At-Large Candidate Guide

1st District At-Large

Kevin O’Neill
A native Kansas Citian, O’Neill grew up in South KC and currently resides in the Northland. In 1993, he bought the Labor Beacon, a newspaper formed in 1954 that reported news from a laborer’s perspective. O’Neill has over 20 years of experience reporting and editorializing on the subject of labor. Today, he sits at the leadership table with most of the labor leaders in Kansas City, working to shape the future of the labor movement and continuing to work on the newspaper that has nearly 30,000 subscribers.
On the issues:
• Affordable Housing: If our city is to grow economically stronger, safer, and more peaceful, we have to recognize that far too many of our neighbors are struggling to raise their families on minimum wages. How can anyone contribute to the betterment of our city when he or she can’t afford life’s basic amenities? I believe in granting incentives for developments in parts of the city where development is needed, I believe firmly that certain requirements, like prevailing wage, local workforce inclusion, MWDBE percentages and low income housing or, at minimum, affordable housing, should be part of any agreement.
• Economic Development: Attracting civic-minded employers and creating more and better jobs for our at-risk citizens must be a priority for the new city council, along with better and more equitable city services, like police protection, road maintenance and trash pick-up. Having a strong relationship with our local building and construction organizations, I will use my time in office to significantly grow opportunities for minorities in the skilled trades.  I will work as a liaison between the minority communities and the local construction community to bolster inclusion of the un- and under-employed.

2nd District At-Large

Teresa Loar
Loar currently represents Kansas City’s 2nd District At-Large. For the 2015-2019 council term, Mayor Sly James has appointed Loar to serve as Chairwoman of the Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Jobs Committee. Loar is a lifelong resident of Kansas City, having lived in the Northland for more than 40 years. She has been a public sector employee, a senior level private sector executive, and community organizer. A graduate of Park University, Teresa served two terms on the North Kansas City School Board of Education, serving one year as President. She then served two terms as a City Councilmember with the City of Kansas City, Missouri. She also served on the Neighborhood and Community Service Committee, forming the Northland Neighborhoods Inc., a community development corporation that focuses on economic stabilization and prosperity in the neighborhoods.After her public service, Teresa joined Black and Veatch Engineering in 2001 as a Business Development and Government Relations Manager targeting projects for public works and transportation facilities for capital improvements. In 2011, her time at Tetra Tech was marked by her opportunity to support efforts in Afghanistan where she spent two years. As a Senior-Level Communications Specialist and as a MIS Manager/Technical Writer, she developed materials in support of the USAID Office of Infrastructure, and the Afghanistan Engineering Support Program (OIEE/AESP) in the Kabul office.

5th District At-Large

Lee Barnes Jr.
Barnes began his career at Hallmark as an Engineer, then started his own businesses, and now as the Director of Operations for Swope Corridor Renaissance/Upper Room, Inc., he has learned firsthand how private business, not-for-profits, and government can work together to benefit one another.  Barnes was elected city-wide to the Kansas City School District Board of Education, chosen by peers to serve as Chairman of the Finance Committee. He has also served on the Tax Increment Finance Commission, and as Chairman of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA). Barnes helped to restart the 63rd and Prospect Redevelopment Plan, and worked with the KCPS District to repurpose 24 surplus buildings.  He has worked to create affordable housing for Seniors, repurposing the abandoned Blenheim Elementary School, and helped to launch the ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ initiative, helping volunteers make repairs at homes owned by senior citizens.
On the issues:
• Crime: The city added Community Interactive Officers which was a step in the right direction, but additionally, I believe that we must make sure that neighborhood and community-based leaders should be more engaged with those CIO’s to work on preventative strategies.
• Education: The city council should continue to work to ensure that our children live in safe and clean walkable neighborhoods with an environment that is conducive for families to thrive.  Healthy neighborhoods can be a critical part of the fabric of a child’s education experience.
• Affordable Housing: I believe the emphasis needs to be placed on developing incentive programs and public/private partnerships with residential builders and not-for-profit organizations to address the housing needs of the majority of residents that fall between 60 and 80 percent of Area Median Income(AMI).  This population has not been discussed much when it comes to housing needs, but they suffer the financial and social consequences of insufficient affordable housing as much as lower income individuals.
• Economic Development: I will continue to support economic development incentives and tools used for projects that create new jobs in Kansas City, particularly projects that are in severely distressed census tracts that address affordable and workforce housing.

Erik Dickinson
Dickinson is a native Kansas Citian. He attended the University of Kansas and graduated with a degree in Personnel Administration. From there, he spent the next 30 years serving in several non-profit organizations.
On the issues:
• Economic Development: For many families in Kansas City, the American Dream is no longer in reach. Working families are struggling to climb up into the middle class, no matter how hard they work. The past few decades have seen good-paying jobs like those at General Motors and Ford diminish, with fewer and fewer viable stepping stones for families seeking their share of the American Dream. Without families making ends meet, it leaves many youth vying for ancillary ways to survive by any means even despite known consequences.
• Education: Our young people are the future of this city. We must invest now to cultivate a city that gives them pride and opens doors for all. We need more job training and skill building and have opportunities to increase graduation rates. We need to bridge the gap between our most at-risk youth and the sustainable trade jobs that are actively seeking new talent. We also need to support the continued efforts of our schools to provide quality educational seats to every child, no matter their zip codes.
• Crime: Every citizen deserves to feel safe in our city. We cannot create healthy and happy communities when we have portions of the city suffering from crime and violence. We must approach these hardships with an integrated approach by supporting our police department with the resources they need to be effective, creating a clear path from high school to the work force for our young people, and reinforcing our local organizations who work diligently to fortify our communities and fill these gaps. We must find innovative solutions that are working in other cities and take a data-driven approach.

Dwayne Williams
Williams currently serves as the President/CEO of the Twelfth Street Heritage Development Corporation, an organization that has built and rehabbed a number of homes in the Urban Core of Kansas City Missouri. He also started the Prison-to-Workforce Pipeline, a re-entry program for individuals who have been recently released from the prison system. To date, TSHDC’s re-entry program has hired approximately 150 men and women. In 2010, Williams also added a Youth Mentoring program to the expanding role of Twelfth Street Heritage. Williams has served on several boards in Kansas City, including the Regional Board of Directors for the Mid- American Union, Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund, Boys and Girls Club of Eastern Jackson County, Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDCKC), and Port Authority Fund for Minorities and Women.
On the issues:
• Crime: I would like to see more neighborhood policing and the police department becoming a bigger, more positive influence on local communities
• Education: Early education childhood programs are where our children get the fundamental basics for education, helping to set the standards at an early age is the key to social and economic empowerment. Also with the understanding that every Student is not going to college, there should be a larger emphasis on trades schools.
• Affordable Housing: I would use incentives for developers to work with CDC to build affordable housing and public subsidized housing.
• Economic Development: There are certain projects that the City will have to carry the debt on. As an At- Large candidate, my responsibility is to look at the City, with emphasis on the district that I represent.  I am not in favor of giving wealthy developers tax incentives without the investment in our public schools, jobs for working families in our neighborhoods, and improved area conditions for existing residents. I am in favor of moving Kansas City forward!  Areas that are in distressed census paths, will receive my full attention.
6th District At-Large

Andrea Bough
Bough received a B.S. in Political Science from Missouri State University and a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Throughout her legal career, she has worked with various municipal governments in the greater Kansas City area, chaired the Mayor’s Commission on Ethics Reform and served on the Kansas City Charter Review Commission.  She previously served as Jackson County Democratic Committeewoman for the 8th Ward.  Bough has been active in political, civic and community activities and organizations by supporting causes and candidates that support social justice and ensure that all are providing an opportunity to succeed.
On the issues:
• Crime: Public safety investment has to be a tenant and priority of our budget through providing more officers on the streets and greater engagement with the community to stem the unacceptable violence in our City.  We also need to encourage the community to work with police to deter crime and solve crimes that have been committed by building better relationships. As we address public safety, we must consider the underlying causes that contribute to violent crime, and mental health, living wage jobs, and adequate, affordable housing must be part of the conversation.
• Education: Education, and especially early education, is critical to the development and well-being of our youngest citizens. As a Council and an entire City, we need to work with the school districts and our civic and charitable partners to assist with finding ways to provide access to early childhood education, after-school activities and summer jobs and internships, which will help provide a framework in which to address other issues that affect our City.
• Affordable Housing: The City’s approach to addressing affordable housing and the lack thereof must be a multi-level approach that includes a focus on those with low-incomes, creating approximately 5,000 units around transit, schools and jobs.  As part of the program and policy, we must expand the minor home repair program and create energy efficient/weatherization programs to reduce utility costs. Finally, as part of the program we must work to provide quality jobs so that individuals can afford to own or rent a home
• Economic Development: Economic development, when planned and developed appropriately, can be critical to attracting development, new jobs and residents to an area.  However, incentives to construct those projects should be used only when there is a need and demonstrated City-wide public benefit. All stakeholders could benefit from a pro-active plan specifically related to the use of development incentives that takes the strategic goals outlined in Advance KC and outlines (1) criteria for use of incentives; (2) areas of the City where development (and possibly the type of development) needs to occur; and (3) goals for implementing that plan.

Stacey Johnson-Cosby
Johnson-Cosby has lived in Kansas City for over 40 years. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a degree in Psychology and Communication Studies. Johnson-Cosby then became a real estate broker for Reece and Nichols. In 2011, she helped form the South Kansas City Alliance to link governments, neighborhood leaders, and business developers. She also serves on the leadership of Impact Center Schools and Impact Hickman Mills, to help eradicate the number of homeless students, and serves as Councilman Scott Taylor’s Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) representative.
On the issues:
• Affordable Housing: I will address all things as it relates to housing: high utility bills, new construction, renovation of existing houses, affordable housing, adequate delivery of taxpayer-funded basic services in neighborhoods, including trash service, financing, planning, and more. The goal is to identify the top three to five housing-related problems that we most want to solve to get started.
• Crime: We will address violent crime in our city including root causes, methods to deal with mental health issues, conflict resolution tools, ways to offer hope, jobs, job training opportunities, housing, and other issues. We will invite mental health professionals, representatives from school districts, people who have committed crimes, people who may be susceptible to committing crimes, students, members from faith community and crime-reduction organizations. We will identify ways to reduce violent crime, collect all available resources, and create a blueprint that can be used to take steps toward solving various aspects of the problem.
• Economic Development: I will put together entrepreneurs, organizations that represent them, citizens, and Kansas City staff. This community of job creators/risk takers are actively requesting assistance and support from the city. Small businesses create over 60 percent of new jobs in our city. We need to keep them in business and growing. I will host them all in an open discussion with key city staff to make sure their needs are known, then together we will determine how to best support small businesses in upcoming city budgets and with city services.
• Education: I support local public education and reflect that support by my service as a part of the Hickman Mills 5 Year Strategic Plan, the Hickman Mills Superintendent’s Advisory Council and most recently, the Impact Hickman Mills project where we, as a community, are eliminating homelessness amongst our 500 homeless students in the next 3 years. I am also a part of the Center School District mentoring program, and Impact Center Schools which will eliminate homelessness among 200 students. I want to make sure our children are given the best chance to live a highly successful life. I reflect my commitment in my service.

 

School Board Candidate & Question 1

School Board
Sub-District Three:

Manny Abarca
Bio: My name is Manuel Abarca IV and I am the son of a truck driver and administrative assistant who gave their all to ensure I focused on and was successful in my academic pursuits. I have earned a B.A. in Political Science and a M.S. in Occupational Safety Management from the University of Central Missouri and have been accepted into the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis-Educational Doctorate program at the University of Missouri.  I am the Vice-President of the Indian Mound Neighborhood association and secretary of the Northeast Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, among several other community governing boards. I currently serve as the Deputy Director for Congressman Emanuel Cleaver’s District Offices.
Why are you running?
I have decided to run for the school board because I believe the district needs someone who is willing to take on challenges and further focus all efforts on the success of our students. It was only through education that I have been able to define my own success and having spent many of my formative years in a very urban environment, I understand the realities that our students face daily. My plan is to focus on three main areas that I look forward to sharing more about: community, equity and progress.
What do you hope to bring to the table as a school board member?
As mentioned before, I want to focus on three tenants within my first two years: community, equity and progress. For community, my plan is to better communicate with all constituents of the district and not simply those who have students that attend our schools, find ways to build community around our buildings and turning them into more than just schools. For equity, we must find a way to hold all our educational institutions accountable and ensure they are playing with the same set of rules for our kids, while also providing every student with the tools they need to succeed, no matter where they may be performing. Finally, progress, this tenant speaks directly to the baseline of where we need to be a year-full accreditation so that we can then focus on honing our product to be competitive in this educational environment. I am a product of the public education system and proud of that, I merely look to help out where I can.
Where do you stand on KCMO Question 1?
I am adamantly opposed to the effort. I fundamentally believe that we, as Kansas Citians, are being overtaxed for these “sound good” but chaotic ideas without real substance or buy-in from the broader community. Not one public school system supports the Pre-K initiative on the ballot and that alone should tell you there is something wrong. Furthermore, if we were to recoup on $3 million dollars from tax incentives that are otherwise going towards the pockets of wealthy developers, KCPS could expand the Pre-K efforts we already operate in a move towards universal Pre-K for all students. Finally, within the first five years of the current Pre-K proposal, funds will focus on the building of infrastructure instead of educating children and I do not believe we should take a short cut to create something that only sounds like a good idea. Lets come together and find a way to make Pre-K a reality without further burdening taxpayers.
How will you build upon what the current school board has done?
We must look beyond full accreditation and start dreaming about  what will truly set us apart from our competition.

QUESTION 1

Pre-K Economic
Development Sales Tax

Shall the City of Kansas City impose a sales tax authorized by Section 67.1305 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri for a period of 10 years at a rate of 3/8% to be used for economic development purposes through funding Pre-K instruction for four and five year olds the year before they enter kindergarten, funding improvements to early childhood centers, and investing in the City’s early childhood education workforce?

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