Where to begin…
Sitting through yesterday’s final City Council meeting for outgoing KC Mayor Mark Funkhouser & council members like one-termers Cathy Jolly and Beth Gothstein unleashed a flood of bizarre recollections.
Like my former colleague at the Star, Yael Abouhalkah, I had been smitten by Funk’s off-kilter outlook four years back. And with a highly read column and an ultra-close election, like Yael, I clearly had a hand in helping elect Funk.
Unlike Yael, I thought much of the early on Funk sniping was contrived and somewhat bogus.
Who really cared if First Lady Gloria Squitiro slipped off her shoes in a late afternoon interview with the Star”s ambitious new City Hall reporter (who’s now unemployed)? I thought the Frances Semler parks appointment controversy was overblown as well. Aggie Stackhaus was a far worse choice for parks. She single handedly killed off a well-intentioned dog park, a bubble over the Plaza tennis courts – she even tried to kill off RockFest. With luck, the latter will help kill her off.
Stackhaus is a nutball with a penchant for power. With luck, she won’t be reappointed by new KC mayor Sly James. Still she was down at City Hall yesterday putting in some face time, so don’t count her out yet.
Let’s talk about the First Lady for a minute. Like Joe Miller, I was tight with Gloria early on. Unlike Joe, I wasn’t completely smitten. But journalists like colorful characters who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and Gloria was and remains all about being open and outspoken. Until you cross her, that is.
That said, her deal with the devil – that she would allow Funk to be mayor only if he promised without fail to come straight home every night by 5 or 6 p.m. – proved to be her (and his) undoing.
No way that was ever gonna happen.
So Gloria packed her shit and moved into the mayor’s office to maintain the quality time. But all that "color" that she exuded – the brashness, the chutzpah, the quaintly crude manner of expressing herself – morphed into a political poison pill for poor Funk.
Funk would’ve had enough trouble getting along with some of the City Hall vipers. But with Gloria sporting a mile wide Achilles Heel, he was doomed from the git go.
Her biggest sin wasn’t kicking off her shoes, banging hizzonor in the mayoral office or even the "Yes, mammy" slip that cost her husband and the city so dearly. It wasn’t her helping hand in the selection of Semler or her urging Funk to accept a freebie Honda from a car dealer. It wasn’t even her unbridled potty mouth.
Nope, it was not reading the handwriting and getting the heck out of the "I’m the Co-Mayor" biz.
So life goes on at City Hall, starting this Monday after Funk & Glo pack up their Geronimo painting Sunday, and return to a world where his obstinance and her brazenness will be better situated and far more widely appreciated.