Archive for the ‘CCP’ Category

CCP Endorsement Meeting Tonight

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

The Committee for County Progress will meet this evening to vote on endorsements in upcoming elections. All dues-paying members are allowed (encouraged, even) to show up and vote on this momentous decision.

“Momentous” might be overstating it, just a little.  As Paul LeVota pointed out at the organization’s End of Session Party, none of the elected officials in the room had won the CCP’s endorsement in their first contest.  Jolie Justus, Jason Kander, even Paul LeVota, the Democratic Floor Leader, had been cold-shouldered for other candidates with more insider connections, though less popular appeal.

True to form, the Executive Committee of the Committee for County Progress is encouraging the membership to support county insider and old-school politico Henry Rizzo over Crystal Williams, a first-time candidate and breath of fresh air, as well as Fred “Been On the County Legislature Since it Was Formed and Even Got a County Golf Course Named After Me” Arbanas over Terry Riley, who has shown himself to be an effective voice for change in the City.

If the CCP membership decides to follow the Old White Male recommendations of its Executive Committee, perhaps a name change would be in order.  Caucus of Conservative Patricians, anyone?

Political Clubs

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Political clubs have a long history in Kansas City.  Has their reason for existence diminished with the rise of multiple sources of candidate information, or do they still serve a purpose?  I tried to raise a few thoughts at my article this week.  Let me know what you think, or comment there.

Thoughts from Last Night’s Ethics Forum

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Committee for County Progress hosted an Ethics Forum last night. Micheal Mahoney served as moderator, with panelists Rep. Paul Levota, Rep. Jason Kander, and David Levinthal, the Communications Director for the Center for Responsive Politics in DC. The panel was great, the discussion was informative, and the crowd was a who’s who of up-and-coming politicos. I don’t have time to do one of my typically verbose descriptions of the event, but here are a few observations:

Paul Levota is funny. At one point, Mahoney was pressing Levota on the unlikelihood that the Missouri Senate will accept contribution limits. Mahoney pointed out that little will be accomplished by sticking to the issue accept to use it as a campaign weapon. “That’s the plan,” Levota deadpanned.

Transparency is crucial. One of the big problems in Missouri is that donors hide behind committees. When checks get funneled from “Missourians for Good Things” to “Missourians for Awesome Things” and then to “Missourians for Nice Things” and then finally to the candidate, it’s awfully hard to track the dollars back to the special interest pulling the strings.

Jason Kander is funny, too.
Commenting on a fellow representative’s $100,000 donor, Kander pointed out that the donor probably gets his calls returned faster than the representative’s children. (Maybe that isn’t funny.)

The Center for Responsive Politics is a tremendous resource. Levinthal was well-informed, completely balanced and thoughtful. The Center is non-partisan, and his straight-arrow style made clear that he is interested in good government, period.

The candidates are out to see and be seen. The crowd was peppered with candidates in up-coming races. I hate to mention names, because I don’t want to neglect anyone, but Crispin Rea was a welcome presence, along with his campaign treasurer Theresa Garza Ruiz. I finally met Jeremy Ploeger for the 51st district, and Geoff Gerling, candidate for the 46th District.

Where were the County Legislators? The only County Legislator in attendance was the always-wonderful Theresa Garza Ruiz. This came as a bit of a shock, given that it was a forum on Ethics sponsored by the Committee for COUNTY Progress. After the legislature’s embarrassing and anti-ethical attempt to avoid ethical home rule, it seems that more of them would have an interest in the topic. Fortunately, Henry Rizzo’s opposing candidate and likely replacement, Crystal Williams, was present.

Speaking of Theresa Garza Ruiz . . . I had a brief opportunity to speak with her about her sudden removal as Chair of the Justice & Law Enforcement committee. Despite her degree and experience in law enforcement, she was unceremoniously dumped from the committee, and the “dumper”, Henry Rizzo, didn’t even talk with her about it first, before awarding the committee Chair to a convicted felon. Theresa didn’t have much to offer by way of explanation of this baffling move, other than to point out that the claim that it’s part of a normal rotation of chairs is demonstrably false.

Micheal Mahoney knows his stuff. Mahoney did a great job of moderating the event, and the high point came when he ran factual rings around a loud audience member who was claiming that money is the be-all and end-all of politics. Mahoney pointed to the Carnahan/Talent race, and when the blustery but ill-informed talker pushed on, he pointed out that the Mayor was also not the leading fundraiser in his election. It was an amusing and deft evisceration of an anti-Funkhouser activist who seemed to be substituting volume for accuracy.

It’s wonderful that so many people care about ethics in Missouri.
On a Thursday evening, a healthy crowd of people came out to a mid-town law office to participate in a high-level forum on the topic of dollars and politics. That’s a pretty impressive level of interest, and the CCP deserves credit for putting on the forum.

CCP – Late and Early?

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Yesterday evening, the CCP gave Harry Wiggins Public Service Awards to Jim Nutter, Sr. and Dutch Newman, and then endorsed Robin Carnahan in her race for the US Senate seat in 2010. The Wiggins awards were well-chosen, and two such stalwart supporters of good government richly deserved their recognition. If anything, they should have received the awards years ago, but it is sometimes difficult to stop and recognize people who are constantly and consistently doing dedicated work, without seeking to draw attention to themselves.

As if to balance out the lateness of their recognition of Nutter and Newman, the CCP also became the first major local political organization to endorse Robin Carnahan for Senate. Personally, I was surprised to see them jump the gun and issue such an endorsement before I announced my own decision about whether to run. When I asked a couple members about that, they assured me that they could rescind the endorsement and jump on my bandwagon when it starts rolling . . .

Is the End Near? – Day 149 of the Jackson County Ethics Blackout

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Finally, after almost half a year in an ethical wasteland, the Jackson County legislature is reportedly prepared to accept Ethical Home Rule. Amusingly, Tarwater and Rizzo are pushing for the new deal. “We’re going to put ourselves under the ethics code,” Rizzo said in an interview. “But it will take a unanimous vote of the commission to eliminate one of us.”

The news of the yet-unwritten deal came (not coincidentally) on the same day that the Ethics Commission Selection Committee came forward with a panel of 5 new people to serve on the commission. Janet Blauvelt, Karen Graves, Fred Mills, Myron Sildon, Gwendolyn Washington will make up the new Ethics Commission, and it looks like the Selection Committee did a fantastic job of recruiting and choosing solid people. I know and admire two of the Commissioners.

It remains to be seen whether the entire Legislature will go along with the proposal. Early in the process, Scott Burnett drew a line in the sand over the false issue of “double jeopardy” by both the County Ethics Commission and the Missouri Ethics Commission. Most citizens accept the fact that they are subject to multiple levels of oversight, but Burnett somehow felt that he should be exempt. Fortunately, the rest of the Legislature disagrees with him on that point, and he apparently stands alone in his absurd claim that two levels of ethical oversight amount to “double jeopardy”.

Ultimately, this is a good day for Jackson County, though it’s a major loss for many of the members of the legislature. Rizzo and Tarwater will probably lose their seats over their efforts to eliminate Ethical Home Rule, and Scott Burnett’s term as Chair of the Legislature has been forever tainted by the half-year-long ethical blackout. If it hadn’t been for a few citizens who stood up to the good-old-boy network, they might have succeeded. In fact, they still could succeed – until the deal is passed by the legislature, only a fool would trust in their willingness or ability to do the right thing.

Thanks and congratulations should go to Pat McInerney for his quiet and determined leadership on this issue.

Day 102 of the Jackson County Ethics Blackout – the CCP Calls for Ethics for All!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Yesterday, over at Blog CCP, the Committee for County Progress issued the following press release:

P.O. Box 10462
Kansas City, Missouri 64171

For immediate release:
March 18, 2009
CONTACT: Pat McInerney
(816) 983-8364

CCP Calls For Uniform Application of Jackson County Ethics Code

The Committee for County Progress, Jackson County’s oldest political organization, today called on the Jackson County Legislature – and all Jackson County elected officials – to make themselves subject to the Jackson County Ethics Code enacted earlier this year by County Executive Mike Sanders. Following enactment of the code by Sanders, the legislature passed the code as an ordinance but exempted themselves from its provisions. By executive order, the code currently applies only to the County Executive.

“It’s only right that every elected official should be bound by the new ethics code,” said CCP President Pat McInerney. “Because they set the ethical tone for the county, the idea that there is one set of rules for elected officials and another for everyone else really undermines the idea of having an ethics code at all. The new Ethics Commission should immediately review the Ethics Code and recommend whether it will apply across the board or just to some. The code may need other improvements, but exempting the people elected to represent us is not the way to start.”

McInerney said he expected the legislature to abide by the code and predicted that, once resolved, the ethics code issue would not be a campaign issue in 2010. CCP has been involved in previous Jackson County charter issues – urging and passing a measure reducing the number of legislators from 15 to 9 in 1985 – and has been a voice for progressive and open government since its inception in 1964.

That’s good news for those of us who care about good government.

Shamelessly Stolen from BlogCCP

Friday, September 5th, 2008

BlogCCP has really come into its own lately, and I anticipate it being the top source of local progressive perspectives on the coming campaign season. During the convention, it had two writers providing content fresh from Denver – great stuff!

Yesterday, it provided the following gem:

Quote of the Day
Sarah Palin mocked Barack Obama for leaving the comforts of a big firm and becoming a community organizer. “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

Quote of the Day – “Or, you know, maybe someone needs to remind Sarah Palin that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor.

The 5th Birthday Party for Gone Mild

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

I’ve finally figured out the elaborate, secretive plans by the local politicos to observe Gone Mild’s 5th year.

Tonight, the CCP is holding its general membership meeting at Screenland to finally make its real endorsements. At least that’s the cover story.

In fact, what I think is going to happen is that, rather than going through lengthy balloting, etc., the membership will simply accept the fine work of the CCP selection committees. Those committees were composed of neutral CCP members who conducted rigorous screenings of the candidates, and they came up with the following list of recommended endorsements:

Treasurer: Clint Zweifel
44th State House: Jason Kander
Sheriff: John Bullard

Add on to those wise, informed choices the races that had been left to the Executive Committee (Nixon for Governor, Sam Page for Lieutenant Governor, Jeff Harris for AG and Jim Kanatzer for Prosecutor), and the voting ought to be completed in 3 minutes. Just in time for someone to bring in a huge birthday cake for Gone Mild, and time for someone to sing a breathy version of “Happy Birthday”, just like Marilyn Monroe did for JFK. I’m not sure who will do the singing, but I hope it’s not Bough . . .

Should I Be Feeling Guilty? Because I’m Not Feeling it . . .

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

This morning, I did a post about an email that my friend Beth Gottstein sent to the Executive Committee of the CCP to urge that committee to reject the findings of its own selection committee, and endorse Amy Coffman for the 44th District instead of Jason Kander.

It appears that my post may have upset Ms. Gottstein.

I just read over the post again, and I’m kind of at a loss. Nothing in my post is inaccurate. Nothing in my post is slanderous. Nothing in my post criticizes Amy Coffman (whom I genuinely like) or Beth. I did say she was trying to hijack the process, but it’s obviously accurate that she was trying to change the result at the last minute. Maybe hijack was a strong word, but not as strong as the words I’ve had directed at me this evening . . .

Now, that said, I do feel a little sheepish that I asked whether the Executive Committee would “follow Beth’s endorsement, or support the work of its own screening committee”. I should have mentioned that the third possibility is that they could vote their own opinions, which was the flamingly obvious course they in fact chose. It turns out that Amy Coffman won the support of a majority of the Executive Committee. (I did not arrive at the meeting in time to vote.)

The real CCP endorsements come after the entire membership votes in June. The CCP has a solid process – I look forward to seeing how this all works out.

Will the CCP Executive Committee Do Beth’s Bidding?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Here’s an interesting little micro-drama that will run its course today.

In the wee hours of this morning, Beth Gottstein wrote an email to the Executive Committee of the CCP, expressing her opinion that it should ignore the work of its own candidate screening committee. That committee, composed of volunteers without ties to any candidate, chose to endorse Jason Kander for the 44th District. As readers here know, Jason is a great Democrat with a long history of Democratic involvement in the Kansas City community, and I support him enthusiastically.

Beth offers no real reason to ignore the work of the screening committee, other than noting that she met Amy Coffman when Amy moved to Kansas City from Alaska. Beth alludes to the fact that Amy is a woman, but fails to explain why those who prefer to avoid Y chromosomes should not support Mary Spence.

It’s a confusing little note, and the fact that it got sent out in the wee hours of this morning suggests it is a sort of last-minute hail-mary attempt to hijack the process without allowing adequate time for a response. Beth’s fellow councilwoman, Jan Marcason, is supporting Jason Kander, but apparently isn’t choosing to campaign for him at 3 in the morning.

The CCP Executive Committee gets to decide this evening if it will follow Beth’s endorsement, or support the work of its own screening committee.

Which will it be?