Archive for the ‘jackson county’ Category

Star – No News is Bad News

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Monday, the KC Free Press published my thoughts on labor’s desperate attempt to get one last favor out of Henry Rizzo before he loses to Crystal Williams. This morning, the KC Star ran the same thing, anonymously rehashing my analysis into their own words, but adding a nice bit about how Fred “I’m NOT Running – Oh, Wait, Maybe I Am” Arbanas is pathetically seeking labor support to avoid being ousted by Terry Riley.

I’m not complaining about the Star using me for analytical guidance – I applaud them for that. Editorially, they can gain much from following the lead of bloggers, who are often more insightful and creative than their stable of entrenched former journalists. (Maybe there’s something in the walnut wood polish that causes weariness?)

The point that ought to outrage intelligent and alert Kansas Citians is the fact that THE STAR HAS NOT WRITTEN A SINGLE NEWS PIECE ON RIZZO’S AND ARBANAS’ SELL-OUT TO LABOR!

The only place Star subscribers can read about labor’s scheme to seize control of county contracts is in the editorial pages, where it’s been mentioned twice. Today’s article and last week’s article are merely editorials, opinion pieces unsupported by factual reporting from the news sections of the paper.

This is a real and serious problem, and it says volumes about the sinking of a once-great paper. The news sections ought to be the driving force of the paper – the place where the facts are gathered and the secrets exposed. And the editorial page ought to be where the editors get to analyze and opine about the news covered in the meaty news sections.

At the Star now, the news offerings are so meager that the editorialists have found it necessary to “go rogue” and bring forth facts that no reporter has gotten around to actually writing up as news. You can’t find a single news article even mentioning the proposal, but the editorial page has deemed it important enough to address twice.

When the news division of the paper is so weak that it does not have the resources to cover enough news to keep up with the editorial writers, the newspaper has lost its purpose.

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.

Let’s Talk Politics This Time

Friday, February 12th, 2010

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.)

If You’re in the Mood to Think Deeply About the Internet . . .

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

McKay over at State of the Line puts into words a lot of the thoughts that have been going through my own mind. Here are a few excerpts, to give you the flavor, but the whole essay is well-crafted, thoughtful, and thought-provoking.


“What we don’t often discuss is whether or not a culture of instant satisfaction is even a desirable state of living. I’ll admit I’m as guilty of this mindset as anyone else: I feel lost without my phone, become anxious when I cannot check my email for several hours, and become consumed by news and market alerts from the Times and Journal — and that’s before I even start to revel in the abundance of information in my Google Reader feeds. But why do we need this? It’s hard to imagine that just ten years ago, we often had to place a call from a land line to a land line, leave a message, and wait for a response.”
. . .
“The mantra of Web 2.0 is always based around the supposed wisdom of crowds: if you let the aggregated genius of the assembled masses decide it, then you’re bound to get the best and most efficient result. Have we really taken the myth of the rational market this far?”
. . .

“But the releasing of the keys to the free-information demands of the online marketplace is not even the most troubling aspect of the internet’s total cultural penetration. That, I suggest, is the culture of hatred bred by anonymity. What’s most baffling about the trend toward online anonymity is exactly where it came from. When I watch the evening news, I’m not allowed — nor do I feel entitled — to appear in a picture-in-picture window offering sarcastic remarks, thinly veiled insults, and outright sadistic language about the anchors and the stories. So why do we feel this is a fundamental right online? Yes, the web is supposed to be a democratizing tool of great egalitarianism — I understand that. But just because one could say anything he wants doesn’t mean one should. There is something deeply troubling about citizens being able to hide behind online handles and lob verbal grenades toward anything they deem disagreeable, lame, or pointless. Aside from contributing nothing to our conversation, it weakens the intellectual capital of this allegedly revolutionary tool. Why should people bother posting information online when one commenter, emboldened by the freedom of anonymity and feeling empowered to voice his darkest thoughts because it will never be traced to him, can simply make a hateful or racist remark?”
. . .

On Human Connections & The Social Utility Of The Internet

January 22, 2010 by McKay

Since our denunciation of snark in late November, we’ve made an effort around here to post thoughtful, reflective pieces that take a step back from the hyperactive and hyperbolic mood of the blogosphere. I’ve been thinking quite a bit, though, about the very essence of that particular arena, and about the entire networked world that supports it. The internet (the noun seems to have reached a non-capitalization age, no?) is widely heralded by everyone from sociologists to Apple stockholders as the salvation of humanity — the thing that will bring everyone together, result in a technological Age of Aquarius, and connect open-minded people everywhere in a panoply of new ideas and information-sharing mechanisms. To see just how deeply this assumption has become ingrained in our society, just note the Luddite accusations that follow anyone who dares suggest the following: what if the internet’s deleterious effects outweigh its benefits?

The internet, I’d contend, is a technological success — nay, a marvel — but an undeniable failure as a tool of emotional connectivity. I take pains to say it’s not a failure as a tool of human connectivity; its power in allowing me to speak instantly to someone in Malaysia, or email a friend in Britain, is unsurpassed and unlike anything we’ve ever known. Its capability in the arena of communication is not here disputed. As a communication tool, it has revolutionized the way we operate — so much so that it becomes difficult for us to comprehend that letters and conversations once had to wait days while mail was delivered, or months while ships crossed the ocean. (Honestly, can we comprehend that? Or have we become so accustomed to instant responses that our brains can’t quite wrap themselves around it? Paleontologists often speak of the difficulty in communicating the sheer magnitude of time’s passage between dinosaurs and humans; our existences are so short that we truly cannot fathom a span like “millions of years” — is this sort of like that?) It has likewise reshaped the way we do business: the online market connects us to a marketplace of goods and services we never would’ve foreseen, all capable of being delivered in minimal time. All of this has created a culture of instant satisfaction, in which most of our communication and capitalist desires can be satisfied in ever-shorter durations.

What we don’t often discuss is whether or not a culture of instant satisfaction is even a desirable state of living. I’ll admit I’m as guilty of this mindset as anyone else: I feel lost without my phone, become anxious when I cannot check my email for several hours, and become consumed by news and market alerts from the Times and Journal — and that’s before I even start to revel in the abundance of information in my Google Reader feeds. But why do we need this? It’s hard to imagine that just ten years ago, we often had to place a call from a land line to a land line, leave a message, and wait for a response. Today it’s difficult to envision waiting for anything; most news and information is accessible by the click of a mouse or swipe of a touchscreen. However, this seems to have weakened our collective resolve. When everyone can access everything all of the time, the ill effects are two-pronged: first, it makes us spoiled and expectant, assuming that we can get anything as soon as we want it. Second, it weakens the inherent worth of pure waiting, which in turn depreciates the value of patience and appreciation of the final product or idea delivered. The reason patience is said to be a character-building virtue is because it helps us place more context and appreciation on the thing we finally receive; if I’ve not had to endure any kind of wait for something that’s important to me, how do I know to appreciate it? Especially when I can, presumably, receive another just like it in an equally short time span?

The problem spawned by a culture of instant satisfaction is that it somehow convinces us that we deserve things for free. Think about that for a second: the Times employs hundreds of reporters in its newsroom. Those people work to create what’s largely considered to be some of the best journalism in the country (not to mention agenda-setting; it’s often joked that if you want to know what NPR will talk about on Thursday, you should just read the Times on Wednesday). Where on earth did we get the notion that we deserve every ounce of that product completely free? The internet was supposed to connect us to the product, not deliver the product free of charge and render the cost of the effort worthless. Newspapers made a strategic blunder when they imagined they could provide free content and use advertising to support it, and now we’ve all become horribly accustomed to receiving things for free.

The mantra from the supposed gurus of the Web 2.0 revolution, of course, is that information wants to be free. This is patently absurd. The only people who want information to be free are those who can bank a profit from that information’s use: advertisers, online vendors, et al. If I’m the one paying a staff of hundreds to produce that information, what message am I sending to my employees by giving away the product of their work? It’s akin to Honda giving away cars and relying on rear-window advertising to make a profit — how would the legions of assembly line workers feel about placing a value of $0.00 on each car they produce? The mantra of Web 2.0 is always based around the supposed wisdom of crowds: if you let the aggregated genius of the assembled masses decide it, then you’re bound to get the best and most efficient result. Have we really taken the myth of the rational market this far? (There is, in the recession’s wake, a pretty serious backlash against that myth. Can we really assume that a stock’s price reflects all pieces of known information and is adjusted to meet that information? Are we really supposed to believe that human emotion, artificial inflation, and pure market chicanery never plays a role?) As web pioneer Jaron Lanier notes in his new book, crowdsourcing in pursuit of free information can be not just an ill-advised strategy, but a pernicious one; he notes that it leads content-producers “to treat the fruits of their intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind.” While the tone is slightly alarmist, Lanier’s point is solid: when we assume we can get anything we want — news articles, images, digital music — for free online, we hurt, and perhaps destroy, the innate worth of what people are producing and sharing. Why should a musician who writes and produces a song, presumably at some expense, be expected to bestow it as a gift upon the world?

But the releasing of the keys to the free-information demands of the online marketplace is not even the most troubling aspect of the internet’s total cultural penetration. That, I suggest, is the culture of hatred bred by anonymity. What’s most baffling about the trend toward online anonymity is exactly where it came from. When I watch the evening news, I’m not allowed — nor do I feel entitled — to appear in a picture-in-picture window offering sarcastic remarks, thinly veiled insults, and outright sadistic language about the anchors and the stories. So why do we feel this is a fundamental right online? Yes, the web is supposed to be a democratizing tool of great egalitarianism — I understand that. But just because one could say anything he wants doesn’t mean one should. There is something deeply troubling about citizens being able to hide behind online handles and lob verbal grenades toward anything they deem disagreeable, lame, or pointless. Aside from contributing nothing to our conversation, it weakens the intellectual capital of this allegedly revolutionary tool. Why should people bother posting information online when one commenter, emboldened by the freedom of anonymity and feeling empowered to voice his darkest thoughts because it will never be traced to him, can simply make a hateful or racist remark?

The problem is that it doesn’t take any talent or creativity to make one of these remarks. All it takes is a detached aloofness, or a hatred of a certain political figure, and one can immediately take a reductio ad absurdum approach to online discussion. By insulting the author, or suggesting that the article or work is boring, or denigrating a particular race, one reduces the discussion to its most base and troubling elements. No talent is required to do this. And for what? So you can appear more world-weary than the next commenter? So you can hold yourself out as more sophisticated than the other readers, and thus more difficult to impress?

In case it’s not obvious by now, this post is a mea culpa of sorts. For the first nine months of this site’s existence, we committed some of the sins I’ve just listed. As anonymous writers, we felt a perverse freedom to say whatever we pleased without fear of repercussion. With no fear of exposure, we could mock, insult, and generally torment people like Mike Hendricks, Mayor Funkhouser, Jack Cashill, and various users of Ink’s web site. Why did we do this? Well, in some cases criticism was more than warranted. . . . But in most cases there was no point to this. . . . We poked fun at Star columnists — and indeed at the entire publication — because it was easy for us; we were not reporters caught up in the dwindling world of media, and so never had to worry about the actual work it took to produce a newspaper. Far easier it was for us to simply wait for them to do the work, and then sit back and comment anonymously. For a time, this worked marvelously. Our page views reached heights greater than anything we’d ever imagined, and we routinely received emails from people congratulating us on our snarky ascension. But it wasn’t right. It wasn’t the kind of thing that would make our parents beam with pride. Most importantly, it didn’t contribute anything of value to our citywide conversation. Being able to make someone laugh, or merely pointing out the absurdity of a column, doesn’t make you cultural critic. That takes analysis, reasoning, and reflection. For a distressingly long time, we lost sight of that.”
. . .
“Removing ourselves from the self-absorption of Web 2.0 is paramount if we are to recapture a reality based on tangible connections to nature and to each other. This starts with several actions. First, the scourge of web anonymity must end. For whatever reason, the nature of anonymity prompts us to give voice and life to our darkest sides. Second, we must understand that just because we are enabled to say something doesn’t mean we are compelled to say something. There may very well be a rumor swirling about a City Hall politico, but to give life to that rumor is to act irresponsibly. When one writes a post insulting that person or implying untoward things about him, it’s important to remember that people will read it and be affected by it. These are not mere words leaking out into an online ether where people are unaffected by harsh statements — they are mean-spirited and unnecessarily cruel aspersions that will no doubt alter the mood and spirit of the subject.”
. . .
“Jaded, world-weary affectation is a vacuous intellectual pursuit. It challenges nothing, contributes nothing, learns nothing. There is something larger, and that thing is a stroll on the lawn of the Nelson, or a sunset over a comically flat Kansas horizon, or a chat with a friend under the Plaza lights. These are not things to be blogged about or posted as status updates in 140 characters or fewer; they are things to be lived, to be experienced, and to be savored, all with an attitude of appreciation and civility toward your fellow citizen because it’s simply the right thing to do.”

I apologize to McKay for copying so much of what he wrote, but, trust me, the real essay goes deeper and further.

My post about Henry Rizzo appointing James Tindall to be chair of the Jackson County Legislature’s Justice and Law Committee needs to be rewritten.

5 Reasons I am Voting NO on COMBAT

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

I will be voting NO tomorrow on the extension of the COMBAT tax. I’ve struggled with this decision, but a vote for COMBAT is a vote for arrogance in County government. Here are my reasons.

1. County Government Cannot Be Trusted with a $20,000,000 Slush Fund. Make no mistake – County government has cleaned up its act over the past several years, but the lack of news coverage focusing on it has caused it to care less and less about the public trust. For instance, the committee that handles the COMBAT funds has 2 out of 3 members with genuine criminal records – crimes centered on financial misdealings. I acknowledge that voters of a district can elect who they want, but for the Legislature to place those two people on a $20,000,000 committee seems to be an intentional poke in the eye to those of us who care about good government.

2. The Vote Yes Campaign is Trashing Our County. The utter contempt that the bigwigs have for those of us who live here in their fiefdom is shown on the latest “vote Yes” mailer. On it, in a bright orange box, is a quotation from a recovering addict – “Without COMBAT, Jackson County would be like Iraq . . . with drugs.” In an age where our County and City are trying desperately to lure business, tourism and Johnson Countians to our community, the politicos are conjuring images of bomb craters and shell casings. It is irresponsible, dishonest and frankly disgusting to issue such a statement, and I cannot imagine rewarding such behavior with a “yes” vote. If for no other reason, caring Jackson Countians should vote “no” as a rebuke to everyone involved in this effort.

3. $800,000 Timing Mistake. Why are we having this election now, when the tax does not expire for another 17 months? Because some backroom politicians decided that holding a special election now, at a cost of $800,000, would be a clever move at keeping turnout low, rather than holding the vote during a regular election. It’s arrogance, people – we’re voting tomorrow because some bigwig decided we should, and damn the taxpayer expense.

4. COMBAT Funds Get Wasted. Now, let me be crystal clear on this – the vast majority of COMBAT dollars get spent on good programs for great reasons. But some of it gets wasted – like paying a thousand dollars for a blogger to put a sticker on his car. The fact that one of our best legislators was criticized for being “picky” when she questioned the expenditure of a thousand tax dollars further illustrates just how uncaring our legislature is.

5. If We Vote No, We’ll Get a Better COMBAT. Here’s the key to the whole thing – we have 17 months to get COMBAT fixed and then get it approved by the voters. Right now, if you ask questions about how the program is being administered and what the plans are to improve it, you’ll be told that they’re working on it, and are in the process of revamping everything. “Trust us, we’ll make it better.” Yes, they really do hope and believe that Jackson County voters are dumb enough to trust that the legislature will make improvements after they get their way. This is the same crowd of legislators that fought Ethical Home Rule for almost 6 months. Let them make their changes first, and then come to us for approval.
________________________________________

As a responsible citizen, I cannot in good conscience vote for the renewal of the COMBAT Tax at this time. I am not blind to the good it has accomplished, but one would be hard pressed to spend $20,000,000 every year without accomplishing some good. I want something better, and I think the Jackson County legislature deserves a rebuke, not a reward. I will vote NO on COMBAT.

Strangers on the Internet – Let’s Be Careful Out There

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

I talked with a few people involved in politics recently, and confirmed what I had personally noticed. There seems to be an uptick in the number of new “acquaintances” on the internet eager to share dirt and rumors, or to seek information or opinions about local figures. I had one stranger recently share some outlandish lies about a few women involved in state and local politics.

We’re a year away from elections, and the lying and elaborate deceptions are already starting up.

Personally, I’m glad to be on the sidelines these days. If you’re in the thick of it, though, please be aware and don’t take candy from strangers. Or give it, either.

Jackson County Dems Bringing in Fake Sarah Palin – Jennifer Granholm Coming to Truman Days

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm served as a stand-in for Sarah Palin while Joe Biden was preparing for the Vice Presidential debate. Frankly, I don’t see the resemblance, other than the fact that they’re both women governors who happen to be relatively young. Unlike the shrill and unqualified governor of Alaska, Granholm is smart, compassionate and successful.

She will be speaking at the annual Truman Days hosted by the Jackson County Democratic Committee. She’s the real deal – political insiders see her as an up-and-coming leader on the national stage. Jackson County Dems are fortunate to have brought in such a leader for their annual conference.

I’ve never met a president, before or after they were elected. This could be my chance. You betcha!

Dave Helling – Daily Revisions

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Dave Helling claims he needs a translator to understand my criticism of his column entitled “End of $2 million stadium subsidy could let JoCo off the hook for ballparks“. Now he’s claiming that his column was an attempt to offer a history lesson about a long-gone politician’s version of a backroom deal done decades ago.

Sure, Dave.

If it’s a history lesson, why the budget analysis (faulty again, but math has always been a weakness for Helling) based on today’s dollars?

As for your claims that you weren’t saying what you thought of the proposal to end the tax dollar give-away (even though you trotted out every BS argument opposed to it, and neglected to mention that the City has no legal obligation to make the donation), they are as weak as your argument that $2,000,000 dollars is not a lot of money because it shows up in a larger budget (much of which is non-discretionary).

It’s not surprising he can’t understand my point – he even whines that I misspelled his name when I merely misplaced an apostrophe. Helling’s inability to understand what is going on around him is a hallmark of his writing. Whether it’s worrying about the collapse of the Democratic party in 2008 or low voter turnout in a record setting year, Helling never seems to need a translator for current events.

But, until yesterday, I had no idea the poor guy doesn’t even understand what he himself has written. His post on Monday was a defense of the status quo for stadium donations, and his post on Tuesday was a poor attempt to redefine his current argument as an irrelevant history lesson.

Too Much Cooperation? – Day 54 of the Jackson County Ethics Crisis

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Cooperation is generally a good thing, but it has its limits. In the legislative world, too much agreement is a red flag that something is amiss. If a roomful of elected officials sworn to represent their constituents don’t ever disagree, they are either not facing genuine issues or not having the courage to dissent.

Over the first 4 meetings of the 2009 Jackson County Legislature, Bob Spence is the only legislator to vote “no” on anything. No other legislator has broken from the herd even once. (To be completely fair, as always, I should point out that Fred Arbanas abstained from a vote to congratulate him on his birthday, and Scott Burnett abstained from the vote electing him Chair. So at least two legislators have a vocabulary that exceeds “aye”. It’s also worth noting that Henry Rizzo didn’t abstain from the vote electing him Vice Chair, secure in his knowledge that ethics rules don’t apply to the Jackson County legislature.)

During that time, the Legislature has spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars, and changed the law in a fashion that will almost certainly cause children to be harmed in Jackson County, as well as property damage.

More tellingly, nobody has dared introduce an ordinance reversing the Legislature’s anti-ethical exemption of itself from the Jackson County Ethics Code. I had correspondence with one legislator who agrees with me that the exemption should be reversed, but he won’t introduce such a measure unless he knows it will pass. Sadly, going on record supporting ethics is less important than avoiding the wrath of the legislative leadership.

Folks, a good legislature is marked by spirited debate and respectful differences. A bad legislature is marked by fearful cooperation and gutless orthodoxy. A legislature that agrees on everything is not doing its job.

The Jackson County legislature is not doing its job.

Why Does the Star Ignore the County? – Day 52 of the Jackson County Ethics Crisis

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a savvy former politician who told me that when he was being interviewed by TV people, and he said something he didn’t want broadcast, he would drop an F-bomb into the sentence. Video editing capabilities of the day and pressing deadlines kept him out of the news when he didn’t want to be there.

I have discovered a similar trick that works to keep the KC Star from putting something in the paper. Just mention “Jackson County”. The Star will lose interest and flee from the story.

I attended an introductory meeting for an unofficial committee focused on city business last week, and I was not at all surprised to see two, count ‘em two, Star writers there. I asked one of them afterward why they double-teamed a city issue, but nobody was writing about the fact that the Jackson County Ethics Commission was NOT meeting, because nobody had been timely named to it.

Similarly, there is nobody writing about the fact that this is Day 52 of the Jackson County Ethics Crisis, with the Legislators continuing in their refusal to be governed by a local ethics commission.

It’s even reached the point that the Star downplays Jackson County issues on the Prime Buzz. Recently, I did two posts in one morning – one was about a minor argument I had with another local blogger, and the other was an analysis of whether anyone would agree to serve on the Jackson County Ethics Commission, and raising the question of whether it was even ethical to serve on it while it was barred from taking on the tasks assigned to it in the Jackson County Charter. The Prime Buzz’s Blog Watch column ignored the post about an important issue for Jackson County governance and wrote about the other.

Who, at the Star, covers the City? Lynn Horsley, Deanne Smith (who I understand has a vested interest in keeping County coverage positive), Yael Abouhalkah, and anyone else with a spare moment and a scrap of paper. Who, at the Star, covers the County? Well, let’s see – Mike Mansur does a decent job when he has the chance, but it’s only one of his many assignments.

The result is that you have the Star double-teaming a committee meeting, but ignoring the Jackson County Ethics Crisis. The result is that the Star didn’t even mention that the Jackson County Ethics Commission had resigned until weeks after it had happened. The result is that the Star STILL has not reported that the time has lapsed for the ethics committee selection board to appoint replacements, with the result that Mike Sanders now has that duty.

For some reason, the Star has decided that it should not flip over the rocks in Jackson County government. It’s kind of sad, because the more I look, the more I find. I’d love to see what a real journalist could do with these stories.