Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wall Street Journal and Abouhalkah's Achy Breaky Heart

We all thought it was going to be huge. A couple Wall Street Journal writers came into town to learn about the battle between the City Council and the Mayor's wife, and the political insiders got the vapors. What will they say about us? Did they read the Christmas letter? How bad will it be? What will a real journalist do with a story that the Star has done its sensational best with? Can they out-sensationalize the Star?

And when it came out, it turned out that article was crushingly even-handed. No bombshells. No excruciating recaps of how we all suffered so terribly when he accepted then returned a car. No dramatic retelling of how awful it was that one out of dozens of his appointments turned out to be a kook. No hand-wringing or outrage, OUTRAGE, that he does some of his work at home now. In short, the article made all the hullabaloo that occupies the Star seem kind of silly.

Humorously, Yael Abouhalkah sniffs that the non-sensational approach was a "Valentine" to Mark and Gloria. That is funny on so many levels that I have to admire his complete lack of circumspection.

On one level, it's a case of "it takes one to know one". As a Funkhouser supporter, I would never deny that his Mayoral campaign benefited from regular "Valentines" from Abouhalkah. It was almost embarrassing to read Abouhalkah's man-crush missives about Mark. For him to complain now about the Wall Street Journal writing a reasonable piece about the Mayor sounds like a failed suitor questioning what he ever saw in his unrequited love.

Second, Abouhalkah's complaint shows that he is dangerously bipolar on the topic of our Mayor. Having withdrawn the Star's endorsement, like a spiteful teenager ripping love-lorn pages out of her diary, Abouhalkah is now seething with resentment that when real journalists come to town, they don't see the same poopyhead that he sees. He grouses that the article fails to list every single one of what Abouhalkah sees as failures of the Funkhouser's administration. Rational people would question whether that was the actual assignment of real journalists, but such a thought apparently never crosses Abouhalkah's fevered mind.

The saddest and most embarrassing moment, though, lies in this tear-stained, ungrammatical gem:
Instead, the story gives all kinds of credit to Squitiro for how she ran his campaign in 2007, seemingly without any help from professionals (untrue) or anyone else (think The Star's endorsement -- since retracted -- didn't help the mayor in the Southwest corridor with his narrow margin over Alvin Brooks?)
Good God, man, get a grip on yourself!! Yes, we all know you were important, and that it hurts to see your former love smile at his wife. But, really, get a shred of dignity!

Abouhalkah had such grand dreams of what life with Mark would be, and it's sad to see him bitter now that they've been dashed. But it's getting ridiculous. Better journalists than him came to town, spent plenty of time with both sides of the controversy, and wrote an objective piece that made Mark look better than the Council on this petty issue.

Pull yourself together, Yael. Get a box of tissues, take a walk on the beach, crank Human League's "Don't You Want Me" or Ben Folds Five's "Song for the Dumped", and wipe your nose.

Funkhouser wasn't perfect to begin with, and he's not a monster now. Most of us knew that. The Wall Street Journal, as you point out, didn't tell us anything we didn't already know.

But your reaction to it sure exposed you.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just Yael!

Do a Google search for "mayor's wife embarrassing city". Click here for the results.

Does Yael write for the Kansas City Business Journal? Read this editorial.

The WSJ wrote a soft piece. Why? Because the entire country is focusing on more important things (from a national perspective). Let's just call the WSJ article an "Intro to Funky Town". I'm sure that a more "in-depth" analysis will be printed in the future.

Gloria is more than welcome to give her husband feedback, at home, after the work-day ends; just like every other spouse does. A loose cannon can cause unexpected and undesired damage. Gloria is a loose cannon.

What if everybody decided to bring their spouse to work EVERYDAY? Electing someone to public office should be treated just like being hired for a job. You shouldn’t bring the wife and kids, and you shouldn’t give them positions of authority.

11/23/2008 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Electing someone to public office should be treated just like being hired for a job."

Dumbest comment EVAH.

11/23/2008 11:16 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

No, it's not the dumbest comment ever. Heck, it's not even in the top ten, even though the commenter seems to think that the fact that silly people are hysterical about the mayor means more about the mayor than it does about the silly people.

11/23/2008 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Charles S. said...

The Wall Street Journal article is already forgotten, if it was even remembered in the first place.

That's nice that some people think the WSJ is some sort of vindication, but it's not.

The significant, sustained high level of criticisms the Mayor has received - and contiues to receive, from every quarter, segment, in Kansas City - are based upon reasoinable conclusions being made by reasonable people.

If anyone thinks that a softball WSJ peice written by two-out-of towners will make people forget, for example, that the Mayor replaced Cindy Circo with SS Brooks in the housing committee based solely on political retribution - seriously jeopardizing the City's housing program - they are mistaken.

As a side note, if anybody has any doubts about the incompetence and insanity of SS Brooks, and what an absolute insult it is to this city to have her running the housing program, we can discuss the first scheduled housing committee meeting and the directions, in her role as housing chair, she is giving to city staff.

11/23/2008 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Kingsfield said...

Yeah, Chuck, right. People all over are talking about the housing committee. Uh huh. You sure do have the pulse of the electorate.

11/23/2008 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Charlie S. said...

Hey Kingsfield, stfu.

I referred to that as a sidenote, and one example of many.

But go ahead, tell me about how many Kansas Citians think that the Mayor's behavior is anything close to normal.

And tell me about all the Kansas Citians that think he's doing a good job.

Oh, and the 38 measures that residents said had gotten worse in Kansas City on the latest city satisfaction survey. I wonder what they think, hmmmmmmmmmm. I wonder what that tells us.

Think it might tell us this mayor does not know how to lead???

But Kingsfield, make your argument that the Mayor is doing an good job - or better yet, why don't you blame his many misteps on the "forces of evil".

Or even better yet, stfu.

And keep waving that WSJ article!!! You don't have to say anything, it says it all.

11/23/2008 4:33 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Chuckie, you don't get to tell people on my site when to speak and when to, as you phrase it, STFU. So stop it.

Kingsfield was right to point out how far off base you are. Nobody really cares about the Housing committee, and your attempt to act like it is a big deal on the mind of the average voter is simply ridiculous.

That said, nobody denies that Funkhouser's popularity has waned over the past few months. That doesn't mean he's in the wrong, though.

11/23/2008 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Jayhoax said...

"nobody denies that Funkhouser's popularity has waned over the past few months."


That's kind of like saying the Chiefs are going through a rough patch the last 20 games....

"That doesn't mean he's in the wrong, though."

Of course not. He's never in the wrong. It's everyone else that's in the wrong...

11/23/2008 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Bones said...

"Chuckie, you don't get to tell people on my site when to speak and when to... STFU".

Too Funny!

Apparently he does. And did!! LOL

Got to love Dan's attempt to control the blogosphere.

11/23/2008 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Charles S. said...

Well, I'll tell you that I didn't say the Housing Committee was on the top of every voter's mind. Read what I said.

And I will tell you is that there are 11 city council people that are once again offended and aghast about Funk replacing Circo with SS Brooks to settle a political score. SS Brooks has the fewest friends on the council, Dan, if you didn't know. She's more ineffective than the Mayor.

So don't lecture me about your opinion that the housing committee, and the replacement of Circo with SS Brooks, doesn't matter. That move is going to have serious repercussions, regardless of how you try to minimize it.

Oh, and the Mayor's popularity has "waned" in the last few months?


11/23/2008 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Funkhouser still Mayor? Huh, who'd a thunk it?

11/23/2008 9:01 PM  
Anonymous rey rey said...

Dan, since you deleted it earlier I will again ask:

why did funck just approve more TIF for Bannister when he campaigned on its abuse and just Friday he sent a memo to council members letting them know the TIF shortfall for next year will be 4mill?

11/23/2008 9:27 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Well, I agree with Chuck.

Sanders-Brooks was pedaling Rodney Bland around every city department, trying to find the $120K salary for her friend Rodney.

Oh, and Rodney Bland has a rap sheet 4 pages long in MO Casenet, search under Rodney S. Bland, rife with ethics violations and a sexual violation. It appears there is a lot of evidence that the only thing Sanders-Brooks cares about is enriching her boyfriend and other friends.

Yes, the hit against Circo will be long remembered by enough people who matter.

It was a small-minded, mean-spirited move that very clearly hurt the city, and will continue to harm the city. The HEDFC receiver has put his concerns about it in writing.

And this whole thing with Kendrick Blackwood lying. Blackwood did lie, he told a major newpaper in town that Cindy Circo was a "blonde bimbo", and then he said, at least twice publicly, that he didn't say it.

He did say it, and Kendrick is a liar. If we need to go back to the exact quotes in the KC Star I'll cut and paste my original comment on the the whole sordid affair. This vendetta against Circo by the Mayor and staff is very telling.

This is quite a story, the Sanders-Brooks deal and the housing committee. It tells a story of a mean-spirited inept administration taking its vengeance, putting into power a corrupt city council person and lying to the city, all to exact revenge for the actions of one honest, effective, well-liked councilperson.

Remember, power doesn't corrupt. Power reveals.

11/23/2008 9:43 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yes, indeed, the replacement of Housing Committee chairs is exactly the kind of "scandal" that will be remembered for years, and probably marks the low point of Kansas City politics thus far in the 21st Century. Everyone I know is obsessed with it. Would the drafters of the City Charter have ever contemplated that a Mayor would actually replace a committee chair when they granted him the power to replace committee chairs? It's hard to imagine why a Mayor should be able to replace a committee chair who is badmouthing him. He ought to just sit quietly and accept it, the way that anonymous blog commenters want him to, at the same time they complain he's not enough of a politician. I'm sure this makes sense in some parallel universe.

Rey Rey - I hope you agree that the TIF thing was a dumb thing to post under an article about Observant Bystander. This is a far better spot to bring up such matters.

The answer to your question is simple. Just because we got burned on the Cordish deal doesn't mean we'll get burned on the Bannister deal. Totally different terms, totally different needs, totally different players. Not all TIF is bad - only bad TIF is bad. Cauthen and Barnes could not tell the difference. This Council is doing a much better job of looking out for us.

11/24/2008 6:40 AM  
Anonymous Sophia said...

It's hard to imagine why a Mayor should be able to replace a committee chair who is badmouthing him.

If it was the Committee Devoted to Saying Nice Things about the Mayor, that would be an awesome point. Funkhouser isn't being criticized for the existence of executive power, he's being criticized for how he exercises it. And people who pay attention to city government, as opposed to just politics, have been disturbed by the Circo move. It was remarkably petty and vindictive.

And what was the point? Funkhouser places more value on not criticizing him in public than in actually performing the task he assigned you to do? And this is a good leadership model?

11/24/2008 10:18 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Funkhouser campaigned on the fact that he would listen to opposing views, listen to everybody, and find middle ground - the right ground.

How exactly does Funkhouser's real behavior match that aspiration?

Nothing about any of Funkhouser's actions have signalled his ability to listen to others, listen to different points of view and then change his behavior or policy.

Absolutley Nothing.

Actually, his actual behavior indicates very strongly an inclination towards the exact opposite.

11/24/2008 10:52 AM  
Anonymous rey rey said...

Dan, the kill shot on the P&L was the city guaranteeing the bonds. So why does Funk support doing the same for Bannister?

11/24/2008 9:27 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Rey Rey - it's just a better plan with better people involved. I'm sure he would have preferred to avoid the guarantee, but better to have made it with small risk than to allow the southeast corner of the city to rot.

11/25/2008 6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how are the bannister people "better people"?
how is "the deal" better for KC?

11/25/2008 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

like a spiteful ... ripping pages ... from her diary.

tell me you aren't this much of a sexist, dan. is yael a girl? can a spiteful love-lorn teenager not be a boy ripping pages from HIS diary? or are you trying to further insult yael by making reference to a girl? either way, it doesn't read well to me.

11/25/2008 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Kingsfield said...

12:15 - KC Live! is run by Cordish, the liars who have screwed us at every turn. Lane4 is local people with good reputations, and far better numbers.

12:22 - Kidding, right?

11/25/2008 1:24 PM  
Blogger Phil Cardarella said...

Lost amid all this chatter about the City's 'report card' on services is that the City Manager, not the Mayor, runs the City. The same City Manager the Mayor tried to replace -- and that the Council in a fit of pique gave a five-year, no-cut contract to.

Regardless of what you think of this Mayor, he did not chose this Manager.

11/25/2008 4:53 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

There is a great tragedy is what you say, Phillip.

A great tragedy.

In your lust to defend Funkhouser because of perceived infringments on the hegemony of the Mayor's office, you have lost sight of the sacred relationship between what a Mayor in Kansas City promises, and what they are called upon to do.

What a mayor promises: A mayor promises "a city that works for regular folks" - he promises focus on basic services.

What a mayor is called upon to do: in a council-manager form of government, we elect a mayor and call upon him to influence his peers on council, use his appointment and bully-pulpit powers, and build coalitions on council to deliver on the promises he makes.

He or she uses their team-building powers, their power to persuade, make friends, form alliances, make compromises, TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT THEY PROMISE.

There is no other way.


To blame the fact that Funk didn't choose Cauthen is an abdication of the mandate we provide our mayor when we elect him or her.

And it is a tragedy to read that you have abandoned the very principle that the position of mayor is based upon.

A tragedy.

11/25/2008 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Jayhoax said...

"The same City Manager the Mayor tried to replace"

Lost in all of this is the manner in which the Mayor tried to get rid of the City Manager....

11/25/2008 7:26 PM  

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