Thursday, June 21, 2007

Let's Be Careful What We Wish For in Funk's Office

The "cool kids" of conventional wisdom are decrying the absence of a "seasoned political pro" in the Mayor's office. Kraske and most local bloggers repeat this conventional wisdom with the blase' confidence of people who simply don't have a clue about what they're saying.

Like most conventional wisdom, it is heavy on the conventional and light on the wisdom. What they're really saying is that Funk needs a savvy political insider who knows how to "get things done". What they're really saying is that things run more smoothly when you have someone like Steve Glorioso or Pat Gray running things in the Mayor's office. What they're really saying is that the rag-tag group of volunteers and friends that ran Funk's successful campaign (while people like Kraske were predicting he'd finish way back in the pack) aren't savvy like they are.

My bet is that it just isn't going to happen. Mark didn't fight this fight so that conventional political insiders can continue to manage the message. He ran because this city needs change, and he's going to bring it. And he's smart enough to know that you can't alter the way things are done by acting like nothing's changed.

I 100% agree that a seasoned political pro could have helped Mark avoid the Honda flap, and I also agree that it would have been better, at least in the short run, if he could have avoided that flap. I'll even agree that it's quite possible that the coming months will see similar dust-ups when Mark says or does something that bothers people - especially when he upsets the current power structure.

Here's some free advice from someone who understands how Funkhouser thinks far better than Steve Kraske does: Get used to it - it's going to be okay.

I've alluded to the fact that these next four (perhaps eight) years are going to be a civics lesson for us all. We're going to see how decisions get made, and we're going to see the real battles that are going on in our city. A seasoned political pro might have figured out how to get Semler on the Parks Board by cutting a backroom deal with Hispanic "leaders" before the announcement - perhaps by agreeing to put Fierro in as chair and a couple other concessions (probably involving city contract dollars for the "leaders"). The result would be almost the same, but it would happen in back rooms and we would know nothing about it. There would be a Friday afternoon press release that nobody would notice, and things would continue on in their Barnes-like way.

The only way to keep everyone happy in our city is to make no hard choices, and to spend money like a drunken sailor. If Mark wants a smooth term of office, he knows how to accomplish that. He's seen it done.

Smoothness may be a political virtue, but it's not high on Mark's list of values. In our discussion of the Honda flap, Heidi reminded me of the page where Mark set forth why he was running. On that page, Mark says that the four qualities Kansas City needs in a leader are authenticity, integrity, competence and transparency. That's what our little orange revolution was about - not smoothness and business as usual. If that is what we wanted, we had a fine man representing those values as his opponent.

I know that there are those that question whether Mark's integrity has been compromised by the Honda flap, or by the Semler appointment. I also know that if Joe Miller (Funk's director of communications) were more like Steve Glorioso, we might never had discussed those issues. They would have been "handled" outside of our view, and Kraske would never have noticed.

I'm not really an insider, but I'd bet you a thousand dollars that Joe Miller is not getting chewed out by Funkhouser for failing to avoid the public reaction to the Honda deal or the Semler appointment. Instead, I'm reminded of a conversation Joe reported on in his blog a while back:
I said to him, "I've been thinking about these insiders we keep talking about" -- a big part of our campaign platform was against The Insiders -- "and it occurred to me that a lot of these people were reformists 30 years ago."

At this, Mark kind of laughed and nodded his head.

"So do you ever wonder if we'll wind up the same way?" I asked.

Mark immediately said no, claiming he's "too old" to fall into such pitfalls. "Besides, that's why I have you," he added. "To keep me from (messing) up."

But, he admitted, there is this thing known as "The Iron Law of Oligarchy." It's an old political science theory, advanced by a man named Robert Michels in the early 20thn Century. Michels studied labor movements in Europe in the 19th Century and he found that they invariably lost their democratic and populist spirits and were taken over by exclusive groups of insiders. They inevitably became oligarchies.

When I pressed Mark a little bit on his optimism and resolve, he admitted, "I'm as human as anyone." But, he said, "I have a lot of faith in democracy."
That, my friends, is why we're not going to see a seasoned political pro come in and protect Mark from public opinion. I expect that as time passes, Mark will get a little better at anticipating and avoiding unnecessary outbreaks of negative public opinion (such as the Honda deal), but it's not really his highest priority. He accepts his own fallibility, and doesn't really want to appear perfect. He's not perfect, and what's the point in trying to lie about that? More importantly, though, he doesn't fear public opinion. In fact, he's counting on it. His Director of Communications is not there to protect him from public opinion, he is there to seek it out. And to keep him from falling in with the insiders.

Now do you see why Joe Miller is there instead of Steve Glorioso?

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Anonymous travelingal said...

I don't really have a horse in this race since I'm not a Kansas City resident, but looking on from afar from dreaded Johnson County, looks to me like Kansas City has a fine mayor. Well said, Dan.

One comment, Funk and the community might benefit from more open dialog such as monthly "meet the mayor" meetings or something like that, especially in the early part of his term.

6/21/2007 9:02 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

I'd go with that. Heck, Rev. Cleaver has "Coffee with Cleaver" once a month in various parts of his district. Both me and my hubby got to meet and talk to him, and we both came away with a lot more respect for him.

If our State Rep can do it, why can't our Mayor?

6/21/2007 9:16 AM  
Anonymous just me said...

I don't know that Funk needs a "seasoned political pro" -- whatever that is -- but it sure wouldn't hurt if he had at least someone around him with good political radar. The Honda thing was stupid and a distraction. It is very possible to die from a thousand paper cuts like these. He has too many enemies to ignore common sense like that.

6/21/2007 9:16 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Just Me Said nailed it. No one's saying Funk needs to hire Glorioso or Pat Gray, and if they are, then they're an idiot. But Funk absolutely needs someone with half an ounce of political sense and experience on his team. He doesn't need someone trying to captain his ship for him, but he could sure use a navigator to help him keep his ship off the rocks.

These "headaches," as Funk called the Honda fiasco, are entirely self-inflicted and could all easily be avoided if someone would say, "Hey, wait a second. Have you really thought this through?" Funny thing is that you'd think his highly paid chief of staff might be the person to talk him down. Wolf was supposed to be the experienced hand, but either he's as clueless as Funk or he's incapable of telling him no and/or being heard.

The rag tag team of rebels that ran Funk's campaign did a good job. Kudos to them for that. But many a political leader has learned that there is a world of difference between winning office and actually governing, and the people they have around them need to change (either literally or figuratively). The sooner Funk wises up to this, the better off he will be.

Also, it's not as if Funk never took on any water during the campaign. The voucher thing was a huge deal and he personally mishandled it, just like he personally mishandled the Honda and mean-spirited snipes at the outgoing Parks Board (nevermind appointing Semler). That was just crappy and unnecessary -- especially when he was standing there decrying them for being "divisive."

Oh, and speaking of Semler, exactly when are we going to get a straight story from Funk on this one? First we were told she didn't tell him about her affiliation with the minutemen, then he said (I believe it was to Kraske) he "googled her," then we hear that his wife knew but didn't think it was an issue, and now we find out that he apparently met with city council members who voiced serious concerns.

So Dan, it's fine if you don't want Pat Gray or Steve Glorioso on board, but it's hard to swallow that someone who believes in the principles Funk put forward in the campaign would be such a defender of THIS status quo.

6/21/2007 9:56 AM  
Anonymous lifelongcitizen said...

Nice sentiment, Dan, but Funk's "four qualities""authenticity, integrity, conpetence and transparency" are just hollow words or euphemisims when his actions suggest "arrogance, stubbornness, incompetence and chaos". His continued efforts to wage class war and describe citizens as "elites" and "regulars" is not likely to move Kansas City forward. His gratutious attack on decades of Park Board members was simply outrageous and revealed a deep seated resentment that will not serve the Mayor well. Perhaps the universal accolades for the Nelson Atkins Bloch Bldg. will drown out the negative messages the Mayor is sending about KC.

6/21/2007 11:05 AM  
Anonymous ImJustSaying said...

I agree completely with these comments. Why go to defense of Funkhouser Dan? It's cool you voted for him, but so did almost all of the people speaking out against him.

JustMe, NitWit and Lifelong citizen really hit jackpot on their comments. Don't fall for this "defend funkhouser at all costs" mentality. When you are wrong you are wrong.

Speaking of wrong, I know people that were in that back room and those deals didn't go on. Instead they were told to shut up. Also, its no secret that if you meet with Funkhouser you can expect to meet with his wife as well, and watch the show that is the Mayor constantly asking his wife for decision making advise and permission during meetings.

6/21/2007 12:23 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Travelingal and Janet - Great idea to have monthly meetings - eve better is that he already has a weekly townhall. I tell ya, this guy's good!

Just Me - I suppose I did leap to the conclusion that Kraske is calling for a "seasoned political professional" means someone like Gray or Glorioso. If it's not someone like that, with a history of smoothing stuff over, then I don't know exactly what he and others are calling for. Regardless, I don't think it's necessary, or a good idea. Those paper cuts are not going to kill him - they will make him stronger and wiser, and give us a few lessons along the way. I agree with Funk that controversy is not necessarily a bad thing. There will be no permanent harm from Honda or Semler, and we'll all get used to having a mayor who only speaks bluntly in back rooms. He's more Koch than Bloomberg, and that's okay.

Nitwit - if the prior commenter "nails it" for you in 64 words, don't bother adding 400 of your own.

Lifelong - You're obviously correct that he is an awful, evil person, so I supppose you agree with me that hiring someone like Glorioso or Gray would be a waste of time and money. You can't make someone as awful as Funkhouser look good, can you?

I'mJust - I've parted with Funkhouser on one issue, and I'll do it again if he does something I disagree with. But let's stick to the point - the fact that someone like Glorioso didn't broker a backroom deal with your friends is a good thing, ultimately, for the city. I'm sure they wanted their money, and I'm sure they were strident in their demands for it, but that doesn't mean it's right. We both know it comes down to money, and Mark didn't spend it like previous drunken sailors. Too bad. And if people are somehow offended that he seeks the advice of the woman he has been married to for years, they need a little misogyny counseling. Get over it.

6/21/2007 1:36 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

"we'll all get used to having a mayor who only speaks bluntly in back rooms" was supposed to be "we'll all get used to having a mayor who DOESN'T only speak bluntly in back rooms."

6/21/2007 1:38 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Dan, that's a pretty lame retort on your part. I guess you couldn't find something to nitpick on so instead you decided to attack me for being thoughtful and discussing the issue.

And can I just ask exactly what does this statement from you means?

Dan on Kraske: "I don't know exactly what he and others are calling for. Regardless, I don't think it's necessary, or a good idea."

OK. So you're saying in no uncertain terms that despite your posting an entire item ripping on Kraske et al, you don't actually know what they are saying. And then, you go on to assert that despite your lack of understanding of what they're saying, that their ideas are still bad -- presumably for no reason other than that Funk's a good guy.

Serously Dan, your constant need to override rational thought to defend the indefensible must be getting to your brain.

6/21/2007 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Just Me Again said...

You say that the paper cuts won't hurt him, but I'm not so sure. Ask Bob Holden about the "minor" flap over his inauguration. The dismissive attitude is prone to play right into the hands of those trying to take down Funk.

6/21/2007 2:39 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

lifelong - "His continued efforts to wage class war and describe citizens as "elites" and "regulars" is not likely to move Kansas City forward."

When was the last time you were east of Troost? The class war has been ongoing in KC for a long time and it is exactly those "elites and regulars" you seem to be defending who are directly responsible for the blatant neglect of the eastside. Those are citizens over there too, ya know.

Sounds to me like Funk is trying to fix that. It sure would be nice to see the level of development and investment taking place downtown also taking place along the Troost and Paseo corridors.

6/21/2007 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legal Hispanic said:

Considering that the "Master of the Funkiverse" beat back the candidate of the entrenched establishment, should be enough to be on the lookout for the purveyors of the "death by a thousand papercuts"... The ethnic political bosses, who masquerade as social agencies catering to the "needs" of their constituency, are all in a tizzy because they've lost their rigts to the mayor's doorknob. No more back-room deals to get what they want, has resulted in the ridiculous display of the Kansas City COHO, cynically led by a losing candidate for the city council and, by their own count, no more than thirty other folks, including reporters, cameramen and drivers... A Black Plague wake has better attendance.

So Funkalaya has to relinquish the Honda... Not a big deal as the Civic is a bit light and we'd like for "The Boss" to walk away from any collision.

What it boils down to is that the special interest forces of cronyism and patronage have arrayed themselves against the Mayor. He like a statesman has decided to keep his frinds close and his enemies closer.

What this calls for is for some grand announcement on some program to show the doubting Thomas opposition that his is an administration of achievement.

6/21/2007 4:09 PM  
Anonymous ImJustSayin said...

Come On Dan to assume that the Latino leadership in this community wanted some monetary compensation because of his appointment of Semler is ridiculous. Let's not make Funkhouser look like the innocent soul here, because he isn't by any stretch of the imagination.

As for his wife, I agree a mayor should ask his/her spouse for advice, but to do so frequently during professional meetings? I don't think so my friend. He has a staff of city counselors for that reason. Why aren't they sitting in the meetings instead of her? Is she a lawyer? Is she being paid? As a city, we should know and be worried.

6/21/2007 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the level of this conversation just dropped now that Legal Hispanic entered it. Expect a lot of spin, no answers, a lot of hatred for Mexicansto come. Also, expect LH not to tell you what he does for a living.

6/21/2007 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legal Hispanic said:

Ha,ha,ha,ha... Not that I was looking to be the subject of your obsession, but what I do is not germane.

If I were such a "spin-master", I'dbe on somebody's payroll. Probably a Hispanic group seeking to influence opinions.

As if I were the one who needs to answer for the ridiculous displays of the sore losers.

"Pero la verdad es que usted esta mal de la mente!!!"

6/21/2007 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long until recall paperwork can be filed?

6/21/2007 7:54 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Nitwit - sorry, but you bored me. As for what I was saying in the paragraph you selectively quote, I was pointing out that the "advice" makes no sense unless it is to hire someone of the Gray or Glorioso ilk, and that's a bad idea.

Just Me - you may be right, but I don't see Funk in the same situation as Holden. Time will tell, and, again, I don't think Funk's going to turn into a milquetoast to avoid it.

ImJust - you didn't read what I wrote. The way it would have been handled under Barnes is that the "leadership" would have been bought off with city contracts before the appointment was made.

Anonymous 5:00 - Is this really a case of a person who posts under the thick cloak of anonymity complaining about not knowing enough about someone who posts under the thinner veil of pseudonymity? Thanks for the chuckle.

Anonymous 7:54 - Why don't you go ahead and do a little research on recall, and get back to us on that? And how would you articulate your basis, anyhow? "He made a discretionary appointment I didn't like"? "He almost accepted a car which would have been completely legal"? Sometimes I wonder why I don't delete stupid anonymous comments, but then I realize that they make the rest of us feel better about ourselves.

6/21/2007 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legal Hispanic said:

Big D:

These folks are something special, or as Carlos Mencia would say: "DEE,DEE,DEE....

Funkhouser's addministration is not yet at full tilt, yet these "dumbocrats" act as if his administration was a return to the ill-fated and irresponsible politicso of Kay Barnes. They didn't oust her because they lacked the "cojones" and to be truthful, unless there is a "gonad fairy" they ain't grown none yet.

6/21/2007 8:49 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

Its so classic that you would use a Carlos Mencia joke. Nothing like a fake Hispanic using a joke from good ole' Ned Holness.

6/21/2007 11:22 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

Let me better word that. Nothing like seeing one fake Hispanic who makes a living off of other Hispanics to quote Ned Holness aka Carlos Mencia, who does essentially the exact same thing.

6/21/2007 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since we seem to have some eminences on the subject, what is a "fake hispanic, and what is a "Real Hispanic"?
Does it require a NCLR seal of approval?

Must be getting some of the thinner skinned folks here quite itchy... As they continue trying to guess wether or not I'm a Hispanic, or just using that label.

6/22/2007 4:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legal Hispanic Said:

Once again, the trafficking of innacuracies and innuendo seems to rear its ugly head

From Wikipedia
Carlos Mencia: "Ned Arnel Mencia was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the seventeenth of eighteen children. At the time of his birth, his mother, Magdelena Mencía from Mexico, was engaged in a domestic dispute with his father, Honduran Roberto Holness, and declined to give her son his biological father's last name. The name appearing on his birth certificate is "Ned Arnel Mencía", although Mencia has said that out of respect for his biological father he went by the Holness name anyway, and was known as "Ned Holness" until he was eighteen years old"

Unless San Pedro Sula is in Europe, and being the offspring of a Honduran and a Mexican makes you Asian, it seems like Mencia is as real a Hispanic as any other Hispanic. Let's not forget being raised in East LA by relatives...

Mencia's as Hispanic/Latino as they come. That he may plagiarize material, well, that may be one left to the lawyers of the offended parties.

6/22/2007 5:59 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I think we need to wait at least a year before we can even begin drawing even an early verdict on Funk.

Let's give the guy a chance, and continue to let him know when we think he's on the right track and when he's not.

I would encourage all of us to base our ideas of good government NOT around what Mark Funkhouser's definition of good government is, but base our opinions on our own independent ideas of what is good government. And then proceed from there in forming our judgements of what is right and wrong.

There's big a difference, and we need to hold our public officials accountable.

In this manner we won't look silly by interpreting stumbles as intentional acts of wisdom. (Are you reading this, Dan?)

I don't know about y'all, but I'm excited, looking forward to and focused on what the Economic Development Task Force is accomplishing and will accomplish by August 30th; whether the Parks Board will do things different, other just moving the public comments section up on the agenda; how we're going to manage our multi-billion dollar sewer overhaul....

There are a lot of exciting things ahead, so let's keep moving forward - I'm hoping the opening paragraph of this administration is over and we can start the real story...

6/22/2007 9:19 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Dan, it has to be frustrating to see so many of your readers (good loyal Funk supporters even) challenging you and questioning your lame defense of all things orange. You clearly aren't espousing any true principles on here but instead blind loyalty to Funkhouser.

Mainstream is absolutely right. If you actually do stand for good government, then you need to call Funkhouser on it when doesn't meet that standard. And if you're not going to call Funkhouser on it, then don't expect anyone to take you seriously when you bag on someone else.

Oh, and I didn't selectively quote you. I took the meat of what you said and asked you to try to explain your bizarre rambling. But hey, I hope your lame retorts make you feel all big in your own eyes.

6/22/2007 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breaking News: Rabid bats have been sighted in the Kansas City area, some even seen foaming at the mouth. Residents are urged to take all necessary precautions to avoid being bitten, as rabies is a transmissible disease and fatal if not immediately treated. City officials have instituted emergency measures, including broadcast spraying with DDT to eradicate the problem. Environmentalists are up in arms; the national guard has been stationed at City Hall to hold off angry crowds from an emergency meeting of the Park Board. The Minutemen are guarding the Johnson County line and President Bush plans to make a personal visit to the disaster area in the next couple of months.

6/22/2007 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you say Jimmy Carter . . . . sure, sure you can.

I like Funk, but he needs some savvy advice.

6/22/2007 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only people that should be thin skinned are the immigrants that Hispanic makes money off of and then turns around and speaks out against in blogs and in as many papers that will print his letters. I don't blame them.

6/22/2007 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still waiting on the definition of what is a "fake hispanic, and what is a "Real Hispanic"?

Since there seems to be an authority on the subject.

6/22/2007 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were such a "spin-master", I'd be on somebody's payroll. Your mom is great "spin-master" and is on my payroll if you know what I mean!

Bottom line is me and a bunch of folks voted for regular guy that drove his old car around. Regular guys don't get gifts of free cars. We voted for the guy that cared about everyone, not just rich developers. Inclusive folks don't appoint members of radical right wing
extremist groups.

I personally think Funk made these mistakes BECAUSE he close to being a regular guy. But he is in office now and needs someone, be it his current staff or a political consultant, to keep him from making these mistakes.

Whether he likes it or not, Funk has to have the support of the counsel and people if he wants to get things done.

6/22/2007 6:54 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

anonymous - "I personally think Funk made these mistakes BECAUSE he close to being a regular guy. But he is in office now and needs someone, be it his current staff or a political consultant, to keep him from making these mistakes."

So, it sounds like you voted for him because he was a "regular guy", but now that he is in office you want someone to keep him from actually being a "regular guy"?

Regular guys make mistakes. They fuck up. They stumble, fall and get up.

It's only the well oiled, slimy, used-car politicians who slide through office like grass through a goose without any public problems.

You got what you voted for. Be happy!

6/22/2007 7:20 PM  
Anonymous lifelongcitizen said...

I didn't vote for Gloria, and after listening to her on Kraske's show on Thursday, I'm really sorry I voted for Funkhouser. She really is scarry...and she's now the official gatekeeper to the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. She's worse than clueless and sounded pretty bitter as well, as when she thought people owed them the car since they are sacrificing so much to be Mayor...hadn't Funk been thinking about running for ten years, and I don't recall anyone forcing him to run.

6/22/2007 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legal Hispanic said:

Can't say I've heard Gloria, but if you think she's scary on the radio, and I'll take your word on it, imagine dealing with her on a daily basis... And in person.

6/23/2007 1:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legal Hispanic said:

6:54 tried to make a rude and tasteless joke... In the absence of reasoning, he resorts to name calling and "yo-mama" insults...

Such is the soaring height of his discourse...

Bottom line, you guys voted for the guy and now have "buyer's remorse. Big Whoop. By the way brainiac, for pragmatic reasons, Funk needs to work with the COUNCIL. Counsel may be the guy that handles a plea bargain for you...

6/23/2007 1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:54 tried to make a rude and tasteless joke...

Your mom is defenitely NOT tasteless if you know what I mean!

6/23/2007 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legal Hispanic said:

Your feeble attempts at toilet humor are funier than your actual attempts at witty repartee. The last time I saw a wit that sharp, it was on an autist. Considering that you probably got home-schooled in your geriatric proclivities, I'm certain that you down everything with prune juice spiked with vinegar & Geritol. It only goes to show the highly flawed basic underlying fabric of your thought process and absence of coherence. Apparently you like the moaning to be about arthritis and the cost of living while you try to get her to a "happy ending"... I guess your abuela must have got you started; But hey, to each his own "young man"... Ha,ha,ha,ha...

Funkhouser has always been a numbers guy and not a warm & fuzzy people person. That you and the rest of the bison herd chose to be herded over the cliff was your own choice. Granted, the other choice, had a much higher potential for calamities. So this may have been a case ofthe lesser of two evils.

You certainly got your undies in a bunch over your own ill choices, but refuse to lay blame where it resides. You screwed up and your fragile ego won't let you recognize it so you blame Funkhouser and everyone else for your own, varied and many, short-comings and innadequacies.

Next time, I'll bring the cards with blots to see if any remind you of your felame relatives or your dear uncle "Lester the candy-man".... What flavor you sucking these days; Blue Raspberry?Ha,ha,ha,ha... Go get yoour "A-game" cub-scout.

6/23/2007 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legal Hispanic, I'm glad your mom doesn't blubber as much as you do.

6/24/2007 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah; she's a lot more reserved. However, I hear her complain about how you're all talk and gas. Pass on the carbs my esteemed "Flatus".

6/24/2007 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But she does drop a tidbit here and there... By the way, how does it feel to be Clay Chastain's long lost love-child?

6/24/2007 5:19 PM  
Anonymous jim g said...

So, let's have some of that oft-mentioned "transparency." Why is accepting a dishwasher and dishes any different than accepting a car? It's a "gift" and paybacks will occur. Who gave it?
And why can't they do their own dishs? I saw that Barns staff washed there own dishes.

6/25/2007 6:32 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Jim G -

The dishwasher was bought with left over campaign funds. It wasn't a gift. So, no, you have your facts precisely wrong. Good try, though, and thanks for illustrating the insane eagerness to find or make up some - any - basis for attacking Funkhouser.

6/25/2007 6:45 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ya know, Jim G, it might be a great idea to postpone your complaints about transparency until AFTER you look to see if there's a window open. Check out Funk's blog, and specifically this post, and you'll have the answers you seek.

6/25/2007 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That post is not entirely accurate. I sat at many a meeting w/ Barnes and we were never served in styrofoam. Her staff washed the dishes. Also, the statement about a mayor not being at a meeting in the 3rd District is false.
Funkhouser is trying to throw dirt on everyone that preceded him. How sad.

6/25/2007 9:15 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Did Funk say no mayor had ever been at a meeting in the 3rd district before? Nope, he didn't. Did he say that Barnes served anyone in styrofoam? Nope, he didn't. You need to work a little on reading comprehension, and stop being so hypersensitive to imagined insults to Barnes. It's sad that you're imagining that Funk is throwing dirt when he's not.

6/26/2007 6:02 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan -

The Funk did make a statement that implied, and would clearly lead the reader to conclude a KC Mayor had never stepped foot inside the Third District.

To construe the statement below any other way is being pedantic.

From their 6/15 newsletter:

"Funk went to his first town hall meeting last night. The chapel was filled to the brim with anxious and hopeful faces. The crowd was asked by one of the hosts of the event if they had ever seen a Mayor in the 3rd district - the crowd went wild; shouting, no, they had never seen a Mayor in their district before. The crowd went on to say that they had never had a Mayor ask them for their opinion or to inquire as to what he could do to help them. It was an uplifting kick-off to our town hall meetings, and we sensed that the crowd left even more hopeful and trusting that they would be included in their City's future decisions."

The newsletter is here:

6/26/2007 10:17 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Ya know Dan, it might be a good idea to postpone your knee-jerk defense/praise of Funk until AFTER you look to see what you're talking about. Stop being so hypersensitive to fair questions about Funk. It's sad that you're imagining that Funk should be immune from criticism when he's not. [50 words]

6/26/2007 11:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Let me get this straight. I pointed out (correctly) that Funk never said that no mayor had ever been at a meeting in the 3rd district before. Mainstream found the quotation that proved me 100% correct, though he confused my accuracy with pedantry (a common mistake for the perennially wrong). Then Nitwit wasted 50 words (really, though, it's the quality of Nitwit's words than make him special, not the quantity) demonstrating that the whole dispute went over his head.

You guys crack me up. Thank you.

6/26/2007 1:02 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

*sigh* I promised myself I wouldn't get into this particular type of nitpicky, small-minded, boring and meaningless conversation with you, Dan.

But I am going to anyways.

You maintain that Funk never said "no mayor had ever been in the third district before Funk".

But his 6-15 newsletter would leave any reader with the impression that "no mayor had ever been to the third district before Funk" because the newsletter says "they had never seen a Mayor in their district before".

Now, the technicality you're arguing is that the newsletter was quoting a resident, who may very well never attended a Mayoral function before in their district.

You know, Dan, there are THOUSANDS of people in every district that have never seen their mayor physically in their district before.

But what we're talking about here is the impression one gets from reading the newsletter, because most people (most meaning 99.99999999999999% of people) read newsletters without the overly legalistic, pedantic focus that you have.

And your argument wouldn't stand up in the court of public opinion, and doesn't. I suggest you enroll in one of the refresher courses at

Quite honestly, Dan, I don't know whose actions as of late have been more embarrassing, yours or The Funk's.

6/26/2007 1:39 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Hey, Dan did get a pointless personal dig in at me, so let's all pat Dan on the back for that one. Is someone wearing his big boy pants today? Over my head? Ha. That's rich.

ephemera, hubris, legacy!!!

[39 words]

6/26/2007 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding me. Now we are attacking reading comprehension. You are trying to defend political speech by strictly interpreting words that were meant to mislead.
Funkhouser will be a one term Mayor, if he doesn't get recalled before that.

6/26/2007 6:03 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Ehh, Remember Bill Clinton and Kay Barnes and alot of other successful elected officials that had terrible starts.

He'll find his legs and get movin, you'll see.

6/26/2007 7:04 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

No. Simply no.

Words mean things. That simple principle means that we are able to communicate. When you accept sloppy reading, and misconstrue words, you attack the basis of society. Seriously. The fact that you dare to feel that you are correct when you are specifically wrong is completely unacceptable. The fact that you are so comfortable in your blatant wrongness is truly upsetting to those of us who value communication.

Let's review for a second.

1. Anonymous claimed that "the statement about a mayor not being at a meeting in the 3rd District is false", and claimed that Funkhouser was "throwing dirt" on his predecessors.

2. I correctly pointed out that Funkhouser did not "say no mayor had ever been at a meeting in the 3rd district before".

3. Mainstream made the claim that Funk "did make a statement that implied, and would clearly lead the reader to conclude a KC Mayor had never stepped foot inside the Third District."

4. Mainstream then proved his claim false, by quoting a passage from a newsletter that clearly stated "The crowd was asked by one of the hosts of the event if they had ever seen a Mayor in the 3rd district - the crowd went wild; shouting, no, they had never seen a Mayor in their district before."

5. The crowd did not say no mayor had ever set foot in the district.

6. Funk did not say that no mayor had ever set foot in the district.

7. To my knowledge, nobody had claimed that no mayor had ever set foot in the 3rd district until Mainstream came up with this astonishing position, based on other people saying something quite different.

I am sincerely sorry, Mainstream, if your parents never read to you, and if the educational system so failed you, that you really believe that other people saying they had not seen a mayor in their district is the equivalent of Funk saying that no mayor had ever set foot in that district. They are two different things - they use different words that have different meanings. I'm not trying to talk down to you, but, please, read the darned words - that's why people write them. Don't settle for glancing at the words and forming some different thought and thinking that the words say whatever came into your mind. That's not the way it should work - it's not the way it can work. Please put in the effort to read the words that are written, so you can understand what people are saying to you.

If you refuse to do that, how can we communicate? How could the fact that people at the forum said that they had not seen a mayor there before (a relevant fact showing that at least some people in the third district are feeling more engaged) possibly be communicated without people like you reading it to mean something entirely different? How can we communicate if you are going to insist that it is fine to completely misread the origin and nature of a statement?

You may call it overly legalistic and pedantic, and claim that 99.99999999999999% of people don't read the words that are written in a newsletter, but I'm not ready to be so pessimistic about the state of our society. I like to believe that literate people can and will read what is written, and not substitute their own imagination.

In complete and utter seriousness, it is that hope and expectation that motivates me to do this blog. It is the hope that engagement through the written word can lead to elevation of the thought process. But it won't work if people like you are going to substitute "truthiness" for accuracy.

Nitwit, you can make fun of my wordiness here, but this is truly, truly important.

6/26/2007 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are misreading my post.
I said, as you quoute, "the statement about a mayor not being at a meeting in the 3rd District is false." I never said Funkhouser said it. I just said that the statement is false.
I also said that "Funkhouser is trying to throw dirt on everyone that preceded him." I think his attack on the many members of the park board is proof of that. His attacks on the TIF commission are next.
Give it up, Dan. You insult people but you are also guilty of not being able to comprehend the written word.

6/26/2007 8:59 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous - you are entirely correct about what you wrote, and I haven't disputed that. My beef was not with what you wrote - it was with where Mainstream ran with it.

6/26/2007 9:06 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan, I understand the point you're making. And your points are relevant, and important.

I was simply defending one or more of the Funk critics - most people, and most regular folks don't pay attention to the things you, I and some other people pay attention to.

We're hyper-engaged. Most people aren't.

The intent of the wording in the newsletter, and the intent behind the inclusion of the point itself, was clearly to imply "The Funk is paying attention to the Third, when previous Mayors have not". Otherwise, what could possibly be the motivation - why else include the statement?

That was the intention, And that was the effect, regardless of how much we want people to read and pay attention to the detail of what is said.

I happen to think The Funk is capable, and is uniquely capable, of doing a better job of delivering services and improving the Third District's community moreso than any of his predecessors over the last 20+ years.

But he hasn't yet, so trying to drawing a strong distinction early on, saying essentially "hey, we're heads above our predecessors by just showing up” after the Mayor’s very first appearance in the district is premature and will draw criticism.

The Funk hasn’t done anything yet for the east side. None of the white candidates spent any significant time campaigning on the east side, including Funk, because they knew the eastside would go overwhelmingly to Brooks, and that campaign dollars would be wasted. And they were pretty much right. (There was one notable exception with one candidate, it wasn’t Funk, but I won’t belabor the point here.) I’m not saying it was a good or bad thing, it just was what it was.

I think it’s always better to talk straight and then over-deliver. The Administration, hailing their first appearance (since the election) in the Third District as something special, wasn’t, in my opinion, appropriate.

6/26/2007 9:18 PM  

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