Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Elephant in The Room

I attended Mayor Funkhouser's Town Hall meeting tonight, and I'd like to give you my take on the whole thing and perhaps get some feedback if anyone is actually reading this thing.

A man stood up early on in the question session to address what he called the elephant in the room. The audience probably knew that he was referring to the Francis Semler affair, just as we seemed to get the allusion to Mrs. Semler earlier in the evening by the Mayor himself. The speaker voiced his support for Mayor Funkhouser's position, and received applause from the audience. After that, there were no further references to that issue. So, elephant it may be, but not something concerned citizens in south K.C. seem interested in talking about.

If it is the elephant in the room, that's only because the matter has been blown up into a big media ta-doo for political reasons.

The real elephant, the mother of all elephants, is something more fundamental, and I saw it in virtually every issue being brought up that people really wanted to talk about. That's why I got up to say what I said near the end about the bureaucracy being a huge dead weight dragging down the implementation of reforms that I think the Mayor and a majority of the Council want to see happen. I've heard it said that most City Hall employees voted for Mr. Brooks and now they have no incentive to see "A City That Works", and I know from my foxhole experience in the Red Bridge battle that we are up against stiff resistance to change and public involvement. In his response, the Mayor talked about the culture at City Hall, but my head was still spinning from having made a speech in public, so maybe I can hear from you about what you heard at the meeting.

As far as Red Bridge is concerned, Terrence Nash explained another elephant in a different room: the project is essentially an illegal act. The Council said one thing, and the Public Works department has done something different. No, not different: opposite. Teresa Edens talked about the survey, which is just pure evil if you ask me. (I haven't been so incensed about anything since Bill Frist was Senate Majority Leader.)

Arnold McMann was the first speaker of the evening, and brought up the issue of accountability of public funds. That was the first of many issues that for me keep coming back to the need to do a "full Gorbachev" on this City: glasnost, perestroika and democratization.

Maybe the Mayor and his family should refrain from trips to their dacha in the Ozarks until we get things sorted out.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the only thing you missed was that the Mayor didn't seem to have a concrete response as to what he would do about the Elephant in the Room.

Anonymous said...

The real Elephant in the Room, not the Semler issue.

Craig said...

I remember him saying something about turning the Queen Mary. He surely must know that the Number One, Chief Engineer, Chief Steward, bosun and most of the deck hands have to be put off ship first.

Anonymous said...

Why beat about the bush? Just fire Wayne Cauthen and move on.

Anonymous said...

and Stan Harris while you're firing people

Anonymous said...

I was please to see the trinity in action again. I was anxiously waiting for Terrance to correct the course of BWRs ship or abandon ship.
We need to get people out to the Charette next Wednesday and demand to see the modeling align and illustrate an "at-grade" pretend for a moment. Je n'parle pas mucho Francais, but I know it is a deriviative of the French word,
Charade. I don't have to remain anonymous, I remain truly your fellow Citizen K.B. Winterowd

Craig said...

Thank you K.B. I want to add a story I heard before the meeting, and maybe others can fill me in or correct it: I heard that BWR gave the Mayor a briefing on the status of the Red Bridge Project before he came out here. Public Works was upset that they weren't doing the presentation. I may have confused two different stories, but I am sure that my take-away from this tale will be the same: the bureaucrats are such control freaks that they can't even trust their hired assassins (and they are doing a good job of that) to talk to our elected officials.

Anonymous said...

Why should the Mayor quantify what was done when he appointed someone to a public position who expouses different views than his own? Isn't that what diversity is all about? Or did I miss the session on where we should only be concerned if someone feels different than the party line of "the race". All that aside, we need to figure out a way to preserve our community and neighborhood from corporate influence. And about that survey... none of my neighbors who stand to lose property were sent one. All surveys sent to the right demographic will provide you with the answer you want to hear. So what addresses actually received them?

Craig said...

I think the closest you can get to finding out where the surveys were sent is to look at the map. (http://www.redbridgeroad.org/docs/survey_recipients_map.jpg)

I don't know if there is any bias resulting from a skewed sample, but I think that would only be a small piece of the puzzel. The real problem with the survey is that they are basing a decision on it that is a decision that should only be formed on the basis of a consensus process involving people who have demonstrated a level of competence in the field for which they are contributing. (awkward sentence?)

Then, there is the positively evil way the survey favors expansion over preservation, and just belittles Friends of Red Bridge values and philosophy.

Add to that the likelihood that most of the people who got the survey haven't thought about the subject, and certainly don't know the ramifications of what they are indicating they want. "Be careful what you ask for" is something to keep in mind whenever making a request of a government agency.

What have you got then? Put it all together, and I was expecting an even larger vote for BridgeZilla.

kooka said...

"Then, there is the positively evil way the survey favors expansion over preservation, and just belittles Friends of Red Bridge values and philosophy."

As noted in the Wednesday Sun today, "the survey" and "the study" are not the same. It's implied that ETC Institute conducted the actual survey. A quick call to ETC Institute/Leisure Vision at (913)829-1215 will clarify their involvement, including who wrote the questions for the survey.

Anonymous said...

I read the charrette meeting format today. Sounds like there is input from attendees, and it is totally contradictory to what they did with the survey. Does it make sense to turn out in mass and totally reject their designs if they only show over the river and the RR (reminds me of a christmas song). This is Cindy Sullivan - and I don't know how to post not anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Tony's KC is trying to spin your blog as saying the Semler controversy is following Funkhouser to south K.C., but what I get is people in south K.C. support the mayor and want to move on.

http://www.tonyskansascity.com/2007/10/semler-talk-follows-mayor-funky.html