Swope Health announces a new edition of its podcast, One on One with Swope Health, featuring Kansas City Councilwoman Melissa Patterson Hazley.
Eric Wesson, founder and publisher of The Next Page KC, a newspaper focused on the Black community, hosts the show’s conversations with Kansas Citians about issues of importance to the community’s health and wellbeing.
Councilwoman Patterson Hazley, representing the city’s Third District at large, was elected in June. She shares that she is a Kansas City native and graduate of Kansas City Public Schools who had a longtime interest in politics, policy, and history.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in history/political science and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. In addition to her career experience, she has served on several boards before running for office.
She notes that working within City Hall is a little more complicated than she expected, joking that her last couple of weeks felt like six months. But, she said, she is learning how to manage and collaborate within the systems.
She offers an example, as one of her priorities in the campaign was to clean up vacant property in the Third District, home to more than 3,000 vacant lots. In a $2 billion operation, she said she expected to be able to find $1 million for the Third District lots. She found that it would take a dozen people involved at City Hall to answer questions about the funding: which account, what restrictions, what priorities, how aligned with business and strategic plants, and so on.
“It turns out, it is a hard job,” she said, noting this priority has been in planning for two or three years. Granular detail is important in determining which types of development will work in the neighborhoods, supporting neighborhood needs without pricing residents out of the area. A goal, she said, is to remediate and build in a healthy way, for a healthy community.
She identified her No. 2 priority as Central City Economic Development, which, she noted has never been properly staffed. This sales tax district was originally organized by petition initiative and is currently without an executive director. Patterson Hazley called for additional staffing and the creation of a physical office on the East Side of the city.
This conversation also touches on police accountability, a city detention center and wide-ranging initiatives to address violence prevention with jobs, housing, healthy communities and more.