The Kansas City, Kan., Chamber of Commerce holds its annual meeting today and plans to celebrate one of its newest neighbors — the casino by the racetrack. As you might imagine, KCK is quite proud of its growth, having long lived in Kansas City, Missouri’s shadow.
At the same time, the community seems realistic about its ongoing challenges. Taxes for many residents are still too high, and not everyone has prospered from the impressive development out west. Johnson County’s “theft” of its downtown EPA headquarters still rankles.
But if you really want to get KCK and Wyandotte County boosters going, mention Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal’s bizarre plan to split their community away from the 3rd Congressional District and lump most of it into the Big 1st District, along with Dodge City and Great Bend.
How large would the Extremely Big 1st be? Imagine a district stretching from KCK to Little Rock. The Arkansas capital is actually closer to Wyandotte County than Goodland, Kan.
The KCK Chamber is backing an online petition opposed to the O’Neal map as “unfair to the electorate,” and it doesn’t seem very popular outside O’Neal’s office.
If his map was an aberration we might laugh at its audacity. Strangely, though, we’re living through a season of atrocious legislative maps.
U.S. Rep. Sam Graves’ 6th Congressional District now stretches from the Missouri River to the Mississippi, but it includes a slice of Jackson County that’s called — no kidding — a “tear drop.” Democratic U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver signed off on the map because it trades the Republican-heavy tear drop for a district that stretches into Democratic-friendly precincts in central Missouri.
The state’s judiciary is not amused. It may reject the map.
State legislative districts are riotously weird, too. A panel just redrew and renumbered Missouri state Senate districts, putting Kansas City state Sen. Jolie Justus into a district east of Columbia. Meanwhile state Sen. Jane Cunningham of suburban St. Louis filed for re-election Tuesday in the 7th District — which may end up covering southern and westernJackson County
It’s as if the political class is trying to look absurd:
Voters:Don’t be so hard on yourselves. You figure out how to pay for schools and police and roads
Politicians:No, we’re boneheads. Take a look at this new map
There are probably systemic ways to reduce this bipartisan foolishness. Kansas City, which just fought twice overits
maps, would be a much different place if its council districts crossed Troost Avenue instead of essentially running parallel to it.
But sometimes the real solution is common sense, which should tell you KCK shouldn’t share its congressperson with the folks in Liberal.