Monday, May 04, 2009

Playing Games with "Cops on the Street"

After hacking $15 million dollars from the budget of the Kansas City police department, the Kansas City Council wants to act like it didn't do anything wrong. Incredibly, two City Councilwomen have sought to breeze in and wallpaper over their budgetary attack by encouraging the Police Department to eliminate support positions and change the working conditions for 200 cops - all so that they can claim that their budgetary attack didn't reduce "cops on the street".

These are the same people who voted to donate almost $2,000,000 to the stadiums, instead of using it to reduce the cuts to cops.

Frankly, avoiding a reduction in the number of "cops on the street" is political showmanship, not effective public safety. "Cops on the street" need support off the street, and $15 million in cuts to the back office is going to have an impact on the ability of the cops on the street to do their jobs. Those cops on the street need supplies, they need well-maintained vehicles, and they need supervision. Like any business, they need support services, and cutting those support services while artificially maintaining the number of cops on the street is likely to do more harm than good.

Sure enough, after the Police Board passed the budget without a single negative vote, one of the City Council members took the low road and preemptively slimed the Police Chief. "If officers are pulled off the street that will be Corwin's decision, not the council's." Folks, I've seen some pretty vile attempts at denying responsibility for one's own behavior before, but that one ranks way up there.

Of course, in the anti-Funk hysteria this town is currently suffering through, nobody wants to talk about the irresponsibility of the council. Instead, people are aiming their guns at the one person who has worked hardest to preserve the police force. The same Council member mentioned above had the unmitigated gall to complain that "Funkhouser hadn't helped the city officials dicker with the police staff during task force meetings about the budget."

I believe that the Council "dickered" the police department quite well without Mark's help.

Showing an amazing ability to focus on the irrelevant, Yael "Funk is a Big Poopyhead" Abouhalkah even took a cheap shot at Funkhouser for not attending the meeting at which the budget passed without a single negative vote. Again, showmanship gets valued over substance in Yael's mind. Instead of even mentioning the vote tally, Yael wrote two columns attacking Mark for the same missed meeting, and implied that pre-meeting participation in the budgetary process doesn't matter if none of the voters mentions it during the vote. Amateurish, petty hack job.

If we want to talk about failure in Kansas City, we ought to be talking about the attempts of certain City Council members to paper over the impact of their disastrous police cuts, and the Star's biased refusal to call them on it.

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Blogger Eric Rogers said...

Interesting how this became all about taking cops off the street instead of reducing duplication of administration. Despite years of talk and the current crisis, there has still been no real movement to get rid of duplicate functions like HR, IT, fleet, etc. It's dumb for the police department to duplicate services that the city already provides for other departments.

It's also interesting that in the last election most candidates generally agreed it would be preferable to have local control of the police department. Yet the mayor and council still allow the department to hire its own lobbyists with the explicit goal of stopping any efforts to gain local control.

Seems like the fight over the police budget has become just a big proxy fight for other disagreements between the Mayor and Council. Both sides are unnecessarily politicizing the police budget to score points against each other.

5/04/2009 10:35 AM  
Blogger Capt. Geoffrey Spaulding said...

Spaeking of the lack of police protection...

The STAR had a really cut-and-dried version of Sunday morning's shootings.

It told hardly any story at all.

Odd too- there were almost as many shooting victims (8) Sunday morning as there were D-U-I arrests (9) at Sat. morning's police convention on Indep. Ave..

Maybe the cops should re-classify sobriety checkpoints and make them random weapon checks.

Better yet- maybe they should ALL get their asses out ON PATROL- particularily Westport and 220 East Admiral near closing times!

G. Spaulding

5/04/2009 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would Funk give go to Nebraska on the day that the police budget was being voted on when he has a seat on the board of commissioners?


Just another screw up Dan.

5/04/2009 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Kingsfield said...

Why wouldn't he? The votes were lined up, and his vote would not have changed anything - in fact, he would have voted for it.

That's no screw up.

5/04/2009 1:29 PM  
Anonymous cookinghamjr said...

It is a screw up, Kingsfield.

It's his job to represent the city of Kansas City on the police board. It is part of his job as being mayor.

This situation is a perfect, individual example of nonfeasance. When combined with other individual examples, it could be used to make a case for a recall.

I not suggesting we add nonfeasance to the recall petition just yet - but to miss a police board meeting - for a paid speaking engagement - would never be a smart thing to do. Especially in light of the fact he has stressed police protection and safety as his number one "family" issue, and even moreso considering there is a recall campaign going on during his absence.

To make an excuse that because his vote could not have changed the outcome is a frighteningly dangerous and irresponsble excuse for not showing up to do his job - which is representing the city of Kansas City.

Just imagine the situation if all of our elected representatives used that excuse and that thought process.

Cookingham, Junior

5/04/2009 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you attack 2 Councilwomen?

5/04/2009 7:03 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

What about my criticism of the two councilwomen bothers you? Is it somehow unacceptable to criticize a woman? I doubt they would agree.

5/04/2009 7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't he? The votes were lined up, and his vote would not have changed anything - in fact, he would have voted for it.I agree and follow the same logic, that is why I never vote on election day.

One vote never matters.

5/04/2009 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me rephrase: "Councilmembers"

5/04/2009 7:43 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Please note that I kept their names out of it, and they were behaving ridiculously, deserving every bit of criticism I delivered.

Are City Councilmembers now part of a protected class, above criticism?

5/04/2009 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5/04/2009 9:07 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Will those of you claiming to be upset that Funk missed a vote on which the outcome was already determined and his vote was unnecessary express the same level of principled outrage whenever any city councilmember misses any vote?

5/05/2009 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Domestic Partnership issue is still on the table for discussion and Funkhouser ducked it. He is depending on bigot votes and Republican consultants in order to hold on to his dream of staying in office, so it is clear that he does not want to make a statement in favor of domestic partnership benefits.

The LGBT community and its straight allies should sign the RECALL petition!

5/05/2009 10:44 AM  
Anonymous cookinghamjr said...

Yes, Dan.

You will hear my principled outrage when any councilperson makes a certain issue their principled cause, and they miss a critical council vote pertaining to that very issue. Unless, of course, it was due to illness or tragedy/ emergency associated with a friend or family member.

And you will also hear additional concern from me if the reason for missing the vote was because they were engaging in a private financial venture leveraged by their standing as public offical.

It may not be illegal behavior, but what I described above is inappropriate behavior by any public official.

Cookingham, Junior

5/05/2009 3:08 PM  
Blogger ender said...


God bless you. The Internet needs as many rational heads such as yours it can get.

5/06/2009 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan you should post something on how Jason Kander worked the phones from Jeff City, and convinced the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners to reinstate Domestic Partnership benefits to the police department. I have heard many wonderful things about his efforts.


5/16/2009 10:05 AM  

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