4 October 2010
Welcome back to Notes From The DoubleWide!
While most of our Notes are one-pagers, this welcome back is a long one
to provide you with a glimpse of the past, present and future of Funk’s
administration. If you can’t read the whole newsletter now, please
look at the last page and Save The Date of November 5thon your calendar.
The Mayoral Campaign
We can hardly believe that it’s been four years since Funk’s campaign for
When Funk was the City Auditor, he came out strongly against the
willy-nilly use of TIF incentives. He released audits showing that
the abuse of those incentives left little money in the city’s budget to
pay for basic services like cops, sidewalks, snow removal and street
Funk ran for Mayor to change the culture of government and get City Hall
back under control. He planned to reverse the belief that you can’t
fight city hall. He was not only going to fight City Hall, but he
was going to win. Clean, Safe Neighborhoods In A City That Works
For Regular Folks was not just a good idea; it was soon going to become a
way of life.
Looking back, the thing we remember most about that time was the
around-the-clock work. We never worked so hard and on so little
sleep in all our lives, not even when our children were infants.
Everything about the campaign was fast and furious, yet at the same,
gratifying and fun. The only thing that kept us going was to think
about the breather we’d get once the votes were counted.
But as we would soon come to understand, there would never be a time when
we could slow down, not during the campaign, and certainly not
after. It was almost unimaginable, but after Funk won the election,
instead of things slowing down, the pace actually picked up.
Winning The Election–The Mayor’s Office
Funk’s duties as Mayor have remained around-the-clock, yet his job is
immensely gratifying. It’s an honor for Funk to get to do a whole
lot of good for a whole lot of people.
It hasn’t been easy at times, but whenever you’re making major changes,
especially major changes like changing the culture of government, it
never is. Backroom Dealmakers don’t just pack up and go home just
because an “outsider” won the election. As you’ve seen, Funk’s
opponents not only didn’t go quietly away, they ramped things up in an
effort to halt the change.
Do you remember the “Pigs At The Trough” campaign commercial? It
showed how Special Interest Groups were bleeding the City’s coffers dry
through backroom tax incentive deals (TIF’s), deals that were paid for
with city tax dollars.
When Funk was a mayoral candidate, he promised that the first thing he’d
do in office was to develop an economic development policy that had clear
guidelines to staunch the abuse of those incentives.
Through The Reform-Even
When Your Opponents Are Cranky
Well, true to his word, among the first ordinances passed by Funk’s
administration was that promised economic development policy, and that
was the beginning of the long process of TIF reform.
But as soon as Funk did that, things got tough. The “Pigs at the
Trough” started squealing, and they haven’t let up since. It
appears they didn’t like their free pot of money drying up, and they
weren’t going to take it lying down. They’ve been willing to say or
do anything to get back the power they’ve lost, hence, the
pseudo-scandals that ensued soon after the election:
The Free Car
Funk initially accepted a donation made to the City of a yearlong lease
of a Honda Civic Hybrid.
Lost was the fact that this acceptance was being Smart With The Money, as
Funk was forgoing the expense of the Lincoln Town car and the police
escort that the former Mayor had enjoyed. Forgoing that expense
saved the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, not to
mention it put two cops back on the street.
Funk never took possession of the car, and to this day, he still drives
his 1997 Corolla on city business.
The Frances Semler
Funk appointed Semler to the Park Board. Quickly, her affiliation
with a group that opposes illegal immigration caused a controversy.
But Funk stuck by his appointment because he believes that true diversity
comes not just from tolerating different colors of skin, but also from
tolerating different thoughts and opinions on topics that matter.
Lost was the fact that Funk’s Park Board included two African-Americans
and the first Hispanic Chairman in Park Board history.
The City Manager
The evidence of neglect in our neighborhoods, dropping citizen
satisfaction scores, declining population and job loss, all were
overwhelming proof to Funk that he needed to hire a city manager who was
in tune with his agenda for moving the city forward.
But instead of debating those facts, a majority of the City Council,
along with many of the Mayor’s opponents, assailed the Mayor for the
“way” he handled the firing. It seems that there was something
wrong with privately telling the City Manager that he should resign, lest
he be fired.
Lost was the fact that the Council came to agree with the Mayor and
helped him dismiss the City Manager in late 2009.
Volunteer” Ordinance Scandal:
Most personal to us was the targeted legislation brought about by the
City Council to ban volunteers from serving the City. Initially,
the ordinance was billed as an important safeguard for city staff and
volunteers both. But as more amendments were made, it became clear
that the ordinance was aimed only at the Mayor. It seems
Council members were trying to distance themselves from the Mayor in an
effort to prevent the pseudo-scandals from bleeding over onto them.
Lost was the fact that the ordinance was found to be unconstitutional and
was struck down by the Courts.
Funk’s response to the hyped-up pseudo-scandals was to say, “Bring It
On,” as he knew that you couldn’t change City Hall by backing down to
this type of bullying.
Never Giving Up, Or
Worse, Never Giving In To Special Interest Groups–Funk Continues To Choose You
Despite all the smokescreens, Funk continued to plug away at changing the
culture at City Hall by tackling the long overdue changes that the voters
trusted him to make.
Funk brought the budget under control - first by balancing it, and then
by focusing more of your tax dollars on basic city services. Of
course, the “Pigs” squealed over this too, with the loudest squeal coming
after Funk fought to put more cops in the neighborhoods. It wasn’t
a hard choice for Funk: More cops over more glitzy projects?
Not a hard choice at all.
The list goes on and on. But the most impressive win is the fact
that the City’s finances are now in the best shape they’ve been in the
last 10 years, despite the recession.
Families First–It’s Worth Fighting For, Even If It
Funk has succeeded where others have failed. He’s fundamentally
changing the culture of government at City Hall and putting the focus
back on the heart of the city: cops, spending, basic services, families,
neighborhoods and schools.
While it would have been easier to give in to the forces that wanted Funk
to revert back to the way that things have always been, that’s not Funk’s
style. He gave his word to the voters and he’s keeping it. He
could have easily made the pseudo-scandals go away by giving up on his
promised agenda, but he took this job not for the title, but to actually
get things done. Going along just to get along doesn’t produce the
real and lasting changes.
Real Change Takes
If you’re still with Funk, we know that you too, are strong and tenacious
fighters who are willing to do what it takes to make things right for the
ordinary citizens of our city. Thank you for hanging in there with
us through the changes.
In the weeks to come, Funk’s campaign website will be fully up and
running. From there, you can learn more about Funk’s agenda for his
next Mayoral term, and read about the other successes that Funk has
fought hard for and won…despite the din.
The Political Pundits
Wrote Him Off Last Time–Never Underestimate The Power and Wisdom Of Regular
Just like the last campaign, we’ll be relying on grassroots support to
see Funk, and ultimately, you, through to another win. A win that
will allow Funk to spring off the solid foundation that he’s already
built and continue to bring professionalism, safety, fiscal sanity,
livability and economic growth back to our city.
Your support can take many forms, from volunteering your time to donating
to the cause. You can do that and more atwww.reelectmayorfunkhouser.com.
In the meantime, we welcome you back to Notes From The DoubleWide!
All the best,
Gloria and Mark
Friday, November 5th, 6:00 p.m.
(We’ll fill you in
on the details shortly)
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Some People Say...
"Mark's common sense is what is needed in all levels of
-Kent Rader, Comedian
"I think Funkhouser is the most intelligent mayor Kansas City has
ever had. He's a blue-collar guy with a Ph.D."
-Bill Drummond, Glass-Etcher
"Mayor Funkhouser listens to his constituents whether it's at the
grocery store or a town hall meeting. He hears our concerns and
implements them at City Hall. He is our voice."
-Laura Remy, Real-Estate Investor