Saturday, April 19, 2008

Funkhouser gets the citizen treatment

Last month during the city budget debate, Mayor Funkhouser wrote a letter to the K.C. Chamber of Commerce criticizing them for not giving due consideration to his learned opinion on the matter:
“I am outraged that my input was not sought in the development of the chamber’s recent resolution on the city’s budget. I saw it for the first time when it was introduced at the board meeting. I raised concerns about the resolution. You and your board members listened politely and then called for questions and further discussion. There was none, and the motion to adopt the resolution was summarily approved.”
While Funk fan Yael Abouhalkah wrote “good for the mayor,” The K.C. Blue Blog emphasized the arrogant tone of a letter “full of nothing but sentences bragging about his education level.”

Now, I would like to put my spin on it that has nothing to do with either the budget or the Mayor’s lack of savoir-faire, but with something that might be even more important: governance in Kansas City.

As someone who has been on the receiving end of one “ram through” after another (most recently by the Parks Board and City Council), Funkhouser’s complaint sounds very familiar. It’s business as usual in this town. Let’s turn it into an English lesson. Just fill in the blanks...

“My input was not sought in the development of _________.”

Of course not. Your input doesn’t count. The decision was made before the facade of public debate began.

“I saw the ________ for the first time when it was introduced at the meeting.”

Because they don’t care what you think about it.

“There were no questions and there was no discussion, and a motion to adopt it was summarily approved.”

Because we have a democracy in form, but not in substance; that’s the bottom line, and there is no prospect for changing that on our flat Midwestern horizon.