Ed Ford and Cohorts – "Too Smart by Half"

One of my favorite phrases was taught to me by one of the most truly clever lawyers I ever worked with, Jack Craft. Someone who creatively saw a bright side but failed to anticipate the downside, or who thought they were being smart when they were in fact being dumb, qualified as “too smart by half”. One time, in an administrative matter, I drafted a convincing argument that the bureaucrats were not, in fact, authorized to take the action they were proposing, but Jack pointed out that by attacking the authority of the state agency, I might win, but I would be exposing our client to years of regulatory retribution from the agency. I was “too smart by half”.

This week’s City Hall drama showed that our City Council is too smart by half. When Funkhouser brought to them a settlement opportunity they had been seeking for months – a chance to put the Bates suit behind them relatively cheaply and move on with the city’s business, Ed Ford rallied his cohorts to reject the opportunity. In a vain attempt to avoid scrutiny of their unconstitutional Anti-Volunteer Ordinance, they refused the opportunity to put this distraction behind them.

Now they have their distraction and the lawsuit, too.

Meanwhile, Funk and Gloria are finished with the Bates lawsuit, and focusing on the economic crisis facing our city. Marcason and Circo spent their time getting deposed yesterday . . .*

It showed real grace and leadership by Funkhouser to bring his colleagues an opportunity to put the Bates lawsuit behind them and offer them a path to focus on the real issues facing Kansas City. To employ another classic phrase, he led the horse to water. Unfortunately for the Council and for Kansas City, our council chose to behave like the wrong end of the horse.

UPDATE: *(Jan Marcason visited the comments section and reports that her deposition was canceled, and that her “day was spent productively addressing city issues.” That’s great. After seeing how much she is able to accomplish for our city in a single day, it’s doubly discouraging that she and the others chose to keep this lawsuit alive to distract them on future days.)

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