Clay Chastain

Updated
05-03-10


Clay Chastain

Not familiar with Clay Chastain? Then you don't live in Kansas City! Matt Campbell of the Kansas City Star called Clay Chastain a "light rail activist, perennial mayoral candidate, and petitioner extraordinaire." Like him or hate him, you cannot ignore him. Clay has been a gadfly to the Kansas City establishment for twenty years.

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Kansas City Light Rail
Family
Clay Featured in Mystery Novel
Ballot Question 2
Clay's Implementation Proposal



Letter to President Obama
Clay's 2010 Petition Drive Notice
Tilting at Windmills Review
Sign Our Guestbook



Clay Chastain (Political Activist)

Kansas City ~ Athens ~ Back to Kansas City ~ Election Day Shocker ~ Court Battles ~ 2010 Initiative

Kansas City

Clay's educational background is Electrical Engineering, for which he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arkansas. He worked in the field of electrical engineering and as a city designer. He has also restored many historical homes, and owns a company called Downtown Revivals.

Clay Chastain

According to his own report, from 1991 he has "designed, organized, and led numerous petition initiatives involving the restoration and reuse of Union Station, Liberty Memorial, and Penn Valley Park; and public transportation proposals that included: light rail, electric streetcars, low emission busses (sic), bicycle lanes, and a multi-modal Transportation Center at Union Station." It is particularly for his Union Station and light rail initiatives that he is so often in the news in Kansas City. Some think his efforts are misguided and lacking in research, but it is his antagonistic attitude toward the Kansas City establishment that puts off others. Clay wrote of his tense interaction with Kansas City politics in his 1998 autobiographical work, Tilting At Windmills. Clay does have a following, however, and continues to get enough petition support to add issues to the ballot, which requires gathering names from 5 percent of voters from the previous mayoral election.

Clay's success in securing support for his petitions was evident from the beginning, though his first petitions never made it to the ballot. His earliest effort was the 1992 petition regarding Union Station. Though he collected 8500 signatures, the City Council blocked the initiative from being placed on the ballot. The same thing occurred with his 1993 petition, for which he had 8250 names. Extremely frustrated, Clay's third petition was for the recall of the Mayor. A recall required 20,000 signatures, but after collecting a few thousand, Clay discontinued the petition, feeling he had made his point against the Mayor.

In November of 1994, Clay declared himself a candidate for Mayor, running against the incumbent and a third candidate. Two weeks before the election, polls showed Clay at 23% and rising. It appeared that he might defeat the third candidate and face the Mayor in the general election. However, news broke about his having stolen some drywall ten years earlier, and he garnered only 9.48% of the vote on election night. He ran again for Mayor in 1999, receiving only 6.60% of the vote.

The next petition was a long, exhausting experience. Originally planned for the August, 1995 ballot, it was blocked by the Council. This time, however, Clay took the issue to court, which found in his favor. Since the 1995 election was now past, the judge ordered that the petition be included on the 1996 ballot. It did not happen, as the decision was in appeal when that election date came. In 1997, Clay wrote a new, more expansive petition to replace the one tied up in court. This time, he secured better counsel on writing the petition in order to avoid problems with technicalities. And this time, the initiative was on the ballot, though it was not passed by voters. This was only the first of Clay Chastain's successful attempts at adding petitions to the ballot.

Kansas City.com summarized some of the early initiatives:

1997: Chastain saw his proposal to turn Union Station into a transportation hub that would be light-rail friendly defeated 67 percent to 33 percent.

1998: A second plan proposing light rail from Union Station to the Kansas City International Airport lost by a 55-45 percent margin.

1999: Chastain's light-rail initiative attracted only 37 percent of the vote.

2000: His light-rail proposal took only 38 percent. A separate proposal for a gondola and other Penn Valley improvement won 46 percent.

2001: The city's light-rail plan garnered just 40 percent. (not a Chastain initiative)

2002: A Chastain initiative that included light rail, street cars and Penn Valley Park modifications won only 35 percent of the vote.

2003: Another Chastain light-rail plan attracted only 36 percent.

In 2004, Clay returned to Kansas City from Tennessee to run as a Republican for the 5th District US House seat. He advertised as a centrist with appeal to crossover Democrats. Though a Republican with conservative views on abortion and opposed to gay marriage, his positions included crossover issues such as an early withdrawal from Iraq and a national infrastructure works program financed by a rollback of "Bush's tax cut for the wealthy." In the Republican primary, Clay Chastain pulled 15.35% of the vote, behind Jeanne Patterson (55%) and Steve Dennis (21%), and ahead of Annalisa Zapien-Pina (5%) and Joyce Lea (4%).

Clay in Athens, Tennessee

Clay Chastain in AthensBy the end of 2004, Clay was living again in Tennessee with his second wife, Valerie, and was gathering petitions to build a $5 million theater in Athens, Tennessee. The Athens Area Council for the Arts felt that Clay's proposal was in direct competition with their long-term plans, and to the theater for which they were raising funds to build. Deja vu. Before long the Mayor and city council went on record opposing Clay's plan, but he did not waver. He said of the Council, “Leaders are supposed to lead, not follow. Leaders are supposed to decide what is best for the town. It’s not what the town thinks is best.” However, a month later Clay abandoned his theater plan for a new plan for a farmer's market, a concert park, and an aquatic center. It was not well received.

Back to Kansas City

Clay Chastain bows out once moreFrustrated with Athens, Clay returned to Kansas City in May, 2005 to promote another light-rail effort, but by the end of the month he declared he was bowing out for good as an activist in Kansas City. He said, "I've never said what I'm saying now. I'm saying that I'm going to be bowing out as a community activist in Kansas City. Without anybody coming to support me, I'm sounding like the Lone Ranger again." Clay promised (or threatened) several times to not return to Kansas City as an activist.

He was able to stay away for a year, but was back in June of 2006. “I’m heading back to Kansas City to try to change the direction of the city,” he said. “I want to help create the greatest light rail system in the country in Kansas City next March.“ Just two years prior, Clay’s personal poll numbers were suffering. His name recognition was at 71%, but his favorable rating was 13%, and his unfavorable rating stood at 38%.

However, Clay Chastain was now a new man. Things would be different, he promised, as he had undergone a spiritual experience and was free of the arrogance and ego that had gotten so much in his way in the past. “I had evolved into someone who was a too angry, too self-righteous, too self-centered, too arrogant, womanizing activist,” Chastain says, looking back. “And humble, I wasn’t.” After Clay left Kansas City for Tennessee, he was floundering. His home rehab business had tanked. His mother had suffered a stroke. Relationships in his life were falling apart. All the defeats were eating him alive. That’s when he found God and married his wife, Valerie. A preacher in Tennessee took him by the hand. So a renewed Clay Chastain was back in Kansas City to give it one more try.

Clay secured the required number of signatures to get his initiative on the November 7 ballot. Though they considered declaring it too late to make the ballot, the Kansas City Council grudgingly agreed, but urged residents to vote against it. In the run up to the vote, Clay’s opponents included a clever mailing against the measure -- a choo-choo inked on a stained paper napkin to represent Clay’s comprehensive research and development report.

Changed man or not, Clay still received a lot of negative response from his opponents, to the point he thought his image was having a negative impact on the issues. Just two weeks before the election, Clay announced his final exit from Kansas City (again). “People say I have an ego; they say I desire to be in the limelight and that’s why I do this,” he said. “I bring baggage. I’ve made my last stand on behalf of this city."

Election Day Shocker

Election day 2006 brought a real shocker to everyone. Clay Chastain's measure, Question 2, passed 53% to 47%! Apparently no one was expecting it to win -- not even Clay, himself Video. But there it was; the voters had spoken. Clay's seventh ballot attempt won the day. Quickly, it became apparent that Kansas City was very interested in some kind of new transit. The establishment began at once to consider how to proceed. Though they could not ignore the will of the voters, questions were put forward on how the Clay proposal might be modified in the next election. The proposal was written in considerable detail, and many were concerned about the details. Some commentators recommended major modifications, while others preferred to follow the written measure as much as possible.

Clay ChastainAnother issue raised was Clay's continuing role in support of the measure. Some said he had done his job, and there was essentially no further role for him to play. Others saw a better role. Councilman Ford suggested Chastain should perhaps spearhead the plan, including going to Washington to lobby for the federal funding that is vital to its implementation. “This is his dream. Let’s put him to work on it,” he said. By the end of November, Clay was in town to share his proposal with local government officials outlining plans for implementing the light-rail ordinance.

At first Clay was willing to discuss possible small changes in the passed measure, but the Chastains became concerned about the measure being deconstructed or simply ignored. On January 30, 2007 Clay's wife, Valerie Chastain, an attorney, said in a release that Kansas City's new mayor and City Council could expect a legal challenge if they "delay implementing the voter-approved light rail plan by attempting to either repeal it or amend it significantly and resubmit it to the voters," or if the new City Council "sits on the initiative and takes no action to begin implementing it in a timely fashion." The new city leader, Mayor Mark Funkhouser, first embraced Clay Chastain and hoped to partner with him in promoting light rail, but the partnership never solidified. By October, Mayor Mark Funkhouser declared Clay Chastain's light-rail plan to be dead.

The Chastains urged officials to act at once, so that construction could begin in 2009, and to not tamper with the details of the measure. Otherwise economic, transportation, and environmental benefits would be lost. Other significant groups proposed alternative projects, which Clay firmly rejected, contending that anyone suggesting modifications or alternatives were out of order because the voters had accepted his proposal with its specifics Video. In July 2007, Clay proposed changes of his own, which was a bit peculiar in light of his statements regarding suggestions from others. It seemed that he considered the citizens had voted for him rather than just for his proposal, so that he was free to make changes as his thought developed.

Court Battles

Clay Chastain

After considerable public debate, in November 2007 The Kansas City Council voted 10-3 to repeal Clay's light-rail plan. Council members said the plan had fatal flaws: It was illegal, didn't provide adequate financing, and suggested a route that wouldn't work. They added that repealing the plan by council action rather than public vote would facilitate the process of getting rail-oriented transit in the city Video. A few days later, a Kansas City resident filed suit against the City Council, claiming that she was disenfranchised of her right to vote by the Coucil's action. Apparently, she did it on her own and not in coordination with Clay Chastain.

In January, 2008 Clay filed his own 81-page lawsuit against Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser and nine other City Council members seeking $200,000 in punitive damages plus court costs. A Jackson County Circuit Court Judge dismissed the case in April. Through attorney Valerie Chastain, Clay appealed the decision, arguing that a provision in the Kansas City charter that empowers the legislative body to nullify petition initiatives runs afoul of the Missouri Constitution Video. A ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District granted an expedited hearing on the appeal. In May 2009, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District decided against Clay Chastain's appeal and upheld the Circuit Court ruling. Clay and Valerie immediately appealed the decision to the Missouri Supreme Court Video.

2010 Ballot Initiative

While waiting on the results of the Court of Appeals hearing, Clay began two new initiatives. The first was a new plan to place a revised light-rail plan on the November, 2009 ballot; the second was a petition initiative asking voters to rescind the Kansas City charter provision the City Council used to repeal the 2006 plan passed by voters. Later in the year, he began his tenth initiative--to place a light-rail plan on the November, 2010 ballot. He appealed in a letter to President Obama for a meeting on the White House lawn to discuss the situation in Kansas City. Then he published an announcement on his 2010 ballot initiative to the citizens of Kansas City.

For developments that are more recent than the current update (5-03-10) see Chastain News.

See Clay's news conference at Union Station
See the Ballad of Clay Chastain

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Family

In the mid-1800's, there was a migration of north Georgians to an area of Arkansas called Georgia Ridge. There were a number of Chastains among them, one of whom was Clay's great-grandfather, Charles Chastain. Clay's grandfather and father both grew up on Charles Chastain's 40 acre homestead. Clay's father was an engineer. Clay worked as general machinist, farm hand, and certified professional auto mechanic before becoming an electrical engineer. He also restored twenty-seven historical homes in Kansas City and Tennessee beginning in 1981. He enjoys riding his horse, gardening, hiking and biking, doing crossword puzzles with his wife, and reading. Clay Chastain and his wife Valerie now live in Bedford, Virginia. Clay has a daughter, Lene, by his previous wife of six years.

To explain why he no longer lives in Kansas City, Clay said in February 2010, 'Even though most of my family still lives in Kansas City including my Mother, my oldest daughter, my sister, and my best male friend---I no longer make Kansas City my primary residence because my wife refuses to live in Kansas City, Missouri---and she was born at St. Luke's. After three muggings---one at gunpoint---an attempted rape, a stalker, and a variety of other forgettable moments in Kansas City---she says she will never go back and would never think of raising our four year-old daughter in Kansas City or put her in the city's public school system. I love my wife and so that is that. The best I can do is make Kansas City my home away from home which I have done the past 10 years.'

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Clay Chastain Featured in Mystery Novel

10-09-06 Clay Chastain Featured in Mystery Novel (Kansas City Star - MO) I missed Larry Rochelle’s light-rail page-turner when it came out a few years ago. But as Rochelle is ever the self-promoter — you have to be if you’re a local author — the Overland Park poet and mystery writer is once again pitching 2002’s Death and Devotion to coincide with Chastain’s latest light-rail campaign. “I changed his name to Sandy Banteen and fictionalized his struggles to get light rail started in this unenlightened backwash of a city,” Rochelle explained...What if Kansas City voters finally did approve one of Chastain’s plans? How might it happen? Rochelle asked himself that, and so a fictional Clay Chastain became a central character in one installment of Rochelle’s Palmer Morel mystery series. Read the full review.

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Ballot Question 2

See entire ballot

QUESTION 2
SHALL THE FOLLOWING BE APPROVED?

In order to provide for the people of Kansas City a pioneering urban rail passenger system, constituting the foundation of a future regional transit system, offering not only increased energy-efficiency, comfort, mobility, transportation savings, and convenience, but also a greener, cleaner, safer environment, a stronger economy, and a means to help America reduce its dependence on imported oil; shall the City of Kansas City, Missouri extend the current three-eighths (3/8) cent transportation sales tax, due to expire on March 31, 2009, for 25 years, beginning April 1, 2009 and ending March 31, 2034, with said tax to be used solely to fund the construction, operation, maintenance, and beautification of the following transportation improvements under the auspices of the Kansas City, Missouri City Council:

1. Implement Kansas City’s new Heartland Light Rail System consisting of a north/south light rail spine beginning at the Kansas City Zoo in Swope Park and ending at Kansas City International Airport including, but not limited to, stops at UMKC, Nelson Art Gallery, Plaza, Westport, Union Station, Performing Arts Center, Convention Center, Power & Light District, Sprint Center, City Market area, North Kansas City, North Oak Trafficway, and Zona Rosa; with the route following 63rd Street, Troost Avenue, 50th Street, Rockhill Road, Emanuel Cleaver Boulevard, Mill Creek Park, Broadway Boulevard, along the high ridge in Penn Valley Park to the junction of Kessler Road and Pershing Road, the west side of Union Station’s Carriage House, Broadway Boulevard, 13th Street, Oak Street, Heart of America Bridge, Burlington Avenue, N. Oak Trafficway, Englewood Road, Waukomis Drive, the interurban right-of-way, Barry Road, Amity Avenue, and concluding at a transit hub, park & ride lot, and shuttle station near Madrid Avenue at KCI; also including new ground level power supply technology (no overhead wires), and park & ride lots;

2. Implement a green fleet of sixty electric shuttles to provide connecting transit service to all light rail stops making possible the expansion of the light rail system’s service area to nearby job centers, neighborhoods, and other primary destinations not directly served by the rail line;

3. Implement an aerial gondola tram system providing passenger service between Union Station, Liberty Memorial, and Penn Valley Park; remove all thru vehicular roads, including Broadway, in the park and re-route traffic around the park; replace roads with landscaped transportation corridors for new bicycle & walking pathways, the gondola, and a wooden light rail truss bridge; with the funds also to be used to retire bond indebtedness related to the projects, and to help secure additional federal, state, and regional transportation funds?

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Clay's Implementation Proposal

The Kansas City Business Journal outlined Clay's proposal:

On Monday, Chastain submitted a proposal to local government officials outlining his plans for implementing a light-rail ordinance that voters approved earlier this month. Chastain, the chief proponent of the ordinance, now resides in Virginia but temporarily returned to Kansas City this week to help "make Kansas City's light-rail system a resounding success." He said he would offer his assistance to the city and meet with a representative from the Federal Transit Administration while he was in town.

Kansas City voters already have approved a 25-year extension to the city's three-eighths-cent transportation sales tax. Revenue from the tax would account for about half of the estimated $1 billion cost of light rail.

Chastain's proposal includes a two-year timeline for financing and constructing parts of the rail line. It includes the following recommendations:

By Jan. 1, 2007:

• Apply for a $1 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration for planning and engineering.

• Divide the 30-mile light-rail plan into two segments. The first stage would include 14 miles from Troost Avenue and Rockhill Road in the south to North Oak Trafficway and Vivion Road in the north. The second stage would extend the rail line north to Kansas City International Airport and south to Swope Park.

• Update studies from the city's 2001 proposed light-rail plan and use them to expedite the application process for federal financing.

• Apply for state financing in conjunction with St. Louis.

• Issue $50 million in city-backed revenue bonds to plan and construct an aerial gondola system, prepare Penn Valley Park for light rail and secure right of way for the light-rail line from KCI to Swope Park.

By Jan. 1, 2008:

• Complete construction of the aerial gondola system and any changes to Penn Valley Park.

By Jan. 7, 2008:

• Issue $600 million in city-backed revenue bonds for the first stage of light-rail construction.

• Apply for $600 million in federal money through the Federal Transit Administration's Small Rail Starts and Rail Starts programs.

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Clay Chastain's Letter to President Obama

PRESS RELEASE
(From Clay Chastain, 540-586-3069, 8/10/2009)
President Obama

This is a copy of the letter I sent this morning to the President of the United States and his Transportation Secretary concerning Kansas City's application for federal stimulus money to go toward the construction of a 2 mile Downtown streetcar line (as proposed by the ATA) and for a regional suburban bus system (as proposed by MARC) which are in conflict with the regional transit initiative currently being circulated on the streets of Kansas City.

Dear President Obama and Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood,

Like other American cities, the Kansas City Region is in the process of vying not only for its share of federal stimulus money to go toward making improvements to its out-dated public transit system, but also federal funding from the impending transportation bill for an integrated regional transit system comprised of low-emission buses, commuter rail, streetcars, and light rail.

I am a community activist and degreed electrical engineer, and I have designed such a multi-modal regional transit system for the City of Kansas City, Missouri (see attached plan). As you can see, this green transit and park public works plan is in the form of a petition initiative that is currently being circulated in Kansas City with the goal of getting enough signatures to place this grassroots plan on a 2010 ballot.

I authored and succeeded in getting voter approval (73,998 votes or 53.5%) for a similar light rail-based transit initiative in 2006. The local City Council took an unprecedented legislative action and repealed the only light rail-based transit plan ever approved by Kansas City voters claiming the plan 100%"unworkable." A legal challenge to the constitutionality of the Section of the City Charter that allowed the council to take that anti-democratic action against a direct vote and consensus of the people is on-going and confrontational.

Meanwhile, city officials and area transit planners are busy promoting their own regional transit plan, but unlike my current plan or the 2006 voter-approved light rail plan, their plan has no light rail spine component nor any broad consensus from the voting public favoring their plan These two competing regional transit plans are confrontational and on a collision course.

Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver was quoted in the Kansas City Star (8/1/09) as saying, "Because competition is so great for these (federal transit) dollars, any community that is not unified…can pretty much forget about it."

Mr. President Kansas City desperately needs to follow your green vision for America and embark on its own green public works infrastructure project that will not only create jobs, reduce pollution, save energy, improve transit, and bring long-term environmental and economic benefits to the city, but also help rescue Kansas City, Missouri from its impending financial demise. However, as you can see, unified we are not.

Fact #1. Kansas City has lost 200,000 people in the last 40 years severely eroding its tax base.

Fact #2. The number of children enrolled in the KCMO School District has dropped from a high of 75,000 forty years ago to a mere 17,000 today.

#3. The murder rate in Kansas City is high and on the rise.

We ( myself and the 5 Committee of Petitioners) firmly believe that a new green, attractive, and efficient transit system and revitalized central city park that everyone will use will turn Kansas City around by helping it attract new talent, residents, green manufacturing jobs, tourists, conventions, and families with children back to the city.

The bad blood between myself and the establishment of Kansas City started back when Congressman Cleaver was Mayor of Kansas City. There was fierce disagreement then between myself and the establishment, including then Mayor Cleaver, over the reuse of Kansas City's Union Station that the voters were being asked to restore. Cleaver and the establishment supported using it for a children's museum called Science City. I---and the 7,000 voters who signed my petition initiative--- proposed using Union Station as a regional multi-modal transportation center. With both plans on a collision course for the 1996 November ballot and confrontation in the air Cleaver and the City Council refused to honor (place on the ballot) the valid petition initiative I authored and the correct number of voters signed. Even though two courts subsequently ruled in my favor and said that the City Council "hindered democracy" my plan never reached the ballot in time and the voters---given only one plan to choose from---approved Science City as the reuse for Union Station.

Then in 1997 then Mayor Cleaver killed light rail development in Kansas City by calling a proposed starter light rail plan by the ATA "Touristy Frou Frou." I then began a series of light rail initiatives to try and reverse that mistake, but each and every time I was confronted by Kansas City's establishment and the light rail initiatives were rejected by the voters until the political miracle of 2006. This bad blood and confrontation of visions between myself and Kansas City's establishment has now spanned three mayoral administrations in Kansas City including Cleavers, Barnes, and now Funkhousers.

I have appealed for cooperation and joint discussions between myself and the establishment to help resolve our differences but have been largely stonewalled. Despite the success of light rail systems around the country, Kansas City's establishment is apparently now saying that we can't afford a light rail spine connecting the inner city to the booming suburbs because there is only federal money for buses. Mr. President, there is probably one bite left in the light rail apple in this community, and we believe that any successful regional transit system must be designed around a central city light rail spine because buses alone will not attract great numbers of new riders to transit nor will they save a city in demise.

Mr. President, I believe you could help resolve this dire situation in Kansas City since you are a man of the people and one who seeks to bind the nation's wounds and move it toward the constructive changes it lies in desperation for. Perhaps you could ask Congressman Cleaver to join you and a plain frustrated American community activist for lemonade and cookies on the White house lawn to try and settle our differences.

As you have so wisely and boldly articulated, much change needs to come to America if we are to lead the world to a better world and continue prospering as the greatest nation on earth…and we cannot do it without fundamental changes to our country that require open debate and a new spirit of national cooperation.

Thank you, Clay Chastain

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Clay Chastain's 2010 Petition Drive Notice

By Clay Chastain
April 30, 2010

In 2006, big government ignored what 73,998 Kansas City, Missouri voters said they wanted and instead did what it wanted, making a mockery of democracy and setting Kansas City four-more years behind light rail cities that are going green and going strong.

Citizens your democracy’s on the line and your city is on the line because your city leaders have been out of line.

Kansas City needs new leadership and a new economic recovery plan that will:

1. Create thousands of new jobs and provide on-going economic stimulus for the city.

2. Forge a more green, transit-oriented, and livable city for the people of Kansas City, Missouri.

3. Help reduce crime by providing the poor a brighter economic future not only from all the new jobs a modern and efficient transit system will generate, but also from all the new, businesses, tourists, conventions, and green manufacturers light rail will attract back to Kansas City.

4. Help fix the sewers with new city revenues from light rail’s economic spin-off and ability to spawn urban re-development around its corridors.

5. And help improve the schools because a green modern efficient transit system and better parks will make the city more safe and attractive to families.

Citizens whose leadership do you trust…an outside pain in the butt activist or your local heavy-handed leaders and their bar-hopping trolleys and billion dollar hotel plan?

Citizens come to Union Station Saturday May 8th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to sign petitions to place before voters in November a complete, city-wide, multimodal world class light rail-based transit system headquartered at Union Station.

It will also contain a charter change initiative to protect your vote so that big government can’t dump it again.

It’s time for a new kind of leadership in Kansas City…..leadership of, by and for the people.

see original notice

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Tilting at Windmills Review

By Tim Chastain

Tilting at WindmillsIn 1998, Clay Chastain released his book, Tilting at Windmills. He seems to have had three reasons for writing it. First, he recounts his battles with the Kansas City establishment beginning in 1991. Secondly, he offers a considerable amount of personal introspection, perhaps to explain his flaws of personality and behavior. The third issue has to do with the way he had last left Kansas City (under extreme embarrassment), and Clay wants to know if the people will welcome him back.

On Easter Sunday, 1991 a guest editorial by Clay Chastain appeared in the Kansas City Star. It was about Union Station, and it began an obsession that continues to this day. This obsession may have been produced in part by the death of Clay's father in February, 1990. His father had been very controlling, but his loss left Clay with personal uncertainties. Instead of his father, Union Station and light rail became the center of Clay's life.

Clay recounts the details and battles of his first three petitions, all of which qualified for the ballot, but were blocked by the City Council. In talking about his foes, it is apparent that he disrespects anyone who opposes him. He is extremely insulting and antagonistic. Though one can sympathize with Clay's objectives, it is difficult to imagine that Kansas City has so many demons, fools, and villains in every area of leadership; and they were all lined up against Clay's righteous crusade. Simply, Clay is just not a team player. He alienates the very people who could help integrate him into the discussions. He acknowledges his arrogance and ego, but never gives an opponent a good word.

The previously mentioned embarrassing episode was in conjunction with the initiative that Clay finally succeeded in placing on the ballot for 1997. The initiative was on the ballot, and all was well and good, until The Kansas City Star released an interesting story on the front page of its August 10 Sunday Metro news section.

A SOCIAL SIDE TO PETITIONS
Clay Chastain uses information to seek women companions

The article was not entirely unsubstantiated. Clay was single as he collected signatures for his petition in 1997, and some of the ladies began to flirt back and forth with him. To identify certain women, he sometimes made notes with their names: tall blond, blond bomb, cute, short cute, beautiful hair, NY girl, redhead cute, pretty chunkie blond, new to K.C. yes, left-handed cute, cute with freckles. When Clay submitted his petition lists to the authorities in order to qualify for the ballot, these personal notes were right on the signature sheets. Clay admitted to calling three of the women from his petition contacts, but stories painted Clay as an opportunist and a mad womanizer. Clay's ballot measure failed 67% TO 33%. In January, 1998 Clay went into seclusion and later wrote the book, in the last paragraph of which he says:

This book is my final weapon to roll onto the Union Station battlefield. How it is received by the public will tell me where I stand and my future in Kansas City. And if I am forgiven and awarded another chance to return by the people of Kansas City I will come back less someone seeking success and personal gain, and more someone seeking to be of even greater service to the public.

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