Now that the push for a new single-terminal airport seems to be gaining momentum, the big question is when to put the $1 billion revenue-bond proposal (or maybe $999 million, just to avoid the “b” word) on a ballot.
In my last post on the subject, I said I thought this year would be too soon. The airlines are agitating for an August election, and I think that’s definitely too soon. A KC Star editorial last week — undoubtedly written by Yael Abouhalkah — said an August vote could make it appear that the city is trying to ram the issue down voters’ throats.
In need of keen insight on the matter, I turned to my longtime friend Steve Glorioso, who has been involved in local and national elections for nearly half a century. In an exchange of emails, Steve explained why the November general election offered the best option: “Younger voters could be the key to victory, and they vote in much greater numbers in November general elections, especially presidential ones. In August primaries, older voters are dominant.”
But…but, I replied, what about presidential elections attracting “a lot of uninformed voters, with their heads in the sand and who don’t want anything new”?
Steve pointed out the only Clay Chastain, light-rail plan that passed (but never came to fruition) was in a November general election. It wasn’t a presidential election, but it was the 2006, “off-year” general election.
“The under-35’s voted for it.” Steve said. “They just wanted light rail.”
…A letter in Saturday’s KC Star confirmed for me Steve was on the right track. Under the headline “Disgrace at KCI” was a letter from Don Hurlbert, a retiree who was city engineer during the construction of KCI in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I remember his name from when I covered City Hall from 1985-1995.
In his letter, Hurlbert, who has to be at least as old as I am — 70 –railed against a single terminal, saying the city could never replicate an airport as convenient as KCI.
“You can drive to a parking garage and walk under cover to your gate and depart or await arrivals with the most convenience. The facility was designed with that in mind. The idea that anyone could build one facility with the same convenience is asinine.”
Well, if we were going to follow Don’s reasoning, why would we have ever built the Truman Sports Complex?
We could have just held on to good ol’ Municipal Stadium and painted it from time to time. Remember? You could park right on the street and walk a block or so to the entrance and stroll right in. Now, of course, with the Royals and Chiefs so damned popular, you’ve gotta park way out in the farthest reaches of Lot F and walk a quarter- to a half-mile before waiting in a long line to put your cellphone and change in a plastic tub and then go through a metal detector.
Yeah, these modern times are hell, aren’t they? There are so many people everywhere. Big tie-ups on the highways. Waits to be seated in restaurants. And those checkout lines at Costco!
How will we muddle along?
Oh, I know, let’s let the young people lead the way; none of that stuff bothers them…I want them voting on the airport…In a way it’s too bad Bernie Sanders is sinking beneath the floor, arms waving wildly above his head. If he and the new airport proposal were on the ballot in November, the airport bonds would pass 2 to 1.