Kansas City, MO – Mayor Mark Funkhouser came out on the losing side of two significant council votes yesterday.
The first defeat for the mayor was the override of his veto of the council's renewing the appointment of the chairman of the Port Authority, which the mayor has said needs more of an "international flavor."
Then the mayor voted with the four Northland council members on a move to send a charter amendment to voters that could delay redrawing council district boundaries if the council deadlocks on the issue.
Kansas City, MO – A blue ribbon panel has started hearings toward redrawing Kansas City Council boundaries without stepping on voting rights of minority groups. This afternoon it was told the weight of its responsibility.
The city is required by charter to redraw the lines before next March's election.
Kansas City, MO – Kansas City, Missouri will proceed with plans to put the public safety sales tax up for renewal in November. But the city won't change its redistricting plans despite pressure from civil rights leaders.
The city council has voted to send voters a buildings and equipment only plan for the quarter-cent sales tax if they approve its extension. The project list includes two new police stations, a new CSI lab, and replacements for aging helicopters.
Kansas City, MO – The newly appointed panel charged with recommending a redistricting plan for Kansas City, Missouri held a lengthy first meeting yesterday, but it's possible the real decision making won't start until April.
The city charter mandates that redistricting be in place by the March election, but that would require a second effort after new census data is released, probably in April.
St. Louis, MO – A short video featuring an interview with Missouri Democratic Senate nominee Robin Carnahan combined with a photo of World Trade Center rubble has been removed from Republican Roy Blunt's YouTube site. The clip contains a radio interview, in which Carnahan says she would not try to tell New Yorkers whether or not a mosque should be built near the site of the 9-11 attack. When St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin asked Blunt about the video, Blunt objected to the question:
Topkea, KS – Advocates for the elderly and disabled lined up today before a legislative committee to spell out how budget cuts have affected state services. The Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services heard the testimony at the Statehouse.
For six months this year, a 10% cut in the amount paid to Medicaid service providers caused some reductions in services and waiting lists to swell. That's according to Don Jordan, Secretary of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
Kansas City, MO – Mayor Mark Funkhouser says: "We're going to war on the e-tax."
Kansas City filed suit late Friday, challenging the constitutionality of the ballot measure that would force a vote on the city's earnings tax every five years and prohibit other Missouri cities from taxing incomes.
The suit says the initiative violates the state's single-subject rule, fails to make necessary distinctions between personal and business versions of the tax and mandates elections without funding them... an unfunded mandate.
Kansas City, MO – With the November ballot deadline looming and the public safety sales tax due to expire, the Kansas City city council is still divided on exactly what to put before the voters.
Some council members want to go with the plan presented by the police board and Chief Jim Corwin: keep things the way they are and dedicate the tax renewal to new police stations, a crime lab and replacing Vietnam War era helicopters.
Steve Kraske talks with our Political Pundits, The Kansas City Star's Dave Helling and KMBC's Micheal Mahoney, about where the candidates are positioned after the primaries and what can be expected in the general elections.
In the race to replace retiring Missouri Senator Kit Bond, Roy Blunt, a congressman from southwest Missouri, won a nine-way Republican Senate primary over tea party contender Chuck Purgason. Blunt had 71 percent of the vote to Purgason's 13 percent. But Purgason says the race was worth the effort.
Kansas State Rep. Kevin Yoder of Overland Park won the Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional District. That covers all of Johnson and Wyandotte counties and the eastern portion of Douglas County, including parts of Lawrence.
Yoder, the House Appropriation Committee chairman, defeated eight other Republicans yesterday. His closest challenger was former state House member Patricia Lightner of Olathe.
A law professor who helped draft Arizona's new immigration statute won the Republican primary for Kansas secretary of state.
Kris Kobach defeated two other GOP candidates Tuesday- Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth Ensley of Topeka and former chief executive officer of the National Association of Government Contractors J.R. Claeys of Salina.
Kobach had linked illegal immigration to voter fraud. Because of his immigration work critics question whether he will be a full-time secretary of state.
With most of the votes counted, Kansas Congressman Jerry Moran had just shy of 50 percent to overcome Representative Todd Tiahrt's 45 percent. Two minor candidates split the rest.
"I'm honored by your enthusiasm," said Moran. "Let's take this enthusiasm and take it to November and restore America."
Only a few thousand votes separated the candidates at the end. Moran goes into November facing Democratic primary winner Lisa Johnston who is a dean at Baker University. Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932.
A measure which could lead to the elimination of earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City will be on the November ballot.
The measure was one of two certified Tuesday by the Missouri Secretary of State. If it's approved in November, voters in St. Louis and Kansas City would decide in November 2011 whether or not to keep their city's earnings tax, which make up a sizable portion of the budget in each city. The measure also prevents other cities from implementing an earnings tax in the future.
Jackson County voters will decide whether to approve revisions to the county charter on Tuesday's primary ballot. The amended charter was developed by a task force chaired by former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes.
Primaries for the Jackson County Legislature don't usually draw enough much money or attention to even run ads. But no Republicans are running this year for the at-large seats, so those races will be decided by voters on Tuesday, August 3, and the races have become pretty contentious.
The candidates hear this question a lot: "So . . .what does the Jackson County Legislature do, exactly . . . besides collect property taxes?"
The 3rd Congressional District in Kansas will be among the most closely watched races in the country this election season. Incumbent Dennis Moore is retiring after six terms, and his wife is among two Democrats vying to replace him in Washington.
Nine Republicans and one libertarian will be on the ballot as well.
It's a year in which Republicans are hoping they will be able to win back a seat in a district they feel has been rightfully theirs for a long time.
Kansas City, MO – The papers and airwaves are filled with stories about a few big battles for hotly contested congressional seats or spots in the Senate. But how is a voter supposed to know what's on their local ballot? Or what exactly that county ballot issue is about? Or how two seemingly similar state house candidates of the same party line up on the issues?
Blue lights will now be illegal on motor vehicles in Kansas City, Missouri. Yes, blue lights.
There was a time when police cars, fire vehicles and ambulances were distinguished by their flashing red lights. But in recent years, emergency vehicles have started sporting blue warning lights or a combination of red and blue.
Kansas City, MO – Steve Kraske moderates a debate with candidates incumbent Chair Annabeth Surbaugh, current 4th District Commissioner Ed Eilert, former 2nd District Commissioner John Segale and former 6th District Commissioner John Toplikar.
In the Republican primary for Kansas Board of Education, an advocate of teaching creationism in science classes, John Bacon, faces a challenger Dennis George, in the district that includes southern Johnson County, and points south. No Democrats have filed for the general election, so the primary will determine the winner.