Sunday, July 23, 2006

Endorsement Time

The KC Star botched its endorsements horribly this morning, and not only because they backed a couple candidates whom I don't support. They did a butcher job on one of my favorite local politicians, in favor of one of their journalistic buddies. So, here come my endorsements for the season.

District 1: Scott Burnett, without a glimmer of a doubt. Scott is one of the hardest working men in local politics, always thoughtful and dedicated to the citizens of his district. All of them. I've known Scott for more than a decade, coached one of his children in Brookside soccer, visited his house, and seen him out in the community. I've seen him stop what he is doing to listen to the concerns of a constituent, even when the constituent was rude, or scattered, or simply venting about matters far beyond the jurisdiction of a county legislator. Scott is what all our local politicians should strive to be - good-humored, interested, and dedicated.

The Star would have you toss him aside because a free-lance journalist is running against him. I've never met the guy - I have nothing bad to say about him. I'm sure he is a fine free-lance journalist (for the National Catholic Reporter, which is actually kind of cool), and his website has some touching attempts at poetry (the English major in me is a harsh judge of weak poetry), but he brings nothing to the table to suggest that he could serve the people of Kansas City's first district with the level of distinction that Great Scott has.

The despicable aspect of the Star's endorsement of their part-time journalistic buddy, though, is that they claim that "he has also been the target of ethical investigations that are not yet concluded." Bullshit. This is simply a bullshit charge that the Star should be ashamed of making. The charge relates to Bob Stringfield, the nutcase who started a fight with a fellow legislator, and it has already been dismissed by the Jackson County Ethics Commission. Bob Stringfield sent the already-dismissed charge on to Jefferson City, where the ethics commission has ignored it for months. For the Star to act like there is any validity to the charge is outrageous and dishonest.

District 1, at-large: Theresa Garza. Theresa is a bright, dedicated Hispanic woman who will bring diversity and integrity to a seat which has had neither while Bob Stringfield has been there. The Star supports an aide to Stringfield, claiming that "he knows what it would take to reduce the disruptive personality clashes in the Legislature." HAH! They are talking about a man whose boss started and lost a freaking fistfight at a meeting of the Legislature!! Theresa Garza may not generate sensationalist headlines for the Star, but she will be a great addition to the legislature.

District 2: Eugene Standifer, Jr. The Star got one right. The fact that his opponent is a convicted felon made it easy for them.

District 3: Wendy Dye. I don't know her, but the incumbet, Denny Waits, has been unimpressive and divisive.

District 4: Dan Tarwater. When Tarwater first ran for his seat, I worked on his opponent's campaign, and I don't regret it in the slightest. Tarwater was a Waris protege, and the campaign featured all the dirty tricks and misconduct you'd expect from a scumbag like Waris. In the 12 years since that election, though, Tarwater has grown and matured. He is an even-handed legislator who quietly works for the good of his district and the County. He's good enough that Stringfield took a swing at him . . .

District 5: Neal McGregor. The only Democrat in the race. The Republican candidates are both, well, republicans. 'Nuff said.

District 6: The Kansas City Star Editorial Board, write-in candidate. Nobody worth a damn is running in this district, so the Kansas City Star Editorial Board should be as good as anyone else. And, given their lousy crop of endorsements this time around, they should be forced to serve with the ineffective and dysfunctional legislature they are wishing upon us.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi ! Great Post! I read the Star's endorsements today and also felt the same way! It's unfortunate that Theresa Garza is not getting the press that she deserves. Bottom line it's time that we elect someone that represents two huge communities in kansas city; Women & Latinos.

I would like to see your input or endorsements on other seats around the area.

7/23/2006 5:19 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

What the Star got right was that the County Legislature is an embarrassment. A major housecleaning is in order. Scott may be a decent guy, but I don't recall many times where he spoke out against the corruption, collusion, and general bad management of the county.

7/25/2006 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Jimmy P said...

I just wanted to say "thanks" Dan for taking the time to point out what the Star obviously ignored: diversity, integrity, and who this guy works for! I agree and think that Theresa is a needed addition to this governing body. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting her. She is vibrant, witty, and intelligent. People should look at her website and find out what she's all about...

7/27/2006 11:56 PM  
Anonymous Impartial Observer said...

As a concerned citizen and former soccer player, I want to thank you heartily for your post. If only every voter in the first district could see first-hand the commitment and passion Scott Burnett brings to the legislature, there would be no need for an election. Since not everybody's gotten the word yet, I appreciate your journalistic efforts.

7/28/2006 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, dude. Burnett's using the "good guy" and "good neighbor" thing to make sure you don't see him filling his pockets. A lobbyist and legislator? Only in Jackson County.

And whether you want to admit it or not, the Missouri AG's office is investigating him as I write. It sounds quite close minded of you to dismiss a guy's aopponent just because that guy threatens your buddy.

Eight years and we got dick to show from Burnett's "persistent service." Pull your head out.

7/29/2006 10:13 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

There's no problem with him serving as a lobbyist - no more so than having him practice law, or be a free-lance journalist, or anything else. It's not like he lobbies the Jackson County legislature, so where's the problem. Would you prefer to have someone ignorant of how government works?

If I call the police and tell them that you're carrying a pound of cocaine, can I then claim that you are under investigation for dealing cocaine? That's the equivalent of Stringfield's politically-motivated, already-dismissed, BS claim.

What is it that you expected Scott to do that he has not done?

We need good people in county government. Scott is one of the best.

7/31/2006 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Luck Theresa Garza, You have some huge shoe's to fill, Stringfield is the only honest one there, he never bought into all the back scratching, dishonest, money shuffling, law breaking crap that you are going to be challaged with, don't bend like a noodle. Stay strong.... If you can ( hope you have a clean record ) cause they have to convert you some how!!! And they will try anything.. GOOD LUCK>

8/09/2006 4:16 PM  

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