Saturday, October 3, 2015


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      Not Available for Streets
      Not Available for Street Lights

      But there is $50,000.00 available to pay an out of town
      consultants to show us the way to raise our sales tax!

      Last week Greg wrote about a survey mailed to select voters in Raytown. The stated goal of the survey was to find out Raytowner’s view of the city’s Parks and Recreation Program. Greg made some interesting observations about the so-called poll. The use of a Push Poll in an attempt to build support for a candidate or an issue is not new.

Though it is somewhat disappointing to learn the tactic is being used in Raytown by people who are supposed to represent us on the Park Board.

If you missed last week’s edition of the Raytown Report, scroll down after this story (to last week’s Raytown Report) to view a copy of the poll.

I took some time to visit the website of the firm hired to do the poll, ETC Institute/Leisure Vision. If you had any doubt of the purpose of hiring ETC, the following should answer that doubt. The copy (shown italic type) is unedited and excerpted directly from the ETC website.
 I have highlighted significant portions I found most interesting.

Since 1996, voters have approved more than $3 billion in funding for projects that were identified through public opinion polls conducted by ETC Institute/Leisure Vision.

Our services significantly increase a community's chances for success by helping civic leaders identify what voters need, how much they are willing to pay, and their preferred sources of funding.


  Since 1992, the principals and associates of ETC Institute/Leisure Vision have helped secure funding for more than $2.5 billion of parks and recreation projects. The firm has extensive experience conducting surveys as components of plans leading to successful voter elections.

Recently Approved Voter Initiatives

  • KCATA Sales Tax
  • Olathe Parks Sales Tax 
  • Liberty Parks Sales Tax
  • Independence Parks Sales Tax
  • Lenexa Stormwater Sales Tax
  • Independence Stormwater Sales Tax
  • Grandview Community Center Sales Tax
  • Grandview Transportation Sales Tax
  • Olathe Schools Bond Issue
  • Liberty Fire Sales Tax
  • Johnson County Education Sales Tax
  • KCK Schools Bond Issue
  • Jefferson City School District
  • Rolla School District
  • Columbia Community Center

Will Raytown be added to the list? Apparently some of our local political leaders have designs to do so. The sad part is they are willing to spend $50,000.00 of our tax dollars to make it happen. Meanwhile, city streets continue to crumble, neighborhood intersections continue to be left unlighted at night.

It appears some of our leaders have lost their vision for what is important in Raytown.

A Fall Treat to Protect
Against the Common Cold 
Oh, how I love the holiday season! First comes the Halloween pumpkins, and then it’s pumpkin spice lattes and breads and treats, oh my! Fall is all kinds of great, but it doesn’t come without an occasional hiccup or two.

There’s always the possibility of a trojan horse marching in with the turkey. I’m referring specifically to colds and the dreaded flu. The worst thing that can possibly happen to you around the holiday feasts is getting some sort of illness that prevents you from actually enjoying all the holiday feasts.

It’s cruel. 

That being said, I try to protect myself as much as possible. (Because I make for a lousy sick person.) I wash my hands, try to get a sufficient amount of rest and eat as many immune-boosting foods as I can muster. READ MORE

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Sunday, September 27, 2015


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To view a copy of the Park Board Survey scroll down to the end of this week's Raytown Report.

Park Survey
with Hidden Agenda? 
A regular reader of the Raytown Report has forwarded a copy of a Park and Recreation Survey sent to selected households in Raytown. The focus of the eight page survey is to learn the desires of Raytown residents as it regards to services offered by the City of Raytown through its Parks and Recreation Department.

Most of the questions deal with the current level of use of those taking the survey. But there are a number of questions that may leave a person taking the survey scratching their head in wonder?

For instance, Question 7 asks for . . . “reasons that PREVENT you or other members of your household from using parks,” . . .

Nineteen choices are left for the reader to wade through in giving answer. Surprisingly, the one reason many Raytowners would give would be “the parks do not feel safe” is masked with a more benign choice of “security is insufficient”.

Question 17 deals exclusively with Super Splash. In a preamble to the question of the water parks future it is explained that “more than $160,000 of tax dollars are spent annually from the local option sales tax to help fund operating costs.” The statement masks the fact that the $160,000 expenditure could be used to improve neighborhood streets and improve street lighting if not spent on Super Splash. Four of the five choices give varying responses geared toward maintaining the facility. One option suggests closing it down.


Question number 19 asks if the respondent would support a sales tax to increase funding for the parks. Again, two responses suggest an affirmative answer. Four choices of a response are given.
Vote in favor
Might vote in favor
Not sure
Vote against
Once again, two affirmative responses are shown as an option to one in opposition.


In the world of poll taking, this type of poll is referred to as a “push poll”. Not all of the questions guide the poll participant towards an answer. However, enough of the key questions that would directly affect park policy, as the Safety Issue, Super Splash and Sales Tax questions illustrate, are salted into the poll to reach a desired response.

The City of Raytown spent over $50,000 to create a plan for the future of Raytown Parks. Part of that money was used to pay ETC Institute of Olathe, Kansas to conduct the above mentioned survey.

The ETC Institute proudly proclaims the following on its website located at www.

Since 1992, the principals and associates of ETC Institute/Leisure Vision have helped secure funding for more than $2.5 billion of parks and recreation projects. The firm has extensive experience conducting surveys as components of plans leading to successful voter elections. Leisure Vision’s work allows the community to see itself in their planning efforts, providing buy-in and trust in the process.

In other words (to borrow a phrase from a once popular movie), “It’s all about the money, honey!”

Paul’s Rant!
I had meant to do a report on last Tuesday’s Budget Hearing of the City Council this week. However, the city has not yet posted the meeting to its You Tube site. I sincerely hope it is not an indication of returning to the practices of the previous administration of keeping the public in the dark on business proceedings at city hall.

Onward and forward . . . I had to chuckle after reading Bob Phillip’s (of the Raytown Times) take on the squabble between the Park Board and the City Council over sales tax dollars. Phillips wrote about  . . . “the city’s desire to grab some sales tax revenue” . . . from the Park Board.

It would be more accurate to have written the “city’s desire to fulfill a promise to the voters made in 2010”. The ballot language specifically stated the sales tax revenue is to be used for Park / Storm Sewer needs. For the past five years ALL of the money has been taken by the Parks Department.

I personally know Folks who have storm water problems, flooded basements and yards routinely eroded away from storm water runoff because the city unwisely allowed developments upstream from them. The City Council would be doing the right thing by fulfilling their promise and directing the money to solve the flooding problems.

Bob also wrote the amount raised by the sales tax comes to $290,000.

Wrong again!

Here are the correct figures:

Projected 1/8 cent Sales Tax Revenue . . . . . . . .  $350,000.00
Less TIF-EATS obligation/debt retirement  . . . . . - $  75,000.00
Total Tax Revenue/City of Raytown . . . . . . . .  $275,000.00

As the reader can see, $75,000 of the sales tax revenue is captured for TIF-EATS debt retirement. The amount left over is $275,000, not the $290,000 Bob wrote about.

The lesson here is that going deep into debt has consequences that can and do come back to haunt the borrower.

Finally, Greg’s story about the Park Department exploring another sales tax was interesting. Given the city’s track record on broken promises as to the use of sales tax dollars on both the Safety Tax (remember that one, we were supposed to receive more police protection) and now the 1/8 cent sales tax (supposed to have money spent on storm sewers), I don’t think the voters will be too receptive.

How to Make 
an Omelette 
and why chefs wear those goofy hats
Everybody and their brother is headed to culinary school these days. It looks like a fun occupation (and don’t get me wrong, it is), but it can also be a grueling, hot and often stressful job—plus you have to wear that goofy hat. The traditional checkered pants and chef’s coat are comfy enough, kin to medical scrubs if you ask me, but the hat—yikes! Who came up with that design? Those style mavens, the French, of course.

The toque blanche or French for “white hat,” dates back to the 16th century when every tradesman wore a hat of some sort, but over the years it has evolved into the pleated cylindrical shape you see today. A true toque blanche would have exactly 100 pleats, which legend has it represents the 100 ways to use an egg. READ MORE

Farmers Market to Host
My Yoga Centre October 10th
Stephanie Haynes, owner of My Yoga Centre, the newly opened yoga studio next to Benetti's Coffee on Blue Ridge Boulevard, will be at the Farmers Market on Saturday, October 10th to answer questions about yoga, offer free class passes, and hold a drawing for free yoga mats! Because My Yoga Centre has a Kid Yoga Party at the studio the first Friday of each month, they are happy to be sponsoring a fun craft at the kids table at the market, and teaching kids a few yoga poses, like tree pose, eagle arms, and superman pose on Saturday, too! 

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