isten, nobody is going to mistake me for a rocket scientist. Let’s get that out of the way at the top. But last Tuesday, I sure as hell thought I was driving to my polling place to pick our next mayor. I had researched the top candidates and chosen two that I really liked. Then I was going to enter the ballot box and pick my new mayor.
The only thing is that I got home later and, for the first time, found out that I wasn’t picking a mayor, I was picking a mayoral candidate. The actual election isn’t until June 18. I had no idea. As tuned into social media as I am, and for as many postcards I got promising all the pot holes would be fixed, I probably should have known. But I didn’t.
So we get three more months of postcards and ads and advertisements to pick from two candidates, Quinton Lucas and Jolie Justus. And I am left, frankly, a little bit miffed.
I think that Kansas City’s mayor is, largely, not a very powerful job. All of the power in the city lies with the city council. However, as goes the mayor in this town, so goes the spirit of the town. Mayors Berkley and James were my favorites and able to take the city through challenging times. Mayor Funkhouser, to me, was kind of a dud and, so, I feel that the city struggled during those times.
In actuality, very little change was made or lost during those terms, but KC’s mayor does have the advantage of a big microphone and a central spot in the Midwest to use it. While Mayor James’ term largely hit at a time when Power & Light was up and running, the Sprint Center, the All-Star Game and the World Series happened, I’d like my next mayor (the one I thought I was voting for last week) to work on more infrastructure issues like roads, crime and the airport.
I look for good communicators in my leaders and, honestly, I would’ve loved to have one of these future leaders to tell me when the actual election is.
I know voters get a bad rap about their indifference in elections. Not even half of the population votes regularly, and it really does become a popularity contest when folks can just say anything they want and get elected. But let’s cut the voting populous a break, here. Make voting less complicated. Multiple elections for mayor. The primary system in the presidential election. The electoral college.
Surely there’s a better way for the majority of people to say, “yeah, that’s the person I’d like to be my next dog catcher.” Instead, I have to vote for dog catcher on Tuesday, then pick my Senator the next Tuesday, and vote in the county auditor runoff race the Tuesday after.
Pick a day. One day a year. Give everyone the day off. Make candidates provide three sentence answers on five core issues with links to actual project plans for whatever they’re running for, and let’s pick everyone at once.
As it is, I’m stuck here waiting until the final, final mayoral vote in June, then the national election in November, and maybe pick a judge or two in the interim.
It’s complicated and I don’t have time for complicated. Besides, there are too many pot holes between my house and my polling place. If only I could elect someone to take care of those for me.
(Get more about potholes and elections and whatever from Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is known as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)