Is Arbanas Stepping Down from Jackson County Legislature? Democracy or Backroom Deal?

Fred Arbanas has served on the County Legislature since it was founded. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not – he was elected in the first class of legislators under the Home Rule Charter in 1973, and has served ever since.

Among the County Legislators, however, he is the only one without an active campaign committee on file with the Secretary of State. His prior committee folded in 2003, a few years after the County Government took on the burden of cementing his name recognition and stature by naming a multi-million dollar golf course after him.

Since then, Arbanas has not faced a challenger in either a primary or general election.

The upcoming elections, though, present a vastly different picture. After the botched attempt to dismantle Ethical Home Rule brought shame to the Jackson County Legislature, and in the aftermath of the shot of adrenaline provided to young Jackson County Democrats by the election of President Obama, a lot of people are looking to run in 2010.

Change is in the air for the Jackson County legislature.

And, really, it can’t be much fun anymore for Arbanas. It doesn’t look like they are going to be naming any other public property after him, and he turned 70 in January. He hasn’t done the hard work of campaigning – dialing for dollars, door-to-door handshaking – in years, and I doubt he wants to work that hard. It’s tough to run an at-large campaign against spirited and ambitious competition.

The issue, though, is how the transition will be handled. My guess is that Mr. Arbanas has some deserving person (upper class white male would be my speculation) that he wants to hand his seat over to. My guess is that they would prefer to handle this on a backroom, handshake basis – Mr. Arbanas will not signal his intention to step down until moments before the filing deadline, in the hopes that nobody else will file to run against an incumbent golf course. At the last moment, his anointed successor will step into the unopposed election, and the winds of change will whistle past District 3.

But that’s all guesswork. My hope is that someone great, with progressive ideas and a willingness to battle the good-old-boy network of the Jackson County Legislature, will pay attention. My hope is that we could get someone else with the energy and intelligence of Theresa Garza Ruiz to make a difference.

21 Responses to “Is Arbanas Stepping Down from Jackson County Legislature? Democracy or Backroom Deal?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like you have some very strong sources at the County Courthouse. It must make them crazy — a short walk for most of them. Good work Dan.

  2. Jako Sunshine says:

    Here is the link to successor for Arbanas:

    The person depicted is his longtiome legislative aide, Karen Conrad.

  3. Jako Sunshine says:

    Arbanas is a team-player and the political action committees will choose a replacement with his approval.

    His district is only interested in continuing the patronage positions and maintaining control of the "land use committee" which oversees land developement in Eastern Jackson County.

  4. Anonymous says:

    With Arbanas gone, Bob Spence won't have anyone to talk to during the meetings.

    Don't expect him to run either. Maybe the Republicans will finally make a move to break the lockstep of the Legislature.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Can't Theresa run for 2 seats?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don't think he's gone.

  7. Ward says:

    ""That's a bunch of bunk," Arbanas responded."

  8. Jako Sunshine says:

    Mansur bites back. You can bet those at the Star read your blog.

    Arbanas may win the seat, but then he will give it to someone else.

    I've got a video of him saying in 2005 that he would not run again. Obviously, he makes promises that he cannot keep.

  9. Dan says:

    Of course Arbanas denies it – if he admits I'm correct, it blows his opportunity to hand-choose his successor.

  10. South Side Catholic Vote says:

    Kate Meiners would take that seat in a heartbeat if Fred did not run. Dan knows that and is working with Kate to sow seeds of doubt. As usual he uses a sword when a scalple is necessary.

    Never know what might end up in some emails.

  11. Wexford says:

    Dan you do not do so well in the evenings. What are you afraid of?

  12. Dan says:

    South Side – Interesting speculation. I have only spoken with Kate Meiners once in my life, though, and the conversation did not touch upon County politics.

  13. Dan says:

    Wexford -

    There are a couple commenters who think it's fun to post obnoxious slanderous accusations here. They are completely false, but I think it's best to delete them rather than dignify them with a response.

    Honestly, it's discouraging to see just how nasty and ugly some people are while hiding under the cover of anonymity. Quite seriously, I think there is mental illness involved. I could just shut down commenting until the crazies move on, but I hate to deny the opportunity to disagree with my posts (or agree!) to those who want to carry on an intelligent discussion.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Danny, you spoke with her once in your life? Was it before or after she decided to run for Fred's seat?

  15. Dan is an ahole says:

    So much for Danny's insight – his prediction of Arbanas' last term is coinsistent with his support of Funkhouser as being Kansas City's best mayor.

    What a wreck this blog is.

    I drive by just to see the mess.

  16. A woman who knows says:

    You never see dirty politics like this in the Funkhouser Administration, that is why he will be re-elected in a landslide!

  17. Hello from Indy says:

    Garza-Ruiz could fill 2 seats.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I saw this somewhere

    Listen and watch Fred say he won't run again at minute 4:15 plus

  19. Anonymous says:

    Theresa couldnt even win a committee race and understand she has two people looking at her race now she better worry about her future not the COUNTYS.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Did you really say "upper class white male?" This is exactly the kind of comment that is counter-productive in these things. There is nothing wrong with being an upper class white male (I am a white male, but I only aspire to be upper class :) ). Rather than make judgments based on one's color or wallet, let's do it based on their policies and credentials. One could read your post as implying that your candidate is great because her name is Hispanic. Of course, you would never make a judgment based on one's color–so I can only assume that your candidate has wonderful qualities. If so, you should share them instead of tabbing pot-shots are white males.

  21. craig says:

    I know you are a unapologetic liberal democrat, and I respect that.
    But would it kill you to acknowledge that Greg Ground is the other honest member of the Jackson County Legislature?

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