Comedian Arsenio Hall often did a bit on his show entitled ‘things that make you go hmmmm’, while pointing his index finger to the side of his head and giving the camera a knowing look. Astute taxpayers here in Kansas City are giving that same look and using that same phrase these days, given the recent developments surrounding the plans and proposals for a new KCI. This critically-thinking newsdog wonders why, if this idea is so great, did the city hire a high dollar PR firm in order to spin it and sell it? Why are we treated to radio and TV ads from the “home town team” engineering firm of Burns and McDonnell, attempting to wag the dog their way? Things that make you go hmmm, right?
Last week more dog-wagging took place when the airlines released a non-endorsing endorsement of Burns and Mac to design and build the new airport despite the fact that the selection committee, if you can call it that, hasn’t released their choice on what proposal was going to win out for the more than one-billion dollar gig. Burns and Mac quickly took to the Twittersphere to acknowledge the “endorsement” in an attempt to further wag the dog their way in this hot mess of a “process.” Never mind it all goes to the ballot in November and could look a lot like the streetcar expansion initiative that died at the ballot box (but oddly still seems to be progressing despite what the voting public had to say with the initiative).
Here’s the sad truth of this whole hot mess. Burns and Mac is quite literally joined at the hip with this Mayor and Council Lady Jolie Justus. Period, paragraph, done. Don’t think so? Then why are Southwest Airlines, Burns & McDonnell and the city of Kansas City all represented by the same lobbyist at Kit Bond Strategies. This dog remembers a time when proposal processes weren’t rigged in return for hefty campaign donations and lobbying contracts. The sad fact is this is taking place right out in the open without even the slightest effort to hide it.
This nostalgic news-pooch also remembers as a youth when our parents shoveled medicine down our throats, telling us we were going to take our medicine and we were going to like it. Interestingly, that’s exactly what the City, Southwest Airlines and B&M are telling us right now too. Things that make you go hmmm, indeed.