publisher's note
February 23, 2007



Weeding the ego out of the mayoral candidates
by Bruce Rodgers

Nice weather sure brings out the potholes, doesn’t it? Especially on the KCMO side. And with every hole I hit, thoughts of the mayor’s race slap at my brain.

This town certainly has attracted an ambitious bunch that wants to be mayor. Someone looking in from the outside could take the view that Kansas City, MO must be in trouble and all these fine men and women are stepping forward to help. Accepting that view means accepting the laughable notion that altruism inhabits every seeker of public office. On the flip side, the view could be: “Wow, Mayor Kay Barnes has really started something, and I want to get in on some of the action!” That view accepts the premise that a politician’s accomplishments are really due to others.

Elements from both emotions, in varying degrees, likely infect every one of the twelve candidates, plus a good dose of ego. The rare case where someone is appointed to public office can’t be compared to the want to be in office, but in those cases it takes an ego to stay in office. Most times, how effective a politician is can be determined by the size of the ego and how well the politician recognizes and uses it. Overwhelmingly, politicians do poorly in the ego-control department yet most are smart enough not to let their ego “out” in public. Though, sometimes, lousy campaign commercials give hints of ego size.

A politician’s ego determines how receptive that politician is keeping their campaign promises. Maybe it’s counterintuitive, but big egos tend not to follow through on campaign promises. Smart big ego politicians don’t make campaign promises; they just like to beat-up on their opponents, hence the term “negative campaigning.”

Smart egos new to the political world make campaign promises and really want to carry through with them. If they get elected, other people begin to tell them that they didn’t get elected on their campaign promises but because people like them, which makes their ego bigger. The result is when they run for re-election, campaign promises usually aren’t made, replaced by attacks on their opponent(s).

Using my ego yardstick, and in viewing the TV commercials and reading the news articles, and spending time on each candidates’ web site, I think “ego determination” works well in determining a good choice for mayor.

Alvin Brooks: solid, comfortable ego. His life experience delivers an authentic view of himself that could translate to effective leadership.

Jim Glover: a little shaky on the ego thing. Wants to be like other big ego guys, which means that his lengthy “Citizens First!” agenda will gather dust if it pisses anyone off

Mark Funkhouser: A great campaign slogan in “A City That Works!” It may irritate Mayor Barnes but I bet her chauffeur dodges the potholes when he can so not to assault her ego.

Becky Nace: Big ego at work. Check out her issues page: Neighborhoods, Accountability, Crime, Economic Development & Educations spells “NACE.” Pretty lame Jeff Roe.

Henry Klein: Trying too much to control his ego. Citywide WiFi access is not a burning issue, Henry. But it could keep citizens home more often so they don’t hit those potholes.

Albert Riederer: Major big ego, of course that comes with “I’m a lawyer and I was a judge now I’m pretty well off and have great friends and connections” attitude.

Janice Ellis: Ego in the right place. If she’s elected, she'll lead with sweetness.

Katheryn Shields: Ego under major attack but she’s not wavering. Her ego tells her she has nothing to prove except to stay out of jail.

Stan Glazer: Has one of those fun egos you want to go barhopping and drink with.

Chuck Eddy: Should take his ego and run for mayor of Warrensburg or get on Barnes’ staff if she makes a run for congress.

John Fairfield: Long, extensive “blueprint” for Kansas City, which means his ego won’t let him work for it if he’s elected.

John David DiCapo: Regular guy ego — plenty of hope and a little unsure of this ego thing

So based on my ego determination rundown, who has the type of ego to be an effective leader? To present public policy change with the long view? Protect taxpayers’ money from the pikers and small-minded government suckers? Help all citizens improve their lot with a spirited, determined drive at the big picture? Which one will fix the potholes?

With the expectation it doesn’t go to their heads, my hope is that Alvin Brooks and Mark Funkhouser make it into the general election.

Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at


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