Thursday, March 06, 2014


Tonight we're blessed with a very insightful bit of testimony from Kansas City's most dedicated transit activist.

To wit . . .


Again, we need to remind readers that Clay Chastain is the only man who has won a citywide transit election AND he has collected more voter petitions that almost anybody in Kansas City.

Here he is offering details of his effort and a great deal of transparency which neither Mayor nor City Council are willing to do with their toy train streetcar ambitions.

Check it:


Kansas City's future awaits direction on the impending course of events concerning two major issues the city has been trying to manipulate:

#1. Will the city's out-dated and under performing transit system be modernized around an expanded downtown streetcar system, or around a
city-wide, multimodal light rail-based transit system?

#2. Will the city's out-dated and inefficient airport be revamped, or completely replaced by a state of the art new single terminal that could also have a new light rail train system designed into it?

Event #1:

The city is making plans to place their expanded streetcar proposal on the August ballot, while continuing to bottle up in court a competing light rail initiative supported by nearly 5,000 registered voters.

Even though the Missouri Supreme Court recently rejected (7-0) the city's preposterous claim the initiative was unconstitutional; and even though case law says, "Initiatives shall be liberally construed to effectuate their purpose;" the city is now trying to exploit a so-called technical glitch in the initiative's ordinance language as their new excuse to continue litigation and not to let the people vote unless ordered to do so by the courts.

The city's assault on the initiative process is to democracy what a chainsaw is to the Amazon rain forest. The initiative is the bugle that sounds to rouse the citizenry that something is amiss in Denmark.

Nevertheless, what rattles the world is when those who are given no chance, wind up winning.

We aim to do so in the court of law because our cause is just, and in the court of public opinion because the light rail initiative is superior to the city's streetcar plan.

Here is a brief review of the city's streetcar plan and its major design flaws:

$600 million, 12-mile maze of streetcars operating in the central city primarily financed by a one-cent sales tax (south of the river) and matching federal funds.

Flaw #1. If the streetcar expansion plan is rejected by voters, presumably the city would still have to build a stand-alone, isolated 2.2 mile Frou Frou streetcar line that was previously approved by a mere 300 voters! $125 million down the drain!

Flaw #2. This one-trick pony transit system will not serve the airport, the outskirts of the city, or even the northland where half the city's population resides and where the city is growing!

Flaw #3. Councilman Russ Johnson even admitted the astounding fact that this transit system is not about moving people but mostly about generating downtown economic development!

Flaw#4. It is unlikely to secure federal matching funds for all the above reasons.

By contrast, here is a re-cap of the light rail initiative that has none of those major flaws:

$1.6 billion, city-wide, multimodal rail system that uses the north wing of Union Station as a regional transportation hub and includes the following interconnected transit modes to insure high ridership, broad urban renewal, and extensive economic development around the rail lines:

1. A straight line light rail train system from south Kansas City to KCI.

2. A commuter rail line from Union Station to southeast Kansas City.

3. An eastside streetcar line from Union Station to the Kansas City Zoo.

4. A new bikeway network and fleet of small electric shuttle buses to expand the service area around the rail lines.

The initiative is projected to raise $1.2 billion from a city-wide sales tax over 25 years, and to secure $800 million from Washington
(50% of $1.6 billion) for a total of $2.0 billion. This leaves a projected $400 surplus for financing charges.

The O&M costs would be covered by private developer fees, user fees, and other contributions.

The cost estimates were derived from the light rail system in Charlotte; the streetcar system in Portland, and Mike Sanders' own estimates for the Grandview commuter rail line in Kansas City.

And unlike the city's streetcar vision, the light rail initiative follows the recommendations of former Mayor Barnes' Final Focus Transit Report (2001) that recommended light rail as the preferred mode of transit around which to build a new transit system in Kansas City!!

Event #2.

The city's manipulation of the airport controversy prompted another initiative petition drive to make sure the voters would have a say.

Nevertheless, I happen to agree with Mayor James and the establishment that see the long term benefits of building a new single terminal to
replace our present concrete behemouth. Especially, if we designed into it a new light rail train system that would save hundreds of
millions of dollars from not having to scab light rail into the airport's current sprawling configuration.

Think of this dynamic presentation of our city:

Welcome to Kansas City and the best new airport in America with convenient light rail train service to the Northland, Downtown, Union
Station, the Plaza, and points beyond.

Kansas City has a glowing future ahead of it if only its manipulative government will start behaving itself, stop repressing alternative
ideas, and in the name of God...let the people vote on their valid light rail initiative.

Clay Chastain


Anonymous said...

Sly and the star won't let Clay's plan get a fair shake in front of the voters. Sad situation in KCMO.

Anonymous said...

Clay needs to hang in there and the line should be named after him. the cities plan is just another dark hole to pump money into.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of rail-based transit as I think it is built for all the wrong reasons. There are real reasons for increasing the transit footprint in Kansas City but a streetcar won't serve the needs behind those reasons.

Chastain's plan was deep sixed several years ago for the simple reason that the right people weren't going to benefit financially. If you want to understand why the sudden turnaround on this issue has occurred, you need to follow the money.

Nemo said...

I don't agree with all of Clay's plan but can't believe that KCMO can just dismiss voters like that.

Anonymous said...

Tony, thanks for giving space so that Mr. Chastain can be heard, a very valuable resource for our community.

Anonymous said...

In a little mid-west town that is currently in the process of laying off code enforcement employees due to budget shortfalls, NEITHER of these rail plans makes any financial sense.
KCMO just lurches from one grandiose scheme tot he next, maintains little that is built, and digs itself deeper and deeper in debt.
And Sly's the most irresponsible cheerleader to come along in a very long time.

KC Critique said...

Next stop = Detroit!

Anonymous said...

Clay Chastain is a hero. Thanks, Clay!

Anonymous said...

9:03 PM You forgot fattest and ugliest.

Anonymous said...

Clay doesn't like women. Everytime I have met him he makes comments about female voters. He is a big hater of women.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how much the anti-rail people pay Clay to stay in the fight. The dude does more to keep rail from being built than anyone.

Anonymous said...

OMG....we dont have the money right now for EITHER of them. Fix the sewers and the water mains, tougher on crime, and fix the broken schools.

THEN worry about the airport and street car, toy train, whatever. Good grief.

KC VOTER said...

The only thing I like about the plan is that Clay will give details. All the electeds just want a blank check.

Anonymous said...

10:52: Even if true, that would be relevant because...?

Anonymous said...

"Clay doesn't like women."

As Quentin Crisp said, "Does anyone really like women?" Hell, in my experience even other women don't like women. Get over it, dear.

Anonymous said...

How many times have Chastain's ever-changing "plans" actually gone to the voters?

How many times have the voters rejected those plans?

How many times has Chastain vowed to leave KC never to return after getting his ass kicked at the polls?

Why doesn't he do it? Because this is the only spot on the planet where Chastain got his 15 minutes of fame. And when that ran out, he cries like a baby that he can't get another 15 minutes, long distance from Virginia.

And let's be clear about what "democracy" means to Clay Chastain. To him it means only, "Clay Chastain gets his way, all the time."

Anonymous said...

Election Results
Kansas City Mayor
March 2, 1999

Kay Barnes, 15,202, 28.7 percent
George Blackwood, 13,065, 24.7 percent.
Janice Ellis, 11,206, 21.2 percent
Jim Glover, 8,310, 15.7 percent
CLAY CHASTAIN, 3,496, 6.6 percent.
Edward "Gomer" Moody, 1,684, 3.2 percent.

Well, at least he beat Gomer. But 93.4 percent of primary voters wanted someone other than Chastain for mayor.

Anonymous said...

How many times did voters pass one of Chastain's referenda? Once

How many times has the new streetcar proposal (including the downtown starter line) passed a city-wide vote? Ummmmm. None.

Anonymous said...

Means that it is getting to be spring when the Clayman shows up crying and moaning. He has passed his time, looks like it is almost rocking chair time for him.
Great memories he will have at the care home --of standing outside a grocery store.
All in all it is real sad when a human being imprints material that combines to become a loop that replays and replays and they can't seem to get anything else to work.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of like the Star. Both are becoming irrelevant. Sad.