Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

The local media, and most especially the local fish wrap, have gone out of their way to demonize Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser since he took office in 2007.

None of that made the sports shows and section until this week.

Now, the boys in the toy department are unsheathing their swords and taking pokes at Mayor Funk.

On Thursday, Funkhouser submitted his plan for cleaning up the financial problems facing Kansas City. There’s an $85 million shortfall in the next city budget. One of the mayor’s proposals is for the city to stop kicking in $2 million a year for the Truman Sports Complex.

The lease for the Royals and the Chiefs says there will be $7 million paid each year to help with the upkeep of the stadiums. It has been $2 million from the city, $3 million from Jackson County and $2 million from the state of Missouri.

It’s hard to get a straight answer out of all the parties involved, but apparently the contribution from the city is a handshake agreement with the county, one started by Mayor Kay Barnes back in 2006 when Jackson County voters passed a sales tax increase to pay for renovations at both buildings. That’s also when both teams signed long-term leases to stay in the stadiums.

In essence, there’s nothing in writing that the city must contribute this money. With $85 million to cut from the budget, there are some tough decisions that must be made. Rather than cut basic city services like police and fire, Funkhouser (left) wants to among other things stop subsidizing the buildings used by the Royals and Chiefs.

“Kansas City residents have for years paid a disproportionate share of the Jackson County sports complex,” Funkhouser said in his memo to the Kansas City Council on his plans for the budget. “If a choice has to be made about where to spend general-fund tax dollars, then it’s clear that we should spend it on police.”

Jackson County officials say eliminating the city’s contribution would jeopardize the current leases with the Royals and Chiefs. If the city won’t pay up, the county would have to make up the difference or the 25-year leases signed in 2006 would be void and the teams would be free to leave town.

“It’s mind-boggling to me, frankly, that he’d propose this,” said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, who called Funkhouser’s proposal “a nightmare scenario.”

Mike Smith, the Chairman of the Jackson County Sports Authority said Friday in a news release:

“These stadiums are an economic engine not only for Jackson County, but for Kansas City as well … the county pays the lion’s share of the bonds. The city pays a very small part and receives the lion’s share of the benefit by having its name on the teams. Note that the teams are not called the Jackson County Royals or the Jackson County Chiefs.”

So does this mean the Royals and Chiefs are goners? Not hardly. First, Funkhouser’s proposal has not been approved by the city council, so sounding the horns of panic is a bit premature. Second, both teams are putting together renovated stadiums that will increase their revenue opportunities. Both owners have put their own money into the improvements, especially the Hunt family. They are not going to just walk away from that money. Third, neither team has ever seriously considered a move from Kansas City since they were established and they are owned by families that have not had to mortgage their fortunes to buy the teams. Fourth, there are not many municipalities and government bodies in the country that aren’t facing the same type of problems that Funkhouser is trying to solve.

Even for a sports fan, it’s not hard to understand where Mayor Funk is coming from. Yes, Kansas City realizes many things from having the Royals and Chiefs, including constantly publicity. But none of that is worth anything if the city has to cut back on police services, which leads to an increase in crime and makes the city a place where no one wants to live, let alone visit.

One thing Funkhouser said this week makes sense: why does the $2 million fall only on Kansas City? Why is there no money kicked in from Independence, Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit? I won’t even bring up the whole state line problem that bedevils so many things in Kansas City.

Sometimes the world of fun and games has to take a back seat to the real, live and painful problems that a city and a Mayor must face in troubled economic times.


BEARS - re-signed RB Kevin Jones.

BENGALS – signed QB J.T. O’Sullivan (San Francisco). Released S Dexter Jackson.

BROWNS – signed DE C.J. Mosley (N.Y. Jets). Re-signed DB Mike Adams.

COWBOYS – signed DE Igor Olshansky (San Diego).

EAGLES - signed S Sean Jones (Cleveland).

LIONS – signed OT Daniel Loper (Tennessee).

PACKERS – signed S Anthony Smith (Pittsburgh).

RAIDERS – signed OT Khalif Barnes (Jacksonville).

TITANS - re-signed P Craig Hentrich.

VIKINGS – re-signed LB Heath Farwell.


“San Francisco has the 49ers, Denver has the Broncos … Hawaii has the Pro Bowl.”

Those were the words of Hawaii’s Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona said during a brief presentation in front of the Hawaii Tourism Authority on Friday.

The authority’s board voted 9-1 on Friday to accept the NFL’s offer to return the Pro Bowl to Honolulu after the 2010 game is played in Miami.

The board rejected two previous proposals, but under mounting pressure from politicians and the hospitality industry, it reconsidered its latest refusal to pay the NFL $4 million a year to host the game at Aloha Stadium in 2011 and 2012.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with the state of Hawaii, which has embraced the Pro Bowl for 30 years,” said Frank Supovitz, the NFL’s senior vice president of events.

Last month’s Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium generated $28.6 million in spending and $2.9 million in taxes.


March 7

Born on March 7, 1942 in Hermosa Beach, California was quarterback Pete Beathard, the Chiefs No. 1 draft choice in the 1964 AFL Draft out of Southern Cal. Beathard had a 10-year career in pro football, and he spent four of those seasons with the Chiefs (1964-1966, 1973.) He appeared in 51 games and made two starts for the Chiefs. He threw 13 touchdown passes with 13 INTs. Beathard also played for Houston, St. Louis and the Los Angeles Rams.

Born on March 7, 1969 in Kennewick, Washington was linebacker Anthony Davis, who played five seasons with the Chiefs (1994-1998), playing in 68 games, with 49 starts. He had five interceptions with the KC defense. He also played with Seattle, Green Bay and Baltimore.

Tackle Jeff Criswell was born on March 7, 1964 in Grinnell, Iowa. He played 12 seasons in the NFL, with four seasons wearing a Chiefs uniform (1995-98). Criswell played 60 games and started 39 for the Chiefs.

Born on March 7, 1969 in Darby, Pennsylvania was quarterback Matt Blundin, the Chiefs second-round choice in the 1992 NFL Draft. Blundin appeared in two games in four seasons (1992-95) with the Chiefs, throwing eight passes, completing two, for 15 yards and one interception.

On March 7, 1965 cornerback Sidney Johnson was born in Los Angeles. He played 13 games for the Chiefs in the 1988 season.

March 8

Born on March 8, 1965 in Pasadena, California was linebacker Stacey Harvey, who played in nine games with the Chiefs in the 1989 season.

And, born on the same day in Holyoke, Massachusetts was running back Kenny Gamble. A 10th-round choice in the 1988 NFL Draft, Gamble played in 19 games over three different seasons (1988-90) with the Chiefs. He carried the ball six times for 24 yards and a touchdown.

13 Responses to “Weekend Cup O’Chiefs”

  • March 7, 2009  - Johnfromfairfax says:

    I just had a nightmare where i awoke and the Chiefs were unable to resolve the funding issues with the municipalities involved and left town. In the wake of our beloved team leaving Al “Voldamort” Davis in his final act of revenge moved his team of demons and darkness into town in the middle of the night using Bob Irsay’s old trucks. Talk about a bad dream!

  • March 7, 2009  - Aloha Ray says:

    It’s extraordinarily disingenuous of the mayor to imply that the choice is between the Chiefs & Royals and police. There are millions and millions of dollars spent every year in Kansas City on unnecessary crap — wealth redistribution masquerading as “compassion” that is actually a cruel way to keep people down (and voting for people like him).

  • March 7, 2009  - Johnfromfairfax says:

    If you really want to know more about a player it’s instructive to see what others say about them and not necessarily what they say about themselves. If you question why we would bring in an aging veteran like Mike Vrabel read what Teddy Bruschi had to say about him. He portrays Vrabel to be just what we should hope for and outlined what he should bring to KC. A dedicated professional player with a great understanding of the team concept who works hard, doesn’t place himself above the team, is dedicated to his craft and expects those around him to take the same approach. That’s a recipe for success that some of our current players should take to heart as we prepare for the upcoming season.

  • March 7, 2009  - ArrowheadHawk says:

    In MY dream, if undead Al smuggled his demons and darkness INTO KC, the very next night we’d smuggle KC out of the area and be none the worse for wear!

    (and we could leave AnonyRin here with his new daddy!)

  • March 7, 2009  - aggrivated a-hole says:

    ok that mayor should be beaten what an asshole just 2 mil cmon its not that much considering how much of a profit the city will make from the truman complex, i wish someone would bitch slap some sens in 2 him

    and demons and darkness that just bad ass we need a team name like that seriously i love the cheifs but are name is kinda lame

  • March 8, 2009  - Johnfromfairfax says:

    ArrowheadHawk brings up a good point. If the Chiefs ever relocated, where would your allegiance lie? In some ways it may be less complicated for fans that live in the KC area but maybe not. We could all wait for a new team to come to KC but I don’t think I could shift my support with my team to another city even though I’ve never lived in KC. I’ve been a KC fan my whole life and can’t imagine switching allegiance to the L A Chiefs or the worst of all worlds, the Oakland Chiefs. Hopefully we will never have to consider this scenario.

  • March 8, 2009  - aggrivated a-hole says:

    yeah right wait for another team i bet thats what la thought when it happend their and thats a much much bigger market if kc losses its football team we wont get 1 back anytime soon bye the way what ever happend to the new la team that was supposed to be out before 2010 havent herd in awhile id like to know if anyone can say

  • March 8, 2009  - B in SC says:

    He is 85 million short? So the 2 million gets him to 83? A lot of aggravation and fighting to basically achieve nothing. I agree that other municipalities should be chipping in, but he isn’t seeing the forest for the trees. I would think he should be seeing how he could further use the two franchises to improve revenue. Especially the Royals since most pundits think they are on the rise.

    I would also be interested in how many millions were wasted in trying to push for a new baseball stadium downtown. That had to be a massive expenditure. Those are the type of wasteful spending that should be cut first. Come back to the ball clubs when you are down to your last 2 million to cover.

  • March 8, 2009  - Alex K says:

    I dont see a move, but if it happens, I would stay with the team…Just cant see them not being the KC Chiefs…would be difficult at first….But I also am looking at this team in a different way…I was a fan of the Herm plan, I thought they were close last year, but now with Haley/Pioli, its even better..they are setting up a dream scenario of an amazing staff/personnel(next) department.

    But that does increase the interest from a place like LA in a team that has a power house of a GM who is connected, and a Coach who is connected…people can say what they want, but Haley and Pioli will get a lot of deals done because they are connected to Parcells and or Bellichek.

  • March 8, 2009  - findthedr says:

    appears rin (aka doggie poo) is back posting anonymously.

    Nice article Bob. Very fair and balanced. I was against the locality giving millions to the chiefs to bring training camp back to missouri. Just as it is now, that money can be better spent in these difficult economic times.

  • March 8, 2009  - RedandGoldRice says:

    I was listening to a local radio show host just the other day and he brought up a good point. Between the two teams, they have invested approximately 125 MILLION (thats a quarter of a BILLION) dollars in renovations here recently. Why would they move two teams that are beloved by their city after that kind of investment? I could see them considering a move if they had just upgraded their Coke machines and installed new toilet seats, but come on. They’re not going anywhere and they know it. Both teams are rebuilding (the right way) and our future looks bright.

  • March 9, 2009  - Devildog 1976 says:

    Anon tin tin…
    Funkhouser is your dad right? The two of you have about the same amount of intelligence. (Rain Man)

    THE RIGHT 53 2009

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