Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Star's Sloppy Endorsements

I was early to make my endorsements during this cycle because. as I wrote then, "I'd hate for anyone to think that the Star's analysis influences me . . ." At the time I wrote that, though, I had no idea how sloppy the Star would be.

I'm not complaining about endorsing candidates other than the ones I support. I'm complaining of my disappointment with their ability to get facts straight and arguments lined up correctly. This season, the Star has erased its own credibility.

In the Sheriff's race, the Star had nice things to say about my favorite candidate, John Bullard, but wound up endorsing Mike Sharp. That's fine with me - reasonable minds can differ as to who is the superior candidate. But what made their endorsement laughable was their mistaken reasoning - the headline of their endorsement noted "Sheriff jobs require experience, solid administrative skills" and the text of their endorsement claimed "Mike Sharp has impressive credentials for the sheriff’s job, given his combination of service with the Kansas City Police Department and years of experience as a businessman". That all sounds pretty reasonable, but Mike Sharp has hardly any relevant experience! What happened was that the Star took at face value Sharp's claim that he has twenty something years of experience as a reserve officer, but, in fact, that's apples compared to oranges. That's like claiming that a kid who received a pair of pilot's wings on his or her first plane trip a dozen years ago has 12 years of experience as a pilot. It's absolutely fine to endorse Mike Sharp if you like him personally, or you think he will bring fresh perspective, or whatever, but it's just plain sloppy and embarrassing to endorse him because he has experience. He doesn't, and the Star should have realized that.

As sloppy as that endorsement was, though, they really shocked me with their endorsement of Jeff Harris - even when we agree that Jeff Harris is the best candidate! Clearly they reached the right result, but they gave him an edge "based on his leadership role [in the General Assembly] and prosecutorial experience". There are two things wrong with that statement - in an Attorney General race, prosecutorial experience is only important for those who do not know what the AG's office really does, and, second, Jeff Harris doesn't really have much irrelevant prosecutorial experience. Instead, Jeff Harris has experience as a division leader in the Attorney General's office itself - much better, and much more relevant!

Over the past several years, political insiders have been chattering about how fewer and fewer people pay attention to the Star's endorsements. Is it because of the rise of blogs, is it because of declining circulation, or some other reason?

I suspect the reason fewer people are paying attention to the Star's endorsements is because the Star is not paying attention when they are making them.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the Star's endorsement procedure:

1. Make ONE call to ONE big "name" in whatever city or county political machine that pertains to each race.

2. Endorse whatever candidate(s) that person tells them to.

3. Call it "journalism."

Result: The Star's endorsements are meaningless in the real world.

Andy Pickard, Brookings Committeeman.

7/29/2008 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Just the facts Ma'am said...

I guess if a call for help goes out from Dan's house only "full-time" KCPD officers should answer the call.

And since the Reserve Officers Volunteer Program plays a vital role in putting cops on the streets, Dan may be waiting for a while a call for "full-time-only service" to be answered.

There is a large number of reserve officers fully integrated into the KCPD, Dan.

Contrary to your politically motivated attack on their service, reserve officers are not wearing kiddie pilot's wings.

Dan the reserve officers you maligned in your post hold the same qualifications, responsibilities and authority as "full-time" officers, they just do it on a volunteer basis.

Do yourself a favor Dan. Learn something about the police force without regard to who you support in the sheriff's race.

Call Chief Corwin today. Ask him whether he hands guns to kids with pilots wings and sends them into the streets to play cops and robbers? Ask him whether he would put a second or third class of officer on the streets, and what it would do to unit cohesion if he did?

Dan, I hope you will never have to make that emergency call to the KCPD, but if you do you will have no way of knowing whether a "full-time" or reserve officer answers your call for help, unless you ask.

You should not denigrate their service to the community in order to attack a political candidate who you endorsed against.

7/29/2008 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Been There said...

Just the Facts -

Your half right - some reserves do real work, but Sharp (and quite a few others) don't do anything but paperwork and sit around the office shooting the shit. Believe me, I know this.

But, Dan, you should have been more clear that not ALL reserves are like Sharp.

7/29/2008 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Sitting Around said...

Maybe he ain't just sitting around the department all day.


7/29/2008 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that reserve officers provide support to the needs of the community and the various police departments. But, as a full time officer for over thirty years, I must take offense to the implication that reserve officers provide the same kind and quality of service that a full time officer brings to the job. To say that a reserve serving part time can do as good a job as someone who works full time is ridiculous. That implication demeans the full time officer whose entire career is dedicated to the job. You certainly would not ask the part time employee to take over the company.

In the Sheriff’s race we can compare the actual time on the job. In Sharp’s case we will give him two years full time service plus his twenty-four years of reserve experience. Working approximately twenty hours a month as a reserve, in total hours worked, Sharp has almost five years of experience spread over twenty-six years. It does not come close to John Bullard’s thirty-three years of current full time service. Or Mauer’s twenty-two or Krahenbuhl’s fifteen or so years of full time service. Mauer is now claiming forty years of service because he carried a reserve commission he didn’t use and because he owns an alarm company. Sharp implies his experience is full time when he speaks to people. He glosses over his status as a reserve and actually said he wanted to be a Fireman but became a cop. He said he didn’t even know the KCPD had a reserve when he did work there.

In a pure discussion of experience in law enforcement, John Bullard has the most experience. Sharp is the most experienced carpet layer and Mauer is the most experienced alarm installer. What does owning a carpet company and owning an alarm company has to do with running a Sheriff’s department is the question I have to ask. Thirty-three years of full time current experience in actual law enforcement is the important factor. John Bullard has that experience.

7/29/2008 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The endorsement for Sheriff was just sloppy. Seriously Yael and the Star board are absolutely bought out.

At least the Examiner actually gives candidates chances.

Who built up the K-9 unit? Who has worked to get funding for police officers? Who works hard everyday to protect our officers pay, benefits and conditions? Who actually has the most experience?

We know that answer. John Bullard.

The only experience Sharp has is drinking with Blunt's DMV friends.

7/29/2008 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting to note that the comment which defends the Reserve Officer Program from Dan's attack does not mention a candidate for office, but all those who attacked the defender of the program also attacked Sharp.

The fix is in on Gone Mild.

The Good Sisters taught me that that was wrong. Too bad Dan did not learn from the Good Sisters.

7/29/2008 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Vote for Sheriff K said...

Sharp thinks with the wrong head but let's look at the facts. If you do not like Sharp, certainly do not turn your eyes to Bullard.

John Bullard fried a dog alive while he talked about pay raises with an Independence city councilman. Can you imagine the fear and pain that dog went through because Bullard got greedy and forgot the poor puppy in a car on a hot day? Can you just hear the howling as the dog tried to escape but Bullard was in an air conditioned building talking about higher pay?

And Bullard was investigated for misuse of Federal funds that were supposed to go to pay for the K9 unit, but sure as hell looked like he used to pay for dog food for a for profit dog kennel he ran. Nothing was ever reported on the investigation by Independence, but a finding against him would have made the city look bad for a lack of accounting controls. For that reason the city never gave a full report on its findings and Bullard walked.

More recently, Bullard has paid Rodney S. Bland, an individual with a long history of trouble, more than $5000 in "consulting fees" at about the time that his brother Craig, who is president of Freedom Inc. was fighting for a political endorsement for Bullard. This was a bribe in any reasonable person's viewpoint. Do we really want someone who is comfortable with dog baking, embezzlement and bribery as Sheriff?

As far as Mauer goes, look at him. He is far too creepy to put in charge of a department with subdivisions responsible for investigation and surveillance. The guy is a closeted Queen, so who can trust him to be honest about anything else?

Why not break the Democrat machine mold and vote for Tom Krahenbuhl for Jackson County Sheriff.


7/29/2008 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are Bullard's opponents really going to use what happened to his dog against him? When I first read about this I researched and found out that the political whisper campaign was false. That guy loved his dog.

While the Mauer and Sharp guys were out playing once a month cop which was too hard for them so they went to play bar games with 19 year olds, that Bullard guy was actually working for the people of Jackson County.

I'm voting for Bullard. Sharp spreads porn around and Mauer spends most of his days kissing that old lady from westports ass.

7/29/2008 11:52 PM  
Blogger Clark said...

Dan, which division did Jeff Harris lead in the Attorney General's office?

7/30/2008 9:29 AM  
Blogger Clark said...

It's a serious question, because I can't seem to substantiate the claim that Jeff Harris ever led a division, other than Jeff Harris supporters claiming it on blogs.

7/30/2008 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly does the sheriff do? Do they just enforce the law outside of the city limits?

Anything else?

7/30/2008 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, they also pick shit out of each others fur.

7/30/2008 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the Star endorses THIS GUY?


How embarrassing.

7/31/2008 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so the Kansas City Star endorced Sharp then they pulled that and decided to go for Bullard another bad choice. You all talk about how wonderful Bullard is. Did you ever consider he has workwed 33 years on the department and never was promoted higher then a sergeant. That tells me alot. Are you forgetting all the trouble he has caused? The dog cooking, the money insident, and lets not forget his turning his back on Mayor Stewart at a memorial service.

8/04/2008 6:36 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous - Really, that's the best you can do? How pathetic!!

You should swing by the Bullard celebration tomorrow night! It's going to be a very happy party!

8/04/2008 7:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home