The unsigned dirt began arriving in Kansas City mailboxes on Valentines Day. The postcard depicts a panhandler appearing to weep in her hands. In her lap is a girl hiding her face from the shame. Whats got them down? According to the card, Mark Funkhouser wants to deny this woman and her child health care.
Under the photo is a quote from the former city auditor and current mayoral candidate. The quote is from the Chamber of Commerce mayoral screening questionnaire, in which Funkhouser questions whether the city should be in the business of providing indigent health care, when most cities do not. Thus, Kansas City is put at a considerable competitive disadvantage when it comes to funding broad-based basic services, he says. Nowhere in the quote does Funkhouser say he wants to cut care for the indigent. The quote on the postcard ends with: The City should focus on providing outcomes addressing these primary functions affecting everyone and spend money wisely ...
Whats not included after that ellipsis is this part of the quote, which contradicts the claims made on the mailer: ... to provide the most overall good for these vulnerable citizens while recognizing the potential trade-offs."
Funkhouser says it's something of a compliment to be the target of an attack. He isn't sure who's behind it. "But I'll tell you one thing," he says. "Whoever is behind this is one of the people running for mayor."
Funkhouser is now taking the postcard with him to speeches. "I wave it around and say, 'You run the risk of electing a gutless liar if you vote for the person behind this,'" Funkhouser tells the Pitch. "If you can't sign your name to it, you do not deserve to be mayor. You should get out of the public arena."
The attack is in violation of a Missouri law that requires political material to include a line explaining who paid for it. The law applies to any type of advertising, including mass mailings. But with little information on it, the card is likely untraceable.
Of course, there are a few political consultants known to sling mud by the dump truck-full. Councilwoman Becky Nace has employed Republican operative and admitted dirt-digger Jeff Roe. Councilman Alvin Brooks has hired longtime mudslinger Pat Gray.
But speculating that one of them is responsible for this? Well, that would just be wrong.