Below you will find the two most recent editions of Notes From Funk’s Front Porch. This is the official newsletter of Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser. I must admit my patience with the mayor is waning especially after something I learned this morning from MO-Rep. Ryan Silvey. Mr. Silvey is the Chairman of the General Administration Appropriations committee and told me about the mayor’s actions in regards to accusing state representatives of not helping Kansas City acquire stimulus money. It appears that Mr. Funkhouser has not been truthful on this fact, Mr. Silvey told me that there has been little attempt by the mayor to communicate in regards to this issue. I have been on record as saying that I support the mayor in the case with his wife. The issue seems to not have an end in sight and I have seen little progress in Kansas City. In fairness to the mayor, the City Council is of little help either.

This is the July 24th Edition of the newsletter:

Dear Folks,

This Week’s City Business

We are sorry to have been so long getting a newsletter out the door to you. As you probably saw in the news, the Mayor has been diligently preparing for the discrimination lawsuit that befell his office and the city. He remains under a court order to not discuss the matter in any detail, and he is going to continue to honor that order. What he can say at the moment is that he was looking forward to going to trial because he knows that he would have been vindicated. The council voted to settle the case yesterday for $550,000.

On the advice of his legal counsel, the Mayor abstained from the vote. On a positive note, the Mayor is glad to have this behind him. While he has been moving his priorities forward all along, this ordeal has taken a toll on the city, his staff and his family. And while the Mayor’s priority has always been to be fiscally conservative and a good steward with your tax dollars, in this case, he believed that continuing to improve his growing relationship with councilmember’s would go much further toward that goal than putting his own needs first and selfishly forcing the case to trial in order to be publicly vindicated.

Two weeks ago Geoffrey Canada, with the Harlem Children’s Zone, came to Kansas City to give a speech. The Mayor has been in contact with him for quite a while now, and he even went to Harlem to visit with him in February. Mr. Canada is a dynamic man whose compassion, joyfulness and intellect are plain to see. He, too, is a principled man. When he was told that he couldn’t educate children out of poverty, he held strong to his convictions and educated children out of poverty. When he was told that he couldn’t reach every child in the zoned area, he made sure that every child made it through college. At times, when his staff wavered in their belief of the vision, he found himself standing and working alone. But he didn’t give up; he kept moving forward and found others who, like him, were also unwilling to give up on children. Geoffrey Canada is a living icon that has deeply influenced the Mayor. Your Mayor is also unwilling to give up on children, on a moral level and on an economic development front. Luckily, the Mayor has put together an amazing team that is working hard to see this vision through here in Kansas City. Between this and the Education Summit, we will have a world-class education system in Kansas City in the near future.

After years of the City’s housing department being in federal receivership, the City is on the verge of having full authority restored back from HUD. And on a similar positive note, Kansas City has been granted more than $17 million federal stimulus dollars for housing and community development. The City is working aggressively to build better communities for Kansas City residents.

On a More Personal Note

The summer has flown by, and, once again, Funk and I are looking at being childless at home. Well, not exactly childless, as we have other children living with us, but we will be without our own children again as they head back to college next month. The wonderful news is that Andrew is only a short distance away at Columbia, and Tara finishes grad school in December and will return home to complete her Ph.D. We hope that loving family and friends are a part of your life as well.

The Next Town Hall Meetings When: September 9, 6:30 p.m. Where: Wexford Place, 6500 N Cosby Ave. Who: Wexford Place

In faith,

Gloria & Mark

This is the July 31st Edition of the newsletter:

Dear Folks,

This Week’s City Business

The Mayor was asked to be a part of a conference call with Vice President Joe Biden and three other mayors yesterday to talk about stimulus funding and how the federal government can do a better job in serving city governments with the funds. All three mayors were asked for their advice on the subject. Our Mayor felt that the Vice President was sincere in trying to help cities get their fair share of stimulus funding.

Speaking of funds, Police Chief Jim Corwin applied for stimulus funding and was one of the few big cities to not only receive the funding, but to receive the full amount that he applied for. The Mayor is thrilled to have a professional Police Chief who is a partner with him in looking after his constituents highest concern – feeling safe in one’s own home and city. The funding will allow the current training academy class, which will graduate next Thursday, to be hired by our city, instead of by neighboring communities. The current class also happens to be the most diverse class that the Chief has ever had, so this is good news all around. The grant will also allow the next candidate class to begin on time in September. The Mayor is still trying to restore cop funding so that the January cadet class can begin on time as well. The reason that this is so important is that if we don’t keep the classes going as scheduled, then we lose too many officers on the street for our protection.

The Mayor spent most of his time this week talking in-depth with council members about current initiatives they’re working on. While a lot of the news in the media has been focused on hype, the work of city government has been proceeding at a very nice pace.

One area that has been proceeding quite well is the Mayor’s City That Works program, which meets on a weekly basis. The program is designed to find ways to strategically target a small amount of money to make a big impact on basic city services. One of the areas that the Mayor has been focusing on is the city’s 311-complaint system. He was distressed to learn that over 600,000 calls went unanswered last year; therefore, he is working hard with that department to insure that calls are answered in a timely and professional manner. The Mayor feels that much progress has been made in reaching this important goal.

On a More Personal Note

The judge ruled in the Mayor’s favor today regarding the “volunteer” ordinance. Funk is grateful for the decision of the court this morning. The judge’s decision protects the authority of the mayor’s office, not only for his term, but for future mayors as well. Funk is glad to have this issue behind him so that he and the City Council can fully focus on the significant challenges that face our city.

The Next Town Hall Meetings When: September 9, 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 funksfrontporch@gmail.com.

If you’d like daily news updates, please check the Mayor’s blog site at http://www.funksfrontporch.com.

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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