Anti-rail proposed ordinance

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FangKC
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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby FangKC » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:16 am

A city has to be allowed to study and plan for future expansions of mass transit--in all forms. Limiting spending simply to prepare the question for voters in an election is not enough. Voters cannot make the decision without details. Consultants have to be hired. Route, land, street, utility, sewer, and equipment studies made. Easement issues explored. Ridership projections complied.

Elected leaders are put in the position to make decisions about the future of the city--and that includes planning. There are many planning exercises that are done that not all voters are going to like, or agree with. For example, to clear a slum for future development. People in that neighborhood may not necessarily like it, but if the slum is hurting the ability of the city to thrive, attract business, residents, or redevelop, or it is bringing down the value of real estate around it, which affects city revenues, then leaders must do things to improve the environment of the city.

Often times, elected officials must plan and make decisions that many residents don't want. However, part of being an elected official is to decide what is best overall for the city's future, not just a group of residents that disagree.

Imagine if voter initiatives started placing limits of the ability of city leaders to make decisions about parks spending, or that leftover money from the snow budget could not be returned to the general fund?

Leaders are also elected to make decisions about if a voter initiative can even be accomplished. An example of this is the Clay Chastain transit plan. Voters could approve a plan to direct city officials to build a spaceport to attract alien spaceships. However, if they didn't also vote to raise their taxes and pay for it, city leaders would have to look at city revenues and reject the plan if there was no funding mechanism.

For example, Raytown leaders may study streetcars for their city, but decide in the end that there isn't enough density to support it, or enough potential tax revenue from any source to fund building one.

I hope that city voters are wise enough, that even if they oppose streetcars being extended to their part of the city, that they know that the city still must plan and study mass transit options in advance, and spend money on that, in advance of having an election for residents to decide. City leaders could very well decide that the studies prove it's not feasible.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby flyingember » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:00 am

yes, but not a complete picture.
see city code 60-1

The water services department shall have responsibility for the planning and construction of all sewerage works which are financed by revenue from sewer service charges, from revenue derived from the sale of bonds redeemable from sewer service charges, from revenues derived from grants of the federal or state government or any governmental entity, and from funds otherwise made available to the water services department by appropriate action of the city council...


the idea of limiting funding sources for the functional *planning* of the streetcar already has a legal basis in city code
what it doesn't directly control is what funds may be used to prepare for an election to raise these rates or what the city council may do.

it wouldn't be difficult to build on this idea for a new ordinance

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby DaveKCMO » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:40 am

after about two weeks, they haven't collected enough signatures to get on the ballot (let alone the 7,000 they claimed, about 3,500 are required).

https://twitter.com/st_vockrodt/status/565523011734753280

claim is to get on the june ballot.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby ThorsteinVeblen » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:57 pm


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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby kboish » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:08 pm

flyingember wrote:it has major first amendment problems. they can deny it and have a federal case having nothing to do with rail

it would cover 100% of employees including people in unrelated departments and potentially even people with contracts with the city. someone working in the 311 call center answering phones couldn't exercise their right to sign a petition initiative for a TDD if it caused the need to study rail under this ordinance

we already know from the Chastain case that bad petitions signed by residents should go on the ballot, that the petition initiative process is too important. Didn't the Sue Burke lawsuit cover constitutionality and TDD petitions as well?

a city ordinance can't try to overrule state law, it especially can't try to overrule the US constitution on matters of free speech.


Here is the state statute that allows for the City to Contract with a TDD to do the things this lawyer is trying to prevent:

238.260. The commission and local transportation authorities may contract with a district to provide it assistance in project funding, promotion, planning, design, right-of-way acquisition, relocation assistance services, construction, maintenance, and operation. The commission or any local transportation authority may charge the district a reasonable fee, not exceeding the actual cost of providing the service.


http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/23800002601.html

The commission referred to is the State Highway Commission. The City of Kansas City is considered a local transportation Authority.


This will never fly.
Last edited by kboish on Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby DaveKCMO » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:10 pm

so i guess they still haven't hit the 3,500 signatures they need? that doesn't bode well for even getting on the ballot, let alone passing.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby flyingember » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:32 am

DaveKCMO wrote:so i guess they still haven't hit the 3,500 signatures they need? that doesn't bode well for even getting on the ballot, let alone passing.


people really don't like signing petitions. the media jumps all over the ones that have public opinion on the petition's side, as if the government isn't doing something people want.

do they have some deadline to get their signatures? I don't see anything in city code.


This part of code is good to know about.
No ordinance adopted at the polls under the initiative shall be amended or repealed by the Council within one year of such adoption except by the affirmative vote of nine (9) members thereof. Thereafter such ordinance may be amended or repealed as any other ordinance.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby Highlander » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:36 pm

flyingember wrote:
DaveKCMO wrote:so i guess they still haven't hit the 3,500 signatures they need? that doesn't bode well for even getting on the ballot, let alone passing.


people really don't like signing petitions. the media jumps all over the ones that have public opinion on the petition's side, as if the government isn't doing something people want.

do they have some deadline to get their signatures? I don't see anything in city code.


This part of code is good to know about.
No ordinance adopted at the polls under the initiative shall be amended or repealed by the Council within one year of such adoption except by the affirmative vote of nine (9) members thereof. Thereafter such ordinance may be amended or repealed as any other ordinance.


People seem to sign Chastain's stuff. Maybe they just don't have much support and people who don't care if an area wants a streetcar as long as they don't have to pay for it.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby DaveKCMO » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:40 pm

at least with clay chastain's petitions signers were getting SOMETHING, versus the NOTHING dejanes was offering...

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby loftguy » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:48 pm

DaveKCMO wrote:at least with clay chastain's petitions signers were getting SOMETHING, versus the NOTHING dejanes was offering...



....if you call getting asked out on a date with Chastain SOMETHING, then I guess you're right.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby FangKC » Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:48 am

If I read the Pitch article correctly this week, it seems to me that even if anti-streetcar people get their way with preventing the City Council from spending money on streetcar development, wouldn't the Port Authority of Kansas City still be able to do it?

The Port Authority, an entity created by state law, is more commonly associated with the slow development of the riverfront, which cuts through downtown, and the redevelopment of the old Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in south Kansas City. But the Port Authority believes that it can involve itself anywhere it wants to in Kansas City — and it wants to get more involved in economic development.

...

Collins, by all accounts, has cleaned up the Port Authority’s act. And though it continues to toil in obscurity, the agency wields extraordinary power under state law — with no direct public accountability.

Kansas City’s mayor appoints the Port Authority’s directors, and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (appointed by the governor) has nominal oversight of the agency.

...

When developers go after tax incentives, they typically go through agencies such as the aforementioned PIEA, or the Tax Increment Financing Commission. In those circumstances, the developer must meet the “but for” test, meaning that a developer has to show that a development would not happen “but for” the issuance of tax incentives.

Developers before the Port Authority don’t have to meet the “but for” test.

“We are not a ‘but for’ organization,” Collins tells The Pitch.


Nor is the Port Authority required to listen to the input of taxing jurisdictions such as the county and the school district. (When property taxes are abated or exempted, school districts are most affected.)

...

Collins says the Port Authority supports the Corrigan Station project because it is along the downtown streetcar line. The Port Authority was Kansas City, Missouri’s partner in creating the transportation-development district that funded the starter line.

The Missouri General Assembly in 2010 expanded the power of the Port Authority to create what’s called a port-authority district. Like community-improvement districts and TDDs, port-authority districts can increase property or sales taxes within them, with only the approval of the Port Authority’s board of directors.

That could allow the Port Authority to undertake large projects — say, a streetcar expansion — without a public vote.

“Theoretically, it could be used for a streetcar,” Collins says. “Have we discussed that? Absolutely not.”


http://www.pitch.com/FastPitch/archives/2015/02/25/the-port-authority-can-clear-the-way-for-kcmo-developers

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby pash » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:22 am

.
Last edited by pash on Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby kboish » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:18 am

pash wrote:Apparently "absolutely not" is not so absolute as to exclude the concepts the Port Authority has published envisioning a streetcar running through its development on the riverfront.


I think the "absolutely not" he stated was referring to doing all those things unilaterally. Which technically they could, but they would never do.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby chaglang » Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:13 pm

The Pitch ran another article with the phrases "obscure agency", "extraordinary power", and "no accountability" so everyone has to take a drink.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby DaveKCMO » Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:04 pm

chaglang wrote:The Pitch ran another article with the phrases "obscure agency", "extraordinary power", and "no accountability" so everyone has to take a drink.


they must be using their new "alt.weekly" phrasebook that's guaranteed to generate page visits!

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby DaveKCMO » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:43 am

this petition initiative is now "Question 1" on the august 8 ballot: https://www.kceb.org/useruploads/Sample ... ebsite.pdf

QUESTION NO. 1
(Initiative Petition)
(Streetcar System Extension – Elections Required)
Shall the City of Kansas City prohibit any and all City officers, agents and
employees from causing the planning for, construction, preparation for
construction, preparation of land, or purchase of land if connected to the
expansion of the streetcar system or any new fixed rail transit system,
without first gaining voter approval, and establish a penalty of up to
$1,000 a day for noncompliance?
[ ] YES [ ] NO

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby Highlander » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:39 pm

DaveKCMO wrote:this petition initiative is now "Question 1" on the august 8 ballot: https://www.kceb.org/useruploads/Sample ... ebsite.pdf

QUESTION NO. 1
(Initiative Petition)
(Streetcar System Extension – Elections Required)
Shall the City of Kansas City prohibit any and all City officers, agents and
employees from causing the planning for, construction, preparation for
construction, preparation of land, or purchase of land if connected to the
expansion of the streetcar system or any new fixed rail transit system,
without first gaining voter approval, and establish a penalty of up to
$1,000 a day for noncompliance?
[ ] YES [ ] NO


Is this the actual wording? It's awfully misleading. "without first gaining voter approval"? Wouldn't it need to stipulate CITY WIDE voter approval because the initial streetcar did receive "voter approval" and the subsequent expansion seeks to do so. I could absolutely see this passing the way it is worded.

Crap like this makes me wonder if KC is really the place I want to retire. I don't get why so many people are so adamantly opposed to something that makes so much sense.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby WoodDraw » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:48 pm

This amount of people are adamantly opposed to everything. KC makes it far to easy to get things on the ballot, both through voter indifference and poor laws. We can fix this.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby flyingember » Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:32 pm

Highlander wrote:
DaveKCMO wrote:this petition initiative is now "Question 1" on the august 8 ballot: https://www.kceb.org/useruploads/Sample ... ebsite.pdf

QUESTION NO. 1
(Initiative Petition)
(Streetcar System Extension – Elections Required)
Shall the City of Kansas City prohibit any and all City officers, agents and
employees from causing the planning for, construction, preparation for
construction, preparation of land, or purchase of land if connected to the
expansion of the streetcar system or any new fixed rail transit system,
without first gaining voter approval, and establish a penalty of up to
$1,000 a day for noncompliance?
[ ] YES [ ] NO


Is this the actual wording? It's awfully misleading. "without first gaining voter approval"? Wouldn't it need to stipulate CITY WIDE voter approval because the initial streetcar did receive "voter approval" and the subsequent expansion seeks to do so. I could absolutely see this passing the way it is worded.

Crap like this makes me wonder if KC is really the place I want to retire. I don't get why so many people are so adamantly opposed to something that makes so much sense.


Don't worry, the ordinance defined "fixed rail transit system" as including any train carrying goods (stuff we buy) and that means any new freight rail system requires a public vote. Good luck messing with the commerce clause and having your law hold up. KCMO being on the state line makes any law around transportation especially particular. It's why we have a special state law for the bus company.

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Re: Anti-rail proposed ordinance

Postby Highlander » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:11 pm

I hope you are right FlyingEmber but these things tend to end up in the courts for a long regardless of how legally sound one side's case is. Regardless, I don't think the question should go on the ballot with that wording as it's very misleading. Would it be possible to get a court injunction to stop it?

The authors of the question are guilty of spectacular hypocrisy championing the idea that the people should vote on the issue when in reality, all they are really doing is attempting to widen the polling to include people with no vested interest in the hope of overcoming the will of the people who are actually being affected by the expansion. The streetcar expansion may or may not pass the mail-in balloting but it if the residents of the affected area want to pay for a streetcar, it should be their prerogative. Like I said, I don't know why the opponents feel so threatened except that a lot of people my age (who grew up in the 60's and 70's) sincerely are threatened by progressive urban ideas. I don't understand it - I embrace it. I watched my father become essentially a prisoner of his own suburban home when he became too old to drive although he was perfectly capable of walking to a streetcar stop had one existed.


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