Kennedy on Columbia

Missouri School of Journalism

Top to bottom, the 2016 election was a disaster for Missouri Democrats.

Republicans came out of that campaign holding six of our eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, five of the six statewide offices based in Jefferson City and overwhelming margins of 117 to 46 state representatives and 26 to eight state senators.

Only U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and State Auditor Nicole Galloway, neither of whom was on the ballot last November, kept statewide offices in Democratic hands.

 

Even Boone County, an island of blue in a state turned red, elected a Republican state senator and put a Republican on the County Commission...

 

Read the complete column at the Missourian. 

Missouri School of Journalism

 Let’s take a couple of minutes to celebrate the accomplishments of the 99th Missouri General Assembly, which finished its 2017 session a week ago.

We won’t need much more time than that.

Our elected representatives passed a record-low number of bills. That is almost certainly a good thing, considering the import of most of those that were sent to Gov. Greitens. 

Still, there is cause for celebration. That cause begins with the legislators’ agreement to defy the governor and fully fund the K-12 public school Foundation Formula for the first time. Even there, we have to note that they trimmed down the formula from its original scale. But this action stands out as by far the most significant victory for their constituents... 

Read the complete column at the Missourian.

 

GEORGE KENNEDY: Urban Agriculture on the Rise in Columbia

Apr 17, 2017
Missouri School of Journalism

I make it a practice never to turn down free food and drink, so when Jeff Chinn invited me to a program this week at the new Barred Owl restaurant, I accepted instantly.

It turned out that, along with the exotic nourishment, the 100 or so of us in attendance got a useful reminder that “urban agriculture” is not the oxymoron it might appear to be.

Instead, what that term means for Columbia is, at the moment, a 1.3-acre mid-city cooperative garden and, just over the horizon, an ambitious Agriculture Park on the old fairgrounds next to the Activity and Recreation Center and the Columbia Farmers Market.

Monday night’s gathering was the quiet launch of what will be a three-stage, $5 million fund drive with the goal of creating a 5-acre garden and outdoor classroom...

Read the complete column at the Missourian.

GEORGE KENNEDY: Tuesday's Election - How This Columnist is Voting

Apr 3, 2017
Missouri School of Journalism

Like most of you, I suspect, I’ve been reading with interest the Missourian’s extensive coverage of the campaigns leading up to Tuesday’s local election.

Unlike nearly all of you, I sat in on the candidate forum Tuesday evening sponsored by the NAACP downtown at the Second Missionary Baptist Church.

This was the third forum I’ve attended. It helped me make some choices.

 

GEORGE KENNEDY: Dark Money Flows in Jefferson City

Mar 22, 2017
Missouri School of Journalism

I didn’t vote for Eric Greitens, but once he was elected our governor, I thought and wrote that there was considerable ground for hope. 

Now I’m afraid there’s even more cause for worry. And I’m not talking about his assaults on the university, on our public schools and on a woman’s right to choose.

Gov. Greitens brought to the job an impressive resume (doctorate from Oxford, distinguished military career, foundation to help veterans), a picture-perfect family (wife a scholar, kids adorable) and political potential (Internet domain “EricGreitensforPresident.com” reserved by him eight years ago).

His inaugural speech was eloquent and broadly appealing. His first appointments included our first female head of the Highway Patrol and another woman from out of state to clean up the Department of Corrections. His budget withholdings seemed necessary if painful.

But it appears that Gov. Greitens has somehow overlooked — or worse yet, chosen to ignore — the obligation of every elected official to be accountable to the people who are governed...

Read the complete Column at the Missourian.


GEORGE KENNEDY: MU Journalism Grads Make Us Proud

Mar 15, 2017
Missouri School of Journalism

 You’ll agree, I suspect, that there has been almost too much bad news this week.

In addition to the usual kerfuffle emanating from Washington, we learned that our university has fired its loyal and decent basketball coach. He wasn’t surprised, I’m sure. He didn’t win. Attendance dropped. In the major leagues of college athletics, the bottom line is the bottom line.

Then came the state auditor’s report criticizing the university for employing some classic capitalistic incentives to reward executives in what is, in many ways, a socialistic institution. Those folks didn’t have a won-loss record on which they could be judged. Nor, the auditor found, were there other reliable standards for determining their bonuses...

Read the complete column at the Missourian.


GEORGE KENNEDY: What's Ahead? More Talk Between Police and Community

Mar 6, 2017
Missouri School of Journalism

Our community conversation about the best relationship between the police and the people they are sworn to serve and protect — a conversation that has already begun — seems likely to broaden and deepen over the next year.

That’s the outlook after last week’s unanimous endorsement by the Columbia City Council of Ian Thomas' resolution calling for a “community engagement process” on the subject of community-oriented policing.

After that vote, Ian told me he sees this process as the logical follow-up to recommendations made in 2014 by then-Mayor Bob McDavid’s Task Force on Community Violence...

Read the complete column at the Missourian.