April 12, 2017
Well, last week’s vote didn’t exactly go how the Newsdog had thought it would. We knew Question 3 was an easy pass, given the emotional pull of puppies and such. Question 5 was another easy pass, especially when voters are coaxed with unlimited Girl Scout cookies or Doritos. Questions 1, 2 and 4, however, left us scratching our little doggie head, especially given the lack of specifics and the almost total lack of projects from these issues slated for Northeast. The vote is what it is, however. The easy part is done and the real work of prioritizing projects is at hand. Time to step up and be recognized.
Looking at Question 3 specifically, this news canine is pleased that a new Animal Shelter is in the cards for the city. Using a 40-plus-year-old construction shed for a pet shelter might be the mastering of the re-purposing effort, but the time for a bigger and better space is at hand. Not named specifically in the laundry list of “public buildings” that made up the verbiage of Question 3 is the Kansas City Museum. This critically thinking news-dog had a chat with a higher-level city staffer over the weekend who indicated that the priority list was already getting overloaded, given no specific public buildings were named in Question 3. Tops on that staffers list was Starlight Theater, City Hall and a number of other, now city-owned buildings in the 18th and Vine area. Notice anything missing from that list? You guessed it, The Kansas City Museum.
This dog has been around the block a few times, and that was our primary fear given the lack of specificity in the measure. Being lumped in as just another bullet point in the growing list of “public buildings” means the Museum could very well be shut out of some of much needed funds high level city bureaucrats and elected officials pledged to the museum during the ramp up to the election. Time will tell. We still remember back in the mid 1990s when then Councilman Michael Hernandez skimmed off roughly $275,000 of Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) funds already dedicated to projects in the Scarritt neighborhood to fund one of his pet projects on the city’s West Side. When Mayor Pro Tem Sally Johnson called Hernandez on his chicanery during a council committee meeting, ol’ West Side Mike threw his gavel at Johnson, breaking a water pitcher in the process. Gotta love City Hall drama.
The time has come for the Museum Foundation, Parks and Rec staff and community stakeholders to step up and let the budget denizens at City Hall know that the Kansas City Museum should not be forgotten and should be at the forefront of prioritized and funded GO Bond projects named for “public buildings” in Question 3. The time is now. Time to step up.