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Another public vote could be coming for renovation of Chiefs’ stadium

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Sometimes, however, insanity is the only alternative to inaction.

A lengthy article recently appearing in the Kansas City Star leads with the notion that Jackson County, Missouri residents — who overwhelmingly rejected the continuation of a sales tax to finance stadium renovation and construction earlier this year — could be asked to do it again.

Jonathan Patterson, the Missouri House Majority Leader and presumptive next Speaker of the House, predicted that there will be another ballot initiative.

“I do think before this is said and done, Jackson County is going to have another vote,” Patterson said.

Implicit in that comment is, in our view, a message that the powers-that-be believe a public vote is legally unavoidable, if funding will be coming from Jackson County. And before there would be a vote, the Jackson County legislature would have to approve it.

Delaying governmental action are upcoming primaries in Missouri, which will lead to among other things a new governor. Patterson expects more attention to be devoted to the Chiefs and Royals stadium situations after next month’s elections.

“There’s so much uncertainty with all of the statewide offices and the state Senate,” Patterson said. “So once we know who’s in those positions, I think we’ll have a much clearer picture of what we can accomplish.”

Patterson believes a second vote would have a different outcome, now that Kansas has mobilized to poach one or both teams. We’re not so sure about that. The voters were surely smart enough to know that Kansas would be ready to try to lure the teams across the border in April, and that still wasn’t nearly enough to come close to winning the day — only 41 percent of voters approved the measure.

The better approach might be to pick one of the two teams (the Chiefs) and focus the efforts of keeping them, even if it means losing the Royals.

It’s also possible for the Missouri government to come up with a solution. It could be hard to pull that off without a contribution to the effort from Jackson County, and it seems as if there’s no way to get Jackson County money without putting the question to Jackson County voters.

This continues to be the biggest disconnect nationally when it comes to stadium financing. Voters will consistently say no to free money for billionaires who can afford to pay for their own stadiums. Elected officials are far more inclined to defy the will of their constituents in order to avoid a far more permanent tattoo on their political record.

“Whoever is the next governor, they’re going to have a choice to make,” Patterson said. “I think it would be very difficult for a new governor to be the one that lost the Kansas City Chiefs.”

And that’s why it’s so much easier to get free money from the people who are in office. They’re far less concerned about being attacked for delivering pork than they are about being assaulted for losing pigskin.