In first meeting, PV diversity task force tackles racist deed restrictions, considers BLM mural

first_imgThe city of Prairie Village’s diversity task force Tuesday discussed ways to potentially strike racially discriminatory deed restrictions and brainstormed events and other potential policy changes in its first-ever meeting.The task force, created under Mayor Eric Mikkelson’s direction, is charged with developing recommendations for the city council’s approval in an effort to attract and retain residents of color.Above, task force members consider ways to promote inclusion during the group’s first meeting Tuesday.Redlining and racially restrictive covenants has contributed to why Prairie Village is 95% white today, Mikkelson said, and the city’s history, rooted in such racist policies, continues to have lasting effects. Although the task force’s work will be difficult, Mikkelson said it will hopefully change the city for the better and the experiences of residents for generations to come.“This won’t be easy, it’s going to ruffle some features,” Mikkelson said. “It’s going to undoubtedly upset some people along the way — in fact, it already has the mere existence of this task force does not sit well with some people. With your help we’ll move the needle on this so that five, 10, 20 years from now, hopefully we’ll be looking at a Prairie Village that is excellent in every category that it has today and that it is much more diverse than it is today.”Where the county, city currently standsPrior to the brainstorming session, the task force heard from city staff and Kathryn Evans, a United Community Services of Johnson County representative. Evans spoke to the county’s history with racial inequity, specifically when it comes to home ownership, and recent efforts by her organization to help Johnson County grapple with its history.Evans also spoke about the added disparity COVID-19 has placed on people of color, who are dying from the pandemic at disproportionate rates. She said this disparity coupled with the historic lack of opportunities for people of color to live in Johnson County is an example of how access to housing, healthcare and good wages are all connected.Major Byron Roberson, a Black officer with the Prairie Village Police Department, presented on the three areas PVPD focuses on: hiring, education and monitoring of officer work. Roberson said education deals with training on racial profiling and implicit bias. Recently, the department discussed the general distrust communities of color have for the police, which has reached a more urgent pitch after months of nationwide demonstrations demanding social justice and police accountability.“I think the officers kind of can understand sometimes why there’s maybe some animosity particularly from communities of color toward the police because of the way the police have been used and our history,” Roberson said.The diversity task force was created under Mayor Eric Mikkelson’s direction, and he said these efforts will hopefully lead to better outcomes for the city in five to 20 years. File photo.Additionally, Roberson told the story of how a Black man who built his Overland Park home in 1966 recently visited the house and told Roberson how he and the Black community were afraid to drive through Prairie Village at one point because of the police.Roberson said, looking back, he became a police officer to ensure nobody felt that way in any community.Deputy City Administrator Jamie Robichaud spoke about Village Vision 2.0, the update to the city’s comprehensive plan. Robichaud said two of the five goals from Village Vision 2.0, quality public spaces and strong neighborhoods, directly relate to the diversity task force’s aims.Robichaud said the city is exploring ways to strategically preserve its existing housing stock and deemphasize automobile usage to support diversity efforts. More information about Village Vision 2.0 can be found online here.Black Lives Matter mural consideredFollowing the city and UCS presentations, the task force dove into specific ideas on how to attract and retain residents of color.The 11-person task force — five of whom are directly involved with the city in some capacity, whether it be employment or the governing body — came up with the following list:Host cultural festivals to introduce all residents to — and celebrate — several races and ethnicities.Banners along Mission Road to show support for diverse groups, including the support of the Black Lives Matter movement.A Black Lives Matter mural combined with a social justice education initiative in some form.A potential town hall or open forum about social justice and race.Partnering with libraries for a diverse literature initiative for children and teenagers.Explore ways to hear more voices, in an effort to get feedback from residents.Partnering with another Kansas City metro city that deals with poverty more so than Prairie Village, to think outside of the city itself.Decriminalize marijuana in Prairie Village, as people of color are disproportionately charged and arrested for marijuana possession nationwide.A statement about the necessity of the task force to address those who negatively reacted to its creation, as mentioned by Mikkelson earlier in the evening.Jameelah Lang, a task force member and woman of color who was yelled at in her yard by a man upset by a Black Lives Matter protest this summer, said the committee should consider its predominantly white composition.Jameelah Lang, center, said she thinks there’s a disconnect between the justice-minded city and the lack of education being transferred to the community. Above, Jameelah is participating in a Black Lives Matter march this summer. File photo.“I think that there is a real disconnect between the city council, the Prairie Village Police Department — these are very justice-minded, thoughtful organizations — and the way that education is being transferred to our community, or the lack of transfer of education to our community” said Lang.Mikkelson said he set the task force’s 11-person cap in an effort to ensure productivity, and the two members who did not attend the Tuesday meeting are both Black men. Despite the cap, Mikkelson said he is open to expanding the task force with one or two more people of color if that is the will of the committee.Additionally, the task force discussed racially restrictive deeds at length, including avenues that could strike the restrictions from the record. The task force came to the consensus that the restrictive deed language needs to be removed, and though the process on how to get there is unclear and potentially convoluted, several members expressed willingness to dedicate their labor to the cause.The task force will meet as many times as needed, Mikkelson said, though a second meeting date has not yet been set.last_img read more

COLE: Sacrifice? What’s that?

first_imgI’m speaking, of course, about the Range Rover Evoque, which looks better than Eva Longoria and drives better than her famous ex-husband Tony Parker ever could.I don’t get it, America. Here’s the best of both worlds: You get your coveted Range Rover badge and Greenpeace doesn’t lose a lung in the process. (Oh, and by the way, even Stevie Wonder would tell you that the two-door version is the best-looking SUV ever created.)Time to examine the car so many of you insist on buying, instead of the one I keep telling you to buy.For starters, the 2012 Range Rover Sport is pretty much exactly like the 2011 Range Rover Sport, which was pretty much exactly like the 2010 Range Rover Sport. For that I admire Range Rover; they’ve got some kind of moxie over there. No need to update the design, it was right the first time.Which is to say the design is a one-handed Etch-a-Sketch user’s dream: big, boxy and devoid of anything resembling a curve.From front-to-back the 2012 Range Rover Sport is designed to please only one person, the driver. Every inch of sheet metal is (still) asked to serve a purpose, which makes fashioning a Range Rover Sport like fashioning Bear Grylls.Perhaps, I’ll conjecture further, that’s why it’s been so appealing to some people who have more money than, say, sense; uncompromising and functional is beautiful in design and delivery. Don’t believe me? Check the business pages and see how AAPL stock is doing these days.However, when your aerodynamic benchmark is a barn door, certain truths emerge.First, mileage suffers. Consider that our standard V8 Range Rover Sport managed fuel economy somewhere in the teens — that’s highway.Second, it doesn’t matter if you stuff F1 suspension in the Range Rover, body roll is a way of life when the center of gravity is somewhere on par with LeBron James.In that way, the Range Rover Sport isn’t suited for highway cruising per se.Maybe I’m biased, coming from a distinguished line of living in mountain states but I can’t imagine why on earth someone from Dayton, Ohio would ever need one of these things.Our test model, the naturally aspirated V8 produces 375 horsepower and 375 ft.-lbs. of torque, which if you’re wondering, is all this car really needs.If you’re the type that finds spending your money is happening at a much slower pace than you’d like, there’s a supercharged version available that produces 510 horsepower and 460 ft.-lbs. of torque.If it weren’t for Land Rover’s unsurpassed legend of building Armageddon-ready wagons, they’d be sought by every other car builder just to do interior alone.But they are. So they’re not. Instead we’re left to drool over the capability of the Range Rover Sport.For starters, the SUV can raise or lower itself 2.1 inches to cope with off-road conditions. The base 6.8 inches of ground clearance means the Range Rover Sport can crawl over anything — the off-road setting’s 8.9 inches means it’s ready to crawl up the side of your house.The increased ride height gives the Range Rover clearance under the carriage but also the 34/29/25 approach, departure and breakover angles mean that the SUV is short on body when it needs to be. In comparison, the ride height and entry angles are surpassed only by the Jeep Wrangler, which, while vastly less expensive, won’t chill your Chablis quite like the Range Rover Sport while you’re off-roading.Well, at least the one that you’re willing to buy. The other, most interesting SUV in the world is harder to spot in the wild than a white tiger. According to me, and my semi-official survey of everything on the road, I’d say the love affair with Range Rover and Land Rover appears to be at its end.My nowhere near, officially unofficial results are based entirely on the fact that the best-looking SUV on the planet has fewer rolling chassis on the road these days than Hudson Motor Car Company. Aaron Cole is managing editor and a syndicated auto columnist. He knows he’s wrong, but he’d rather hear it from you. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or at [email protected]last_img read more