Sunday, January 25, 2015


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Crowded Ballot Awaits Raytown Voters
In the past decade Raytown City Elections have been sleepy events. It was not unusual for incumbents to go unchallenged or with only token opposition in their elections. All of that changed in 2013 when voters elected three new comers to Raytown City Hall. In two of those races, incumbents lost their seats by lopsided margins.

Two years later, the 2015 races have many of the same makings of the upsets witnessed in 2013.

Consider the following. In Wards 1, 2 and 3 there are three way races in contests in which the winner will take all. In Wards 4 and 5 the incumbent Aldermen are not seeking re-election. Open seats always make for interesting races. 

The Ward 1 and Ward 2 races are especially interesting because the incumbents are facing two challengers each.

Ward 1 incumbent Joe Creamer is surrounded by controversy this election. Despite the Missouri State Constitution requiring elected representatives to live within the district they represent, Creamer has lived outside of Ward 1 for an extended period of time.

He is being challenged by Karen Black and Greg Walters. This is Black’s first run for public office.

Walters most recent public service was on the Raytown Charter Commission. The Charter Commission just finished nine months of work on writing a new form of government for Raytown. Voters will decide whether or not to accept the Charter at the April 7th Election.

In Ward 2, incumbent Jim Aziere is challenged by Chris Rathbone and Steve Guenther. Rathbone and Guenther were both active in the petition process that formed the Charter Commission.

In Ward 3 incumbent Charlotte Melson has not filed for re-election. This leaves the field open for three candidates. Two of the candidates have run for political office before. Mark Moore ran for Alderman in 2013 and also served on the Raytown Charter Commission. Sterling Brown was a candidate for the Jackson County Legislature in 2012. This will be the third candidate, Ryan Myers, first attempt at running for public office.

Ward 4 is open because the incumbent, Pat Ertz, is running for Mayor. Two candidates, who also happen to be neighbors, are running for the seat vacated by Ertz. The contest in Ward 4 is between long time businessman Steve Meyers and Mary Jane VanBuskirk. Mary Jane is married to Bill VanBuskirk. Bill VanBuskirk is currently serving on the Raytown Board of Aldermen – this is his “off” year for election.*

In Ward 5 two newcomers have filed for the seat being vacated by Alderman Michael Lightfoot. Voters will choose between Eric Teeman and Barry Park in the Ward 5 race.

Leading the pack in all of the above races is the contest for Mayor. Two viable candidates, Pat Ertz and Mike McDonough are headed for a showdown next April for the seat being vacated by Mayor David Bower. Ertz is currently serving on the Raytown Board of Alderman. He will face Michael McDonough, who recently retired from the Raytown Police Department.
*Aldermen serve four year terms. Two aldermen are elected from each ward on a rotating basis with an election held every two years.

Emerson and Ross Withdraw
Two last minute withdrawals from the April 7th election caught the attention City Hall watchers last week.

One was the withdrawal of Lisa Emerson. Emerson served as Secretary to the Raytown Charter Commission and had filed for Alderman in Ward 3. In a statement sent to the Raytown Report Emerson said she was bowing out of the race because fellow Charter Commissioner Mark Moore had filed for the same position. Emerson wrote she believed, “Moore would make the right decisions for the right reasons on behalf of the people of our ward.”

Raytown Fire Commissioner Willard Ross unexpectedly withdrew from the race on Friday. As of this writing he has not released a statement as to why. His absence from the race means that the other candidate for the open seat on the Raytown Fire Commission will go to Richard Tush by default.

The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – January 20, 2015
Mayor Bower said the City of Raytown is a proud supporter of the Metropolitan Community College system.  The Metropolitan Community College-Longview Lakers Women’s Volleyball team competed in November and won the Regional Volleyball Tournament at East Central College in Union, Missouri to capture the 2014 National Junior College Athletic Association Division II, Region 16 Crown and went on to the Division II National Championship Title on November 22, 2014 at Phoenix College in Phoenix, Arizona, one of only 16 teams nationally to Compete.  He proclaimed January 21 a day for Raytown to celebrate.

The Board passed a resolution approving the appointment of Mary Jo Simmons to the council on aging.

The Board passed a resolution approving the appointment of Rick Thode to the police pension board.

The Board passed a resolution approving purchase of six (6) Motorola MW810 mobile computers in excess of $15,000.00 from Motorola Solutions Inc.  The Police Department utilizes an IT hardware replacement schedule, which includes the mobile computers in the police car fleet. This allows the department to better forecast expenditures and avoid large, single time expenses of hardware replacement. Six (6) Motorola MW810 mobile in-car computers are scheduled for replacement this year. This is the second phase of in-car computer replacements.  The Motorola MW810 computer has proven itself to be a durable and reliable solution to the Police Department’s mobile computing needs. Motorola provides special government pricing through the State of Kansas Contract with Motorola. Their cooperative bid pricing makes a responsible choice for our in-car computing needs.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of a Powered ambulance cot with mounting and associated hardware from Stryker EMS Equipment in an amount not to exceed $15,995.00. A Ferno ambulance cot, purchased in 2006-2008, still in service in the department’s backup ambulance, has reached the end of its service life and needs to be replaced. Two of the previous Ferno cots were replaced in early 2014 due to frequent, costly repairs, and the anticipation that they would not remain serviceable much longer.

The Board passed a resolution approving the repair services of wastewater and storm water infrastructure from Wedenmann, Inc. The Public Works Department received a complaint from a resident regarding slow flow on their sewer. The complaint was received about the 4th of November, 2014. Upon televising the sewer line, staff found that the sewer has several cracked and displaced pipes between the manholes near 9309 E. 82nd Street. The repairs are beyond the scope that can be handled by staff, and must be addressed in the near future to prevent collapse of some of the pipe. The tentative price from Wiedenmann, Inc. for pipe bursting of the 110 linear feet of sewer line is $46,800.00, with the actual price to be determined by actual cost of the repair. The price is based on using unit prices from the cooperative contract from the City of Lee’s Summit. The unit prices are firm, but the actual quantities may differ from the estimate. The final price is expected to be less than the estimate.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the City Administrator to enter into an Agreement with Leath & Sons Inc. for the 79th Street and Elm storm drainage improvement project within the city in an amount not to exceed $78,930.00.  The Public Works Department received 14 sealed bids that were opened January 6, 2015.  Leath & Sons Inc. is the lowest, bidder at $78,930.00.  This emergency project came about after a car ran off the road a few months ago at 9209 E. 79th Street and damaged the guard rail and storm sewer. This project was quickly surveyed and designed to get it out to bid. The design was done as 2 different designs. Option A bid the project to leave in place the existing stone arch cross road culvert and to push a 54” diameter storm sewer pipe through it to carry the flow of water under 79th Street. Option B bid the project to remove the existing stone arch cross road culvert and to install a new 60” diameter storm sewer pipe in a new trench just to the west.

The Board passed an ordinance to grant a conditional use permit subject to operate an event space at 10028 East 63rd Street.  Nathan Prather, on behalf of Siatta Investments, is seeking approval of a conditional use permit application for operation of an event space / banquet hall at 10028 East 63rd Street in downtown Raytown.  The proposed conditional use would allow persons or organizations to rent the property for special events such as weddings, bridal showers, graduation parties, birthday parties, super bowl parties, wedding anniversaries, youth dances, dance lessons, school fund raisers, community meetings, and other types of gatherings.

The Board passed an ordinance adding Article XVII to Chapter 10 of the code of ordinances for the purpose of defining smoke and tobacco stores and limiting their occurrence in the At the request of the Board of Aldermen City staff has developed an amendment to the City of Raytown Code of Ordinances regulating smoke and tobacco shops within the City.  The amendment proposes regulating smoke and tobacco shops through the creation of Article XVII in Chapter 10 of the Raytown Code of Ordinances.  The amendment defines “Smoke and tobacco shops” and “tobacco paraphernalia” and limits the sale of tobacco paraphernalia to exclusively smoke and tobacco shops as defined in the ordinance.

•             Article XVII proposes to define “smoke and tobacco shops” as retail stores that sell tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia comprising 70% or more of their total sales.  Article XVII would additionally define “tobacco paraphernalia” as items used for the packaging or consumption of tobacco or other plant products.  Such items include pipes, water pipes, bongs, and hookahs.  See the attached ordinance for the full list and the official definitions.  Department stores that have tobacco departments would be exempt from the definition of “smoke and tobacco shops”.  The amendment further proposes to limit the number of smoke and tobacco shops in the City limits based upon the following population limits.

•             Smoke and tobacco shops would be limited in Raytown to one store per 5,000 residents.  The location of smoke and tobacco shops is also proposed to be regulated as follows:

•             Smoke and tobacco shops would also be restricted from operating within 2,640 feet of the boundary of the City, 2,640 feet of any other property on which another smoke and tobacco shop is located, and 500 feet of any property legally used as a public park, school, church, or residence.  Enforcement of the regulations would occur through the City’s annual Business Licensing Process, which would require a business stating that they are a smoke or tobacco shop to provide information showing that the sale of tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia products comprise 70% or more of their total sales.  If a business meets this standard then they would be allowed to sell tobacco paraphernalia.  Any business that sells tobacco products that do not comprise 70% or more would be allowed to sell tobacco products but would not be allowed to sell tobacco paraphernalia.

Alderman Josh Greene made a motion to amend the bill to eliminate a requirement that tobacco shops not be allowed within 500’ of an occupied residence. The motion also asked for a removal of a “one store per 5,000 residents” cap in the ordinance. Greene also questioned a section of the ordinance that prohibited tobacco shops from opening within a half mile of the city limits. Raytown is only two miles wide. The prohibition effectively removes all but about a one mile strip of 350 Highway, and a small square city blocks in Downtown Raytown as a location for a business.  The motion fell short of acceptance by a vote of seven to three.

Alderman Jason Greene argued the ordinance placed a hardship on private business owners by requiring them to report to the city on sales of tobacco items. Greene said the reporting requirement serves no useful purpose and is unfair because not all tobacco sellers are required to fill out the reports (drug and grocery stores are specifically exempted from the requirement in the ordinance).
HOW THEY VOTED: Creation of Smoke and Tobacco Ordinance
VOTING YES:    VanBuskirk, Ertz, Aziere, Melson, Creamer, Mock

VOTING NO:    Jason Greene, Lightfoot, Josh Greene, Emerson

The bill passed by a vote of six to four.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance approving the application for Chapter 353 tax abatement by the sixth amended development plan submitted by the Raytown Municipal redevelopment corporation.  This will establish a Redevelopment area located at 10014 E. 63rd Street as described within the plan and declare the area is blighted and in need of development and redevelopment.  It authorizes certain tax abatements within the redevelopment area described within the plan.

The property in question is Sue Frank’s State Farm Insurance Agency located in the middle of Downtown Raytown. Frank recently completed over $80,000 worth of renovations to the inside of her offices. The plans call for a renovation of the outside of the rear and front of the building. The finished design would give the building an appearance of a two story structure.

The tax abatement package would affect property taxes collected by the City of Raytown and the Raytown School District.

The second reading of the application is scheduled for the next meeting of the Board of Alderman on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at Raytown City Hall. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.
Some of the Raytown Board of Aldermen has a reputation for “posturing”. By this I mean some of them have a tendency to puff up their chest and wax rhetoric about certain subjects. As you no doubt understand, the purpose is two-fold. One, to show the public they are on the ball and taking care of business. The other is a little more selfish – it falls under the term of self aggrandizement. Or, as my copy of The American College Dictionaey plainly states . . . "to make somebody or something seem bigger or better than is actually the case, especially through exaggerated praise."

Case in point – the recent passage of an ordinance setting rules for smoke shops in Raytown. Smoke shops are those little stores that specialize in selling tobacco products to the public. At last count, there are two of them in Raytown.

Never mind that the City already has laws against selling tobacco products to minors. Never mind that the City already has laws on the books prohibiting the sale of drug paraphernalia*. Six of the Board of Aldermen felt we needed another set of laws to keep our streets safe in Raytown.

The law is passed – but all it really did was create another layer of bureaucratic red tape for small business owners to wade through.

Want proof of how ridiculous this law is? Large retail venues like drug stores and grocery stores are exempt from the rules set down for the smoke shop owners. Including the tedious business of reporting sales of the same product.

Will someone please tell me where the sense is in that? If selling tobacco products is a problem at a small business, why wouldn’t it be so at large grocery or drug store?

Perhaps those six votes on the Board of Aldermen thought they had a winner with this ordinance. It would be more accurate to say all they have done is added to the definition of “aggrandizement”.


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Sunday, January 18, 2015


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Hat in the Ring Club
I wanted my readers to be among the first to know that I have filed for the office of Alderman on the Raytown City Council.

It has been ten years since I have held public office (not counting this recent nine month stint on the Raytown Charter Commission) and believe I can be of some help in guiding our city’s future.

Being old fashioned, I opted to use the petition route to qualify my candidacy with the City of Raytown. Raytown allows for candidates to pay a filing fee (which is what most do) or to collect signatures to be placed on the ballot.*

So, last Friday morning, armed with six pages of signatures – 50 are required, I turned in 55 – I filed for Alderman.

One thing I learned in gathering those signatures is that while many of my old friends and acquaintances still live here, many are gone. They have either left the Raytown area, or, sad to say, in some cases, moved on from this life to the next.

That being the case, I find I am in a race in which I will be meeting new people and, hopefully building new bridges of trust for the April 7th Election.

If you live in Ward 1, I look forward to meeting you personally as I take my campaign door to door.

*Editor’s note: The proposed Charter eliminates candidate filing fees.

Whiskey Barrel Story
Elisa Breitenbach, co-owner of “Doughboys”, located in the Woodson Village Shopping Center, has posted a firsthand account of the Whiskey Barrel Robbery. We confirmed with Elisa her source for the story.

Paul and I are well aware that many people want to know what happened the night of January 2nd at the Whiskey Barrel. We had contacted the Raytown Police and were told the crime was under investigation and could not make an official comment.

Elisa’s report is a firsthand account from one of the owner/victims of the Whiskey Barrel, Connie Maxwell.

Whiskey Barrel Robbery BY ELISA BREITENBACH
It happened January 2nd on a Friday night at 8:30 PM
Connie was told "Give me all your money b**ch!!!
She said "Are you kidding?"

She saw the gun. Then she was hit with a fist in the face. She went down.

At the very same time Mike jumped up he saw the guy jump up off the ground and hit his mother.

Mike said "Do you want a piece of this!"

He grabbed for his gun in his pocket.

The second guy shot his gun at Mike. Mike went down in a pool of blood!

Connie jumped up yelling for Mike. Both guys had ran out.
Connie called 911.

The rest was a Miracle. Mike was in ICU for days.

The Doctor calls Mike a Miracle! He told Connie he must of had a band of Angels around him.

The ICU Unit calls Mike a "Hero" for saving his mother. Many of them had been given gift cards for Christmas. They gave them all to him.

This is not a Rumor!!! We need each of you talking about this crime.

This is Raytown, it's our hometown that we need to help protect!!!

Silence is Deadly we must let each store owner and family in and around Raytown know about this crime.

Raytown Charter Endorsed
The Raytown Report is making a number of “first announcements” this week. Greg’s candidacy for Alderman is one. Another is the detailed report from Elisa Breitenbach about the Whiskey Barrel robbery.

Just as important is this final announcement.

We are pleased to be the first news source in Raytown to endorse the proposed Charter to be voted on by the public on the April 7th Election. 

Greg was one of the ten members of the Commission who endorsed the final document last Wednesday night at City Hall. He told me “we have put together a very good Charter with a strong foundation that will empower Raytowners with a new form of government”.

The Charter Commission is to be congratulated on putting together a very flexible and workable Charter for Raytown. An example is a last minute change that gave the Board of Aldermen the ability to create a one-time extension period of six months for applicants for the position of City Administrator to make a move to Raytown.

This change also illustrates the power given to the people of Raytown. The only way the extension could be increased after that point would be through direct voter approval as a ballot measure.

The Charter Commission has finished its work. Now, it is the voters turn. Please take the time to read the Charter and familiarize yourself with it. To view the completed Charter use the following link.

USE THIS LINK . . . Final Charter Document

“Gloom and Doom” was the way one Charter Commissioner characterized the opposition of three members of the Commission when they voted against approval of the final Charter. The remark was in response to the dire warnings of Charter Commissioners Jim Aziere, Charlotte Melson and Mary Jane VanBuskirk.

The trio of naysayers had voiced their belief that a requirement that the City Administrator be required to live within the city limits would run off qualified applicants. One commissioner went so far to say a qualified applicant couldn’t find decent housing in this town.

To which I say – hogwash!

I did a quick check of surrounding communities and found that Raytown is the ONLY city that currently does not require its City Administrator to live within city limits. As for the housing stock in Raytown, there are many nice homes in Raytown. If the cost of housing is the criteria, there are plenty expensieve homes in Raytown as well.

I am beginning to wonder the motive behind the opposition of two of the “no voting” members of the Commission.

Commissioner Jim Aziere was one of only two Commissioners to vote against the Charter in 2005. Charlotte Melson was not on the Commission but did oppose the Charter as a member of the Raytown Board of Alderman in 2005.

The 2014/2015 Charter is very different from the 2005 Charter. The 2005 Charter required ALL department heads to live within city limits. This Charter only requires the City Administrator to do so.

This Charter, particularly in the area of taxation has given the people of Raytown the right to petition their government to lower taxes. A power that was not included in the 2005 document.

There are many other examples of positive changes in the Charter. A section that forbids the creation of an Earnings Tax on Raytowners is one. A section that protects dedicated sales tax dollars from being used to fund tax abatement schemes is another.

As Greg told me when I was writing this story. “We have put together a good Charter for Raytown. I hope the voters see fit to approve it.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK . . . The best definition of double-speak is given in a demonstration of how it works. Consider the following quote from Jonah Goldberg of the American Enterprise Institute:

“The Administration has ‘created or saved’ millions of jobs. For what it is worth, I ‘do or save’ 500 push-ups every morning.”
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Filing for Public Office 
The list of candidates for City, School Board and Fire District has grown since the New Year began. Filing closes for all offices next Tuesday, January 20th at 5:00 p.m.

Pat Ertz
Michael McDonough
Alderman Ward I  
Joe Creamer
Karen Black
Greg Walters
Alderman Ward 2 
Jim Aziere  
Chris Rathbone
Steve Guenther
Alderman Ward 3
Mark Moore
Ryan Myers
Sterling Brown
Alderman Ward 4
Mary Jane VanBuskirk
Steve Meyers
Alderman Ward 5
Barry Park
Eric Teeman
City Collector
Kathie Schutte
Kristie Lynn Collins-Delarber
Amy Beth Tittle 
Thomas​ Granger Estlund​
Richard Tush

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