Today, I bring you two pieces of news.
This isn’t news of the “Holy shit!” variety. Instead, it probably falls into the “hmmm” category.
Besides, it’s the weekend — notoriously slow in the news biz — and I need something to write about.
Anyway, here’s what I want to tell you.
1) Yesterday, I contributed $2,000 to the Mike Burke for Mayor campaign, bringing my total Burke contributions to $5,000. (The maximum under city ordinance is $3,000 in each election cycle, that is, $3,000 in a primary election and $3,000 in a general election.)
2) Partly as a result of No. 1, I’ve decided not to try to “cover” the general election campaign between Burke and Sly James while doing everything I can to get Burke elected mayor.
I began thinking about this situation yesterday, after Tony Botello, the Baron of Bloggers, questioned on KC Confidential whether I had been sufficiently forthcoming about my dual roles of Burke contributor and campaign “reporter.” (For the record, I first reported that I was a contributor on Feb 8, two weeks before the election, and I disclosed on Feb. 14 that I had hit the $3,000 maximum.)
The first thing I did to try to resolve the issue — for myself — was go to the Blogger’s Code of Ethics (BCE) and see if it covered this situation. Unfortunately, the code is rather vague, and, as is often the case in life, it comes down to a matter of judgment.
What I have decided, then, is that I will write about how the mainstream press covers the race (that’s where my experience lies), but I won’t attempt to “cover” the campaign like I did in the primary election, reporting on debates and other developments.
Two reasons for the switch:
First, I am, indeed, heavily invested, financially and emotionally, in the Burke campaign. I attend staff meetings, offer suggestions and help write and edit campaign material.
Second, since Tuesday’s primary, this race has taken on a completely different tone and set of circumstances. In the primary, when there were seven candidates, many Kansas Citians were having difficulty sorting out the candidates — who they were; what they stood for; what their strategies were.
In the primary, I had three goals: Help educate readers about the race; help get Burke (whom I’ve known since 1985) through the primary; and help get Mayor Mark Funkhouser defeated.
I have no idea how much of a role, if any, my contributions played, but my two main desires were realized: Burke is in and Funkhouser is out.
At this point, the lights will shine more brightly on Burke and James — two extremely likable, positive-thinking candidates — and voters and readers will have an easier time deciphering their messages and analyzing their contrasting styles and personalities. The mainstream press will give readers plenty of material to help them decide whom to vote for.
As a practical matter, pushing Burke in my blogs is not going to help him at this point: The race has moved to a much higher plateau. Plus, Sly James, whom I did not know before this campaign, seems like a great guy, and if he wins, I want to be able to write about him and get my calls returned.
So, with that, I’m turning the campaign “reporting” over to the card-carrying reporters, camera-hauling photographers and uninvested bloggers.
One final thing: Tony wants to know if I expect anything in return for my $5,000 (could be six by the time it’s all over)…The answer is an emphatic “yes.” I want Mike Burke to be elected on March 22 and begin on, May 1, returning Kansas City to the ranks of the nation’s greatest cities.