Lawsuit will continue to try to fill 1st District, at-large seat

Human rights activist Alvin Sykes said that the lawsuit asking the Unified Government to fill a vacant 1st District at-large seat will continue, despite the failure of a vote taken Aug. 7 on reopening the process.

Sykes said the effort to fill the seat is picking up steam. The seat has been vacant for more than a year.

During the Aug. 7 meeting, Mayor Mark Holland said, in his view, this would be the last opportunity to address the issue before it goes to the voters at the polls next spring.

Now that the commission has not voted to move the process forward, state Sen. David Haley will be calling a community meeting of area state legislators, commissioners and others on the issue, Sykes said.

A case has been filed by a 1st District at-large resident, Carolyn Wyatt, asking a court to order the UG to fill the position. Recently, Wyatt asked for summary judgment.

On Aug. 7, the vote was 5-4 in favor of reopening the voting and leaving out the top two vote-getters, but six votes were needed for it to pass. While UG officials said that the vote last week was a good-faith effort to fill the seat, the statement that this would be the last vote drew a reaction from Sykes.

“It’s now crystal clear they have no intention of filling the seat,” Sykes said.

Sykes said that “quality justice” in this case would mean that a coin toss is used to select one of the two finalists, Don Budd Jr. or Nathan Barnes, or that commission voting continues on Budd and Barnes until the tie is broken.

“Practical justice” would be starting all over and allowing anyone in the 1st District, at-large, to file for the seat, whether they are on the previous list or not, Sykes said.

“We’ll take either one” (practical or quality justice), he added.

Sykes cited several cases of municipal governments that had continued voting until the tie was broken and someone was selected to fill a vacancy. One city in Maryland took more than 100 votes before someone changed a vote. It took Wichita 38 votes before it filled a vacancy.

There were fewer than 10 separate votes to fill the vacant seat on the UG Commission. The commission could not get six votes, the majority that is needed, for one of the candidates on any of the ballots. Three votes were taken on June 20, 2013, with five votes for Budd and four for Barnes each time, with the mayor then voting for Barnes, ending 5-5. On July 11, 2013, another vote was taken, with the same result. Then, the mayor made a motion on July 11 to set the top two finalists aside and choose two others from the 15 finalists. That motion was defeated 7-2.

The UG charter says the vacancy “shall” be filled by an appointment by the commission, but it did not say when the position must be filled, and neither did it say how a tie could be broken. The charter does not say that a special election can be held to fill the vacancy.

The UG answered Wyatt’s court request for filling the seat by saying that it is “discretionary.” The UG answer also said the mayor and commission made a good-faith effort to fill the seat, but no candidate received the six votes necessary. The UG stated the appointment was a political question, and that the UG had the authority to determine the manner of selection under the state’s home rule amendment. The UG also stated that the plaintiff lacked standing to show that any injuries were specific and peculiar to her.

Besides being disappointed that the proposal for filling the seat at the Aug. 7 meeting did not include Budd and Barnes, Sykes said he is also disappointed that other UG commissioners did not use their authority to introduce other motions once the mayor’s motion failed. He said he believed that once a discussion is started on an item, any of the commissioners could then introduce alternative motions that are on the topic. While the mayor sets each agenda, runs the meeting and recognizes commissioners who want to speak, Sykes said he believes commissioners could introduce the topic at later meetings under the category of “old business.”

While there was a remark made at the UG Commission meeting about a lawsuit not being the way to resolve it, Sykes said that all citizens have the constitutional right to seek redress and petition the government for justice. He added the UG Commission had given very little opportunity for citizens to speak their minds at the UG public commission meetings about how they felt about this position not being filled yet.

“It’s a shame that we had to file a lawsuit for the public to have an opportunity to get their point across,” Sykes said.

“Citizenship is based on equality for everyone,” Sykes said. “The 2nd District at-large has the mayor, the at-large position and the district representative. People in the other district (1st District at-large) are still one short in terms of representation. Ultimately, everyone suffers.”

He said that “taxation without representation” hits the core of the issue. In some state legislatures in other states, if a representative position has been vacant for a prolonged time, there have been proposals for tax credits to be given to residents as a remedy for being without representation, Sykes said. However, that idea has not yet been implemented in the other states.

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Faith news

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Bible Way Community Church, 1720 N. 46th St. in Kansas City, Kan., will hold its Back To School Revival. The revival will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, at Bible Way. The revival includes worship service, school supplies giveaway, food and drinks, as well as outside activities. Outside activities will include plenty of games for children of all ages, and a Basketball Tournament for youth 13 and older. Cost to participate in the Basketball Tournament is $2 per person. Games will be 3 on 3, all games are 10 minutes each, and prizes will be awarded. To register, email the names of any youth members that are interested in participating and their age to More information about the event is at

Christ the King Catholic Church, 3024 N. 53rd St., will hold an ice cream social after the 4 p.m. Mass Saturday, Aug. 23. The social will include bingo, games, a povitica booth, salami booth, carnival games for children, and a disc jockey. Food available for purchase will include Italian and Polish sausages, hot dogs, ice cream and cake.

Edwardsville United Methodist Church second Saturday supper on Saturday, Aug. 9, will consist of traditional picnic foods. Donations of $8 for adults and $3 for children are requested. The church is at 302 N. Fourth St, Edwardsville.

Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church, 7819 Swartz Road, Kansas City, Kan., will hold a big sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9. The sale will include furniture, twin bunk beds, full bed (no mattresses), dressers, household items, electronics, tools and more. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The menu is hot dogs, chips, drink and dessert.

“Scripture Study, Bible Sharing and Reflection, Lectio and Journaling,” a regular weekly series facilitated by pastoral minister, Heather Neds, is offered from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesdays at Keeler Women’s Center, 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kan. This weekly Bible study group is based on the upcoming scripture readings from the Common Lectionary. There will be time for reflection, sharing and journaling. Call 913-906-8990 to register.

Open Door Baptist Church, 3033 N. 103rd Terrace, plans a second Sunday potluck dinner immediately following the 10:30 a.m. morning service Sunday, Aug. 10, at the church dining room.

The Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City will hold a blood drive from 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at Parkway Baptist Church classrooms, 12320 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kan. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit or call 816-753-4040.

Persons of all Christian traditions are invited to participate in Taizé prayer on Thursday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. in Annunciation Chapel on the campus of the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, 4200 S. 4th St., Leavenworth, Kan. Taizé prayer is a meditative, candlelit service that includes simple chants sung repeatedly, silence, and prayers of praise and intercession. These prayer services emerged from an ecumenical community of monks in Taizé, France. For more information, visit or call 913-680-2342.

A marriage enrichment class will begin Wednesday, Aug. 6, at St. Patrick Catholic Church social hall, 94th and State Avenue. Classes will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 27. Dinner will be provided at 5:30 p.m. The classes are in a relaxed small-group atmosphere where topics such as problem solving, decision making, communication, hidden issues and commitment may be discussed. Trained facilitators will lead the class. The class is sponsored by Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Pre-registration is necessary to or 913-906-8925.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 708 N. 4th St., Kansas City, Kan., plans a festival after the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday, Aug. 16. A free outdoor polka dance is planned from 9 to 11 p.m. on the museum grounds next door. Food, drink, and a traditional sarma dinner will be available. The social will include games, and prizes will include salamis, homemade poviticas and strudels.

Children who attended the vacation church school this week will perform following a potluck dinner at noon Sunday, Aug. 10, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1300 N. 18th.

Trinity AME Church will celebrate its 109th anniversary with several events. The anniversary celebration will be led by the Rev. Cecil (Chip) Murray, retired, who was previously a pastor at Trinity AME and later at the First AME Church in Los Angeles. Murray will lead a workshop on “Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way” from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Reardon Convention Center, 500 Minnesota Ave. The workshop has a $15 fee and includes a continental breakfast. Murray will be the guest speaker for the 10:30 a.m. morning service Sunday, Aug. 24, at Trinity AME Church, 2201 N. 5th St. The Rev. Fran T. Cary is senior pastor and chair of Trinity AME’s 109th anniversary. Those interested in attending the workshop may visit to register or call 913-621-2306.

Kansas Supreme Court upholds Wyandotte County convictions

The Kansas Supreme Court today upheld two Wyandotte County District Court jury trial convictions and sentences.

Willie E. Reed had appealed his convictions on two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under age 14. He also had appealed his concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole for 40 years, arguing it was cruel and unusual punishment.

After considering the appellate arguments raised by Reed, the Supreme Court held that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions, and the court rejected Reed’s other arguments alleging trial errors or constitutional violations during trial.

As for Reed’s attack on his hard 40 sentences, the court held that Reed failed to ensure there were adequate findings on the record; therefore, his state and federal constitutional challenges failed.

Reed’s convictions and sentences were affirmed. The case is online at