Let’s listen in on Mayor Sly James’ ‘real’ State of the City speech

Mayor Sly James likely will talk about achievements the city and others are pursuing when it comes to attracting employers, helping schools, spurring downtown development and repairing water and sewer systems. All are important subjects. Yet it would be great for him to also talk plainly about the challenges facing the community and his plans to solve them.

Leawood suicide puts spotlight on troubled payday loan industry

The suicide of a Leawood man over the weekend puts a spotlight on the greedy and ugly side of the payday loan industry, especially its connections to the Kansas City area. In recent months, more attention fortunately has been paid to just how much damage the industry is doing to thousands upon thousands of people — often with limited financial means — by charging them excessive rates and fees on their loans.

KC unveils another way to attack its alarming murder rate

At its first meeting Friday, the Violence Free KC Committee — made up mostly of public officials and representatives of community groups — set the right tone. They said time and time again that they must collaborate better to attack Kansas City’s high rates of murder and violent crime.

Taxpayers, rejoice: Missouri makes positive move on border war

Finally: Missouri has moved toward reducing the waste of taxpayer dollars in an economic development border war with Kansas. The Missouri Senate recently approved a measure would prevent the state from offering incentives to businesses in Johnson, Wyandotte, Douglas and Miami counties for merely hopping the state line to land in Jackson, Clay, Cass or Platte counties.

The big lesson of KC cop killing firefighter: Don’t resist arrest

Kansas City firefighters need to see what actually happened the night of Dec. 1, when Donald Hubbard, an off-duty Kansas City police officer, fatally shot Anthony Bruno, an off-duty Kansas City firefighter. But it is also true that some people will always think the police overreact in these kinds of situations, so showing the video can put the agency in a bad light.

Sanity in Kansas: Brownback in big trouble in the polls

It’s only late February, but re-election for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback in November isn’t nearly as certain as it once appeared. A new Public Policy Polling report says Brownback now trails his Democratic challenger 42 percent to 40 percent. Can you say ... Gov. Paul Davis in 2015?

Kansas Legislature wins, KU basketball players lose

The Kansas Legislature just did something positive. And that’s bad news for the University of Kansas basketball program. The House Education Budget Committee told KU officials they could not use state bonding authority to build a luxurious $17.5 million apartment complex that would have housed 32 basketball players.

Unruly black youths + The Plaza = more trouble

Once again Kansas City’s black mayor, black police chief and other black community leaders are confronted with the problem of how to handle rowdy black youth on weekend nights at the Country Club Plaza. Don’t expect any easy solutions to this problem, but it deserves more attention.

NRA leaves treadmarks over spineless GOP in Missouri

Looking like lapdogs of the National Rifle Association, the Republican-run Missouri Senate meekly bowed to the group’s wishes in reviving an unconstitutional gun bill Monday night. The measure seeks to nullify federal gun laws, and would allow Missouri law enforcement authorities to arrest and put in jail federal law enforcement officials.