On February 20, Breman Anderson put on another of his grandstanding displays before the Hickman Mills School Board.
That night, Anderson launched a long-winded exegesis about why the district should renew a transportation contract with Durham School Services, even though another company put in a bid that was $470,000 lower than Durham's and Superintendent Dennis Carpenter had just finished explaining all the problems that the district experienced with Durham's services over the years. Carpenter told board members that some bus routes weren't being run, other buses were not showing up on time and the district was not able to reach Durham personnel during emergencies.
None of that was enough to dissuade Anderson from backing Durham.
Rumors are percolating in Johnson County that outgoing Overland Park police chief John Douglass is eyeing a 2016 run to become the county's sheriff.
Reached on Monday, Douglass said people have talked to him about entering the race, but he hasn't made a decision.
"Certainly people have inquired about whether I would be interested, but that's a ways away," Doulgass told The Pitch.
Frank Denning is in his second term as Johnson County sheriff. He has told reporters that he won't seek a third term unless he suspects his possible successor will erode the office's autonomy from county government.
One of the less visible springtime elections is Kansas City's request for voters to bless a $500 million water bond issuance. City Hall wants to sell the bonds to get cash for long-overdue water-line replacements.
Water lines are one of the city's most neglected assets. They sprung upward of 1,200 leaks last year, owing to their age and slipshod installation decades (or in some cases, more than a century) ago.
Residents usually pass water and sewer bond issuances by hefty margins. And thus there's usually little or nothing in the way of organized opposition.
But the April 8 election hasn't gone unnoticed by some of the city's biggest engineering firms and construction organizations. The Progress KC political action committee supporting approval of the $500 million water bonds received $52,000 from January 1 to March 27.
Steve Schowengerdt becomes Mission's mayor on April 16.
Steve Schowengerdt edged out current Mission City Council President David Shepard in a close election Tuesday to replace outgoing Mayor Laura McConwell.
Schowengerdt, who served on the Mission City Council until four years ago, ran on a fiscal belt-tightening platform in contrast to Shepard, who was seen as closely aligned with McConwell's mayoral agenda.
Only 19 votes separated the mayoral candidates in an election where 1,705 votes were cast.
Rex Sinquefield figures to move pieces in the 2016 governor's race in Missouri.
Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway said in February, when announcing that she would run for governor, that she would "build the largest and best grassroots campaign in Missouri history."
Such a meat-and-potatoes fundraising effort, she implied, would be necessary to outflank the well-heeled Democrat Chris Koster, who raised more than $1 million last year for his gubernatorial bid.
For Hanaway's part, it doesn't get any less grassroots than receiving big checks from St. Louis billionaire Rex Sinquefield.
The Missouri Ethics Commission's records show that Sinquefield, an avid advocate for eliminating individual income taxes, cut a $50,000 check to Hanaway's campaign on Tuesday. Hanaway on Tuesday also received a $100,000 check from the Missouri Club for Growth, a political action committee with ties to Sinquefield and Kansas City. The Missouri Club for Growth's chairwoman is Bev Randles, a former Shook Hardy & Bacon lawyer in Kansas City who is married to 2012 Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Randles (also once a Shook lawyer).
We got a tip from a well-placed Johnson County source today that Mission Mayor Laura McConwell has spent the last couple of days calling around, telling people she plans to run for a seat on the Johnson County Board of Commissioners.
McConwell says she hasn't quite committed to running for the commission.
"I'm exploring the race," McConwell told us around lunchtime from her Mission law office before jumping on another phone call.
McConwell hasn't filed yet, but if she does, she would seek the soon-to-be-vacant seat currently held by Ed Peterson. Peterson, a longtime Fairway mayor before representing northeast Johnson County on the commission, is challenging incumbent chairman Ed Eilert.
Tone deafness, thy name is Wayne Wallingford. The freshman senator from the boot heel region of Missouri took full measure of the disdain thrown at Kansas and Arizona for taking up discrimination measures under the guise of religious freedom and figured the Show-Me State could elbow out some room of its own in the spotlight of contempt.
Wallingford on Monday introduced Missouri's version of a "religious freedom" bill that gives Show-Me State businesses the discretion to turn away people they don't care for by invoking their religious principles as the justification.
In fact, Wallingford's bill in some ways is worse than the one contemplated by Kansas. Wallingford's measure lacks much of the specificity of Kansas' infamous House Bill 2453, which leaves the Missouri version something of a catchall to refuse service to anyone, not just gays and lesbians, if someone can find some religious reason to show a customer the door.
"We're trying to protect Missourians from attacks on their religious freedom," Wallingford told The Kansas City Star.
Gail Finney thinks 10 spankings ought to straighten out your kid.
Kansas politicians are making national news again this week, and as usual it isn't for a good reason. Except this time, it's Democrats spearheading a clumsy bit of law.
Gail Finney, a House Democrat from Wichita, brought forth an ill-advised bill that would give legal wiggle room for parents and teachers in administering an arbitrary number of spankings that would result in an arbitrary level of redness and bruising on a child's butt.
Spanking is legal in Kansas so long as it doesn't leave a mark. But Finney seems to think that rude kids really need to be put in their place with up to 10 open-palmed swats on the backside. And if bruises show up after a whopping, then so be it, according to House Bill 2699.
The legislation is remarkable for one thing only: It represents another waste of time on a nonpressing issue for a Legislature that has a lot of work to do. True, kids can be obnoxious. But there's little apparent reason to think that legislating spankings is a reasonable solution.
Nixon wants a incentive moratorium. Will Brownback agree?
Jay Nixon came to Kansas City on August 14, 2012, for one of those ceremonies that elected officials call "groundbreakings."
Groundbreakings are a way to trick media into regurgitating old news (usually for a real-estate development or infrastructure project) as though it were fresh. It's an opportunity for elected officials to gather in one place, slap each other on the back and ham for press photos when they drop a shovel in the ground to mark the "first step" in the construction project.
In the case of the August 14, 2012, event, Nixon was on hand to break ground on a new office building for Freightquote, an online shipping broker that moved barely over the state line into Kansas City, Missouri, from Lenexa, plied with a huge bucket of taxpayer incentives.
Kansas is a pretty fucked-up state. But Missouri isn't exactly a model of good government. One major problem in the Show-Me State is that it's one of the few remaining in the nation where there are no caps on the amount of gifts or campaign contributions that politicians can accept from lobbyists.
In addition to allowing rich guys like Rex Sinquefield, who wants to abolish local and state taxes, to cut disproportionately fat checks to statewide candidates who support his extreme views, this corrupting law permits politicians to party as much as they please on the dime of corporations and organizations looking to influence votes.