MORE2 and Mayor Reardon Meet with White House Staff about the EPA Office Location

On June 20, 2011, MORE² Clergy Rev. Steve Jones (Prairie Baptist Church, Prairie Village, KS), Rev. Jarvis Collier (Pleasant Green Baptist, Kansas City, KS) and Mayor Joe Reardon (Kansas City, KS) met at the White House with Derek Douglas, Special Assistant to the President, Domestic Policy Council (Office of Urban Affairs), and Lauren Dunn, Policy Assistant, Domestic Policy Council.

 

Actions from this meeting:

  • Community Outreach in the GSA process: Derek Douglas and Lauren Dunn were asked about the GSA process in making the decision to move the EPA building. Ms. Dunn committed to reviewing statute to determine if there should have been community outreach in the process. Derek indicated that he would explore whether the process could be reopened. (This is all dependent upon the review of statute and the alternate proposal that the city submitted.)

· Fairness in the GSA process: A need to reopen the case, which is still in process of being considered by the GSA as “under protest” by the building owners of the EPA building in Kansas City, KS. If their statute review reveals a discrepancy in fairness, Mr. Douglas and Ms. Dunn agreed to ask the GSA to reopen the case so that all the costs (including the “hidden costs”) can be revealed and considered.

From the White House, this delegation made their way to Congressman Kevin Yoder’s office (R-KS).

Conclusion from this meeting:

· Review of the GSA process: An acknowledgment by Jordan Austin, Legislative Assistant to Mr. Yoder, that he has been frustrated by the lack of responsiveness by the GSA in answering the simple questions about the process of the move. Mr. Austin is going to follow up with GSA using the chart of financials that Mayor Reardon provided—this chart provides more information about real costs involved with the move.

Approximately sixty MORE² leaders called the GSA Administrator, Martha Johnson, to express their opinions, opposing the relocation. On two occasions, citizens were “accidentally” hung up on.

MORE² thanks the Transportation Equity Network staff (Cynthia Jarrold) for pulling this effort together.

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