captioning provided bycaption associates, llc www.captionassociates.com>>> production underwriting for ruckus has been made possible inpart by the generous contributions from fred and louhartwig and from viewers like you.thank you. >>> welcome to ruckus, ourweekly food for thought fight over the news of the day and thetrends of the times. meet the new boss, same as theold boss. in the kansas city, missourischool district, the new
superintendent is the same manwho has been serving as interim superintendent.dr. steve green now has a two-year contract at $250,000per year. some question the timing of theappointment, just a day ahead of school board elections, butboard president airick leonard west says the deal has been inthe work for weeks and that bringing stability to thedistrict is paramount. so what are the implications ofthese two events, a board election and a permanentsuperintendent?
gwen.>> well, i think one implication in this case, of course, is thetiming. i think the timing is highlyquestionable for this board to make green permanent right atthe brink of having an election that could actually bring onfour new board members. so when you say you arepromoting stability, what you're actually doing is setting up asituation that could create more conflict and turmoil, especiallyif, say, the four people coming on the board -- all they have todo is coalesce one other vote if
they're not pleased with green,and then there you go back with this getting rid of thesuperintendent issue. the other issue is that it maymean nothing, because here at the state level, you have twobills pending. one is the layer bill.one is the pierce bill, both of which would give the departmentof elementary and secondary education the opportunity tocome in immediately and take over the district.with that desse is empowered to void all contracts, includingthe contract of the
superintendent, and appoint astate appointed board, state administrative board, whichcould come in and hire its own ceo to administer over theaffairs the district. >> dr. green knows what he'sgetting into. he's there, been through this,knows what the possibilities are.>> now. he's getting a $250,000contract. so i might sign on for that, aswell, given the situation. gwen, i think, raises anexcellent point, which is
basically, if they mess withgreen, the school board is history, and it should be.now, i know that we also may disagree on how good dr. greenis, but in that respect, if you go ahead and get rid of thesuperintendent now, and i totally agree with you that theyshouldn't have appointed him right before an election.that's stupid. but if they do go ahead and getrid of him, because everybody is wait a minute, this board is outof control, superintendent out of control.>> what was the point of
appointing him the day beforethe election? >> they claim they've beenworking on this for some time and finally came to closure onit. but still, you've got anelection. what you do is say, we will holdup on this decision until the outcome of the election.it may very well prove that most of the same people will bethere, and they can move forward.it's just a matter of a few weeks.so i don't understand the
urgency of it.it was just inappropriate behavior.>> mary, was the school board election on tuesday a debacle, afiesta, a disaster? (laughter).>> howling at the moon. i really -- i don't like to makefun of this situation, because it's just so constantly urgent.humor does relieve some of the stress of it all.but the problem here is that who is taking care of business?you know, who is taking care of the children?and i don't -- when things look
like they're a littlesuspicious, they probably are. things are what they seemsometimes, and this guy had a terrific contract, a quarter ofa million dollars in salary, which is a lovely thing, and hemade a deal with the people that could give it to him, and hetook it. >> what do you -- explain forus, if you would, generally, what happened in this election,why it's a debacle, fee fiasco, disaster, i believe you calledit. >> first of all, mary and ifinally agree on something.
a quarter of a million dollarsis a lovely thing. >> a lovely thing.>> what happened here is that the voters of kansas city justsent a message to the folks down in jefferson city.we're really not interested in keeping an elected board.we're so interested, 3 to 4% of us turned out to vote, and soyou couple that, i think, with the election to move thoseschools to independence, and that this school district votingstrongly to let them go, and a pattern begins to emerge herethat the people of this city
have decided that our experimentin grassroots democracy is over. >> there were four seats up.only in one instance were there candidates on the ballot.the other three were write-in candidates.the computers can't figure out what names are what, becausepeople have written them in, so it's going to be days before weknow who has been the winner of these different races.>> woody's point about the low turnout is really indicative ofso much. >> the fact that people are onthe ballot might be one of the
causes.>> that was my question. >> i would like to say somethingabout arthur benson before we move off this topic.i think the people of kansas city as a whole, that hedeserves credit for his lifelong interest in the school and hisservice of desegregation in the district.>> speaking of lovely amounts of money.>> you don't think lawyers get paid?then you're in the minority. >> he worked for many yearswithout any money.
look, to deny that somebody hasworked their --. >> hold it.i will say this. i know benson and we agree onvirtually nothing, but he does have in his head since he was ayoung man a real passion about desegregation.>> the only point is he made a good deal of money and thefederal government was his only client for a number of years,and that's fine. >> i knew him in those years,and he dedicated -- it wasn't that he couldn't have had otherclients.
it's that he chose to have oneclient. >> best guess, gwen, what'sgoing to happen with this district in the immediatefuture? >> okay.if i could answer that question, i don't think i would be sittinghere right now. >>> the state of missouri is ina state of denial, so says the kansas city star editorial pagein a scathing denunciation of both governor jay nixon and theg.o.p. dominated state legislature.the star says, as school boards
contemplate laying off moreteachers, families anguish over excessive tuition rates, andoverworked medical professionals struggle to meet demands of anunhealthy state, elected officials deny missouri'scritical condition. without action, the starbelieves missouri is in danger of becoming a second-rate state.so what should the governor and the legislature be doing thatthey are not? yael.>> what do you mean, becoming a second-rate state?>> just quoting the kansas city
star editorial.>> but we're there. you look at all of theseindicators on -- everything on health care, education, all ofthat kind of stuff. missouri is.it's one of the southern states now, and i say that demeaningly.it's an area where, if you said, you know, we don't like hightaxes, i understand the pushback from republicans and all thepeople who say, gee, we don't want to have high taxes, yet youcompare with some other states where their taxes aren't thatmuch higher, they just offer
better quality of life.how do they do it? well, their government is alittle more efficient. that could be one explanation.but in missouri, we kind of have this -- not only is it show me,it's we can't. we can't raise cigarette taxes.even though we have unbelievably low cigarette taxes, we can't doit. thankfully, attorney generalchris coster is pushing back on that, and maybe we'll have anelection that gets that money freed up.that would be a great idea.
i agree with all the criticsthat money doesn't solve all of these problems.when he talks about the good old days when he was in charge ofhighway department and all of that stuff, i think they hadbetter management back then. i think they actually had peoplewho cared more about the state than they do now in some ofthese respects. so money doesn't solve all theills, but if you look at those rankings, it truly isembarrassing that the state is so low on many of them and thatthe state, with probably a
little bit of effort, thecigarette tax, a little bit more efficient use of stategovernment personnel, a little bit more backbone by thegovernor of missouri, the republican governor of missouri,jay nixon, we would have a better state.>> you say facetiously the republican --.>> i thought he was republican. >> just in case anyone wondershe is a democrat. >> woody, you spent years beinginvolved with missouri politics. you lobby the state legislaturein jeff city.
react to what some of what yaelhas had to say. >> well, look.no. 1, missouri has been, like, 43rd to 48th in economicgrowth for 20 or 30 years, and that has something to do withhow much revenue we collect, whether people are willing tovote for more taxes, and in this state basically any significanttax increase has to be voted on by the people.we had a cigarette tax on the ballot, a tobacco tax on theballot a few years ago. the campaign was, it's going togo to help health care, and it
was 50 cents a pack, which wouldhave put us com comparable withe other states, and the people ofthis state voted it down. we put it on the ballot, andthey said no thank you. >> barely.it was close. >> it was a very sympatheticcampaign, about as good as you're going to run, and itlost. it matters what people you putin charge. at the university of missouri,for example, george russell raised tuition every year forfive years, got the faculty's
salary up to the average of theaau public universities, got rid of all deferred maintenance,several other things. his successors came in.they're still collecting the tuition increases.you've got the lowest paid faculty.where did the money go? >> let's get mary in here.higher taxes, do you thing that would solve a lot of missouri'sproblems? >> not necessarily, but let'spoint out one really great part of missouri's government.let's take the conservation
department of the state ofmissouri is the finest in the united states of america.it is so good that it was the only thing -- and i moved tothis state a long time ago. i said, oh, my god, it's justincredibly good, and it continues to be.you know why it is, mike? because the people are proud ofwhat they have accomplished. they have a dedicated tax.they have a relatively high sales tax, and the state ofmissouri is dedicated to that purpose.it's splendid.
it's not that missouri can't begreat at what it does. it's that it doesn't havelegislative leadership to get it done.they are yahoos in jefferson city.they're the worst in the nation. >> how did they get there?>> before we move on here, and we do have to move on, gwen, youlive in missouri. are you happy with your stategovernment? >> no, i'm not.no, i'm not. i think that when we were abellwether state, when we were
bluer than we are now, i mean,we're getting redder and redder, and in my view, the redder weget, the worse we get. we're starting to look a lotlike mississippi. >> we've got to move on.>> yeah, we're starting to look like mississippi.>>> penn valley park will never be the same, and many will findthat good news. the occupy kansas city crowd hasbeen evicted after 7 months of camping out without legalpermission. city officials say it's time toprepare the park for spring and
summer activities, including thepopular rockfest in may, expected to pull a huge crowd.now that the occupiers have left penn valley park, some are leftwondering why were they there and what exactly was theirpurpose? woody, any chance you know?>> as nearly as i can tell to, whoeld a -- hold a campout.i don't know why i should know why they were there if theydon't know why they're there. they're generally displeasedwith the order of the universe or at least that slice testifycalled the united -- that slicet
called the united states ofamerica. both ends of the politicalspectrum, from the tea party at one end, occupy at the other,and i in my world, they're not that similar.but the complaints, some of those complaints are remarkablysimilar, and they are a sense that the country is being run bya limited number of elites who dictate the agenda and the restof us are just puppets or ignored or so on, the generalfeeling with dissatisfaction with the direction of thecountry.
so now, then you say, who arethese elites, what is their agenda, and you get theseentirely different answers that bear no relation to each other.and that inability of those two things to come together at thatpoint keeps them from accomplishing.>> and apparently nationwide the occupy movement included a widevariety of people from various walks of life, people of allages, more or less. do you have any empathy forthese people or any sympathy for them?>> well, i have empathy.
i understand, i think, whatcalled them into action was this huge gap between the haves andthe have-notes in this country, concerned about what washappening on wall street and on main street with the economy,people not having jobs. the challenge for the occupywall street movement, in my view, is the absence after clearleadership voice with a clear agenda.what is the policy imperative for occupy wall street?what is the impact that they want to have, and so then you --the great movement aspect of it,
it was great, but once youagitate, you have to have plan for mediation for how do youwant to bring about change that is meaningful and transformativein this case, and that's what's lacking in occupy wall street.>> well, i think they did break through -- social change didn'tcome in steady amounts. it comes in bursts of action onthe part of great groups of people who bring a newconsciousness to a question, and what they did was react to wallstreet. this is a reaction to wallstreet by all kinds of folks who
have said, we are the 99%, andthey gave face to this, as woody mentioned, the gap between therich and the poor in this country, widening and widening.so they've accomplished what they set out to do, becauseguess what? after they began to occupy wallstreet and other streets in the country, the whole countryagreed with them. you're right, you're right.the gap is too great, and we need to make wall streetaccountable. they got bailed out and nobodyelse got bailed out, mike, and
that's what these people objectto. >> if i may, what has changed asa result of this movement? >> a great deal.>> what? >> the conversation politicallyin this country is about whether or not those who did very wellin the last decade should pay their fair share and whether ornot wealth in this country ought to be distributed in such a waythat at least people get to go to college and own a home.>> yael, a couple of questions for you quickly.did they accomplish anything in
kansas city meaningful thatyou're aware of, and two, how many nights did you camp out?>> i camped out zero, even though i do have empathy likems. grant does. however, just to add onto thepoint, i think they accomplished something in kansas city, whichwas to raise the con she -- consciousness of the politicaldebate, and i think the argument is out there.i'm glad woody mentioned the tea party.while i don't certainly ascribe to a lot of the tea partymentality in this country, what
the tea party did is they wentout and voted. they voted in all of thoserepublicans in 2010. they helped turn the country ina different direction. if the occupy people and thepeople who empathize with some of the views, like gwen andmary, they're going to have to vote in 2012.>> absolutely. i agree with that.>> here is how tom described the tea party movement.he said they got mad, they got organized, and they got here,meaning they got to washington
and got involved in the powerstructure. that is something that thus farwe've not seen, it seems to me, from the occupy movement.>> they're kind of 21st 21st century.this group is very broadly democratic.they're not intensely partisan. >> democratic like the party?>> this is not a partisan --. >>> it is not unusual to see orhear a news story with both kansas and abortion in the lead.but this story headline caught my attention.abortions in kansas are down.
interestingly, the number hasbeen dropping for the last five years.according to area planned parenthood president peterbrownly, the reduction is tied to tougher state laws and thedeath of dr. george tiller, the late term abortion provider.brownlee also noted that abortions are droppingnationwide, as are unplanned pregnancies.while brownlee says he is pleased by the kansas reduction,he suggests women are simply leaving kansas to have abortionsin states with less restrictive
laws.so do both pro-choice and pro-life advocates agree thatfewer abortions in kansas is good news?mary. >> they do.it is good. planned parenthood -- i knowpersonally that peter brownlee among them has always statedthat the goal of planned parenthood is to reduce thenumber of abortions by providing good health care for women,including contraception and sex education for young women, andall women, for that matter, and
good general health care.so the fact that there are fewer abortions pleases both sides ofthis highly political question. the thing that's going on rightnow in kansas, mike, is that governor brownback's ferociousefforts to bring down the heavy hand of government on women inevery aspect of their reproductive life.you know, in the line under planned parenthood on theirwebsite, it says to provide women with the knowledge and theopportunity and the freedom to control their own reproductivehealth.
and that particular goal is justnot going anyplace in kansas. the two laws right now that areabout to be made -- he'll sign anything.he will sign anything. he's about to sign a bill if itpasses that would allow hospitals to require thatdoctors not make referrals. suppose a woman has cancer andshe's pregnant and to require that the doctor not treat hercancer for fear that she might have an abortion, that's thekind of thing they're writing into the law.it's shocking, and people ought
to know about it.>> well, mike, i'm not a woman, but if i were a woman,republican or democrat, i would be so outraged at how mostlyrepublican lawmakers across this country, kansas, are treatingwomen these days. these are republicans orlegislators who say we want to keep government out of things.we want to keep government -- smaller government, all thatkind of stuff, and yet more and more of these matters thatreally ought to be left up to the women and the men infamilies in general are being
controlled now by thegovernment. all of virginia law, the kansaslaw, some of the stuff they're looking at in missouri, i mean,it really is -- if you just put yourself as a woman, i wouldjust be outraged. forget politics for a second,just the fact that they're trying to have governmentcontrol over so much of your life.it really is bad. >> but woody, there can be staterestrictions on abortions because of the supreme courtrulings.
>> well, that's right.look, the position of conservatives and pro-lifepeople, at least conservatives, longtime conservatives, hasalways been that this is an issue for the states.roe vs. wade was wrongly decided, and that the states dohave the right to regulate abortion, that they havetraditionally always done so. this wealth of laws that aregetting passed, a little thing here, and little thing there,that's all as a result of roe v wade.>> no.
>> listen to me.have i a right to finish and let me finish.what you had before that were broad based laws that abortionis either legal or illegal in this state.so it's illegal in this state. now the supreme court says youcan't do that but they say you can do some restrictions, so thelegislators respond by doing the restrictions.you regulate at the state level. we're acting on that.>> if you agree with what former president clinton used to say,gwen, abortion should be safe,
rare and legal.>> yes, i agree with that. i think a woman has a right tochoose, and i think that the system should provide safeoptions, legal options, and then, of course, it should bethe last resort, but it certainly is the woman's rightto choose. >> and that's what kansas lawseems to be achieving. >> most women agree with gwen.>> see, rare and legal. >>> all right.now we turn to roasts and toasts where the ruckettes pan orpraise people and events in the
news and we start tonight withmary. >> next wednesday, i want totoast coming up in the city of shawnee the kansas families foreducation celebrates their tenth anniversary.this wonderful and kind of grassroots organization thatstarted up 10 years ago, dave ravel and connie cook, we'regoing to honor them for ten years of service to being thebest advocates in the state of kansas for public education andpublic school children. it's at 7 o'clock, shawnee's oldshawnee town.
>>> well, last week, i waspraising the city council and mayor sly james, because ithought they were going to have the guts to finally do somethingabout the fire department's overstaffing.left the program, went back to city hall, stood by myfirefighter brothers, and they did have the guts to tell thefire fighting staff they had too many people.this is a toast to city council for finally taking that action.>>> a toast to the much maligned legislators in jefferson cityand specifically to
representative scott dick houseand to center jane cunningham, both of whom have managed to getbills moving. the one in the senate has beenperfected, that do something about the situation at ourpublic schools where seniority determines who gets to keeptheir job in layoffs, who has tenure and can't be fired.they're trying to fix that at long last.good work. >>> a toast to everyone whovoted on tuesday in what was really a lackluster election allacross the city, but getting out
to vote is important, and isalute you for doing so. those of you who stayed home,shame on ya. >>> and finally, a massive toastto actor will ferell for announcing he will return to thebig screen in anchorman: the legend of ron burgundy, thesequel. as devoted burgundy fans know,the original changed forever what we demand in quality motionpicture drama. >> i'm ron burgundy.>> you're so wise, and it's your buddha, covered in hair.>> no, no.
>> it is anchorman, not anchorlady. i don't know what we're yellingabout. >> what are you doing on ourstation's turf, burgundy? >> come get a taste.>> yea. >> and as ron might say, stayclassy, kansas city. >>> and that's ruckus for thisweek. nick haines will host kansascity week in review friday evening at 7:30.ruckus returns next thursday. now on behalf of the ruckettesand producer sean holmes, i'm
mike shanin saying happy easter,happy passover and thanks for watching.good night. >>> production underwriting forruckus has been made possible in part by the generouscontributions from fred and lou hard wig and from viewers --hartwig and from viewers like you.captioning provided by caption associates, llcwww.captionassociates.com