Sunday, March 22, 2015

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BREAKING NEWS
Defendants in She’s A Pistol murder also charged in Raytown robberies FROM THE KANSAS CITY STAR
Two of the four men charged in Johnson County with the Jan. 9 shooting death of a Shawnee gun store owner are also charged in connection with two Raytown robberies and an assault.Londro Patterson III, 20, was charged this week in Jackson County in a January robbery of the Whiskey Barrel liquor store on Raytown Road. One employee was shot in that robbery. READ MORE



BY GREG WALTERS
Tempers Flare 
at Political Meetings
Discussions turned into arguments at two political meetings this past week. In both instances, the disagreements were over the proposed Charter voters will consider on Tuesday, April 7th.

WILDWOOD HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION
The Wildwood Homeowners Association has held candidate forums on a regular basis for many years. So it was not a surprise when more than 30 people showed up to hear candidates for Mayor, Board of Aldermen and the Raytown School Board. Also in attendance to speak were Raytown Charter Commissioners Ted Bowman, Sandy Hartwell and Lisa Emerson.

The fuse for the fireworks was lit when the Secretary of the Homeowners Association, Witty Wittman, informed members from the Charter Commission they would not be allowed to speak because they were not on the agenda.

Upon hearing of Mrs. Wittman’s decision, one of the candidates for Aldermen, Chris Rathbone, offered to give his speaking time to the Charter Commissioners.

After some informal discussions between officers of the Homeowners Association, the President of the Association, Gabriel Rant, decided all guests would be allowed to speak.

Both Mayoral candidates then gave their speeches. As with all of the public events between Pat Ertz and Michael McDonough, the discussion was cordial and upbeat.

The same cannot be said about the confrontation between Ward 2 incumbent Jim Aziere and one of his challengers, Chris Rathbone.

Aziere touched on comments about his college education and the fact that he did not "go to Vietnam” instead of going to school to get a degree in teaching. His comments referred to a letter to the editor published in the Raytown Times in which Aziere stated he feared the Board of Aldermen could easily become dominated by politicians without college degrees.

Rathbone replied in a letter to the Times and the Raytown Report that “he does not have a college degree because he was fighting in Iraq.” Rathbone is an Iraqi war veteran.

Aziere also complained of his yard signs being sandwiched between opposing candidate yard signs, saying such conduct was unsportsmanlike and underhanded.

Amy Tittle and Thomas Estlund, both candidates for the Raytown School Board spoke on their vision for the Raytown School District.

Ted Bowman then spoke on behalf of the Raytown Charter Commission. He spoke of the merits of the Charter stressing that the document gave a stronger voice to the people. He told listeners that once enacted, the Charter can only be amended by a direct vote of Raytown citizens.

Finally, Mayor David Bower was asked by Witty Wittman to say a few words. Bower went into a lengthy 10 minutes speech in which he repeatedly voiced his opposition to the Charter. He told the audience that if the Charter passed Raytown City Government would be “turned on its head”.

RAYTOWN DEMOCRATIC ASSOCIATION
The Raytown Democratic Association (RDA) regularly holds candidate forums at its meetings. Candidates are allowed at the beginning of the monthly meetings to speak briefly about their campaigns. They are also invited to mix with club members before and after the meeting.

At last Thursday’s meeting two members of the Charter Commission, Jason Greene and Sandy Hartwell presented information to the audience of about 35 people on the merits of the Charter.

At the end of the presentation, one member of the Raytown Democratic Association (RDA), Paul Ertyl, made a motion to endorse the proposed Charter.

Another member of the RDA, Michael Downing, objected to the motion because he had “doubts” about the Charter. This brought a rejoinder from former Raytown Alderman Jerry Briggs (who served on the 2005 Charter Commission) who questioned Downing’s motives. 

President of the RDA, Richard Tush stepped in to rule that a vote was not scheduled on the agenda, he did, however, allow discussion to continue.

The next public discussion of the proposed Raytown Charter is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24th at Raytown City Hall. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. The public will be able to direct its questions to Raytown Charter Commissioners in an open discussion.

Thank You Candidates!
The Raytown Report would like to thank the following candidates for sharing information with the public about their campaigns and plans for Raytown. 

Pat Ertz, Tommy Estlund, Mike McDonough, Chris Rathbone, Ryan Myers, Mary Jane VanBuskirk, Eric Teeman and Greg Walters. 

You have done the public a service by running for election in Raytown and for taking the time to expand on your ideas before them on the Raytown Report. Good luck to all of you!

Public Forums Highlight 
Final Week of Campaigns 
Two public forums highlight the final week of campaigning for candidates and the Raytown Charter issue this coming week. Both meetings will be held at Raytown City Hall.

RAYTOWN CHARTER COMMISSION FORUM
Tuesday, March 24th, 7:00 p.m. 
On Tuesday, March 24th, the Raytown Charter Commission will host its last public forum before the April 7th Municipal Election. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. The format used by Commissioners at its last public forum in which a free flowing debate between Commissioners and the public was allowed will be in play at the meeting. The Charter Commission attorney will also be on hand to answer any specific questions about the proposed document as well. 

CANDIDATE MEET AND GREET
Tuesday, March 31st, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
On Tuesday, March 31st, the League of Women Voters will hold a candidate Meet and Greet for Mayoral and City Council candidates. The Mayoral candidate portion of the meeting will start at 6:30 and end at 7:15. Council candidates will be given five minutes each to address the public.  After which the audience will be invited to meet with candidates individually.


BY PAUL LIVIUS
The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – March 17, 2015

The Board passed a resolution approving the appointment of Steve Ricard to the Human Relations Commission.

The Board passed a resolution approving the appointment of Anthony Moore to the Human Relations Commission.

The Board passed a resolution the appointment of Rex Block to the Human Relations Commission.

The Board approved a resolution for the advertising in the City’s newsletter.  Brenda Gustafson told the Board the City is considering sending out the newsletter four times a year.  She told the Board she polled the cities of Gladstone, Raymore, Lee’s Summit, and Prairie Village for their guidelines for their own newsletters.  She found most of the cities have similar guidelines to what we are proposing.  The newsletter costs around $11,000.00 (68 cents per piece) for design, print, postage and mail services.  By selling advertising, we have the opportunity to partner with the business community to help offset these costs to the City’s budget.

She said the City would not receive the monies.  All revenue would go to the Raytown Community Betterment Fund (RCBF), held through Truman Heartland Community Foundation.This fund would be responsible for receiving payments for advertisement and for paying the bills that are generated by the publication of the newsletter.

The City’s Newsletter shall accept only commercial advertisements.  Noncommercial advertisements for the purpose of expressing political or religious messages, or messages otherwise related to public issues will not be accepted.  Advertisements which propose a commercial transaction but which have a primarily non-commercial purpose shall not be accepted.

Alderman Van Buskirk asked why religious advertising would not be allowed.  He pointed out there are close to 60 churches in Raytown.  They all have fundraiser at different times of the year, and this would be a good vehicle for advertising.Ms. Gustafson said they did not want to restrict religious messages.  The staff would probably allow advertising of fundraisers.  Mr. Van Buskirk pointed out it is part of the resolution.  Mahesh Sharma said it was procedural guidelines.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of parts and supplies for police vehicles from Ed Roehr Safety Products in an amount not to exceed $21,810.00.  The Board was told the Police Department has purchased four new Ford Police Interceptors in FY15.  Since they have adopted a new vehicle platform the department will require new up fit equipment (exterior lighting) designed to fit the new vehicle dimensions.  Ed Roehr will provide the lights and sirens for the vehicles.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of safety equipment from Garon Marketing in an amount not to exceed $18,163.00.  The Police Department has purchased four new Ford Police Interceptors in FY15.  Garon Marketing will provide gun racks, window bars, partitions, etc. for the police vehicles.

The Board passed a resolution supporting the work of the Raytown Communities for all Ages Task Force and adopting the concepts, strategies and programs of the task force.  John Benson said in 2014, the City appointed a Task Force to discuss and develop aspects that can make a community more livable for residents of all ages.  The work of this Task Force was a part of the ongoing efforts to promote neighborhood revitalization.  Additionally, the  Task Force was one of four pilot community task forces in the Kansas City region that were discussing these same issues that are designed to help the communities and the region prepare to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges presented by the growing number of older and younger adults.  As a result of the work of the Task Force and those in Gladstone, Prairie Village, Kansas; and Mission, Kansas, categories were identified.  Each category has suggested policies and action steps that can help guide communities so that they can become more livable for all residents.  The categories identified include:

• Public outdoor spaces and buildings;

• Housing and commercial development;

• Transportation and mobility;

• Social inclusion, and communication and participation;

• Civic participation and employment; and

• Community and health services.

The work from each of these task forces has been used to create a checklist that other communities can now use to assess their respective communities to determine what, if anything, they may want to address the increasing number of younger and older adults and to make their community more livable for their residents.  A copy of the checklist is attached.  The categories identified, as well as the recommended policies and action steps, will form the basis for further community discussion as part of the Briefings and Brainstorming Sessions that will be held over the next few months.

The Board   passed an ordinance granting a conditional use permit to operate a vehicle rental business at 9400 and 9600 E. 53rd Place.  Last meeting, Neal Clevenger, on behalf of Emanuel Barger told the Board they are seeking approval of a Conditional Use Permit application to allow a U-Haul rental business to operate at 9400 and 9600 E. 53rd Place.  Mr. Barger would be the owner of the U-Haul business and would lease the property from Mr. Clevenger.  The property contains two buildings with parking for the U-Haul vehicles as well as for parking of customer and employee vehicles.  The applicant has submitted a site plan indicating the location of the buildings and the parking spaces in which the U-Haul vehicles would be parked.

The Board approved an ordinance granting an amendment to the architectural design standards specified in the Crescent Creek Design Manual.  The Planning & Zoning Commission voted to recommend approval of the following amendments.  Driveways in the front yard are permitted only for lots that do not have alley access and shall be a maximum of twenty (20) feet wide.  Garage Doors shall not face a street if alley access is available.  Where a garage door faces a street the following standards shall apply:

1. Not more than twenty-two (22) feet of the garage, inclusive of the garage door, shall extend beyond the sidewall of the primary structure on the lot.

2. The front of the garage shall not extend in front of the front plane of the house.

The Crescent Creek subdivision was approved by the City of Raytown in 2004 as a Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) development.  As a TND development, certain design standards were proposed by the developer and adopted by the City as part of the Planned Development Overlay Zoning District for the subdivision.  The adopted standards include, but are not limited to such design aspects as:

• Emphasis on human scale architecture through such design aspects as porches or covered stoops in front each front door entry on every home and garages not be located in front of homes;

• The subdivision emphasizing pedestrian amenities and walkability through design aspects such as sidewalks along all streets; smaller lot sizes relative to the size of lots in conventional residential subdivisions; and homes being constructed closer to the front property line than conventional residential subdivisions; and

• A variety of residential housing types that includes single-family homes, paired houses (e.g. duplexes) and townhomes.

After beginning construction on single-family homes as well as one townhome building, the housing market softened and ultimately crashed.  This caused the Crescent Creek subdivision to go into foreclosure.  In late 2013 the bank sold Crescent Creek who in turned sold it to a new developer.  Kirk Miles on behalf of the new developer, Crescent Creek Revitalization, LLC, is seeking approval of an amendment to the Architectural Design Standards in the Crescent Creek Design Manual that was approved as part of their rezoning application for this development.  The amendment being sought relates to the width of driveways between the front of the house and the street and to the garage door restrictions on page 53 of the Design Manual.  The regulations currently specify the following:

• “Driveways in the front yard are permitted only for lots that do not have alley access and shall be a maximum of ten (10) feet wide.”

• “Garage doors shall not face a street if alley access is available.  Where a garage door   faces a street, no more than nine (9) feet of a garage door shall extend no further than nine (9) feet beyond the plane of the sidewall of the primary structure on the lot.”

According to the applicant, this requirement presents several problems with regard to the entire development.

1. The current design results in severe parking problems.  The parking problem has negatively affected property values and causes ill will between homeowners.

2. The current restrictions on driveways and garages have rendered the development unmarketable because the costs of concrete and other related materials for rear entry garages are excessive.  Current real estate market conditions will not support the home values that were previously sold when the project first stated over 10 years ago.

3. Unless changes are made to the garage requirements, the total costs of constructing new houses will be outside the market and further delay for years the development of Crescent Creek.

4. The increase to twenty-two (22) feet allows for a two-car garage to be built, which will help alleviate the severe parking problem and improve ability to market homes in this development.

In addition to the problems the current driveway and garage door regulations create, staff has noted the following issues that relate to these design requirements.

5. Several corner lots do not have alley access for the garage and these corner lots are not of a size that will allow the garage to be tucked behind the house in any manner.  Existing homes located on the corner of Arlington Avenue and 57th Street and at Arlington and 57th Terrace are both prime examples of this and have driveways and garages constructed that would comply with the proposed amendment.

6. This restriction on perimeter lots that do not have alley access necessitate the garages to be front loaded.  As such the current standards require garages to be tucked behind the house as more than 9-feet of garage door are currently not permitted to extend beyond the plane of the sidewall of the house.  In order to obtain access to the garage door for a two-car garage, the garage has to sit far back from the house resulting in a large portion of the back yard being taken up by concrete for the driveways and the garage itself.  In addition, some of the driveways could be as long as 80-feet in length.  Based upon the problems described above, the applicant is requesting that the existing regulation be replaced with the following language:

• Driveways in the front yard are permitted only for lots that do not have alley access and shall be a maximum of twenty (20) feet wide.

• Garage Doors shall not face a street if alley access is available.  Where a garage door faces a street the following standards shall apply:

• Not more than twenty-two (22) feet of the garage, inclusive of the garage door, shall extend beyond the sidewall of the primary structure on the lot.

• The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the above requested amendment subject to the following additional language being added to the Garage Door amendment.

• The front of the garage shall not extend in front of the front plane of the house.

Mayor Bower closed the meeting by thanking Anthony Scardi for attending.  The mayor said Anthony was working on a Boy Scout badge and wished him good luck on his trail to Eagle.



BY JENN
Healthy Easter 
Dessert Recipes
Easter is quickly approaching! But instead of putting the processed sugary stuff in our Easter baskets, we prefer to whip up these healthy Easter dessert recipes instead. They’re just a few of our favorites from around the web — plus one of our own in-house faves! READ MORE





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Sunday, March 15, 2015

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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The Fog of War, 
BY GREG WALTERS
its First Victim 
and Truth Watch
Politics has been compared to a bloodless type of warfare in which opponents work hard to build alliances to further their cause. The character and direction of how a community is governed sets in the balance of the makeup of the victors vying for the leadership of that community.

The Fog of War is a term given to the uncertainty of the period of time up to the day of decision. In Raytown’s case, that day of decision will be April 7th.

The first victim of any conflict, particularly in politics, is the truth.  Depending on our own personal beliefs and experiences, we recognize our own version of what we believe to be accurate.

TRUTH WATCH
A good example of this would be an argument I have read and heard about during the campaign regarding the Raytown Charter.

It has to do with what should not be a controversial discussion about a residency requirement for the Raytown City Administrator. Consider the following.

Here is the key sentence from the Raytown Code of Ordinances regarding the residency requirement of Raytown’s City Administrator. It has been on the books since 1969 and was last revised in 1994.


FROM THE RAYTOWN CODE OF ORDINANCES (Code 1969, § 2-152; Ord. No. 4014-94, § 1, 7-19-1994)
The person appointed to the office of city administrator shall be at least 25 years of age and shall be a resident of the city at the time of the effective date of such appointment.

FROM THE 2015 RAYTOWN CHARTER (2015 Raytown Charter, Article 5, Section 5.5a)
The City Administrator shall reside in the City or shall establish primary residency in the City within six (6) months of appointment and must maintain primary residency within the City during the entirety of the time in position.**

As the reader can see, the Charter does not change the law that has been on the books (in its present form) since 1994. In fact, the Charter re-enforces the residency requirement because if the Charter is approved by the voters, only the voters will have ability to change it.

So how is it that we have, residentially speaking, an absentee City Administrator?

The record is very clear on how this happened. The Board of Alderman, by a vote of nine to one* set aside the residency requirement for City Administrator Mahesh Sharma when he was hired to the position.

Three years later, Mahesh Sharma went back to the Board for another extension of the requirement.  The last time, the Board gave Sharma a $30,000 salary increase.

Whether or not that action was legal is another question. Can a City Council, without regard to how a law is written, vote to ignore the law? Under the Fourth Class City they did so. Under a Charter form of government ONLY the voters have the authority to change the requirement.

So there you have it. The residency requirement is not as controversial as some would have you believe. It is not a new law. It is not part of some grand conspiracy. It is the same requirement that 38 other Charter cities have in Missouri.

*For the record, two candidates for the Board of Aldermen voted on the residency requirement when Mahesh Sharma was hired as City Administrator. Greg Walters voted to uphold the law as written.  Jim Aziere voted to pay no attention to the residency requirement.  

**The Charter also allows the Board of Aldermen to approve a six-month extension for the City Administrator to move to Raytown if good cause is shown.

The following two guest articles are from Chris Rathbone, candidate for Alderman in Ward 2, and Tommy Estlund, Candidate for the Raytown School Board. All Raytown candidates are invited to send an article to the Raytown Report for publication. Candidate reports will be posted in the order of which they are received. Five candidates have posted on the Raytown Report. They are Greg Walters, Mike McDonough, Pat Ertz, Mary Jane VanBuskirk, Ryan Myers, and Eric Teeman.

Chris Rathbone, Candidate for Alderman
My letter is in response to Ward 2 Alderman/Charter Commissioner Jim Aziere's letter to the editor published in the Raytown Times March 11 issue.

He states his reasons for not signing his name to the Charter Document after the final vote. He complains about the Board of Alderman having too much power. He says it is a "shift" in power from the Mayor and City Administrator to the Board of Alderman. First of all, this mirrors the way our city currently runs. Second, Mr. Aziere actually voted for this to be included in the Charter on August 11.

He also says another reason he refused to sign the Charter is that it takes away the right to hire, fire, and set the salary of the Parks and Rec. director away from the Parks Board and shifts it to the Board of Alderman.  Mr. Aziere also voted for this to be included in the Charter on October 13.

He says he did not sign the Charter because he believed for those reasons listed above, that that this charter is not good for Raytown because a powerful Board of Alderman and a weak Mayor will hinder professional government. Why in the world would he have voted yes on these issues and then speak out against the Charter because of these things? My conclusion is that either he was dead set on sabotaging the Charter from the beginning, or that he never paid any attention at the meetings and the things that were being voted on.

He asks, "Do we really want to place the most power in the hands of the Board of Alderman whose members oftentimes don't have college degrees or experience in government?" I don't know if he is talking about Alderman Steve Mock, businessman Steve Meyers, who is running for Alderman, or me, with the comment about not having a college degree. Well I am sorry that I do not have a degree Mr. Aziere, I was a little busy fighting in Iraq, so I do not yet have a college degree.

I ask this question, do we really want someone who purposely misleads us, or does not pay attention at meetings that he was elected to, to continue to represent us?

For those of you who are unaware, I am running against Mr. Aziere for Alderman in Ward 2. I fully support this Charter and I would appreciate your vote on April 7. We need to get those politicians out of office, who believe they can lie to us and get away with it.

If you have any questions of me I can be reached at 816-730-0385 or at crathbone78@yahoo.com
 

Tommy Estlund,
Candidate for School Board
Why I’m Running.

The day that I filed to be a candidate for the Raytown School Board, I went to one of our beautiful parks with my wife and four children. It was an unexpectedly beautiful January day, and we wanted to seize that opportunity to be outside, and a part of our community.

When we got to the park, we started chatting with another father who was there. I was still experiencing a natural high from the excitement of running and wanted to connect with another Raytown father. I was even toying with the possibility of saying something like, “So, hey, guess what! I’m running for school board!” when the man said something that temporarily took the wind out of my sails.

“Yeah, we live here now, but we’re moving to Lee’s Summit just as soon as we can.”

Argh! Don’t we hear that all the time? It’s almost as if Raytown is just a stop on everyone’s way to their hoped for final destination.

Here’s the thing: Raytown is way too cool of a place to be just a rest stop on the way to better stomping grounds. Raytown is awesome! From Benetti’s Coffee Experience, which offers some of the best coffee in the KC Metro, to Smith Brothers Hardware, a gem of a store, that offers service and products way better than any of the big box stores.

We have beautiful parks, with fantastic play equipment and great walkable paths. Not to mention that because of our location, we’re close to other attractions like the Kansas City Zoo and Starlight Theater. We could practically hear the excitement from Kauffman Stadium during the 2014 World Series!

One of the things that I love about Raytown is the diversity we have here. I love that we can go to the park and our kids can play with kids who don’t look exactly like them. I love that when we go to school events there are so many different races and ethnicities represented. I love that this community of ours is not all the same.

My point? Raytown is way too good to be a stop on the way to happy living in other suburbs.

But, let’s be honest: we can do better. And this leads me back to why I am running for School Board. Schools are the backbone of a community, and I’ve spent the last fifteen years working as a teacher and alongside teachers to help students and families. I want to help us do two things:

1.) Get the word out on how awesome our community already is. We need better communication between our schools and the community. And . . . 

2.) Get even better. Through fostering policies that improve the inclusiveness of our schools, improve motivation in our students, and support for our faculty and staff. While I clearly think we are as good as other suburbs, there are always ways to improve. While I see that we have wonderful businesses and people already in our community, a focused effort to bring research based, inclusive change to our schools is a way to bring vigor and new life to this community. I see that a change in our schools can help us become a closer knit, more prosperous, and cutting edge city.

My candidacy is my way of saying, “Let’s do this thing. We are Raytown.”
tommy.estlund@gmail.com or (816) 737-9939

Our Mailbox is Bursting!
Most readers post comments on the blog portion of the Raytown Report. The following essays were too large for that format. One is a letter from one of our writers we have not heard from for quite some time, that master scribe, the Salamander. The other is from Ward 2 Alderman Jason Greene. Alderman Greene's letter was mailed to a large number of Raytowners last week. For those who have not seen the letter, they can check it out here.

The Salamander Returns!

They're BAAAACCCKKKK....

Yes. They most certainly are back.

By "They," your Salamander means The Raytown Charter Cabal.

Every 10 years these "Pollyannas" rise from the ashes to once again persuade voters that Raytown needs to change to a form of government which has a record of waste and inefficiency that would pale the spenders in Washington.

Amazingly, their line of biliousness never changes.

This charter attempt is the fifth in a little over two generations. We are hearing the same sales pitch.

One would think this group would come up with something new.

Not a chance. Every time it is the same verbal garbage and pie-in-the-sky promises.

We are told a move to charter status will give Raytowners an independence never heard of the annals of government.

Can't you just see it now? Our city fathers, literally will be "thumbing their noses" at Jefferson City and anyone else who gets in the way. That is what we are being promised.

A completely absurd concept. Instead of all this independence, a charter city government will impose more regulations than you could imagine. The fact is that there are many, many more statutes governing charter cities than govern 4th class cities such as Raytown.


When one looks at the myriad of laws which apply to Charter cities it explains why a number of towns which once had a charter have discarded this form of government. The charter is an open invitation to circumvent the rules of honest and prudent government.

Just as it has in many charter cities, a charter's implementation can easily lead to uncontrolled spending and horrendous increases in bureaucracy.

When you vote in a charter you have no idea what kind of government you are going to get.

Proof of the ambivalent and basic jabberwocky of the charter writers' intent can be found in a propaganda piece the commission distributed. This is what was written in the brochure's "Executive Summary":

"In order to allow appropriate flexibility, details and specificity have been deliberately avoided."

Translated, this bit of gibberish means, "Once we a get a charter we are going to do just what we want to."

If there is another interpretation of their twisting verbosity your Salamander would like to know what it is.

One could go on for pages but "another day, another column." We will take a further in-depth look at this document which, if implemented will give Raytown the Kansas City kind of government. 


Letter from Alderman Jason Greene
I believe we are entering an exciting time for our community. The elections for Mayor, Aldermen and a City Charter represent an opportunity to decide what we value and want from our city government. I want to expound on the letter I mailed out to make some things clearer that space didn’t permit before.

While running for Alderman in 2013, I had the pleasure to speak with many people about the direction of our city. Some people were concerned that the Public Safety Sales Tax was not being spent as was promised to voters.  In checking into this I found that City Hall claims that nearly all extra police positions promised were filled under the new sales tax; that is true. What we didn’t see in the publications is that nearly an equal number of positions were reduced in the General Fund so in essence tax payers are paying an extra ½ cent for little to nothing. Obviously this little detail was not mentioned to the Citizen Sales Tax Oversight Committee.

Beyond this, I noticed others felt they weren’t being included in the political process and there was a lack of sincere communication and transparency from City Hall.

I really was excited to be elected to the Board of Aldermen and I was ready to work to make a difference, not only for my ward, but the entire city.  But, right after I was elected, the Walmart discussions began. Honestly I was embarrassed by the disrespect, both on and off camera, which was demonstrated toward many members of the public who had concerns about that proposal. 

During and after these debates I witnessed a disturbing pattern whereby those who dared to disagree with this administration were further alienated from the political process. Cronyism became apparent through removals, appointments or lack of appointments to committees and subcommittees. Biased and inconsistent rules were applied to those who were favored or those who were not. Juvenile and unprofessional tactics were employed to prevent board members from discussing things like the Farmer’s Market or even the Raytown High/South High football game, while talking about other events at BOA meetings were acceptable, because of who brought the issue up.
Unfortunately, personal vendettas have caused the police department to be attacked. Also, these employees are being blamed for a retirement plan that was passed by voters in 1966.  Minority members on the board have been virtually powerless to bring up discussions.

I noticed that special and selective meetings were a common practice with the mayor and some aldermen, making one wonder if voting and comments at board meetings had been pre-decided.  Just one example of this was seen with the proposed EMS/FIRE merger presented by the Raytown Fire Department.  A majority of the committee wished to establish dialog to at least hear the proposal, examine the possible benefits and discuss changes to see if it could be something good for Raytown.  However, only one meeting took place before this committee was dissolved by a unilateral action, proving again that not all Aldermen’s vote was equal. This is hardly what most would consider “Open Government”.

Most recently, unfounded rumors and accusations have been launched about the Charter. Even though the Charter process was initiated by a large majority of Raytown voters, it was deemed “not city business”. Clarifications or updates were openly discouraged at Board of Aldermen meetings.  Until recently the city web-site did not even mention the Charter.

As a new Alderman, it has been disheartening to witness this inconsistent and divisive culture that has ultimately hindered our community’s progress. Over the last two years I found myself becoming discouraged by the group-think mentality by some at City Hall, which has prevented the real discussion of any problems or their solutions. Healthy debate makes our town stronger. Being told what to say or think does not.

Given these and many other experiences, I am concerned about anyone running for office in April who wishes to continue this mentality of business as usual, and has stayed silent about this exclusionary leadership style. I believe that every voice, regardless of who it comes from, should be heard in a respectful and collaborative manner in order to create the unifying approach that’s needed to ultimately move our city forward.

For these reasons, I am supporting Michael McDonough for Mayor.

Mr. McDonough has an honest approach to the concerns of a variety of citizens, not just a select few. Mike has maintained a respectful attitude toward the many different perspectives of our community, both publically and privately.

Through 40 years of service to our community, from his previous career with the police department, service on the Charter Commission and numerous charitable endeavors, Mr. McDonough has consistently shown an ability to solve problems and bring people together. In doing so, he expresses a passion for our community. Mike McDonough’s strength is his ability to build bridges and make decisions with only one goal in mind -the people of Raytown. I believe Mr. McDonough has an optimistic vision for this community that looks forward; he has shown the ability to lead through challenges.   

The time is NOW to move forward and put the politics of the past behind us. It will be encouraging to work with newly elected people who can visualize Raytown’s full potential. I hope you will join me in voting for Mike McDonough for Mayor on Tuesday April 7th, 2015. I look forward to his consistent and honest leadership that will include us all.

Respectfully,

Jason Greene, Alderman Ward 2

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