At least that's what it looked like last Monday night, when incumbent mayor Carol Marinovich and challenger Elmer Sharp's campaign manager were asked to take notes but not speak while members of the Wyandotte Interfaith Sponsoring Council held forth on a slew of problems in KCK.
"Like so many in Wyandotte County, we are embarrassed by the way this election campaign has been going," said Trinity United Methodist pastor Mark Holland. "We want to raise the level of discourse. Today we're in God's house."
Among other things, Holland was referring to the unsaintly activities of real estate baron Don Budd (author of twenty or so unsigned "No More Marinovich" billboards) and tabloid publisher David Carson (against whom Wyandotte County District Attorney and Marinovich ally Nick Tomasic has filed a libel suit -- partly because of the alleged "Lies! Lies! Lies!" Carson prints in his monthly New Observer).
Sharp, Budd and Carson say Marinovich is still giving away land and development incentives (such as those for the International Speedway Corp.) even though it's time to start cashing in on businesses' desire to locate near the new Kansas Speedway. If the giveaways continue, the county will have no new taxable property, says Budd, the multimillionaire owner of Piper Development Co. (the county's biggest developer). He says he'll spend "as much as I have to" to defeat Marinovich because she killed a subdivision plan near where he already had built 61 homes valued at $300,000 each.
Members of the Wyandotte Interfaith Sponsoring Council, however, see the city's needs as more basic. "It's amazing how dogs in packs have come to symbolize what this city has become," Trinity AME pastor Andrew L. Simpson bellowed last Monday. "The person I vote for has to realize that, symbolically speaking, Kansas City, Kansas, has gone to the dogs."
In addition to complaining about roving packs of wild canines, other speakers decried a rabid array of crime, dangerous traffic in school zones, the dearth of places to shop, the red tape that hinders after-school church programs, and banks' refusal to invest in the community.
"This is not about the choice of candidates," Simpson tells the Pitch. "This is about what any candidate who wins is going to have to address when they get into office. You can be nice all you want to, but the reality is when you come across a pack of wild dogs it doesn't make you think everything is okay."