Let’s Talk Politics This Time

Last year about this time, we discussed whether the City Council should make a $2,000,000 donation to the County, in the form of stadium subsidies. I opposed the decision, the Mayor opposed the decision, but the City Council voted 12-1 to give money away.

Since then, the Chiefs and Royals have had horrific seasons with terrible attendance, the City has not had sufficient money to clear streets, our murder rate remains high, a rapist roams Waldo, city employees have been laid off, remaining city workers have had their wages frozen, and we’ve installed Cathy Jolly’s odious red light cameras to generate revenues. All this, and nobody has had the cleverness to point out that the City Councilmembers who voted for the donation should be held accountable for their shocking priorities.

And now the issue is back again.

(As an aside, why don’t some of the crack reporters for the Star do an article about the FREE Royals and Chiefs tickets handed out to County and City politicians? Who’s sitting in those seats? Are they even being used? I’d be willing to bet there’s a story there – either the politicians are handing them out to donors, or they’re wasting the tickets. And, as another aside, why doesn’t the Star do a story on why, exactly, we even have a Jackson County Sports Authority? How much bureaucracy do we need to pay for simply to keep track of two tenants??)

This year, I’m not even going to bother arguing about the wisdom of stealing $2,000,000 from the city’s coffers. My opinion remains clear, but let’s look at a much smaller issue.

How do the politics of this debate work this year? Will Funkhouser’s suggestion that we end the exemption do him political harm or political good? Will it harm him by showing him (again) as out of step with the Council and willing to risk our sports franchises? Or will it help him by showing him (again) as out of step with the Council and being the only one who prefers to spend $2,000,000 on things like police protection, snow removal, and city workers rather than weak athletes?

I’m curious about what people think. A good friend emailed me when the news came out and said that this closes off Funkhouser’s path to reelection – “Voters won’t tolerate our Mayor screwing Chiefs and Royals, regardless of the budget shortfalls.” He may be right, or he may be wrong, and the decision could be a step on the path toward reelection. (I know a lot of you disagree with a lot of Funkhouser’s decisions, and believe that reelection is utterly impossible. That’s fine – but, if you can, try to analyze the politics of this one decision. I’d love to know what you think.)

(Update: A commenter claimed that city officials get tickets, but county officials don’t. The commenter is mistaken. Under the lease agreements, County officials get a suite and prime parking. See page 16, section 7.4. It’s offensive to think that the City Council would steal money from city priorities so that county officials can watch games from a suite.)

10 Responses to “Let’s Talk Politics This Time”

  1. Anonymous says:

    FYI-Free tickets are only given to the City officials, not the County.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why dont you stick to beer or the Theresa Garza fan club, its not whether its right or wrong its the lease default that could happen, the people of Jackson County could be on the hook for millions of dollars, Funk made this promise he should keep his word.

  3. Dan says:

    Anonymous 1:55 – Thank goodness I'm not sticking to beer, or you would be able to get away with lies like that. Show me where Funk made a promise that he would support making a $2 million donation to the County. Never happened – you made that up.

    Anonymous 11:02 – I don't have the time to dig up the leases again, but I'm pretty sure that the county officials, not the city officials, get the free parking. They also get rockstar parking.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Which City Council members voted for the payment last year? Even your favorite ones?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dan, you are either clueless or a being a shill. The county gets nothing.

  6. Dan says:

    Anonymous 8:24 – It was a 12-1 vote, with only Mayor Funkhouser voting against the donation.

    Anonymous 2:07 – It's possible I'm mistaken about that, but I recall seeing such a provision in the lease. I'll look it up sometime today and either add a link to the proof or put a correction in the post.

  7. craig says:

    I think you are right Dan. If I remember though, Sanders refuses the free tickets. I could be wrong though.
    And people, don't blame Funk for this. He has his faults, but his is squarely on the back of Shields and Barnes.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Have you personally discussed this with the Councilpeople you know? What did they say?

  9. Dan says:

    Anonymous 2:07 – check the update; the tickets go to County officials. I'll keep an eye on my email for your apology.

    Anonymous 8:25 – I haven't called my council persons about the donation this time around. You raise a fascinating issue, though – what would be the politics of a council person siding with Funkhouser and the KC taxpayers on this? Ignoring whether it is good policy or not, would it be wise for a council person to break with his or her cohorts and side with the Mayor?

  10. Anonymous says:

    This discussion makes me appreciate Rep. Holsman's bill even more. Holsman's bill would preclude the Chiefs from receiving state funds unless the NFL rescinds its policy of blacking out unsold games.

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