1-on-1 with Mayor Sly James - KCTV5


1-on-1 with Mayor Sly James

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Kansas City is making a big push to land the 2016 GOP National Convention. Between that, the Kansas City International Airport debate, Kansas City Public Schools issues and a million other things, Mayor Sly James has a lot on his plate these days.

James sat down with our own Dave Hall for a special interview about what makes him tick and who he is.

The mayor is front and center when it comes to big issues in Kansas City. James doesn't mince words, whether he's talking the plaza explosion.

"That was a bad day. That was a very bad day," he said.

Or race relations.

"Everybody thought Obama getting elected was the end of racial issues. I tell you it was the beginning," James said.

The mayor's sharp tongue can be off-putting for some, even James' wife. He laughed when asked what his wife calls him when she's mad, saying he couldn't repeat that on TV.

James has been in office nearly three years now and one of his biggest frustrations is the continuing struggles of Kansas City schools. He said the accreditation debate misses the point, and just being adequate isn't good enough.

"Accreditation is merely the bottom line as far as I'm concerned, that should be a given. We should be striving for world-class education because we're not just competing against other accredited schools from around the country, we're competing with world-class educated kids from around the world," he said.

Keeping kids busy is another issue the mayor is working hard on. A recent violent night at the Country Club Plaza involving dozens of teenagers had many asking the city to step in.

"Curfew can't change that, the city can't change that, the Plaza can't change that. That's a parental issue," James said.

As for KCI, the mayor argues with the question of do we want an airport built for the 20th Century or the 21st.

"The concept of, ‘I really like the fact I can drive up to the curb, hop out of the car, go in and get on an airplane' that's all cool and groovy, but then again a guy with a semi-automatic weapon can do the same thing," James said.

The mayor also showed his humorous side when asked who at his home puts him in check.

"My daughter Asia. She says, ‘I don't care what you do during the day, when you're here you're going to clean up the kitchen,'" James said.

We will have much more of our interview with James on KCTV5 News It's Your Morning.

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