Sunday, March 31, 2019



April 1, 2019

I am hereby announcing I am running for mayor. I know I’m a little late in getting started, but what the heck? That’s why ballots have a place for write-ins, right? I’m going to share my platform as I and both of my supporters have developed it. Here’s what we have so far. Please feel free to make suggestions.

Most candidates will tell you they will represent you. And you seem to believe them. It’s the triumph of hope over experience that people keep voting for candidates that make such promises and deliver nothing to voters. It’s almost like owning GE stock. Or continually voting for sales and property tax increases hoping our city government will take care of basic services. C’mon. Remember what Ward Parkway was like until just last week? And if it takes an election to get the city to fix Ward Parkway, what makes you think we’re going to do anything in your neighborhood? This election and our incentive to perform will be over soon, and yet you keep electing the same kind of people no matter what we do. And you expect us to pretend we care? Here’s what I promise.

First. I will vote for any and all tax incentives. I don’t need to know the details or whether they make sense. All I know is throwing money at development is a way to make this city great again. Just ask most of our council members. $17 mil for a parking garage for a luxury apartment building? Piece of cake. We gotta keep that momentous momentum momenting.

Being your mayor pays about $130,000 a year. C’mon. Do you really expect anyone to represent you for that kind of money? Especially if they have a spouse and children that like to eat more than rice and beans and shop anywhere but garage sales? If that’s all you’re willing to pay, well, you get what you pay for. I plan to take any and all income enhancements that are offered by developers, lobbyists, and especially Burns and Mac, and I mention them only because I had the most obnoxious interview there I’ve ever experienced. I hope Burns and Mac got wise and fired that little prick. By the way, if you take me to lunch, I eat low carb, and I’ll want enough leftovers to take some home to my dog.

Second. The streetcar has contributed so much to this community since it first began running its two-mile route. Oh, it has its problems in ice, snow, heavy rains, and so on, but how often do we have these problems? Soon, global warming will eliminate snow and ice in our area anyway.

Since the streetcar has been such a success and is so reliable, I favor extending it not only to the Plaza but also to Wichita, Topeka, Oklahoma City, and New York. 24 million tourists can’t be wrong. I also plan to go on as many foreign and domestic junkets to discover the wonders of streetcars and other forms of, ummmm, entertainment in other cities and countries as possible. While I might be willing to fly coach to such reasonably close destinations as Tulsa or Oklahoma City, I’ll require first class seating for anything further away in this country and at least business class to foreign destinations. After all, you don’t want me—your mayor--exiting the plane looking rumpled—or even worse, sober—after an overseas trip, do you?

Third. I will require that Kansas City residents clear streets of snow and fill potholes on their own streets. People are always calling in and complaining about snow and potholes. Well, let them discover just what a hassle it is to plow those streets and fill those potholes. The city will provide them with sources for snow shovels and asphalt and assess penalties for noncompliance. This will stop people complaining about snow and potholes and free up funds for the things that really matter, like luxury apartment buildings, fixed rail fair weather only transit, and hotels—heaven knows you can never be too rich, too thin (no offense to any of my opponents) or have too many hotels--which is where our priorities should be focused. Snow, schmow. Potholes, schmotholes. We’re big picture people, people.

Fourth. Gentrification is a good thing. As property values increase on paper, the city can raise property taxes and generate more revenue for tax incentive programs. If we’re going to provide multi-decade tax abatements, we have to make up the lost revenue somehow, and that somehow is you. If you’re elderly and have problems paying these increased taxes, well, too bad. The young people moving in and gentrifying older neighborhoods don’t want to live around poor people, anyway. Here is an actual quote from one of the millennials we have coaxed downtown to live in taxpayer-subsidized luxury: Who gives a damn. I work hard for my money, and I can afford to live [downtown]. I am not going to apologize for yearsnofnhard (sic) work, smart life choices and good decisions. I choose to live downtown because I can. People who work hard and make good life divisions (sic) shouldn’t be forced to now live with those that can’t keep their shit together.” As you can see, people who move downtown may say they want to live in a diverse area, but by that they don’t mean they want to live around or come into contact with diverse people. If they wanted to be around diverse people, they’d use the bus instead of lobbying for the streetcar.

Fifth. I promise to set up several committees on crime. Perhaps at least one of the committees can come up with some reasonable sounding approach to the problem. Perhaps we could soften the effect of crime by using euphemisms. If bribes can be referred to as income enhancement, why shouldn’t we refer to murder as premature passing?

My very first order of business will be to erect a statue in honor of former mayor Kay Waldo Barnes, Kansas City’s Madonna of tax incentives. This statue will go up in the Power and Light District and have an eternal flame to commemorate Kansas City’s eternal $14 million per year commitment to the Cordish Company. Did that woman know tax incentives or what?

So it’s up to you. If you want a mayor who is going to promise you neighborhood representation only to desert you once the first tax incentive proposal (with incentives going to you know who) passes over his or her desk or under his or her table at the Capital Grille and leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth as you swear never to vote for that person again only to be faced with yet another such candidate in another four years, then do as you always do, sucker. If, on the other hand, you want a mayor who tells you in advance he’s a crook and doesn’t give a hoot about neighborhoods, I’m your man. You know what you’re getting, and I promise never to disappoint you.

Go to the polls tomorrow and write me in for mayor. You will never have to lower your expectations again.

© 2019 Larry Roth