Aviation Department Withholds Information from the Star
On September 11, The Kansas City Star Editorial Board called on the Aviation Department to end the practice of issuing free parking passes to local officials and a few others. The piece is worth reading in its entirety, and it includes this recommendation:
City officials should pull the plug on a little-known perk that allows [Kansas City Council member Quinton] Lucas and 28 other people to park for free in the public garages at Terminals B and C. The passes are awarded by the Aviation Department’s parking division.
In advance of their editorial, The Star requested the parking pass records from the Aviation Department on September 4. On September 8 the Department responded with the list on which the editorial board based their September 11 column.
The Show-Me Institute was also looking into this data, but we also requested a copy of all passes issued since January 2011. The second list we received included additional names the Aviation Department did not share with The Star. They included passes issued to:
· John McGurk, former chief of staff to Mayor James,
· Buffy Smith, current staffer to Congressman Sam Graves
· John Diehl, former Missouri House speaker,
· Paul LaVota, former Missouri senator, and
· Tom Dempsey, former Missouri senator.·
All of these passes were voided at 9:05 a.m. on September 8, right before the Aviation Department provided The Star with a list of active passes.
(Links to both lists provided by the Aviation Department can be found at the bottom of this post.)
It's unknown why the Aviation Department did not fully comply with The Star's straightforward request. What they withheld hardly amounts to much: a few recently-resigned state officials and some staffers. But it appears that their first instinct was to obfuscate; they didn't share the whole picture when asked. If the Department wants to be a credible source of information about the need for a new terminal, or much of anything else, they must be more transparent about their operations.