Saturday, March 10, 2007

Gottstein vs. Gamble - A Few Thoughts

There are several interesting races to be decided on March 27, but the one that is going to be drawing the pyrotechnics, probably even moreso that the mayoral race, is the race for the 4th District At-Large. The Gottstein vs. Gamble race appears to have all makings of an ugly, ugly donnybrook - which is sad, because I doubt the truth is going to be well-served, and the candidates are both going to come out of it damaged. Maybe, just maybe, cooler heads will prevails, but I'm not feeling really optimistic. If anyone cares, here are a few thoughts about the race . . .

1. Go Roe or No Roe? Rumor has it that Jeff Roe is helping out the Gamble campaign, and when I say "rumor", I mean rumor. I have no idea whether it is true or not, or whether he's being paid in cash, or promises, or not at all. Frankly, I'd be surprised if it were true, because even a political newcomer like Gamble can see that Roe is the kiss of death in Kansas City - ineffective and divisive.

I also have no idea where the rumor started - it seems that the Gamble side is enjoying their righteous indignation in denying the rumor much more than I've heard anyone from Gottstein's side spreading it. Could this be a case of falsely-claimed victim-hood being used as a political tool by Gamble? Wow, that would be so slimey it almosts sounds like something Roe would do . . .

In short, until somebody comes forward with proof that Roe is working for one of the candidates, both sides ought to drop it entirely - kind of a Gamble/Gottstein/Godwin's Law.

2. Debates or Forums? Gamble is trying to make hay by claiming that Gottstein is refusing to participate in "one on one debates". This is silliness - they are both at so many forums, etc., that anyone who hasn't seen them together just doesn't care. Which is most of us - sorry, but this is a kind of sleazy attempt to make it look like Gottstein, who has been all around town and met just about anyone who cares to vote, is somehow dodging Gamble.

Why would Gamble do this? Because he was a late-decider - he didn't decide that the City Council race was worth his while until January. So now, in an attempt to make up for his own lack of effort, he's trying to make it seem like Gottstein is trying some kind of stealth campaign. I gotta call "bullsh#t" on this one.

3. Small Business vs. Non-Profits? The Star thinks that Gamble is a small-business voice. Everyone admires small businesses - scrappy providers of jobs in the face of economic challenge. Count me in - I think it's great that Gamble employs lots of people in the "service industries", cleaning rooms and making food. But let's not go overboard with the small business rhetoric - this is a guy who is tied into a TIF Tax-give-away to the tune of a few million tax dollars taken from schools and potholes and pumped into profit margins.

Gottstein's experience comes from the nonprofit sector - a large and growing segment of our economy, but not one that has the reputation of financial sophistication. On the other hand, she has a Master of Public Administration from one of the best MPA programs in the country, and is well-equipped to participate in running a city government.

In a nutshell, neither should be claiming that experience gives them an edge. Both would be rookies on the city council, and both would need to learn on the job.

4. Jew vs. Catholic If there is an 800 pound gorilla in the room, it is the potential tension between the two communities. So far, with the exception of Tony's site, anti-Semitism has been silent, as has anti-Catholicism. Let's all hope it stays that way.

5. Clean Campaigns. I know Gottstein is committed to running a clean campaign, and I've heard that Gamble is similarly committed. On the other hand, both have lots of volunteers who want victory much more than they want a clean campaign. Also, exactly what is a "clean campaign"? Is discussing Gamble's TIF plan clean? Where should the line be drawn, and where will it be drawn in this race? What is responsible reporting of the truth, and what is smearing? And what of the "S/he started it" phenomenon, where one candidate engages in smear campaigning in response to a perceived smear from the other? Given the number of emails and outreaches I've already received in this race, I'm not optimistic that it will be a positive campaign focused on important issues. And that's disappointing, because what I know of both candidates is that they both deserve better, and are capable of better.

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Anonymous Brent said...

I've got to say, that I haven't figured out the city's love affair with Gottstein. She seems nice enough and all, but has dodged several forums -- and the ones she has show for she seemed unaware/lacking knowledge of the issues. I'm not the biggest fan of Gamble either (I REALLY LIKE some of his stances, but have been very frustrated by other things about him). But that said, I feel that at least he's pulling his own strings in this campaign.

I'm still baffled at how he came from seemingly nowhere to run away with 2nd place in this campaign.

And sheez, I hope you're right and that in 2007 religeon/ethnic background doesn't come into play in an election.

3/10/2007 6:39 PM  
Blogger joeinkc said...

How many forums has Gottstein missed? I went to one hosted by LGCC and she was a no show.

3/11/2007 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cant have a debate if one of the candidates doesnt show. Its been her stratgey all along and obviously Dan is hasnt been following that race of he would know this. Globe person told friend that she estimated Beth missed 30% of forums.

3/11/2007 6:03 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thanks for trying so hard to express yourself, Anonymous, but your comments are incomplete. She has apparently made 70% of these forums, according to what someone told someone, and you don't mention how many Gamble has missed.

Face it, this is a false issue dreamed up by the late-decider to try to make Gottstein work according to his schedule.

3/11/2007 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

simple question...are you suggesting that Beth did not miss numerous forums? and ar eyou suggesting that Deth, Gamble and Rita also missed key forums?

3/11/2007 8:53 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I am stating that Gottstein has not made all the forums, but I don't care, and I bet that Gamble hasn't made all forums, either, and I don't care about that. I'm disappointed if anyone is falling for Gamble's whining about it, but I don't think anyone except a few of his die-hard supporters are giving it any credence.

Whining about debates is a time-honored tactic of long-shot candidates.

Simple question - have Gottstein and Gamble been at joint forums already?

3/11/2007 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or is it a time-honered tactic of candidates that WANT to actually discuss issues and actually take the time to attend forums and cant find their opponent? The fact that now you dont care about candidate forums(convienent considering who you support and her lack of attendance)is comical

3/11/2007 9:23 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Kind of dodged my question, didn't you? I can't blame you, because we both know that they have been at plenty of forums together. Forums aren't the only place to dodge questions, are they, anonymous?

Let me ask again - "Simple question - have Gottstein and Gamble been at joint forums already?"

Since you dodged it once, let me give you a penalty question - how many joint appearances have they already had?

3/11/2007 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, if youre concerend about dodging questions why not go to my original one...did Beth not miss numerous forums?

For your q, yes they have been at joint forums with bewteen 3-9 other candidates on stage. Why are you afraid of your candidate talking one on one? It happens for the mayors race, for state officals, for federal officals. What do you know that they dont? Please elighten me.

3/11/2007 9:55 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

Read more carefully, please. I answered your question, quite clearly. Yes, she has missed forums, and I believe that Gamble has, too.

Gottstein is not "my candidate". She's a candidate I'm supporting. I'm not afraid of anything, because it's not my problem. If Gamble can't score any points in one venue, it's not my concern.

I'm doing my best not to allow your density to infect my view of Gamble. Like I said, I've heard he's a good guy, but I'm not so very impressed with his whiney supporter (or supporter - are you the same anonymous as above?).

It's unfortunate that he waited so long to enter the race - they might have had more opportunities to appear together. But, that's water under the bridge.

Why are you so interested in changing the subject to technicalities of conversations? I'm pretty sure that Beth has never asked for a multi-million dollar TIF tax giveaway. Has Gamble?

3/11/2007 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You support Beth thus you dont mind (or know) of her cronic absense at fourms or that Rita, Doug and Deth made EVERY forum. No biggie...Im sure it was her stratgey all along. AS for a TIF, please explain why you are against that redeveleopment. Details would be nice.

3/11/2007 11:08 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

The key in making my decision was meeting and talking to both candidates. Doug was sincere, eager, and willing to admit when he needed to learn more about an issue. Beth, not so much. I felt like Doug would be the more approachable and responsive once in office.

She's obviously been very well groomed by Mary O'Halloran and crew, but for me that's a drawback given Mary's work for Al Brooks.

3/12/2007 5:51 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

I'm not convinced that creating office condos for financial professionals is the sort of thing that ought to require TIF. If they can't make money in KC's poshest business district, maybe they need advice more than they need a diversion of tax dollars away from schools and snow removal. Don't you think?

Eric -

As is so often the case, you are a clear voice of information and rationality. Yes, it has certainly been possible to meet the two of them and make up your mind. The late-comer whining about a stealth candidate is nonsense.

3/12/2007 6:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

average joe says: you have all missed the real Gamble scam. First he gets $69 Million in tax subsidies for a Plaza development that doesn't need subsidies, then before the office tower is started he sells his share and takes windfall profits at the taxpayers' expense. Just the granting of the TIF substantially increased the value of the property so Gamble could flip it before ever spending a dime on redevelopment. The "but for test" is a fraud---give the money back Doug!

3/12/2007 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think is anti-Semitic, however I think you're an idiot and Beth Gottstein bought the election. I can't wait for the forum tonight. Have you ever seen Gottstein speak? It's painful, sort of like watching a comedian die onstage. No ideas, no opinions, no insight into the community, actually come to think of it she really doesn't have any words whatsoever. It's just an endless episode of inaudible stammering when she opens her mouth. If anyone thinks Gottstein has survived this long on merit, they're kidding themselves. She's dumb as a rock and doesn't have a single vote she hasn't purchased.

3/12/2007 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I'll take Gamble. You judge people by the company they keep: A long winded blogger who uses 100 words when 10 will do and a scorching racist named Tony's endorsements do not hit home with me.

I know Beth bought that pretty billboard at westport and broadway, but what else has she done?

I don't hear any ideas, no solutions, no debates even. Saying "I hate TIF" in a year where 90% of the candidates are saying that and 90% of voters don't know heck about Tif doesn't cut it.

-a misanthropic TKC reader who migrated over here because of your e-slapfight

3/12/2007 1:22 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Now, anonymous, that's just rude to come here and call me an idiot, and slam my chosen candidate so hard! You must be correct - she's a totally worthless person who cannot think at all.


What a loser he must be! I sure hope he doesn't get onto the council, because then our city will probably fall behind Springfield and Joplin!

(I don't really think Gamble is a loser - I was just demonstrating how silly anonymous' hyperventilating hatred of Gottstein is. Heck, from all I've heard, Gamble is a good guy. I don't need to believe that he is "dumb as a rock" or evil personified to support his opponent . . .

And Gottstein certainly hasn't offered to buy my vote . . .)

3/12/2007 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So we have Gamble that loves making money off the TIFF and seems like the type that would eminent domain an old ladys house just to make a buck. On the other side we have Beth, that missed a bunch of forums and doesn't seem to have grasp of the basic issues.

I don't understand how those two jokers beat out Deth and Rita. Oh wait, Deth and Rita weren't rich enough to loan themselves 50K. Maybe Rita can use TIFF to build the new TKC headquarters, then she can run next time once she gets rich off the TIFF.

In the end I say vote for Beth. The candidate least likely to turn my house into a super walmart.

3/12/2007 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gamble has never received a dollar from TIF nor has he ever built anything and actually had the opp to do take TIF money since pols love to TIF hotels. The HI hotel redevelopment (tear down)was approved for just that and from what I read Gamble owns 5%. Considering all, I dont think he qualifies as a person who "loves making money off the TIFF"

3/12/2007 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Ok, I have to get this off my chest. I still can't figure out why someone would vote for Beth. At the Hyde Park Forum, Gamble gave a really good speech about increasing tourism and revenue for the city (I know, self serving, but that's not necessarily a bad thing because we all benefit from more tourism dollars). Beth missed the forum. Then gave an exciting speech about not having a clue about what our smoking ordinance was for the city at the Brookside neighborhood forum. I've never met either candidate personally, but just in the forums, Gamble seems to have a grasp of the issues and passion while Gottstein has neither.

I'd love to hear what others think Beth brings to the table. I don't have a strong opinion either way, but she sure has a lot of support, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why.

3/12/2007 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think her support is eroding. Four Freedoms and Bike group just endorsed Gamble as did the Star. Not sure about LaRaza.

3/13/2007 12:17 AM  
Blogger joeinkc said...

So did Gramble get TIFF money or not?
Gamble has never received a dollar from TIF

The HI hotel redevelopment (tear down)was approved for just that and from what I read Gamble owns 5%.

So which is it? Either Gramble didn't get TIFF or he owned 5% of project which had TIFF?

So did he get TIFF or not?

3/13/2007 1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he has never received TIF money. The HI was approved for a TIF but it hasnt taken place and I hear they are selling the hotel.

3/13/2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger joeinkc said...

The HI was approved for a TIF but it hasnt taken place and I hear they are selling the hotel.

Wouldn't TIF approval raise the resale value of the property? I mean if my house was tax abated for 20 years, that would probably raise the resale value of my home by 40K.

3/13/2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

figure out what the value of the hotel is v. the sale price with a TIF approved for redevelopment and you will have your answer. I would think if the TIF was such a windfall the owners would do it themselves.

3/13/2007 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from what I read from the article referenced earlier in the thread, the hotel was abated back in the 90's and that would continue for many more years (current group purchased it in 2005). The article also says more property tax would be paid if the hotel was redeveloped b/c of that abatement...for what its worth. I would question the original abatement if anything at all.

3/13/2007 10:46 PM  

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