Saturday, December 18, 2010

Port Authority Issues: Voters Go "Meh."

Back in November, The Pitch had a piece about the relationship between players in the contract to do excavation work at the former Richards-Gebaur air base in south Kansas City. The former air base, under the control of the Kansas City Port Authority (to this former New Yorker, a funny name for an agency in a city not near an ocean, but I guess the Missouri River is water enough), is being developed as a truck and train hub and had to have some dirt moved. The Kansas City Star in a front page piece December 12 picked up the scent.

The potential scandal splashes on a mayoral candidate, Mike Burke, as well as the incumbent, Mark Funkhouser. In a nut shell, there is an appearance of conflict of interest involving one of the Port Authority board members and a contract to move dirt at the old air base. Burke has a lawyerly relationship in the situation.

There has been some chatter on Tony's Kansas City and other parts of the blogosphere. (To see all of Tony's work, just stick "Port Authority" in his blog search tool.) However, the TV stations, usually eager for scandal have not done anything with the story except to cover the mayor's reaction, and the basic response of the citizenry has been, well, "Meh."

The mayor and the Port Authority board haven't gotten along in years anyway. So the mayor's bloviating on the topic late in the week was basically ignored. As was the story on bidding that took place in 2008 was ignored by the majority of the citizens of Kansas City. It does have a faint whiff of insider bidding, but it seems nothing has come of the new publicity in the way of investigations. That is new investigations--there was an investigative response to the questions raised by Ms. Rayford back in 2008--documented here. Via one of his wondrous tipsters, Tony got hold of the document indicating how an investigation had been done at that time and the all clear given. It was not an "official" investigation however, more like an audit of the situation. Still, you would think they would want to know if there is enough in the allegations to either 'fess up or cover up.

Who knows? Someone might get a bee in their bonnet about this at the FBI or something. The voters are apathetic. As of now, "it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." (Shakespeare, Macbeth.) I do not think it will have much influence on the mayor's race, except maybe to illuminate yet again that Mark Funkhouser has not been a very good mayor of this city in so many ways.


Bob G. said...

When the general populace doesn't care all that much...that alone is trouble enough.

Because sooner or later, they WILL wake up and wonder WTH happened?

And usually, by THEN, it's too late to affect the type of change they want NOW...always happens that way.

The people need to be some level, and most all the time, if for not other reason, than to watch BOTH hands of all the politicos involved in whatever issue is presented.

Good story about a bad mayor.
Guess there are plenty of them to go around.

Have a great week.

The Observer said...

Bob G:

Thanks for reading on our lovely politics here in KC.

There are three points I'm going to reenforce:
1. The general public just has not had its imagination or indignation captured by this news.
2. The fact that something like this happens on Mayor Funkhouser's watch indicates that the mayor "smart with the money" isn't smart about people.
3. All that said, there is still a corruption stink about this situation, even 2 years out. It is not beyond possibility that there could be legal investigation.

Our life will be like this for a while. We run a non-partisan primary in Feb 2011; top two vote getters have another month to campaign, then another election.

Fun, fun, fun.

You have a great week too!