$64 million question: is the relatively inexperienced Blackwood up to the task?
“Well, this is something I talked to (Star reporter Steve) Kraske about and he didn’t put any part of what I said in there,” says author / former mayoral aide Joe Miller. “It depends on how you define the task. If the task is to be the a chief of staff in what most people understand to be a functional mayor’s office in a city the size of Kansas City, the answer’s no. Neither one of us were. But if the task is to succeed in the mayor’s office as it is now under Funkhouser and Gloria, he’s perfect.
“Because that job is to basically support Mark and Gloria with their delusions, listen to him ramble forever at meetings and molly coddle Gloria.”
Miller has taken plenty of hits for standing up and walking away from his high power/high paycheck post. Then speaking out – often critically – on how things were run in Funk’s regime.
“I’m definitely not speaking to Gloria and Mark and I don’t think I ever will again,” says the man who all but installed Funk in the mayor’s office. “And both of them are very likable people, they really are. Gloria, in particular, is really funny. But we would have numerous meetings every week and at the meetings Mark would just ramble and ramble and ramble. So Kendrick has to deal with that. And Gloria is like super sensitive and you basically have to coddle her and make her feel like she’s the co-mayor.
“I’ll give you a perfect example. Remember when Gloria had the incident with security at the airport? She was irate and accusing me and Kendrick of not being supportive. And I kept my mouth shut, but Kendrick was like, ‘No, no – you didn’t do anything wrong’ – that kind of stuff.”
The bottom line on whether Blackwood is effective at helping run the Funk & Glow Show:
“If it’s getting stuff done in a city that works, the answer is no,” Miller says. “Neither one of us had the political chops to get shit done. I mean, it’s obvious, don’t you think? But that isn’t the job in the particular administration; it’s keeping those two happy. And I’m not denigrating Kendrick for doing that job – it’s a horrible job – the job is just awful at this level. And the people who do succeed in it turn out to be very scuzzy.”