From over here in newspaperland, this just doesn't look good: According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Emanuel Cleaver's congressional campaign wrote two checks in June and July totaling $1,500 to something called "One Goal Consultants" for "media consulting." According to the Missouri secretary of state's records, One Goal Consultants is 100 percent owned by Eric L. Wesson, the journalist who writes many of the stories in Kansas City's African-American newspaper, The Call. We called up Cleaver's spokesman, Phil Scaglia, who said that Wesson had been paid for "Some ad copywriting, some script writing. Things of that nature."
Cleaver seems to have gotten his money's worth.
After working for Cleaver's campaign, Wesson not only didn't shy away from covering Cleaver in The Call's pages but also spread word about the former mayor's candidacy in a big way.
Starting with The Call's September 24 issue, Wesson had a prominent front-page story extolling Cleaver's campaign in four straight editions nearing the election.
"Cleaver Shifts Campaign Into High Gear" ran on September 24, for example.
And "Rev. Cleaver Speaks Out About Negative Ad Campaign" ran in the October 15 issue.
Scaglia says the Cleaver campaign doesn't see anything wrong with Wesson's close association with the good pastor. But why would it? Plenty of other candidates would love to have reporters covering them who once were on their payroll.
We wondered how Wesson and The Call could justify the blatant conflict of interest, but the reporter and his managing editor, Donna Stewart, didn't return The Call.
Night of the Living Red
The Urban Culture Project slammed smack into urban culture itself a couple of Friday nights ago downtown. That was when Barry Kyle, a University of Missouri-Kansas City theater professor, debuted his latest play.
Kyle and his grad students developed Retail Theatre as an election-themed, experimental drama in vignettes to be performed in the large, vacant windows of the Jenkins music building at 1217 Walnut as part of the Urban Culture Project's efforts to bring contemporary art to derelict downtown spaces. On October 14, the night of the show's fateful debut, sizable crowds gathered around the storefronts. Occasionally, a car would drive by slowly, its shadowy passengers peeking out at the bright, bizarre living scenery in the Jenkins shop windows.
On the opposite side of Walnut, Kyle, clad in a black coat and stocking cap, looked on approvingly and visited with the audience between performances. He even attempted to distract a sidewalk evangelist who set up across the street and began moralizing on sin during the middle of the show, eliciting shouts of "Shut the fuck up!" from annoyed audience members before he vanished back into the night.
After the show ended at 9:30, Kyle was crossing Walnut at 12th Street when a Crown Victoria with four unidentifiable males in it barreled through the traffic light, passing uncomfortably close.
Kyle heard shots.
Pain erupted in his left arm.
When he looked down, his coat was splattered with a red, sticky substance.
Kyle has traveled far and wide over the course of his long directing career. He's done Merchant of Venice in Tel Aviv and Romeo and Juliet in Washington, D.C. But until that chilly autumn night in downtown Kansas City, he'd never been on the business end of a paintball gun.
"These maybe were Chiefs fans who were painting the town red on Friday," the Brit tells the Pitch.
Notes from KC's blogosphere.
Yesterday, a man came in with a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The poor guy made the mistake of putting the gun to his temple and the bullet went through some cerebral cortex, but didn't kill him. It's a little known fact that you don't really need much of your brain to survive. What you do need is the brainstem, which controls respiration and other such vital functions. The way to hit it is to put the gun in your mouth and fire straight backward. Suicide is a terrible thing, and I'm grateful that many people do not complete it and are able to recover to lead healthy lives. However, it can also be quite sad when someone attempts suicide with a gun and lives. Not only is their life presumably just as bad as before, but now they have a hole in their head, a disfigured appearance, and are missing important (though not vital) parts of their brain. Not to mention being left with a hefty hospital bill.
From "In the Catbird Seat," the online diary of Chris Johnson