Politicians like to pat themselves on the back when they pass some legislation under the guise of "ethics reform." It sounds good and makes it seem as though they're holding their own feet to the fire while keeping the public kitty safe from abuse. Kansas City councilmembers are no different. Earlier this year, they passed their own measure of ethics reform, praising themselves for two years of work that culminated in new guidelines for how much they could accept in gifts from people who do business with the city. Northland Councilman Ed Ford wasn't impressed, pointing out that the new law kept City Council members only from accepting more than $1,000 worth of gifts a day from outsiders with ties to City Hall. His protestations at a council meeting exasperated his colleagues, who managed to get the "tough" new law passed anyway.