After nearly two years of trying, anti-nuke activists finally succeeded Thursday in getting a measure before voters, hoping to restrict Kansas City’s involvement in future construction of any plant manufacturing parts for nuclear weapons.
The measure, sponsored by the group Peace Planters, will be on the April 2 ballot, the Kansas City Council decided reluctantly.
“We are delighted,” group spokesman Rachel MacNair said immediately after the council set the date during Thursday’s regular meeting.
It was only last week, the deadline for putting measures on the November ballot, that the council refused the group’s request.
That sparked threats of a lawsuit because the group had gathered sufficient signatures required by law for putting initiatives up for a vote. Rather than fight it out in court, the council changed its stance.
“We were mad at first,” MacNair said, “thinking, ‘Haven’t we had enough delay already?’”
But after two previous failed attempts, the group was elated to achieve the goal it set two years ago in an unsuccessful attempt to halt construction of the new federal weapons plant replacing the one on Bannister Road.
If passed, the measure before voters would forbid the city in the future from subsidizing “facilities that produce or procure components for, assemble or refurbish nuclear weapons.”
By a vote of 11-2, council members let it be known that they were putting the measure on the ballot only because the city charter forced it to. The ordinance setting the date stated that passing the referendum would be a job killer and discourage defense contractors from doing business in the city.
However, since none of that will be in the ballot language, MacNair was unperturbed.