Yael T. Abouhalkah

Without Michael Brooks, KC City Council candidates speak up for the arts

Here’s the current City Council, with Mayor Sly James. But the legislative body will lose at least six members who are not eligible because of term limits to run for re-election in 2015.
Here’s the current City Council, with Mayor Sly James. But the legislative body will lose at least six members who are not eligible because of term limits to run for re-election in 2015. The Kansas City Star

Politically, the interesting news Wednesday afternoon was that Kansas City Council member Michael Brooks did not attend the ArtsKC political forum that drew more than 20 other candidates.

Of six council members eligible to run for re-election in 2015, Brooks was the only no-show incumbent. He is under investigation for allegations that he choked his aide. Brooks has not carved out a positive enough resume to run for office again in 2015.

The five other incumbents who came to the forum were joined by a number of potential City Council members. The lineup included former council members, a few current county and state officials, and people with a variety of other life experiences.

Summed up, it was a positive start to what should be an intriguing election season, with a number of competitive council contests.

At the gathering, the candidates offered predictable support for the 1 percent for arts program that has funded a number of creative projects at public facilities over the last few decades.

Some of the political veterans talked about how they had, as current or former council members, worked on behalf of the arts. Other candidates joked about their lack of abilities to play instruments, paint or otherwise participate in the arts.

The forum wasn’t designed to pit candidates against each other, to test their knowledge of arts programs within the city or even their districts. And the gathering remained upbeat the entire time, with plenty of positive talk about the future of the city.

Kansas Citians will have plenty of time to evaluate all the candidates in the coming months. That’s largely because the city’s election cycle has changed after voters approved a new charter earlier in 2014.

The crowded primaries, formerly held in February, will be held in April. And the general election matching the two highest vote getters in each district and for mayor — once held in March — will take place in June.

To reach editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

  Comments