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Kansas City Charter Change Suggestions Advance

Plans for an election on changing the Kansas City, Mo., charter are heading into the home stretch, but there is still some disagreement on what should go on the ballot.

One sticking point as the full city council debated the changes Wednesay was: “why send the voters any proposed change most council members consider a bad idea?” – for example doing away with at-large council seats.

Mayor Sly James's answer: because some citizen groups have proposed the changes and the Charter Review Commission thought the voters should consider them.

“I think it's a bad idea, to." James said. " That does not mean people should not have the right to vote on bad ideas. It happens every day in this country.”

None of the proposed changes are without some opposition. Opinion is even divided on whether to move city elections to a warmer time of year because it would necessitate other changes that would make campaigns for council seats much longer.

Opposition to some of the changes by groups like the firefighters union and the Citizens Association has the council thinking in terms of putting the suggestions on the ballot separately so strong opposition to one won't doom them all.

The Finance Governance and Ethics Committee is expected to make its final recommendations on what goes on the ballot next week.  Full council approval the following week would send the items to the voters in April.

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