Friday, December 07, 2007

Why Do Russ Johnson, Ed Ford & Jan Marcason Hate Kansas City Voters?

They don't, of course, they're simply doing a good job of listening to and exploring all ideas by meeting with an engineer to talk about the feasibility of a subway in Kansas City. And, while I think the idea is a crazy one, I appreciate their effort in checking out the engineer's boring pipe dream.

I'll be curious, though, to see if they get accused of arrogance, conspiracy to oppose the will of Kansas City voters, and a secret agenda to keep light rail out of Kansas City for their effort. I hope not - like the Mayor, they are good public servants looking out for what is best for our city and region.



Anonymous Daily reader said...

Boring pipe dream?

Have you no shame? Unleashing a groaner like that at 6:10 in the morning?

After implanting "Tell me Lies" into my head (where it is still playing) the other morning?

Your blog needs a mental health warning.

12/07/2007 6:34 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Liar! Liar! Liar!

(just kidding)

On a serious note, to my knowledge all three of those individuals are on record supporting the starter line to be approved by voters this year.

I believe they're in favor of a starter line as the best start to what will eventually become a regional solution.

Makes sense for a lot of very good reasons.

If anybody is interested in those reasons I'd love to have a discussion on that.

12/07/2007 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony had it right the other day when he wrote that Marcason is capable of little more than making potato salad. Mark Forsythe or Mel Solomon would have done a better standing up to the anti-public transportation forces in this city. Ford and Johnson are just talkers and they are talking plans for public transportation to death.

12/07/2007 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Got the Right One said...

Mark's a hothead who can't handle criticism - have you visited his blog? He bans people and refuses to post negative commentary. I voted for him in the primary (along with 2 or 3 other voters), but now that I've seen how he is, I'm glad he got his ass kicked.

SOLOMON?! Are you kidding!? Mr. "I'm an Architect"? Worst candidate ever! Egotistical prick with worse political sense than our Mayor, and that's saying something!

Jan's a good person. She's doing a good job, and Tony's a douche. You know that's just a joke blog, don't you?

Mainstream - LIAR! The voter's aren't going to approve any further plans this year! Hah! I caught you in a lie! (Just kidding - I know what you meant . . .)

12/07/2007 10:52 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

"got the right one" -

lol, you may be kidding but you're right. There is a chance a sensible starter solution may get rejected, I think.

One aspect about that initial vote is that I think many people perceived it as free rail.

(additionally, some of thinking was -- what the hell, a few less busses for the brown folks won't hurt a thing....)

With a 1/2 cent or more tax on it, people may perceive it differently, especially if there is a competing proposal that's is preceived to cost less.

(alot can happen from now til November....)

12/07/2007 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Got the right one --

Not that I want to take over this area with comments about an election that is over, but I'll note two things about Forsythe:

1) He brings a lot of really good ideas for the betterment of Kansas City. Not all of them are great ideas, but many are, and I respect the guy for it.

2) He purposely has tried to control the negative comments on the blog because if you look around the bloggosphere (ehem Tony) you'll note that there is far too much negativity out there and far too little positive attitude.

Jan is fine as a city council person. She'll never bring any great ideas to the table, and is far too interested in being liked than moving the city forward. I don't dislike her, but there were better choices (and no, Architect Mel wasn't one of them).

12/07/2007 2:21 PM  
Anonymous A sister said...

Fear not.

Jan Marcason is on this project.

SO we will build a float with the coolest tissue paper and chicken wire decorations, including the Greek letters for "K" "C." Gloria can look up the letters because she has those books with the strange writing in them. People can ride in it and stuff. The Beta guys have a dune buggy thingy that can pull it.

I hope Funky likes it -- he is SO dreamy!

12/07/2007 7:07 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I just read this post in it's entirety, unfortunately I just read the first sentence this morning and missed that Dan has deliberately mis-construed my arguments.

Considering the hard feelings he evidently has, I'll excuse his petulant and misleading manner.

Exploring different alternatives is a very good thing, and exploring subways and regional systems is great. Funk is doing more than that.

He's doing something more than investigating; more than attending a one-hour meeting on subways; or reading a book.

Justa sec, and I'll explain.

12/07/2007 8:38 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Disclaimer: this is a much longer post than I thought, sorry about that. This post is not intended as a legal document; it is not intended for legal review or consumption; and may contain summary generalizations that you may not agree with; and is limited by the contemporaneous-reasoning capability of it’s author, which is limited.

I’ll repeat my central theme. Funk’s proposal and major direction (metro-area wide system, designed to be deployed all at once) is working against the stated will of the electorate (=deployment of Kansas City-only light rail in the short-term future) by actively pursuing a regional system as a substitute for a light rail starter line, the outcome of which, if he is successful, will almost certainly delay or completely destroy the short-term implementation of a Kansas city-only light rail starter route.

In Funk’s words we agree regional system is probably the right eventual outcome – we’re arguing about tactics. That’s true. But there are very important issues involved in deciding tactics here..

[Note that if Funk is not successful in developing a regional plan for a November ballot, he has stated he will support the approval and immediate implementation of a light rail start route. In this event, I don’t have any issues (at least at this particular second in time so you can ignore the rest of this comment.) Also, if any regional proposal that goes on the ballot in November stipulates the immediate deployment of a Kansas City –only starter line, I don’t have any issues either.]

This (1) goes against the stated will of the electorate; (2) runs counter many credible ideas of how to plan a regional mass transit system; and (3) simply isn’t achievable in the short-medium term for fairly obvious reasons.

Funk’s Initiative Goes Against the Will Of the Electorate If It Does Not Include A Minimum Starter-Line Deployment in Any Outcome.

The mandate city government received in 11/06 was to be a Kansas City-only light rail line, that was, upon further analysis, unworkable. The clear intent behind this ballot initiative was to implement light rail as soon as possible, and not wait for the metro-area wide solution. The reason I can conclude that is because that is exactly what the ballot initiative proposed, and what was approved.

The vast majority of the City Council documented why the approved initiative was unworkable, and the KC ATA Citizens Advisory Committee diligently developed a Kansas City only light rail plan, including a starter route, that was largely consistent with the intent of the approved ballot initiative. The vast majority of city council city council has supported this as this best way to act of the stated will of voters.

Funk is alone on city council in advocating the substitution of a regional plan.

Now, if Funk puts a regional plan on the ballot that does not include the immediate implementation of a Kansas City starter line, or a contingency for a such, and the ballot is defeated, what are we left with? I have to assume we’re left with no starter line.

If a regional plan is approved, we are far from guaranteed that a regional system will be implemented in any reasonable planning timeframe. There are multiple examples of huge delays, issues etc. that arise from regional planning efforts. The timing and availability Federal funding, and the success of joint regional KS/MO planning, and the dynamics of Republicans (and Dems)acting in both state houses make for a dizzying array of chaos and uncertainty.

This uncertainty can be managed much better if you don’t try and do everything at once, especially given the demographic, development and mobility characteristics of our metro area. But more on that later.

So, a regional plan means a near-term, fundable, starter line is simply out of the question; a regional plan is at least five times as expensive; involves the joint approval of multiple cities; and the routes are unknown – we have two totally different projects.

For these reasons (I’ve only briefly summarized) supporting the substitution of a regional plan:

o goes against the stated will of the voters
o and I would characterize it as a bold statement by our mayor to our voter-residents saying “I know better than you.”.

Again, Funk should try his best to gain metro-wide support, and I thnak him for it, but don't let it get in the way of what the voters asked him to do.

This isn’t an exploratory effort. This isn’t attending meetings on possible alternatives. This is a direction that it at odds with the fundamental objectives of the voters and runs against the will of a vast majority of city council members.

People voted to side-step the metro-area buy in to get light ail started sooner ratherthan later in Kansas City.

There Are Better Alternatives Than A Build-It-All-At-Once Approach

The problem with light rail is that once it’s built, ya can’t move it., Buses can be re-routed. Rail lines cannot. If we think we know how things are going to look in 15-20 years, that’s one thing. But we don’t. It was originally intentioned the I29 corridor going north to the airport. That was supposed to be what Overland Park is now.

Further, if the KC area was as dense and developed over time like Chicago, Pittsburgh, LA, NY, Boston, it would be easier to plan ahead and comprehensively. However, KC is very dispersed as was designed (courtesy of JC Nichols) as a suburban city. Our traffic patterns and densities don’t give us a set of routes that comprise a $4.5B no-brainer.

Iterative, gradual deployment (learn & build, then learn and build again, etc) seems to make common sense given the unknowns.

Let’s also add to that the $4.5B sewer problem we have to start paying for, and a gradual approach to an eventual regional system makes even more sense.

A Regional System Won’t Get The Votes

More people may recognize and believe climate change is happening, but they are going to have to be inconvenienced a heckuva lot more to dramatically alter their lifestyles. People generally don’t think long term when they’re not incredibly inconvenienced.

Let’s take the avg JoCo family living on a cul-de-sac with three (or more) kids, a minivan and an SUV. Are they going to seriously consider mass transit? Actually using it? And even if they don’t use it, will they pay for it because it’s the right thing to do?

Add to that the passive-aggressive racism of not wanting to subsidize mass transit for poor and brown folk.

(I understand that mind set, and it's not a bad mindset, it's just different).

Gas is going to have to go above $6 a gallon and the ice caps are going to have to all but disappear for most regular folks to alter their lifestyle (or consider paying for the concept of light rail/regional mass transit) for them to vote and get a picture of what’s in store for the longer term.

12/07/2007 9:06 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

You actually made me laugh. Thank you.

"I’ll repeat my central theme." Indeed. Again and again and again.

How do you know that the "KC only" aspect of the Chastain plan was any more central to what was passed than the gondolas? The real truth is that almost every voter I talked to who voted in favor of it said they meant it as a symbol that they want mass transit.

I'd write more, but, really, what's the point? You're convinced that Mark is the great Satan opposing what you have divined as the will of the people. Whatever. You're getting kind of boring.

12/07/2007 9:29 PM  
Anonymous You Don't Know Me, Mainstream! said...

Mainstream is a sack of shit who thinks he knows what I voted for. He doesn't know what he's talking about. I voted for the Chastain plan because I wanted light rail. I think a regional plan is a hell of a lot better than some stupid tourist line down Main, with a token spur to the east.

The Chastain plan is dead. Finished. It was a joke. So get over it, and quit acting like you know what it was meant to say.

We voted for a fraud, and we all know it. Or, we voted for the Chastain plan, and anything other than the specific plan we voted for is a fraud.

12/07/2007 9:47 PM  
Blogger thepaintman said...

What was the purpose of the 33 Citizen Task Force people for lightrail?

I don't see the difference from what they propose, then from what was proposed by the city planners 12 years ago.

The city brings in already hand picked persons for the Task Force to do what the city leaders wanted 12 years ago.
Do we really need lighrail? NO. Not enough density per square mile .
Do they care ? NO . Its alot of money for certain people getting involved.
Most people who were hand picked for the Task Force live in Brookside and most of them who live in Brookside works downtown.
Who will lightrail provide to?
Who should it appeal to?
Colleges, Tourists, other cities, hotels, airport, city tourist sites,

Why won't the planners run it down Troost? Take a guess why, Its not hard to know why. Take a drive down Troost then you will know.

Does it help minorities?
Well, you have the mexicans on the Westside and the blacks on the Eastside. Lightrail is running in between them. So really. It doesn't. Unless they walk to Main Street.

Will they run it east and west?
Only if lightrail is a success but even if it is, don't count on it.
Kansas City is finding out that development is not working well on 63rd street or near minority communities. It's a big gamble and most developers won't.

12/08/2007 1:07 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

The mandate city government received in 11/06 was to be a Kansas City-only light rail line, that was, upon further analysis, unworkable.

Was it really "upon further analysis"? I recall knowing it was unworkable prior to election day. I think the Chastain plan was approved by voters because the powers that be didn't take it seriously and didn't put sufficient energy into explaining to voters the flaws with the plan. They figured the Chastain name was enough to kill the plan and treated the entire thing like a joke. In the past, I have voted for light rail plans as a generic "yah! public transportation!" vote, but I voted "no" on this one. When it passed, my assumption was that the margin of victory was provided by low information voters who were turned out as part of the Senate campaign and were making a "yah! public transportation!" vote.

I agree with mainstream that a KC starter line is the way to go. But I've got to agree with Dan that, as silly as it sounds, if you're going to make a strict "respect the will of the voters" argument you can't assume the voters were more attached to the KC starter line concept than they were to the gondolas.

12/08/2007 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do any light rail supports use the current public transportation system?

12/08/2007 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...


I support light rail, and sometimes use the max line for special events like going to the Sprint Center, Plaza Lighting, etc. I've also used it on several big occassions for my ride home from 75th Street Brewery. I'm not a regular rider of the bus system, frankly because it's not all that convienient for me (I don't live near any major routes and have to make transfers which is pretty annoying for someone living so close to downtown). Plus it seems like the Max gets rerouted for so many major events. But I do find it a great way to travel when I don't want to be driving.

12/09/2007 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed Ford along with the rest of the council has done everything possible to undermine the non-smoking ban. And this is something I will remember,with hopes to oust him at election time, along with the rest of this council. They spend more time arguing and only concerned with their own agendas. As far as lite rail goes, there will not be enough ridership to support it. If people really wanted Mass transit system like light rail you would not see so many cars during Rush Hour with just one person in them, and buses would be fuller. People aren't going to be inconvienced by not having access to their cars. And finally a survey has been done which supports that. Light rail in K.C. is a mistake it will just be another white elephant that this City will build if it goes forward.

1/26/2008 9:05 AM  

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