Hotel Opponents Say Issue is Growing
November 30, 2015

Opponents to the downtown convention hotel in Kansas City say the issue is growing.

“It has become a full-fledged attempt to dismantle the petition process and disregard or destroy the city charter,” wrote Dan Coffey of the Citizens for Responsible Government in a letter to supprters..

Coffey’s group got a letter late last week telling them the city would not place the hotel issue on the ballot. The city says it has been warned it could be violating agreements and pledges it has made if the hotel is delayed much longer.

The statement said it was sending the letter of rejection on to members of the City Council.

“We are sending a copy of the letter to city council members as it appears they were not included in the mailing,” it says

James Warns if ” Chilling Impact” if Hotel Deal Delayed by Vote
October 26, 2015

Kansas City Mayor Sly James says backing out of the current deal for a downtown convention hotel would have a “chilling impact” on future business deals in the city.

James made that comment as a Council committee voted 4-0 not to repeal convention hotel deals the city agreed to earlier this year.

A group of hotel deal critics have gathered enough signatures to force a city wide vote on the hotel project.

City Attorney Bill Geary, however says that hotel vote petition is not legal because it is trying to force the city to breach legal contracts it has signed with the developers.

“You do have the absolute right to push for legal vote. But you do not have the right to do it this way,” Geary told a Council committee.

Opponents were not surprised.

“About probably what we expected, Coffey said.
“But, you know, they’re going to push it,” he added.

Geary was asked what the city’s legal exposure might be if the city backed away from the deal it agreed to this city.

He said he figured it would be about $250,000 and no new hotel.

That’s when the mayor added it would have a long impact on future business deals.

The city has pledged about $40 million dollars to the project, estimated at around $311 million dollars.

The city says it included has strict limitation on its financial committment to the hotel project.

The Council has until November 30 to decide what to do with the petition calling for a city vote on the project.

Council Urged Not to Wait on Hotel Vote Petition
September 29, 2015

One of the organizers of the opposition to a downtown convention hotel says the City Council should speak out.
Dan Coffey of the group Concerned Citizens for Responsible Government says the City Council should not wait 60 days to respond to the group’s successful petition drive.
The call for a city-wide vote on the $310 million downtown convention hotel was certified as valid late last week.
The Council has 60 days, according to the City Charter, to respond.
“And we don’t want to wait 60 days. We think it needs to be brought to a head, it needs to be finalized,” Coffey said.
Coffey group sent a letter to City Council Members this week, urging them to “make the city respect the democratic right of the electorate”, for a vote on the plan.
In its final weeks, the previous Council held hearings and voted to approve the convention hotel project.
Under the terms of the deal, the city’s financial obligation is limited to $35 million dollars, as the cost of acquiring the land for the hotel.
The city already owns most of the property next to the city’s Convention Center, just south of the downtown loop.
Booster of the hotel project says the city needs the new 800-room facility to regain position in the convention hotel business and that contracts have already been signed.
“Contracts are contracts. They all have opt-out clauses in them. So we don’t see that as a major stumbling block,” said Coffey.
There was no comment today from Mayor Sly James’ office. He supports the hotel project.

“Electioneer Complaint Against city Dismissed
October 9, 2014

The Citizens for Responsible Government says it electioneering Compalint has been dismissed by the Missouri Ethics Commission.
The group filed the complaint after the city hired a consultant to sample opinions about a proposes street car extension.
Criticism say the door-to-door plan ahead of city elections on the issue smacked of improper campaigning by Mayor Sly James and members if the City Council.
The proposal to authorize an expansion if the taxing district for a street car line was bombed at the polls by voters in August.

Streetcar Opponent File Ethics Complaint Against City
June 23, 2014

Opponents to expanding the Kansas City streetcar lines have filed a complaint against the city with the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC)

The complaint accused Kansas City Mayor Sly James and the City Council of electioneering in the weeks leading up to the August 5 Missouri primary ballot and the local streetcar question.

The Mayor denies the charge in a Monday statement from his office.

In August, Kansas City voters will be asked whether or not to approve expanding the current streetcar district to include most of the city south of the river.

The complaint charges the city with spending $685,000 for an “outreach” program into neighborhoods where the streetcar line may head in the future.

Dan Coffey of the Citizens for responsible Government cited a June 15 letter to neighborhood leaders as his proof of the electioneering accusation.

The letter from Scott Hall and Associates, explains how they’re looking for neighborhood leaders to help find workers for the outreach project.

“It is our goal not to persuade bit to provide baseline information, collect and document feedback.

The letter says they’re looking for workers to help them in late June, July and October, the weekend leading up to two potential local street car elections. They are also asked if the people would be willing to wear clothing associated with the outreach effort. They would be offered $10 an hour with no benefits.

The statement from mayor Sly James’ office says the workers are being hired to assist with a program assessing the environmental impact of a streetcar line in areas where the lines may be built.

It is not known when the MEC will issue a determination on the complaint.