Category Archives: Tony_Botello
I’m often comforted and frightened by the thought that so many of the words I’ve blogged on the Internets will remain archived until the end of recorded human history and for a short time thereafter.
Either by way of The Wayback Machine or the secret dossier that Google and Facebook are keeping on all of us. The Web really is a lot more permanent than people realize. Despite the fact that local online publishing operations tend to have the lifespan of a June-bug.
So, because I’m a generous and kind soul with a penchant for busty lingerie models, I’d like to share the keys to bloggy immortality. And while I can’t promise any of my advice will earn gentle readers even pocket change to help with their electricity bill, it’ll certainly delight potential employees who need an excuse to pass on your application.
Now, on to the advice . . .
Not every day affords the opportunity to listen to a living legend.
I was waiting to put a call into Marilyn Maye after making contact with Helen, her assistant, and browsing through a bunch of complimentary clippings about her recent stint of shows for Feinstein‘s at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City.
In the Big Apple Ms. Maye is undergoing a bit of a career renaissance and drawing some of the most influential and prized crowds in all of the world. But career success is nothing new for Marilyn Maye. By now we all know her resume: A record 72 appearances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, collaborations with some of the greatest names in American Music and a catalog of hits and performances that span the modern era.
But in this town, the name Marilyn Maye is about more than just music.
A recent shutdown of more than two dozen Kansas City, Missouri Public schools was called "right-sizing." Which is kind of ironic given that everything associated with the plan has gone wrong.
It’s really just the latest foible in the history of a School District that has become the biggest embarrassment and determent to KCMO growth.
Recent headlines regarding The Southwest High School Campus have continued to scare white people from the suburbs and made it seem like the KCMSD is some kind of urban war zone. That’s not too far from reality but doesn’t take into account that this downward spiral has taken place over the course of a generation.
Student arson, violence and administrative turmoil are the current buzzwords regarding the so many headlines this week. But I’ve found yet another piece of local school District fail that’s worth identifying.
Mark Lowrey is one of the most talented musicians in Kansas City. It’s no surprise that a Mayoral hopeful would want to be associated with his level of skill, versatility and — as Charlie Sheen has been saying lately — winning.
The musician/politician relationship is tenuous at best.
They’re two different fields but at the end of the day it’s all about getting the public to dig what you’re doing. So there’s probably a bit of a natural kinship.
Additionally, we should probably talk branding. It’s a struggle for politicos to find the right fit given that their enemies will look to nitpick at every opportunity and entertainers can’t risk alienating their audience.
Luckily, this Kansas City Mayoral race is exceptionally polite, respectful, and non-partisan. Therefore, this is probably the perfect time for musician like Lowrey to get involved.
It’s a fact of life that everyone wants something from City Hall.
It’s the place where people feel entitled to bring their pipe dreams and ask the taxpayers to foot the bill. In this setting, essential City Services like trash pickup and infrastructure must share time with even the most frivolous local demands.
Now that we’re heading into a new epoch of local government it’s important to re-evaluate all of the people standing in line for City money and hope for a changing political climate that will make silly demands hard to meet.
While we can all agree that cops need to be paid and streets must be maintained, over the past four years some of the demands on this town have just been stupid but embattled politicos felt obligated to meet them because of so much antipathy regarding all of their other work.
So today, let’s take a look at a few "feel-good" local constituencies and how they draw money from broke-ass KC only because some people perceive that their cause is just and not just another special interest.
I don’t know if I’m up late or early but right now I’m listening to an online play list featuring the soulful sounds of Bill Withers and remembering that I owe Hearne another post this week.
So since I’m in a retro kind of mood, I think it’s appropriate to round up this week in Kansas City news.
Mayor Mark Funkhouser is now a lame duck and is now a footnote in Kansas City history. I’m finished trying to come up with clever analogies to mark this not-so-noteworthy occasion.Instead, I’m surprised how much this DIDN’T change. The earth didn’t split open, there weren’s’t mass celebration in the streets and no one even took a moment to halt from their respective campaigns to lament the one-time political giant’s implosion.
There’s talk that because The Star called the finalists in the General Election, that they now have more power and influence in Kansas City. This myth is easily busted by the fact that NOBODY voted and their coverage wasn’t influential enough to draw anybody to the polls. For the record, my 87 year-old grandma also predicted the EXACT outcome of the race. She’s also really good when it comes to bingo. But I digress.
This week also offers some more recycled trends. Let’s see:
I don’t want to get into "blogger beef" because it never really helps anybody. However, I feel it’s important to take the time and make myself EVER CLEARER when it comes to the subject of Former Star reporter and current blogger Jim Fitzpatrick and his big money donations to Kansas City Mayoral Candidate Mike Burke.
Before this blog reported it, Fitzpatrick’s donations were simply marked with a tiny, brief and very easy to miss note that he contributed to Mike Burke. They didn’t appear on every post, they were part of his overall support AND they were REALLY easy to miss.
But I didn’t miss them. I found that the first significant note Fitz made regarding his Mike Burke love and a detailed contribution disclosure was on Valentine’s Day a week before the election. If you’ve got a link to something earlier. Post it. What you’ll find is a bunch of parenthetical asides that don’t provide any detail at all. Or at least not the same detail Fitzpatrick asks from The Star when he debates which page they should post their corrections on.
And then there’s the subject of blogging, where i would be happy to educate Mr. Fitzpatrick.
In KCMO the City Council ladies were dancing with delight upon the news that Mayor Funkhouser’s tenure was no more and so many other voters expressed the same sentiment.
But I’m more interested in casting blame for the way the elections came down. Politics can’t all be sunshine and hope. It’s no surprise that there are consequences and repercussions from last night’s primary in which almost nobody voted.
The final tally revealed a disheartening 15% of registered voters came to the polls yesterday.
It was the first time in 80 years an incumbent Kansas City Mayor failed to win re-election. But the more important trend is that the overwhelming majority of people simply don’t want to particpate in the process.
Let’s attempt to figure out why:
Talking "journalistic ethics" (giggle) is tantamount to a parlor game for me. It’s a losing pastime because there is no journalism judge, jury or definitive ruling body to make the final call.
In fact, what the digital age has shown is that ANYONE can practice journalism and those old talk shows on PBS – full of hot air regarding the state of "journalism" – don’t really have any more insight than anyone else.
It’s not rocket science. When The Founders first developed their adherence to the principles of free speech, the "media" had even more "citizen journalists" than today, and corporate gatekeepers had yet to find a way to control and limit the opinion of the masses.
Still, along the way there have been customs and mores developed that are still prized by most people practicing journalism. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
The question: Is it kosher that current blogger and former Star reporter Jim Fitzpatrick is making significant donations to a KC Mayoral Candidate but only finally noted his contributions in one, tiny reference last week?
Recently I stumbled upon yet another lame, local promotional video that perfectly encapsulates everything wrong with this town.
In a word it was nothing less than FAIL.
I always wonder why people can’t find anything better to rave about in this town other than typical Crossroads, Parks & Boulevards and BBQ nonsense. Like talking about the weather, it’s not really a statement but a supplement for real conversation.
The same trite references for Kansas City success never change and that’s just a quick hint that these talking points are clichés and not real reporting of substantial progress.
For the posterity, let’s take a look at this year’s version of local propaganda regarding progress:
Like it or not, The U.S. Court System is based on the presumption of innocence.
In fact, according the the world’s most accurate encyclopedia: "Although the Constitution of the United States does not cite it explicitly, presumption of innocence is widely held to follow from the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments."
Sadly, the "perp walk" and impressive press conferneces featuring police and prosecutors are always part of a local govenrment effort to convict people in the media.
Recently, new charges in the Waldo attacks raised more questions than they answered.
And let’s be forthright, this case is about nothing more than racial politics that even very responsible public officials are forced to play. For instance, at a Jackson County press conference the effort to prosecute Bernard Jackson for old and a few new Waldo rapes was compared to the same effort to find a murdered young girl known as "Precious Doe." For the very slow, this comparison wasn’t an accident.
In any event, because "innocent until proven guilty" is as American as apple pie or at least Camel Apple Empanada at Taco Bell. There are more than a few questions that are still open regarding this case and haven’t been answered by authorities despite their impressive effort to win the media battle in this case.
The Save The Plaza idiots won today.
The City Plan Commission voted 3-2 against approving plans for a new headquarters for the Polsinelli Shughart law firm on the Country Club Plaza.
I guess we can argue about people getting involved in government and standing up for local history.
But this move was just misguided.
First of all, I’ve never believed The Plaza had much "architectural integrity" as detractors of this project claimed. Secondly, the "Save The Plaza" crowd is filled with nothing but middle-class people who really need a hobby.
As for the effect of this move, it demonstrated that Kansas City isn’t a business friendly place when misguided locals step in and certainly shows politicos near election time have no backbone.
But more important than my insights are what Plaza Property Management company Highwoods has to say. Thankfully, KCC had a look at their statement on this issue before anybody else:
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As we approach the Kansas City, Missouri election primary one thing is exceedingly clear: Mark Funkhouser will not be Mayor of Kansas City for long.
I’ve knocked his tenure for years now and made fun of him and his wife exceedingly. I’ve been the most obnoxious voice among several to point out Funkhouser’s many shortcomings as a leader and elected official.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t note that getting out of the Mayor’s office isn’t an entirely bad thing.
Life after the Mayor’s office for Mark Funkhouser looks rather great and it only requires a bit of initial disappointment that will open the door to a whole new world of both financial and social possibilities.
Here’s a preview:
With no cheerleaders, no real marquee players and just a close and competitive game among palookas, the most recent Super Bowl didn’t leave much of a memory.
In fact, the lost tape of The Kansas City Chiefs in their long gone Super Bowl glory was probably more noteworthy.
Additionally, the Super Bowl is really just an excuse to sell stuff and I’m probably not the only one who was uninspired by Eminem posing for Detroit and Chrysler propaganda.
However, a bit of Dark Humor and politically correct controversy was my highlight to a close game that was strangely uninspiring.
Groupon‘s Tibet Spoof ad targeted the celebrity-spokesperson-tragedy-of-the-month mindset, but also poked fun at the culture of consumerism that all prime-time TV events love to promote. It’s rare that something even a little bit subversive finds its way onto TV and this was close enough for alternative thought for me.
Allow me to explain:
As the frat boy once said to his drunken Freshman female acquaintance, "We’re almost done here."
And a date rape joke is the perfect way to describe the beginning of the end of this Kansas City election cycle. Typically, The Kansas City Star split their Mayoral endorsements between two lawyers in a milquetoast attempt at diversity that means nothing. Most of the no-name City Council candidates are soon to be weeded out. And it looks like the tenure of Mayor Mark Funkhouser will soon be at an end.
Sadly, global economic turmoil along with wars and rumors of wars have more influence over local life than the guy serving the same cup of soup in the Mayor’s office in this cowtown.
So, it’s with no small sense of relief that we approach the end of the Mayoral race and most likely Funkhouser’s last days in office despite the deep admiration of suburbanites who don’t have to deal with his stubborn, dour and aloof leadership style.
This cold, nasty week in Kansas City brought to light an unfortunate fact that spells doom for the newspaper industry.
Here are a few events that will change the face of reporting in Kansas City forever.
The blizzard delayed newspaper delivery for the first time in a long time and complaints didn’t even register a blip in other media.
KCC was the first to report that The Star fired people and cut jobs in secret.
The subscription model on the iPad promoted by Rupert Murdoch’s "The Daily" was the only ray of hope for print media organizations who have all but abandoned hope for newsprint as a viable means of delivering news. Now let’s examine why all of these thing spell doom for newspaper organizations.
Today I’ve been inspired by a recent redesign of a Kansas City Community Newspaper.
The Northeast News has really stepped up its game as far as social media strategy and its website is now completely plugged into Facebook, Twitter and even has an RSS feeds for nerds like me who like a looking at the news as it’s published.
This is a big deal because it’s a forward thinking step that acknowledges that the old "presentation" model of journalism really isn’t viable any longer and news media outlets are really part of an ongoing conversation with their readers.
Again, good news for me because I love having conversations with people wherein they put a lot of effort into making a reasonable and logical arguement and I chime in with a pussy joke.
So I guess we all win. Here’s how:
Newsflash: Throughout the metro area it’s snowing a lot right now. Anyone lucky enough to have a window knows as much. However, local media broadcast this "blizzard" as if it were the Second Coming.
Yes, yes I know that in terms of public safety people need to know the street condiditons and forecasts. But no one can reasonably argue that this blanket snow storm coverage isn’t overkill.
In the past, local news stations have attempted to tone it down but there’s just no stopping weather newsies when they get something halfway important to report. KCTV5 weather lady Katie Horner has the worst reputation regarding this kind of mania. But, she’s not the only guilty party.
What’s worse is that this trend has taken hold on the Internet as well with even worse results.
Because so many of the d-bags online in Kansas City are haplessly and helplessly white bread they may not know that rather recently a local hip-hop event on 18th and Vine marked the latest greatest hope for that embattled entertainment district.
It was a heartfelt tribute to the work of A Tribe Called Quest.
So of course I have to hate all over the well-intentioned celebration of local hip-hop covers while still noting that it’s only slightly better than The Jersey Shore look-a-like money losing party that happens at The P&L District.
It’s a given that everything that happens on the East Side is more creative than local mainstream culture. But in this town it’s a matter of fact that people of color have to be several times better than their Caucasian counterparts. Since I’m up to that task, allow me to explain: