Friday, April 29, 2011

Departing councilwomen punt on Plaza office-building decision

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 11:15 AM

click to enlarge Sharon Sanders Brooks draws a fitting end to her council term.
  • Sharon Sanders Brooks draws a fitting end to her council term.

The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council on Thursday approved a plan to allow a controversial office building to be built on the Country Club Plaza. A majority of the council felt that accommodating the Polsinelli Shughart law firm, the building's prospective tenant, trumped concerns about the design's apparent violation of the Plaza Urban Design and Development Plan.

The vote was 8-3, with two members of the council abstaining. Departing councilwoman Beth Gottstein and Sharon Sanders Brooks refused to make a decision, a dereliction of duty that marks a fitting end to their respective tenures.

Gottstein and Sanders Brooks each leave having served only one term. Gottstein decided not to run. Sanders Brooks lost her seat to Jermaine Reed.

Neither woman leaves much of a legacy. The pushing and pulling that come with the job seemed to torment Gottstein. To be sure, aspects of being a city official are pretty gross. But a politician who can't manage the bullshit and find a way to get things done is someone who made a bad career choice. Gottstein, to her credit, appeared to acknowledge that she wasn't wired properly for City Hall by passing on the opportunity to serve another term. (She cited an unidentified conflict of interest as the reason for not voting on the Plaza plan.)

Sanders Brooks, meanwhile, came into office having served in the Missouri House, an experience that did not imbue her with much in the way of legislative skill. My lasting memory of Sanders Brooks is of a woman who liked to complain that she hadn't been furnished with materials in a time and manner to her liking. That, and the Victoria's Secret theatrics. She didn't perk up until people came after her job. But by then, it was too late.

Happy trails, ladies. And thanks for the reminder that public life will go on without you.

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