It's the week.
We were told to drop everything for a major World Cup announcement in Kansas City.
Every political leader in town for the breaking news.
But what did we actually learn?
Plus, it's a week for political payback on both sides of state lines and big developments on the way from plans for a new arena at UMKC to breaking ground on what is being called America's first entertainment District over a river.
Those stories and the rest of the week's news straight ahead.
Week in review is made possible through the generous support of AARP, Kansas City, RSM Dave and Jamie Cummings.
Bob and Marlise Gali, the Cortney Turner Charitable Trust, John Mize and Bank of America and a co trustees.
The restaurant at 1900.
And by viewers like you.
Hello and welcome.
I'm Nick Haines.
Glad you could join us on our weekly journey through the week's most impactful, confusing and befuddling local news stories riding on the weekend review bus this week is KCUR news director Lisa Rodriguez, former star news titan Dave Helling, Kevin Collison from City Scene, KC and KMBC nine political analyst Michael Mahoney.
Now, it is rare for both of our governors to come together.
It's rarer still for nearly every local leader and the heads of our top sports teams to join them.
On the same stage this week, we were told to drop everything for a major World Cup announcement.
What did we though, find out this week that was so Earth shattering?
It required pretty much every powerful elected official in the region to join hands at Arrowhead Stadium this week.
To announce the brand for the World Cup.
KC In fact, there are there were simultaneous announcements all across the country at the 11 different cities that are going to be hosting World Cup games here in the United States.
I thought the news that came out of it and it was pretty vague at the time was the fact that the city of Kansas City is going to issue a request for proposals for some sort of public transit between the KC Airport and downtown.
And that's all that was mentioned about it.
And perhaps Clay Chastain's dream can come true.
We'll have a light rail finally from the airport to downtown for the work out.
With the monorail, if it's clay.
Yeah, that's too pedestrian.
But Lisa, I was expecting, you know, we're going to be opening ceremonies for the World Cup, the closing ceremonies, the final, perhaps a rolling roof over our head stadium.
And yet they're just talking about branding and a new board of directors.
And yet we're supposed to drop everything for that announcement.
Yeah, it was.
It was a lot of fanfare for for stuff that feels a little mundane to I'm sure it's significant progress in the planning for a massive event.
But is it something for Kansas City to get truly excited about?
I think it fell short.
It's interesting because the governors were both there.
We've had more than $62 million from Kansas and Missouri, most of it coming from Missouri now being spent to help renovate the Arrowhead Stadium so it can actually host FIFA games there for the World Cup.
But it's amazing that they found more than $50 million in Jefferson City when they can't afford a lot of other basic programs in in Missouri, when a lot of people don't even care about soccer, why were they willing to do that?
Well, in part because they're flush like most states, Missouri has tons of money that it would not ordinarily have.
And they've been handing out money like candy down to Jeff City, Lincoln, half, who's the chairman of the budget Committee, has been writing checks to just about every lawmaker.
And this 50 million is part of that.
That's an important thing.
By the way.
We should get used to news conferences like this between now and the event, because everyone's going to want to take credit for it.
It's just you shouldn't use the words major event next month.
But it does solve the $50 million problem which we've talked about on this show before, Nick, is where is the money going to come from for the for the improvements at Arrowhead Stadium that are essential for the World Cup games to be played out there?
And now we know that the state of Missouri and then Kansas is kicking in 10 million for the practice facility on the Kansas side.
So it isn't clear that's the end of the ask that there may be more money involved.
And Kevin talked a little bit about public transit from the airport to downtown.
That's a $2 billion project that almost certainly if it's fixed rail, almost certainly will.
Never do that.
Apparently, we're not going to know about how many games even we're going to get until later this year.
Now, So that was taken off the news cycle this week too.
Yeah, and the the big goal I was going to say home run, but the, the, the big goal for Kansas City would be to get some quarterfinal games and that's their goal.
They're not going to get to semifinals.
They're certainly not going to get the final, but they could get quarterfinal games.
That would be the biggest win though for Kansas City is if they could get people to go to downtown businesses at this event.
Lisa, because that was the big complaint, of course, during the NFL draft that nobody went to the downtown businesses.
Yeah, I think that will be key.
And I think that we'll see more progress on that in the years to come.
But certainly I think people after the draft will be looking for a plan that that guarantees a little bit more traffic downtown, that people will be spending time and money and eating and enjoying the city.
Yeah, it's going to be very different from the draft.
There was basically one conference base at Union Station and the World War One memorial.
In this case, people are going to be staying in hotels pretty much all around the metro, and they're great.
And there is going to be a more opportunity, I think, for other retail businesses to take a see a benefit from it.
Well, just one signature now stands in the way of Missouri, enacting new restriction on the transgender community.
While Governor Parson was in Kansas City this week, two bills were sitting on his desk back in Jefferson City.
One prohibits transgender athletes from competing in women's sports.
A second measure bans transition related medical care for minors.
In a preemptive move, the Kansas City Council has voted to create a safe haven for transgender residents.
The council ordinance would block local and police and local prosecutors from enforcing the new state rules.
That puts us in uncharted territory.
Can a local mayor, Dave Helling, decide what laws he wants to follow and what laws he doesn't know?
Although the Missouri legislature has has no cause for complaints since it routinely tells the federal government what laws at will and will not enforce.
So we don't need to go down that road that this is largely symbolic.
It will almost certainly be challenged in court if there is any affirmative attempt to enforce the local ordinance.
There is some play in the joints.
There is local home rule that allows cities to do things independent of the legislature.
But you could almost certainly expect a legal fight if there's an attempt to aggressively.
Enforced on what will happen even in Jefferson City.
We heard one legislator already saying we need to cut funding to Kansas City.
You know, they shouldn't be getting any state funding.
Can the legislature do that?
Yeah, certainly they can.
What what's going to happen here and sort of bounce off Dave's point point on this, this is sort of going to be like when Kansas City was not enforcing marijuana laws before the recreational legalization of it.
And so we'll see if there's an aggressive approach to it by the city, then it could end up in court.
But it if it passes, not so much.
Couldn't the state also hire a special prosecutor just to take over cases that the Jackson County prosecutor perhaps wouldn't now take on because of this?
I mean, they've they've taken that action before in Saint Louis.
So there are lots of tools and mechanisms by which lawmakers in Jefferson City can punish Kansas City for a move like this.
Like my colleagues said in through the court system, through funding, they could come back next session and say Kansas City just simply can't do that.
You don't have the authority.
So there's a there's lots of potential.
One thing I want to add to, and I agree with Dave, it's pretty symbolic.
We've had nuclear free zones.
We've had we're not going to enforce ICE regulations.
I mean, these are very popular with a more liberal city base.
But also it continues to antagonize the relationship between Kansas City and Jeff City.
I mean, the mayor really set off the hounds a year or two ago when he tried to change the funding arrangement for the police department.
And that just set up all kinds of bills.
It ended up penalizing the city.
So I don't know how you can find a successful rapport between a more liberal city and a very conservative state.
Every part of the Midwest is going through this, but it does not help in any kind of a rapprochement between Jeff City and Kansas City.
Political payback can be a bipartisan affair and a bi state one.
This week, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoes what you'd think would be a slam dunk measure for Democrats $250,000 in state money to greenlight development of the Quinn Darrow ruins in Kansas City, Kansas, an historic site that was a key stop on the so-called Underground Railroad that helped transport slaves to safety.
Have you come back here?
It's also a pretty awesome place to hide escaped slaves.
What happened here really represents the country at its best.
So why the veto?
All it sponsored was Marvin Robinson, the lone Democratic state lawmaker who vetoed voted rather, with Republicans to pass sweeping transgender restrictions on the Kansas side of state line.
The quandary Ruins are in his district.
Locally, Dave said she was governing from the middle.
Surely she wouldn't Torpedo development of an African American historic site is political payback.
Yeah, I think she's claiming that it's unrelated to the the votes by Representative Robinson, but it doesn't seem that that's actually the case.
This is clear punishment.
It's really a bad look for Laura Kelly in my view.
I mean, I you know, $250,000 isn't going to break the bank one way or the other.
Quando remains an extraordinarily important part of the local economy and to, in essence, punish the Democrats for something Republicans came up with seems like short sighted to say the least.
I think it certainly could be a bad look for Kelly, but I mean, it has politics written all over it.
The funding for this was introduced by a senator as sort of a thank you for for the vote for for Marvin Robinson on these trans regulations.
So it's I mean, it's all politics, does it?
You know, it was it was offered up as a favor.
It was knocked down by Governor Kelly.
I think ultimately Kelly will be.
It's too bad luck.
A lot of Kelly may not be able to spare $250,000 for the Kundera ruins, but she did find $4 million between the cushions for turning an old, decrepit bridge into the metro's latest entertainment destination.
Kelly broke ground this week on the Rock Island Bridge project.
If you're not familiar with it, this is the decommissioned bridge that once connected the West Bottoms near the former Kemper Arena with Casey K. It's expected to open next year as a tourist spot with bars, eateries and even a zip line.
They're claiming there's nothing like it in the country.
Is there a reason, though, why no other city captain may have wanted to load up an old bridge with restaurants and bars and loads of people over a big stretch of water?
You know, whether this thing is going to be replicated in other places?
I don't know.
But it does come at a time.
The West Bottoms is really seeing a resurgence in investment.
There's a lot of new housing going in down there.
But we're also told, I mean, was a story not long ago about Hy-Vee Arena struggling and whether they were going to sell Hy-Vee Arena, They weren't getting as much traffic as they wanted.
Is there are enough folks going down to that section of the city?
I can't really tell you how Hy-Vee has bounced back.
I think COVID had a lot to do with that, and I think from what the developer told me, they just threw the idea out a year or two ago about putting it on the market.
I don't know.
I when we went down for the Laura Kelly thing at the bridge, there were hundreds of proud parents watching their high school kids graduate from there.
So he is putting events in there.
But whether the West Bottoms is at a point now where somebody in Prairie Village or Overland Park's going to say, I'm going to get in my car, I'm going to drive down to the bottoms and hang out on a bridge and have a beer and watch the river.
I don't know.
I Can I see you doing that, Lisa?
I think I think possibly I think it's a it's a cool idea.
I think that the the the mix of preserving something that that is iconic that people are familiar with in Kansas City is very pop ular.
I think that's something that that will attract people purely because it's something they haven't seen before.
As we're talking about big developments, here's a new one we could never have anticipated.
A new arena move over T-Mobile Center and Hy-Vee Arena.
You MKC wants to build a 5000 seat venue for sports, games and events.
It would be built right next to the new extended streetcar line that will end on the UMKC campus.
Kevin, How many arenas do we actually need and what will this arena do that all the others in Kansas City do not do it.
Well, I know there's been many people trying to get arenas built in this metro.
You know, the one thing the UMKC proposal would have would be a really strong tenant.
You know, they would have both the Division one men's and women's basketball team and the Division one volleyball team and all the practices, etc..
It'll be interesting.
Um, Casey in recent years has not had the greatest track record with the RFP, so they wanted to get a new conservatory built for youth, for the music department that never really panned out.
They wanted to get somebody to come in and do Epperson house for them.
That really hasn't gone.
What will be interesting here is, though, that, you know, a developer could come along and the streetcar will certainly be a very dynamic source of people moving up and down and they would have a tenant.
And apparently this is being pushed from what I've been told by a lot of alumni who really think that if Casey wants to get serious about Division one sports, they need to have something more than the Sweeney or Sweeney, whatever it's pronounced rec center.
Do you know, we've also got the new riverfront stadium for Casey Current coming into play.
They also want to use that for smaller events, too.
That's part of the play, is to get public dollars for that.
Also, we could be having a downtown ballpark that would also be a space for these smaller types of events and concerts.
How many of these centers do we actually need in Kansas City?
I think I think we're hitting critical mass with this.
You know, you haven't even mentioned the arena in Independence where the minor league hockey team plays.
So so we'll see.
You know, you can't you just can't throw them up everywhere and expect all of them to succeed.
Now, perhaps this new you MKC Arena could play host to all the concerts and shows.
T-Mobile Center will no longer be able to host now that it'll become home to America's newest NHL team.
Did you see that story this week?
The Arizona Coyotes may be ready to relocate after voters reject a $2 billion new arena plan.
Both Mayor Quinton Lucas and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes now trying to convince the National Hockey League that Kansas City would be a great new place for the coyotes to play.
By the way, that's exactly what officials in Houston, Atlanta and Salt Lake City are also saying today.
Is the idea plausible or ridiculous, Dave?
But it is a long shot, to say the least.
One of the important things, though, to note with this story, Nick, and you mentioned it, is that the voters in Arizona have rejected, flatly rejected, I think it was 2.3 billion in an entertainment district in the new arena for this hockey, which.
Was also privately funded.
Does that sound familiar?
You know, does it have any implication for what we're contemplating in terms of downtown baseball in Kansas City?
The answer is yes.
And by the way, we talked about Missouri kicking in 50 million for Arrowhead.
To my knowledge, there was no discussion this year in Jefferson City of providing money for the Royals Stadium in Kansas City, which almost certainly will have to be a part of the package.
There's a reason why talk of downtown baseball has really gone on the back burner, and the voter sentiment in Arizona is one good.
I was also actually looking I looked at several reports from Arizona as to why it failed.
And when they talked to people on the street, one of the others were the coyotes were playing so terribly.
So that's another analogy to what's happening with the royals here in Kansas City.
I disagree with my esteemed colleague over here.
The reason the Royals ballpark talks have gone quiet is everybody's waiting to see what the chiefs want to do.
This has never been a solo act by the royals about building a ballpark.
These two teams are joined at the hip.
Until we know what the chiefs want to do, everything is moot and there's obviously not going to be any kind of a vote this year with with folks.
And when there is a vote, it's going to include the chiefs, which are a lot more popular than the royals these days.
Expensive and the money that will be required for both the chiefs and the royals is almost unfathomable at this point.
And the price point for a hockey league ticket is not cheap.
And the other the other thing is, is that the T-Mobile Center right now is extremely successful and extremely busy with concerts almost 52 weeks out of the year.
They do not need a winter tenant like an NBA or an owl or an NHL team to be financially feasible.
Did you know that there are only two states in the country that have refused to pass laws banning texting and driving?
Now Montana is one of them.
The other is Missouri.
While Missouri prohibits drivers under 21 from texting in their vehicles, the law doesn't apply to adults.
Is that about to change?
This week before wrapping up this session, lawmakers sent to the governor's desk a bill that for the first time will make it illegal for all motorists to text, watch the video or search something online while driving.
Along with lawmakers funding a massive expansion of I-70 from Kansas City to Saint Louis.
Well, those are the two biggest changes Lisa will see as a result of Missouri lawmakers spending the last five months in Jefferson City.
I think those were two two wins for for the legislative session.
But I think Republicans will tout the restrictions on gender affirming care for trans youth and the trans sports ban as their biggest achievements.
Certainly, it took up the most oxygen of the legislative session.
Certainly we were here week after week talking about those negotiations.
But overall, with with just those as the wins, there are a lot more losses, a lot of things that did not get done that were Republican priorities.
Even if you live in Kansas and were heading to a World Cup game, it will be quicker for you to get to the stadiums because of I-70 expansion.
Kevin Collison And it won't be as dangerous because people can't be texting on their phones to get there as a result of this session.
Well, it's still, you know, the I-70 thing.
Boy, there is a tremendous debate out there whether if you add lanes to a highway, whether it does anything to relieve congestion, you know, some people say, why don't you spend the money on improving rail service between Saint Louis?
Can city on the tax thing?
I've got to tell you, just from a personal experience, it's just astonishing that the state of Missouri still allows people to text.
I get I'm in the motorcycling, which kind of elevates me up.
It's amazing the number of people I see distracted by their phones.
You go to Europe, you take a phone call with your cell phone, the police will pull you over.
Right now, the United States and places like Missouri are so far behind the safety curve when it comes to distracted driving.
I'll tell you a couple of things that surprised me about the session was, number one, that the initiative petition threshold was not increased and the secretary, the speaker of the House said this pretty much guarantees that there is going to be some sort of initiative, petition effort in 24 to try to ease Missouri's very tight abortion restrictions.
But there's another big failure, Dave.
Was it the fact that for the fifth year in a row, lawmakers fail to approve sports betting?
And Michael's already mentioned, of course, the talk about the not getting across the finish line, the opportunity to put those issues on the ballot.
We have a 57% vote needed to pass an amendment in the state of Missouri.
So if you have an overwhelmingly Republican legislature, those were priorities.
Why didn't those pass?
Well, in part because whenever one party and this is true for Democrats, too, but in our area, Republicans, whenever whenever one party has such homogeneous control of the legislature, they end up fighting with themselves more than they do with the other party.
And the Democrats weren't going to help the Republicans out of their pickle, so they needed to get the votes.
They simply didn't have them.
I mean, I'd add to the list of not accomplished tasks is tax cuts.
There was some talk of really reducing taxes, perhaps personal property taxes, other tax relief in Missouri.
It didn't happen.
It didn't happen in Kansas either.
It didn't happen in Kansas either.
With all of this money, they're spending it instead of sending it back to the taxpayers.
That's an interesting policy choice to go with all the other things that have been discussed.
But the fact of the matter is, in Missouri particularly and in Kansas, but in Missouri, Republicans are fighting more with themselves than they are with Democrats.
That'll play out over the next year.
And the governor's race, which is fully joined now.
And that's an explanation for some of what we saw in Jeff City.
I think we talked a little bit about elections there and the changes that were trying to make in the legislature in Missouri.
And as we speak about elections, this week was the last chance for the public to weigh in on some big election changes being considered in Kansas City.
If you haven't been paying attention there.
Quinton Lucas wants to move local elections from April and June.
Instead, you would decide mayoral and council races at the same time.
You vote for bigger offices like governor and Congress in August and November.
Lucas also wants to ditch local runoff elections.
If a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote in their primary.
The mayor is in a rush to get the changes approved so they can be put before voters on the August ballot.
The mayor says he wants to do this to boost turnout.
But at what cost, though, Michael.
There's an effort to try and increase turnout in the local elections where turnout is 20% or less in Kansas City.
That's a problem because the turnout in the mayoral elections is the threshold for initiative, petitions and recall efforts.
They're trying to address that as well.
We'll see where this goes.
I see it seems rushed.
I also think it seems rash, I think for five weeks for something that is in the weeds as this it takes that long to get the word out, to tell people, hey, this is happening and explain why it's important.
You know, some of these changes will have significant impacts if they're passed on elections.
You know, this idea that if a candidate gets 50% of the vote in the primary, they cancel the next election, just places such such extreme importance on a primary election, which are which we know are historically not as well attended as general elections.
I just want to add, I agree with Lisa.
I mean, you know, most I didn't even know this thing was underway until it was halfway done.
I mean, even then I pay attention in the news, but, you know, we talk about voting.
One quick thought.
You know, I just if there's anything I've learned over 20 years before being a reporter here is we really need structural reform of city hall.
We need we've got diffused authority every place.
We've got a city manager, we've got a weak mayor, we've got an independent police department.
And even an effort to bring in the Parks Department got shot down.
I would love to see a proposal to just scrap city manager, strong mayor form of government.
We need executive authority in this community.
And until we get that, we're floundering.
When you put a program like this together every week, you can't get to every story grabbing the headlines.
What was the big local story?
A grisly discovery next to the sports stadiums.
A baby found dead in the woods.
The day on Mother's Day.
There's at least one mother who is without their baby.
We want to devote every resource we have to to figuring out no matter what the explanation is.
The younger brother of Patrick Mahomes has his day in court.
He's charged with sexual battery for allegedly forcibly kissing in Overland Park.
Restaurant owner, an independent man arrested and charged for making death threats against Weekend Review guest and radio host Dana Wright.
Protests over racism as elitist South High School.
Some parents wanting the principal fired for not doing enough to stem the problem.
Those traffic snarls at KCI now getting attention from city hall.
The council planning a formal review was picked up close.
The race for Missouri governor now getting more crowded.
Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe officially launching his campaign this week.
Secretary of State John Ashcroft is already in the race and Holly's manhood now on display.
The Missouri senator's much talked about book on manhood hits the shelves this week.
Lisa, did you pick one of those stories or something completely different?
You're going to go to me first.
I'm going to give it to you first.
Now, the Shawnee Mission Post actually had a significant update this week in Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden's investigation into a local election fraud.
He said publicly that he sent more than a dozen incidences of fraud to the district attorney.
A records request turned up just one that the district attorney said had no evidence enough to bring charges.
Michael, Mine is is is going to be the same one that Kevin is going to pick, and that is the cluster that is the parking up at KCI right now.
Well, he's a soothsayer because that's exactly what I was going to say.
You know, I was just up there a week ago.
It was 1130 at night.
The cell lot was an absolute catastrophe jammed, people circling.
Finally got out, backed up at least a quarter mile to get there.
And when you finally get there, you've got some guys directing traffic that I wouldn't trust, being school crossing guards, no authority, no ability to enforce it.
Right now, we're really squandering what should be a wonderful launch of a brand new, terrific facility.
And I think the Mike Keel announcement was interesting because he is really under the radar, but he is by far by far the most moderate Republican perhaps in Missouri, certainly in this field, likely field for the 2024 race.
And if he can prevail in the primary, it will say something important about the Republican Party in Missouri.
And on that, we will say our week has been reviewed thanks to KCUR's Lisa Rodriguez and Kevin Collison from the news site City Scene.
KC from Channel nine News.
Michael Mahoney and news icon Dave Helling next week.
It's all hands on deck around here as we prepare to bring you celebration at the station.
The region's biggest live Memorial Day event with fireworks and the Kansas City symphony.
That means we will not have a show next week.
We'll see you on the flipside.
I'm Nick Haines from all of us here at Kansas City, PBS.
Keep calm and carry on.