Martin

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Pitch's coverage of convention hotel informs tall citizen's thinking

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Conventioneers are a hoot.
  • Conventioneers are a hoot.

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser took a side in the conversation about the 1,000-room convention hotel. He thinks it's a dumb idea.

Last Thursday, Funkhouser voted against exercising a $250,000 option on a downtown parcel targeted for the convention hotel. In his weekly newsletter, the mayor elaborated on his decision, which found him in the smallest of minorities (the ordinance passed 12-1).

Judging by Funk's takes, he reads The Pitch. The evidence we've seen suggests that a 1,000-room hotel will leave taxpayers sobbing into a pillow that a conventioneer from Duluth pressed between his glistening, overfed thighs.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mark Funkhouser, ex-auditor, calls for audit of TIF Commission

Posted By on Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 12:00 PM

In Funkytown, auditors are like rock stars.
  • In Funkytown, auditors are like rock stars.

As a candidate, Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser ran against the generous distribution of incentives developers received from City Hall. Today he asked for an audit of an agency that makes the magic happen.

Funkhouser asked for time at Wednesday's meeting of the Tax-Increment Financing Commission. In calling for the audit, the mayor brought to mind a singer performing his best-known hit. As city auditor, Funk wrote stinging appraisals of the TIF Commission and the developer-friendly way in which it conducted its business.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Will the convention hotel be a boondoggle? Signs point to yes

Posted By on Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Denver built a convention hotel. Why not look at the results?
  • Denver built a convention hotel. Why not look at the results?

A hospitality consultant has come up with numbers supporting the idea of building a 1,000-room convention hotel in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The consultant based the report on surveys of convention planners, who were asked what kept them choosing from KC as a site for their meetings.

In this week's Martin column, I question the consultant's data. It seems strange to me to rely on speculative convention bookings when real-word data is available.

In recent years, several cities have opened convention hotels like the one Kansas City is considering. Why not look at what's happened in those places?

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Suspicious handling of KU tickets mentioned to Star in '06

Posted By on Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 8:00 AM

A key figure in the KU ticket story spoke to a Kansas City Star reporter in 2006.
  • A key figure in the KU ticket story spoke to a Kansas City Star reporter in 2006.

A sentence in the recent Yahoo! Sports investigation into the KU ticket scandal suggests that The Kansas City Star let the story slip through its fingers.

The Yahoo! story features an interview with David Freeman, the sketchy real-estate developer who admits playing a role in the ticket-scalping operation. Freeman has been depicted as a man spilling his guts in order to win leniency in an unrelated bribery case. But the Yahoo! story suggests Freeman has tried to tell the story for some time.

"Freeman first divulged the details of the ticket scalping in an

interview with a current Yahoo! Sports reporter during the summer of

2006," the story said.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

John and Mildred Caylor double homicide has taken a curious path on Web, in court

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 10:00 AM

A plaque outside River Christian Fellowship in Raytown memorializes John and Mildred Caylor
  • A plaque outside River Christian Fellowship in Raytown memorializes John and Mildred Caylor

A 2004 double homicide in Raytown continues to be notable for reasons apart from the appalling nature of the crime.

John and Mildred Caylor were stabbed to death inside the Bible store they operated on East 63rd Street. Believing that a robbery had turned deadly, investigators used DNA found at the crime scene to identify an ex-con named Kellen McKinney as the suspect.

The murders formed the basis of a (sub)urban legend. Several weeks after the Caylors were killed, a story circulated on the Internet about the daughter of murdered Bible store owners who insisted on swearing to God in a courtroom.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

KC and St. Louis separated by more than 247 miles of awful interstate

Posted By on Thu, May 20, 2010 at 12:30 PM

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Kansas City and St. Louis share an interstate, an Amtrak line and weather patterns. A new report on cities says the similarities end there.

"The State of Metropolitan America," a study from the Brookings Institution, includes a classification of cities which emphasizes demographics over geography (Rust Belt, plains, etc.). The seven categories are based on population growth rates, levels of racial and ethnic diversity and college-degree completion.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Porcelain god about to demand annual tithe of $100 million

Posted By on Tue, May 18, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Anyone who hooks up to KC's sewer system can expect to pay.
  • Anyone who hooks up to KC's sewer system can expect to pay.

Flushing a toilet is about to get really expensive.

Finalizing an agreement with the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, has agreed to spend $2.5 billion upgrading its sewer system. The work will begin in 2014.

Karl Brooks
, the regional administrator of the EPA, announced the consent decree on Tuesday at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, near the occasionally foul-smelling Brush Creek. Calling the agreement a "landmark commitment," Brooks said Kansas City was about to embark on the largest infrastructure project in its history.

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Bill Black, UMKC prof, breathes fire at banking hearing on Capitol Hill

Posted By on Tue, May 18, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Bill Black believes in bank regulation with bite.
  • Bill Black believes in bank regulation with bite.

Everybody is mad as hell that big investment banks put the country on the brink of economic ruin. Few people get a chance to vent in front of Congress.

Bill Black, a law and economics professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, appeared before the House Financial Services Committee last month. The subject was the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

Black worked as a regulator during the savings-and-loan crisis. As an official at the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, he sat in on a meeting with a group of U.S. senators as they tried to beautify Charles Keating Jr., a corrupt, craggy financier who had donated richly to their campaigns. The senators, a group that included John McCain, came to be known as the Keating Five.

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