Time to vote on things that matter close to home, Kansas City.  Now – let’s get down to business and talk about todays special election.  (Sample ballot here)

I’m agnostic on the whole smoking ban. There are places I would go, occasionally, that I don’t go now if they were smoke free. But nobody’s bar is going to float or fail on my business, since I am a pretty unreliable bar customer anyway. Sometimes I don’t set foot in one for weeks at a time. I’m kinda sick of “it’s all about me and I know what’s best” showing up on my frickin’ ballot on a regular basis. Knock off trying to legislate morality. As my mommy and daddy did the hard job of successful parenting while I was growing up, I don’t need the state to parent me now, thanks just the same.

I will probably actually decide when the ballot is in my hand, but I’m leaning “no.” Why should McCoy’s have to close their cigar room, but the casinos are exempt? What the hell? It’s like saying you can’t smoke and drink at the same time, unless you wanna make it a hat-trick of vice and gamble, too.

It is in my nature to be prone to bristling at paternalistic legislation. I can avoid smoke without telling Michelle Markowitz that she has to ban smoking at Davey’s.

My inner civil libertarian has no problem with regulating payday loan businesses, however.  They make enough money that they can pay a grand a year for a permit to operate and that money used to fund city inspections of the industry.  I saw on a public affairs broadcast that there is a stretch of road that had twenty payday loan businesses in less than two miles.  That’s just nuts.  That’s a lot of people operating in a sub-economy, but that’s a whole ‘nuther post unto itself.  I’m voting “yes” on Question 2.

Now – the biggie – the extension of the 3/8 cent existing bus tax. Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I’ll be taking the bus to the polling place, how the hell do you think I’m going to vote on this one? Sheesh. Have we met?

Listen folks, Clay Chastain is full of sh*t – I know, I know, stating the obvious. But seriously. I ride the bus, regularly.  I had a car wreck the same week gasoline hit three bucks a gallon for the first time ever in the wake of Katrina. Hybrids couldn’t just be purchased and driven off the lot back then, remember, and I got in the habit of riding the bus while I was waiting. I just never bothered getting out of that habit because where I live and where I go are as convenient as they could possibly be for me. If I never drive downtown again, it will be too soon. Anyway, the people who say that no one rides the bas are either clueless or lying. I see more full and SRO buses every day.

More and more people are parking their cars and riding the bus because they can’t afford to drive like they used to, and other people are making changes to their lifestyle because they are concerned about the environment and climate change.

We need to expand our buses and put another Max line down Troost. We sure as hell don’t need to tie our bus system to light rail at this stage, when we are seven years from turning dirt and ten years from the first passenger on light rail. If we were closer to fruition in light rail efforts, it might make sense to tie them together. Right now, no. The bus is what we have, it’s doing a good job, and we can make it better.

Now, get out and vote KC – the local stuff impacts your life directly. Think about that, and go do your duty, Citizens.