What happened on Tuesday in the election was apparently quite the historical event. No incumbent since the 1920s had lost the Kansas City mayor's office. The only other time since then was when Charles Wheeler tried to run for a third term and was defeated in the primary. There has been quite a lot of analysis of why this happened, especially when many believed that Mark Funkhouser would go through to the general election.
I agree with most of the stuff that has been said. Any one of these personality related items might have been beatable, but the collection of them that amassed over the years, especially in the first two years of the term proved to be too hard to overcome.
Themes come through over and over: stubborn, unable to retreat from a position, dogmatic, demonizes opposition, tin ear towards others. Result: unable to get along with City Council, at odds with the City Manager, no sense of how offensive his wife's activities were to others. When the economy crashed in the second half of Mayor Funkhouser's term, it guaranteed that he would not be able to recover--he would not be able to make a big economic splash in the city. Snow removal woes in December 2009 were the icing on the cake.
By and large, with regard to managing the city's finances, if you leave out all the law suit settlements, Mayor Funkhouser has left Kansas City on pretty fine footing, especially when compared to many other cities. In addition, he insisted on more accountability with regard to TIFs, shutting down the gravy train of easy tax breaks. It's unfortunate that his inability to play well with others made it virtually impossible to retain him as mayor; he did do the city good in some ways that may not be clear for several years.
Photo by the Observer: Mayor Funkhouser during his May 2010 visit to Ruskin Heights.