Bob Buckley for The Examiner: Chiefs Have Deep Roots Right Here

April 12, 2022

Bob Buckley, partner at White, Graham, Buckley & Carr, is a regular columnist for The Examiner of East Jackson County. In his latest column, Buckley writes about his affection for Independence and his desire to keep the Kansas City Chiefs in Jackson County.

The article, Chiefs have deep roots right here, was published in the April 12 edition of The Examiner. An excerpt from the article is below.

Twenty-one years ago, I left my law office on West Kansas Avenue and joined one of the best law firms in the state. Shortly after I joined the firm, one of my partners asked me when I was going to move to Lee’s Summit, where two of my partners lived. I told him that there would be snowballs in warm places before that happened. I have nothing against Lee’s Summit, but I have lived in Independence my entire life and now live in the house that was the family home when I grew up.

I am proud of my Independence roots. My mother grew up here and used to walk to the old Alton Elementary School on 23rd Street before attending William Chrisman. My father moved here in 1940 with his family and attended William Chrisman his senior year. My parents met at Chrisman and firmly planted their roots in the home on Waldo Avenue on the day my sister was born in March of 1951. My parents raised eight children, and all of us graduated from Chrisman. When my oldest stepson entered high school, I became active at Chrisman and have been there ever since, announcing games and supporting the programs.

Independence has changed a lot in the past 69 years. The Square was a vibrant place in the 1960s with large department stores and other shops. Urban Renewal, a federal program, came to Independence in the 1960s and changed the landscape of the Square and my neighborhood. Yet, in many respects my neighborhood is the same as it was in the 1960’s

Independence is still a good place to raise a family. It saddens me when parents who attended Independence high schools move to Blue Springs or Lee’s Summit. The demographics of the high schools have changed, but in many respects the diversity of the schools has made the schools better. The facilities in the district rival any in the state.

Independence has had its share of problems and has been the victim of some bad decisions. Yet visionary leadership ensured that the water wells that provide an unlimited supply of some of the best water in the world were under city control and the city-controlled electricity has provided affordable power for years.

Last Tuesday, the city elected a new mayor — Rory Rowland, whom I have known for over 30 years. I expect him to become the best mayor of the city in my lifetime. Rory has managed to avoid special interests through his four terms in the Missouri legislature and refused their money when he ran for office. He was elected because he used the old-fashioned way of reaching the voters. He knocked on their doors since last summer and listened to the voters. I suspect he will continue to knock to remain connected.

The best days of the city lie ahead. Therefore, when I read comments recently made by Mark Donovan, the president of the Kansas City Chiefs, in the Athletic, an online sports publication, about the city of Independence, it saddened and angered me.

To read the full article, visit The Examiner.