The week was filled with two interesting observations, the first having to do with our car tag, or lack thereof. While there wasn’t a major hub-bub in the newspaper about our license tag renewal being one month late, I was still surprised to see a really angry letter to the editor about it. To our way of thinking, our lives have been turned completely upside down, and not getting our tag renewed in time was the least of our problems.
One of Funk’s husbandly duties has always been to get the vehicles inspected and then to stand in the DMV line to renew the tags. Since the campaign, I’ve been going with the flow and accepting, quite graciously for me, less husbandly-ness around the house, but the wives will understand when I say that there is a line that husbands can’t cross and still expect us to be understanding. The DMV was my line – I wasn’t about to take over this horrific duty for him. Having to pay the ticket we got for our tardiness was both our punishment.
The letter to the editor did leave me pondering why the woman had so much anger towards us about a pretty normal oversight that many families find themselves contending with. Then it dawned on me – it’s the whole “haves” and “have-nots” issue at play. To her, we probably seem like the “haves.” I’m guessing in her mind, we surely must be in order for Funk to have gotten elected. Unfortunately, our electoral system is weighted toward people with money. Consequently our congressman, senators and even a lot of our Mayors are millionaires. But one of the greatest achievements and the hope that came out of Funk’s campaign was the reminder that regular folks can still get elected if they are able to work hard to win over a population. This woman probably has no idea that we’re more like her in this regard, than not. This was a breakthrough to me, and I can now go down the road with a little more understanding about these sorts of things. Her sentiment is just another blazing example of how we’ve underserved the people in this community. And while I could do without the indigestion while reading the morning paper, I’m grateful for this insight and the reminder, I feel it was a blessing in disguise.
The second observation came about at an event that we attended. It surrounds an issue that’s confused me for a while now. Funk and I were sharing a table with a staffer from a prominent public official’s office. The conversation was pleasant enough, with talk at one point coming around to the typical question regarding how Funk was adjusting to being Mayor. Funk’s typical response is that it is harder than he thought it would be, but that he is learning with each new day how to do it better. The staffer then asked why we were at the dinner, and Funk answered that the staffer’s boss had invited us, and since he liked said boss, he thought he should attend. The staffer became very animated at this point and said enthusiastically, “I guess you are learning. That was the perfect response – you’re going to do just fine.” His response baffled me until I realized what he was really saying. He thought Funk’s response was the perfect “political” response, instead of the innocent remark that it was - the simple truth spoken from my little hubby’s mouth. This exchange brought to light a major obstacle that Funk has to overcome – people expect doubletalk from their elected officials, so much so that they can hardly believe it when an elected official is just simply speaking the plain truth to them. Fortunately, our campaign supporters understood that what came out of Funk’s mouth was the truth, plain and simple. And thankfully, the people attending the town hall meetings walk out of the meetings understanding this fact. Now, we just have to work hard to earn the trust from the rest of the community to this apparently “new” phenomenon as well.
It’s crying time for us again next week as our daughter Tara heads back to college. Imagine, the selfish child wants to continue her education instead of continuing to help in the Mayor’s office? I don’t know where we went wrong.
Until next week,
Gloria & Mark
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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.