Friday, January 16, 2009

Is It Time to Give Up on Jackson County Ethics Legislation?

It's been a little more than a month since the Jackson County Legislature violated the Jackson County Charter and passed ethics legislation that purports to exclude the Legislature from the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission. It's been weeks since the Ethics Commission responded to that "untouchable" approach by resigning, and sometime soon a committee (not the Legislature) will appoint a new committee (if they can find people willing to play along with an illegal sham of an Ethics Commission). It's a New Year. We have a new Chair of the Legislature. Is it time to let bygones be bygones, and move forward?

Not just no, hell no!

This is a battle that is going to drag on, even if the bodies won't hit the floor until 2010. The traditional media have started to pay attention to it. Rumor has it that at least a couple legislators are feeling like they were lied to when they were assured that it was legal, and that the Missouri Ethics Commission had the authority to enforce it. They don't want to take the risk of drawing a strong challenge in their next election, having already tainted themselves with a permissive attitude toward unethical behavior.

Here's the end game on this flap. I intend to focus on the Jackson County Legislature, its ethical shortcomings, and how to challenge each of the "Untouchables" until they reverse themselves on violating the Charter. I've talked to a couple well-connected people who share my disgust for what the Legislature has done, and they have promised to make a few calls to people who might be interested in running for the Legislature on a pro-Ethics platform. The next round of elections for the Jackson County Legislature is promising to be a battle between the Pro-Ethics candidates and the Untouchable Incumbents.

I won't predict that each and every incumbent will lose in the next race. Based on what I've seen and heard, though, I will issue my prediction today that, unless the Jackson County Legislature submits to local ethical oversight, at least 4 and perhaps 5 will, in fact, be driven from office. There are some bright people out there inspired to get involved in politics, and the Jackson County Legislature provides the next golden opportunity to run for office on an anti-incumbent, pro-ethics platform.

Some entrenched incumbents are going to lose their seats, and almost every one of them will face a serious and very expensive challenge, unless they reverse themselves on the Ethics Legislation, and do it soon.

Here are my predictions on this matter. The furor about this will not fade away. Scott Burnett's term as Chair of the Jackson County Legislature will be dogged by questions raised by the refusal to submit to local oversight, and the violation of the Charter. Several new members of the Ethics Commission will resign after questions are raised about whether it is ethical to serve on an Ethics Commission that is being barred from following the Charter that creates it. Other blogs and other media will join in the fun. Sometime over the next few months, someone will file an ethics complaint against one of the legislators, and the Ethics Commission will refuse to hear it, and will forward it to the Missouri Ethics Commission, which will also refuse to hear it. Regardless of the merits of the complaint, citizens will be outraged by the Untouchable legislators. A few of the legislators will develop a conscience and file legislation that will reestablish the oversight called for in the Charter. Rizzo, Burnett, Tarwater and a couple other "old school" will persist in arguing that they are above local oversight, and new candidates will start making their plans known. It will be a bloodbath.

And we WILL get a Jackson County legislature that respects ethics.

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Blogger craig said...

Dan, keep it up. I know that in order to unseat most of the incumbents, it has to be done in the primary. I hope the Jackson County Democrats have it in them to take out the trash.

1/16/2009 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Over the past several years, we have had some disagreements over politics; however, if you stay on focus with this project, I will be right there with you.

The decision to exempt the legislature from the ethics code is inexcusable.

1/16/2009 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Dan's Other Neighbor said...

Is this similar to your prediction that Funkhouser would be a great Mayor....

1/16/2009 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Rizzo for Congress! said...

Listen you arrogant rich guy.

Without Henry Rizzo bringing home the bacon for the Northeast there would be NOTHING in my neighborhood. If Henry knows how to get things done I appreciate it.

You can sit down there in the rich part of town and make fun of and criticize the people who work for a living and our ELECTED representatives but all I can say is FUCK YOU.

1/16/2009 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Rizzo for Congress. People like you are a bunch of elitists who will not be satisfied until he put so many chains on people that they can never free themselves. You hate democracy so when a real man of the people steps forward and helps people then you assholes have to attack him. It is all about keeping the power that you bought with your money rather than earned with your work.

1/16/2009 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only ethic's rule we need is called the ballot box.

1/16/2009 5:14 PM  
Blogger craig said...

Well done Dan, you have the Rizzo apologists coming out and making asinine comments.
Next step they will take is calling you a racist for pointing out his corruptness.

1/16/2009 6:50 PM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...

Does anyone know how the Rizzos make their money? You know, the family profession?

Bragging rights go to the commenter who gets it right.

I'll be back on later to either congratulate the winner or provide the right answer.

1/16/2009 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You mean other than kiting checks?

1/16/2009 10:08 PM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...

lol good point. True, but...

I was referring to the family payday loan business.

Can you believe that? I'm floored, that someone who runs payday loans is also an elected representative....

1/17/2009 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you mean other than putting Rizzo's idiot son's on the public payroll as a board member of Truman Medical? The kid was in his early twenties when he was handed that plumb.

Henry sells used cars and owns a series of payday loan outlets.

Need we say more?

1/17/2009 8:26 AM  
Anonymous No Ethics = NO COMBAT! said...

Dan take a look at one of Rizzo's pet projects, which he insists on funding out of COMBAT. It is called the MyARTS program. Rizzo has a young brunette sweetie on staff who he takes care of with lots of COMBAT money.

If you look at the total number of students in the program and divide that by the county outlay you come up with an absolutely obscene figure. I will leave you to do the math so that you really do have to look into this.

This expenditure alone is enough reason to remove Rizzo from office and to terminate the COMBAT program UNLESS THERE IS A STRONG ETHICS CODE AND ENFORCEMENT ARM.

Go to it Dan!

1/17/2009 9:17 AM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...

Wow, when you think a guy is totally corrupt, then he exceeds your expectations. It's amazing how corrupt Rizzo is. That's very interesting about Rizzo's use of COMBAT funds -this guy needs to be investigated.

1/17/2009 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The name Ratso Rizzo comes to mind.

1/17/2009 6:19 PM  

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