Closed Open Meetings
The Kansas City International Airport (KCI/MCI) terminal advisory group is off to a rocky start.
First, its charge of being an ‘adult discussion’ about building a new $1.5 billion terminal at MCI seems hollow, as the Kansas City mayor and City Council already have urged the Aviation Department to go ahead with its plans anyway.
Second, the first meeting, held two weeks ago at Union Station, was marred when Kansas City police escorted opponents of the plan off the premises. Meanwhile, just a few feet away, group leader Bob Berkebile was telling participants that the meeting was to be open to the public regardless of their view on the matter. Oops.
Now, according to the Kansas City Star, the task force is to meet again on Tuesday, and again in the Stillwell Room at Union Station. Union Station officials issued a statement saying it is a private space — despite receiving millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies — and so, they say, Union Station officials can set special rules about whether the public can enter the building and under what circumstances . . . even when there’s literally a “public meeting” taking place within its walls.
If the city is serious about listening to the task force, it ought to halt the Aviation Department from spending money on a new terminal pending a committee conclusion. If the task force is serious about its job of involving various views, it ought to seek and receive public assurances from Union Station that it will respect the rights of the public to attend public meetings.