violations of these laws being promulgated, these heinous laws being promulgated by the Missouri legislature.
They have bans on on youth sports participation activities and trying to get more information on the provision of transgender care.
Typically hormone treatment for folks, particularly at the teen age level and others.
And I think for us, what's going to be important is to make sure that we're saying Kansas City will still be a bastion of protection for those who are transgender in our population.
Away from response, both to the Missouri legislature and, frankly, the Kansas legislature, which I know overrode the governor's vetoes on those.
But there's been talk that the police wouldn't be able to enforce these laws, which are telling prosecutors not to prosecute those laws.
You already have a tenuous sort of relationship with Jefferson City and the Republican led legislature there.
What is this going to do?
Aren't they just going to come forward now with a new law banning sanctuary cities for transgender residents?
You know, first thing is it's going to take them a long time to do it right.
Legislative session ends fairly soon.
And so therefore, it will probably take a whole year unless they call a special session.
Just to respond to Kansas City.
What I think, however, though, is it's let local control be local control, something I talk about all the time, whether it is local control of the police, which we deserve or it's local control of our decisions, that we want to actually be decent human beings.
What we see from these laws is they're going to harm more children throughout Missouri.
We're trying to make sure children and adults can be safe and respected.
And that's what Kansas City is all about.
By the way, next Thursday night, we're doing a special program about the impact of these restrictions on the transgender community.
One side of the state line, I'm not allowed to get estrogen on the other side of the state line.
I'm not allowed to go to the bathroom.
Which do I pick?
I went through the darkest parts of myself to get here.
What makes me think that I'm willing to go back, Especially not without a fight.
A clip from a special program we're hosting here on Kansas City PBS next week as my colleague Flatland in Focus host Rashan Gillmor engages directly with the members of the transgender community.
It starts at 7 p.m. Thursday night.
If that wasn't going to be upsetting enough for Missouri lawmakers, you also form a new May oral reparations commission.
This isn't the time, of course, when Missouri lawmakers have spent a lot of the session looking at ditching diversity policies at universities.
Stopping conversations about race in schools.
And now we're looking to make amends and potentially give money to black residents for segregation and slavery.
Isn't this just going to get rankle lawmakers even further?
Well, here's here's the first thing we need to realize.
I don't wake up every morning and think about the Missouri legislature.
I was not elected by the Missouri legislature.
I was elected by the people of Kansas City.
I like to think I'm a very nice person.
I visit with many of them.
We have strong relations at the NFL draft.
I sat with Governor Mike Parson and Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas, and we had a wonderful bipartisan conversation.
And so what I think that we will do every day in Kansas City is try to make sure we're doing the right thing by our people.
The reparations conversation that was passed by city council, I was directed to appoint a mayoral commission.
And I'm proud of the folks that we put together.
And I think we will have an important discussion about, first of all, what wrongs did exist in the past, the history of Kansas City, from zoning laws to employment restrictions on black Kansas citizens.
And then how do we make amends?
And for me and I've said this a few different times, I don't think making amends is simply discussions of large paychecks that may not happen or having that debate in California right now if it's not checks, if it's not cash, what is it then?
It is actually good policy that helps rebuild communities that for a long time have been disinvested.
I don't want to get ahead of the commission, but it's the sorts of things like giving support on on mortgage assistance for folks who are first time homebuyers on the east side of Kansas City.
It's allowing us to do home repair in areas that have been for a long time disinvested.
It is on making policies that actually make sense and help rebuild community in a way that I don't think we have ever done.
And so I look forward to this commission doing good social policy and not just playing to the whims of folks who are scared about all types of things they've seen in other parts of the country, other parts of the world.
Here in Kansas City, I think we always take a reasoned approach.
That tries to stand up for people.
That's what we'll do on this one, too.
We had three shootings in 30 minutes this week.
We're on pace now to be the deadliest year on record in Kansas City.
Here's what you said four years ago as you were being sworn into office for almost every year of my entire life.
Kansas City has been on the list of America's most dangerous cities.
I don't want to be a city where we have ribbon cuttings about stadiums or big infrastructure, but simply shrug about the violence in our streets.
And this shouldn't really be a goal.
But let's just start at this.
To get our homicide number consistently below 100 homicides per year.
That's something that just so what has gone so terribly wrong and have we accepted not just 100 or 150 murders a year as the new normal?
I don't think we will ever accept that high number of homicides every year.
I think there have been a few different things that have gone awry in recent years and things that we need to address.
We saw a huge spike in violent crime during the COVID 19 pandemic.
We saw that some of the policies, even that we had had led to people not actually going to some of the usual activities they did and not having outlets alternatives to that.
What we have tried to do since that time, we've restored mayors.
Knight hopes a program built by Mayor Emanuel Cleaver some years ago.
It's not just basketball, but it's any number of youth activities in the summer.
We have seen with our collaboration with the Kansas City Police Department and their new chief, Stacy Graves, more investment in programs like Partnership for Peace, where we are actually working with the police department on violence prevention, something that I think we underfunded in the late 20 teens and early 2020s.
All of those things will be steps to get us on the right path.
But I will say this we do plan to get below 100 homicides.
We have seen cities like New York City go from 2000 homicides a year in the late 1980s to about 500 today.
We need to see that type of path.
And but it hasn't worked yet and it hasn't since you've been mayor of Kansas City.
And we do not see other cities like the mayor of Newark, for instance, lowest homicide rate in 60 years.
Miami experienced the lowest number of homicides since 1964.
Violent crime in Cincinnati at an all time low.
Are you sending members of your administration to those cities to see what they're doing?
We visit with with industry stakeholders and leaders all the time.
Tampa is another city that has great results.
A city I have spent time to see what they're doing.
Well, I think there are a few things that have been a challenge here in Missouri and in Kansas City, because as you've seen in Saint Louis and in Kansas City, we've had unconscionably high rates of violent crime.
I do think that our gun laws in Missouri contribute to many of those challenges.
They take tools away from the police departments having things passed like the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which has helped restrict our ability to conduct good firearms trafficking investigations in the state of Missouri, is a challenge, but we will continue to look at best practices everywhere so that we are not forever on this list.
I do believe Kansas City can become safer.
The list you provided explains just why you are the most visible figure, of course, in city government.
But it is the city manager that actually implements the programs and he seems to be getting just as many headlines as you were over the last week.
And we see civil rights leaders in Kansas City saying, ditch him, Matt Lucas, you got to get rid of him.
The council considering a no confidence vote.
Are you searching now for a new city manager?
I am not in the city council is not searching for a new city manager.
I think that what we have seen is, frankly some of the best government delivery and service delivery in the history of Kansas City.
Currently, we are delivering 162,000 new recycling bins in Kansas City.
Our workforce is the best paid it has ever been.
Citizen satisfaction is up.
We have more black female department directors than we've ever had in the history of this city.
Frankly, I think this is a strong time in Kansas City, and the city manager has a lot to do with it.
Are we perfect in all that?
We do, Absolutely not.
And we always need to do better.
I think we strive to do better.
I have reached out to those civil rights groups that had concerns.
I look forward to meeting with them.
I've talked to some of their leadership already, will make sure we do right by our employees and the concerns in our community.
But I do not think in any way this is a moment that the city manager needs to be changed.
And a supermajority of the city council agrees with me on that.
We haven't talked about the downtown ballpark for a while, just between the two of us.
Did you reach out to John Sherman and pick the site?
Behind the scenes already I What was that?
You know, I have not picked a site with her behind the scenes with John Sherman that said, I have talked to John Sherman of the Kansas City Royals.
I always appreciate their conversation.
I think they continue on their discussion throughout the region in connection with what they believe is a need for some change and where they play baseball.
I think there's a lot of work to be done, including what costs look like, where that will be, what collaboration will be.
But I expect city government to be part of those discussions, to be part of that collaboration and frankly, to continue to share this very important point.
Whatever happens, we do not want to see a negative impact on the taxpayers.
And so we will make sure that we were fiscally responsible in connection with these discussions, both with the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Chiefs.
After being part of the conversation, too.
We look forward to having healthy conversation.
I saw you last week at the announcement of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum that they're on the move.
They're going to be building a brand new museum just down the road.
Are you privately talking with them to see if you can actually put something together where the Royals and the Negro Leagues Museum come in the same place?
Wouldn't that make more sense?
You're getting far ahead of me, I think both with Bob Kendrick and John Sherman, you have outstanding civic ambassadors who can answer those questions for you.
I'm a supporter, both of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Kansas City Royals.
I think they have a wonderful collaboration and have for years, I will say about the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
I'm very proud of Bob Kendrick and the team for expanding that facility near the Open Sale YMCA.
I lived across the street for 12 and a half years.
It is going to be a great development for the east side of Kansas City.
You are running for reelection, and yet, unlike your predecessors, you've never set foot in the same room as your opponent played chess, namely trying to get you to debate him on this program.
Why are you so reluctant to be in the same spot as Clay Chastain in this election?
I have absolutely no reluctance to be in the same spot with anyone.
I enjoy conversations and indeed even difficult ones.
At times when I am doing though, is being serious about the issues that impact Kansas City.
I am not flying in from Virginia once a month or so to talk about whatever new scheme I may have.
I say that with respect to Mr. Chastain, who has been running for this position since I was a child, actually, and he has, I guess, every right to do so, even if he is not a resident of Kansas City.
I like to talk about serious issues.
And so I think substantive conversations like this one are a better forum for the people to hear what's going on in Kansas City rather than a back and forth about issues that may be important to Virginia if we were debating together.
One of the questions I would be asking you is if you are reelected, would you be committed to spending your entire second term as mayor of Kansas City?
And if the Biden administration called, you wouldn't be not stepping it to Washington to take a government position.
I'll tell you this.
I have, I think, the greatest job in the world.
I love being mayor of Kansas City.
It's been an exciting time to do it.
No one ever knows what the future holds, but nobody's called me to offer me anything and frankly, not even offered me Mayor of Kansas City.
I just enjoy being in this position and I hope I have the chance to do it for four more years.
And you're not running against Josh Hawley next year for the U.S. Senate.
You know, as as I just said before, we'll see whatever happens in the future.
But I love being mayor of Kansas City.
That's the only thing I'm on the ballot for.
And I look forward to continuing to serve.
He is the mayor of Kansas City.
Quinton Lucas, thank you so much for being with us.
Up next, a crime fighting superhero is about to swing into town.
I think we need him.
You're watching Kansas City.
We can review now that the NFL draft is behind us.
What's the next big thing we can look forward to in Kansas City?
Mark your calendar for September 1st.
That's when the Kansas City Zoo officials say the largest capital project in the attraction's history will open.
Get ready for sharks, giant octopus and about 8000 other sea creatures at the new $77 million aquarium.
You're in for a huge surprise.
A world class city deserves a world class zoo.
And now we add to that a world class zoo.
A world class aquarium.
But the aquarium is just one of a string of new big projects on the way.
Don't forget, K.C.
Currents, new riverfront Stadium opens next year.
The streetcar down to the plaza welcomes its first passengers in 2025, and the World Cup heads to town in 2026.
Still no word yet on when construction could begin on a new downtown ballpark or when you'll be asked to decide the issue at the ballot box.
But if it all seems too far away, we've got some other big things to celebrate.
Celebration at the station is just around the corner and fresh from the NFL draft.
Union Station now getting ready to open a super hero sized exhibit.
Did you know Spider-Man is about to swing into town?
Into our studio is Union Station CEO George Guastello.
Thrilled to have you with us.
By the way, I was just over at Union Station.
They were still dismantling that stage.
Is the road still closed?
I think it opens the opens this weekend, finally.
So you're trying to do this brand new exhibit while the NFL draft is still cleaning up?
And trying to get everything back to order.
I mean, it took us five years with Kathy Nelson to get this the NFL draft canceled.
He took us six weeks to build it out.
Largest construction project at Union Station in the front ever.
So now we're ready to go back to the business.
Everyone said, wow, Union Station look terrific, all illuminated.
You got all of those reviews.
So did you get any new business out of that?
Did you get like the Oscars committee saying we might want to move the Academy Awards out of Hollywood and bring it to Union Station?
Good thing, because the last time they did the Academy Awards in the train station, it was really bad and in L.A.
So we want to get that back.
Hopefully we can win an Emmy like you win for the show.
So it was really great for Kansas City.
Almost 54 million people watched us in Kansas City on television.
Only 20 million watched the coronation of the king.
So I think we're doing great.
Did you did you get any new business out of it, though?
Yeah, we did.
Many things that have happened.
We've got opportunities for future exhibitions that are coming.
And also we had 315,000 people at Union Station having a great time.
So tell us, just between the two of us, what types of things happened behind the scenes that most of us don't know?
It was pretty exciting.
You know, we talked 15 years ago when I first started the historic Preservation of Union Station is vitally important.
That's what Kansas City passed a sales tax to do.
And what is the most famous place this beautiful bronze doors?
And I can tell you a story.
The NFL, we said yes to the NFL for almost everything.
But when we said no, we said no.
And one of them was they wanted us to remove the historic doors off of Union Station.
So the players could watch it.
And you saw that.
How cool it came out of the family room and then through those doors and then up on the stage to see Liberty Memorial, they asked us to remove the doors.
We're not we just can't do that.
That's one thing we can't do.
So they came up and said, well, what what could we do?
I said, It's a union station bellhops.
So we dressed up three people, thanks to our CFO, Neil Young, who came up with the idea.
So we dressed them up in a hat.
So the people that were opening the doors, those were educators from Science City.
So they were over 50 more million people.
And it really added something special.
A teacher was opening a door for a student that was successful.
So you go from the NFL draft to a superhero and we have Spider-Man coming in in the next few weeks.
So tell us, how did we even get that exhibit?
I mean, are you knocking on the door of Marvel?
And that's what we do.
So over the over the years, it all started with Diana so many years ago.
That really put us in an international.
And then when you think about it, then we were able to do Auschwitz.
350,000 people came to Auschwitz more than they came to the NFL draft.
That put us on an international stage.
So over the last 15 years, we've been spending time going to Europe and hunting down these exhibitions.
The gentleman that we met many years ago, Christoph Schulz, did the TUT exhibition was very successful for us.
He loved us so much.
He had this idea to do a Spider-Man exhibition.
They did a pop up for the 60th anniversary in California.
We went out to see it, our chief operating officer myself, we went out there with our chief marketing officer.
We looked at it.
We said, Now can we move this around and bring it into an international exhibition?
They said, Yes, and there you go.
So every dot connects a dots.
If you've seen the movie, if you've read the comics, what else is there to see by going to this exhibit?
You know, it is a pop culture, 60 years and you're not even 60 years old.
So when Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee some 60 years ago, it has evolved.
It is really part of our pop culture, which you're going to see over 200 artifacts that you've never seen before, original drawings.
So when you see that and who is who is owned, who owns Marvel Disney?
So it all circles back to Disney and Walt Disney.
So one of the things that we'll see, we always like to add a little Kansas City to it, just like we did with Auschwitz, with Sonja's scarf.
What we're going to be doing there is we found original Spider-Man comic books that were created for the Kansas City Chiefs.
So those will be on display and for our really historic people that love Kansas City.
There was also a Spider-Man comic created with The Hulk and Spider-Man for the Jones store.
So we'll be bringing in history and then we'll be showing the new Miles Morales film this summer.
And now we'll have special artifacts from that film that has never been seen before.
So it'll be a fun time for families and kids.
And this starts May 26, right, on Memorial Day weekend when we do Bank of America celebration at the station.
So, as you say, you're banging on the door of Marvel.
Were you at the coronation, banging on the door of the royal family, looking to bring a royal family, a King Charles exhibit you've done, Diana.
Could there be a King Charles exhibit in the future for Union Station?
But, you know, it would be even greater is if King Charles and Camilla, Queen Camilla, would come to Union Station and stand on our balcony and wait for the first tour of America.
That's what we really need.
I thought you were going to say you prefer to have the Harry and Meghan exhibit versus the King Charles one.
No, no, no.
First, always do the King Charles, then maybe Harry and Meghan, and then that'll be a big experience if we can get her dress.
What would be what?
What next Big exhibit are you wanting to have here in Kansas City?
You know, I always love to wish upon a star, and you just never know what can actually come back to Kansas City.
What has been.
You did Mr. Cryptic here.
What exhibit have you wanted that you've never gotten?
And you still disappoint it that you couldn't get to come to Kansas City?
So everything you've wanted, you've got in time.
Oh, there's one.
There's the Harry Potter exhibition.
But they said we were too big.
We weren't big enough for a Harry Potter exhibition.
I guess we were only big enough for 350,054 million people watching us on television.
We really appreciate George Guastello, the head of Union Station, being with us on this special newsmaker edition of Weekend Review.
By the way, our reporters are back next week.
Until then, I'm Nick Haynes.
Be well, keep calm and carry on.