Friday, December 29, 2006

In yesterday’s Star, Yael Abouhalkah predicted that I would be the next Mayor of Kansas City. I’m grateful for that vote of confidence in my abilities as a campaigner. I don't always agree with Yael, but I freely acknowledge, to him and others, that he saved my job for me early in my career in a column beginning with the words “Good job Mark Funkhouser.” The column, with the headline “Waves at City Hall,” was written after my former office produced its first review of the City budget. That scathing review had produced a movement within City Hall to rid the City of its pesky new auditor, a movement that died in the face of the newspaper’s support for me.

Occasionally I’m asked why Yael has supported me so frequently over the years, and usually the question is asked in a way that implies that I have ingratiated myself to him in some improper way. I haven’t. Once in a while he and I have lunch at Cascone’s and talk over issues facing the city in the same way I do with other journalists and concerned citizens. But I occasionally disagree strongly with the views he expresses and I’ve never “leaked” anything to him or any other journalist.

The real explanation may be that Yael Abouhalkah and I share a common bond – for many years we both have annoyed people in high places in this town by pointing out problems they’d rather ignore. But we both recognize that problems unrecognized go unaddressed and become bigger problems. And since practical solutions are almost always moral solutions as well, getting beyond the “happy talk” often also includes addressing social injustice.

Fortunately for me, he has seen value in what I’ve done and now he’s predicting that the voters will see that value as well and give me a promotion. Thanks Yael.

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