The Committee for Research, Treatments and Cures must be getting used to rejection by now.
Tonight, the Citizens Association, a non-partisan, Kansas City political organization followed the lead of several other political and civic organizations and recommended that citizens vote against the proposed half-cent sales tax for “translational medical research.”
The Citizens Association is the fourth major organization to come out against the tax, which will be on the ballot throughout Jackson County on Nov. 5.
The others have been the local branch of the League of Women Voters, the local branch of the NAACP, and Freedom Inc., the powerful, east-side Democratic organization.
The Citizens Association has been in existence since 1934 and has long stood for progressive and honest government. The association was largely responsible for breaking the Pendergast organization’s stranglehold on city government.
The association usually limits its range to city activities, but it made an exception in this case. Association Chairman Dan Cofran came out against the tax proposal on this blog on Sept. 5.
Members of the board of directors said the board voted overwhelmingly to oppose the tax, which would extract $40 million to $50 million a year from the pockets of Jackson County residents.
A news release from the Citizens Association said:
While well intended and thoughtful, local sales taxes are regressive, are getting too high in our community, and in any event should be used carefully to provide services that only government can provide, for example, basic local government services.
In addition, the community would benefit from having more time to consider this relatively complicated proposal.
Proponents of the tax — primarily the biggest business and law-firm leaders — dropped the tax proposal on the Jackson County Legislature three weeks before the deadline for the legislature to put a measure on the Nov. 5 ballot. After being heavily lobbied by the monied set, the legislature voted 7-2 to put Question 1 on the ballot.
…Before making its decision Tuesday night, the Citizens’ board heard from representatives of both sides of the issue.
Representing the Committee for Research, Treatments and Cures were former Chamber of Commerce President Pete Levi and Dr. Wayne O. Carter, president of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, which is a driving force behind the proposed Translational Medicine Institute of Jackson County.
Representing the opponents were Linda Vogel Smith of the League of Women Voters, Marcus Leach of Citizens for Responsible Research and yours truly, treasurer of the Committee to Stop a Bad Cure.
The board members had many questions for the proponents but none for the opponents.
Although the Committee for Research, Treatments and Cures is losing the endorsement battle badly, it has, as noted above, at least $1.5 million to spend on its campaign. Most of that has been contributed by the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City (from organizational coffers), construction and engineering firms, lawyers and wealthy individuals.
The proponents’ campaign will rely primarily on TV advertising and full-color, four-page mailers to frequent voters. They also have hired the area’s best local political consultants, including Jeff Roe, Steve Glorioso, Pat Gray and Pat O’Neill.
We, the opponents, will rely on appearances before neighborhood organizations, limited TV ads, newspaper ads, billboards, yard signs and flyers.
Of note to some of you, The Kansas City Star held fast with its apparent new policy of not reporting major endorsements immediately after they happen. Reporter Mike Hendricks attended the meeting, but he did not write a news story for the kansascity.com website.
Last week, the paper didn’t bother to send a reporter to monitor the Freedom Inc. board meeting and, on Friday, it relegated the Freedom Inc. development to a throwaway paragraph in an otherwise unrelated political column. If you could find it, Yael Abouhalkah also wrote a column for the website’s “Opinion” section. Neither piece made a printed edition of the paper, as far as I could tell.
It’s too bad that Star readers, most of whom VOTE, are not getting these significant news developments in a timely manner and on readily observable website pages.
The paper is missing a chance to connect with its core readers, baby boomers and elderly people, many of whom have subscribed for years and rely on the paper to keep stay informed.
Oh, well…let’s hope those readers hear the political news by word of mouth.
You can see the same story on the Committee to Stop a Bad Cure website…http://stopabadcure.org