Austin Alonzo, of the Kansas City Business Journal, recently reported that Kansas City Mayor Sly James argued that a door-to-door public outreach effort that Burns & McDonnell will conduct is necessary to meet federal guidelines:
On Monday, Mayor Sly James said the work being performed by Kansas City’s Parson & Associates LLC and Scott Hall & Associates will help the city fulfill a federal requirement to incorporate an environmental assessment into the expansion routes so the city is eligible to receive federal funding.
“If this assessment is not completed, then the city will have no opportunity to receive federal funding,” James said in the statement.
The effort is the subject of an ethics complaint that opponents to the streetcar sales and property taxes have filed, claiming it is electioneering. Alonzo followed up with the federal agency awarding the grants and found there is no such requirement.
No federal mandate requires Kansas City or its contractors to hold door-to-door meetings before part of the city votes on a proposed extension of the streetcar project, according to the Federal Transit Administration.
This is not the first time the mayor and Kansas City officials have been caught trying to blame federal regulators for forcing the city to adopt questionable policies. Steve Vockrodt, at The Pitch, just penned a piece pointing out that the EPA has never cited the Kansas City airport for environmental shortcomings:
City officials distributed a fact sheet in April 2013 that said KCI couldn’t meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for capturing de-icing runoff.
“The current terminal infrastructure does not allow the airport to meet the EPA’s new standards for capturing deicing fluids, which require capturing about 30 percent of the run-off,” the fact sheet reads. “The new single terminal will capture nearly 100 percent of the runoff and resolve Environmental Protection Agency issues the airport is currently facing.”
But there is no such EPA guideline.
Two EPA officials contacted by The Pitch could not identify any published guidelines that call for the capture of 30 percent of de-icing fluids.
And let us not forget the recently ended bid for the GOP convention, in which Mayor James argued that it was necessary to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, in secret, just to keep up.
The Show-Me State’s Harry Truman once famously quipped, “The buck stops here.” But in Kansas City, Mayor James and Kansas City government officials point the finger elsewhere and the bucks don’t stop at all.