By Tyler Schneider
The Second District At-Large is held by Teresa Loar, who is finishing her two terms which began in 2015. Contesting her seat are Lindsay French and Jenay Manley. The Second District encompasses portions of the city that are north of the Missouri River and south of Barry Road. “At-large” means voters throughout the city vote for the position.
Lindsay French, 41, is a resident of Kansas City, and one of few candidates not hailing from Jackson County, having first grown up in Clay County and now residing in Southern Platte. She is a graphic designer and communications specialist for a landscape architecture firm and attended the University of Kansas. (The Telegraph was unable to contact French but has pulled together information from other resources, including local TV news, KCUR radio, meet-the-candidates panels and websites.)
French is on the record as wanting to recruit and maintain more police officers, but she also supports a variety of neighborhood organizations and the city’s recent adoption of the KC360 plan. “Both are needed, and that work cannot be done in siloes,” French says.
“Too many Kansas Citians feel unsafe on our city’s streets. I would offer an open line of communication to Chief Graves. We have to work together to focus on data-driven crime prevention strategies and wrap around services within our communities that generate measurable outcomes,” French says.
A series of plans, unique to the needs of specific neighborhoods and areas, will provide the framework for eliminating blight while also providing a greater amount of choice in the housing market, according to French.
“It’s important to recognize that a comprehensive housing approach may look different in different parts of the city. We need to look at the totality of our needs,” French says on her campaign site. “We cannot make it untenable to build more affordable and workforce housing. We should also ensure our land-use policies provide the housing supply necessary to keep pace with demand for more affordable housing.”
City Spending and Financing
French offers an example of how a more catered regional approach may benefit the city economically.
“Abatements can be appropriate and very beneficial in certain areas of the city and not in others. For example, incentives do not impact the Northland school districts the way they impact KCPS. I think incentives should be used in strategic ways and not as a hand out,” French says. “Tax abatements should benefit the economic drive and advancement of the city, be reflective of what the community wants, and not burden our communities.”
Structuring these abatements efficiently would help the city focus on concerns such as correcting blighted areas, improving conditions for local businesses, infrastructure maintenance, and land-use development. Overall, French looks to help oversee a city hall that is “equitable, pragmatic, and results-driven.”
Jenay Manley, 30, although born and raised in the Northland, has been active with the KC Tenants for over three years now, and has cited this involvement as a reason why she chose to run at-large to better “represent her truest values.” (The Telegraph was unable to contact French but has pulled together information from other resources, including local TV news, KCUR radio, meet-the-candidates panels and websites.)
Manley has stayed consistent on her assessment of KC’s issues with violent crime:
“The root cause of crime is actually poverty. It’s people responding to their life of crisis,” Manley has said. To that, she adds that this poverty gap has only increased since the decade began. “We’ve lived in COVID-19 for three years, and the reflection of that is our crime rate,” Manley says.
Preventing these root factors involves favoring proactive solutions like mental health services, affordability, access to a living wage, and public transportation, above punishments and incarceration.
Manley takes a harder stance than most on the need for local control of the KCPD.
“Our community cannot be expected to improve their relationship with a department that is expected to police them yet is not accountable to them but rather to the Board of Police Commissioners,” Manley says.
The area Manley carries the most authority in is housing, given her background. Prior to organizing with the KC Tenants, Manley, a single mother of twins, has had to live in tents and a cabin at points while fleeing her abuser, whom she had lived with.
She cites her work in pushing the city to adopt the $50 million People’s Housing Trust Fund Act, enacting the Tenant Bill of Rights and tenant’s right to legal council in rent and eviction related disputes.
“Housing is a human right; everyone should have access to safe and truly affordable housing. When our lives feel stable and safe, we can focus on building relationships with our neighbors,” Manley says.
City Spending and Financing
Manley’s plan for the city budget and related expenses centers around transparency and accountability. This was a chief reason why she decided to run for office in the first place.
“It became clear that no matter how hard we work or deeply sacrifice, poor and working-class people can only thrive if the people in power are making decisions that prioritize our needs,” Manley says.
Therefore, Manley is against offering massive tax incentives to large corporations, instead hoping to invest the city’s tax dollars back into the people whose boots are already on the ground.
“Our city can and must ensure that we are not giving tax incentives to projects that will not benefit the people living here, as well as projects that take away from our already underfunded public resources, like schools and libraries,” Manley says.
When making decisions on new developments, for example, Manley would like to see greater weight placed in the community input process, and creating a standard of bringing in a third-party analysis to the table during those discussions.