Thursday, March 19, 2009

Savoy TIF - A Reason to Despair

If Kansas City is ever going to do the right thing, this should have been the moment. Everything was set up absolutely perfectly for success, and we absolutely blew it.

We have some fine and intelligent people on our City Council. We have a Mayor who even his most dogged opponents acknowledge has the political courage to stand up to developers seeking to get wealthy from tax funds. We have a budget crisis raging, to keep the focus on the budget imbalances created by bad decisions made in the past. We even have a sane economic development policy that the Council has already agreed upon, to help it make rational decisions.

Surely, under these circumstances, when a wealthy developer approached our City with his hand out, our Council would have the strength and good sense to honor their commitment to the citizens of Kansas City, right? Surely, at this moment of crisis, they would not screw us one more time, for old times' sake . . .

Wrong.

Absolutely incredible. With the sole exceptions of Mayor Funkhouser and John Sharp, the City Council went ahead and showered a rich developer with undeserved tax breaks, at the urging of a well-connected development lawyer who gave them money.

For a great explanation of just how bad a deal this was, go read Mark Forsythe's excellent analysis at The Kansas City Post. Make no mistake about it, Kansas City taxpayers are helping to make the rich richer, while facing cutbacks in basic services.

And your council member is fine with that.

If they're not going to stand up for us now, when will they stand up for us? When Terry Riley chooses not to play silly games over turf? When the development lawyer appearing before them has not greased their palms with substantial campaign donations? When the contrast between having money to pay for basic services and having money to pay for a "four star" restaurant is somehow sharper?

It's moments like these that make me wonder why I care. The deck is stacked in favor of the status quo, and even good people like my city council representatives are riding with Terry Riley and Jerry Riffel instead of Kansas City taxpayers.

I can only hope that sometime today, Mayor Mark Funkhouser vetoes this disgusting display of legislative sell-out, and that a few good council people will look themselves in the mirror and think about why they got involved in the first place.

I know it's politics, but, really, how could you fall this far?

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15 Comments:

Anonymous rey rey said...

you can thank Funk for his ok with a city gaurantee of the Bannister/soccer bonds. A much worse deal than this stupid Savoy. So much for the tougher TIF standards that Funk and the others campaigned for.

3/19/2009 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rey Rey, that is simply not true. The vote was unanimous, and Funk went along with it only after renegotiating a lot of the key points and getting state participation in the deal. The strong majority of the capital comes from the private sector, with the City only particpating with PILOTS that would never have been generated in the absence of the STIF.

The Bannister project will create jobs in a truly depressed area of the East Side. The Savoy project will give lobster eaters a new place to eat, and make Mr. Lee and his lawyer even wealthier.

Pay attention.

3/19/2009 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funk voted for the city to guarantee the bonds...easily the worst business compenent of ANY TIF deal. Look no further than the P&L. Spin it anyway you want, any legit business person knows a windfall when they see it and any half brained voter knows a renig when they see that too.

3/19/2009 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"any half brained voter knows a renig" - comedy gold.

3/19/2009 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean Beth didn't do the right thing, in your opinion?

3/19/2009 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funk talked a good game but has delivered very little and the council doesnt finance 101. I bet they all talk about how they have been hard on TIF though come elcetion time.

3/19/2009 3:46 PM  
Anonymous inafunkaboutthefunk said...

Didn't the Funk support the Boley Building TIF???? You remember, don't you Dan... the TIF that enabled the owner to get a bigger purchase price for his real estate? I'm pretty sure the Funk supported this. If someone writes different, I will be more than happy to pull up the links and the quotes.

3/19/2009 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANON 122PM.. at the end of the day (that day) the Funk supported a Super-Tif which he acknowledged would be, even if every single projection were met, a MONEY LOSING deal for Kansas City... that's a fact.

3/19/2009 4:44 PM  
Anonymous isdaninafunkaboutthefunk? said...

The Savoy TIF - Reason To Despair?

Damn right Dan!!! Now, who is doin' the despairin'?

First he hires Semler, then puts his whole administration on the line for his smudgestick-wielding pyscho wife, then he runs all of his communications by Jack Cashill, and then he hires Jeff Roe's company as his chief consultant.

And now he sells out on the Savoy.

And you are his #1 defender. A#1 defender, till the very end.

You're lookin good here, Dan.

Are you proud of your boss?

In your words above:

"Surely, at this moment of crisis, they would not screw us one more time, for old times' sake . . "

Funkhouser did.

"With the sole exceptions of Mayor Funkhouser and John Sharp, the City Council went ahead and showered a rich developer with undeserved tax breaks, at the urging of a well-connected development lawyer who gave them money."

Ooops! Looks like Funkhouser is also showering the developer with gifts.

"I can only hope that sometime today, Mayor Mark Funkhouser vetoes this disgusting display of legislative sell-out, and that a few good council people will look themselves in the mirror and think about why they got involved in the first place."

Oops!! Mayor Funkhouser endorsed this legislation instead of vetoing it- in your words - a "disgusting display of legislative sell-out".

I know it's politics Dan, but really, how could Mark Funkhouser fail this far?

Sound familiar? Well, I think the answer lies in the fact he gets his advice from Cashill and Roe.

But of course the Mayor assures us our "best interests are protected.”

Don't you agree, Dan?

3/19/2009 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Funk was able to get a little piece of this TIF action thrown over in Wirken's direction.

3/19/2009 8:42 PM  
Anonymous rey rey said...

Funk = Fraud

Council = Clueless

3/19/2009 9:46 PM  
Anonymous morelblogger said...

I noticed one of the labels for your post is "morality".

So, tell us Dan how you think your hero, Mayor Funkhouser, was acting morally when he not only declined to veto the Savoy ordinance, HE ENDORSED IT!!!

If he disapproved of it, and knew there were the votes to overide his veto, he could have silently let the bill pass.

But he didn't.

He endorsed the Savoy TIF as good public policy.

Dan - doesn't that that make you, and your post above, look like the work of a moron?

No, you're not a moron.

You're an idiot.

3/19/2009 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calvin needs to stop working the blogs

3/19/2009 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did not answer Anon 3/19/2009 3:21 PM

3/20/2009 5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan - It seems everyone agrees with you, but they just can't be decent human beings about it. Half the commenters want to change the subject to other projects, because you were right about this one, and the other half agree that Funk should have vetoed it.

Your commenters are just too stupid and ungracious to admit that you were right.

Except for me - keep up the good work.

3/20/2009 10:08 AM  

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