Sunday, April 13, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BY GREG WALTERS

Post Election News
There is always a post-election slow down on reportable news following an election. City Council meetings become very short, particularly if there is a city issue on the ballot. This year there were three. Two sales tax questions and the formation of a City Charter Commission.

Elected officials become skittish and worry about putting their best face forward, even if they are not personally in the election. As a result, legislative activity slowly grinds to a halt.

So the “slow down” is really only an extension of the “slow down” before the election.
That is probably because the intensity of the campaigns are gobbling up all that is written.

This slow news period will probably last until the Charter Commission is sworn into office.

The Election Board will not be finished with their due diligence of certifying the election until April 17th. Which is two days after the next meeting of the Board of Alderman, so look for the Charter Commission to be sworn in on the first meeting in May.  

Bits and Pieces . . .
  • Raytown voters created some local history last Tuesday when they approved the formation of a Charter Commission. Not because a Charter Commission was approved. That has been done many times before. But this effort was different. It came to life from a true grass-roots effort. It was created by a petition process. That’s a “first” for Raytown. All other Charter efforts were created by City Council action.
  • Can anyone explain why the Charter question was Number Three on ballot? The petition was sent to City Hall long before the city decided to add the two sales tax questions which were Number One and Number Two on the ballot.
  • The Charter Election showed the importance of ballot position on a crowded ballot. Or did it? Of the first ten positions only four of the candidates were elected to the Charter Commission. However, if you extend that list to the top 13 vote receivers, eight of the candidates were elected.
  • The importance of absentee ballots in a low turn-out election was proven last Tuesday. The first count from the Jackson County Election Board showed only the absentee ballot count. In that tally, Mary Jane VanBuskirk was the second highest vote getter. By the end of the evening, her final position has slipped to number nine. We calculated the absentee vote and found that without that extra “push” in numbers, she may not have placed in the top thirteen.

Paul's Rant!
One item that is certain to come forward soon is what is becoming an annual event in Raytown . . . Downtown redevelopment.

A year ago it was plans for a Walmart Neighborhood Market. This year it is a mixed use project being proposed by Flaherty and Collins. Watch carefully how the BOA handles this one. Some local bloggers have dug up information showing Flaherty and Collins to have a checkered past.

The following links can be used for readers to re-acquaint themselves with the stories:

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Bankruptcy Filing May End Condo Buyers' Chance of Recovering Money FROM WSOCTV.COM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The developers of an unfinished condo project in uptown Charlotte which filed for bankruptcy told Channel 9 Eyewitness News on Tuesday that people who paid down payments for homes may not get any of their money back.

Flaherty and Collins's Charlotte arm, Charlotte FC, was developing 210 Trade but it filed Chapter Seven. It has to sell what it can to pay as many people as it can. READ MORE 

Building Anxiety in Orland Park
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY slafferty@southtownstar.com

Orland Park officials say the proposed luxury apartment building, Ninety7Fifty on the Park, will boost the local economy and serve as an anchor to further development, but similar projects ­— albeit condominiums — by the hand-picked developer have flopped elsewhere.

Flaherty and Collins, the developer of the Echelon property in Matteson, has not completed the project or responded to resident complaints. READ MORE
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There has not been any discussion by the Board of Aldermen in public session about this information. But there should be. The city should take care to build in safeguards to protect the public’s interest in any deal made. That should include “claw-backs” guaranteeing a return on the city’s investment should the development fail or close before the bonds have been paid in full.

The ball is in City Hall’s court. Let’s see what they do with it.


Egg-Extravaganza
The City of Raytown will participate in the Raytown Main Street Association's Fifth Annual Egg-Extravaganza Saturday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Included in the festivities will be a Vintage Car and Truck show, a Children's Reading by Mayor David Bower, a Dachshund Dash and dog costume contest along with a giant egg hunt. The egg hunt begins at 1 p.m. A parade will begin at 11 a.m. at City Hall.
For more information use this link Egg Extravaganza



Raytown’s Farmers’ Market to Open May 1st
Raytown’s Famers’ Market will begin on operation Thursday, May 1st. There will be a wide variety of produce, farm product, handmade artisan crafts, canned goods and ice cream.

At the market you buy directly from the producer - the person who grew it or made it and can tell you how to best cook, use and enjoy it. Plus, your dollars contribute directly to the local economy and assure the future of a healthy regional food system.

The plans are to make this a community gathering place with live music, great food, family activities and lots of learning and educational opportunities! 

For more information use this link Farmer's Market


BY SUSAN
FIT BOTTOMED EATS
A Wisconsin Classic: The 
Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet

For FBE’s first Cocktails Week, we thought it would be fun for us to each share our favorite cocktail or liquor. And today Susan is giving a big ol’ cheers to the brandy old-fashioned sweet!

Like many college students, I entered my freshman year with very little cash in my pocket for the essentials, like pizza rolls and Pabst Blue Ribbon. So, like many college students, I took a bartending job.

In most places, the first thing you learn as a bartender is how to pour a perfect beer or mix simple drinks, like rum-and-coke cocktails. But in Wisconsin bars? That’s child’s play. If you want to make money, you best know how to make the unofficial state drink: A brandy old-fashioned sweet. READ MORE

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BY GREG WALTERS

A Job Well Done!
It probably has not set in yet, but last night’s victory by private citizens to form a Charter Commission was a political upset of yet to be realized proportions.

Without support from the local government a handful of candidates took a message of hope for Raytown directly to the people. The people listened and joined with their endorsement of your efforts.

Not everyone running could be on the Charter Commission, but many of those who ran and lost deserve as much credit for the victory. They too helped carry the message.

Some of the oddities of the campaign will be remembered.

The one candidate who campaigned against the Charter was defeated. Despite her holding the highly coveted No. 2 spot on the ballot!

The lack of news coverage by the mother of all news media in the area, the Kansas City Star, had little effect on the election, as did the “Oh, is there a Charter Election on the ballot?” posture taken by City Hall.

You now have a year to put together a good Charter for the people of Raytown, Missouri.

Keep an open mind. Listen and give due consideration to ALL the ideas that come before you. Be aware that many in Raytown hope for some positive change with the document.

A year from now you will want to look back proudly on what you create.

You have an opportunity. Take it and run with it.


FINAL VOTE COUNT
QUESTION 3


Shall a Commission be chosen to frame a Charter?
1161 . . . YES

754 . . . NO
FOR RAYTOWN CHARTER COMMISSIONER
956 . . . JIM AZIERE

898 . . . JASON GREENE

867 . . . STEVE GUENTHER

794 . . . CHARLOTTE MELSON

763 . . . JANET EMERSON

752 . . . LISA EMERSON

748 . . . SUSAN DOLAN

740 . . . MICHAEL MCDONOUGH

728 . . . MARY JANE VAN BUSKIRK

706 . . . SANDRA A. HARTWELL

704 . . . GREG WALTERS

670 . . . MARK MOORE

664 . . . TED BOWMAN

642 . . . JEROME BARNES

633 . . . SHIRLEY (WITTY) WITTMAN

632 . . . JOE BURTON

620 . . . SUSAN THORSEN

595 . . . MATTHEW CUSHMAN

571 . . . RICHARD KOOP

562 . . . DAVID MCCAULEY

557 . . . CHRIS RATHBONE

547 . . . ROBBIE TUBBS

CITY OF RAYTOWN, MISSOURI QUESTION 1
1391 . . . YES

574 . . . NO
CITY OF RAYTOWN, MISSOURI QUESTION 2
1428 . . . YES

522 . . . NO
CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 2 QUESTION
1658 . . . YES

654 . . . . NO





QUESTION 3
Shall a Commission be chosen to frame a Charter?

Vote YES

This campaign to form a Charter Commission is unique in Raytown's political history. It is a true a grass roots effort. The call for this election did not come from City Hall, but from petitions passed by Raytowners to hold the election.

So it comes as no surprise that the Charter Election has made some at City Hall nervous. Generally speaking, in their view, it is not in their best interest to change how the Government of Raytown is governed.

That should not be a reason to vote against forming a Charter Commission. Contrary to that thought, it is a very good reason to support the formation of the Commission.

The diversity of candidates running almost assures that no one single group will have control of this Charter Commission. That will make for a healthy mix of concerned citizens who share one simple goal.

They filed for the Charter Commission because they realized that for Raytown to thrive as a community some change is needed in how City Hall is run.

The good news in this story is that one year from now the voters will have the final word when they approve or disapprove the work the Charter Commission puts into the finished document.

We cannot get to that point if we do not give these private citizens an opportunity to step up and go to work for us.

Give Raytown a chance to become a better community by voting YES for the formation of a Raytown Charter Commission.

Raytown Report Endorsements
Twenty-two private citizens have taken a bold step to be part of the process that would reform. On Tuesday, April 8th, you will have the opportunity to choose 13 of those candidates to serve on the Raytown Charter Commission.

After reviewing comments and action taken by those twenty-two candidates we believe the following eight candidates are the best choice for the Raytown Charter Commission.Voters are reminded they are allowed to cast up to 13 votes. It is our position that the following eight should be amongst those votes.

FOR CHARTER COMMISSIONER (vote for 13)
JIM AZIERE
SHIRLEY (WITTY) WITTMAN
CHARLOTTE MELSON
RICHARD KOOP
SUSAN THORSEN
JEROME BARNES
MARY JANE VAN BUSKIRK
JANET EMERSON
ROBBIE TUBBS
MICHAEL MCDONOUGH
JASON GREENE
GREG WALTERS
SUSAN DOLAN
MATTHEW CUSHMAN
DAVID MCCAULEY
CHRIS RATHBONE
SANDRA A. HARTWELL
TED BOWMAN
LISA EMERSON
JOE BURTON
MARK MOORE
STEVE GUENTHER



BY PAUL LIVIUS
The Paul Livius Report
Steve Guenther, with the Raytown Main Street Association, went before the Board to say May 1 is the first day of the Raytown Farmers’ Market.  Lisa Bedsworth said it will be held at 6210 Raytown Road on Thursdays from 2-7pm and Saturdays from 8am – 1pm.  Thursdays will be Seniors day and retirement communities will bring Seniors to shop.  She urged residents to check out their website Raytownfarmersmarket.com.

Mayor Bower told Board members the annual Egg-Extravaganza will be April 19 on the Green Space from 10am – 3pm.  The parade will start at 11am from City Hall.

Mahesh Sharma told the Board Raytown will be having a school supply drive in April.  A barrel will be in City Hall for drop offs.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of safety equipment from Garon Marketing.  Chief Lynch told the Board the Police Department has purchased three (3) new Ford Police Interceptors in fiscal year2014. Since the City has adopted a new vehicle platform, they will require new up fit equipment designed tofit the new vehicle dimensions. There were four vehicle quotes received. Upon review of the quotes,Garon Marketing was the low quote and also the best quote for both the product and the service.

The Board passed an ordinance approving an agreement with Mid-America Regional Council for the acquisition of Orthophotography.This project will provide 2014 aerial photos to the City of Raytown for use with our web based GIS mapping. We currently have aerial photo layers from 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2010. Numerous City departments make use of this mapping using the ability to compare how an area looks today, in relation to the past.  Local government GIS professionals across the Metro region identified this project as a high priority, given that all local governments need aerial photography and the cost of acquiring it could be reduced significantly via economies of scale if all the governmental agencies worked together to develop common specifications for a consolidated purchase from a single vendor.  Over the past year, the 2014 imagery workgroup, working on behalf of KC Metro GIS, has developed imagery standards, issued a Project Assessment Quotation (PAQ), and selected a vendor for a 2014 acquisition. Due to the success of past projects and the large cost savings on imagery to the participants, MARC, at the direction of KC Metro GIS is repeating the regional aerial photography project this spring.  This aerial photography project is being shared across the entire metropolitan area. Including Jackson, Clay, Cass, & Platte counties in Missouri. Johnson, Wyandotte, Leavenworth,& Miami counties in Kansas. Many other cities are being offered and taking advantage of this same opportunity; Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Independence, Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, Gladstone, Kearney, Liberty, North Kansas City, Topeka, Harrisonville, Raymore and Belton.  Alderman Jason Greene asked how detail the photographs are going to be, why the codes department needs these photos, and when the last time these photos were taken.  Andy Noll told him the last time the photos were taken was in 2010.  They are used to identify man-hole covers and check fire hydrant shut off valves.  They also check storm surge structures.  Each pixel equals 6 inches of ground space. 

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance to adopt the recodification of ordinances of the city.  Teresa Henry told the Board the City of Raytown Code of Ordinances have not been codified since original date of adoption which was October 7, 1969.In addition to the above scope of work, the Zoning Code, and the Subdivision Regulations, hasbeen integrated instead of being held as separate documents. The Personnel Code, whichwas previously incorporated within the Code of Ordinances has been removed and will now beheld as a separate document.


Paul’s Rant
I am going to shift gears, and that is putting it mildly . . . I am going to throw this truck into reverse!

Greg's editorial endorsement piece is okay. But it is lacking because it simply does not go far enough!

There are three candidates running for the Charter Commission that do not deserve anyone’s vote. I am going to name them and tell you why you should not vote for them!

So, without any further ado, here we go!

DO NOT VOTE FOR  . . .  Shirley Wittman. Mrs. Wittman has made quite a name for herself in what has got to be the strangest campaign strategy of all time. She is campaigning for a seat on an elected body that she does not want to create. Not only does she not want a Charter Commission formed, she wants you to vote for her to cause trouble if one is formed. Enough said. Be reasonable, do not saddle the Charter Commission with someone whose only ambition is to cause trouble.

DO NOT VOTE FOR  . . .  Jim Aziere. Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere is a puzzle. All accounts of his last time on a Charter Commission showed a Machiavellian side to his character that is counter-productive to working with others. He helped write the Charter, then, once it was finished, campaigned against it. If elected he will prove to be one Charter member the others will not trust. Not a good foundation for writing what is basically a constitution for city.

DO NOT VOTE FOR  . . .  Charlotte Melson. Ward 3 Alderman Charlotte Melson chaired the failed negotiations between the City and the Fire District on what was eventually failed merger talks. Whether you agree with the final decision is not the issue. It was the heavy-handed way Melson dictated the end of the negotiations. After holding only one meeting she abruptly announced the Committee had voted to recommend discontinuing negotiations with the Fire Department. The end result has been friction between the two governmental bodies that is not good for Raytown. Her abrupt manner and “my way or the highway” attitude will rub other Charter Commissioners the wrong way.

There you have it. My “do not vote for ballot”.That leaves 19 candidates to choose from for the remaining slots on the Commission.

Please remember to vote!


Egg-Extravaganza
The City of Raytown will participate in the Raytown Main Street Association's Fifth Annual Egg-Extravaganza Saturday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Included in the festivities will be a Vintage Car and Truck show, a Children's Reading by Mayor David Bower, a Dachshund Dash and dog costume contest along with a giant egg hunt. The egg hunt begins at 1 p.m. A parade will begin at 11 a.m. at City Hall. 
For more information use this link Egg Extravaganza


BY KRISTEN
FIT BOTTOMED EATS 
The Perfect Trio: Strawberry, Avocado and Goat Cheese
It’s strawberry season here in Florida, and while I didn’t make it down to the Florida Strawberry Festival, I have definitely taken advantage of the deals my local store is offering on those bright red Plant City gems.

Only problem is (and believe me, it’s a good problem to have), I’m the only one in my house who eats strawberries, so getting through them all before they start to turn can be a challenge. Sure, I can totally freeze them, and sometimes I do, but they’re fresh and right there and, well, I just want to eat them. All of them! (And why not, right? They’re really good for me!) READ MORE

ELEVEN CANDIDATES FOR THE RAYTOWN CHARTER COMMISSION HAVE SUBMITTED ESSAYS REGARDING THEIR CANDIDACY. THE RAYTOWN REPORT THANKS THEM FOR SHARING WITH THE PUBLIC THEIR VIEWS ON THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE. 
 
 
TO VIEW OTHER CHARTER CANDIDATE PROFILES . . .
USE THIS LINK: CHARTER CANDIDATE PROFILES


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