In his sixth year in office, Kansas City Mayor Sly James has struggled to sell the public on his vision for the airport and clashed at times with his City Council and Missouri legislators.
But in his sixth State of the City Speech on Tuesday night, James resolutely chose to accentuate the positive, noting that the “Kansas City Spirit” of resilience and momentum he wanted to revive when taking office in 2011 is now reborn, and “the state of our city is strong.”
But he urged his audience of about 450 people, plus all those watching online, not to let it falter.
Since James’ last address in March 2016, Kansas City has marked a number of milestones, including the successful launch of the downtown streetcar; tech innovations; initiatives benefiting youth and entrepreneurs; the Cerner Innovations Campus opening; the funding of a much-needed mental health assessment and triage center; and Turn the Page’s progress in boosting third-grade literacy.
But James could not avoid mentioning the most vexing problem that continues to plague the city — the ongoing violence that claims too many lives and ruins too many families.
A recent poll showed 66 percent of frequent voters approve of James’ job performance, which is down somewhat from his popularity with more than 70 percent of residents last year.
Read more: Kansas City Star