As I’ve watched new Kansas City mayor Sly James do everything right his first few weeks in office I’ve thought about everything we did wrong four years ago. ..
Where to begin?
The most obvious place to start would be two days after the election when all of us who worked on KC mayor Mark Funkhouser’s campaign read the Star and learned that the guy we got elected would have his wife working in the Mayor’s Office, at Steve Glorioso’s old desk.
But this is my confession, so a better place might be the week before the inauguration when I got a phone call from Star reporter DeAnn Smith. She said that “people” were saying something or other about some insider bullshit about the inaugural ball. For some reason, we thought Steve Glorioso and outgoing Mayor Kay Barnes were behind it, which DeAnn more or less confirmed. So I talked it over with Funk, and he gave me the go ahead to blast them. I called people “cronies,” including a friend, and it ran above the fold the following Sunday.
The story would’ve been horrible under any circumstance, but it was double-horrible because DeAnn didn’t report that it was the Barnes administration behind the attack, as she’d led me to believe that she would, but instead quoted Glorioso as saying, about me, “This guy needs a paranoid pill.” So I was left standing out there with my dick in my hand.
I know that doesn’t sound like a sincere mea culpa, but it is. A real pro never would’ve let that happen. The funny thing is, Glorioso himself warned me that this would happen. He said—and this is an exact quote—he said, “She lies.” She will tell a source that someone said something about them, he explained, when, in fact, the person said no such thing. And if you’re an idiot, like me, you take the bait and pop off about the other person on the record, and give DeAnn her story.
I read the article three or four seconds after it went online, and instantly fell into a panic.
I couldn’t sleep. I had entered to run the Trolley Run the next day, the same day that an editorial I had written for Mark was supposed to run in the Star – a piece I was very proud of. DeAnn’s story was like a turd smeared across it. I was so upset and fried out from lack of sleep that I skipped the race and walked from the starting line in Waldo to Mark and Gloria’s house in Brookside where I proceeded to berate myself before my new boss, his wife, children and dogs.
He said it was alright, don’t be so hard on yourself. But people were telling him that he was crazy to have me as his communications director. Many who put a lot of time, money and credibility into the campaign were disturbed by that article and what it foretold. They’d seen me on the campaign, and they knew I was a loose cannon. I had some good ideas, sure. That poodle thing was great, everyone agreed. And the “we want the Funk.” And orange.
But they were also there when I laid out my master plan to get out of the primary that entailed courting the GLBT vote with a platform of legalizing gay “merry-age” in Kansas City and anointing a Gay Czar with a full office at City Hall.
I was serious. I thought it was brilliant.
So, right, loose cannon. Plus I was drinking a little too much, and everyone knew it, and I was off my meds, which few knew, so my looseness was mighty loose indeed.
Which still begs the question, Where to begin?
Disclaimer: Participants in and observers of the events described in this series will likely remember things differently, in which case they are entitled to write their own memoir.