Six years ago, Penner made history as one of those downtown plebs the city wanted to squash in order to clear the way for that great Power and Light District thing that never happened. He even spearheaded an ill-fated petition campaign to stop Centertainment Inc. from bulldozing small businesses. Then in 1999, he ran as a 2nd District City Council candidate, presumably to stop such calamities at their points of origin.
So it makes sense, in a comedy-club-owner-for-mayor kind of way, that Glazer would recruit such a genuine City Hall hater to help him get a job at City Hall. From the get-go, Glazer has targeted neighborhood groups disenfranchised by Mayor Kay Barnes' tenure. No new arena! No mayoral bodyguards! More lascivious, sexist quotes!
Along the way, Penner has made a name for himself as Glazer's fidgety copilot, speed walking everywhere with a stack of Glazer propaganda under his arm like some sitcom geek. And up until now, we've given him the benefit of the doubt. Considering the mischievous invisibility of Barnes pushers Pat Gray and Steve Glorioso, Penner is at least ... well, we always know where he is.
So it's with some hesitancy that we say this. And, oh, how to put it nicely? Uh, Daryl, please shut the hell up.
Penner started as an energetic grassroots campaigner, but he's recently taken a turn toward obnoxious blowhard.
On March 6, the good people of the Kansas City Skatepark Committee were well into a productive, apolitical discussion when Penner soiled the moment with a thinly veiled pro-Glazer rant. After sitting quietly for a few minutes, Penner interrupted the meeting to introduce himself as a Glazer representative making an unofficial Glazer appearance. Then he assured attendees that their dreams of building a skate park would fail big under the Barnes regime. With Glazer as mayor, on the other hand, "this will slide," he said.
All right. Thanks. Back to business.
Unfortunately, Penner wasn't done. When committee members talked about Councilman Jim Rowland's pledge to support a skate park with 4th District public-improvement funds, Penner took another stab at City Hall. "I don't know why you want to work with the city at all," he proclaimed.
Well, Daryl, let us tell you why. It's because a city councilwoman chairs the Skatepark Committee. And it's because, in addition to the handful of skater kids advising them, the crowd you were lecturing included two City Council aides, two city planners, two Parks and Recreation staffers, one Port Authority representative and a Kansas City cop. They are the city.
Still, Penner wouldn't shut his trap. When the group discussed raising funds from the private sector, he latched on to one skater's hypothetical suggestion that a corporation, such as Nike, be granted sponsorship rights.
Why stop there? Penner asked. "You should get Nike to buy a block downtown or in the West Bottoms," he said, dead serious, before disappearing for the rest of the evening.
Now, we know political campaigns serve as hallucinogens for irony. Candidate Glazer once propositioned Hugh Grant on Westport Road. Incumbent Barnes once taught retarded people how to give good head using carrots. Whatever.
Neither beats Penner's suggestion that the group should reject City Hall's donation of park land and recruit a monstrous corporation to redevelop a block of downtown property.
We assume that block shouldn't be 13th and Main.