Take a deep breath, the car-crash, fun-to-watch era of KCMO politics is o-v-e-r…
It landed with a whimper – no bang – last week in a marathon, boring-beyond belief, last hurrah City Council meeting. Chaired, of course, by outgoing KC mayor Mark Funkhouser. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, by most accounts it was massively boring.
Thank god I was two hours late!
One reason why: a two-hour circle jerk between outgoing pols congratulating one another for the piss poor jobs they’d done the past four years.
Which might have been slightly interesting except…
The way the council chamber’s set up it’s all but impossible to see and/or hear what anybody’s saying. It wasn’t until I grabbed a seat by bored-to-tears Star reporter Kevin Collison in the front row that I could make much of the mumblings.
Former KC councilman Dan Cofran agreed – they’re getting a new PA, he said.
It’s truly hard to imagine locals putting up with the current setup all these years.
The obvious solution: Bring in giant screen TVs with the new sound system so people can tell who’s speaking and how they look. It’s a joke now.
My highlights reel:
*** With a controversial new office building on the docket, there were a smattering of "Save Our Plaza" signs on hand. But hardly a grand showing. The council – dead set on rubber stamping the project now that they can’t be held accountable by voters – made the protesters (and media) wait three hours plus before airing the issue.
*** KC mayor Mark Funkhouser, wife Gloria Squitiro, daughter Tara and The First Boyfriend were dolled up and looking good in front row seats. They all appeared to have freshly bathed, donned clean clothes and they all kept it together – few to no tears, no jeers. Funk’s locks looked longer, wilder, whiter and wavier than I recall. Call it college professor hip. Naturally he was sporting one of those Orange Revolution ties he rode into office with four years back.
"It’s going to be a tough, long ride," Funk said in cowpoke lingo. "I’m sorry I’m not going to be on it with you."
The line garnered Funk a Standing O, though it should be noted that Funk hater/councilman Ed Ford’s applause was hardly enthusiastic.
*** Wife Gloria was sporting a Mission Hills Country Club hairdo and wearing a clingy, black dress. Some said she was looking hotter, like she’d lost a little weight.
Perhaps in preparation for one last roll in the City Hall hay?
*** The ghost of former Funk right hand man Joe Miller loomed large. I tried to persuade Miller – who became disillusioned with the Funks and bailed early on, then went out ugly – to tag along for the final hurrah. But no way he was about to set foot back in that City Hall snakepit. Miller’s off this summer for the land of boiled peanuts and tornadoes down South. And the life of a college prof.
No more sleazy politicos for this idealist.
*** So moved was Wild Bill Nigro of Westport by the Save the Plaza signs, he made up one of his own. Albeit a much smaller one. "And while you’re at it, save Westport," it read.
Something about being totally bored.
"They had everybody thanking each other for two hours," Nigro winced. "I did it as a joke."
As for Hizzonor banging the First Lady in the mayor’s office, "If I was mayor I would too, who wouldn’t?" Nigro quipped, quickly adding, "I mean, I would do my wife."
*** Former / about-to-be-again councilman Jim Glover was looking sharp in a spanking new, dark power suit. The lifetime city councilman / term limits transgressor appeared relieved to be on the verge of getting his mitts on one of those ($61,000) paychecks again.
Oh, and I didn’t get a parking ticket for not having any meter money. That’s it!