Lee’s Summit voters, the comedy unfolding in front of you isn’t brought to you by a high school drama team or the Summit Theatre Group.
It’s your city council.
This particular slapstick event started last year with a committee hoping to get a bond put on the April ballot. As we follow the story along, we’ve added and dropped and re-added projects to rebuild our streets and enhance our community arts.
We’ve laughed. We’ve cried.
The latest gaffe came last week when the city council snatched defeat from the hands of victory – sending the decision on what we will vote on in April back to the table. This time it was under the guise of preparing to add another piece to this no-tax increase bond – rehabbing and using Arnold Hall for performing arts.
Maybe when this is all over, the first performance in the new and rehabilitated Arnold Hall should be a rendition of “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” starring our city council.
Although I honestly doubt the nine of them would stand to do any meaningful rehearsals together considering the laughable performance that has been going on as we have tried to beg, borrow and steal while piecing together this bond issue.
Poor newcomer Derek Holland, fresh off this committee, has to be pulling his hair out.
He’s not the only one.
If this story sounds familiar it’s because the council has lost control of the message, just like they did previously with the solid waste issue.
Why does this keep happening?
There is a leadership issue at the dais, first of all.
If our council were policing itself, we would never have gone this far into the process without finalizing this ballot language. This should have been done in December so we could start the process of educating the voters on what will be voted on and how our community will benefit with its passage.
We need that time so community support groups, as they have in the past, can rally around the measure and educate voters on the topic. To date, these groups have been pretty quiet on this bond issue.
We’ve seen flimsy support at best for the roads and arts issues and, at a meeting that should have seen this thing done, Mayor Pro Tem Allan Gray proceeds to table the measure altogether due to the resurfacing of Arnold Hall.
The two problems with what happened last Thursday are glaring. First, how on earth did it not get communicated to the arts community that Arnold Hall wasn’t a part of this bond issue, especially when we have arts champions on our council? And secondly, how did the entire discussion get tabled and who had that discussion prior to the meeting?
Clearly Gray and a few others knew about. Those few don’t include Councilmen Ed Cockrell or Rob Binney, though. Maybe others. Why not?
This is unwarranted, inside politics on a decision that, for whatever reason, we’ve stretched out long past its due date.
It honestly makes me wonder who really wants this to pass, who wants it to fail and who is going to champion this ballot issue if and when we finally do get it to the election board.
This is where the political parody ends.
Our city council, starting with Mayor Randy Rhoads on down, needs to start tabling the politics, not the issues.
John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail email@example.com.