Thursday, September 04, 2008

5 Words for Our City Council

Yesterday morning, three members of the Kansas City Council's Finance and Audit Committee voted for new restrictions on volunteers in Kansas City. I would love to link to the language of the ordinance, because, as citizens of this city, it is your right to know what is happening, but the drafters of this ordinance are far too embarrassed and timid to put their backroom-drafted ordinance into the public eye.

Since they have hidden the new ordinance, the actual words of the ordinance are unavailable to this blog. So, it's up to us to come up with our own words this morning.

No single word accurately and completely describes the actions of councilmembers pushing this ordinance, and yet so many words apply to aspects of their behavior. So, I'm going to offer up five words which I think are near the target, but I'd really appreciate your help in choosing which one is best. Or choose your own . . .

1. Arrogant: Please watch the videotape of the behavior of the Finance and Audit Committee. Have you ever seen such arrogance at this level? Come on, Councilpeople, at least act like you care what the voters think! Obviously, the only action that the majority cared about was going on in the backroom, out of the sight and hearing of the lowlife citizens who dared to intrude on the precious time of the majority. Wow. Some of us knew those council people when they were mere mortals . . . I wonder if the ghost of Pendergast was holding court in that back room?

2. Fraudulent: While we elected a Mayor who has sought to be smart with the money, somehow our council has decided to be dumb with the money. The Fiscal Note attached to this ordinance claims that the only expense it generates will be up to $100,000 for police reports. That was never true - it was a lie covering up the vast amounts of money (millions?) which the council could have directed to their consultant friends to pay for all the training volunteers would go through. But now, according to the paper, they have restricted their ordinance to apply only to volunteers for elected officials, though it still apparently requires the City Manager to make all department volunteers to go through training. How much is this costing us? That's the dirty little secret that the majority keeps hidden. Why?

3. Cowardly: As described before, the genesis of this ill-conceived effort was the constant drum-beat of a single, repetitive blogger. Yesterday, the blogosphere chortled at Tony's victory. Tony has proven himself a stronger influence on Kansas City than any single councilperson. And certainly much stronger than the voice of reason. (As a blogger, my hat's off to Tony. That was honestly impressive. What will your next trick be? Can you get them to stand on their heads?)

4. Intellectually Dishonest. Was this ordinance focused at Gloria Squitiro? One admits "yes", one says "of course not". They claim that this is an ordinance focused on protecting volunteers, but first excluded the largest user of volunteers, and now are (apparently) excluding virtually all volunteers. Would you please make up one story, and stick with it?

5. Ineffective. The funny thing is, they have accomplished absolutely nothing. They've gone through all these contortions, and they won't get the change they want. They sought to regulate volunteers, and now they've excluded virtually all the volunteers from the ordinance. They sought to eliminate Gloria Squitiro (No, they didn't! Yes, they did!) from City Hall, and to run the Mayor's office, but it's not going to happen. All they've done is waste a lot of time and resources that could have been spent on real Kansas City priorities. While they're playing around with a dishonest ordinance that regulates volunteers but doesn't, all the priorities they were elected to address remain on the table.

Well, I could probably come up with more words than 5 to describe the debacle in the Finance and Audit Committee, but 5 will have to suffice. Fortunately, these councilpersons are not really the corrupt and inept cowards that they behaved like yesterday. These 5 words are intended to describe their actions yesterday, not their personalities nor their typical behavior. Yesterday, they behaved as I describe them, and I suspect they'll do the same thing today. They deserve our condemnation, and they will, I assure you, come to realize that they've made a mistake, just as they know they made a mistake in foolishly extending Cauthen's contract.

When they regain their sense, and look around, perhaps this will be the time that they realize that Mayor Funkhouser was right again. Their volunteer ordinance is a sham. Their extension of Cauthen was a mistake. And Funkhouser was right on both counts. It's not too late for them to start learning from their mistakes.

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Anonymous porchpundit said...

The people are so fed up with Gloria and Mark that they are not even arguing with you anymore Dan.

In the old days, yesterday's post would have been worth at least 75 comments and you received 7.

Kansas City just wants Gloria gone. She costs us money, time and prestige every day she gets help riding the elevator in City Hall.

The Orange Revolution is over in the eyes of your friends and neighbors. In my opinion, it was always a fraud but at the very least Gloria has made it a failure.

Get over it Dan. Get over whatever self-aggrandizing fixation you have formed on Gloria and Mark.

As the last dead-ender you are making a fool of yourself and your family cannot enjoy that Dan.

9/04/2008 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Lance Weber said...

Porchpundit - I disagree that "Kansas City just wants Gloria gone." Not that they want her to stay, I just don't think it is as big an issue to "the people" as you think.

Dan - I'm glad this issue has caused you to elucidate the manner in which elected officials (not just those on our city council) subvert the process in order to get results the public probably wouldn't authorize. I thought yesterday's post was good, but today's is awesome.

9/04/2008 8:37 AM  
Blogger mamagotcha said...

Good lord. The KC finance commission members have absolutely NOTHING ELSE to focus their energies upon?

9/04/2008 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you invite Beth et al to respond on this blog?

9/04/2008 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Whistleblowme said...

Umm, Dan, you used 6 words.

(The six you used, though, were dead-on. I might have added weak, corrupt, stupid, misguided, Tony-obsessed, gutless and duped.)

BTW, Anonymous, far as I know, everyone's welcome to comment here.

9/04/2008 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Nuke said...

Dan, I SO prefer beer posts (less arguing more yum)but you gotta do what you gotta do. Just wanted to let you know I read both types of post.

I am not gonna chime in with my half informed opinions because I am not a KC resident and I don't have a dog in the hunt (so to speak).

But it has been interesting to learn as much as I have of one of the biggest local governments operations.

9/04/2008 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Jayhoax said...

And I've got 3 words for Dan: Give it up.

Had Mark done the right thing long ago, this never would have happened.

He played with fire. He's getting burned.

9/04/2008 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funk-ee changed his mind overnight on the Bannister Mall thing.
The council voted that thing out in one week.
He changed his mind about Cauthen overnight. The Council showed him that there's a price for being stubborn.
He hastily called a press conference on the gun thing. The council was surprised.
Do you see the pattern here? Funk-ee himself dreams up shit behind the scenes and suprises people. His arguments about transparency are weak.
I don't think anyone should mince words. Gloria's presence while not necessarily a problem, has exposed the city to liability. Gloria maybe the best secretary ever. But her alleged actions present a clear and present risk to the city and taxpayers. The Council is doing the right thing by getting rid of her.
You should be ashamed of your self for standing by Funkee while he searches every possible way to get around the state's nepotism statute. As far as I'm concerned, he may have not violated the letter of the law but he is certainly violating the intent of the law. While there's no penalty for that, there's no honor in that either.

9/04/2008 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Jayhoax said...

"Funkhouser has said this week that Squitiro is not a volunteer for the city but is a personal assistant to him and is Kansas City’s first lady"

So, she's not a volunteer for a city, but his personal assistant.

Is she getting paid for this? Is she doing it for free?

How many more stories can Funk spin about this?

"While we elected a Mayor who has sought to be smart with the money"

Except with his campaign finances...

"Tony has proven himself a stronger influence on Kansas City than any single councilperson. And certainly much stronger than the voice of reason."

Again, you give Tony too much credit, and the Council too little. Then again, it's much easier to blame Tony for this mess instead of where the blame really lies, in the Mayor's office...

9/04/2008 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funkhouser has unequivocally lost the council. The guy cannot lead.

9/04/2008 9:42 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Jayhoax -

It would be awfully difficult to give the councilmembers who voted in favor of this debacle too little credit. Maybe impossible.

Anonymous -

The council may be lost, but Funkhouser did not lose them.

9/04/2008 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't recognize the woman in the middle of the table (in the video), but she seems to have a smirk on her face the whole time. Or was I imagining that?

9/05/2008 6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you referring to Councilwoman Gottstein?

9/05/2008 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Jayhoax said...

"but Funkhouser did not lose them"

True. For him to have lost them, he would have had to have had them in the first place....

9/05/2008 6:56 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Fair enough, Jayhoax. They never were his to have or to lose. They arrived with a boatload of agendas. Some have apparently chosen to represent the TIF community, some have set their goal on becoming Mayor, and some are doing their best within their abilities. But not a single one of them showed up to be "Mark's". And I'm glad about that.

9/05/2008 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which ones want to be Mayor?

9/06/2008 5:21 AM  
Anonymous Bill Drummond, Crossroads guy said...

I have a small part of the puzzle. See the recent post about the "Marcasson meltdown" that I chimed in on.

Dan, you are clear and easy to understand. You have a humorous way of expressing the council peoples' possible motives in trying to "get Gloria out".

You are so much more relevant, effective, and influenceable than shallow, smutty, Tony.

9/09/2008 2:09 AM  

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