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Guest Post – The August Vote

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For those citizens who have followed transit developments this year, perhaps the most striking and appealing element that has stood out, but has been often overlooked is – these events never default to the myth of a heroic individual, in which one person stands outside a mass of political mediocrity and recklessness, and can bring down any opponent with pluck, ingenuity and a few well-timed zingers. The citizens and neighborhoods who have stepped forward and raised their voices with hard questions are brave and resourceful beyond any ordinary measure, but it is clear that no single individual has a shot at standing alone against the phantasmagorian monstrosity known as the TDD and it’s offspring the streetcars.

This is one of those unusual situations where citizens have proved they are prepared to be fearless, and you can now feel how big a thing this really is. What is at stake is clear, and voters deserve complete, honest, and factual information that is human and genuine, not computer generated data, so they can make intelligent and informed decisions come voting day. This ballot without one single doubt, is a huge, disruptive, and risky expenditure of taxpayer money. I like many, are extremely concerned about education, public safety, and all our other prized assets that are being neglected, discarded, and written off  and sold off by City Officials.

 

When the downtown transportation district was approved by 318 people back in August of 2012, since then there has been little if any real and honest debate over the issues, which are complex, insanely expensive, and are going to affect a lot of people in ways they can’t even imagine yet, both in the short-term and long-term. The public has been presented with well-financed,  scripted, and orchestrated pro streetcar sales and marketing presentations and meetings in controlled public environment’s, but designed to discourage and avoid hard questions and limit public input which would be detrimental to the streetcar agenda.

Since the marketing blitz for expansion began earlier this year, before one single rail was even delivered no less, neighborhoods took notice and stood up and said – we are going to be heard and we are demanding accountability. It has been an all out fight with representatives to get information every step of the way and to this day still is. To say the streetcar has been grossly mishandled from day one, as addressed in the recent KMBC editorial that aired recently, may not be enough considering the streetcar advocates and the firms and people behind them continue to push their agenda with a predatory, dictatorial, winner takes all – us against them mindset.

Here is the most recent, latest and greatest example of the stealthy tactics and the “business as unusual” modus operandi of local transit movers and shakers, game changers, whatever buzz word nomenclature you prefer, and the reason the public took a stand to begin with. This level of continued arrogance and malinvestment truly speaks for itself. Before the public has even had a chance to Vote on the TDD these two ordinances were introduced on May 15.

#140394 Authorizing an agreement with HDR Engineering, Inc. for approximately $3,748,000.00 for design services for the Kansas City Streetcar System Phase 2 project; and recognizing this ordinance as having an accelerated effective date.
#140395 Authorizing a $4,300,000.00 agreement with Burns _ McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. for design services for the Kansas City Streetcar System Phase 2 project; and recognizing this ordinance as having an accelerated effective date.

That’s correct, before voters have even have a chance to vote on the proposed transportation development district this August, planners had apparently had this move planned out well in advance to bypass any public debate or scrutiny. Is it a coincidence these ordinances were set in motion and put into legislation on the same day the Judge approved the TDD vote? What the hell is going on here? (See Kansas City Council roundup: Can you spare $10M?)

During the approach to the original mail in election back in 2012, business leaders and other people in various professions with clout, credibility, and hard-won life experience were warning people there are numerous hidden risks, unforeseen costs, and most of all an undemocratic mindset involved in this whole venture. Now it has become a very real social issue as well. Attorney Sherry DeJanes worked tirelessly, and literally at her own expense and time to listen to and represent citizens who can not and will not get the advantage of special property tax deals, twenty-five year tax abatement’s, private meetings, and hand shake deals with city government. Regardless, the proposed TDD was approved in court anyway, and the battle will now be taken to the voting booths.

As we approach this next election, contrary to what streetcar supporters are broadcasting via social media at this point, it is pretty clear the intention is to drown out the voice of what they refer to as their opponents. They want you to believe that a few cranky people, a few well-connected individuals, a handful of nimby’s, and the so-called infamous cave people are rocking the boat because they have nothing better to do with their time. On the contrary this is in reality a growing force of responsible Kansas City citizens, real working people who are now paying attention and are realizing this whole agenda has been mishandled, rushed, and bulldozed over people from day one. This is the real deal.  Attention must be paid.

We urge you to carefully consider all the facts and options before heading to the voting booth this August. Make no mistake you and your children’s future and economic security is at stake. We urge you to send that message out by voting no to a TDD in August. Make the message clear to city officials.  In case you haven’t noticed — we the people are — and would like to be considered — trusted partners in this City.  From there we can begin to build a smarter future together based on integrity, sound judgement, fairness, perfectly thought out ideas and concepts, and then make ethical decisions that benefit everyone and not just a few. Your vote counts. Make the most of it.

 

Special Thanks to the Captain and Andrew for use of quotes and additional content. And to everyone at SmartKC

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April 4. The Next Frontier

Crunching The Numbers
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$30 – $50 – $65 million per mile to build a streetcar run when 18 Proterra EcoRide™ BE35 zero-emission ultra quiet electric buses with charging stations can be purchased for about $26 Million (Fed Grant Eligible) and can serve an entire corridor from Union Station to The Plaza – UMKC (Main St. Plus) round the clock? That would be nine modern, comfortable, quiet buses running each way north and south.

Think about it.

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Feb 23. Kansas City Star
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The point of contention Saturday was where to put it. And if a proposed streetcar expansion were to mess up the pleasant surroundings of the Trolley Track Trail in Brookside, many members of a citizens panel appointed by the mayor will be very unhappy.

Story right here at Brookside residents express concerns at Kansas City Star On Line

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Update Feb 19. The final round. January 2014 – March 2014. Please click picture for large view.

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