Keep KC area rolling in the right direction
The Kansas City Star
Spring elections don’t attract nearly the attention that presidential contests do. Then again, you haven’t seen a slew of mudslinging ads on television in recent weeks, so be thankful for small favors.
Crucial tax issues for better hospitals, schools and roads are on Tuesday’s ballot, as are candidates for mayors, other key city offices and school boards.
Here’s a review of — and The Star’s recommendations on — some of the most pressing issues. The Star’s full list of recommendations will appear on Tuesday.
Join KC’s “Yes, yes, no” club
Kansas Citians will decide three citywide matters, and the most essential one calls for a “yes” vote on Question 1 to help provide health care for indigent patients as well as better ambulance services.
Renewing the property tax levy on the ballot would create $15 million a year, with $10 million going to Truman Medical Center. Over the years it has invested in modern technology to better serve thousands of patients. Kansas Citians compassionately supported the first levy in 2005, and Truman has used the money as promised since then, a pretty good indicator of how the next batch of funds will be used.
Question 2 also has earned a “yes” vote for a simple, fair reason: It would close a loophole in city law and finally require nonprofit groups to pay a hotel fee charged to all others who stay in Kansas City. City officials would reap $2 million a year in extra revenue, and more than half would go to help attract more visitors here.
Finally, supporters and detractors are promoting wildly different views of what would happen with passage of Question 3, an initiative petition from opponents of nuclear weapons. Passage would ban city subsidies for suppliers of products to the National Nuclear Security Administration facility in south Kansas City. It manufactures and procures nonnuclear components for nuclear weapons.
Supporters of Question 3 hope to send a message that nuclear weapons are not welcome in Kansas City. Opponents roll out the argument that passage could cost the city “thousands” of jobs.
While that claim appears to be over the top, voting “no” is the right call. The city shouldn’t single out one industry in this way. Besides, this effort is way late to the game; the new plant will be fully operational in 2014 and employ 2,500 people.
Wyandotte County’s fireworks
Two candidates — Mark Holland and Ann Murguia — are knocking on doors, talking themselves hoarse at forums and shaking hands in their hard-nosed battle to replace Joe Reardon as mayor/CEO of the Unified Government.
The next mayor must be ready to work well with the business leaders, neighborhood residents and civic organizations in the county. That’s right up Holland’s alley, and he deserves election. He has the calm demeanor and well-focused plans required to keep the economic engine humming in western Wyandotte County while also working day and night to bring more economic vitality to the urban core in Kansas City, Kan.
Keep rollin’ in Platte County
Voters endorsed a three-eighths cent sales tax a decade ago to build new and smoother roads, plus safer bridges, in Platte County.
The plan worked: The fast-growing county now has a far better transportation system than it did back then. So voting “yes” on Tuesday to extend the tax for another 10 years is the right call. County officials have laid out an excellent plan to improve streets throughout the county, including in Kansas City.