/ by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

When Mark Funkhouser was elected mayor of Kansas City a friend remarked with no apparent bias, "it'll either be great...or a total disaster." The captain is on the verge of going down with the ship.

It was a given that Mark would make rookie mistakes; everyone is allowed some screw-ups before they get it right. But we're now more than 18 months into this term, the mistakes keep piling up, and the relevations become more startling by the day. Many of the Mayor's closest aides and advisors have gone to the lifeboats, telling survival stories with a megaphone. Citizens are on the verge, for a second time, of organizing a recall election, which would do the city no favors.

Let's be honest, it hasn't all been bad to date. Today there is more transparency at city hall than ever before. Now the Mayor can't take credit for all of this, but for some he can. Citizens can find out the details of almost any city business via their computer: committee meetings, legislative sessions, contract documents. It's pretty much all on line. Now it helps to have some familiarity with a computer and how a city operates, but it's pretty easy to get around and find out how the city conducts its business. And the way the Mayor conducts business, public access television is a lot more interesting.

The latest revelations about how the mayor and his wife were doing business at city hall came this week, from Mark's former publicist and campaign advisor, Joe Miller. Miller was formerly an editor for the Pitch, an alternative weekly, and had deep ties to much of the community, especially with a younger demographic that helped Mark successfully carry his reform ticket to victory. Miller made some savvy moves during the election, not the least of which was embracing the internet and the Funk was largely elected on a grassroots swell. His quirky, outsider ways earned him kudos from many in the art world. Since then, many who heartily supported the mayor, have been scratching their heads after an endless series of boneheads maneuvers.

Downtown redevelopment, leveraged heavily by the former Mayor Barnes and its current City Manager Wayne Cauthen, has at its heart the Power and Light District. Racism has been so blatant in the district that the local nickname for the place is the Power and White District, or, if you prefer, the White Power District. Let's see, young urban blacks aren't welcome in downtown, in Crown City, on the Plaza, or in Briar Cliff, Zona Rosa, and the Ward Parkway shopping centers; in short, wherever white folks gather, black folks aren't allowed. That's been the city's legacy for years and it still continues.

Mark isn't a racist, he has done some things to try and promote economic development in impoverished neighborhoods. He campaigned that increasing minority jobs and providing living wages was a solid crime-prevention measure. But he hasn't been able to deliver. The reality is that Kansas City is on track for a record number of murders this year (much of it black-on-black crime), the city is losing jobs by the buckets, and the general public thinks he's a hick (which they equate with racism) because his wife liked to use the word 'mammy' a lot around the office. You can call lots of folks "mammy", except the paid minority staff.

Mayor Funkhouser also promised to listen to the voters and when they said, you've made a mistake, that he would listen, and then make the changes. He hasn't done that. He didn't do in the Francis Semler case which cost the city the National Council of La Raza convention and an opportunity to host not one, but both Presidential candidates, who spoke at the re-located venue, San Diego. We lost big bucks on that one. And a national stage for a week, things the city can ill afford to lose.

Mark has consistently sucked up to council members (in public) after doing things like pulling their committee chairs out from underneath them and then consistently turned around and done things that make a rational person scratch their head and go huh? Example. Instead of going to individual council members and working through a deal on a settlement to mammygate, Mark springs a settlement on the council during a legislative session indicating that he has settled his side of the suit and that the city should accept the plaintiffs settlement notion to the tune of $175,000 (down from $300,000) dollars. The council refuses but not before taking the opportunity to publicly bash the mayor and says they'll study the matter. Then Mark sends out a press release, slamming the plaintiff as a thief and liar, which results in her attorney backing out of the settlement and jacking up the price of the settlement to $800,000.

A City that Works. That was the campaign promise. And the city still works--in places--it's just that Mayor Funkhouser can take little credit for it at this stage of the game. The Mayor's political skills have been embarrassing to watch. Embarrassing. Having lost the public opinion battle within the city, the Mayor and his wife have gone above them, taking the story national. It's a good plan on one level, but ignores the real stakeholders, citizens of Kansas City. The courts may very well throw out the city ordinance that bans his wife from volunteering. So Mark could still win the battle but he's losing the war were it counts. And OK, so Mark loves and supports his wife Gloria. That's great. That's wonderful. Like anyone, Gloria has some fine qualities but being a great wife does not qualify one to be a great a political advisor.