Monday, April 2, 2018

I'm Not Really Running for City Council!

             I have a confession to make. I’m not running for city council. That was an April Fool’s joke.  
             But my platform is based on people I've met who turned out to be major disappointments.
             Several years ago Dan bought a car one of his friends inherited. Dan had the car fixed up, put on new tires, and was set for many years of driving. No sooner had Dan finished his work than a woman on a cell phone in a SUV plowed into him. She was at a red light. He was across from her. She thought the light had changed, and without looking at either the light or ahead of her took off. Dan’s car was totaled.
                Dan wasn’t injured physically in the accident, but he lost several thousand dollars that he had spent on the car that the woman’s insurance company wouldn’t pay. Had Dan been injured, he could have found an attorney to handle his case, but ambulance chasers are not interested when the injury is merely financial.
                I mention Dan’s accident because I was at a social event and had a chance to speak with our then-state representative. I told her about Dan’s accident and said I thought driving while on a cell phone should be outlawed. Her one sentence response?
                “Oh, Realtors would never go for that.”
                So Missouri residents should be in danger from distracted drivers because… Realtors would never agree to give up driving while talking on cell phones?
                I had been a fan of that woman, but she’ll never get my vote. For anything.
                Recently I was at a neighborhood meeting and met my city council person. He’s not all that impressive, and I know he’s never voted against a tax incentive proposal. He’s not going to get my vote, either.
                Eight years ago I voted for our current mayor partly on the basis of a show our local PBS station ran in which two neighborhood activists took the mayor to areas in their neighborhoods that were being used as trash dumps. He was appalled and promised to take care of the problem. Instead he’s championed streetcars that duplicate existing bus lines and a variety of tax subsidized luxury apartments in Kansas City’s downtown. The stage lost a great actor when he decided to go into politics.
                I tried to put myself into these people’s shoes. I wanted to understand why they would run as neighborhood advocates and, once elected, become pod people shilling for developers and streetcar constructors when what people really want are potholes fixed, sidewalks and curbs replaced, which was supposed to happen when we voted for the GO bonds, which are evidently GOne, and so on. And my platform was the result.
                The story about the Burns and Mac interview was no April Fool’s joke. When I interviewed there I was in my early fifties, and it was clear Burns and Mac were not hiring people perceived as being past their prime. But it worked out for the best. They would not have been happy with me, and I sure would not have been happy with Burns and Mac—especially if that little prick would have been my supervisor or manager.
                So I’m sorry to disappoint all my potential supporters, but I will leave you with this advice: Go to the mayoral forums, ask hard questions, and if you can find a working one, take a bullshit detector with you.
© 2018 Larry Roth


  1. So grateful the run for Council was a joke. Not that your honesty wouldn't be an improvement - I was concerned about your blood pressure! The nuttier the news gets, the more we need a good dose of your rationality!

  2. Thanks. As it turns out I tend to cause, rather than have, blood pressure problems.