Saturday, December 15, 2007

Recall?

Those who love irony will appreciate the fact that commenters over at Tony's Kansas City joke blog have begun to call for recall for the gang of 9 who, according to the commenters, ignored the Charter and gave an overpaid city manager a ten grand raise.

I still hold to the opinion that people who bluster about recall in KC are ignoranuses, but the irony was too rich to pass without comment.

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50 Comments:

Anonymous Judge Judy III said...

But Funkhouser said that wasn’t a racial slur because his wife, Gloria Squitiro, who works in his office, often adds “e” to names as a form of endearment with friends

Dan, you are in the Funks kitchen cabinet. Is that how Gloria talks? Have you heard her add an "e" to names?

12/15/2007 11:20 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

Even if the "e for endearment" explanation is true, it still reflects poorly on Gloria. To begin with, the woman she was talking to wasn't her friend. I've used "fucker" as a term of endearment with friends, but it's not something I'd do in a professional environment. And the failure to register that calling a black woman "mammy" is a bad idea suggests, at the least, a lack of black friends.

"Yes, siree" is an uncommon, but familiar, usage. It's possible that she adopted it in the feminine form "Yes, ma'mee." I don't know the details of the conversation, but that's about the most innocent explanation I can come up with - and it's the kind of situation where after uttering it, a sensitive speaker would have a "that didn't come out right" moment. Once she realized the person was offended, the proper response was to apologize. I can understand the urge to explain oneself, particularly if she'd said "ma'mee" rather than "mammy." But you don't go into full debate mode. And you sure as hell don't test it out on others to make a point that it was innocently intentioned.

12/15/2007 2:27 PM  
Anonymous What's the Topic here? said...

Dudes.

12/15/2007 2:29 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Sophia, if this was the only incident of questionable behavior by Gloria-ee, then I might be willing to buy that explanation. And even if you do buy it, it's pretty obvious the lady needs some sensitivity lessons. She did say "black part of town" and she did order extra security for Funk-ee when he addressed groups in minority areas.

I'm not saying Gloria-ee is racist, but I do think she's repeatedly displayed a lack of sensitivity at a minimum, if not outright ignorance. Funk-ee's explanation doesn't cut it and they can't just leave it at that. Volunteer or employee or spouse, she represents the city in the Mayor's office, and the public absolutely has a right to expect better.

12/15/2007 5:49 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

"Squitiro acknowledges she's a huge force in the mayor's office. She's the mayor's chief volunteer and advisor. She even has a private cubicle in City Hall with a private entrance to her husband's office.

"I do let people know what his thoughts and feelings are when he's not there," she said. "That's one of my biggest roles to answer what his mind has already spoken."

OMGWTF?

Can you imagine?

You are at work.

You get a new boss.

The boss brings his wife to work and puts her in a cubicle outside his office.

She doesn't work for the company, but she is there EVERY DAY.

You go to talk to your boss but his wife stops you and asks what you want to talk to him about.

You say you want to discuss a pay raise.

She informs you that "his mind has already spoken" on that issue and you're not getting a raise.

And, just to top things off, the two of them do stuff like this:

"Between the two, they are accused of referring to some neighborhoods as the "black part of town," calling a black City Hall staffer "Mammy,..."

Corporate America has ZERO TOLERANCE for that type of nonsense.

Unbelievable that they just don't get it. Totally clueless.

It's like a trainwreck.6 It's horrendously gruesome but you just can't look away.

How can City Government be so many decades behind the norms of modern workplace etiquette?

It just defies all reason.

12/15/2007 10:42 PM  
Anonymous ray ray said...

Anyone hear about the police bulletin that went out re Gottstein? Apperently she was involved in an accident during the recent storm and when officers start asking questions regarding her unusual behavior she berated them about how she was a commisioner and they better know who they were dealing with. The new officers at the scene backed off and while they were dealing with the wreck, she drove off. Enough of an incident was made that the KCPD sent out a memo regarding the event. Interesting

12/16/2007 12:44 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ray Ray = sorry, I gotta call "BS" on that one. Pseudonymous commenters with strange allegations and no proof beyone their own "word" get zero credibility.

Anyone here "recall" what this thread is about?

12/16/2007 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I volunteered for the Funk campaign and spent some time in the double wide.

I never once heard Gloria use an "e" after someone's names. I want my time and vote back!

12/16/2007 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan said
"Anyone here "recall" what this thread is about?"


Sure, its about an inept politician
LOL
Don't worry Dan, everybody is on topic.

12/16/2007 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recall is a waste of time. I would prefer Funkhouser re-sign. Not gonna happen.

I hear one of the not so nice 1st district council members is spreading the rumor that ray ray mentioned.

That council member is the same one known for leaking documents and acting indignant when they come out.

12/16/2007 12:26 PM  
Anonymous ray ray said...

Dan, of course you would...you always take the easy way out when it deals with people you 'support' when in reality just a little asking around would get you the truth. But again I dont think you want that in instances.

Ask around to your cops friends or ask Beth if she was in wreck last week.

12/16/2007 1:26 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Between the EEOC complaint in KcMo and the EEOC complaint in JoCo, I think we should have E sensitivity training for the metro area, well at least for the democrats in the metro area.

Sorry, folks, couldn't resist .. teehee

12/16/2007 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it just occurred to me that most municipalities have been tackling e-government for quite some time.
In KC, thanks to squitiro, we have come up with our own concept . . . Government(e). Just one more sign that the funkhouser administration is backwards.

Ok, that was stupid joke but I had to put it out there.

12/16/2007 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Aleks said...

Sorry Dan, I have to call Spin Control on this one. It's pretty obvious that those you mention on Tonys blog are Funkhouser staff members and campaign volunteers. Watching people call for a mayoral recall in the Star is actually something worth discussing.

12/17/2007 12:42 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Aleks -

It's no more obvious that they are in any way connected to Funk than it is obvious that you are Alvin Brooks. Just because you have a vivid imagination does not make it true.

12/17/2007 5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan
I have not read your blog in weeks. However, it seems you are Democrat even if a mild one. How does it make you feel that the Funk and Joe Miller, et al, have hooked up with right wing radio talk show host, Chris Stigal?? Funk invites him to MC the Mayor's Christmas lighting ceremony and Chris defends him every morning with the most racist diatribe you can image. Based on the latest polling in November that Funk's job approval is down to 46% and the fact that most of the callers for him are white male, right wing Republicans, one concludes that is his remaining political base. Great if you are Phil Kline, not so great if you see yourself as a Democrat.

12/17/2007 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Funk Fan said...

So, let me get this straight - you listen to Chris Stigall every morning, but don't visit the Best Political Blog of 2007 for weeks? And you think that Dan "Bush is a war criminal and Claire is a rightwing nut job" Gonemild is a mild democrat? What's all this telling us about your political savvy?

Then you conclude that the only people who support Funk are white male, right wing Republicans, because that's who calls into a white male, right wing Republican radio show? Do you notice that people laugh at you pretty often? What does all this tell us about your political savvy?

Frankly, 46% approval is pretty damned good at this point. The silent plurality loves Funk. After all the race-baiting by the blacks and hispanics, it's great to see how popular he remains.

At this point in their terms, Barnes had 34% approval, Cleaver had 38% approval, and Berkley had 12% approval (in case you're wondering, I just made those numbers up - that's how meaningless approval ratings are in November of the first term).

12/17/2007 11:04 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Hey, Funk Fan-ee, keep living in delusion like Funk-ee and Gloria-ee. If you don't get why KC is wildly turned off by the mayor, then you're as politically clueless as they are.

I've been a critic of his since before the election, but I've also said repeatedly that I want to see Funk succeed because that means good things for my city. So far, it ain't happening, and worse still, his missteps keep getting bigger and bigger.

It's past time for folks like you and Dan to take off the blinders and wake up. Funk is doing a borderline mediocre job, he's alienated a majority of the council, and he has zero political clout.

And please be honest, if Funk were a Republican, you would all be clammoring for Gloria to get the hell out of the 29th floor. She's become an absolute embarrassment to him and to our city. We all deserve much better. Any volunteer who exhibits behavior like hers while representing the city should be immediately sent packing. "Mammy"? Really? Oh come on.

Believe me when I say that I want to see Funk prove me and other naysayers wrong,. I want to see him succeed. Believe me, I do. Nothing would make me happier than to vote FOR Funk for re-election because that would mean he's done a good job and my city is thriving.

For months we were told by you Funk folks to just wait, he's only getting started. Well, if that's the case, then how much lower is planning to dig? How much worse is it going to get?

12/17/2007 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funk is a Republican and I can't wait to recall him

12/17/2007 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Aleks said...

Give me a break Dan. I didn't even vote for Alvin Brooks. Although now I really wished I would have. So don't give me that.

It's no big surprise that Mark's campaign staff and volunteers spent and are spending time online trying to spin the bad press. I know them and You know them. So honestly and respectfully Dan, give up the devil's advocate act as you know that a Funk recall right now has more meat than a city council one.

12/17/2007 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is simply a lie, and I defy you to prove that Funkhouser is a Republican. You can't, because it's simply not true.

Think about yourself and why you would make up a lie . . .

12/17/2007 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Not a Funk Staffer said...

Neither has any "meat", Aleks, and that is exactly what Dan was saying in his post.

Anyone who talks about recall of either is an idiot who hasn't read the law.

12/17/2007 2:30 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

"Anyone who talks about recall of either is an idiot who hasn't read the law."

You might want to explain that to Steve Kraske and Mike Mahoney, because they were discussing the liklihood of that very thing on Up To Date today.

12/17/2007 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Not a Funk Staffer said...

Score one for me, then. Any further evidence on the point is unnecessary.

12/17/2007 2:54 PM  
Anonymous No Kraske Fan said...

Yeah, that ought to satisfy anyone's doubts . . .

12/17/2007 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Not a Funk Staffer said...

And, to prove the point beyond a doubt that the talk is not serious, it is featured on the joke blog this afternoon.

12/17/2007 3:27 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Funk's not a Republican, he's a Democrat, one that likes Bill Clinton, as a matter of fact.

Ok, he's strange Democrat, but a Democrat nonetheless.

12/17/2007 3:44 PM  
Blogger Midtown Miscreant said...

I enjoy reading your blog Dan, and tend to agree with you on alot of subjects, but the mayor isnt one of them. They were talking recall on Up to Date today and it wasnt TKC and they werent joking. I had high hopes for Funk but, his wife is like an anchor around his neck and he is too stubborn to get her out of the mix.

12/17/2007 5:09 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thanks, Midtown, but Kraske is not a serious source of political analysis. Really. He's like Tony, but without the sense of humor.

Unless someone explained how Funk's behavior has approached the standard for recall (and it hasn't), it's just blowhards and idiots wasting time.

12/17/2007 5:20 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Say what you like about Kraske. But as I recall, most of the talk about a recall vote came from Mike Mahoney. Even without the stache, he's about as good, serious and credible as they get in this town.

12/17/2007 5:49 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I had to look him up to see who he is. I tend not to rely on local TV news for sage political analysis, but if you say he's a serious dude, then I believe you. But you don't say that he addressed how Funk's behavior approaches the standard for recall, so I'm disinclined to take it seriously. I'll see if I can find it online and give it a listen, though.

12/17/2007 6:24 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

I don't pretend to know what the actual legal standard for recall is in Kansas City. Nor do I recall the discussion on KCUR delving into the legal nuts and bolts.

I was also listening while I was working, so I might have missed something.

But just the fact the a serious, open discussion by actual, acredited journalists about the mind-boggling behavior of the mayor's wife combined with his own political ineptness was taking place on KCUR (not exactly a right-wing, conservative, AM radio, sputtering, ditto-head medium) was staggering.

They all agreed (there were more panelists than just Kraske and Mahoney) that none of them had ever, in their entire careers, seen a mayor (and his wife!) take a beatdown at a City Council meeting like that.

When was the last time anyone on the City Council felt compelled to stand up and make a comment, in a City Council meeting, about the outrageous behavior, on the 29th floor of City Hall, of Kay Barnes' husband? Does anyone even know who he is? Or Emanual Cleaver's wife? Or Richard Berkley's wife? Charles Wheeler? Anybody?

This is a much bigger issue than you think, my friend.

It is paralyzing Kansas City.

There is no way that you or anyone else can rationally justify the inappropriate, psuedo-official role, the influence, the behavior and the types of comments that have been attributed to (and largely substantiated by the mayor himself) Gloria Squitiro.

And to your credit, you've actually been largely silent about her. Following the "If you don't have anything nice to say..." rule.

This sort of behavior would NEVER be tolerated in a business environment...at least not one bigger than a "mom and pop" bodega.

Why would anyone make a case that it should be tolerated in the governance Kansas City?

It is just unfathomable.

But hey, that's just me. I could be wrong.

12/17/2007 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Judge Judy III said...

But you don't say that he addressed how Funk's behaviour approaches the standard for recall, so I'm disinclined to take it seriously

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the standard just ticking off enough people so that enough signatures are gathered?

It's kind of like impeaching the president. You can impeach him for any "crime" as long as you have the votes in the house.

The is no "preponderance of evidence" for a recall. The "standard of proof" is enough signatures to get a recall on the ballot.

12/17/2007 7:19 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Grounds for recall must relate to and affect the administration of the officials office, and be of a substantial nature directly affecting the rights and interests of the public. Grounds for recall are limited to objective reasons which reasonable people, regardless of their political persuasion, could agree would render any officials performance ineffective, which must be an act of misfeasance, the improper performance of some act which may lawfully be done, or malfeasance, the commission of some act wholly beyond the officials authority, or nonfeasance, the failure to perform a required duty.

12/17/2007 7:22 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Well, I ain't no lawyer.

I'm just a simple caveman with simple caveman ways.

But I would think that any lawyer worth his first semester tuition in law school could make a case with "...which reasonable people, regardless of their political persuasion, could agree..." that bringing your unelected spouse into a nepotistic role of power and authority without any constitutional chain of accountability for her actions may directly relate to "...and affect the administration of the officials office, and be of a substantial nature directly affecting the rights and interests of the public".

There can be little doubt that her very presence in City Hall, her lack of any diversity training or sensitivity, and her role as de facto Chief of Staff and actual Campaign Treasurer and physical gatekeeper to the reigns of power "render[s] any [his] officials performance ineffective" and that granting such unaccountable power to his wife amounts to "...the commission of some act wholly beyond the officials authority...".

But again. I'm no lawyer. WTF do I know?

I just know a complete political train wreck when I see one.

12/17/2007 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Judge Judy III said...

Grounds for recall are limited to objective reasons

That only works with a jury (or a judge). I hate to say it, but elections are not always objective. I could say "we need to recall Funk because he drinks Schaflys instead of Boulevard and it effects the interests of the public."

Not a really good reason for recall. But if I get enough signatures to get the recall on the ballot, and enough votes, then Funk is gone. They only way to determine if a reason is "objective enough", is by ballot.

If I am wrong, please point it out? I mean where in the charter does it say that a judge, city official etc, can squash a recall effort because they don't think it is good enough?

Clinton was impeached for lying about a BJ. I don't think that rose to "high crimes and misdemeanors." But it only mattered that a majority of the House thought it did. (Then 2/3 Senate to convict).

You don't need a good reason or a valid reason. All you need is "A" reason, plus the signatures and votes. If I'm wrong, then tell me who would override it?

12/17/2007 8:13 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

The courts.

12/17/2007 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Judge Judy III said...

You forgot to add this line to your prior post:
The Council shall not fail to place the matter before the voters based on the inadequacy of the grounds stated by the committee of petitioners.

Doesn't that basically say it has to go to the voters no matter what?

12/17/2007 8:40 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

"The courts..." what?

12/17/2007 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, let me explain this to you like you are 6 years old (from the movie Philadelphia). Here is reason you place on a recall petition---"nepotism". You don't have to provide it with the petition, that is what the election is all about. That clearly fits the definition under the Charter of recall offense. Now all you have to worry about is whether 50% will vote for recall. Funkhouser and the shoeless one are relabeling our city to the nation as the racist capitol of the Midwest. It took us decades to overcome it and now they have ripped the scab off the wound. Proud of that ???

12/17/2007 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Judge Judy III said...

"The courts..." what?

Since the charter gives a description of valid reasons for recall, it could in theory go to the courts.

There has to be a MO case on point for this. I wish I still had westlaw access. It would be interesting to see how courts have handled this question.

My guess is a court would give deference to the election results. The burden of proof would probably be on the folks going against the vote and saying the reason was not valid. I would guess a court would OK it as long as the reason was half way decent.

This would make a great law school paper, but I disagree with Dan. In my opinion this is more of a political question that courts don't like to get involved in.

12/17/2007 8:56 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I think it's clear that a court can rule on it.

This is interesting, because I'm not sure exactly what the court would rule on....

Some readers will recall (pun intended) that I found the key legal precedent for forecasting that the council overide of the Chastain initiative would not have any legs in court, based upon Townsend vs. City of Dillon (1997) .

There is a case that sheds some light on what the courts would rule on if a recall was proposed and signatured, and then challenged. Thompson vs. Napotnick (2006 ) seems to indicate that the recall allegations

"need to be legally sufficient to allege a claim of malfeasance."

I interpret Napotnik to say that the court will not rule if the allegations are true (that's the electorate's job) - the court will only rule that there is a legal basis to the claims being made.

There's quite an interesting history on malfeasance going back to the Framer's of our country...

12/17/2007 8:56 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Sorry I meant to reference in the third paragraph in my comment above "...the legal challenge to the Council's repeal of the Chastain Plan..."

12/17/2007 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My contention is that Funk violated the charter when he single handedly tried to oust Cauthen. I also contend that Funkhouser violated city ordinance when he did not distribute Cauthen's counter proposal to the rest of the council.
The EEOC complaint should have some bearing on this too.
The curious thing is that the requirement to have a cause for a recall was added by Bill Skaggs when the charter was amended in 2006. Before Saundra McFadden Weaver, there hadn't been a recall attempt in over 50 years and there has never been a successul recall election in Kansas City.
Funkhouser could be the first.
Of course, he is so arrogant that he would probably challenge the legality of the recall rather than respecting the outcome of the vote.

12/18/2007 1:02 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

If you think that a recall is a realistic possibility, you're living in a fantasy world. First, as the commenters here demonstrate, there's no real grounds for it. One person claims it's because his wife doesn't wear shoes, one person claims it's because he's arrogant, and one person claims it's because the Christmas tree is too ugly. Good luck trying to get a recall petition drafted that makes the crazies happy. Second, where's the money? It would take lots of cash to run through the process, and there's no way that Glorioso/Barnes is going to take on that much expense, nor are the ministers going to get it done. They're just in it for the headlines and attention - there's no chance they'll pull out their wallets. Similarly, there's a lot of actual work involved in a recall drive and the blowhards talking now are not likely to put their noses to the grindstone. Who's actually going to gather the signatures? Who's going to go through them and file them? Tony?

Most importantly, and don't forget this, the guy's still popular enough that he would win such a vote overwhelmingly. In truth, his opponents realize this, and that's why they're not going to try it. His 800 vote electoral victory was slim, but his huge victory in a recall election would hand him a real mandate. Yeah, I know that if you read the comments here, you see a guy from Liberty and a couple other people complaining, and a few of the smarter people defending, but the internet ain't the real world. If it were, Forsythe would have cruised to a crushing victory, and so I would have cast the only vote for Beth Gottstein over Doug Gamble. Don't mistake the roar of pixels for the roar of a mob. In fact, Mark has made dozens of appearances since his election, from the Green Duck to the West Side - more than any previous mayor, and most people like him.

Finally, it wouldn't stand up in the courts. Nothing articulated here, and certainly nothing that could be put together by the attention-seeking blowhards, would withstand a court's scrutiny as to whether it meets the standard set forth in my comment at 7:32 yesterday evening. If you think it does, you're getting too juiced up by the loudmouths.

12/18/2007 6:20 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Dan - I no longer live in Liberty. I moved to Independence. Therefor your entire line of reasoning is called into question! LOL!

Hey, look, I don't know if a recall is realistic or not and, as I said, I'm no lawyer. I don't know squat and I don't even live in KC so I don't care all that much.

What I do know is that Gloria Squitiro's role in City Hall is completely inappropriate. It would never, ever be tolerated in a corporate environment.

It amazes me that anyone could possibly defend what she is doing.

I cannot believe that Mark and Gloria cannot see how inappropriate it is, how much of a distraction it is.

I guess City Government is a completely different world from the rest of America.

Maybe I'll take a poll on my site:

"Would it be appropriate for the CEO of the company where you work to bring his spouse to work everyday as a "volunteer", give her an office next to his, have her perform official duties without an official title or any chain of accountability and make racially insensative comments to the employees?"

Just step back for a minute and try to imagine, objectively, what sort of work environment that would create.

Would you want to work at that company?

12/18/2007 6:47 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Crap, you're right - you had no credibility as a Liberty resident, but that's all changed now since you're in Independence. I can kiss that Pitch Award goodbye for 2008.

More seriously, while I could argue that City Hall is not a typical corporate environment, and the Mayor's office is not exactly analogous to a CEO's office, I agree with you that, at this point, Gloria's talents would be better spent working on a particular issue affecting KC, from a location separate from the Mayor's office.

Perhaps resurrect the Doublewide and launch an initiative for the elderly, or literacy, or volunteerism? She certainly has the high profile now, and she could easily redirect some that attention she's getting into a more positive direction for KC and her husband.

12/18/2007 7:07 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

"Perhaps resurrect the Doublewide and launch an initiative for the elderly, or literacy, or volunteerism?"

Jesus, Dan, you're talking like me now. I believe I suggested exactly that very thing about 4 months ago, meanwhile you were busy pooh-poohing any suggestion that there could possibly be anything wrong with Gloria-ee working on the 29th floor. Does Manny's happen to serve crow?

And XO, welcome on board the bandwagon. We've been keeping a seat warm for you.

12/18/2007 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, have you checked out www.recallthefunk.com What do you make of it?

12/20/2007 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Kill The $265K New Ruskin Fence said...

And here it is eleven months later, and the council has voted twelve to zip against interferring spouses, and the billion dollar rail boon doggle has gone off track, and the [so called] mayor of a [so called] big city conducts council meeting out of his front porch.

Call Leno and Letterman.

Reactivate recallthefunk.com

11/10/2008 2:16 AM  

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