Notes From Funk’s Front Porch

Posted: June 16, 2009 in Mayor Mark Funkhouser
Tags: ,

For those that have the wonderful, outstanding, super pleasure (I hope you realize that was sarcasm) to live in Kansas City, here is Mayor Funkouser’s most recent newsletter.

Dear Folks,

This Week’s City Business

The Mayor is currently giving a presentation at the United States Conference of Mayors in Providence, Rhode Island. This will be his second time in attendance at this particular conference. The group meets twice yearly. The Mayor was asked to give the presentation regarding federal support for clean water systems for the Mayors Water Council. This is a real honor because with only two years under his belt he is still considered to be a rookie by many of his colleagues – especially by those who aren’t affected by term limits and have served in the capacity of Mayor for decades. He will update you on the highlights of the conference when he returns. (Last minute update: The Mayor said that his presentation went very well and that the room was packed.)

The Providence branch of the International Association of Firefighters is protesting the conference and the Providence Mayor because of a local contract dispute between city hall and the firefighters union. The issue is not unique to Providence. The economic situation has created contract issues with labor groups for many cities across the country. But the Obama administration opted out of attending the conference because of the situation. Our Mayor took the issue seriously. He had Chief of Staff Kendrick Blackwood speak with union officials both in Kansas City and nationally and with officials from the Conference of Mayors.

The Mayor talked as well with Fire Chief Smokey Dyer. The fire chief said the situation was an informational protest rather that a strike. The Chief said that skipping the meeting would deprive the Mayor of the opportunity to learn best practices from other mayors across the country. More importantly, he would miss an opportunity to share Kansas City’s own labor story with those other mayors, particularly the way labor and management work together in Kansas City. It was a difficult decision, but ultimately, our Mayor took the advice he received from all involved and chose to participate.

The Mayor has been busy working with Janice Ellis, Tony Oppenheimer and representatives of AmericaSpeaks for the past two weeks to raise private money for the Education Summit. This is not an easy task, especially because of the economy, but educating the children of this city is more than worth the Mayor’s time. The Summit is expected to draw between one and two thousand people on the actual day of the summit (the number depends on the amount of money that he can raise) but there is much work that will be done within the community before the seminal event takes place. Again, having a dynamite educational system for our children is one of the key ways of bringing prosperity back to Kansas City.

Last Friday the Mayor held a daylong retreat for his staff at the Kauffman center. He is fine-tuning the operations within his own office so that he can be even more responsive to citizens needs and do an even better job of pushing his agenda forward on their behalf. The staff does a great job helping their Mayor serve, and the retreat gave them an opportunity to give their input on how his office can run more efficiently and effectively. There wasn’t enough time to get through the agenda for the day; so another half-day is scheduled as soon as the Mayor returns from Providence.

On a More Personal Note

The other day we received the most beautiful email from a woman who said that, “Kansas City has come to life through Mayor Funkhouser’s administration.” She went on to say that she wanted to know how she could help with not only the Mayor’s re-election campaign, but in helping him to serve the city. We were deeply touched by the confidence she has in this Mayor and by her offer to help. While her sentiments aren’t unusual, the timing of her offer was. You see, her sister had just passed away from breast cancer the week before, and she herself is a breast cancer survivor. Women truly are the civilizers of the world, aren’t they?

The Next Town Hall Meetings When: June 17, 6:30 p.m. Where: 148 N Topping Who: Mattie Rhodes. WHEN: June 24, 6:30 p.m. WHERE: Symington Elementary School, 8650 Ruskin Way. WHO: Ruskin Hills Homes Association WHEN: July 1, 6:30 p.m. WHERE: TBD WHO: TBD WHEN: July 29, 6:30 p.m. WHERE: Wexford Place, 6500 N Cosby Ave. WHO: Wexford Place

In faith,
Gloria & Mark

You can respond by email to this newsletter at

If you’d like daily news updates, please check the Mayor’s blog site at

The Mayor’s top ten priorities:

1. Establishing a good working relationship with the Council
2. Getting the City’s finances in order
3. Making downtown work
4. Tending to our neighborhoods
5. Implementing the Housing Policy task force recommendations
6. Improving the perception and the reality of public education in Kansas City
7. Reducing Crime
8. Repairing our sewer systems
9. Establishing an excellent regional transit system, which includes light rail
10. Improving citizen satisfaction with City services


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