How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

KC topics that don't fit anywhere else.

How would you grade Mayor Kay Barnes' tenure as mayor?

A+
5
10%
A
19
39%
B
17
35%
C
5
10%
D
2
4%
F
1
2%
 
Total votes: 49

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by KCTigerFan » Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:02 pm

I would say that my paraphrasing of the "neighborhoods going in the toilet" was fair based on the general mood of many about Barnes' tenure. 

There is a lot more to do, but I would argue that the Mayor and Council did a lot to address some of the nagging problems.  here's hoping that the Funk can address more of the neighborhood issues while finishing the big projects.   

Also, for the record I live on Rockhill, two blocks from Troost.  Not Downtown or the Northland. 

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by knucklehead » Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:20 pm

Beermo wrote: this statement is false. it's not just the regular suspects who do this. anyone with a permit can do it.
Beermo - what percentage of steel plates do you believe are not the result of utility work?

Who besides a utility would want a permit to cut pavement?

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by bahua » Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:29 pm

C.

-Nothing major seemed to get any worse during her stay at City Hall. That alone is reason for jubilation.
-The focus of KC was shifted back to its downtown, which makes a lot of economic sense.
-Active subsidy of unsustainable suburban development fills me with hate.
-Toadyism for large companies and the political machine, often against the best interest of the city and its people.
-A shocking lack of infrastructural initiative, while jaw-dropping amounts of money were thrown at bribe-style abatements and TIFs
-Suppressing the TIF audit was unconscionable.

But in the six years I have been in Kansas City, I have noticed a marked improvement in places like the River Market, the Crossroads, and West 39th. Though I think those improvements happened outside the encouragement of the city.

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by mean » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:26 pm

bahua wrote: But in the six years I have been in Kansas City, I have noticed a marked improvement in places like the River Market, the Crossroads, and West 39th. Though I think those improvements happened outside the encouragement of the city.
Agreed, and as I've been saying for years now, to give Barnes too much credit shortchanges all of us who moved here because we wanted to live and make art and open businesses in the city; not because of multijillion dollar corporations getting tax abatements and building arenas and entertainment districts. I think too many people see the improvement and want to place all the credit at the feet of the city, when in reality much of the resurgence has occured in spite of the city and its policies, not because of them. It was going to happen one way or the other, I saw it starting in the 1990s just like it did all over the country; KC was, as always, just a few years behind the curve.
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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by kard » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:51 pm

mean wrote: Agreed, and as I've been saying for years now, to give Barnes too much credit shortchanges all of us who moved here because we wanted to live and make art and open businesses in the city; not because of multijillion dollar corporations getting tax abatements and building arenas and entertainment districts. I think too many people see the improvement and want to place all the credit at the feet of the city, when in reality much of the resurgence has occured in spite of the city and its policies, not because of them. It was going to happen one way or the other, I saw it starting in the 1990s just like it did all over the country; KC was, as always, just a few years behind the curve.
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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by Beermo » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:54 pm

knucklehead wrote: Beermo - what percentage of steel plates do you believe are not the result of utility work?

Who besides a utility would want a permit to cut pavement?
don't know the %.

maybe a crew that has been hired by a soon to be opened restaurant to get their pipes connected to the city's pipes, say maybe between truman and 16th on mcgee?

lots of those steel plates are not the work of utilities. a lot of them are private contractors with a permit.
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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by knucklehead » Fri Apr 27, 2007 4:17 pm

I don't think that is right. This isn't my area but I have worked as a consultant in the electric, gas and telephone industries for 30 years and have read alot of tariffs. In my experience the customer never is allowed to work on utility lines outside of the customer's property boundaries. That is the demarcation point between customer owned equipment and utility owned equipment is always somewhere on the customers' property.

Streets are outside of the customer property line.

MGE, KCPL and AT&T line extensions are governed by tariffs approved by the Mo Public Service commission. I don't think they would permit individuals did up city streets. I guess its possible the municipal water utility might allow that but I doubt it.  

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by KCPowercat » Fri Apr 27, 2007 4:45 pm

mean wrote: It isn't that there are plates, it's that the plates are indicative of an overall systemic failure to maintain infrastructure in certain parts of the city. Parts of it you don't go to, apparently.

If it takes over a day or two to fix a hole in the street, somebody's screwing around.
Not sure why this involves where I go in the city...plates are EVERYWHERE111  It's not that it only takes a day or 2 to fix the hole, I assume it's what's inside the hole that takes awhile to fix....if they can speed up that process, that rocks.


I do agree the "urban revival" was happening no matter what the mayor did...but her leadership opened up urban renewal to a great segment of the population.  Sure many of us here would be downtown no matter what, but the influx from all demographics was helped by the projects both large and small.



I don't understand the complaints about basic infrastructure...didn't Barnes lead a Billion $ bond issue for sewers..something other mayors were just deferring because they didn't want to deal with it?  Also infrastructure like fire stations, more police were addressed.
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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by mean » Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:04 pm

KCPowercat wrote: Not sure why this involves where I go in the city...plates are EVERYWHERE111  It's not that it only takes a day or 2 to fix the hole, I assume it's what's inside the hole that takes awhile to fix....if they can speed up that process, that rocks.

I do agree the "urban revival" was happening no matter what the mayor did...but her leadership opened up urban renewal to a great segment of the population.  Sure many of us here would be downtown no matter what, but the influx from all demographics was helped by the projects both large and small.

I don't understand the complaints about basic infrastructure...didn't Barnes lead a Billion $ bond issue for sewers..something other mayors were just deferring because they didn't want to deal with it?  Also infrastructure like fire stations, more police were addressed.
So what? You'll note she didn't get an F from me, just a C. In the long view, she did OK. No doubt there are segments of the primarily suburban population that view the urban city with less trepidation today, and that is thanks in no small part to her and her administration's efforts with downtown--but it is also thanks in no small part to people like us who moved to the city and told our friends and family back in the suburbs how great it is.

I don't have a problem giving credit where credit is due; I just have a problem giving credit where it isn't. She did some things I support completely, but she didn't work hard enough on some things that would have given me a more favorable opinion, and she worked too hard doing some things I don't support at all. From my perspective, an average mayorship.

I hope four years from now I can give Funk a higher score.

And for what it's worth, I'd give Cleaver a D at best.
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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by KCPowercat » Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:06 pm

my post wasn't just regarding your comments...I tried to tie everything I read in together.
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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by Beermo » Sat Apr 28, 2007 1:32 pm

knucklehead wrote: I don't think that is right. This isn't my area but I have worked as a consultant in the electric, gas and telephone industries for 30 years and have read alot of tariffs. In my experience the customer never is allowed to work on utility lines outside of the customer's property boundaries. That is the demarcation point between customer owned equipment and utility owned equipment is always somewhere on the customers' property.

Streets are outside of the customer property line.

MGE, KCPL and AT&T line extensions are governed by tariffs approved by the Mo Public Service commission. I don't think they would permit individuals did up city streets. I guess its possible the municipal water utility might allow that but I doubt it. 
there is a place where schooling, thought, knowledge and theory go to get their asses kicked and that place is the real world.

these guys are definitely not working for the city or any known utility i've heard of. they dug a 4 foot hole across the sidewalk and then proceeded to take that hole almost all the way across the street. you can find this ditch currently covered with steel plates on mcgee downtown around 16th st.
sorry about the quality of the pic. it was taken thru a big double-paned glass window.

Image

btw, i saw the truck that dropped off the steel plates. it was not a city or known utility vehicle.
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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by GRID » Sat Apr 28, 2007 1:52 pm

First off, metal plates....I just don't get the fetish.  It's like snow plowing.  I just don't see the big deal. Sure, I drive over metal plates once in a while.  I slow down a bit and move on with my life.  It just doesn't bother me.

Having said that, one of KC's biggest problems is its size.  It's hard for the city to create and enforce utility cut repair ordinances especially when contractors can just make up an excuse as to why there is a plate there or why  its been there for an extended period of time.

If you haven't noticed, nearly all these plates are in the core of the city.  You rarely see them in the northland etc for any extended periods of time. This has to do with age and complexity of what is under those streets and much of it is unexpected.

I would say the bigest problem is the contractors KCMO hires can be downright horrible.  There is no reason it should take four months to install a traffic signal or raised crosswalks etc.  KCMO has to hire a certain amount of minority and women contractors and in many cases, they fill those needs with the little jobs like signal installs because it can be very difficult to do it with the larger jobs like the sprint center.  Why?  Because there is simply not enough high quality minority contractors to meet those quotas.

Anyway, the metal plates are basically a casualty of the politics of a major urban city.  I know its not the best of excuses and it needs to be addressed, but it will be more difficult than just removing the plates.

Another option and this is something done in many large cities, is to have much more extreme traffic control requirements.  That would require signs, cones, flagmen, detour routes etc, rather than throwing down a metal plate and that can be expensive and cause congestion.

Maybe funkhouser can fix the two biggest challenges that face KCMO and keep KCMO from becoming a world class city.

Being able to plow the streets as well as Prairie Village and eliminating metal plates, I don't know.  But for the first time I will use this internet slang symbol:

&&& :)

Anyway, I would give Barnes a B+ to A-.  She deserves a lot of credit for bringing KCMO back from the dead, not just downtown, but the entire city.  Her lack of vision on building a transit system and lack of push to bring the baseball stadium downtown (or do more with the TSC area) were my biggest faults with her.
Last edited by GRID on Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by phna » Sat Apr 28, 2007 1:56 pm

mean wrote: C

The shiny new stuff downtown is great, but at the same time:

1) I'm paying more property tax while people with much higher incomes who can afford $400,000 lofts are paying significantly less--or none. This is balanced somewhat by the fact that certain eyesores (notably The View) have been fixed up, but it still stings.
2) The sidewalks in my neighborhood and others continue to crumble.
3) I keep having to get alignments after running over 500 metal plates over the course of a few months, and/or hitting 500 chasm-like potholes.
4) Crime, schools, sewers were not adequately addressed.
5) Several TIFs have dramatically underperformed, and incentive controls and process improvements were never implemented or even considered despite Funk's TIF audit, scathing commentary by journalists, and wide public scorn.
Same grade same reasoning.
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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:33 pm

KCPowercat wrote: I don't understand the complaints about basic infrastructure...didn't Barnes lead a Billion $ bond issue for sewers..something other mayors were just deferring because they didn't want to deal with it?  Also infrastructure like fire stations, more police were addressed.
Yes, but a large portion of the sales taxes to fund fire and police and ATA are going back to the TIF projects.
I may be right.  I may be wrong.  But there is a lot of gray area in-between.

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:42 pm

KCPowercat wrote: Sportster...on the liquor license thing....I wasn't aware there was only a limited number of licenses?  You sure on that?
To an extent there are a limited number of liquor licenses for an area.  An example is Golddiggers at Bannister Mall, the so-called gentlemens club.  It opened as a restaurant/bar, meaning that at least 51% of sales had to be food related.  Well, food sales did not reach 51%, maybe the lap dance sales did.  Anyway, it had to fall back to just a tavern license but given the surrounding population density another tavern license could not be given.  So they have to close.

These licenses are limited so that in a particular area all of the storefronts don't sell liquor.
I may be right.  I may be wrong.  But there is a lot of gray area in-between.

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by bahua » Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:54 pm

aknowledgeableperson wrote: These licenses are limited so that in a particular area all of the storefronts don't sell liquor.
Because if that happens, the terrorists will have won.

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by GRID » Sun Apr 29, 2007 11:24 pm

aknowledgeableperson wrote: Yes, but a large portion of the sales taxes to fund fire and police and ATA are going back to the TIF projects.
Yes, but overall, sales and etaxes are UP, something that was not the case before the city turned things around and started growing again.  If the city was still on the same path it was in 1990, you would be raising sales taxes just to keep pace with current budgets.  You may even be raising taxes AND cutting services at the same time.  Something that happens in aging, urban cities all the time.

Is the KCATA getting 100% of its bang for the buck on the sales tax increase?  Probably not, maybe 10-20% is going to create the infrastructure and economic ativity instead.  That will create more jobs and residents that will ultimately pay into the kcata tax and even become new riders.  But if the city's northland were still the largest suburban farm and downtown was still festering with haunted houses and parking lots, the KCATA would be cutting services and raising taxes because the revenue flowing into city hall was plummeting.  Blue Springs was building more homes than a city with 400 square miles, (half of it empty), and the Etax, the city's largest source of revenue, was eroding away faster and faster every year.

KCMO was not going to bounce back without major help.  Developers are not going to build ALL the new roads to support their development, especially the large arterial system.  They will do what they have been doing, go to Overland Park or Olathe where roads are in place and ready for development.  KCMO simply didn't have the luxury to do that and maintain the aging part of the city that was hemorrhaging.

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by Thrillcekr » Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:59 am

I compared her to previous mayors.  Based on that, I had to give her an A+.  Nobody at the helm in my lifetime has ever accomplished so much here in KC.  In fact, many of them set us back.

As for the metal plates, there's a reason why you saw more of them.  Because shit that was ignored for years is actually getting FIXED! 
Last edited by Thrillcekr on Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:46 pm

GRID wrote: Yes, but overall, sales and etaxes are UP, something that was not the case before the city turned things around and started growing again.  If the city was still on the same path it was in 1990, you would be raising sales taxes just to keep pace with current budgets.  You may even be raising taxes AND cutting services at the same time.  Something that happens in aging, urban cities all the time.
But police, fire, and ATA is getting "LESS" sales tax money for the fiscal year that starts tomorrow, May 1, than the fiscal year that ends today.

Sales and E-taxes were going up in the 90's and were going good until 9/11.  They do trend up and down from year to year but the overall trend was up.  Yes, the growth was not spectacular but the problem with the city budget at that time was the council was adding expenses faster than the revenue growth, expenses that many considered optional.
I may be right.  I may be wrong.  But there is a lot of gray area in-between.

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Re: How would you grade Mayor Barnes?

Post by Beermo » Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:42 pm

and all those taxes you voted for are being slowly siphoned off to to TIF-ville
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