This podcast interview is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Player FM and right here:
Lee’s Summit city council meetings have been extremely contentious over the past eight months. Two council members have even called on each other to resign. One of them, Chris Moreno, is facing a recall election because some people are unhappy with his conduct at council meetings. But he remains steadfast. He talks here about his preparation for council meetings and how he deals with the criticism.
Q: On the day of the council meetings, what do you do to prepare? Do you have a ritual?
A: I just do a lot of studying. I do a lot of prayer, a lot of thinking about the agenda and the topic itself. I play a lot of worship music throughout my breaks.
Q: Interesting. When you were first elected, did you have to do an orientation on things like how to make a motion and how to debate?
A: Yeah, Robert’s Rules of Order and all that good stuff. I was a debater in high school, so I kind of knew [that stuff].
Q: Where did the debating team stand in the social hierarchy in your high school?
A: I was a basketball guy. I loved basketball and so when I was introduced to debate, I kind of was like, “this is not for me.” But I loved the challenge. I loved public speaking. Playing sports, my friends–I loved them all, but we weren’t exactly straight-A students, you know?
Q: Gotcha. So, it came out last year that allegedly Council Member Diane Forte improperly got city contracts for her own business. You were very critical of her and it bled over into the council meetings. You said this about her:
I personally do not believe that after the lies you told to the cameras and to this body, that this can continue to go on.
Here was her response:
To come on this council and try to destroy relationships that I have built in this city–if anyone’s going to resign, it’s not going to be me! It’s going to be you!
How do you think the other council members and staff felt while this was going on?
A: The context of this was: that was four weeks later and she was refusing to acknowledge her illegal business deals. For me, this isn’t personal. For me, it’s about government. We should not have politicians profiting off of taxpayer dollars.
Q: You are facing a recall election in April. Can you think of anything you said–or the way in which you said it–at the council meetings that you would have done differently?
A: No. I think I actually was more courteous than what I should have been. I couldn’t say right then and there, “you have deals that violated state law.” Looking back, I wish I would have.
Q: You once called the public comment at your council meetings a “Jerry Springer Show.” What would you do to reform it?
A: We have these people coming in with an agenda: to personally attack politicians on grounds that have nothing to do with city business. That being said, I’m not opposed to criticism. They have a right to do it. But we should not allow for a political campaign to take place at the dais.
Follow Council Member Chris Moreno on Twitter: @MorenoDadKC
6 thoughts on “Interview #32: Lee’s Summit, MO Council Member Chris Moreno (with podcast)”
His personal dealings are related. He has a proven history of financial irresponsibility, fraud and embezzlement. He can deny it all he wants, it happened. There is no reason or justification to have him anywhere near making decisions for a municipality he doesn’t even pay property taxes in other than a car from a buy here pay here lot.
How has he harmed LS?
He was elected.
I would think you’d want him to be successful! I feel like you are the guy on the airplane who hates the pilot! You’re spending a lot of money and a lot of time and embarrassing Lees Summit, when what you should be doing is getting behind your elected officials supporting them and hoping they do the very best they can do!
I live in District 4! Many of the people who signed this petition don’t even live in our District.
The Jackson County Election Board are the ones that verified the signatures. All 624 were found to be registered voters of district 4. As is the requirement stated in our City Charter. That particular falsehood is regurgitated propaganda put out by Mr. Moreno himself!
To further understand the truth behind his recall opposition, please take the time to browse through this.
My name is Louise Horner I am chairperson of the Recall Moreno Committee. We have heard from voters that signed the recall petition that Councilman Moreno has been knocking on their doors introducing himself as “their district 4 Councilman”. It has made them feel intimidated and suspicious of his motives. During his campaign he knocked on a lot of doors. Now he’s only knocking on the doors of those that wish to see him recalled. Not so subtle of him, intimidation of people is one of his operating tactics. Why is he not knocking on the doors of the recall petition people to find out why we ‘re recalling him? Because he knows we will hold him accountable! He also tries to make us seem like part of “the establishment and good ole boys network”. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are longtime Lees Summit citizens and tax payers. We are regular families. For some of us, it’s our first time being politically involved. We just happen to see Mr. Moreno for what he really is, a toxic, chaotic, and divisive person that has brought nothing but dysfunction to our city government.
On December 9th, one week before receiving the results from a tax payer funded audit, Moreno made a slam motion to have the sheriffs office look into the legality of all of the city staff and possible violations of state statues.
One week later the audit found that staff and council did not knowingly violate state statutes. Your claim of busting fictional corruption was not supported by that audit. The audit found that a few mistakes were made but overall staff strived to adhere to rules and laws.
The people of Lees Summit have repeatedly asked Mr. Moreno earn their respect by doing the job that we pay him for. The people of Lees Summit have begged him to stop the divisive faction forming way of pitting one half of council against the other. The people of Lees Summit are now asking him once again to step down. The people of Lees Summit say that he is not representing them! He is not what the people of district 4, thought they were getting. He represents only himself because we are a stepping stone for his imagined political future. Moreno is not who or what he claimed to be, and on April 4th our voices will finally be heard!