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Nick’s Picks | Auto Strike, 9/11 and Royals Stadium Eventful Week Ahead

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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5 minute read

Kansas City is about to experience its largest labor strike in decades. 

This Thursday is the deadline day.  

If no deal is struck between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Big Three Detroit carmakers, nearly 150,000 production workers will walk off the job.  

That includes thousands of UAW workers in Kansas City, a move that would cripple production lines at the Ford Assembly Plant in Claycomo and the GM Fairfax Plant in Kansas City, Kansas.  

The union is demanding more pay, a shorter work week and enhanced pension benefits. They also want assurances from management that workers in new electric vehicle plants will be offered the same compensation and job security as those in the gasoline era. 

Financial analysts say a work stoppage at the country’s largest carmakers could be the economic equivalent of a head-on collision. 

JP Morgan warns that a prolonged strike would empty dealer lots and increase prices for new and used cars. 

Last Week, Reviewed

Marking 9/11 

Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.  

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has directed flags to be lowered to half-staff from sunup to sundown.  

The 9/11 terror attack remains the deadliest on U.S. soil. 

Missouri Veto Session 

Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City this week for the start of their annual veto session. 

The Republican-controlled legislature will consider whether to overturn Gov. Mike Parson on more than $500 million in budget cuts.  

Parson vetoed nearly 200 spending measures over the summer, including a bill that would have allowed more people who were wrongfully convicted to receive compensation from the state. Closer to home, the governor vetoed $3 million for renovations and improvements at the National WWI Museum and Monument in Kansas City.  

Also returning to work this week are your local members of Congress. The last time the U.S. House of Representatives met was in July.  

Congress returns to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to try to avert a government shutdown, while House Republicans consider whether to pursue an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Also, on the agenda this week is new emergency funding for Ukraine. 

Royals Stadium Decision 

Could this be the week that Royals owner John Sherman finally puts us out of our misery and decides where he plans to build the team’s new ballpark?  

Sherman said he will announce by the end of the summer whether he prefers the East Village or a site in North Kansas City for his proposed stadium and entertainment district.  

Technically, the first day of fall arrives on Saturday, Sept. 23, so he still has about a week to make good on his promise. But the stakes are being raised.  

Last week, a new radio and TV ad campaign launched touting North Kansas City as the place for the Royals to build their new stadium.  

There are currently no ads running for the downtown site, but Sherman has scheduled meetings this week with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Jackson County Executive Frank White.  

It’s awkward timing. The Royals reached an unwanted century mark over the weekend. 

In addition to recording 100 losses this season, the Royals are now just six games away from tying the franchise record for most defeats, set in 2005. 

Noteworthy News 

Tax assessments: Jackson County lawmakers will make another run this week at trying to fix its ongoing property assessment mess. The legislature is set to vote this afternoon on providing tax relief for seniors experiencing higher property tax bills. 

Two jails: In Kansas City, Mayor Quinton Lucas is set to name a new panel this week that will work on the details for funding and building a new city jail. Lucas broke off talks last week with Jackson County on building a joint detention center. It means there will now be two brand new jails, just a few miles from one another. 

Prairie Village fight: And in Prairie Village, the big question is what’s next after a judge allows a petition effort to be added to the November ballot that would limit the mayor’s power and dramatically reshape the city’s system of government. Now the head of the Johnson County Election Office is refusing to add the measure to the ballot, saying it arrived too late to be included. At the center of the dispute is citizen anger over affordable housing and whether the Kansas suburb should allow more apartments and multi-family homes to be built. 

New iPhone 

Are you one of those people who must have the latest gadgets and phone upgrades? 

On Tuesday, Apple will announce its biggest phone redesign in more than a decade as the company reveals the iPhone 15. 

While the iPhone 11 is still the most used smartphone in the world, the company is hoping that improved camera and battery life will push you to open your wallet and shell out $1,099 for the tech-enhanced device. 

It’s also stronger and lighter than past models, courtesy of a body switch from stainless steel to titanium. Apple is also expected to introduce USB-C charging to its smartphones for the first time. 

A new version of the Apple Watch will also be revealed this week. 

State of Aging 

Some people ask what I do when I’m not doing my Week in Review show on Kansas City PBS?  

Well, for the better part of a year I’ve been working with my colleague Michael Price on a new documentary on aging in Kansas City. Now it’s ready to go. The new film “How Should We Care?” premieres this Thursday at 7 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.  

And join me afterwards for “The State of Aging in Kansas City,” a town hall on the tough choices involved in choosing elder care facilities and the challenges of aging in place.  

Chiefs Look for Redemption 

I can add lots of punchy headlines to this news blog about all manner of big issues and projects, but I know for many Kansas Citians, there’s only three questions they’re interested in having answered this week: 

  1. Can the Chiefs redeem themselves after a disappointing season-opening game against Detroit? 
  1. Will Travis Kelce return after his knee injury? 
  1. Will the ongoing Chris Jones pay dispute be resolved or will he part ways with the franchise? 

The Chiefs travel to Florida on Sunday for a noon game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Fiestas and Festivals 

There are still plenty of huzzahs, sword fighting and large turkey legs to be had as the Renaissance Festival continues this weekend in Bonner Springs.  

But there are other big outdoor events competing for your attention this week.  

The 31st annual Waldo Fall Festival returns Saturday. 

Kansas City is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Fiesta Hispana at the Barney Allis Plaza. The three-day food, music and cultural festival starts Friday night and is free to the public. 

Also starting on Friday is the Brush Creek Art Walk.  

Meanwhile, on Saturday over at Union Station you can sample more than 100 wines and bubblies at Uncorked: The Kansas City Wine Festival.  

If you’re looking for something a little more raucous and outrageous, then check out Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie. They’re performing together at Azura Amphitheater on Saturday night. 

Opera and Broadway star Audra McDonald also performs with the Kansas City Symphony this week. She takes the stage at Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for three concerts starting Friday night. 

Nick Haines tracks the week’s most impactful local news stories on “Kansas City Week in Review,” Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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