Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On John Sharp

John Sharp has been involved in something in Kansas City just about the entire time I have lived here--and never have I felt more ambivalence towards a politician.  So often he seems to have insight into situation--the reason I am writing this blog is his grasp of this city's need for a new animal shelter building.  His statements as reflected in this Kansas City Star article are very encouraging that he has a grasp of the issues.  I have seen Mr. Sharp reflect sensibly on some other issues as well.  Early on in the MAST/KCFD debacle, he was  a reluctant supporter of a city take over of the EMS; at first working  towards creating an EMS department, separate from KCFD.  Gradually, pushed by Louie Wright and the political power of local 42, Mr. Sharp caved, but  many of his early statements on KCMO's  EMS were pretty good.
In addition to his insights, Mr.  Sharp is visible in the sixth district, especially east of 71 highway.  His rapport with those in the east side of the 6th is obvious, and his fight to preserve the old council boundaries no doubt grew out of this personal comfort zone.  Still, rare is the event, opening, or dedication that does not have Mr. Sharp in attendance.  I have also seen him in such places as the neighborhood McDonald's.  I think that is pretty cool.
Yet...yet.  When John Sharp was involved with MAST, money became a problem, and most pointed at John   Sharp as the problem.  When John Sharp left the Hickman Mills C-1 school board, many were glad to see him go.  Many disliked his defense of the old 6th district boundaries, his advocacy for some of the plans to redevelop the Bannister Mall site, and the way he brought about the water spray park on Longview Road.  Sometimes when you observe Mr. Sharp it appears that he was more interested in promoting John Sharp and his agenda.  Sometimes, Mr. Sharp seems very sharp indeed, sometimes he appears quite dull, and other times, he seems most concerned with John Sharp.

John Sharp is termed out in 2015.  He has been involved in administrating government services, and making political decisions for over 20 years--closer to 30.  It will be interesting to see where John Sharp goes from here.  On the one hand, he is a perceptive, available member of government, who is at ease with the people who elected him.  On the other hand, his actual performance often falls short, creating problems that have to be fixed.  You watch him in action, you think he has some potential to be someone who can govern wisely and well, and find yourself a bit disappointed.