Joe Miller: City of Broken Dreams

Every once in a while, a stranger will tell me they appreciated the way I handled the whole Funkhouser situation, the way I went from being the former mayor’s top lackey to being all over the newspaper and TV news spilling all the secrets of the administration. The kind words bring little comfort, though, because I know from experience that in Kansas City no one ever criticizes anyone to their face, and that for every compliment I’ve received, there are likely dozens and hundreds of people who think I’m schmuck, even people I’ve never met.

Now as I’m ready to leave this city, after a ten-year run that started at the Pitch and peaked with a critically-acclaimed book and marriage and a stint in the highest office in town, I feel dread everywhere I go.

When I go to Midtown, I fret about bumping into my former editor who stopped speaking to me in 2004, after I wrote a totally arrogant and stupid blog post criticizing her paper’s political coverage.

When I go to Brookside, I worry I’ll spot Funk and Gloria or any number of people I worked with in their office, or that I’ll see some business or civic leader I’ve skewered in print or behind their backs.

When I go to the Crossroads Arts District I feel despair because I was instrumental pulling several gallery owners and artists onto the Funkhouser bandwagon, and then, all at once, I was telling the whole world how badly he sucked.

Last summer, I tried to get in touch with one of those gallery owners to apologize. He wasn’t in, so I left a note with an assistant that read simply, “I’m sorry,” and included my phone number. He never called.

Now Hearne wants me to write a ten-part series about my eleven years here. And because I need the money, and despite the fact that it would probably be best for all concerned if I kept my fingers away from the keyboard, I’m doing it.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time harping on Funkhouser and his wife; I’ve already done more than enough of that, I’m sure.

Same goes for Steve Glorioso, Terry Riley, Ed Ford and a lot of the other assholes I’ve written about over the years.

And I’m not going to rant about tax incentives, not much. Nor under-funded infrastructure. Nor the lack of people out enjoying Berkley Riverfront Park, or the place where the Riverfront Heritage bike trail ends abruptly after a mere 50 feet of pavement, nor jobless teens hanging out every night at coin-operated car washes on the Eastside because they have nowhere else to go and nothing else to do, or how when I meet people from Lawrence say that they always go to the Power and Light District when they come to KC and drink at the tax-subsidized national chains instead of going to truly Kansas City places like the Crossroads or 39th Street or even the Plaza, or when I found out that the nationally famous Central High School debate squad no longer exists because an overzealous superintendent axed the measly $75,000 contract that had enabled hundreds of inner-city kids to participate in an intellectually enriching activity that suburban kids take for granted, or the smell of shit stench that wafts out of our hundred-plus-year-old open sewer system, or of when I see how beautiful everything is around Ward Parkway and compare it to how awful everything is around Benton Boulevard, and on and on and on.

Instead, I’m going to mostly just tell stories, and let whatever observations and insights and themes about Kansas City emerge from those stories. 

But I want to start the whole thing here, with an acknowledgement of how badly I fucked things up for myself here in Kansas City by making some of the dumbest mistakes of my life in front of a city of one-point-however-million people.

And that sucks. For me.

Not for you, obviously, because despite all the problems, it’s a pretty kick-ass town, with just about anything you’d ever want in a city, for low, low, super low prices. And a lot of stuff you can’t find nowhere else.

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18 Responses to Joe Miller: City of Broken Dreams

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    If you are afraid
    Get a dog!

    So far you sound like a little girl who ate ice cream too fast.

  2. smartman says:

    Poor Joe
    Good God man grow some balls! Perhaps Hearne can arrange for Craig Glazer to donate one of his to you. You make Alan Alda look like Charles Bronson.

    It’s not WE think therefore you are, it’s YOU think therefore you are. Get it together. You chose to sign up for the bloodsport that’s called politics. Nobody forced you, yet you still whine like you suffer from some dumbed down version of PTSD. Hell, if you played football you’d be apologizing and sending flowers to everyone you tackled.

    At least Lee Atwater waited until the very end to apologize for all the bad stuff he thought he did to people.

    Who in the hell “critically acclaimed” your book and marriage. Perhaps “critically-acclaimed book and my marriage” would have been more appropriate? And you’re going to be a teacher-educator-professor?

  3. Eleanor Roosevelt says:

    Dumbshit: it’s “You can find nowhere else”.
    You wrote for the Pitch?

    Grammar. It’s stuff you can find nowhere else” or in the alternative, “Stuff you can’t find ANYwhere else.”
    Not the double negative.

    Jesus. Are you going to work for taxpayer supported college? Heaven help us.

    And like smartman and the others note, stop whining, start telling what really happened.

  4. Trini Lopez says:

    How to get the monkey off your back
    I agree with all above. Grow a set.

    Love the photo of the monkey on your back. The way to actually accomplish that is, spill it ALL. You might need counseling as well. I’m just sayin…your self esteem is so low, you sound like you live in Sugar Creek. Or KCK. (LOL>)

  5. Tito bring me a tissue says:

    You must write with ink made from puppy tears
    If you had stopped at ratting on Funk and Gloria then maybe you could still write with some small expectation of someone giving a fuck what you had to say. But you didn’t. Your Salon article was only printed because of all the salacious scandalous shit you wrote about the Funk family. You drug the kids in the mix. You wrote about the table full of dildoes they gavee to their son. you wrote, on this site about the daughters deflowering. As creepy as all of the craziness that is Funk may be, going for the children, adults or not, was a pure scumbag move. Now if you had any balls, and actually owned what you did, no regrets, like a man, then you wouldn’t seem like such a worm. But you had to do a little self flagellation. How bad you felt. How you regretted it. How you love Gloria still. Then you go on to share how you fear ever running in to the very people you sold down the river. The people you called friends, practically family , no less. Turn in your testes card, you are now the proud owner of a pair of ovaries. In short, quit crying like a little bitch, man up, and embrace your inner snake. on the bright side, you should get punished with each post you write, so maybe that will be some consolation for you.

  6. Cliffy says:

    Holy shit … and you have ten more of these coming? Better wear a cup.

  7. PB says:

    …what a little bitch this guy is. Actually, that’s insulting to bitches everywhere.

  8. Markus Aurelius says:

    seems to me that Joe is owning up to his mistakes and
    it takes a lot more courage to admit your fears and apprehension than to pretend to be some bad ass, unfeeling stud in the comments section of a local blog.

    I understand people feeling there’s is a bit too much “woe is me” vibe in the post but it takes a lot bigger cajones to admit to being afraid or to admit that you screwed up big time (or in Joe’s case, admitting to both) than to act like some smart aleck tough guy. Just because he regrets his mistakes doesn’t make him weak. The weak person is the one who continues to foolishly deceive himself into believing that his prior a-hole antics were acceptable.

    I look forward to hearing what Joe has to say.

    However, Joe, that last sentence was brutal — “And a lot of stuff you can

  9. smartman says:

    Groundhogs Day
    Markus, you make good points however Joe keeps milking the proverbial guilt cow and the milk is rancid.

    We all make mistakes in life and hopefully we all learn from them. I think most of us are ready for Joe’s “character” to show some “arc” and personal growth.

    If he wants to continue in the tortured soul movement he should join Opus Dei.

    Personally, I’m hoping for some cathartic teachable moments in his series and not just more whining.

  10. Matt says:

    Hearne it’s so easy to play you…
    This guys a scumbag who’s pulling your pecker with this shit. How a bout an early episode cancellation? Like now after #1.

  11. Rainbow Man says:

    the part i don’t get
    A guy publicly bares his soul and a bunch of posters under fictitious names tell him to grow some Ba!!s… nice.

  12. Real name and Address goes here says:

    A pot O shit soup at the end of the rainbow
    Perfect. A guy calling himself Rainbow Man being critical of fictitious names. Hate to break up the cuddle puddle Rainbow, or should I call you Mister Man? Joe Miller has been “baring” his soul ever since he deserted the ship of fools at the Mayors office. He left because he was afraid his work as glorias lap dog might result in criminal charges. So here he was baring his soul back in 2009 and he is still baring his soul today. His soul baring shtick is pretty fuckin thin. I’d leave my name and social security number to identifiy myself, but this is the internet, douche bag, aside from the author I dont see anyone using real names.

  13. chuck says:

    Opus Dei.
    Funny stuff.

    Hey Joe do you make that Iranian widow sound with your mouth when you write this shit?

    Some funny posts. 🙂

    Look Joe, I’m ok with a little self depracation, but jeeze…

    Your just like any other guy, who at one time, was killin himself to get ahead and did some shit you wish you hadn’t.

    Time to clear the slate, with a little catharsis buddy. Here is my advice…

    OWN IT!!!! The next time you run into any of the folks you have stabbed in the back, just tell ’em to go fuck themselves.

    You, me, we will ALL feel better about it, including the folks you fucked over.

  14. Casey Anthony says:

    No regrets, asshole!
    Hey, Joe–never apologize. I moved out of my daddy’s house, you need to say bubbeye to Gloria. But stop the sniveling and groveling, ’cause I still have half a roll of that special logo duct tape…

    and chuck, loved the Iranian widow comment. Welcome back, dude!

  15. chuck says:


  16. PucKChaser says:

    F’d things up for yourself in a town of 1-point whatever million? 1-point whatever million have no idea who you are…including me.

  17. Hearne Christopher says:

    How about me?

  18. Hearne Christopher says:

    Not on your life!

Comments are closed.