Sunday, February 03, 2008

A Few Thoughts on the Recall

Finally, on the third attempt, petitioners succeeded in filing paperwork to get started gathering signatures for a recall campaign. While I clearly think it's a foolish effort in several different ways, there is a possibility that this will be a learning opportunity for some Kansas Citians.

1. They need around 30,000 signatures, not 16,950. There's a huge difference between a petition signature and a valid petition signature. The recall campaign has already demonstrated that fact when it took NINE people signing the originating documents to get 5 valid signatures. Applying their success ratio to the petition itself, that makes their goal 30,510 signatures to get the bare minimum of 16,950. That's an awful lot of signatures in 30 days - about a thousand a day. How many do you think they got yesterday? How many do you think they'll get today - in the rain and sleet? The extended forecast shows only two days over 50 degrees. Tuesday might be a good day for them, with the primary, but I expect a lot of the primary voters to be pretty well-informed, and thus unlikely to join in this foolish effort. Personally, I look forward to engaging any poll worker I see in a thorough conversation about the issues and my perspectives on them - I betcha I can shut down his or her signature-gathering for at least 15 prime-time minutes . . .

2. The Petition won't hold up in Court. The standard for recall in Kansas City is set forth in the Kansas City Municipal Code:
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.
Now, I realize that there are a lot of emotional and strident anti-Mayor agitators, but, in a court of law, a judge is going to wind up looking at the language of the Affadavit and see if it meets that standard. Here's the affidavit - feel free to go read it, and ponder whether you would want to present that case to a judge. I'm not going to make fun of the people who wrote it - I'm sure they're sincere and well-meaning - but there are logical lapses and faulty analyses throughout it. It is not a serious political or legal document, and a court of law is not the comment section of a joke blog.

3. Please bring it on. In some ways (and I am only speaking for myself, as always), I'm glad to see this happening. It amounts to calling the bluff of the chattering handful that have crowded out intelligent discussion at the Prime Buzz, and the joke blogger who will be working on the effort. After this is over, the city will get to see just how widespread and deep the opposition to Funk really is. If the recall is successful, I pledge to move forward and not look back. If the recall is unsuccessful, perhaps, just maybe, the chattering handful of political WATBs and blustering malcontents will finally realize that the people of Kansas City elected Mayor Funkhouser, and he stands ready to focus on issues of substance and improving the lives of regular Kansas Citians. Perhaps, just maybe, the people who have spent so much time and effort in attacking and deriding the Mayor will refocus their effort on helping achieve his priorities.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prime Buzz has been taken over by a couple of real Mark haters, and in the process rendered any hope for an intelligent conversation...null and void.

In 6 decades of some pretty up close and personal political involvement, I have NEVER seen anything the likes of this.

I am glad that there are sane minds who do interject some sanity into the process, as you are today. The Star serves up a feeding frenzy daily and those regular gluttons who can't offer any rational conversation, take a seat at the table and behave like starved pigs dining on any ort they can find...they have even been ripping the flesh off of each other of late.

With the posting of the first recall petition piece, and the fact that the media did not do its own investigative research to validate a mere 5 names (heaven help us when the city clerk has to verify 16,950)...I am no longer reading the Prime Buzz, and will cancel my paper Monday. There is no credibility and I refuse to be associated with them.

With all that is on our plate at city hall, I find the use of staff trying to verify these names, to be an enormous waste of precious time that could be used to do the taxpayer's business.

2/03/2008 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally, on the third attempt, petitioners succeeded in filing paperwork

Oh wait, I thought you were talking about the Funk's campaign finances.

2/03/2008 6:22 PM  
Anonymous judge judy iii said...

The Petition won't hold up in Court. The standard for recall in Kansas City is set forth in the Kansas City Municipal Code:

Would the petition only get to court if it got both the required signatures AND was passed by the voters?

Would Funk have standing to fight it before it was voted on?

Lets say the voters approve it. Would Funk pull a George Bush and have the courts keep him in office even though a majority of people voted against him (on a theoretical recall vote)?

2/03/2008 6:37 PM  
Anonymous primebuzzblogger said...

Mr. Anon, you're cancelling your subscription to the KC Star? Too bad. The newspaper has become almost worthless anyway. A couple of bucks less for the Star and it's new owners. Boo hoo for them. A more deserving bunch there couldn't be.

2/03/2008 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Funk Fan said...

Judge Judy -

He had sure as hell better do whatever he can to prevent it from coming to a vote - the election would be a complete waste of time and money, and this time it would be taxpayer money instead of whatever Terry Riley and Steve Glorioso are throwing in.

Even if they get the signatures, and even if the courts don't prevent an election, and even if he lost (which is hugely unlikely), he would definitely stay in office if the courts said the recall was improper. Why wouldn't he - do you really think he should abandon the office that the voters elected him to based upon an illegal recall?

2/03/2008 7:47 PM  
Anonymous judge judy iii said...

Why wouldn't he - do you really think he should abandon the office that the voters elected him to based upon an illegal recall?

A lot of reasonable people thought Bush should leave office based on an "illegal" recount in Florida. (Remember the Supreme court struck down the recount that Gore had asked for)

But the difference is Bush had a Republican congress to back him up so he didn't care about the bad PR. Funk doesn't have the same support. If Funk doesn't have the support of the Council and then looses the support of the people in a recall vote, he wouldn't have much political clout left.

Remember my scenario is based on a majority of the people voting to remove him from office then a court reversing that recall election.

On the flip side, what if there is a recall vote and it goes Funk's way. Would he then gain support from city Council?

2/03/2008 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Funk Fan said...

Probably not. He won't get blind loyalty from anyone - not like Barnes used to get from her bought-and-paid-for, developer-owned council. He's going to have to win his votes the old-fashioned way - convince people that they need to do what's right for the city. Fortunately, this will all blow over in thirty days and he can get to work on that approach.

2/03/2008 8:24 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan, I don't think the petition is valid with what I know, and it will not hold up if challenged in court.

However, you probably need 20K max, maybe 22k to be safe on the petition, not 30K (if the people getting the signatures ask the simple question, are you a registered voter).

But it's disappointing to see you continue with the "bring it on" trash talk. I think it's time we start bringing people together and this is a perfect time for Mark to recognize that there are a significant amount of people, that are reasonable, that are unhappy with his performance.

It's not all Steve Glorioso being the puppetmaster here.

2/04/2008 10:43 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

The affidavit doesn't even come close to stating sufficient grounds for recall. If memory serves, it's not just a charter requirement, it's constitutional. I'd love to waive a magic wand and have Funk no longer be the mayor, but that's not how this works. I won't sign the access petition because it's a waste of time and resources to push a measure that won't hold up in court. If you're going to go after a politician for being amateurish and inept, the least you can do is conduct the effort in a competent fashion.

2/04/2008 11:20 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I know. Those petitioners are giving the rational Funk critics (I know what you're thinking Dan) a bad name.


2/04/2008 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Whistleblowme said...

Mainstream -
Looks to me like you're just basing the number on guesstimates, but Dan used real math. It took 9 people to come up with 5 valid signatures on the filing, which had the exact same hurdle - registered voters in KC. Multiplying 16,950 by 1.8 gives you a little more than 30,000.

Don't blame Dan for the trash talk. The trash talk goes on at Tony's every single day. The trash talk goes on at the Buzz Blog every single day. When I say "bring it on", I mean, alright, let's see how serious you talkers are. Get him recalled or fail in the attempt, but I for one am sick and tired of the mouthy douchebags criticizing Funk for every misstep, real or imagined. I want people in this city to focus on improving the city, not on attacking the Mayor and his family. So, bring on your best, and let's get this over with.

2/04/2008 12:52 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...


This petition effort will go nowhere, as I said. Your "bring it on" attitude is a way for you to generally discredit ALL critics of Funk based upon the actions of a few. It's not gonna work with this critic.

And the essence of my ultimate problem with you, and Funk, is that you minimize all criticism as being from "mouthy douchebags".

Ya know, if you take some advice you might find out you would actually be able to ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING.

You and your attitude are also summed up by the recent statement of the mayor "when I was auditor, the only way they could get rid of me was to accept my audit or hope I would be hit by a bus".

This leadership style isn't working, believe me.

I for one don't need to "Bring it on" because, to be perfectly honest the co-mayors do the job for me.

My ultimate message: respect and compromise go a long way to building the bridges and coalitions you need to accomplish great things.


One of the "mouthy douchebags"

2/04/2008 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Ms. Ross did Funkhouser a favor. This petition won't collect enough signatures, lending further credence to the thought that there is a silent majority behind Funkhouser.
The petition will enable the vindictive Funkhouser to identify his critics. After all the taunting, Funkhouser will arrogantly say "Is that all you got?"
This sucks.

2/04/2008 7:23 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I agree. Totally ill-thought out.

2/04/2008 8:09 PM  

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