This Post is submitted to the Skunk by Sir Humphrey Appleby
It would appear Mr. Mayor, that since you and the Mrs. have decided to limit comments on your official blog, the only ones that get published are the ones that either directly support your point of view/opinions, etc., or are designed to argue to broad based positions much to the effect of "can't we all just get along." In which case, this ceases to be an instrument of discourse where citizens can vent their feelings and opinions freely - yes, even dissenting points of view. As such, it is now just an instrument of propaganda that only puts forth views that don't question the authority or autonomy of the powers that be, The Big Lug and Mrs. Lug.
I really find it hard to believe that the Mark Funkhouser that I thought I understood based on his campaigning and therefore voted for, would position himself in this manner. I think it is just further reflection of the inappropriateness and inexperience of those with whom he chooses to associate. Adding to that, we must deal with an ego and/or a wife that does not allow for conceding that he may have made a mistake. Oh yes, he has shown that he can bow to public pressure (the use of the 'free' car), but even then he could not bring himself to admit that perhaps he and Gloria had made a colossal error in judgment. He still acknowledges that he couldn't believe all the fuss. I, for one, feel very strongly that he should understand all the fuss. Just like he should understand the fuss regarding the Semler appointment to the Parks Board.
First off, it's my understanding from talking to City Hall insiders that he didn't miss the information about her association with the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps because he never actually googled her. He completely circumvented the process that all other interested citizens had to go through to seek appointments to various boards and committees. All of this because Gloria promised Mrs. Semler a place on the Parks Board even though she apparently wasn't particularly interested enough to seek it out on her own. I don't recall seeing anything in the City Charter that authorizes the Mayor's wife to make appointments to boards and commissions; However, I'm not so naive as to think that spouses can't have political influence. It would just be nice if Gloria could develop some political awareness and discretion so as to at least pretend to be serving as a trusted advisor rather than just leading 'hubby' around by the ring in his nose.But I digress.
I bring up the Semler appointment not to discuss the pros and cons of it yet again, but to discuss the very serious backlash that this one episode has created for the City. As someone who has been reading a variety of blogs, articles, and public opinion sources regarding this appointment, I have to say that I am shocked by the overt racism that I see expressed. It's no secret that Kansas City has always been a racist city, but it somehow seemed to be that 'dirty little secret' that we kept hidden from outsiders and those that visited our city. But now, because of Mayor Funkhouser's stubbornness and political naiveté or unwillingness to cross the Mrs., our secret has been exposed to all and sundry. I know that the City wants national attention, but surely not this kind of attention.I have seen many comments regarding the purported racism being espoused by La Raza and the NAACP because they are threatening to boycott the City in terms of hosting their national conventions.
I personally would not want to go to a city where the people are so overtly racist that I would fear for my safety. I don't see how they can take any other position given the public response that has been presented to this situation. Boycotting is a legitimate response to public and private decision-making and luckily we live in a country where we can still demonstrate this stance. It's about more than just two conventions not coming to town; it's about the image of the City.
The Mayor is intended to be the leader and figurehead for this City. I would ask, Mr. Mayor, how does it feel to be single-handedly responsible for costing this City millions of dollars at a time when we have risked so much to position ourselves in the American market? Are your principles really worth so much?
You talk about dealing with problems of education. Surely you know that the TIF issue has a huge impact on the funding of the educational systems within this City. The entire downtown area stands to eventually generate hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Kansas City School District, but how can that happen if nobody is coming to the City? As far as I can tell, from the funding mechanisms through the marketing, the entire Sprint Center/Entertainment District project has been predicated upon bringing large amounts of visitors into the City. Who is going to want to come to an environment such as the one that currently exists?
I saw in your blog a statement that you've been flying all over the country to meet with people to try to resolve the 'Semler issue.' What a waste of time and money. Not a particularly bright approach given the fact that apparently we are facing large budget deficits yet again, if the Star is to be believed. Especially when all it would take is a strong stance that indicates that you're going to do the right thing by this City. It will never undo the damage that has been done, and there will be no winners. This situation has created a losing situation for all citizens because now when we say that we're from Kansas City, they'll look at us with 'that look' because they know our "dirty little secret." Thanks Mr. Mayor or more appropriately, perhaps the thanks belong to Gloria. I can't wait to see what new debacle awaits us.
And hey, Mr. Skunk, thank you for creating this outlet for us to express our views. At least you have the guts to allow all points of view to be represented unlike others...........Way to go, man.