A Kansas City Council committee today signaled its opposition to a ballot measure that would halt a new weapons plant in south Kansas City.
The Finance, Governance and Ethics Committee voted 4-0 on a resolution declining to place before voters a measure that would prohibit the production of nuclear weapons components at a plant under construction at 14500 Botts Road.
The measure goes to the full council Aug. 25. If the full council derails the ballot measure, proponents of the measure have vowed to take their fight to court.
The KC Peace Planters had gathered enough signatures on an initiative petition to put their measure on the November ballot in Kansas City.
The measure asks voters to prohibit the manufacture of non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons and instead seeks to turn the plant, currently under construction, into a facility for environmentally friendly technology.
“It is way too late to try to stop this project,” Councilman John Sharp said today, adding that the plant is about one-third finished.
He argued that the measure violates the federal and state constitutions, interfering with federal legislation controlling the development of the nation’s nuclear weapons and federal powers to provide for the national defense.
Councilman Ed Ford, who is not on the committee, told his colleagues that they don’t have discretion to keep the measure off the ballot. According to the city charter, Ford said, once the Peace Planters gathered sufficient signatures, the council is obligated to put the matter to voters. If the measure is impractical or illegal, Ford said, the council can repeal it if it passes in a public vote.
About 20 supporters of the committee of petitioners urged the council to put the measure on the ballot.
“We are a true democracy, and that’s what the charter calls for,” lawyer Henry Stoever told the committee.
Committee member Rachel MacNair said that if the full council decides to keep the measure off the ballot next week, the group will proceed quickly to court to urge a judge to overturn that decision. To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-234-4317 or send email to email@example.com.