Monday, September 21, 2009

Blog CCP - Resting Up for Election Season!

Blog CCP performed a valuable service during the past election season, and was a widely-read instrument for getting out the word on the views of the CCP. Until the next election season, the Executive Committee of the CCP feels that it would be best to allow the blog to take a sabbatical, so that it can return fresh and informative when it is needed most.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

CCP Endorses Robin Carnahan for US Senate

At a membership meeting yesterday evening celebrating the end of the Missouri Legislative Session, the Committee for County Progress loudly and enthusiastically endorsed Robin Carnahan's candidacy for the US Senate Seat to be vacated by Kit Bond. This endorsement is Ms. Carnahan's first endorsement by a major local political organization. (She's already supported by EMILY's List and the Teamsters, among others.)

In winning the endorsement, Ms. Carnahan demonstrates once again that she will benefit from a unified Democratic party eager to complete a transformation of Missouri's Senate delegation from John Ashcroft and Kit Bond a few short years ago to Robin Carnahan and Claire McCaskill.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Which Republican Supports an Impartial Judiciary?

Which Republican lawyer state representative dislikes the selection of fair and impartial judges - Rep. Bryan Pratt.

Which Republican lawyer state representative respects a neutral, fair and impartial third branch of the government called the judiciary - Rep. Brian Yates.

Since Matt Blunt has been in office, extremist Republicans have entertained themselves with attacking the Missouri Plan (a plan to remove partisan politics from the selection of judges). Thanks to Sunshine Requests, we found that most of the attacks were orchestrated within Blunt's office through the Adam Smith Foundation and other make believe groups.

This year HJR 10 is current method of attack on the neutral judiciary. The Missouri Plan allows for a nominating commission to be composed of 3 lawyers from around the state (voted on by lawyers in non-partisan elections), 3 non-lawyer/citizen appointments by a Governor and the chief judge of the Supreme Court. The nominating commission interviews ALL candidates and sends three qualified folks up to the Governor. Merit, not politics, decides who is a judge in Missouri.

HJR 10 introduces more politics into the selection of judges, not less. Republican appointed judges (who have since retired) are opposed to HJR 10. Democratic appointed judges (who have since retired) are opposed to HJR 10. The Missouri Bar (every lawyer in the state is automatically a member of the Missouri Bar) is opposed to HJR 10. HJR 10 allows the governor to reject panels (instead of having to select someone from the list of three qualified candidates). HJR 10 allows for the senate to get involved with the citizen appointments to the nominating commission (more politics). HJR 10 changes the length of terms to four years from the current six years. That equals more politics because a six year term on the nominating commission only allows a two term, popular governor (like Governor Ashcroft) to appoint all the lay members to the nominating commission, not an unpopular governor (like Governor Blunt).

HJR 10 makes the "hearings, debates and votes" open to the public. Not even Governor Blunt wanted to have his interviews open to the public. Can you imagine any company, government or non-profit in the world that would want to have open job "hearing, debates and votes"? Open "hearings, debates and votes" would make the process less effective in picking judges, but much better at turning it into a political circus.

Why is this important? Most importantly, no one wants more partisan politics involved in our judiciary. Not the KC Chamber of Commerce, not citizens who would have to appear in front of partisan judges (Republican or Democratic) and not lawyers. The Missouri Plan has been copied around the country for a reason - it is good public policy to take partisan politics out of the selection of judges.

From the partisan politics side, both Yates and Pratt are running for Sen. Matt Bartle's seat. Both Pratt and Yates are lawyers (both at Shook Hardy & Bacon). One of these representatives is busy attacking the judiciary; one of these representatives is standing up to crazy attacks by the extremists in his own party. Voters, lawyers and donors will have to look at the votes of Pratt and Yates and decide who to support.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

CCP Calls For Ethics for All

P.O. Box 10462
Kansas City, Missouri 64171

For immediate release:
March 18, 2009
CONTACT: Pat McInerney
(816) 983-8364

CCP Calls For Uniform Application of Jackson County Ethics Code

The Committee for County Progress, Jackson County's oldest political organization, today called on the Jackson County Legislature - and all Jackson County elected officials - to make themselves subject to the Jackson County Ethics Code enacted earlier this year by County Executive Mike Sanders. Following enactment of the code by Sanders, the legislature passed the code as an ordinance but exempted themselves from its provisions. By executive order, the code currently applies only to the County Executive.

"It's only right that every elected official should be bound by the new ethics code," said CCP President Pat McInerney. "Because they set the ethical tone for the county, the idea that there is one set of rules for elected officials and another for everyone else really undermines the idea of having an ethics code at all. The new Ethics Commission should immediately review the Ethics Code and recommend whether it will apply across the board or just to some. The code may need other improvements, but exempting the people elected to represent us is not the way to start."

McInerney said he expected the legislature to abide by the code and predicted that, once resolved, the ethics code issue would not be a campaign issue in 2010. CCP has been involved in previous Jackson County charter issues - urging and passing a measure reducing the number of legislators from 15 to 9 in 1985 - and has been a voice for progressive and open government since its inception in 1964.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A False Choice at the Sports Complex

Yesterday, in his attempt to imitate a classic National Lampoon cover, the mayor sought to pit public safety against sports in a town that has no reason to brag about either. "Every dime spent at the ballpark means a better chance someone will crawl in your window" seemed to be the regrettable message from Hizzoner. But the choice between major league sports and public safety - especially when it comes down to $2 million of a $1.5 billion budget - is a false one. It's false because there is no dollar-for-dollar tie between the two budgets, and, as has been pointed out, the KC earnings tax is virtually the only way to (forcibly) share the responsibility of the stadiums and the teams with the JoCotians. Nobody mentioned increased efficiencies or other balancing mechanisms. Instead, the mayor chose the easy way with the cute alliteration of a "choice between . . . families and football" etc.

And yesterday's episode was yet another unfortunate example of the black hole that overlays 12th Street between Oak and Locust - communication between the City and the County is virtually non-existant, left to play out in competing press conferences and the blogs.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pork: The Other White Meat

The retirement of Senator Kit Bond, a senior ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, creates both an opportunity and a dilemma for those vying to fill that vacancy in the United States Senate.  Love him or hate him, Jackson County has benefited from his tenure in the senate. 

Bond was instrumental in securing funding for the IRS Service Center, the Whittaker Federal Courthouse, as well as funding for city transportation and infrastructure.  My sisters in the women's community complain that he is "bad for women." Well, clearly he does not recognize sovereignty over one's body as a basic human right as we do, but Bond, along with Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, backed appropriations that fund domestic violence prevention programs and treatment programs for victims of sexual assault.

Senator McCaskill is leading the charge for pork reform.  She co-sponsored a bill that calls for transparency, clearer rules and increased restrictions on the appropriations process.  It's good legislation, but it signals and unwillingness to bring home the bacon.

Republican candidate for that senate seat Roy Blunt was a principal in the Tom Delay holy trinity of politics, power and profit.  Yet now we see him standing in stern solidarity behind a bronze John Boehner as Congressman Boehner bemoans "porkulous."

Democratic candidate Robin Carnahan has a track record of being both progressive and pragmatic.  Will she get on the pork reform bandwagon?

So, where does this leave Missouri in 2010 if the appropriations process remains the same? Senator McCaskill will not participate in an appropriations process that "is about power and party." Although one of the two candidates will prevail in this race and earn a seat in the senate, neither will assume Bond's muscle as it relates to appropriations.  Maybe the time is right for both Missouri senators to embrace pork reform, but can Missouri afford this?

Robin Carnahan and Roy Blunt will have to stake out a position on this issue that is good for the state and good for the country.  They can either draw a contrast between themselves and Senator McCaskill or join the fight for pork reform.  Either way it will have to be addressed, as Senator Bond will leave some big ol' pork prints to fill!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rep. Blunt and Sen. Stevens

You know what they say about birds of a feather . . .

Just a little flash back to 2006. The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington came up with a list of the 20 most corrupt politicians in DC. Guess who came in at #1 - Congressman Roy Blunt. This non-partisan group is so good at picking out the corrupt politicians, they picked Congressman William Jefferson (the Democrat from LA with a freezer full of cash).

What did Roy Blunt do to get listed as #1? "Rep. Blunt's ethics issues stem from the misuse of his position to benefit family members, his connections to Jack Abramoff, and a trip paid for by a foreign agent." The report details of helping out big tobacco companies to assist his wife, but what I thought was prophetic is that he helped out UPS and Fed Ex when his son, Andy Blunt, was the lobbyist for these two companies. When Blunt needed a kindred spirit, he went to his good friend, Sen. Ted Stevens. After almost $100,000 in political contributions from these two companies (and giving his young son some work), the only person that would help Congressman Blunt insert a special provision in a bill was Sen. Stevens. Blunt and Stevens co-hosted a party together, sponsored bills together

Sen. Stevens was convicted of violating federal ethics rules and run out of office. Here's hoping Missouri voters end Roy Blunt's political career, too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Musings About Eastern Jack

Jeff Roe is talking trash about Eastern Jackson County races over at The Source.

A slightly more intelligent analysis can be found over at the Jackson County Democratic blog.

Where do you think Missouri Democrats should focus their resources? Matt Bartle's senate seat or the three empty Missouri house seats?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Dream Shall Never Die

Today's New York Times' article about Senator Edward M. Kennedy is a great reminder of the tremendous contribution he has made to our country, what a legendary senator he has been, and the critical and timely importance of his hallmark issue: healthcare. There has been no greater advocate, no more dedicated champion of the cause of healthcare and the proposition that healthcare is indeed a right, not a privilege. Whether, in this rare moment in time, Congress will pick up his mantle and assume this ultimate responsibility should be the question we ask when we judge whether we had leadership in our time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Robin Carnahan - Standing up for the Elderly

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan comes by some things naturally, like standing up for the elderly.

The St. Louis Biz Journal has an article about Robin sticking up for an elderly St. Louis woman who was ripped off by some shady financial companies. OK, that is her job to regulate securities, but Robin does a fine job.

It's good to know that someone is out there fighting for middle class America.

Roy for Senate

It's about time we returned to real Missouri values.

You know, we need more of the Blunt family in our state. Matt Blunt has shown himself to be a leader in ethics and open government during his four years as Governor. His father, Congressman Roy Blunt, represents real Missouri values. Like when he divorced his wife to marry a tobacco lobbyist; those are family values. Then, when tobacco companies needed a favor, Blunt helped out his lobbyist wife by inserting language into a bill.

I can't wait for Roy Blunt to bring his record of family values and self-dealing to the US Senate.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Defending the Jackson County Home Rule Charter from the Jackson County Legislature

The Committee for County Progress was formed in 1964 "to reform and restructure Jackson County government." Members of the organization helped draft the Jackson County Charter, known as the "Home Rule Charter", and worked to secure its passage with the voters of Jackson County in 1970. In the Preamble to the Charter, they set forth their purpose with honesty and integrity, for all to read:
We, the people of Jackson County, Missouri, in order to perfect the structure and enlarge the powers of our county government to insure that it is just, orderly, efficient, and fully responsible to the people, and to secure the benefits of home rule and self-government for Jackson County to the fullest extent possible under the Constitution of the State of Missouri, do adopt this Charter as the fundamental law for the government of this county.

It is time for the Committee for County Progress to rise up again, and tell our legislature that the principles set forth in that document did not fade over the past 38 years. It is time for the Committee for County Progress to once again work to insure that our Jackson County government has the powers to be "fully responsible to the people", and "to secure the benefits of home rule and self-government for Jackson County to the fullest extent possible under the Constitution of the State of Missouri," and to remind our straying Jackson County legislature that the Jackson County Home Rule Charter, not their attempts to weaken it, is "the fundamental law for the government of this county."

The Jackson County Legislature has chosen a fight with those who believe in Home Rule and in the Jackson County Charter. It has decided that home rule is inconvenient when it comes to ethical enforcement, and, in a recent ordinance, sought to strip the Jackson County Ethics Commission of the authority to handle ethics complaints against our elected officials. Instead of being "fully responsible to the people" and "securing the benefits of home rule and self-government", the Jackson County legislature wants to "outsource" ethics oversight to the Missouri Ethics Commission, hidden away behind closed doors in Jefferson City.

Where the Committee for County Progress has always stood for higher ethical standards, the Jackson County Legislature has sought to lower them as far as the state will let them. Where the Committee for County Progress has stood for Home Rule, the Jackson County Legislature has sought to outsource their dirty laundry.

It is my hope that the Committee for County Progress will take a strong stand against this attack on the Jackson County Charter and the principles behind it. I hope that the Committee for County Progress will issue a resolution condemning those legislators who do not join in a call for a return to ethical home rule. I hope that the Committee for County Progress will refuse to endorse any candidate in the 2010 who does not support ethical home rule. I hope that the Committee for County Progress will, as its mission calls upon it to do, help recruit and support progressive candidates to replace those who will not join with us for this purpose. If it becomes necessary, I hope that the Committee for County Progress will provide the funding and volunteers necessary to support an initiative campaign returning our county to its founding principles.

If the Committee for County Progress does not lead the fight to support our Charter and ethical home rule, what possible reason does it have to even exist?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Source, Siettman and Gay Bashing

Mayor Funkhouser recently hired Mark Siettman away from Jeff Roe's blog, The Source.

The Source is the mouthpiece for all things ultra-conservative. Which is fine, the 1st Amendment is a great thing. CCP Blog readers may not recall (but I do) that the Source likes to engage in a little gay bashing every once in a while. Sure, that is standard fair for Roe in all his campaigns for Congressman Graves, but is it really ok for City Hall in KC?

When I called Jeff Roe onto the carpet, the best insult they could come up was to insinuate that I was gay. The picture above is the picture The Source used under the caption of "Stephen Bough's Got a Crush" and here's the partial text:

Here at The Source we’ve found it disturbingly creepy that CCP blogger Stephen Bough can’t take his mind off of Jeff Roe. You have to wonder if Bough has a little man crush on Kansas City’s most prominent political figure.

Grow up, I know. Listen, the problem is that some folks think it is ok to trash gay people, make fun of gay people and tell gay jokes. That's all fine if you are a Republican at The Source. It is not ok in the Democratic Party and not ok if you work in KC City Hall. I would bet you that every one of our City Council members don't think gay bashing is funny. Several of them are down right progressive and think folks that happen to be gay are actually humans.

It is horribly distributing for the Mayor to employ a person with this kind of history. Kansas City is known for being open, affirming and accepting of those in the GLBT community. The Source and Jeff Roe, Mark Siettman's former employer, is not. Remember the fuss about Roe and Graves calling Mayor Kay Barnes "Gay Barnes?" How about Graves and Roe with the whole "San Francisco Values" campaign?

Mark - did you pen the nasty anti-gay attacks?

War of Northern Aggression

The War of Northern Aggression - haven't heard that one in a while. For all you Yankees, that is the Civil War. You know, the one you thought was fought over slavery.

Seems like some in the leadership of the Republican Party in the State of Missouri are having a hard time with dealing with that whole Abraham Lincoln, free the slaves, thing. The KC Star's Jason Noble had the following article:

JEFFERSON CITY | An unexpected turn of phrase on Tuesday upended a debate over abortion in the Missouri House.

While attempting to criticize the extent of federal authority exercised in the Freedom of Choice Act suggested by some Congressional Democrats, Rep. Bryan Stevenson, a Webb City Republican, referred to the Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression.”

“What we are dealing with today is the greatest power grab by the federal government since the War of Northern Aggression,” Stevenson said.

The statement drew an audible gasp from the chamber. Rep. Don Calloway, a St. Louis Democrat who is African-American, demanded an apology.

Stevenson immediately retracted his statement, assuring he meant no ill will toward anyone and raising his own Cherokee Indian heritage as proof of his sensitivity to slavery.

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize for any offense that my earlier comment made,” he said.

Ya, ya, he's sorry. How does a reference to revisionist history accidentally make it into the vocabulary of a state legislator when debating abortion? Maybe, because some one's real colors are showing.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Economic Crisis Will Cause Health Crisis

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, published a thought-provoking piece about the economic crisis and its effect on urgency of universal health care. I'll quote the first and last paragraphs, but you really should read the whole article to understand the excellent analysis:
The whole world is in recession. But the United States is the only wealthy country in which the economic catastrophe will also be a health care catastrophe — in which millions of people will lose their health insurance along with their jobs, and therefore lose access to essential care.
. . .
The bottom line, then, is that this is no time to let campaign promises of guaranteed health care be quietly forgotten. It is, instead, a time to put the push for universal care front and center. Health care now!
It has always baffled me that those who claim to support economic freedom are satisfied with the reality that most people are tied to their employers if they want health care for their families. Now that middle-class families are losing health care benefits, perhaps the wisdom of breaking that link will become more apparent to more people.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fair Pay for My Daughter and Yours

It's been only nine days? Every single day brings a sharp break with where our country was under the administration that ended just nine days ago - and today was no exception. Today, President Obama signed into law the Lillie Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - blocked by Bush and Senate Republicans last session - which nullifies a stunningly bad Supreme Court decision and ensures that fair pay really means fair pay.
Near the end of a 19 year career at Goodyear Tire, Ledbetter learned that she'd been underpaid for her entire tenure there. She sued, but the Supreme Court in 2007 agreed with Goodyear that she'd missed her chance because she didn't sue Gooodyear within 180 days of their decision to underpay her.
The new law - which every male Republican senator except Areln Specter voted against - extends the statute for another 180 days after each discriminatory paycheck, the way the law was prior to the decision. As the President said, this was about justice.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Apparently, I am being missed, so...

...I do have a few observations:

First, legitimate criticisms of policy are appropriate. Cheap shots at the personal appearance of officeholders are not. One of the problems with allowing the Frat Boys on both sides to play is that they really do not know the difference.

Second, anyone who thinks the Bush Justice Department did not engage in political investigations & indictments belongs in the 27% of those delusional folks who still think W. did a good job. Or maybe the .001% who think the Earth is flat. KC now has the distinction of being the only place with a former US Attorney who was clearly guilty of committing perjury by lying to Congress. Even the Kansas Bar should be embarrassed to have him practicing behind the Wheat Curtain (as Judge Moore used to call it).

One thing is certain: Schlozman committed perjury beyond anything Bill Waris ever did. (The only lie Bill Waris ever told was the one he had to tell to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit to save his family from that nightmare.)

As for Gov. Bozo? A few thoughts (having read the complaint):

A. Do we really think what he was doing is a lot different from what a wiretap would have picked up during a chat between Bush & Chaney? Which is certainly not a defense of Gov. Bozo's clumsey crapola.

B. Do we really think that the decision to charge him by complaint (instead of a Grand Jury indictment), and staging a pre-dawn raid on the home of a sitting Democratic governor at a time most likely to derail good coverage of the Obama transition, was apolitical? Assuming that Gov. Bozo was engaged in anything beyond political masturbation, it would seem that a prosecutor would hold off allerting him until there was a "bidder" in this "auction". Unless...

C. Think there is any chance Fitzgerald might be considering a run for governor or senator in the future? Any chance less than 100%? He has been chasing Mayor Dailey, too. Jumping the gun on Gov. Bozo assured that he became untouchable (pardon the Chicago pun) by the new administration, which is pretty well forced to keep him .

Glad you missed me.