Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cathy Jolly: Some Thoughts

I had some thoughts on Cathy Jolly's decision not to run for reelection for the Kansas City City Council seat she has held since 2007. But first a correction: I incorrectly stated that Ms. Jolly had not garnered any opposition for reelection in the post last night. I would be incorrect--Tracy Ward has been doing a Facebook drive for "Likes" and seriously considering running for the seat before Ms. Jolly decided not to run again. I had my incumbents mixed up; I thought it was John Sharp who had some opposition. My apologies, and do visit the Facebook page, linked right here.

A second commenter noted that Ms. Jolly and Mr. Sharp have, on occasion, clashed, and in general have not worked well together during the city council term. This brought to mind the community meeting in April, where Ms. Jolly and Mr. Sharp openly disagreed on two issues before the council at that time.

The issues were on servers' licenses for felons, and doing business selling home grown produce in the neighborhoods. On both issues, Mr. Sharp was more libertarian and Ms. Jolly more oriented to regulation. It did stun the room that the two council people so openly disagreed, and even seemed ready to debate on the spot about the two issues. So yes, a poor relationship with John Sharp may well have played into Ms. Jolly's decision not to run again.

To take a bit of a longer view: Is it so bad that an incumbent chooses not to run again? Really, you do remember those pictures of Robert Bryd over the years? Consider that the founding fathers did not have a career legislature in mind when they wrote the US Constitution, a document whose basic philosophy trickles down to the local level. For Cathy Jolly to not run for office, to seek a career in law, or take family time, and then return to political office, if she desires is right in line with the plans of the founders of this country. If politicians don't make it a career, we might find people who do indeed see it as community service, not a stepping stone to personal power and prosperity. Perhaps then, we can find some better people to take part in our government.

(Then we have to learn not to tear them to shreds with rumor and innuendo...but that's a post for another day.)

Photos by The Observer from that community meeting in April 2010.


Anonymous said...

While servers licenses for felons and selling home-grown produce may be issues, Cathy Jolly is chair of the public safety committee, for heaven's sake. And every week of the year at least two murders take place within an area of about 50 blocks on the east side, a number of murders which is a full 25% of New York City with a population of over 20 times as large.
And, yes, I know how how KCMO's police department is a state agency and all of the other bureacratic balony because the city officials I've talked with have all told me that there's just so little they can do (except waste $700K on Aim4Peace).
There are over 480,000 residents in Kansas City and only 13 of them are on the city council. Their odds of having SOME influence over the affairs of the city, certainly on issues as important as public safety, have been cut way down.

the observer said...

Perhaps our city council is too small? Maybe instead of fussing over gerrymandering the current 6 districts we ought to go to 7.

And then dump the ruling class out on its fanny.

Thanks for the good dense comment--took me a minute to see where you were headed.

The Observer

PS: On crime, I just can't believe there is nothing we can do--there is just nothing easy we can do.

Anonymous said...

Whenever we get consistently awful results, we always immediately think about changing the system, when what we have to do is change the PEOPLE we elect.
Kansas City's "government" consists of egos, personalities, consultants, narrow interest groups, ethnic whiners, insider wheeler-dealers, and hangers-on. You would think that perhaps somewhere in all of that there might be some serious vision, or leadership, or public policy, but you would mostly be wrong.
And when candidates run without much of anything in mind except winning, their cluelessness continues if they are lucky enough and we are unlucky enough, for them to win.
Wouldn't it be amazing if at least one of the mayoral candidates actually had some concrete proposals for making KCMO a better place for all its residents?

the observer said...


I couldn't put it better myself. And then you get someone elected who is an outsider, like the Funk, and that person has a totally tin ear. The same label has been applied to Tracy Ward, that she's like the Funk.

If you get a strong outsider that really does want to just serve, then they risk getting corrupted by the system...or chased out by the rats pulling him/her down.

The phrase Catch 22 comes to mind...

Thanks for the comment and to your last question, it would be amazing if a mayoral candidate did have some concrete proposals for making KCMO a better place

The Observer