Archive for the ‘corruption’ Category

Is Jay Nixon Ashamed to be a Democrat?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

I’ve long maintained that Governor Jay Nixon is as arrogant and corrupt as a Republican, but I had no idea that he is actually trying to pass himself off as one. Check out his slick new web page, and try to decipher what party got him elected. He doesn’t make it easy on you – he does not identify himself as a Democrat anywhere on the front page of his website. Go ahead and check his “Meet Jay” page, and you won’t find himself mentioning his party affiliation.

Is it any wonder that Missouri Democrats are struggling? With leaders like Jay “What Party Am I?” Nixon, it’s hard to inspire much pride in being a Democrat.

KCMayor.com – Wouldn’t it be Ironic?

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the insistently anonymous people behind the secretive KCMayor.com website had ties to the construction company that worked with Bill Session on his multi-million-dollar no-bid dirt-moving contract?

That could explain how cozy pro-spending insiders Mike Burke and Jim Rowland keep winding up on top of their weekly polls, while Mayor Funkhouser hasn’t received a single vote since the Port Authority scandal broke open. Not one.

Hmmm.

It makes one wish that they explained exactly what they mean when they say they want a “great mayor”. Does that mean one that facilitates multi-million dollar contracts to well-connected insiders?

Screwing KC Taxpayers – The Downtown Hotel Chapter

Monday, November 8th, 2010

I’ve been watching local politics for decades, and I have never, ever seen the stars align so perfectly to demonstrate how the development community screws Kansas Citians as we will be seeing in the Downtown Hotel saga. (I apologize for using the coarse term “screw”, but any other accurate term would be far more vivid and nasty.) If you want to learn how “big money Kansas City” steals from regular people, grab your popcorn and watch.

First, understand that the big money wants to build a big, expensive hotel downtown, regardless of the consequences for the rest of the city. Why? Because there is a lot of money for them to make, while they bear no risk at all for the inevitable failure of their false projections.

$300,000,000. That’s the low end of what the project is anticipated to cost. That is money that will be spent – pure economic heroin jabbed into the arms of development lawyers, construction companies, consultants and landowners. Three. Hundred. Million. Dollars. (Plus the cost over-runs and change orders and litigation and – well, I would continue on but I can sense the development community reading these words as the hottest form of pornography they can imagine, and I hate to give them that much pleasure.)

How much of this will be your money? An awful lot of it, but they won’t tell us until AFTER the Mayor and Council elections. But look at Indianapolis if you want to see what they are dreaming about; there, they screwed the public to the tune of almost $50,000,000, PLUS free land, PLUS 10 years of not having to kick in a nickle of taxes. Taxes get paid by residents, not public money “capitalists”.

And Indianapolis got off light – the public money “capitalists” are already licking their chops at the prospect of a bigger orgy at Kansas City’s expense. “Deno Yiankes, president and CEO of White Lodging, said his firm was interested in Kansas City but would require a ’significantly higher’ public contribution than Indianapolis.”

“Significantly higher”?!?!?! Please, development crowd, can’t we JUST give you free land, $50,000,000, and 10 years of tax free living, and call it even?! Do you have to hurt us even more???

Ominously, three Mayoral candidates went along on a trip to Indianapolis to look at this “success story”. One wonders if the development people took those candidates for a tour of Indianapolis Public Schools – one of the least successful school districts in the universe. I’m sure it was a nice trip, and they all endorsed the idea of a downtown convention hotel. Folks, we’re screwed.

They won’t discuss the financing details until after the elections. Folks, we’re really screwed.

Downtown hotels barely achieve 50% occupancy rates. As a taxpayer/investor, do you really want to build 1,000 rooms, at a cost of $30,000 each (or more), to enter a market that is so over-saturated that it can sell only half its beds? Of course not.

But, if you’re a construction company or a development lawyer or a consultant, it’s not your money you’re playing with. You will get paid whether the thing flops or not. (Look at the Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis if you want to see how quickly this thing will land in foreclosure, after the construction companies, development lawyers and consultants have been paid.)

And if you’re a candidate for Mayor or City Council, who do you think is going to write you bigger checks? The average Joe barely scraping by, or the public money “capitalists”, who stand to grab a portion of $300,000,000?

Will we sit by and watch it all happen?

Is Rizzo Finished at the County?

Monday, July 5th, 2010

A month away from the primary, Henry Rizzo is trying to push a gift to big labor through the County Legislature. It’s not surprising that Rizzo is working against the best interests of the taxpayers – it’s just surprising that he’s trying to do it now, in the midst of an election it looks like he’s losing.

Is this labor’s last fling with Henry Rizzo, before the real Crystal Williams whips him in the primary?

Crystal Williams Already Cleaning Up Jackson County Politics – Diane Williams Dodges the Oath

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Yesterday, Diane K. “Crystal” Williams resigned from the race for the 2nd District At-Large seat on the Jackson County Legislature.  What prompted the sudden change-of-heart?

She was scheduled to answer questions under oath in a deposition this morning.  The lawsuit filed by the real Crystal Williams exploring the circumstances behind Diane K. Williams’ choice to run as “D. Crystal Williams” threatened to expose the involvement of Henry Rizzo in this unsavory political dirty trick.  Faced with the choice of answering questions honestly or covering for Henry Rizzo, Rizzo’s dirty trickster chose door three, and fled.It’s impressive that the real Crystal Williams has already begun chasing the charlatans out of Jackson County politics.  In response to a race-baiting, lie-filled withdrawal letter published on the city’s joke blog, the real Crystal Williams showed real class, focusing her attention not on Henry Rizzo’s slimy tactics, but on the voters of Jackson County -

I am pleased that this issue is now resolved.  I am committed to open and accessible county government, focusing on real solutions designed to improve the lives of Jackson Countians.  That is what the voters of Jackson County deserve, not game playing by people who should know better.

The real Crystal Williams is the real deal, and it’s wonderful to see somebody committed to defeating the filth of the Jackson County Legislature without sinking to their level.  Henry Rizzo should be ashamed of himself.

Sheriff Evicts Insiders – The First Victory in the Cleansing of Jackson County Legislature

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

First, big kudos to Sheriff Mike Sharp, who has taken a stand against the literal insiders who have used courthouse access to unfairly gain early access to getting their name first on the ballots. In prior years, incumbents would use their courthouse passes to get in and file for themselves and friends while the hopes for reform sat outside in the cold.

Finally, Mike Sharp has put an end to that odious and unfair practice. Using his role as chief of security for the courthouse, he decided to take names at the courthouse door starting at 5:00 yesterday.

I had written about the unfairness of the prior system before, when Theresa Garza Ruiz proposed a simple and fair fix to the insider game. Greg Grounds joined her in seeking to eliminate cronyism.

Heny Rizzo voted for special insider privileges.

Dan Tarwater voted for special insider privileges.

James Tindall voted for special insider privileges.

Scott Burnett voted for special insider privileges.

Dennis Waits voted for special insider privileges.

Fred Arbanas voted for special insider privileges.

Bob Spence voted for special insider privileges.

Not surprisingly, even under the new system, Henry Rizzo managed to find a way to use his position to engage in petty cheating. He loathes Theresa Garza Ruiz because she has consistently sought to bring openness and reform to the Jackson County legislature. With that in mind, he let Ruiz’s opponent cut in line to get his name on the ballot before her.

Can you believe that? Most people grow out of that kind of behavior in 1st grade, but Henry Rizzo and his friend apparently did not.

Has Journalism Reached a Tipping Point?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Something really interesting and perhaps troubling happened last week. A local blog, Tony’s Kansas City, made the Kansas City Star tumble into irrelevance regarding a major local story.

It all surrounded the turmoil involving the Citadel and spending city money on a project that has been festering for years. But the merits of that particular project matter less to me than the way it got handled.

In a nutshell, the KC Star was, once again, falling down on the job. While backroom manipulations were going on, the Star remained essentially silent while Tony roared to life. It was Tony, not the Star, that drew public attention to the story. It was Tony, not the Star, that got tongues wagging. I’ve been watching local politics for decades, and, for the first time I can recall, the backroom shenanigans of the insider aristocracy got stopped in its tracks without the Star’s involvement.

Tony derailed a process that the Star was too lazy, incompetent or uncaring to write about.

Sadly, Star reporter Lynn Horsley is stamping her foot and claiming that she didn’t drop the ball, rather than acknowledging that Tony did a better job than she did, and promising to be more responsive and courageous in her work.

Will this be the wave of the future? Will smart tipsters, who want to see their information have an impact, eschew the blase’ and insider-cozy attitude demonstrated by the Star’s fading political coverage?

I think it would be best for all concerned if the Star would show more of Tony’s willingness to stick his nose into backroom business and gore a few sacred cows, so Tony could go back to being a joke blog.