"How are you, dear?" he says on the other end of the line. "Listen, I'm not mad or anything. You can write whatever you want, darlin'." But, he says, there are a few things he wants to get straight after the way I portrayed him in last week's column.
Sure, he declared personal bankruptcy in 1981, he says, but lots of his businesses were successful. Stanford & Sons, the Westport institution he founded, celebrates thirty years come April.
He's extremely gregarious when he's telling me this. So, OK, since he survived the February 25 mayoral primary, I won't lump Glazer in with the candidates I called "pathetic" last week, the three of whom together kicked Kay Barnes' animatronic ass.
Heading into the March 25 general election, I'll respectfully call Stan Glazer a "retired businessman."
And about his son Craig, who runs Stanford's. Craig is not an admitted cocaine dealer. Yes, he's had two drug-conspiracy convictions in the past, but that's a long story, Craig says, involving his life as an undercover agent in the '70s and '80s.
Last year, Craig admitted to distributing cocaine. "When you say 'distribution,' you're talking about personal sharing, which is normal among people who smoke weed and do coke. Especially in the entertainment business," he says.
Right. Why are we talking about this, anyway? Now I'm sitting in the Stan-for-mayor headquarters at 17th and Main, and Craig's just hanging in the corner.
"What's unfair is it's going to come up a lot in this campaign," Craig explains. "I'm not running for mayor. Stanford & Sons has done a lot of very positive things for the community. You know that. This isn't some old rinky-dink nightclub. It brings in huge stars."
Nicely but firmly, Stan tells Craig to zip it. "You can give an aspirin a headache sometimes," he says, smiling sternly. "The point is, there is no greater love than I have for this guy or he has for me."
That's another thing he wants to clarify. Yes, Stan once sued his sons' corporation in a dispute over nightclub royalties. But he's since mended fences with his family. Here's a picture of Stan's grandsons. They're beautiful -- models, in fact, beaming out from professional headshots. As far as Craig's background, he says, "Look at Governor Jeb Bush. His daughter's in rehab. He got reelected ... I couldn't tell you what cocaine tastes like, looks like -- or marijuana. I mean, I'm 71. When we went to MU, we had Purple Passion parties -- used to put 190-proof grain alcohol in with grape juice. I did that once. I don't drink. It's not that I'm Little Lord Fauntleroy. But because I look like a Dean Martin-type guy, people used to say, 'Stanford & Sons -- is that the mafia?' I mean good lord."
This is the thing about Stan. The thing that Craig knows. The guy's a blast, and Kay Barnes isn't.
"Nobody would stand up against Kay Barnes," Craig points out. And when you consider recent mayoral contenders, you have to think about what happens when the president visits Kansas City. "The president's airplane lands. He gets in the limousine with Paul Danaher" -- Craig says he's friends with Paul, but still -- "Paul talks, and when the president gets back on the plane, the president never remembers him. The president hangs out with this guy" -- Craig points to his dad -- "and says, 'Hey, I like that guy! I'll take his phone call. I'll help him out.'
"Who was the candidate the city was waiting for?" Craig continues. "George Brett? Len Dawson? I mean, I'm trying to figure out -- who could have gotten into this thing and you'd go, 'Thank God he jumped in to save Kansas City?'"
Stan: "Wait a minute -- how about Jim Glover?" (Laughter. Applause.)
As Craig observes, "There's nobody from John F. Kennedy to Abe Lincoln that you [couldn't write something bad about]. But what are the good things? And what can they do? With my dad's charisma? He's a flashy guy. It's like sports or entertainment. This guy can be the straw that stirs the drink that gets this city fired up again with his presence."
Yes, it would be entertaining if Stan were mayor.
There are just a few things I worry about. I worry about Stan getting on the phone with, say, Condoleezza Rice, and calling her darlin'. I worry about just exactly how he's going to save a city whose biggest problem, dull as it may be, is a billion-dollar backlog of infrastructure fixes.
I want specifics, but Stan doesn't have them. "First of all, I've got to get into City Hall," he says. "It's like asking me, 'If that car stalls, how are you going to fix that car?' I've got to open the hood and look inside to see what's wrong." But he says he'd rely heavily on the wisdom of City Auditor Mark Funkhouser.
Clearly, Glazer understands that Funkhouser is a god to the city's most pissed-off neighborhood agitators -- several of whom are sitting in a conference room at Glazer headquarters right this minute. And they've obviously coached Glazer in the current anti-Barnes lingo.
"I'm interested in the taxpayer, the little guy that's been pottied on now for God knows how long," he says.
For example, there's Barnes' proposal for a new $200 million arena, which Glazer hates.
"I got 31 schools in Kansas City that are not air-conditioned," he says. "When I see that they want to build a new arena, when I see this mayor who has no regard -- can I use profanity? -- she's bullshit.... She spent $296,189 [on her campaign]. To this date, I spent $19,000 ... I watch every dime. I'm a businessman that's been through some tough times. I've made it, and I've lost it, but I know what a dollar is. This lady's spending it. It isn't her money! And that's how she's running City Hall. Take home a free car. Buy a cell phone. Two bodyguards. These are the things that go through me like a hot knife through butter."
There's the issue of Barnes' corporate supporters. "Why can't [tax breaks] be directed to small businesses? I don't care about Kansas City Southern or DST. I really don't. They're multibillion. And this is who this lady cares about. These are the people who put her in office," he says, listing all of the development attorneys on Barnes' campaign-finance reports.
But there's something schizo to Glazer's spiel. When you ask him specifically how he's going to bring more jobs to Kansas City, Glazer mentions a few big spenders, too. "If I found a Ted Turner or a Donald Trump, for example.... If I could get Mike Ovitz, who we talked to -- he's a multibillionaire -- to come to Kansas City and open up an NBA team, I'd say, 'Hey, Mike, you want to come to Kansas City and build a new arena? We'll give you a few bucks.' He would do it." (Glazer might want to watch his name dropping, though; if former superagent Ovitz ever buys a sports team in Kansas City, it will probably be because he's been run out of Hollywood.)
"I'm going to have to visit these people," Glazer continues, "show them my product and say, 'This is Kansas City -- we need help.'"
You can't argue with that.
"Look at the street corners," Glazer adds indignantly. "The town is gray, it's boring, it's dull -- it's as boring as a dial tone. As a guy who's a visionary, I'll go out and sell this product to bring people to our city. Look at 18th and Vine. Give it to me for a year, and I'll make it another Westport for the urban kids, urban families, where they can have a good time. I can turn that Gem Theater into Def Comedy Jam from New York."
You want to believe him, because you can imagine it all, just like Glazer can.
"I'm sorry," he says, his voice going quiet and sad. "I'm not proud of my hometown when I look around now. The only time you see a smile on the faces of people in Kansas City used to be on a Sunday when the Chiefs won a football game. I've heard [Barnes] say I'm going to have to explain my past. I get up and tell the public: Yes, I have been bankrupt. Yes, I sued my sons. Yes, I had some tax problems. Open my closet door."
Then he's off again. The deal with Stan is that the mayor is right. There's just something unseemly about his past. But Stan's right about the mayor, too. There's just something disgusting about the present.