Friday, November 15, 2019
SHOCK!!! COUNCIL LADY KATHERYN SHIELDS OVERPOWERS KANSAS CITY MAYOR QUINTON LUCAS ON SHADY DEAL FOR STRATA CORPORATE WELFARE!!!
The showdown over Downtown Kansas City corporate welfare reached the tipping point this week and reveals a scary faction developing bewixt the council.
To wit and because Mayor Q is just one vote out of thirteen . . .
IS COUNCIL LADY KATHERYN SHIELDS THE NEW MAYOR OF KANSAS CITY AFTER WINNING ON THE DIRTY STRATA DEAL?!?
Just to keep everybody on the same page, here's the highlight recap pulled/quoted from a few difference sources . . .
"The $133 million tower, called Strata, will be built atop existing retail on the southwest corner of 13th and Main streets. Its developers, Jon Copaken, Ron Jury and H&R Block are building it speculatively, meaning they’ll build it without first securing a tenant . . .
"Under the agreement council members passed Thursday, the city will guarantee $36 million in debt on a 750-space garage for the 250,000 square-foot building. Developers dropped a request that the city also guarantee $27 million in debt on the tower itself in exchange for a stake in the revenues generated off of tenants’ rent payments.
"The updated deal cuts out a $27 million investment in city money that would have given the city a 28% revenue stake in the project. However, the city still would be a financial backstop for a $36 million parking garage, but it wouldn’t put any upfront money into the deal."
Translation: Once again Kansas City is on the hook if anything goes wrong and basically serves as developer collateral.
Behind the scenes, we noted that 4th District At-large Council Lady Shields told developers to go back the drawing board after an EPIC ask and they mostly seemed to be working with her to get this deal finished.
And here's the part that just about everybody wants buried:
The council voted 7-4 in favor of the ordinance. Council members Heather Hall, Kevin O’Neill, Dan Fowler, Katheryn Shields, Eric Bunch, Ryana Parks-Shaw and Kevin McManus offered their support.
Mayor Quinton Lucas and council-members Brandon Ellington, Melissa Robinson and Teresa Loar voted no. Councilwoman Andrea Bough recused herself because of a potential conflict of interest, and Councilman Lee Barnes was absent.
Further reading . . .
KCUR: 25-Story Office Tower Gets Green Light From Kansas City Council After Contentious Hearing
KC Biz Journal: Strata gets green light from City Council after contentious hearing
There's only one bright spot here . . .
Second District Councilwoman Teresa Loar put the situation in the perfect perspective during the debate:
"We argued for an hour and a half in my committee yesterday trying to find $8 million for free bus fares," she said. "We have a housing problem in this city, where we don't have affordable housing. Children don't have coats in this kind of weather," she said.
"We have so many problems, we have potholes we need police officers on the streets, we need firefighters. And yet, we're putting $36 million in another development (in) Downtown. Who is going to benefit from that? I tell you what, I am tired of this, I am tired of greedy developers getting all of the money from this city and the poor folks getting the short end of the stick."
Sadly, that's exactly what happened.
However . . .
Going forward, the aftermath of this vote has greater implications than cowtown luxury office space and parking spaces that most broke-ass voters will never get to utilize.
This vote demonstrated Mayor Q isn't going to have an easy time putting together 7 votes on tough big money issues. Moreover, Council Lady Shields and her coalition are far more "biz friendly" with taxpayer cash.
Council Lady Heather Hall and Eric Bunch look like the swing votes they don't seem to mind handing over more freebie cash to big biz.
Meanwhile, whilst Mayor Quinton Lucas earned impressive victories on gun control and conversion therapy culture war issues this week . . . As usual, as always, the real fight and the only fight that matters is where City Hall puts taxpayer money . . . This time around the placement of cash follows a familiar pattern and helps to put more money into the pockets of developers.
You decide . . .