Wednesday, May 09, 2007

At the Scene of the Crime - The Funk's Inauguration

I was there. I saw it with my own eyes, and, now that it's attracting media attention, I might as well come clean. I was at the Inuagural Ball that the Star reports is drawing criticism for its expense. I'll even admit that I was at the more restricted pre-party, where the drinks were free and deals were being cut in the dark corners of the room.

It was awesome. By virtue of being there, I have a municipal judgeship lined up for myself, my wife is getting 10% of the action on the next Briarcliff expansion, my daughter has a summer job lifeguarding at the Miller Nichols fountain, and my son has received a lucrative commission to write a play about the election, with Adam Brody playing Joe Miller and Yao Ming in a breakout role as the Funk. All that, plus the turkey sandwiches were good and the Boulevard Pale Ale was cold.

Just as the critics of the party have pointed out, that is exactly how it works. The Star, in its almost-helpful manner, lists the $10,000 sponsors, but hides the complete list of donors behind the wall at PrimeBuzz, where absolutely nobody can see it.

The list of donors is crucial to understanding why this party was so important. If not for this party, such entities as the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and JE Dunn Construction and DST would not have any opportunity whatsoever to influence policy in this city for the next four years. Bill Dunn, Pete Levi and Tom McDonnell would be stuck waiting for an opportunity to try to get through on one of Funk's upcoming call-in shows for their voices to be heard at all if they had not sponsored the party.

I share with the critics a certain nostalgic yearning for the good old days, when Mayor Barnes threw her party for only $30,000, and stuck taxpayers with the tab, without inviting the entire city. Ahh, yes, those were the days, when the city administration was above influence by wealthy donors. And she didn't pack Union Station with a bunch of commoners who picked up their tickets for free at a community center - instead, she limited access to those who could afford to pay for a ticket. It was so much nicer then - you didn't have to worry about seeing poor people at the inaugural ball and you got to make taxpayers pay for most of the party. Wine tastes so much better when it's paid for by those unsophisticates who don't know how to get TIF status.

Yes, I was there this time. I was one of the couple hundred people jammed into a concrete room where I could barely hear anything. Let me tell you, it was a bacchanalian carnival of power and influence.

Though, frankly, I prefer the old way, when those $10,000 donors simply met quietly and privately with Mayor Barnes in a cozy booth at the Capital Grille, and nobody had to know about it, and no list of donors appeared in the paper.

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Blogger les said...

Ah, the return of the snark. Tasty.

5/09/2007 9:26 AM  
Anonymous not really surprised said...

What a BS post. You're right, the Barnes ball cost people $10 each to attend -- so only the super-rich could attend. Give me a break. How many people were there at Funkhouser's party that couldn't afford to pay $10 a ticket? I didn't go, but my answer would be something approaching zero.

Good to see that Pat O'Neil was involved, too. Same big-money contributors, same slimey consultants, same-old same-old from city hall. The only thing that surprises me is the speed with which Funkhouser has assimilated.

5/09/2007 9:42 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Who gives a rats either way about the inauguration? It's already forgotten, if it even was in the minds of most Kansas Citians.

And why waste people's time trying to put Funk on a pedestal? He's got a job to do, and like the DNA difference between humans and chimps, 95%+ of the things you have to do to get things done in city hall are pretty much the same, regardless of who you are.

Let me simplify this: it doesn't matter who you are, you have to pay attention to influential people to get things done no matter what you're doing, and it's even better when you can do a better job serving EVERYBODY.

And a note to "not really" above, O'Neill is a stand-up guy, especially in the Kansas City field of political consultants. If you have had a chance to work with or near him, you would have a different opinion.

5/09/2007 10:56 AM  
Blogger KC Sponge said...

I was at the party - enjoyed myself, had some nice food, listened to a great band and saw some really neat performances from groups around the city. The only thing that annoyed me was the parade down the aisle that took place - a little too much like a wedding or a beauty pageant for my taste. But really - come on, it was a party to celebrate the new council and the new mayor. It was not extravegant - the palm trees/lamp posts were the most interesting decorations - and they were there for Dead Sea Scrolls. Somebody had to pay for it - Im glad I didn't. It's ridiculous what people get all ruffled up about. . .I know it's the citizens' duty to keep the elected officials in check - and the Star will sell a lot of papers over the years to make sure we all know every little decision made - but really it just gets annoying. Let the guy do his job.

Dan - good to see someone got some free booze out of the deal. =D

5/09/2007 11:20 AM  
Anonymous not really surprised said...

Retraction -- I confused Pat O'Neill with Pat Gray. Carry on.

5/09/2007 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is news or if the Star just wants to stir controversy. I mean, the inaugural plans were no secret. Why didn't the Star make an issue out of it before the party? The comparisson to Holden is a blow below the belt.
I still think Joe is paranoid.

5/09/2007 10:12 PM  
Blogger red101 said...

The furvor to demonize the Ball is really bordering on 'conspiracy theory' at this point. I'm just waiting for the part about the mass brainwashing that occured around 9:35, and the subsequent sacrifice of the 'real' Kay Barnes.

5/11/2007 10:22 AM  
Anonymous adrianne said...

The Pitch lists the donors on their blog "Plog", info provided courtesy of the Mayor's office:

$10,000 sponsors
Ameristar Casino, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Troy Stremming

Blackwell Sanders, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Ron Finley

Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Ron Coker

DST, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Tom McDonnell

Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Pete Levi

Heavy Constructors, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Edward DeSoignie

J.E. Dunn Construction, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Woody Overton

Walton Construction, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Dennis Thompson

$5,000.00 Sponsors

Kansas City Southern, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Warren Erdman

Lathrop & Gage, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Jean Paul Bradshaw

Polsinelli Shalton Flanigan Suelthaus, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: John Peterson

Time Warner, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Damon Porter

UMB, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Peter deSilva

Wal-Mart, Bentonville, Arkansas; Contact: Carrie Thum

$2,500 Sponsors

American Century Investments, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Bill Bates

Black & Veatch, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Teresa Loar

BNIM Architects, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Steve McDowell

Cerner, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Amanda Adkins

Crawford Architects, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Stacey Jones

Home Builders Association, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Dave Holtwick

Kansas City Power & Light, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Elizabeth Danforth

Kansas City Association of Realtors, Leawood, Kansas, Contact: Derek Ramsay

Stewart Law, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Shawn Stewart

$1,000.00 Sponsors

ArmstrongTeasdale, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Ford Nelson

Boulevard Beer, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Bob Sullivan

Greater KC Building & Trades Council, Independence, Missouri; Contact: Gary Kemp

Dickinson Financial, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Ann Dickinson

Environmental Coatings, Ammon Painting, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: David Ammon

Garrison Companies, Prairie Village, Kansas; Contact: Gary Hassenflu

Heartland Apartment Association, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Samuel V. Alpert

HDR, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Monica Barrington

Isle of Capri Casino, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Mike Tamburelli

King Hershey, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Mike Burke

Mark One Electric Inc., Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Joe Privitera

MGE, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Rob Hack

McGownGordon Construction, Kansas City, Missouri; Brett Gordon & Pat McGown

Michael Meriman, Americo Life Inc., Kansas City, Missouri;

RICOH Business Systems, Overland Park, Kansas

The Builders Association of Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Dan Morgan

The Paradies Shops, Kansas City International Airport, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Elliott Threat

TransSystems, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Mark Shafer

$500 Sponsors

Commerce Bankshares, Kansas City, Missouri; Contact: Jonathon Kemper

Phil Orscheln, Sildon Law Firm, Kansas City, Missouri

5/16/2007 10:48 PM  

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