Sly James makes Newsweek’s list of ‘most innovative’ mayors

12/19/2012 12:05 AM

05/16/2014 8:35 PM

Newsweek, putting out a year-end list as magazines are wont to do, included Kansas City Mayor Sly James on its list of the “most innovative mayors in the U.S.” for what it called his “vision of building (a) ‘Silicon Prairie.’ ”

The periodical credited James for lobbying Google to bring its ultra-fast fiberoptic Internet service to town.

“As a result,” Newsweek said, “new businesses and entrepreneurs are already starting to come to this Midwestern tech mecca.”

The magazine said that “James helped create the environment for this investment by embracing local tech startups,” gave him props for moving City Hall’s computing to the Internet “cloud” and for the development of the coming downtown streetcar project.

Newsweek may be a tad bold in crediting James for landing Google Fiber.

After all, Google chose Mayor Joe Reardon’s Kansas City, Kan., first for the project. And although a few neighborhoods in Wyandotte County have Google Fiber service, it hasn’t yet reached Kansas City, Mo.

And Google’s decision to pick Kansas City for the project has at least as much to do with its railroad crossroads past — and the way the track right of ways have been used to lay high-capacity Internet lines — as any tech-focused present. The company was also seduced by utility poles — property of local utilities, and not the purview of the mayor.


Join the Discussion

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service