KC Streetcar

Candidates file for streetcar expansion board. Most support KC streetcars but some don’t.

Nineteen candidates are running to serve on a seven-member board that could oversee streetcar expansion from downtown Kansas City to UMKC.
Nineteen candidates are running to serve on a seven-member board that could oversee streetcar expansion from downtown Kansas City to UMKC. Kansas City Star file photo

Nineteen candidates filed by Friday’s deadline to run for a new seven-member board overseeing possible streetcar expansion from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The unusual election will be held Saturday, Oct. 7.

It will be conducted at various polling locations for registered voters living within the streetcar district boundaries, from the Missouri River to 53rd Street and from State Line Road to Campbell Street.

Three directors would serve three-year terms. Two would serve two-year terms and two would serve one-year terms. All candidates must currently live within the district boundaries and have lived in Missouri for at least a year.

The candidate list includes seven streetcar supporters who plan to run as a slate: David Johnson and Jeff Krum, who serve on the current downtown streetcar authority; former city council members Cindy Circo and Jan Marcason; civic advocate Ruben Alonso and engineer Leonard Graham, who both live in the Union Hill neighborhood; and Crissy Dastrup, who lives in Midtown.

Members of this slate said they wanted to represent the broad geographic area encompassed by the streetcar boundaries.

Two potential candidates, Jared Campbell and Carl Struby, initially filed and then withdrew. Campbell, a downtown resident and former city council candidate, said he withdrew because he didn’t want his candidacy to dilute support for the slate of candidates.

But several people who oppose streetcar expansion are also running for the board. They include Greg Allen, a staunch critic of the difficult and cumbersome streetcar election process and the attempt to tax a relatively small segment of the city for the streetcar project.

Allen said he thought several streetcar opponents were running, but he was not aware of any organized slate of opponents.

The other candidates are Timothy Zook, Ted Derks, Tyler Watt, William Farrar, Linda Hart Tabory, Quinton Shaw, Timothy Jury, Brendan Waters, Jesse Whidden, Dane Mehringer and Steve McCandless.

This election is not being sponsored by the city of Kansas City. It’s being sponsored and paid for by a group of petitioners seeking the streetcar expansion.

The Oct. 7 election will be held from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shawn Kieffer, a Kansas City Election Board director, said election authorities are looking at up to six possible polling locations, to provide adequate access to all voters. Eligible voters will be notified of the locations ahead of time.

Once the board is selected, numerous hurdles remain to actually accomplishing streetcar expansion. The board must decide on proposed new property and sales taxes to help fund the expansion. Then voters within the streetcar district would have to vote again next year, in a mail-in election, to actually approve those taxes. Federal funds would also be needed to make the project a reality.

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley