Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

If Quinton Lucas will heed Dave Helling’s suggestions — and will also do what he himself says needs to be done — then he could have a very good first term as mayor.

First, let’s go to Helling’s suggestions, which he laid out in an Op-Ed piece in Sunday’s paper.

Helling’s advice was that Lucas not be overly ambitious in his first four years. He pointed out that the last three successful mayors — Sly James, Kay Barnes and Emanuel Cleaver — all found their footing in their second terms, after having sloshed around a bit in their first terms.

Two of James’ biggest second-term achievements included convincing voters to approve an $800-million general-obligation bond issue and reviving the apparently lifeless new-airport issue.

In her second term, Barnes ignited a Downtown revival that all of us benefit from today. To measure her contribution, just imagine where we’d be without the Sprint Center and the Power & Light District.

Helling suggested that Lucas focus on two things: more quality housing and better neighborhoods. Among other things, Helling urged Lucas to focus on funding a $75 million housing trust fund and shifting development incentives away from downtown and into neighborhood housing projects.

Those are certainly winning ideas, and if they come to fruition, many more Kansas Citians will have a lot better quality of life than they do now.

In another story, Lucas showed that he’s got some good ideas of his own.

In the story, written by Allison Kite and Steve Vockrodt, Lucas said:

“I hope to spend a lot more time on the council floor — the 22nd floor. I have not seen the mayor down there in about maybe three years and 11 months.”

James was obviously a powerful personality and strong leader, but he also was a go-it-alone-type, who over the years managed to alienate most of the council, with the exception of Jolie Justus and Scott Wagner. He won Justus over by appointing her head of the Aviation Committee, and he made Scott Wagner mayor pro tem. Most of the others, he ignored.

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a mayor who really worked hard at cultivating good relations with individual council members and actively sought to work behind the scenes with them to move toward consensus on big issues. It’s a lot easier to stay up in the big office on the 29th floor and enjoy the view rather than get on the elevator and schlep down to the 22nd floor hat in hand. But if a mayor wants to enjoy good relations and consistently reach his or her goals, he or she needs to regularly make that descent and treat the other council members as co-equals — which they are when it comes down to voting in the 26th-floor council chamber.

I hope Lucas follows through on his pledge to solicit council members’ advice and support. It’s vital that he stay humble and remind himself every day that he’s a working politician and not a king…For the inhabitant of the 29th-floor aery, the path down to 22 is the real road to success.

**

I often wonder if the editors at The Star ever get together and discuss story direction and length. It appears not.

Way too often I see stories that drag on and on and on. Extremely long stories, unless they are compelling and judiciously selected — tend to discourage readers.

The two selections on Sunday’s front page were perfect examples of stories that reduce readers to a soporific state.

The lead story — about U.S. Department of Agriculture employees not eager to move to Kansas City because their jobs are being moved out of D.C. — jumped from A1 to A8 to A9 and mercifully came to an end on A10. Twenty-one hundred and twenty words bleeding out over four pages like an oil spill.

The second story — about the importance of racial sensitivity training for teachers — was even longer, 2,545 words on the front page and then jumping to A2.

Once during my 36-year-plus career at The Star the editors decided to clamp down on story lengths and arbitrarily set a story-length limit of 30 inches — about 850 words. (For illustrative purposes, the blog post you’re reading now is about 750 words.)

The 30-inch limit was a mistake because some stories simply can’t be told in 30 inches. Fortunately, that dictate didn’t last very long.

But today The Star routinely runs stories too long. It’s a sorry spectacle to see the dump truck back up and disgorge thousands of unnecessary words on the heads of the remaining print subscribers.

Copious copy

Read Full Post »

I’m still staggering from the 58-to-42-percent thrashing Quinton Lucas laid on Jolie Justus yesterday.

I sensed in the last couple of weeks that Justus was slipping and Lucas gaining, but I had no idea her slippage was a mount-side avalanche.

Committed to Justus from early on, I took comfort in the fact that her campaign was raising the big bucks and that she had won the primary by five points. And when Lucas came out with a poll a few weeks ago purportedly showing him ahead, I waved it off as a “push” poll he had commissioned. (He did commission it, but I guess the ultimate outcome shows it was fairly accurate.)

As I said in last night’s post, the first indication I had that Justus might be in trouble was when she came out with those mailers, in conjunction with the carpenters’ union (what a waste of money on their part!), questioning Lucas’ trustworthiness. I couldn’t understand why she thought it necessary to go negative, especially so early.

Again I dismissed my niggling concerns, trusting in her political experience and the expertise of her consulting group, The Dover Group out of Philadelphia, which had guided Sly James to victory twice.

But I was also overlooking some fairly serious warning flags popping up in my daily life.

For Jolie, it’s back to taking care of her dog Wrangler

Many of my good friends were very strongly anti-Jolie, especially some living in her 4th Council District. They said she had become unresponsive to their concerns. They said she didn’t return calls. They said it was she who was untrustworthy, bowing to the development crowd on projects like that sky-shielding office tower at Westport Road and Broadway and the massive Quik Trip expansion on Westport Road just west of Southwest Trafficway.

And then there were the storm clouds under my own roof.

Our daughter Brooks, 31, who works at the Kemper Museum, was taking her time making up her mind. She had first seen and met Lucas at a neighborhood gathering I had organized before the November 2017 airport election. City Manager Troy Schulte and Lucas spoke that night, and I was grateful to both, especially because Geoff Stricker, managing director of Edgemoor, the airport contractor, failed to show.

Brooks told me today she Lucas struck her that night as “grassroots” and “relatable.” (This shows the value of politicians showing up at neighborhood meetings; three-term Mayor Dick Berkley always understood that.)

A member of the Young Friends of the Library, Brooks was later involved in helping stage a Lucas-Justus debate at the World War I Museum. She was impressed with both candidates then, but as time went on, she began drifting away from Justus because, she said, “she is more aligned with Sly James and bigger business.”

When she went to our polling place yesterday, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Meyer and Wornall, she voted for Lucas.

The clincher, though was my wife Patty. She’s a good judge of character and has great instincts on just about everything. After the carpenters’ flyer arrived in the mail bearing that horrendous “Uncle Tom” photo of Lucas, Patty said she was switching from Justus to Lucas…Judging from last night’s outcome, thousands of other voters reacted the same way.

And that left me pretty much sitting on my little Jolie Justus island. I had at least $1,100 invested in her campaign, and my island was getting smaller and smaller — just like hers.

So today here I sit with another losing mayoral hand, just like 2011, when I was “all in” for Mike Burke against Sly James.

In retrospect, it seems clear, Justus would have lost even without the carpenters sending out their racist mailer, but in the immediate aftermath of this personal disappointment I’m putting the finger of blame on the stupid, fuckin’ carpenters.

Read Full Post »

Lucas routs Justus

After running a high-energy primary and general election campaign, Councilman Quinton Lucas easily outdistanced fellow Council member Jolie Justus in the mayor’s race Tuesday night.

With all 125 polling places south of the Missouri River reporting, Lucas had 29,193 votes to 17,010 for Justus.

North of the river, Justus prevailed by a narrow margin but not by nearly enough to offset Lucas’ massive victory south of the river.

Many people had expected Justus do win big north of the river, and the fact that she didn’t shows just how powerful a race Lucas ran.

Lucas will be Kansas City’s third African-American mayor. Current U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II broke that barrier in 1991, defeating then-Councilman Bob Lewellen. Cleaver was re-elected in 1995. Current Mayor Sly James was elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2015.

Indications that Justus, who finished first in the April 2 primary, was in trouble came several weeks ago, when she began sending out negative mailers questioning Lucas’ trustworthiness. Her assertion was he would say one thing and do another.

A week or so ago, a mailer sent out by the carpenters’ union, which, supported Justus, depicted Lucas as an “Uncle Tom type” figure in a photo. Lucas’ eyes were downcast, face sagging and lower lip protruding. Instead of winning votes for Justus, that flyer had the opposite effect, turning some voters away from Justus.

Lucas maintained a high tone until near the end of the campaign, when one or two committees working on his behalf — not his own campaign committee — came out with negative mailers.

Congratulations to Quinton Lucas. He ran a robust campaign and beat a stalwart politician. He has the makings of a very good mayor. He will be sworn in Aug. 1.

…In the closest at-large City Council race, state Rep. Brandon Ellington edged Wallace Hartsfield II by a count of 29,700 to 28,165 in the 3rd District at large. Ellington, who is term limited in the Missouri House of Representatives, survived a nasty mailer that showed him holding a rifle, as a young man, with an image of a Country Club Plaza tower superimposed next to his image.

In other at-large, competitive races, lawyer Andrea Bough easily defeated real estate broker Stacey Johnson-Cosby in the 6th District at large, and incumbent 5th District at-large Councilman Lee Barnes Jr. had no trouble turning back a challenge from Dwayne Williams.

The only issue on the ballot — whether to limit tax abatement on economic development projects to 50 percent — instead of the current 75 percent — went down to a 2-1 defeat.

Read Full Post »

The campaigning is just about over, and our mailboxes are about to get considerably less full.

So, what to do? Who to vote for?

Flatteringly, a few friends have taken to asking for my suggestions before local elections, and, being a closer than average political observer, I always indulge them.

Today, then, I thought I’d put my recommendations out there for the vast JimmyCsays world to see.

The ballot is mercifully simple: It consists of mayor, the six at-large council seats, the in-district seats, an up-or-down vote on the retention of several municipal judges and the issue of whether to limit tax abatement on economic development agreements to 50 percent of the taxes due.

Because I don’t closely follow the campaigns and candidates in the individual districts — other than my own 6th District — I’m not going to offer recommendations on the in-district races.

Here we go…

For Mayor — Jolie Justus

Justus’ 12 years’ of elective experience are a major factor in my preference for her. She’s done a good job, in my opinion, on the City Council the last four years, and before that she spent eight years in the Missouri Senate. The fact that she could rub elbows with hidebound, narrow-minded, outstate conservatives in Jeff City for eight years and still come back to Kansas City with a smile on her face says a lot about her temperament and willingness to give and take. I think she would represent Kansas City very well on the national stage, and, let’s face it, at this stage of our politics, both locally and nationally, it’s time to give as many women as possible the opportunity to lead. The men, for the most part, have made a mess of it.

For Council Member, 1st District at-large — Kevin O’Neill

Kevin O’Neill

O’Neill, editor of the KC Labor Beacon, got lucky when he filed and no one else did, even though the seat was open and O’Neill had never held elective office. He will win by default, but I’ve met him and contributed to him, and he seems to be a good guy. He lives in Kansas City North and is the brother of Pat O’Neill, a well-known marketing executive and political consultant who lives in Brookside. You just have to accept, up front, that Kevin O’Neill will always be on the side of organized labor.

For Council Member 2nd District at-large — Teresa Loar

I’m not a big fan of Loar, mainly because she had her head in the sand on the need for a new airport. Until it became clear a council majority was intent on proceeding to approve a new terminal, Loar was a holdout. But like Kevin O’Neill, she is unopposed, so there’s no alternative. This will be her fourth term on the Council: She served two terms years ago, took a break and then ran again successfully four years ago.

For Council Member 3rd District at large — Wallace Hartsfield II

Wallace Hartsfield II

I’m not crazy about ministers in politics, but when the choice comes down to a minister (Hartsfield is pastor at Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, 2310 E. Linwood) or a state representative who carries a gun on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives (Brandon Ellington), I’m with the minister. (Ellington is running for Council because he is term limited in the General Assembly.)

For Council Member 4th District at large — Katheryn Shields

I don’t know anything about Shields’ opponent, Robert Westfall, a political newcomer, but I do know Shields has been a good public servant for many years and there’s no reason to vote her out now. Like Loar, this will be her fourth term on the Council over a period of many years.

For Council Member at-large 5th District — Lee Barnes Jr.

Lee Barnes Jr.

I am not familiar with Dwayne Williams, Barnes’ opponent. Barnes is one of the quietest members of the Council, and although he doesn’t offer leadership, he hasn’t done any major harm, as far as I can tell. In the airport debate, he pushed hard for a company that did not get the nod — AECOM. He told me he liked that company because they were the biggest — and he thought — the best of the companies that submitted proposals. There may have been more to it than that, but, in any event, it appeared to me the contract went to the right company, Edgemoor. Freedom Inc. supported Barnes four years ago but is backing his opponent now. That’s not enough of a reason for me to throw my vote to an unknown.

For Council Member 6th District at large — Stacey Johnson-Cosby

Now we’re talking about my district and candidates I know. Andrea Bough is a development attorney and a member of Country Club Christian Church, where I, too, am a member. She’s a fine person, and her husband, Steve Bough, is a U.S. District Court judge. Stacey Johnson-Cosby is a Realtor and longtime south Kansas City political activist. She is also one of two 6th District representatives on Kansas City’s Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC).

Stacey Johnson-Cosby

I’m for Johnson-Cosby partly because, two years ago, after the Sea Horse Fountain at Meyer Circle broke down, she recommended $285,000 in PIAC funding toward a total renovation of the fountain. The Council subsequently approved that funding, and it spurred a public-private partnership that got the fountain renovated and raised about $400,000 in private funds for a permanent endowment fund for the fountain. I was co-chairman, along with David Fowler of Mission Hills, of the fund-raising committee…Like I said, Andrea Bough is a fine person, but the kind of help Stacey Johnson-Cosby lent my neighborhood was phenomenal.

Municipal Court judges — “Yes” on all

People ask me from time to time how to vote on the retention of judges, and I always say, unless you have some good reason — based on personal experience or reputation — to vote “no,” then vote “yes.” I don’t know of any good reason to vote against any of the nine Municipal Court judges who are up for retention, so vote “yes,” and don’t fell guilty because you don’t know anything about them or haven’t heard of them.

Question No. 1 — “No”

The proposal to limit tax exemption to 50 percent (from the current 75 percent) got on the ballot through an initiative petition. I applaud the petitioners — members of a group called the Coalition for Kansas City Economic Development Reform — but they’ve done very little campaigning. The Star said they raised $2,310 between April 1 and early June and spent $556.45 on yard signs. That’s pathetic. If you’re going to go to the trouble to get a couple of thousand signatures to get something on the ballot, you ought to follow up with a significant campaign effort…In addition, I’m not sure all development projects should be limited to 50 percent abatement. There could well be projects that cry out for 75 percent, or more. (The Council can authorize exceptions to the 75  percent.)

**

I intend to monitor and report on voting in the mayor’s race. Check me out Tuesday night. ‘Til then, if you live in KCMO, be sure to vote.

Read Full Post »

Along with a handful of other people, I had the unique opportunity earlier this week to get a sneak preview of what the “new” Kansas City Museum is going to look like when it opens late next year.

As many of you are aware, the museum, which has been under the Kansas City Parks Department’s umbrella the last several years, is undergoing complete renovation. When all is said and done, the renovation will have cost $22 million. Six million of that is being raised privately by the museum foundation; $8 million is from the 2017 general-obligation bond issue; and the rest will come from the museum levy, which generates $1.7 million annually.

This is no superficial makeover, and that should be clear from the amount of money being spent. Museum director Anna Marie Tutera said the project is so sweeping that, to a degree, it’s a “start-up.”

“We’ve been around since 1940, and within the imprint of the museum’s rich history, we’re starting over,” she said.

All architectural features, inside and out, are getting a facelift (the so-called “architectural construction” is substantially complete); new exhibition spaces are being readied on the second and third floors; and all-new exhibits are being planned and prepared. That part of the work — the “museum construction” — is in the early stages.

Basically, the museum will tell the story of Kansas City, charting its development and exploring its rich history…For me, seeing the progress that has been made in the former mansion of lumber baron R.A. Long and his wife Ella was very exciting. I trust it will excite you, too, when it opens.

General admission will be free every day. The only charge will be for ongoing special exhibitions. Three new galleries — one on the second floor and two on the third — are being readied for special exhibitions.

And now some photos…

From the outside, the museum, the former R.A. Long mansion on Gladstone Boulevard, looks much the same.

 

One new feature will be a first-floor a soda fountain. It’s light and airy, and there’ll be plenty of room for visitors to rest their “museum legs” and relax.

 

The marble staircase just inside the main entrance

 

The leaded glass doors and windows at the top of the marble staircase

 

The library

 

The new ceiling in the living room

 

The arching ceiling (minus light fixture) in the former breakfast room. All new decorative detail work has been done in plaster.

 

Anna Marie Tutera (left) is the museum director. To her left is Pam McKee, a former museum employee, and next to her is Allen Dillingham, the Kansas City Parks Board member who arranged the tour.

 

There is a nice balance of old and new on the first floor. This original, decorative woodwork, for example, is above a fireplace in the billiards room.

 

On the other hand, here is a modern light fixture that blends in so well I had to ask if it was a reproduction.

 

Looking out from the second floor

 

The second and third floors will be the main exhibition areas. This will be a classroom and meeting room on the second floor.

**

While it may not be on the grandiose scale of the Sprint Center, the Power & Light District or the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the new Kansas City Museum will be a significant addition to the city scene. It will elevate Kansas City as a tourist destination, and it will be another attraction, like the Nelson Gallery, that many area residents will visit again and again.

It should also help lift historic Northeast area of Kansas City. As Allen Dillingham said: “We’re hoping this project is a catalyst for the whole area; it’s just the beginning.”

Read Full Post »

The Star’s front page was almost consumed Sunday with two great enterprise stories — both of which rendered a tremendous public service in showing politicians at their worst.

At the top of the page was a story by Steve Vockrodt, one of the paper’s standout reporters, about two Clay County politicians’ brazen and successful effort to make it difficult and expensive for citizens, reporters and others to get records through open records requests.

The turds in Clay County’s punch bowl are County Commissioners Luann Ridgeway and Gene Owen, who consistently outvote the third commissioner, Jerry Nolte, who, at least in regard to Sunshine Law, seems to be on the correct side.

The three-member commission has been in a state of upheaval for at least the last two years, and it seems to me the ultimate resolution is for a citizens group to take the leadership in pushing for expanding the county commission to at least five members so that political power is more widely dispersed.

The second story, by Jeff City correspondents Edward McKinley and Jason Hancock, details the all-out effort by a self-dealing lobbyist and his wife, an administrative commissioner who hears Title IX appeals cases, to tip the balance of federal Title IX provisions away from the accusers and to the accused.

But in an April 23 story, McKinley revealed that the couple’s primary motivation was to try to protect their son, who was in the process of being accused and finally expelled from Washington University in St. Louis for Title IX violations. The House and Senate bills died after that story.

One of the most disturbing elements of the latter story is that Richard and Audrey McIntosh were aided and abetted by two outstate, Republican legislators — Rep. Dean Dohrman from Pettis County (Sedalia area) and Sen. Gary Romine, who represents a district mostly in St. Francois County, about 70 miles south of St. Louis.

Maddeningly, Dohrman and Romine functioned as shills for the McIntoshes, sponsoring the bills the couple drafted and apparently never questioning their motivation and keen interest in Title IX changes.

**

Let’s back up and take a closer look at the Clay County and Jeff City situations The Star homed in on.

In 2016, the County Commission hired a Kansas City attorney named Joe Hatley, with the Spencer Fane firm, to represent the county in open records matters. Hatley agreed to work for the county at an hourly rate of $373.50, a discount of his usual $415 an hour fee. (What a deal!)

Up to that time, County Clerk Megan Thompson had been handling open records. She did not charge for her time, and when she needed another staff member’s help, the county charged $12 an hour.

But sometime in 2017, on a 2-1 vote — with Owen and Ridgeway voting “yes” and Nolte voting “no” — the Commission shifted open records responsibilities from Thompson to Hatley. And the county began passing on Hatley’s fee to people who submitted requests.

Capping the outrage, the Commission hired Hatley at a closed meeting on June 6, 2016, and no minutes or other records of the meeting appear to exist.

Earlier this year, Hatley asked The Star to pay $4,200 to provide it with records pertaining to Spencer Fane’s legal bills to the county. The paper ultimately got the records elsewhere.

I’ve bemoaned in this blog how cheap The Star has become with its reluctance to file lawsuits pertaining to Sunshine Law violations, but, thank God, this time The Star is fighting back. Last month, the paper filed suit alleging that the June 6, 2016, meeting and the vote to hire Hatley were illegal.

…I said above that the long-term answer to Clay County’s problems is expanding the County Commission. In the shorter term, voters should oust commissioners Ridgeway and Owen in November 2020. What is going on at the Clay County Courthouse is insulting to county residents and should not be tolerated a day longer than necessary.

**

On the Title IX story, while the McIntoshes’ meddling and machinations are appalling, the bigger concern is the lap-dog attitude of the two legislators who sponsored Title IX bills in the House and Senate. They essentially slapped their names on the bills and let Richard McIntosh draft them and attempt to orchestrate their passage.

State Rep. Dean DohrmanExplaining his hands-off approach to the bill, Dohrman told The Star: “When I get a bill that’s extremely complicated, I kind of let the person work it out…I just kind of let it (the Title IX bill) work out to see where it went.”

That is total abdication of legislative responsibility. Yes, those legislators see a lot of bills, and some bills are complicated. But that’s what legislators sign up for when they run for office: To do their homework and propose and carefully evaluate proposed legislation, with the goal of improving life for the residents of Missouri.

State Sen. Gary Romine

Fortunately, Dohrman will be term limited when his current two-year term expires in 2020, and Pettis County residents will be able to elect a new rep.

As for Romine, he was even more co-opted than Dohrman. He let McIntosh send out emails under his — Romine’s — name promoting the Senate version of the Title IX bill. In addition, the day after a committee hearing on the bill, McIntosh wrote out a long list of questions to be sent to each Missouri Title IX administrator. At the bottom of the list, McIntosh wrote, “Sincerely, Gary Romine.”

What a sell-out…Mercifully, again, term limits will put an end Romine’s service in the General Assembly in 2020.

…The biggest problem with Missouri government, obviously, is there are too many hick legislators. We residents of urban areas — Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia and St. Louis — are at a distinct disadvantage because the hicks significantly outnumber the urban legislators. There are way too many Dohrmans and Romines, and that’s not going to change anytime soon; we’re at those dopes’ mercy.

Today, let’s be grateful The KC Star, stripped the last decade or so of many of its senior reporters and editors, is still able to expose some of the shenanigans.

Read Full Post »

The Star’s Allison Kite and Bill Turque have been doing a good job overall of covering the attack mode that candidate Jolie Justus recently embarked on in the mayor’s race, but sometimes they have failed to get to the heart of things.

Such was the case with today’s coverage of a low-blow mailer produced by a political action committee affiliated with the carpenters’ union in Kansas City and St. Louis.

The carpenters PAC — called Carpenters Help in the Political Process (CHIPP) — has been going all out to get Justus elected over her opponent Quinton Lucas. The carpenters’ regional council represents more than 20,000 members in Kansas, Missouri and southern Illinois, and the PAC has spent about $90,000 promoting Justus.

What do they want? The Star hasn’t offered readers any explanation, but here’s the deal:

The carpenters are trying to insure a Justus victory so that union carpenters will get hundreds of carpentry jobs that will be available in building the airport terminal. As chairperson of the City Council’s Aviation Committee, Justus has been a driving force in charting the course for the new terminal, and as mayor she would have even stronger control of airport-related matters.

The carpenters are worried that if Lucas wins the mayor’s race, he would push for more non-union, smaller outfits, which tend to have more minority workers. Lucas, of course, is African-American.

In their eagerness to make Lucas look bad, the carpenters went beyond the pale with their mailer. In a story today, Turque (who functions more as an editor these days but occasionally writes a story) said the problem with the mailer was that it included a “dark, grainy photo” of Lucas. (The mailer didn’t come to my house.)

The fact is dark and grainy weren’t the main problems; what makes the mailer so objectionable and nasty is that the photo depicts Lucas as an “Uncle Tom,” with drooping cheeks and lips and eyes cast downward. If the photo was doctored and had him in working clothes, he would have looked alarmingly like a slave.

Jolie, on the other hand, is depicted as her usual, smiling self, dressed in the bold red colors she tends to favor.

Check it out…
There is nothing particularly objectionable in the text below the photos; it’s all in the photo.

During an hour-long debate yesterday at Union Station, Lucas said the carpenters use of the photo was “disappointing” and “distasteful.”

“I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if it was my campaign” — that produced such a mailer, he said.

Justus didn’t respond to Lucas’ criticism during the debate, but Turque reported she denounced it shortly afterward and said in a statement, “I found the photo distributed by the CHIPP committee to be racially insensitive and in poor taste.”

Carpenters Regional Council political director Joe Hudson issued a statement saying, “We deeply regret using imagery that some of our fellow Kansas Citians felt was offensive.”

That was a lame apology — another instance of what we see a lot of these days: qualified, back-door apologies. Instead of saying flat out that the photo was offensive, Hudson light-footed it by saying “some of our fellow Kanas Citians” might regard it as offensive.

Translation: We’re not really sorry, and we hope the photo had the desired effect.

**

Online, The Star ran a photo of the mailer at the bottom of Turque’s story…Not prominent enough.

In the print edition, the story ran on page A-4 without a photo of the mailer…Big mistake.

The story should have run on the front page in the print edition, with a photo, in place of a story about Kansas officials negotiating to send some inmates to a sketchy, private prison in Arizona.

**

While Justus probably wasn’t directly responsible for the carpenters’ mailer, she and they have been pursuing similar lines of attack striking at Lucas’ trustworthiness.

Calling Lucas’ trustworthiness into question is one thing but depicting him as “Uncle Tom” is another. This is the kind of thing that could backfire on Justus. She’s lucky The Star underplayed the story and failed to accurately describe the objectionable photo. That might limit the degree of backfire.

Now we’ll see what editorial page editor editor Colleen McCain Nelson and her writers have to say about this. The editorial board already leaned toward Lucas, and this episode will probably seal the paper’s endorsement for Lucas.

And that could cost Justus the mayor’s race.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »