Garza Ruiz Drops Out of City Council Race
February 19, 2015

Former Jackson County Legislator Teresa Garza Ruiz dropped her bid for the City Council Thursday.
In a statement, she said she had “personal reasons” for the decision.
Because of her time on the Jackson County Legislature and connection with organized labor, she was considered a potent candidate for the city-wide race.
The Democrat , however, was dealing with campaign problems.
The Missouri Department of Revenue showed a tax lien against her of almost $5,000.
Candidates for City Council must be current in their taxes.
Her campaign was also facing charges that she was not a legally qualified to run for the council. She was accused of not meeting the two year residency requirement.
Garza Ruiz listed a Blue Springs address on campaign records with the Missouri Ethics Commission as recently as mid January, 2015.
Her husband, Geneo Ruiz took the blame for that. He said in an affidavit connected to a court case, he “failed” to update her address from Blue Springs to Kansas City on campaign finance reports with the state.
Garza Ruiz also had the Blue Springs address on a speeding ticket in Morgan County, Missouri. The ticket was issued after the two year residency requirement deadline.
To be eligible to run in this tear’s city election, a candidate must have a
Kansas City residence by April 7, 2013.
Garza Ruiz was being sued in Jackson County Circuit Court over the residency issue.
Garza Ruiz was scheduled to be despised in connection with a lawsuit over residency today.
There was to be a hearing next week.
Garza Ruiz could not be reached for comment.
In a statement, “It is my great desire to explore future options to be of service after I have resolved the personal issues that require my full focus at this time.”
One of her opponents in the At-Large 5th district council race is Lee Barnes. He filed the lawsuit challenging her residency.
He said voters deserved “transparency” in the council race.
The other candidate in the 5th District At-Large race is Dennis Anthony.
The Kansas City primary is April 7.

Brookside Out of Revised Street Car Extension Plan
March 26, 2014

The City Council of Kansas City starts considering expanding the new street car line, even before the first phase is built.
A set of citizens committee is endorsing three expansions of the young system and expansion the city’s bus rapid transit line ( BRT ).
The Main St. Line, which will run from the River Market area down toUnion Station, would be expanded to 51st & Volker near UMKC
One expanded route runs east on Independence Ave to Benton Blvd.
A third line would run from Main east to Prospect along Linwood Ave.
Early costs estimates indicate the extension of about 8 more lines of street car line would costs about $100 million in today’s dollars. Kansas City hopes the federal government would pick up half that cost.
The Main Street extension does not include the Brookside area. some residents from there fought the expansion. They said it would damage the Trolley Track Jogging Trial.
“It would corral the trail,” said opponent Mel Solomon.
A member of the Next Rail Committee, Vincent Gauthier, says Solomon’s group represented a “vocal minority”, of Brookside residents.
Gauthier says the line was not extended in Brookside for construction. Costs reasons, not neighborhood opposition.
The plan goes to the City Council this week.
If approved, there could be two more street car elections for some Kansas City, Missouri voters.
One, on August 5, to create another street car taxing district.
The “Transportation development District” would run from theMissouri River south to 85th street, and from State Line Ave to I-435.
To fund the the extended lines voters would have to approve a special assessment for property owners within one third mile of the new lines.
Voters in the area would also be asked in November to crease the local sales tax by one cent today for the construction and operation of the expanded street car system.

KC Rejects State Audit of Water Dept. , “What Are You Afraid Of?”, Asks Auditor
August 29, 2013

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schwiech is calling out Kansas City Mayor Sly James and the City Council.
He’s unhappy they are rejecting his bid to audit the Kansas City Water Department.
“What are you afraid of?,” Schwiech said in a statement from his office Thursday.
Schwiech he now hopes Governor Jay Nixon, or citizens of Kansas City push for the audit.
Schweich calls a state examination of the water department is “long overdue”.
Water rates in Kansas City have been rising steadily in the past few years.
The department says some of that is due to the fact the rates were kept too low in the past.
Another major reason is the federal government has ordered the city to spend over $2 billion to
modernize its sewer and storm run
off system over the next two decades.
Schweich’s statement say they have “heartbreaking” stores of poor and elderly Kansas Citians unable to pay their water bills, while corporations and other cities who use Kansas City water go months without paying their bills.
Schwiech he hopes Governor Nixon steps in.
His other alternative is a citizen imitative petition.
Schweich says getting the nearly 10,
500 valid signatures to force an audit would take “an inordinate amount of time to complete”.

OP Council Approves Open Carry for Weapons
September 25, 2012

Overland Park’s City Council decided Monday that it is OK for residents to walk down the street with a gun in plain view.
The city banned what is known as “open carry” of guns five years ago, making it against the city ordinance to carry a gun in a holster on a hip while walking on a sidewalk.
After a legal opinion from the Kansas attorney general, city leaders revisited the issue Monday and voted 11-1 to overturn the ban.
The new ordinance will not require gun carriers to have a permit, but the gun would have to be in a holster and any safety on the weapon must be engaged. Carriers would not be allowed to carry the gun into city-owned buildings.
Overland Park resident Michelle Dunham said she had mixed feelings about the issue.
“As a matter of respect to the right of a person to own a gun and carrying, clearly, I do support that,” she said. “But as a person would be walking next to people carrying guns out, yeah, that’s more concerning to me.”
She said she knows her young children would have a lot of questions if they saw people walking around openly carrying guns.
Sheila Weiford just opened up a shop in downtown Overland Park. She said that open carry isn’t a good fit for this part of town.
“We don’t need someone walking around toting a gun,” she said. “That’s not what we’re all about. It’s not the Dodge City days.”
Ed Henderson said he generally supported the idea.
“As long as it’s a responsible gun owner, I don’t see a problem with that. I’d rather have someone carry it on their open person than compared to concealed,” he said.
Overland Park isn’t the first city in Kansas to approve open carry. Wichita leaders approved a similar move in July.

KC Downtown Street Car Vote Later in 2012?
January 20, 2012

KC Star:
Kansas City’s best chance to get a downtown streetcar line in the next few years probably hinges on two unusual elections to be conducted by September.
The City Council set that process in motion Thursday to meet a deadline this summer for $25 million in crucial federal funding.
“Time is not a luxury,” Transportation Committee Chairman Russ Johnson said. “We need to have our game plan well figured out and being executed.”
The council called for creation of a special downtown taxing district. Putting streetcars on a fast track will depend on the willingness of registered voters living in that district — possibly just a few thousand people — to raise taxes on downtown residents and businesses.
Johnson said he got the message loud and clear Jan. 2 from federal officials in Washington that the city needs to speed up its local funding plans to meet requirements for a $25 million federal transportation grant this year. That federal money is considered essential for the city to be able to afford the streetcar system, estimated at $100 million.
If the city doesn’t put the local funding authority in place soon, Johnson said, it eliminates the chance to build streetcars by 2015 and probably pushes that back to 2017 at the earliest.
Mayor Sly James was in Washington Thursday and absent from the council meeting, but he praised the council’s vote in an emailed statement.
“We are closer than we have ever been to having a modern, efficient downtown streetcar line in Kansas City,” he said. “I honestly believe people are beginning to feel the momentum.”
Bill Dietrich, executive director of the Downtown Council, told council members Thursday that his organization is “very excited by the possibilities” of downtown streetcars. But he said his board also has concerns, including about the Port Authority’s involvement and the proposed tax increases.
The city had already been on an aggressive schedule since last fall when the council endorsed a 2.2-mile starter streetcar route running from the River Market to Crown Center, primarily along Main Street. Council members said Kansas City should finally get going on a realistic fixed transit system, and this is much more modest than the billion-dollar, sprawling light rail proposals that have repeatedly crashed.