Government
11:53 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Chastain Presents 'Ultimatum'

Clay Chastain is threatening another Kansas City petition drive: this time one for a recall election.

Chastain says he's giving the city 60 days to schedule his light rail plan for a public vote or he will start circulating petitions to recall Mayor Sly James. The transit activist says it is time for political pressure on City Hall because he got enough petition signatures two years ago for a vote on his plan, but the city council waylaid it and passed plans for a two-mile streetcar line.

Chastain would have to collect 18,000 signatures from residents Kansas City, Missouri to successfully call a recall election.  Given the apparent popularity of the mayor, many at City Hall were skeptical about whether he could get that many.

Chastain dismissed questions about the likelihood with a comment: "I've never gotten that many signatures on a petition before, but on the other hand I'm at my best when challenged."

The city council maintains that it doesn't have to honor the initiative petitions Chastain submitted two years ago because his plan didn't include sufficient funding.  The activist has challenged that decision in court, and is currently appealing a ruling that the city council action did not violate the city charter.