Sunday, November 18, 2007

Politickin' KC Style

Today I had the pleasure of eating lunch with Mayor Funkhouser and I have to say, it was quite an experience. I haven't really had much experience in my life of hobnobbin' with officials or royalty or even local celebs, so I'm basing all this on nothing. It sure does seem like I spend a lot of time explaining 'why I don't know anything about ' because, I really don't know much about much, and local politics are no exception. I feel that this may be somewhat justified in this case, due to the fact that for the past year I lived in Houston and the year before that I lived in Beijing and the seven years before that I was hopelessly drunk on cheap bourbon and cheaper beer.
Since returning to this city, I have felt that it is time for me to, at an absolute minimum, pay attention to local happenings, if not take it a step further and get involved on some level. More on that later. Back to lunch.
Without getting into the whole deal, I just have to say, this guy is one of the easiest guys to listen to I have ever met. I'm sure he's said his share of bonehead quotes and stepped in shit plenty of times, but the fact is, he was the city auditor for like 250 years and no one could possibly understand the total chaos of the city’s financial situation and that probably makes him pretty stinkin’ qualified to step into the UFC arena that is Kansas City politics. Combine that with his level and logical manner of speaking and you've got yourself a mayor who cares about educating those around him as much as getting people to agree with him. Now, talking politics with my friends is a dangerous game as they are all smarter than me, they all follow them more than me and they are, generally, better people than me, and when it comes to supporting certain people over others they can be downright mean, so I'm going out on a thin branch here held firmly in place by my ignorance and the knowledge I gleaned over about an hour discussion over chicken breast linguini and a salad.
Basically, Kansas City, MO politics revolve around two things: money and Kansas.
Where are we going to get the money to do . The big one right now is the Light Rail. That has gotten so much press that no one could possibly follow the web of taxes and routes and funding and blah blah. The city is being puppeted by a guy that lives in Virginia and no one knows that the hell is going on. The second big financial issue is basically 'how can the Power and Light District possibly ever make money'. Unless Garth wants to play nightly for the next ten years, the area's going to have it's problems here in about, ohh, two years.
Secondly, the Kansas issue will always be there. How can the two states cooperate better for 'the good of the area'? Missouri has the big sports teams ('bigish') and Kansas has the money, though if you've driven through Olathe in the past couple years, you'd begin to question that. In the meantime, people are moving out of the 'urban core' and into North Kansas City, which further stresses city tax dollars because it's expensive to expand the infrastructure.
At any rate, inspiration takes many forms, even if it's just inspiration to pay attention and honestly, it's nice to be inspired by something positive than the normal spite or jealousy induced inspiration that fills our lives on a daily basis and we all need some good positive inspiration in our lives from time to time. Love him or hate him, at least listen to him.

Vote Quimby.

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