Archive for October, 2021

For years, I would catch Mike Thompson on WDAF-TV, now Fox 4, with his weather reports. He was always cheery and engaging — one of the easiest-to-watch anchors and weather forecasters on the air.

Three years ago he left Channel 4 and in January 2020 was selected to fill a vacant Kansas Senate seat. In November 2020, Thompson, a conservative Republican from Shawnee, defeated his Democratic opponent, Lindsey Constance, by less than 2,500 votes.

Ever since he entered the Senate, Thompson has been making news for all the wrong reasons.

Let me give you some examples:

:: He won’t call Covid Covid, instead calling it “the Wuhan virus.”

Fact: It may have started in China but it’s a worldwide pandemic.

:: He has said face masks don’t help guard against the virus. Quote from a Shawnee Mission School Board meeting: “Think of it this way. I’m about six feet tall. Saying this mask is going to block the virus is like saying I can’t walk through a doorway 6,000 feet tall and 2,000 feet wide — that I’m going to bump into walls and it’s going to prevent me from getting through that doorway. That’s how tiny the virus is.”

Fact: Masks can and do prevent the vast majority of airborne particles and droplets from penetrating your nose and mouth.

:: He’s opposed to wind energy. Quote he gave to The Star’s Katie Bernard: “Would you buy a car that would only run when the wind is blowing a certain speed, or the sun is shining? If your answer is no, then explain the logic of using taxpayer dollars to replace reliable sources of generation with unreliable ones.”

Fact: The wind doesn’t have to blow 50 miles and hour 24 hours a day to generate a lot of electricity. Already, 40 percent of the state’s electricity is generated by wind, and it has quickly become one of the biggest industries in the state.

:: He doesn’t believe in evolution. Quote from the Kansas Reflector: “I’m not a Darwinist. I don’t believe in the apes evolving into man.”

Fact (from the Kinks): “I am an apeman.

:: He doesn’t believe humans are responsible for climate change: Quote to Katie Bernard: “The climate has changed on its own, sometimes quite violently and dramatically, for as long as the earth has been in existence. If you want to actually talk about the climate, you have to be willing to engage in an honest discussion about what truly drives the climate on this planet.

Fact (from an Oct. 27 New York Times story): “In 2014, before the Paris climate agreement, the world was on track to heat up nearly 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, an outcome widely seen as catastrophic.”

Sen. Mike Thompson


Thompson, 64, is also a “professional speaker.” You pay him a fee, and he’ll talk to your group. On his website, he lists two topics that he speaks about:

  • Renewable Wind Energy Blows Smoke
  • The Climate Change Canard

Now, like the guy who, I’m sure, is his favorite politician, Thompson almost certainly is a very stable genius. Oh, yes, there are highly placed people who will testify to that.

People like Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson, a Wichita area Republican who picked Thompson to chair the Senate Utilities Committee.

Masterson told Katie Bernard: “Thompson spent decades as a meteorologist studying weather patterns for a living. He knows and understands the science behind the climate debate like few others.”

I’ll say this: He’s got opinions like few other meteorologists.


Godfrey Daniel! Let’s hope Lindsey Constance runs for the 10th District Kansas Senate seat again in 2024 and that 1,250 of the people who voted for Thompson last year have read some of the balderdash coming out of this man’s mouth and change their votes.Until then, he would do well to follow the lead of U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and keep his mouth shut.

Note: Credit to The Star’s Katie Bernard, who craftily dissected Thompson in this this feature story posted today on The Star’s website. Unfortunately, Katie doesn’t have the liberty that I do to say straight out that Thompson is full of crap.

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It’s a mystery to me how Chris and Angie Long made their money, but it’s damned impressive that they are using their own money to build an 11,000-seat, $70-million soccer stadium on the south bank of the Missouri River.

Today’s announcement was even more impressive in light of the fact that the Longs announced a few weeks ago that they would be building a $15-million training facility in Riverside for their National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team, which is likely to become a huge success when it moves to the new stadium.

I haven’t paid any attention to the team or news about it, but it certainly snapped me to attention this morning when I read the couple was investing $70 million of their own money into a stadium in Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park.

Another thing that struck me about the announcement was how it contrasted with KC Royals’ owner John Sherman’s recent launch of a fishing expedition for a downtown baseball stadium. Great idea, he said, but not a word from him about how a downtown stadium would be paid for, by whom or exactly where it might be.

I wrote at the time that taxpayers in most big cities are now wise to the new-stadium scam, which some football and baseball franchise owners have used to get cities to throw millions of taxpayer dollars at new stadiums to kill threats of the home team packing up and moving elsewhere.

Anyway, today’s announcement got me interested in who the Longs are, how they have made their money and who they’re associated with.

Here’s what I found…

:: They own a hedge fund called Palmer Square Capital Management, which has its office in the 1900 building on the northwest corner of State Line road and Shawnee Mission Parkway in Mission Woods. I’ve never quite understood hedge funds, so I looked up the term in Wikipedia. Wiki describes a hedge fund as “a pooled investment fund that trades in relatively liquid assets and is able to make extensive use of more complex trading, portfolio-construction and risk management techniques in an attempt to improve performance, such as short selling leverage and derivatives.” After reading that, I still didn’t understand hedge funds, but I did comprehend the next sentence: “Financial regulators generally restrict hedge fund marketing to institutional investors, high net worth individuals and others who are considered sufficiently sophisticated.” What I gleaned from that is it’s not for me.

:: Angie Long grew up in Mission Hills and graduated from Shawnee Mission East. She then went to Princeton University, where, I am presuming, she met Chris. After graduating from Princeton, the Longs worked at JP Morgan Chase, where Angie rose to the rank of managing director by age 29. Chris founded Palmer Square in 2009. He is chairman, and Angie is chief investment officer. Now, just 11 years after the firm was founded, it manages about $18.6 billion in fixed income and credit investments “for a wide array of institutional and high net worth investors,” according to the company’s website.

Chris and Angie Long

:: In late 2020, the Longs bought the former FC Kansas City soccer team after it had moved to Utah and gone out of business. The team has played its home games this season at Legends Field in Kansas City, KS, and will play its next two seasons at Children’s Mercy Park, also in Kansas City, KS. The Longs are projecting that the new stadium will be ready for the 2024 season.

:: Obviously pretty sharp operators, the Longs cut in Brittany Matthews, Patrick Mahomes’ fiancee, as a part owner of the team. That was a brilliant marketing move, and it also makes sense on its face because Matthews played soccer in college and professionally for a team in Iceland.

Brittany Matthews

:: The Longs have a daughter — I don’t know how old — and whitepages.com indicates they live in Mission Hills. (In case you didn’t know, Patrick and Brittany live in KCMO, just east of State Line Road, but they’re building a house in Loch Lloyd.)


Now, while I’m poking a little fun at the hedge fund business, I’m very serious when I say it’s admirable and refreshing that the Longs are using their own money to build the training complex in Riverside and the stadium in KCMO.

You never know what’s going to happen with people who come into big money relatively quickly. Sometimes they go on to become solid civic leaders, and sometimes they go bust. Time will tell if the Longs are flashes in the pan or extraordinary business people and franchise managers.

For now, we should give them the benefit of the doubt and hope the soccer gals flood the net with goals over the next decade or so, before sellout crowds.

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The home team has fallen apart, and a cold front is coming through. But that’s hardly the worst of it. I hate to ruin an otherwise nice Sunday for you, but sometimes we just have to take a long, cold look at where we are.

Here are three things to consider…

:: Joe Biden’s approval ratings are down in the low- to mid-40s, and the way things are going with his Build Back Better plan, the prospects for a turnaround in the near future are slim.

In a New York Times analysis this morning, reporter Nate Cohn said polls tend to indicate that the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is hanging like an albatross around Biden. Cohn wrote…

Even weeks later, voters still say ‘Afghanistan’ is the negative thing they have most recently heard about Mr. Biden. And since the withdrawal, a majority of voters have routinely said that the Biden administration is incompetent. Perhaps in part as a result, voters now have little confidence in the administration’s ability to address other problems.”

Cohn said more than 60 percent of voters believe Biden is responsible for rising inflation and 52 percent of Americans expect the economy to get worse over the next 12 months.

The only thing that has been holding up pretty well is the stock market, and with inflation rising and the supply chain bogged down, that could tank at any time.

Here’s the grimmest part of Cohn’s analysis: A recent Grinnell College/Selzer poll showed Biden and Trump tied at 40 percent in a hypothetical election.

…I know a lot of things are out of Biden’s control — like bringing Kyrsten Synema down from her outer-space orbit — but it looks like Biden is just bumbling along and willing to abandon some of his biggest campaign promises in order to get a “technical” win. It’s hard to see how a technical win will go very far with already-disenchanted voters. And then there’s the incredibly large number of people who need the most help but who won’t bother with registering to vote and then voting for the person who is most committed to improving their lot.

:: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear appeals from two libel cases on Friday, and, depending on the outcome, the First Amendment could take a big hit.

At stake is the 57-year-old precedent that for a public official or public figure to prove he or she was libeled, he or she must prove that a defamatory statement was made with “actual malice” and also “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

According to an opinion piece in today’s New York Times, the Supreme Court bestowed such broad protection on speech because the First Amendment embodied a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attack on government and public officials.”

Even English law does not offer such broad protection. Floyd Abrams, the legendary First Amendment lawyer who wrote The Times’ piece, said: “Inaccurate statements about even the most powerful individuals in society receive little legal protection in England; a defendant could be liable for a false statement even if he was unaware that it was false.”

Free speech has been a sacred right in the U.S., but with the Trump-tilting Supreme Court, the right could be in jeopardy. As it is, Abrams said, two justices, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, have indicated a willingness to rein in free speech. And you’ve got to wonder if justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh might not join those two.


If they did, it probably would come down to Justice Samuel Alito, who was nominated by President George W. Bush. In the past, he has been an advocate of free speech, and I certainly hope that continues. During an address to The Federalist Society in November 2020, Alito said: “We should all welcome rational, civil speech on important subjects even if we do not agree with what the speaker has to say.”

:: Closer to home, we Missouri residents are suffering under a governor who went to a new low recently by trying to capitalize on the unpopularity of “the press,” especially among conservatives.

In case you haven’t heard about this, here’s the gist…A tech-savvy reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discovered that Social Security numbers for Missouri teachers, administrators and counselors were visible in the HTML code of a publicly accessible website operated by the state education department. (HTML code is the programming that tells the computer how to display a web page.)

Instead of rushing the story to press, the P-D took the responsible approach by informing state officials about the problem and promising not to publish a story until the problem was fixed.

But instead of commending the PD for its principled position and acknowledging there had been a problem, Gov. Mike Parson tore into the Post, calling the reporter “a hacker” and called on the Highway Patrol to investigate the incident for possible criminal prosecution.

Demonstrating true cowardice, Parson read his statement about the PD on Thursday, Oct. 14, and then walked away, refusing to take reporters’ questions.


Fortunately, Parson didn’t get any help from the Missouri National Education Association, which saw the situation for exactly what it was — a serious data breach. “It is important we take data security as seriously as physical security,” an association spokesman said.

What did all this really show? The ultimate hack is the governor.

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When I saw The New York Times Sunday edition and the lead story, under the headline “90 seconds of Rage on the Capitol Steps,” I almost passed on the story.

I’ve read a lot about the Jan. 6 insurrection and have seen the clips repeatedly on CNN and elsewhere, and I had seen just about as much of the story as I cared to read. But there was something that told me I needed to read this story.

I guess it was the microcosmic nature of it — an afternoon of rage boiled down into a 90-second distillation of craziness and mob mentality. So, I waded in. It took a long time to read it. It started on the front and took up four pages inside, including text and photos.

The most striking thing about the story was that it presented the central figure, a 52-year-old, small-town Kentuckian in almost a tragic and vulnerable light. The story graphically chronicles how the the central figure, Clayton Ray Mullins, and six other men — none of whom apparently knew each other — happened to converge on the same area on the west side of the Capital building and how they proceeded to assault three Metropolitan Police Department officers.

One of the seven assailants kicked at an officer then wrestled another officer officer, Blake Miller, pulling him by his helmet and and dragging him to the ground face first. Another assailant beat Miller with the bottom end of a flag pole, while the red, white and blue colors of the U.S. flag on the other end of the pole jerked to and fro.

Mullins, the story’s central figure, pulled on the leg of Officer Andrew Wayte, engaging in a tug of war with officers who were trying to pull Wayte away. In the wild skirmish, Mullins also pushed on Officer Miller’s helmet, apparently trying to prevent other people from helping Miller get back up to the spot he had been pulled down from.

Mullins, at center

The story includes some fantastic descriptions of the events, including this…

“The rioters kept coming, a rag-tag army in mismatched colors: the orange knit caps of the Proud boys, the green camouflage jackets of men girding to fight antifa, the red-white-and-blue shirts and caps and flags espousing allegiance to Mr. Trump. Some walked with a jaw-jutting air; others ran, as if storming a beachfront.”

Clayton Mullins had come with his wife and his sister for the “Save America March,” but as events unfolded he got caught up in the raucous cauldron that the previous paragraph describes. Now, he was in no way an innocent bystander because he, his wife and his sister voluntarily chose to accompany the thousands of marchers from the Ellipse just south of the White House to the Capitol. But, from all appearances, he didn’t come looking for trouble.

As The Times story relates, Mullins, 52, grew up in a town of 800 in western Kentucky. He stayed in Kentucky and owns a salvage business “that operates from a lot cluttered with rusted heavy equipment” in a larger city western Kentucky city named Mayfield. (Coincidentally, my grandfather, J.W. Fitzpatrick, had a wholesale tobacco business that frequently took him to Mayfield.)

Mullins did not seem to be infected with the hate and vitriol that inspired many of the Jan. 6 rioters. As The Times describes him Mullins has no social media presence and took up texting only recently. In addition, he apparently wasn’t poisoned by Fox News, preferring to watch reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Gunsmoke.” He doesn’t drink, smoke or curse and, perhaps most interesting, he is the unofficial treasurer, handyman and caretaker of a little church, Little Obdion Baptist Church, in his hometown of Wingo, KY. A former pastor described Mullins as “the burden-carrier of that church.”

And yet, on the afternoon of Jan. 6, Mullins allowed himself to get caught up in the contagion of the riot. As The Times succinctly put it, “(H)e left his wife and sister behind and joined the trespassing throng.”

For the story, he gave an interview to a Times reporter in Little Obdion Baptist Church. Obviously filled with regret, Mullins broke down during the interview and cried. “We never should have come here,” he told the reporter, referring to D.C.

That, however, was eight or nine months after the fateful day. After returning to Kentucky following the riot, he didn’t turn himself in. It wasn’t terribly difficult for authorities to find him, though, because video and still photographs had documented his presence and activities that day.

One day in late February, after pulling out of his salvage yard and onto a Kentucky highway, law enforcement officers pulled over his Nissan Frontier and arrested him on. He is now charged with three felonies, including assaulting an officer, and five misdemeanors. He is in home detention in Benton, KY, and potentially faces a long prison term.

…In a way, it’s a heartbreaking story: Good guy from small town gets swallowed up in an uprising he didn’t know was going to happen.

Of course, there’s the other side of the story, the most important side: We’re all responsible for our own decisions, including those made amid chaotic and unraveling situations. Especially those made amid chaotic and unraveling decisions.

It’s laudable that Mullins cried while being interviewed. But what was going through his mind when he made the conscious decision to leave his wife and sister behind and join the mob that showed us what what modern-day American brainwashing looks like?

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I want to write about the hazards of Arrowhead Stadium during and after Chiefs’ games, but let me preface this column by acknowledging that I’m well into the “senior citizen” stage and am infinitely more careful than I was when I was in my 20s and 30s.

I remember going to Chiefs’ games in the 1970s and early 1980s when the place was half to three-quarters full (and, yes, the Chiefs were losing), sitting in the upper deck, enjoying the warmth of the sun on fall Sunday afternoons and relaxing as the game unfolded well below me. Often, I’d see some of the same people, and we’d acknowledge one another with nods or smiles, as if to say, “Good to be back at the club.”

There was some drinking, but I don’t ever recall seeing a fight, and I don’t recall anyone being killed going to or from their cars before or after the game.

My, how times have changed. Consider what has gone on out there at two recent home games…

:: During Sunday night’s game against the Bills, two “super fans” — one known as “Red Xtreme” and the other known as “X-Factor,” got into a big fight after X-Factor threw a cup at Red Xtreme’s wife. X-Factor got knocked unconscious. Before it was taken down, a video showed X-Factor cascading down a flight of stadium stairs as Red Xtreme stood over him.


:: In the Sept. 26 game against the Chargers, an all-out brawl took place. The Star reported one man was beaten until he appeared to lose consciousness. Four were arrested, two at the scene and two later, and additional warrants were issued for others involved. Charges including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and providing false information to law enforcement were filed.

:: Worse than the fights, by far, was the hit-and-run death of 66-year-old Steven Hickle of Wichita, who was killed while trying to cross Blue Ridge Cutoff after he had left Sunday night’s game, apparently during a storm that suspended play for more than an hour. Hickle was first hit by one driver, who did not stop, and then he was run over by the driver of a second car. That driver also did not stop. Police have some evidence and are looking for both drivers. Police traffic crews were not in the area yet to help direct traffic away from the stadium.

Steven and Laurie Hickle

I haven’t been to a game in several years, and I doubt that I will ever attend one again, which makes me kind of blue because I had a lot of fun out there over many years. Arrowhead and the Chiefs are a significant part of life in Kansas City, and now I feel like the live-game experience is no longer a safe option for me.

Since Arrowhead was renovated 11 years ago, I’ve been to about three games. Maybe it was a coincidence or maybe the crowds had gotten progressively worse over the years, but the first game I went to after the renovation is when I noticed a distinct change in atmosphere. People were packed more tightly on the main concourse, which was narrower, and they seemed louder, drunker and ruder.

I didn’t like it at all. It was such a stark contrast to the laid-back feel of the “good old days.” After that, I wasn’t much interested in going back. I did go to a Raiders game a few years ago — a night game — with a friend who had seats in the plaza (yellow) level, and even there it was crazy. After the Chiefs scored one touchdown, the guy next to me — a really big guy — bear hugged me and raised me a few feet off the ground. He wasn’t mean about it, but I thought he could have registered his joy differently. High five, maybe?

Now I’m not the least bit tempted to go to an extremely loud venue where most everybody stands up for three and a half hours and I’ve got to worry about getting beer spilled on me or accidentally tipping a beer in somebody is carrying and getting punched for it. Or simply getting jostled on that main concourse that used to be so accommodating.

Nope, I’m sticking to the wide open, friendly spaces on the golf course…Speaking of which, here’s a photo I took this afternoon near No. 16 tee at Hoots Hollow golf course in Pleasant Hill. Give me this any day over the mayhem at Arrowhead.

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A couple of days ago, regular reader Mark Peavy posted a comment wondering why I had not weighed in on the dust-up over the concessions contract at the new KCI.

I followed developments on the issue fairly closely, but one reason I didn’t write about it — until now — is that it struck me as if it might be one of those hurricane warnings that get coastal residents very excited, but the storms dissipate before they make landfall.

Another reason is the concessions deal is a pretty thick business — lots of shoots and branches — and I couldn’t get much of a grip on it.

Today, I was satisfied the reasons I didn’t write were on target. In a decidedly anticlimactic move, the City Council voted to award the contract — which could be worth more than a billion dollars over the life of the 15-year contract — to the recommended bidder, Vantage Airport Group, on a 9-2 vote.

The only dissenters were Councilwoman Katheryn Shields, who apparently did not agree with the selection process, and Councilwoman Teresa Loar. (More about her personal corn cob in a minute.)

Councilwoman Heather Hall was absent, and Councilman Dan Fowler, who had been on the selection committee, abstained because a partner in the Vantage Group, Jason Parson, had done political consulting work for him in his 2019 re-election campaign.

The selection process triggered a great deal of huffing and puffing and rapid-fire heart beating. For example…

:: Fowler, the only elected official on the selection committee, took part in the recommendation process, even though his pal Parson was part of the Vantage Group. After that connection came to light, Fowler tried to redeem himself by seeking a belated opinion from the city ethics commission. The commission came back with the obvious: He should not have taken part in the process.

:: Mayor Quinton Lucas and The Star’s Dave Helling got into such a heated pissing match on Twitter that Lucas suggested The Star might be “on the take.” I can guarantee you The Star as an institution has never been “on the take,” and Lucas should not have suggested that. Helling likes nothing more than to get under politicians’ skin. He’s been doing it for about 40 years.

:: Loar, the most volatile and off-base council member, pitched a fit because, she said, not enough Northland businesses were included in the Vantage proposal…Now that struck me as exceedingly strange because one of her closest allies on the council is Fowler, a fellow Northlander. If Loar wasn’t able to convince the already-compromised Fowler (again, the only elected official on the selection committee) to add more Northland businesses to the Vantage mix, her beef should have been with him, not with the rest of the Council.


Okay, now that the hysteria is over and heart rates are back to normal, let’s take a look at some of the businesses that will have the opportunity to operate at the new terminal.

:: Auntie Anne’s…This is great, not only because their pretzels are fantastic but also because of an experience I had at the Auntie Anne’s at Boston’s South Station several years ago. After pulling out my wallet, I paid cash and forgot to put the wallet back in my pocket. Left it, containing $300 to $400, on the counter. I realized the mistake after I got to my destination at a nearby suburb and thought, “Well, that’s the end of that.” A couple of days later, my cousin’s son suggested I try to call. Well there’s a capital notion, I thought! I got through, and the person who answered the phone said, yes, they had my wallet. When I got to the stand, I found all the money inside and tipped the counter person $20. (So cheap…Should have given her fifty.)

:: Bo Lings Chinese Restaurant…Good.

:: Brown & Loe…Excellent.

:: Martin City Brewing Co…Some of the best pizza in town. Big winner.

:: Tay’s Burger Shack on Armour Road, North Kansas City…I ate there once and wasn’t impressed. The burger was nothing special, and there’s not a window in the place, to the best of my recollection. (I bet that’s where we’ll find Teresa Loar, though.)

:: Urban Cafe, a family owned restaurant on Troost. I’ve never been there, and the only time Patty tried to go, it was so crowded she couldn’t get a table. Tentative thumbs up there.

Finally, Chick-fil-A, which had been part of the Vantage proposal, got the boot because of concerns that it doesn’t promote an “inclusive environment.” That was a good call. I wholeheartedly recommend Go Chicken Go as its replacement. It’s local, and, to the best of my knowledge, it’s open every day. Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday for religious reasons.

Note: In the original post, I had Chick-fil-A in the Vantage proposal. They were dropped about two weeks ago.

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As most of you know, I came around to being a fan of Mayor Quinton Lucas in the wake of his decision several months ago to take on the Board of Police Commissioners and stop trying to suck up to the police union, which supported him for mayor two years ago.

However, in the wake of a Jackson County Circuit Court ruling today in favor of the police board, it is clear that the City Council’s attempt to reallocate $42 million after approving the Police Department’s 2021-22 budget was a rush job that ran headlong into the clear provisions of state law.

Now, Lucas and the City Council majority that rammed through the budgetary reallocation have egg on their faces, and it is likely to cost Lucas at the polls in 2021, assuming he runs for re-election.

I don’t think the misfire will cost him re-election, however, because he is extremely popular everywhere except the Northland, where, I feel sure, a majority of KC police officers and their families live. (The families are important because, like KC firefighters, members of police families vote in droves.)

But to explain this court ruling, let’s retrace what happened last spring. In March, the City Council approved a $224 million budget for the Police Department for the fiscal year that started May 1. In April, the police board approved the same budget. A month later, in May, nine City Council members — all except the four from the Northland — approved two ordinances reallocating $42 million from general operations to “community services and prevention.”

Lucas and the eight other council members from south of the Missouri River had become understandably frustrated with the Police Department’s, and the board’s, high-handed ways, and the ordinances amounted to a poke in the eye.

The police board wasn’t going to take that sitting down, obviously, and it quickly filed suit seeking to blunt the attempt to undo part of the budget that both parties had already approved.

I don’t know if the city attorney’s office gave the council bad advice or if the nine council members weren’t in a mood to listen, but, in any event, Circuit Court Judge Patrick W. Campbell handed the nine council members their heads on sticks today.

Judge Campbell

Here are some of the key elements of Judge Campbell’s ruling…

:: State law grants the police board “exclusive management and control” of the Police Department, and the two City Council ordinances at issue “interfere” with the board’s management of the department.

:: Although state law provides that the city does not have to appropriate any more than an amount equal to 20 percent of the city’s general fund, “the Court finds this discretion must be exercised during the appropriations phase.”

:: “The sole legal question before the Court is whether the City violated Chapter 84 in passing (the ordinances) after the Board adopted its budget for fiscal year 2021-22.” The answer: It did.


The irony is that it appears Lucas and the eight other council members who voted for the ordinances might have been able to get away with the budgetary switcheroo had they waited until next year’s budgetary cycle. And they just might succeed next year. The retroactive action was the big mistake.

Now, though, as a result of the aborted effort, the police board will be bracing for an attempted diversion of funds next year. If a similar effort does come, I suspect the police board will do battle on the Chapter 84 provision that gives the board “exclusive management and control” of the Police Department.

In the end, this all comes down to the issue of local versus state control of KCPD. State control is the root of all the tension, and, unfortunately, the chances of the city convincing the General Assembly to pass a bill relinquishing control to the city are zero now and will remain that way for a long time. A statewide initiative petition to change the system is equally unlikely…We’re fucked.

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