Sunday, January 15, 2017


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Hat in the Ring Club
In 1912 Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt announced “My hat’s in the ring”, to say he had decided to enter the race for President of the United States. It was the first recorded use of the idiom, “My hat’s in the ring” in a political sense. Prior to his announcement the phrase simply meant the speaker was entering some sort of contest.

Roosevelt had succeeded William McKinley, who was assassinated shortly after taking office in 1901. He went on to win the Presidency on his own in 1904. After his second term was complete, he retired from public life only to return four years later to run for President in 1912.

He was denied the Republican nomination.  Formed his own party, nicknamed the Bull Moose Party, and ran second in a four way race for President.

Theodore Roosevelt was one of America’s most popular Presidents. He is immortalized on Mount Rushmore along with Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.

So, in the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt, I wish to announce “my hat’s in ring” for the seat left vacant by former Alderman Josh Greene when he resigned as Ward 1 Alderman last year.

For those who do not know me. I served on the Raytown Board of Aldermen from 1980 - 1996 and 1998 – 2009. I believe the experience from those 27 years of public service will be an asset at city hall.

I have been watching the new Mayor and Board of Aldermen at work since they took office two years ago and have been impressed. I hope to be able to join them in shaping Raytown’s future.

Last week I wrote a story about former Raytown Alderman Joe Creamer’s comments regarding the Police Department’s policy on trips. Mr. Creamer had written: “I am waiting for a return of a request for information on how many out of town meetings Chief Jim Lynch attended in the last year.”

Mr. Creamer sent us a copy of a message he says came from Raytown City Clerk Teresa Henry. Since we had written the story on our main page, we thought it appropriate that we run his response in the same venue. Following is a copy of the email Creamer sent us (printed in bold italics). City Clerk Henry’s response is shown below Creamer’s email to the Raytown Report.

From: Joe Creamer []
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2017 6:59 PM

This is the response received from the city clerk in regards to my sunshine
request for travel expense for Chief Lynch, not a shot from the hip. You can do with it what you want.

From: Teresa Henry <>
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2016 3:18 PM
To: Joe Creamer


I have asked Chief Lynch for this information in response to your request. 
The answer that I was given in regards to your request was:

“Teresa, meeting costs are not tracked.”
Teresa M. Henry, MRCC
City Clerk
City of Raytown, Missouri

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Creamer refers to his request as a “sunshine request”. The term typically is used to describe a formal request for information from a governmental source through what is known as the Sunshine Law (in Missouri). We do not know if Mr. Creamer has requested the information through powers outlined under the Sunshine Law. Expenditures of public funds in Missouri is a legitimate item to request information on under the Sunshine Law.

Our Blog Rules 

This story grew out of a complaint we received from a blogger that we “censor” what is written to the Blog section of the Raytown Report. We have written about the rules on the Raytown Report Blog in the past. But as the complaint illustrates, it is time we did so again.

Here is a short version of the rules as concerns the Blog section of the Raytown Report.

PROFANITY IS NOT ALLOWED: That includes suggested profanity where diacritical figures are used in the place of letters. Such ad “smart**s". We reserve the right to remove such words and replace them with more civil language.

BLOGGERS NEED NOT SIGN THEIR NAME: However, if their message is of a personal nature aimed at another individual with allegations that are unsubstantiated to the editors of the Raytown Report, it will probably not be posted. If the blogger wants to hone in on a certain target, they are free to do so. However, they must sign their name to the attack piece they have written. We reserve the right to verify the signature before publication. So far, there have not been any takers on this last offer. Paul and I contend it is possible to disagree on issues of the day without getting in the dirt to do so.

That is pretty much the long and short of it. There are other social media outlets in Raytown. They rarely talk about each other – or, more than likely, their names are not allowed in each other’s publications. We have often wondered why not? The goal of all social media should be to disseminate and share information.

With that thought in mind, Paul has put together a growing list of the different news outlets, be they Facebook, Newspaper, or Electronic news/blog like the Raytown Report.

I have put together a growing list of social media outlets in Raytown that focus on Raytown area news. I hope you find them enlightening.

RAYTOWN REPORT: Of course, I am going to start with the Raytown Report. It is the oldest blog/social media outlet in Raytown. Two former Aldermen in Raytown began publication of the Raytown Report in 1997. It has changed over the years to the news blog you see today. It is published on a weekly basis. The focus of the Raytown Report is Raytown area politics and local news of interest.

RAYTOWN UNLEASHED: Raytown Unleashed is a Facebook page that keeps a lively conversation going on about all sorts of Raytown topics. It might be recipes, available services around town, school news, and, of course local politics. Susan Vorbeck Brown manages the page. She also is the editor of the page. Apparently, she has found out, as did Greg and I, that it is wise to make certain what is published is factual. Therefore, she reviews ALL posts before they are released.

RAYTOWN UNCENSORED: Raytown Uncensored is another Facebook page created because some did not like their copy censored. Hence, the name Raytown Uncensored. Be forewarned: If you visit this site, it is  not for children who are learning to read because it truly is uncensored and apparently anything is allowed on the page.

RAYTOWN ONLINE: Raytown Online is a blog somewhat similar to the Raytown Report.  It was created after the Raytown Report. However, the majority of the stories printed are news releases from other sources. The blog portion requires a signature for comment. As a result, very few people participate on the blog.

RAYTOWN BROOKING EAGLE: The Raytown Brooking Eagle is a local newspaper owned by local businesswoman Diane Krizek. The Brooking Eagle also has a web version of the newspaper published on a weekly basis. The newspaper requires a paid subscription. The website is currently free. However, the website also invites readers to pay for access to the electronic version of the Brooking Eagle.

RAYTOWN TIMES: Raytown Times Newspaper is published by Randy Battagler on a weekly basis. It is distributed free at a number of locations throughout Raytown. Though Randy has written about creating a website for his paper, we cannot find it after some exhaustive searches we have as recently as today.

As Greg wrote earlier, the goal of all social media should be the honest dissemination of information. We hope you take time to visit these other sources. Of course, we also ask that you return to the Raytown Report as Raytown’s Leading News Source.
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Sunday, January 8, 2017


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The Things People Say!
I was perusing the Raytown Times when I came across a letter to the editor by former Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer.

The part that caught my eye was something he wrote in the next to the last paragraph of his three columns in which he wrote . . .

“I want to be clear that I am in no way a cop hater as a blog by a former Alderman stated.”
Since I am the only “former Alderman” who has anything near the description of a blog. I am pretty certain Joe Creamer was writing about me.

I bring this up because I want to be very clear on what follows.

The Raytown Report is a news blog. We regularly report on the happenings at City Council meetings. Those stories are penned by Paul Livius. I usually write an opinion piece on topics of the day. Paul and I always sign our work with a “by line”, either with the title or under an accompanying photo or icon.

The “blog” portion of the Raytown Report is for the community. We have a healthy number of contributors who frequently weigh in on subjects. If there is a prize for the most popular topic on the blog there is no doubt in our mind that Creamer would win first place.

As the quote from Joe Creamer illustrates, those comments are not always what one would call friendly.

I do know this much. Neither Paul nor I wrote the comment Creamer was referring to. Futhermore, we do not know who wrote it. All we know is that it is an opinion frequently voiced by contributors to the Raytown Report.
So what is the point in all of these words? Simply stated, anything written by Paul Livius or Greg Walters  in the Raytown Report is signed by Paul Livius or Greg Walters.
Creamer is wrong to try to attribute comments made by others on this blog to other people’s comments by us.

Hope this clears up the problem for Joe.

Greg’s column pretty much covered Joe Creamer’s false accusation against the Raytown Report. After editing Greg’s typos, I told him there were a few things I wanted to add.

In his letter to the Raytown Times this week Creamer wrote “I am waiting for a return of a request for information on how many out of town meetings Chief Jim Lynch attended in the last year.”

Creamer’s request is not out of line. Police Chief Jim Lynch is a public official. When he does travel on the taxpayer’s dime the money spent on the trip is public information. Creamer wrote “the chiefs response was that they don’t keep track of that expense”.

Every private sector and governmental sector business that I am aware of requires accountability when it comes to travel and entertainment. However, taking into account Creamer’s practice of shooting from the hip (as illustrated in his claim that Greg or I wrote he was a “cop hater”), gives me pause to wonder if Lynch made the comment in the first place.
Joe Creamer has every right to speak his mind on a weekly basis in the Raytown Times. But he should take care to hone his words into accurate statements.  Falsely attributing comments is a slippery slope that will ultimately cost him and his benefactor, Randy Battagler of the Raytown Times, readersL

The Paul Livius Report 
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – January 3, 2017

The Board passed an ordinance repealing chapter 50, division 11 and approving chapter 50, division 11, section 285 through 50-296 of the code of ordinances updating the floodplain overlay district.  This ordinance adopts the new countywide Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) that will become effective on January 20, 2017.

Our community is required to adopt or show evidence of adoption of floodplain management regulations that meet the standards of FEMA Paragraph 60.3 (d) or (c) by the effective date of the FIRM.  This means that our community must adopt the new map panel numbers and the Flood Insurance Study by either amending the community’s current floodplain management ordinance or by updating it.  Staff recommends adoption of the proposed model ordinance in its entirety.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency has evaluated the proposed Raytown floodplain management ordinance, and it complies with all of their regulations.  The floodplain areas in Raytown will not be 

physically changing in size with these new FEMA floodplain maps, and the new Flood Insurance Study.  Our FEMA map identification numbers will be updated and changed, but the floodplains themselves will remain the same.  There will be no significant impact to City operations and definitions.  Proposed Schedule: -- Planning & Zoning Commission met on Dec 1, 2016 – this fulfilled our State & Federal requirement for a Public Hearing.  The Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimous to recommend approval of the proposed floodplain ordinance on December 1, 2016.  -- Board of Aldermen meeting on Dec 20, 2016 for 1st reading of ordinance.  -- Board of Aldermen meeting on Jan 3, 2017 for ordinance approval.
The Board passed an ordinance amending chapter 50 (zoning), section 107 (land use table) of the code of ordinances for the purpose of updating the land use table.  The Planning & Zoning Commission by a vote of 6 in favor and 0 against recommends approval of the ordinance amending Chapter 50 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Raytown.  The Development & Public Affairs staff has done a comprehensive review of Chapter 50 (Zoning) of the Code of Ordinances for the City of Raytown, and has made a number of recommended changes to the use table in Section 50-107 and its associated use definitions.

It has been known for some time that there were existing errors in the use table, as well as some conflicting information between the use table and the zoning district requirements.  As such, staff has put together changes to the use table to accurately reflect what is required in each zoning district, as well as to better capture the spirit and intent of the zoning ordinance.  In addition, recommended changes to definitions of certain zoning uses in Section 50-107 are outlined below: 

           It is the opinion of staff that the definitions for vehicle repair, general and vehicle repair, limited are vague and fail to distinguish a significant difference from each other.  They currently read as follows: a. Vehicle repair, general, means an establishment primarily engaged in painting of or bodywork to motor vehicles or heavy equipment.  Typical uses include paint and body shops.  b. Vehicle repair, limited, means a use providing automobile repair or maintenance services within completely enclosed buildings, but not including general vehicle repair services.  As such, staff recommends that vehicle repair, general, and vehicle repair, limited, be amended to read as follows: a. Vehicle repair, general, means an establishment engaged in vehicle and equipment body repair and painting; engine block and transmission replacement and other similar heavy repair services.  Services listed in vehicle repair, limited, may also be included.  b. Vehicle repair, limited, means an establishment providing vehicle repair and maintenance services such as brake, muffler, exhaust systems, automotive glass, wheel alignment, tire sales and repair, engine tune up, lubrication and other similar minor repair and maintenance services provided they are within a completely enclosed building.
           Staff recommends that a new definition be added to Section 50-4 for group home, to read as such: a. Group home, means a residential facility serving nine or fewer residents and not more than two of whom are staff residents, similar in appearance to a single family dwelling and providing basic health supervision, rehabilitation training, community integration or social support.  Group homes are specifically licensed by the State of Missouri or otherwise permitted by law.
The Board passed an ordinance amending chapter 50 (zoning), section 560 (receipt of applications) of the code of ordinances for the purpose of establishing neighborhood information meetings for applications that appear before the planning and zoning commission, as well as requiring said applications to post signage on applicant properties notifying the public of said public hearings.  In an effort to optimize the ability for the public to directly address any questions or concerns they may have about certain applications that appear before the Planning and Zoning Commission, especially those residents and businesses that are within 185-feet of said applications, staff is making a recommendation to amend Section 50-560, which identifies the procedure for public hearings that appear before the Planning and Zoning Commission.  The amendment will require that the applicants for certain Planning and Zoning Commission applications, specifically rezoning, preliminary plat, planned development, 
 conditional use and site plan applications, hold a “Neighborhood Information Meeting”, 

whereby all property owners within 185 feet of the applicant property will be invited to attend a meeting, hosted by the applicant, where questions and concerns can be addressed.  The applicant will then provide a report on what was discussed in the meeting.  The Neighborhood Information Meetings will be held at no cost to the City, and neither staff nor any representative of the City will officially be involved with the meetings, unless they choose to attend as observers.  It is the belief of staff that these meetings will also help to clarify any issues the public may have, as well as help applicants make changes to their application that will alleviate any concerns by neighboring property owners, prior to any public hearings.  The second text amendment to Section 50-560 proposed by staff is to require that applicants for the same described applications as above appearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission post a sign along each street frontage of the applicant property notifying the public of a public hearing to be held at the scheduled date and time.  The sign will be provided by city staff, and must be posted at least fifteen (15) days prior to the date of the public hearing. 

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance approving an intergovernmental agreement with the Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners to utilize city hall as a polling place for the 2017 calendar year. Under state law, public entities are required to provide polling locations to election authorities free of charge and City Hall has been used as a polling location for many years. The contract specifies the rights and responsibilities of the parties with respect to such use. To continue the service, the City needs to approve a new contract with Jackson County.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing an agreement United Missouri Bank.  With Finance Director Mark Loughery’s departure from the City, it is necessary to name replacements. The authority granted by this resolution empowers the agents to manage the City’s investment activity and authorize other banking business items as required. 

The Board passed a resolution accepting a community grant from Wal-Mart in the amount of $500.00 to further the city’s community education programs through the emergency medical services department and to reflect the increase in grant revenues. The department of Emergency Medical Services, along with the entire EMS industry views the education of the general public as a critical component to our mission. These grant funds would help us continue in our mission to provide education and training to our staff and the people in our community as well as help our effort to keep infants and children safe by providing education and training related to child safety seats. These grant funds also help us provide child safety seats to parents unable to financially provide a safety seat for their child.

The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement for medical director services with Tucker Lienhop, D.O. The State of Missouri, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and other regulatory agencies require EMS agencies to have physician oversight. The Bureau of EMS requires agencies to have this oversight in order to provide care without a direct order from another doctor. EMS views this advisor as essential to the success of the Department of EMS. Dr. Lienhop’s service to the department has so far been quite satisfactory. Failure to have a medical director would harm the department’s ability to buy important controlled substances and other life-saving medications. In addition, failure to have a medical director would diminish the ability to provide advanced life support care as well as render EMS noncompliant with federal and state requirements. Raytown EMS would not be able to operate without a medical director. 

The Board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of funds to Galls, Inc. for the purchase of police uniforms and minor equipment.   The PD Supply Unit is responsible for the purchase of police uniforms and equipment for use by Police Officers and civilian employees. On November 1, 2015 the City entered into a two year contract with Alamar Uniforms for uniforms and equipment. On June 1, 2016, Galls, LLC. purchased Alamar.   Galls, Inc. stated they will continue to, honor the contract until the expiration date of October 31, 2017.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the expenditure of funds with Independent Salt Company for the purchase of salt for treating roads and bridges in inclement weather.   In May, Independent Salt Company submitted a bid for 800 tons of salt at $62.79/ton resulting in a total bid amount of $50,232.00. The contract, approved by the Board of Aldermen on May 17, 2016, includes the option to purchase additional salt at the same unit price of $62.79 through March 31, 2017. The city staff recommends the purchase of 800 tons from Independent Salt Company to be delivered prior to March 31, 2017 to replenish salt levels that are anticipated to be used through the winter season. The purchase of up to 1600 tons of additional salt may be purchased from Independent Salt prior to March 31, 2017. Additionally, up to 1000 tons of additional salt may be purchased from Kansas City through material transport as a back-up source of salt in the event of unseasonable levels of snowfall. If salt needs exceed the initial 800 tons, Public Works staff will request additional purchasing authority.

Tom Cole, City Administrator, lead a brief discussion about Raytown’s Tag Line.  Mr. Cole said the Marketing Committee has met eight time and worked diligently to identify two proposed taglines in an effort to “refresh” the City’s marketing, image and appeal. The two proposed taglines are: “Raytown, City of Trails” and “Raytown, Blazing New Trails”.  The City Staff and the Marketing Committee are seeking direction, via vote of the Board of Aldermen as to which of the two options are most appealing. Upon receiving an affirmative vote, the Marketing Committee will advance its efforts to establish options regarding a new City logo and local/national placement of the Raytown brand.  Alderman Bill Van Buskirk said the Board should think long and hard about the tag line.  He said tag lines are permanent and we need to choose the right one.  Alderman Jim Aziere said the only trail through Raytown was the Santa Fe Trail.  “City of Trails” is a misnomer. The California trail went through Independence, and the Oregon Trail was north of here.  Mayor McDonough said other communities have spent millions of dollars to update their tag lines.  So far, the cost has been nominal. He also said tag lines are not permanent and Raytown has had the current tag line far too long.  After much discussion, the consensus of the Board was “Raytown – Blazing New Trails.”  The Mayor asked the Marketing Committee to listen to all comments from the Board and present ideas.

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