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Nick’s Picks | Local Election Day, Trump Indictment Democracy in Action

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

Tuesday marks local Election Day in much of the country.  

While the national media is focused on a runoff election to decide the mayor’s race in Chicago, here in Kansas City, Mayor Quinton Lucas tops the ballot as he asks for a second term in office. His only opponent is maverick transit activist Clay Chastain. 

Half of the seats on the Kansas City council also will be decided on Tuesday, along with some other important issues.  

More than 30 Missouri cities and several counties want you to approve new taxes on marijuana products. Kansas City and Jackson County both want to add a 3% local tax to pot sales. But there’s now a legal dispute over whether those taxes can be stacked on top of each other. Increasingly, it looks like the courts will have to weigh in.  

If you live in Kansas City, you’ll also notice that Airbnb is on your ballot. The city wants to raise new taxes and fees on short-term rentals to level the playing-field with hotels.  

If you’re still confused about what you’re being asked to vote on, we’ve broken it down for you in a handy dandy guide to Election Day on “Kansas City Week in Review.” 

Last Week, Reviewed

Trump to Appear in Court 

One of the most talked about stories in Kansas City this week will be happening a thousand miles away in a courtroom in New York. 

Following his indictment last week, former President Donald Trump is scheduled to appear before a Manhattan judge on Tuesday afternoon.  

He’ll be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken, but he isn’t expected to be handcuffed or led on a “perp walk.” We’ll also learn the specific charges filed against him, which for now remain under seal. 

Trump’s team is preparing for a media circus. One Trump adviser compared the expected press frenzy to “O.J. Simpson on steroids,” with the TV networks potentially launching helicopter coverage to follow the former president from his Florida estate to his plane at Palm Beach International Airport, and then from LaGuardia Airport to lower Manhattan.  

It’s not certain how much of Trump’s court appearance will be televised. No cameras are allowed in the courtroom. But a group of news organizations has sent a request to the judge to overturn that rule given the enormous public interest in the case. 

Bathroom Stalls and Library Stacks 

Starting Thursday, Kansas lawmakers will begin a three-week break. But before they leave Topeka, they’ve set up a new clash with Gov. Laura Kelly over transgender bathroom rights. 

Inching towards the governor’s desk is a bill requiring transgender Kansans to use restrooms and changing rooms that align with their biological sex. Two weeks ago, Kelly vetoed a measure banning trans athletes from competing in girls and women’s sports. Statehouse watchers say lawmakers will try to override that veto this week. 

Meanwhile in Jefferson City, Missouri lawmakers have advanced a bill that would cut off state funding to schools that reference critical race theory or diversity, equity and inclusion. Public libraries are also feeling the heat. Up for debate this week is a budget measure that would strip state funding to libraries following a legal spat over sexually explicit books. 

On this Friday’s “Week in Review” on Kansas City PBS, we lift the hood on the book debate with first amendment experts and political leaders, including Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. 

Conversion Therapy Ban 

Jackson County lawmakers will try again today to pass a ban on gay conversion therapy. 

While several local cities have enacted similar bans, the heavily Democratic-leaning governing body voted down the measure two weeks ago.  

Holy Week 

Can we call this the “holiest week” of the year?  

Expect a few more absences in the workplace over the next few days as the Jewish community marks Passover, which starts on Wednesday night.  

On Friday, the U.S. stock markets will be closed in observance of Good Friday. And even though it’s not a national holiday, a number of Kansas Citians will choose to take the day off for religious observances. 

Easter is on Sunday.  

And Kansas City Muslim families are continuing to observe their most sacred time of the year, Ramadan.  

Big Week in Sports 

Tonight, men’s college basketball crowns its national champion. The San Diego State Aztecs and UConn Huskies face off in the NCAA title game at 8:20 p.m.  

The most prestigious golf tournament in the world returns. The Masters tournament starts Thursday.  

And the Kansas City Royals are still searching for their first win after a painful start to the season. Having been swept by the Minnesota Twins, the Royals now face the Toronto Blue Jays in a four-game home series that starts tonight. First pitch is 6:40 p.m. 

Hy-Vee Arena for Sale 

One of Kansas City’s largest sporting facilities is up for sale.  

Five years after a mammoth renovation project, Hy-Vee Arena, formerly known as Kemper Arena, is back on the market. 

The price tag: $36 million. 

First opened in 1974 as Kansas City’s go-to place for concerts and big touring events, it has since been remodeled into a two-story youth sports complex, with a dozen full-size basketball courts and an indoor track.  

But its Wichita-based ownership group says it’s struggled to get people to come out and watch events.  

This may not be the best week to bring potential buyers over to see the place.  

Over the weekend, the building was damaged in a shoot-out that left three people injured. Police officers discovered several bullet holes in the arena’s glass windows. 

Aerial view of Hy-Vee Arena.
Renowned German architect Helmut Jahn’s original design for Kemper Arena utilized an extensive space frame to support the roof. (Photo | Wikipedia)

Draft Disruption 

You don’t get to put on a mammoth sporting event like the NFL Draft without there being some disruption. 

This week, get ready for road closures as Kansas City preps for the pro-football spectacle that could attract as many as 500,000 people downtown. 

The NFL Draft is still three weeks away, but starting today the main road outside of Union Station will shut down to all westbound traffic, between Main Street and Broadway. The parking lot in front of Union Station closed last week. 

More road closures are ahead.  

Next Monday, more than a mile-long stretch of Main Street will be closed to all traffic, between 20th Street and Grand Boulevard. 

The NFL Draft begins April 27. 

U.S. Conference of Mayors in KC 

While it hasn’t received much attention, another big event is on its way to Kansas City. 

Next year, the nation’s top mayors will fly into town for the 2024 U.S. Conference of Mayors. It will also bring with it some of the nation’s top political names. Vice-President Kamala Harris spoke at last year’s convention in Reno, Nevada. 

Later today, Mayor Quinton Lucas will join his predecessor Sly James at the Loews Hotel downtown to detail the city’s plans for hosting the big city mayors and their delegations from around the country.  

Kansas City learned it was getting the U.S. Conference of Mayors the same week it scored the 2026 World Cup. Lucas says the political event may not deliver the same financial benefit, but will provide another major opportunity to put Kansas City on the map. 

The conference will take over downtown in June of 2024. 

Worlds of Fun’s Big Anniversary 

Worlds of Fun reopens for its 50th season on Saturday.  

But its promised new attraction won’t be ready to ride.  

The reimagined Zambezi Zinger is still going through testing. Park management hasn’t offered a date for when the roller coaster will be ready to board its first passengers. 

The Zambezi Zinger was one of the most popular attractions at Worlds of Fun when it opened in 1973. It was dismantled and removed in 1997. 

The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park is also opening this week. You can feed goats, see cows being milked and visit more than 250 animals and birds at the city-owned attraction. Admission is $5. But it’s free Monday-Thursday after 2 p.m. 

The Sound of Music 

Tonight, the singer-songwriter John Mellencamp is in town for two back-to-back concerts at the Midland Theatre. 

And just weeks after losing his brother and performing partner, Lonnie McFadden takes the stage at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday night. 

McFadden’s brother Ronnie died last month after wrapping up a performance in downtown Kansas City. He was 66 years old. 

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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