Hearne: Star Breaks its Word, Backtracks on Tax Pledge, Looks to Uncertain Future

Star publisher Mi Ah Parrish Read her lips: "No new taxes"

Star publisher Mi-Ai Parrish
Read her lips: “No new taxes”

The Kansas City Star couldn’t pat itself on the back enough…

The year was 2003 and editorial page editor Miriam Pepper  was ecstatic about the prospects of the newspaper building a new $200 million press facility in the heart of downtown.

“I’m ready to cheer, sling dirt, or dig with my hands,” Pepper panted.

“By building in a brownfield, an older urban neighborhood just south of the downtown loop, the paper is walking its talk,” she continued. “It’s not the easiest or least expensive way to go, even with a $12.8 million tax break. Many newspapers today head to suburban greenfields because they are cheaper to buy and build on.”

Indeed the Star could have asked for far greater tax breaks, but chose not to.

Something about wanting to set an example for other developers by not being greedy and doing the right thing for Kansas City.

That was then.

The latest:  After threatening to move its press facility out of KC if it was not granted an extension of it’s tax breaks from 10 to 25 years, the Kansas City Council blinked and granted the newspaper another 15 years, depriving the city of millions of dollars in funding for schools, libraries and other uses.

That despite an advisory board recommendation that the council reject the Star’s request.

Board member Michael Duffy said the tax break was “not intended to be a bailout provision for a troubled business, which is what we heard today.”

Star publisher Mi-Ai Parish followed that admonition with a not-so-veiled threat to move the press out of KCMO if the newspaper didn’t get its tax break.

“We would like to stay,” Parish whined. “(But) the economics have to be there.”

Seriously? Continue reading

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Sutherland: History Doesn’t Repeat Itself, But It Does Rhyme!



Sam Brownback

The foregoing quote is attributed to Mark Twain

I’ve always understood it to mean that some events reoccur in history with spooky similarity, even though they are not exactly alike in all the particulars. See if you can tell me what politician I’m describing and when the events happened:

“The conservative Republican was elected on a platform of cutting taxes and spending, both proposed with the goal of getting the economy moving again. Although he was eventually able to get a number of legislators who shared his philosophy elected, taking control of the Senate for a surprise victory, he found that actually cutting government spending was a lot easier said than done.

“Moreover, when his major tax cuts went through, he had to accept a number of provisions, resulting in major revenue losses, that were not part of his original proposal, loading up his tax bill with a number of loopholes, exemptions, and tax breaks for special interests, in order to get the bill through a legislative branch that was still, at least in part, in hostile hands.

“When his tax cuts failed to lead to the dramatic growth in revenues he and his political allies had hoped for, he had to go back to the legislature and ask for new taxes to meet the mounting budget deficit. Even though he was ultimately successful in raising revenues, this move was greeted with a chorus of derision in the press and from his political opponents. His critics maintained that this step (which he described as a ‘course correction’) was actually proof that supply side economics was an abject failure and that his whole approach to government was discredited. Even though the resulting deficit was caused in no small part by his failure to limit government spending as promised, his political opponents lambasted him for ‘savage’ cuts in welfare and education spending. It didn’t matter that the ‘cuts’ usually turned out to be spending increases smaller than his opponents would have liked. Nor did it matter that he’d inherited a faltering economy from his predecessor- the widespread belief was that this Republican conservative had seriously damaged the government and the economy single-handedly.

“The mere mention of his name at a public gathering would bring on a chorus of boos and cat calls. Comments in the media were striking in their anger and negativity. Few observers doubted that he would go down as the worst chief executive up to that time, a mean spirited bigot who had destroyed the enlightened legacy of many in his own party, who were moderate conservatives and not right wing radicals like he was. If he was remembered at all, it would be for favoring the wealthy and corporations at the expense of the poor and middle class, as well as for his extremist positions on social issues like guns, abortion, and the separation of church and state.”

Are we talking Sam Brownback circa 2015? Continue reading

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Sutherland: An Unresolved Dichotomy @ 18th & Grand

KC StarDuring the Cold War, analysts at the CIA would parse every word in the Soviet Union’s official newspaper, “Pravda,” and in the Red Chinese counterpart, “The People’s Daily.”

This was to search for subtle shifts in meaning and emphasis in news and commentary in order to figure out what was really going on with those totalitarian societies’ power elites.

Those same skills of close textual analysis are required to analyze the Stalinist offerings of the KC Star Editorial Board.

I have to employ such powers of discernment in deciphering the ongoing saga of the paper’s efforts to get special tax breaks for its multi-million dollar white elephant printing plant on Grand.

The Star’s initial tax abatement expired in 2014.

At the time it was initially granted, the Star was sensitive to charges it had opposed similar tax breaks for other businesses. They promised several times that they would pay taxes at the regular rate.

Once the initial term expired, however, they began actively lobbying for an extension, now that they were faced with property tax payments of $700,000 in 2015 and 2016 (almost five times what they previously paid), rising to $1.3 million annually in 2017.

In an article published 7-17-15, the Star stated it would be making instead annual payments of $337,000 as a result of the extended tax relief. (To quote John Belushi in Animal House, “Heh! You blanked-up! You trusted us!”) Continue reading

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Glazer: Royals Sign Johnny Cueto, Lock Up Division

Apr 7, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) pitches during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 7, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) pitches during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals were likely to win the division anyway…

Even without signing Reds’ ace pitcher Johnny Cueto. Hey. with a plus 21 games over .500 KC is by far the American League’s best ball club.

However this team wants it all.

And the only weakness all season long has been the starting pitching. Yet this team wins anyway. And really the Royals haven’t lost many games due to being blown out because of poor starters.

At the beginning of the season the team was counting on Danny Duffy and Ace Ventura to be their one/two punch. Both pitchers had problems, but now are trying to get back on track. The Royals hitting is solid and their defense is baseball’s best – as is their bullpen.

So starting pitching aside, on paper the Royals can make the argument that they’re the ‘best team in the majors, no question. And now by adding a pitcher with a 2.29 ERA – second only to Clayton Kershaw the past five years – wow. Continue reading

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New Jack City: ‘Til Death—Or Lawyers—Do Us Part

kris-bruce-jenner-120-million-divorce-no-pre-nup-wide“I should have taken a booth at the Bridal Fair,” a friend said recently…

It’s wedding season and once again and businesses cashing in on the happy times are strutting their services.

So is my friend a photographer, baker, bridal dress purveyor or honeymoon planner?

None of the above.

He’s a divorce lawyer whose firm specializes in the man’s perspective of family law.

Let’s call him James B. for the purpose of this story. Continue reading

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Leftridge: Trade Deadline Approaches; Offense Targets

Ben Zobrist

Ben Zobrist

Last week, I pleaded with the Royals to sign a starting pitcher. This was before Jason Vargas blew up his elbow (though that wasn’t exactly shocking, given his previous injuries this season) and before OPENING DAY STARTER Yordano Ventura had yet another shitty start, was demoted and than subsequently UN-demoted due to happenstance.

One person I mentioned—Scott Kazmir—was traded from his previous team (Oakland) to a now super-stacked Houston Astros. So, cool. All it took Houston was their organization’s 19th and 22nd best prospects, so it’s a bit disappointing the Royals couldn’t have done even a little better.

But I digress. They didn’t get Kazmir. Life will go on, probably.

They still need a bat, and that’s for sure. Alex Gordon remains on the disabled list, the outfield aside from Lorenzo Cain is inconsistent at best, and the less said about the second baseman, the less his madre will cry.

So anyway, here are some players the Royals could target to bolster their occasionally inconsistent lineup. Continue reading

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Starbeams: Planet Starbucks, Bond v Trump, Moose Mutt

planetScientists have found the most Earth-like planet, a planet called Kepler-452b.  It’s about 1,400 light years away, takes 385 days to orbit its sun, and has roughly 3,000,000 Starbucks locations.



The new James Bond movie trailer was released.  “Spectre” will feature Bond traveling to Mexico and fighting his way into the USA past Donald Trump. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: Jake Gyllenhaal Scores Agonizing Knockout

images-1There are two sides to the movie SOUTHPAW

One is the boxing story of a heavy hitter falling from the top of the heap to the bottom of the barrel—then crawling back against all odds.

The other is the sensational performance by Jake Gyllenhaal who certainly elevated creepy in last year’s NIGHTCRAWLER.

In SOUTHPAW Gyllenhaal is at the top of his game as light heavyweight boxing champ Billy The Great Hope.

Lots of victories. Great family. Great home. Tons of money.

But warnings of permanent injuries are starting to set in. Continue reading

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Glazer: He-Could-Go-All-The-Way! The Donald Makes His Move

9182cf50-f75d-0132-f409-0e18518aac2fMost experts seem to think Hillary Clinton is unbeatable!

We’ve heard that before. She has the magic of the CLINTON name and her husband BILL is still the most popular presidential name of all.

On top of which, the Clinton’s remind us of better times in America. That’s all, it’s simple. So they remain the sentimental favorites to gain back the White House.

But hold on!

Is it possible that DONALD TRUMP could beat her?

OMG.The Donald is the leading Republican candidate, according to the polls. How can that be folks?

Trump says hero John McCain is not a hero at all.

Trump says McCain was merely captured by the enemy. So he’s a survivor not a hero.  Continue reading

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Steele: Has the KC Star Ceased to be Ridiculous?

Margaret_Sanger_anniversary_96_yearsFor the last few days at least, the Kansas City Star has not sent out in its daily email blast an article scolding Kansas Governor Sam Brownback for some imagined offense…

Had someone told the editors their Brownback mania was making them look ridiculous?

Then on Wednesday – shock of all shockers – the Star published an article, by Judy Thomas no less, that paints Brownback in a favorable light for demanding an investigation of Planned Parenthood‘s sale of aborted baby parts.

Other than the use of the word “fetuses” to describe babies whole enough to have viable body parts, the article “Kansas and Missouri call for investigation of Planned Parenthood amid questions about aborted fetuses” was refreshingly free of the Star’s usual diabolical spin on this issue. Continue reading

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Starbeams: USS Kansas City, Cordish, Pussy Galore, Apple Watch & KKK

usskansascityKansas City is about to have a Navy Ship.  The USS Kansas City photo debuted at Kauffman Stadium Monday night.  All of the new stuff on the ship will be built by the Cordish Company.


A “Cat Cafe” is coming to St. Louis.  It’s described as a place where people can sip tea or coffee while hanging with their furry, feline friends…while you contemplate why your parents didn’t use birth control.

                                                     ******* Continue reading

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Glazer: At Long Last, Cain is Able

images-1The Kansas City Royals are the best team in the American League…

And maybe in all of baseball.

Just halfway through the season they have a more than 20 game jump on .500. They haven’t been 20 games over .500 since 1989, 26 years ago. Damn.

The club is likely to win over 100 games for the 2nd time in its history.

Courtesy of hotter bats and a defense that’s out of this world. They’re a pleasure to watch.

But what this club has lacked since the Brett era has been a true superstar player.

An everyday guy who could carry a team when needed – a player who was a strong .300 hitter, with power and that drives in important runs.

They FINALLY FOUND HIM and his name is Lorenzo Cain. Continue reading

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Leftridge: Trade Deadline Approaches; Starting Pitching Targets

Apr 7, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) pitches during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Cuetoooooooooo

First, let me preface this piece with a few facts.

  • The Royals are a good team.
  • The Royals actually might be a VERY good team.
  • The Royals are in first place of the American League Central and have been for most of the season.
  • The Royals have the best record in ALL of the American League, and have for most of the season.
  • The Royals are 19 games above .500, their best mark this late in the season since 1879. At that time, they were known as the Pennsylvania Spider Fuckers, and Cap Anson’s dad was catcher.
  • This last thing is not a fact.

Nevertheless, the Royals are good and, holy shit, it’s mid July. That means that there isn’t a whole lot of season left, and that also means that they need to shore up any shortcomings. And the thing is? Despite their record, and how amazing this team seems to be at times, there are definite shortcomings. Continue reading

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Donnelly: Sporting KC Hottest Team in MLS on Back of Practice Keeper

melia-tim0302_0481Even though Sporting Kansas City is sitting at 6th in the Western Conference with 30 points, they’re the hottest team in MLS right now…

The boys in blue have lost just twice in all competitions since April 18th, and three of their mainstays – Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, and Benny Feilhaber – were just named to the All Star team.

So if they’re crushing it so hard, how come they’re 6th?

It’s because they’ve played only 17 games, three fewer than West-leading Seattle who is sitting at 32 points.

Yep, just two points separates sixth from first.  And with a win Saturday against Montreal at Sporting Park, KC can take the lead in the West with two games in hand.

How is Sporting doing it?  Especially with Dom Dwyer, last season’s leading goal scorer, sitting at just 5 goals thus far?  I’ll tell you how: goalkeeper Tim Melia. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Ant-Man’ Downsizes Marvel Mirth To Fit Rudd

ant-manWill the superhero gravy train ever run out of steam?

Not as long as fans worldwide keep supporting these bigger-then-life creations and franchises.

And while ANT-MAN  is no IRON MAN, it certainly another notch in Disney’s comic book, action-fantasy universe. Here Mouse House subsidiary Marvel Studios serves up the screen adaptation of what is probably a (probably) lesser known superhero.

ANT-MAN is a shrinking outing along the lines of HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS and THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN. Well, up to a point as the casting and direction (Peyton Reed) of the sci-fi adventure has brought credibility, timing and a sense of humor to the project which never really takes itself too serious.

Shawnee Mission West alumni Paul Rudd stars in the title role playing Scott Lang, a petty crook and ex-con who is now recruited by research scientist doctor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to safeguard the mystery of shrinking technology from evildoers with demented visions for the process—or something like that. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: Amy Schumer’s ‘Trainwreck’ Fires On All Cylinders

judd_apatow_72429They say timing is everything…

And this may just be Amy Schumer’s time.

Her new slightly subversive romantic comedy TRAINWRECK is fresh, smart, honest and right on target. And that she actually wrote the screenplay and co-produced the movie didn’t hurt.

Amy KNEW what she was doing.

But there is another element to TRAINWRECK. It’s the directing for which one of today’s hottest comediennes turned to R-rated yuk-meister Judd Apatow co-produced the picture with Schumer. Schumer plus Apatow makes for a sure bet for laughs. Or as her dad (Colin Quinn) told her years earlier, “Monogamy isn’t realistic.”

TRAIN WRECK recollects many of Schumer’s OWN dating disasters and delivers them to the big screen with an honest, no-filter, take-no-prisoner frankness. Continue reading

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Glazer: Life in the Fast Lane’s the Place For Me

jordancarverfootballsmAs you enter uour 50’s you begin to wonder, “Did I do everything in life I wanted to do?”

That answer is different for each of us.

I was talking with Hearne about this last week, and I find it interesting that many of my friends – within 10 years of my age – are still saving and building for their futures. Thats actually pretty common.

And I always wonder, “Don’t they know the future is NOW.”

Now’s the time to enjoy your life! Like Janis Joplin said, get it while you can!

For example the night before I flew to LA to work my script and hang with that hot cheerleader in the pic, Black Barbie made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

So I didn’t! Continue reading

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New Jack City: All Hail The Filipino Kansas City Star

Unknown-7I’ve been making a lot of telephone calls to the Philippines of late…

To check on a mail order bride, maybe? For a clandestine bank account? Or possibly arranging a trip to that exotic destination for a client?

None of the above.

Nope, all of my calls have been to 1-877-962-7827.

Give that number a try and you’ll get the KANSAS CITY STAR’s foreign desk—AKA the newspaper’s outsourced call center.

And so why am I calling three times or more a week?

Because the delivery of the newspaper to my house was missed three times so far this week—and it’s only Friday.

So like a good soldier I followed instructions and phoned in before 8:00 a.m.

Each time I was told that the paper would be redelivered later that morning.

However each time it was NOT! Continue reading

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Hearne: Is the KC Star Business Section About to Become Road Kill?

CouponNut-380-4Heard on the street: that the Kansas City Star will soon eliminate its business section

Could happen.

Since ace business reporter Kevin Collison bailed a year ago – and was not replaced –  and what was left of the Business Tuesday insert went south, there hasn’t been a whole  lot of business news emanating from 18th and Grand.

For example, in today’s newspaper, what passes for its two page business section is little more than a random collection of syndicated stories and national news briefs. With little more than a singe local byline by reporter Mark Davis about Sprint duking it out with T-Mobile for No. 3 honors.

Worse yet, the lone business story on today’s front page about KC-based Hostess Brands “thriving under new ownership” – you know, Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs  and  Cupcakes – is a wire story originated by The Washington Post of all people.

As opposed to the Star’s depleted business reporting ranks here locally. Continue reading

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Glazer: The Snake is Gone! Ken Stabler Passes On

Kx0IymNpI made five Champions Forever documentaries…

Two were on Ali. and one of the ones I was working on the mid 1990’s was a NFL Quarterbacks film. The top five Quarterbacks of the previous era.

All of our films featured the best of their generation. I was supposed to interview all five quarterbacks for the film. It was the era that put the NFL over Major League Baseball as America’s game. And those quarterbacks were Len Dawson, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Joe Namath and of course Kenny ‘THE SNAKE’ Stabler.

Stabler died of cancer yesterday at age 69.

It hit me kinda hard.

I only met Stabler once for an interview at Tattoo’s restaurant and nightclub in Beverly Hills. It was during the 90’s and he agreed to meet about being in my movie.

I was excited to meet him. I’d hated him as a kid watching the Raiders and Stabler crush our Chiefs most of the time. In fact, Stabler admitted to me, “The Chiefs and us were the two best teams of the mid 60’s to the early 70’s. You guys shoulda been in more Super Bowls. I might have had a bit to do with that one.”

He smiled. Continue reading

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