Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hindsight is 100%

After reading the past few week’s postings by the active members of this blog it is apparent the time come to speak out on some of the issues that have spawned much of what is happening in Raytown today -- Both the good and the bad of the past eight years. It was approximately eight years ago that Curt Wenson came on the scene at Raytown City Hall. Wenson was hired as City Administrator just shy of the one year mark of Mayor Sue Frank’s first year in office. It was the unanimous decision of the Board to hire Wenson. A little known fact is that his application actually came to the Board after the deadline for applicants had passed. It was on the insistence of Greg Walters that his application be considered. When Wenson began his run as City Administrator it appeared that his administration would be one of reform. He brought with him a new city attorney (Joanne Graham) and a new Public Works Director (Beau Groceman). There were also other changes. A few people were “let go” – and there was a marked effort to make Raytown City Hall more user friendly. Policy changes at city hall were also made that ended some questionable practices by actions within departments. For instance, prior to Wenson’s arrival the police department routinely wrote traffic tickets at Walmart to people for running a stop sign on private property. Though this practice had been questioned by some members of the Board it was continued until Wenson’s city attorney (Joanne Graham) had it stopped. It appeared that Wenson was truly interested in reform at City Hall and many of his actions and the actions of his new department heads (Groceman and Graham) backed up that perception. Economic Development was where the rift began. The First Baptist Church of Raytown announced that it was building a new church on 350 Highway. The old structure was up for sale. Most of the interest in purchasing the building and grounds came from other churches interested in relocating in Raytown. Wenson saw the First Baptist Church as an opportunity to jump-start redevelopment in Downtown Raytown. The Mayor, who owns property in Downtown Raytown, quickly signed on as a supporter. There were some on the Board, most notably Alderman Greg Walters and then Alderman Jerry Briggs, who questioned putting so much capital and effort into the Downtown when the 350 Highway cooridor, with its high traffic volume, seemed a better bet. None the less, Wenson was adamant that redevelopment must start in Downtown Raytown. At the end of the day, the entire Council signed on and voted to buy the First Baptist Church. The Board of Aldermen did buy into the deal (as Pat Casady wrote) “hook, line and sinker”. To hear Wenson and City Attorney Joanne Graham tell it – both of who used their experience in Lee’s Summit redevelopment efforts as a selling tool – we were going to have to get a stick to make prospective developers stand in line to pitch their “opportunity” to them. Only two development firms came forward. This was the beginning of the unraveling of the unanimity at Raytown City Hall. As time would go forward, the Wenson/Frank/Graham team would increase its influence and become ruthless in selling its vision of Raytown. Unethical behavior, from meddling in city elections, questionable fundraising tactics and outrageous attempts to manipulate the Charter process are an outgrowth of this beginning. To be continued . . .

71 comments:

True Blue said...

Greg reminds of the past and his recollection is right on. Those of that have observed Raytown city government for more years than we would like to admit, see the many problems that Frank and Wenson have left us. I kind of sympathize with Mayor Bower, for being left with such a mess. Downtown redevelopement should never have been pushed while Frank was mayor. Who had more to gain from downtown redevelopement than Sue Frank. Talk about a BIG conflict of interest. You will NEVER see the traffic downtown that 350 highway can generate. The church should be torn down and downtown redevelopement should be walked away from. Maybe and just maybe something will happen on 350. It's a shame we couldn't do better than a Walmart

Anonymous said...

Why can't we have a proper downtown AND the 350 Highway project? Think Big! Lee's Summit's downtown is certainly something to envy. Great restaurants and adorable little stores.
I realize that we don't have the population that LS has, but it seems that if we had chain stores and restaurants on 350 and independent "mom & pop" type shops and cafes downtown all of us Raytowners wouldn't have to drive to Lee's Summit, downtown KC, Overland Park etc. to spend our money. Fox Drugs, Clarks, and Smith Bros are nice but it is most certainly not like you can actually find everything you need/want in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman said...

Many cities are loosing their downtown. I remember when Albuquerque had no malls and everyone shopped downtown. As the malls developed, the anchor stores moved to the malls and were no longer downtown. People no longer went downtown in the evening to shop. Downtown still remained but not like it was.

Denver somehow kept its downtown by building the 15th Street pedestrian "mall" with free bus service. They also build new buildings and Coors Stadium (Rockies baseball).

I also have observed, as True Blue, that downtown Raytown cannot handle the traffic to be a destination area. It would be nice if it did, but unless someone can come up with something really unique to make a destination area, we might as well forget about downtown as such. It is still ideal for small businesses, but we really need to focus on where the traffic pattern is. Face it, if people are on 350 HWY, what is there to divert them to downtown unless they want something specific that is unique to downtown.

I wish there was something with better quality than Walmart going in on 350 HWY. After all, if I want a Walmart, I-70 is just as close for me.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Anonymous September 23, 2007 11:37 PM

has a valid point. It would be nice if we could do all of our shopping in Raytown, but what business is going to spend money and fight the code department to move to downtown with Raytown having such a low per household income? That certainally won't support a business. A business needs customers with higher income or from a larger area.

I have suggested to Hen House that they open a store here, because I like Hen House and their double coupons, but I was told they have a store under a different name on Bannister and that would put the stores too close together.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

It's all about the income. To support business you have to have people willing to spend money. The income is moving to Lee's Summit and other destinations to the north and east. And Andy is right people won't go where they have to fight for a parking place. So true blue is probably right. After they tear down the church, we should forget about downtown as a vivable retail center.

Anonymous said...

I am glad we got the block grant from the state for four hundred thousand dollars for the demolition of the old FBC. Let's get real here this is only a drop in the bucket as far as how much money is needed to do the job. I would say next year at this time nothing will have been done, we will still be talking about it. Don't get me wrong I'm glad were are this far and have the money but let's get the rest of the money and get the job done and move on.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the families of Atkins, Ertle and Witte would like to give a monetary amount to haveing the FBC come down, as they were always singing the praise of the Frank/Wenson administration. Put you money where mouth is.

Anonymous said...

Anonysous, I heard that one of the estimates to tear down the old FBC was about 1.2 million. Now where is the city going to come up with that kind of money and remenber we still have to pay for the building. Here is a idea get rid of the city adinistrator who has done nothing but cost the city money with trips, that good for nothing paper he puts out and the survey which we all knew the out come would be before it was ever done, Tim Turesdale who has done nothing but drive business from the city oh wait he did have the super idea of block parties(total flop)get a part time lawyer, and get a city clerk that can handle the job efficiently, and by the way why are we paying for health insurance for the alderpeople. I thought that was done for Mr. Brown, well he has left the city so why are we still providing it? City hall don't you think we deserve some answers?

sparky said...

I believe that the real problem has been the passing of the buck. It is unfortunate that large amounts of taxpayers money has been literally wasted in hiring consultant groups and developers to come up with grand conceptual plans for downtown redevelopment and yet nothing has been implemented to date. I recall seeing artistic renditions in the local papers of what the finished development could look like, and like another said earlier look at Lees Summit's downtown area, how clean and nice that it is with the new curbs, streets, sidewalks, and lighting. There is quite a lot of activity in their downtown area at night (8pm til 11pm) compared to what it used to be there which was dead, sort of like our downtown area. There are those that are of course somewhat skeptical of implementing a "Build it and they will come" theme, yet in this case I believe that they should do exactly that. If businesses see that the city is making an effort, and there is clear evidence of progress, then that should catch the eye of new businesses and developers that would want in on the action as well. The plans and ideas are out there, as several have pointed out in previous posts so there is no need for further studies to waste more money. Truth be known, I would rather they spend money on infrastructure improvements, lighting, parking, and streets downtown than to pay another developer that will bail again, leaving us with the same thing, a blighted looking downtown area with buildings in need of repair or sprucing up, crumbling road surfaces, curbs, sidewalks, and more of our tax money gone again. Tearing down the old church and the goings on at Raytown Plaza looks to be a promising beginning, maybe others will follow suit.

The results are in on the citizen survey that was done by a firm located in Lenexa, Kansas ( why not a Raytown firm?) and it does show that the top category that the city should place the most emphasis on during the next two years is Maintenance of City streets/buildings/facilities. Next category was Enforcement of city codes and ordinances. It did say Enforcement not add more regulations to be too restrictive.

Cutting the budget for street overlay is not a good thing according to these results.

I did notice with this survey that they mailed it to 1200 randomly selected households and only 480 were completed and returned. I did at least take the time to fill out the 8 page survey myself. Hopefully they will use the information gathered wisely as it is from the people, which is who they are representing and working for anyway.

One last note, the parade saturday was shorter than what it used to be, The mayor was there, however, I dont recall seeing any alderpeople or any of the usual movers and shakers of the community there either. Maybe they are in hiding from the people that they are supposed to represent?

Lots of people that I talked to were not really happy with what the chamber has done to this annual tradition. I know some dont like it because of the inconvienenence that it imposes on them trying to get around town but it has been going on for 47 years. Maybe the chamber can right a wrong and put it back together again.

Anonymous said...

Raytown needs to have town meetings. This would give the public an opportunity to ask questions, share complaints and ideas. All aldermen should be required to attend.
If not a city town meeting, then at least ward meetings. Actually, the aldermen should be scheduling these meetings at least quarterly to get an idea as to what the constituents want rather than deciding for us.

Anonymous said...

Today's Kansas City Star contained an article about Farley, Mo. that describes their financial problems. So bad that they are considering unincorporating. This story could be about Raytown in the near future if the board of aldermen doesn't get a handle on the runaway spending at city hall. The hugh salaries, excessive travel, and the incompentent people that we have at the top are draining our resources. This is why they will never consent to a state audit. They are truely afraid of what it might show.

WatchDog said...

Will the people who keep throwing out the threat of a state audit please either do something about it or move on!

There is a process you can use to get an audit. If you think one is so needed that it is worth the expense to the city, start the petition process. You don't even need to show a need to the state!

If you aren't going to take that measure, then please give it a rest. Manipulation by empty threat doesn't work for parents and it isn't pretty on blogs either.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the need for ward meetings. Great idea!

It says something that Will Kraus, the state rep for the southern part of Raytown area, holds and attends more constituent related meetings than our own aldermen.

I live in Ward 5 and I challenge Pat and Marilyn to move on this idea immediately!

raytownwatchdog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raytownwatchdog said...

Just thought I should let it be known that "WatchDog" and I (raytownwatchdog) are NOT one and the same. Just felt I should point this out, as it could get confusing!

Anonymous said...

Good luck on getting any of these LAZY aldermen to meet with anyone. It would be a great idea, but doubt if it will ever happen.

Anonymous said...

To watchdog: Wouldn't it show the taxpayers that the mayor and aldermen are trying to be responsible by ordering a state audit, instead of having one forced upon them? I'm ready to put this to bed too, just give me a petiton and let's get started.

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree with Watchdog. Threats don't work on Alderpeople especially when they aren't listening anyway! All I can say is that if I was a new City Administrator, Finance Manager, Mayor, or even City Collector, I would want an audit BEFORE I took office just to CYA.

CITY UTILITY TAX

For those who weren't at the last Board meeting, I made the collowing statement:

"We are in the state of Misery. In the summer it is too hot, humid and in the winter it is too cold, humid for human habitation. I was surprised to discover that the city taxes us for miserable weather. Last month was the hottest this summer. I cannot afford to heat or cool to a comfortable level. In the summer my thermostat is set for 82 from 9AM to 1AM and 80 from 1AM to 9AM. Parts of my house are hotter than Hell.

My total electric bill last month was $214.07. Of that the city license fee was $15.66, which is 7.3%. In addition there was a sales tax of $2.69 of 1.375%. My total tax was $18.35, which is 8.57%. This amount is outrageous and is really double taxation on the same bill! It was mentioned at one of these meetings that there was a shortage on the budget from the Franchise tax due to warm winter weather. The city is depending on miserable weather for support their budget. 8.57% is an outrageous tax on utilities! The sales tax should be eliminated. At that 7.3% is still outrageous.

There are people here who cannot afford their utility bills. The city makes an accommodation on sewer bills for disabled and senior citizens. I don’t waste my time applying for it because my bill is only $14 and it is not worth the time to file. I think the city should start refunding this utility tax to the disabled and elderly.

I didn’t realize until now that there was a tax for living in Misery! This needs to be changed! I would like to hear the board address this issue."
END OF THIS PORTION OFSTATEMENT TO BOARD

I suggest everyone watch their utility bills and do the math. I am sure mine is low compared to the average person. I assume most bills (and city franchise and sales taxes) would be double what mine are.

Since the meeting, my gas bill has arrived: The Franchise tax is 9.5% and the sales tax 1.62% for a total of 11.12%! I have no understanding of the difference in tax rates between gas and electric.

What will the gas taxes be like when it gets really frigid? These taxes are outrageous and actually a double tax!

I can sure understand why people can't afford utilities with high rates and high taxes. Something should be done about the taxes!

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

What a concept our Aldermen actually talking to us! Doing what they were elected to do! Represent the people in there ward!
Never happen!
The most important time of our downtown's life, I ask them to talk to us.
They voted not to. When I asked our Ward 2 Alderman to meet with us only one showed up and he only told us how great he was. He didn't listen to our concerns.
Unfortunately he's still there. The other has moved on. As far as our newer Alderman,
well, I've not talked to him either.
Trust me, this comes as no surprise.

As for meeting with our Aldermen, I think it is a great idea. I just don't think they want to meet with us. If we did ever get to have a meeting, I'd bet they would try to
dance around any question posed to them. I've been there. Fact is most of them, at least in the past, wait to be told how to answer, how to react and even how to vote.
Remember those "Executive" meetings after the televised meetings.

This is why I would like to see a group formed of business and property owners with no city officials present for a while. We would need to get our agenda in
order before they come in and tried to take over the meetings.
Remember they are no smarter or better than we are ......no matter what they want to believe.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat,

I agree with you, but they THINK that they are better!

I would like to be able to vote for someone who runs on the agenda of representing the people in the ward.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I for one, would like to know what happened to the developement on the south side of 350 Highway that was suppose to start in the spring of 2007. What I heard in one of those council meetings was we MUST have the money from the south side up and running before we could afford for the Wal-Mart to even start because we needed that money to make up for what we will not be getting when the current Wal-Mart closes. We will only break even for 23 years, yes, that's right 23 years, on the new Wal-Mart but you the citizens will be paying more just to shop there.

I am tired of being promised something and then it never happens and no one tells you why. All they do is just quit talking about it like we aren't smart enough to remember that they have promised it. O'well it'll go away if it's out of sight out of mind. Sorry city Hall it doesn't work that way. We do remember!

If we needed the money from that developement then and Wal-Mart has signed on the dotted line aren't we going to need it now??? How are we going to pay for the bonds that the city has guaranteed??? The city is liable for that money whether Wal-mart is there or not folks, IT'S YOUR MONEY!!! You heard me right if for some reason Wally World decides not come and yes, they could still back out even though they have signed the papers. They could even come and build and then close after 1 year because they have full filled their part of the contract. The point is that it doesn't matter whether or not they are here this city is liable for this debt and WE WILL be paying for 23 years.

When I talked about you paying more to shop at Wal-Mart YOU and I will be paying a full 1 cent higher sales tax just to shop in THAT store. GEE aren't we lucky?

Call the city adminstrator or the mayor and ask what happened to the developement on the south side of 350 that we were promised and why there's NO SHOVEL in the ground even 6 months later? It would be interesting to know what their answer will be. I tried and got NO return call and he did not know why I was calling.

Anonymous said...

Personally I don't care if I ever see a new Wally World. The people of Raytown are so stupid if they think this store will solve all their problems. All it is going to do is bring more undiserable shoppers to Raytown. Have any of you ever been to Wally World on a Sunday afternoon? Of course we know Whitte and Ertle haven't as they say they never shop there yet they sang the loudest praises about the shopping center and all the wonderful shopping we were going to have. Well ladies were is it at? All we hear about comming is Wally World. I think the two of you were hood winked!!! The best suggestion I have is why don't you move to Liberty I hear Curt Wenson could use your help!!!

Anonymous said...

I think a meeting with our council person that represents your ward is a wonderful idea. Maybe we don't have the right person calling city hall to ask for these meetings. We need Mrs. Adkins, Wittman, Ertle, Titus or perhaps Mr. Edwards or good ole non resident FMA. These are the air heads they seem to listen to. Does that tell you how smart the BOA are? Maybe we could even get Mrs Adkins to sing for us again as she did at one of the charter meetings. Do they realize how they are making such fools out of themselves?

A. Non. Ymous said...

I was introduced to this blog site a few week ago. There were some interesting posts with innovative ideas - I thought it was a space where change could be initiated.
I have already grown tired of a lot of subjects being beaten like a dead horse.
**Wal-Mart
**The Baptist Church Building
**Sue Frank & former City Officials
**Mayor Bower and current City Officials
**The Chamber of Commerce
**What a mess Raytown is

People keep saying the same thing with different words - some meaner than others.
You want change? Make it happen. Quit griping and complaining and get off your arses and do what you can to make it better. Identify what needs to change and take action to implement it. Someone mentioned having a meeting. If a meeting will be an exchange of ideas I would participate, but not if it is just a gripe session. Let me know when & where and I'll try to be there.
I think I'll take a respite from this site for awhile until there can be some mature and intelligent exchange of ideas and information.

Anonymous said...

Lee Gray here...

Regards "anon y mous" (above here) ...we won't miss you. Typical stunt...demagoguery instead of dialogue. Just discount everyone else's ideas and interest in certain subjects and take your toys and go home. Or maybe back to work at City Hall, heh?

To Andy W. Understand your point about utility costs. My July electric bill was $29 and my August one was $30. Why? I never turned the air conditioning on all summer. Only had two miserable nights with ceiling/standing fans only. Figured I survived Vietnam in 115 degree temperatures with a fan...so why not see if I was still that tough.

Figured too that I'll get hit with $200 to $300 bills for heat this winter...so why get hit twice?

If you'all really want to force the issue with City Hall, then let's organize 50 of us signing up to be on the agenda for our 5 minutes each at the start of the aldermanic meeting. Marilyn Fleming walked out every time I spoke during the charter process...and I suspect after 10 minutes (2 of us) there might be only the mayor on the dias...and Greg, of course.

I saw 60 people show up to question Kris Turnbow over his idea of having the fulltime city marshal job in addition to a fulltime security job ... change his mind.

Power To The People is more than an old 60's term.

To Greg: Appreciated your mea culpas regards hiring of the previous city manager and his hand-chosen staff...plus the buy of the church.

Like you said hindsight is 20/20. Believe me...I know...after turning the Raytown Post over to someone I'd known and trusted for 30 years...only to be disappointed and lied about.

But that's life, isn't it?

Some days are roses/some days are thorns. Common sense, honesty and loyalty are in short supply these days thanks to the "entitlement mentality" and "me first" attitude.

And I'm a liberal saying that!

duh said...

Hey anonymous' at 1:59. Have you ever asked your aldermen to meet with you?

We have asked ours on several occasions and have found them to be very receptive to meeting with us. And no, we're not RRFT, RDA or any other group...just citizens concerned about Raytown.

If you don't ask them, how can you complain about them not meeting with you? Their phone number and email address is posted on the City website!

laughing all the way said...

a.non.ymous

You hit the nail on the head!

All these cronic complainers do is repost the SOS...day after day! Al W, Jerry B, Bill VB and the rest of them are nothing but broken records spouting their baloney ad nauseum.

Then, when you make valid points...they want to attack you because you don't agree with them!

I would urge you to keep reading....you'll gain an insight into the small-minded individuals who want to tear down instead of build up. The same ones who worked so hard to put Raytown in the shape it's in now. Their time is over...and they're bitter because no on pays any attention to them anymore...they're irrelevant and they're trying to regain some semblance of past glory by carping on everything they can't control anymore.

Actually, they're to be pitied instead of laughed at...but I can't help laughing!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Anonymous said...

Laughing stock assume you didn't list Lee Gray in your comment because you're still afraid of him. He at least has the guts to put his name to his words. You on the other hand are just laughing and missing the point that the people complaining have been sincere citizens in leadership positions within this city. If they were ego based then they would step forward again and take this town over. That would mean you wouldn't have your city job. Apparently you don't have any mirrors in your house or you'd really have something to be tickled over.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the naysayers is that they have had their day at the polls, in fact several, but keep losing. Rather than admit that their philopsophies, their perspective or their tactics are lacking, they blame others for their loses.

Part of me doesn't want to disturb them so they keep on doing the same thing and expecting different results.

(Kudos to anyone who knows what that last reference comes from.)

Anonymous said...

What is so sad is that our city is DIEING and I see no one either in or out of city government that has the ability to rescue it. Bower is a nice guy, but I believe he's in over his head. And be realistic, look at your aldermen, are there any of them that have the common sence to take us anywhere (NO LEADERSHIP). The people that could save Raytown have either died, moved away, or just don't give a damn anymore. So call me a naysayer or whatever you like, but I'm far more realistic about Raytown than most of you. You're afraid to admit the truth about our city. We're going down the tube fast. All you need to do is visit some of the surrounding communities and you will see what I''m talking about.

Anonymous said...

"Part of me doesn't want to disturb them so they keep on doing the same thing and expecting different results.

(Kudos to anyone who knows what that last reference comes from.)"
Those were Randy Battagler's parting comments when he sold the Post. Not original, however.

laughing all the way said...

anonymous 6:42

They have tried to step forward and were sent packing at the polls. Jerry B was bombed. Greg W was bombed.

You don't seem to see that the majority of the citizens of Raytown are tired of the same old crap that these people dish up year in and year out. We've had it with their negativity and hate. It's old! It's tiresome! It's boring!

It's gotten to the point where they have become Chicken Littles. They've cried that the sky is falling for so long...that if it actually ever DID, no one would believe them!

As for Lee Gray...he's a toothless tiger. And one of the ones who tried for years (and proudly admitted it) to keep Raytown a "nice little redneck town". It's over and done with. He isn't Jesus...he's not coming back to life! (Do us all a favor Lee..when the next charter commission is started...take a charter to the Bahamas for us while the work gets done)

anonymous 8:01

Why are some of the other cities around us doing well? Because their past administrations and politicians had the foresight to look at the problems in their community and do something about them. Our problem is that many of our past BOA have ignored problems, ignored solutions, and let this town go to hell in a handbasket!

Thank the Lee Gray's who railed against any and all tax increases for capital improvements. Thank the Walters' who for years did the same thing. Thank the backward thinking BOA from the past who allowed these things to happen!

I've watched it happen for 40+ years now. Now we finally have some folks on the BOA, and a past and present Mayor, who have the cojones to make tough, unpopular decisions with respect to the revitalization of this community...while the same old, same old do the same old, same old.

To hell with the same old, same old!

Anonymous said...

To Laughing All the Way. You really need to take off those rose colored glasses so you can see what is really happening. There are no "Money People" that are willing to invest in Raytown without getting a tax break. Look at Independence , Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, there are business people with money willing to invest where then can get a fair return on their investment. Businesses are going where the income is. I would like to see a study to compare spendable income in Raytown vs. the surrounding cities. I thing you would then see the reason our population is falling while all around us are growing.

Anonymous said...

This Laughing all the way person has a very scary, and dangerous mentality. I'm afraid if they people left the city in this person's control it could become another Nazi Germany! It is exactly this persons mentality that is typical of the Republicans. That is why there are the problems that we all have now because of these type of idiots! They love it when we all are fighting amungst ourselves so they can pass idiotic legislation without us knowing about it because our attention is not focused on what they are doing, and they can have a ongoing war so that their businesses can profit from the bloodshed.

Pat Casady said...

To A.Non.Ymous, Anonymous 7:18, Anonymous 6:11 and Laughing All the Way,
I have a few words.

To A. Non. Ymous, these are the topics of the day in Raytown. Changes can't be
made until the next election though most wish it could be sooner.

To Anonymous 7:18, When only thirty percent (?) of voters turn out to vote, it is hardly
bad philosophies, perspectives or tactics. It is merely poor turnout.
I'm hoping the next election will have a better turnout in fact I think you can count on it.

Laughing All The Way, to you I say the same thing.
Funny you should mention that "people are tired of the same old crap."
I couldn't agree more. We are tired of the same old crap. Though I know this is not what you meant because you are obliviously happy with the shape Raytown is in now, most of us are not. We don't want business as usual. We want more. We want the
downtown to come alive again, we want safe parks, we want safe streets and
neighborhoods and we want a clean Raytown.
We don't want to listen to the likes of you that think everything is great and puts down anyone that wants a change for the better.

In a way I hope you are an elected official because if your real identity is ever revealed we can push for someone else to replace you that actually cares about the people and the town.

I now understand unnamed and anonymous writers on this Blog.
There are some anonymous writers that make good points but are not thrilled with
the repercussions that could befall them, I understand these writers.
Then there are the cheap shot artists that try as they may to be clever, they fail
miserably. So I say to you, keep laughing, it shows your true intellect.

Anonymous said...

About Tax Increment Financing Projects: I think that you will find that even though TIFs are great for the businesses, the downside to them are when the businesses leave or move away and leave the storefront empty, only for that business to do the same again farther away in another city, then the cycle begins again. If cities are to utilize TIFs then they should be smart enough to include a clause that would prohibit the particular store from closing down and relocating elsewhere while the TIF is in effect. For instance, Wal Mart is granted a TIF and it is good for 25 years, incorporate a clause into the TIF contract that requires them to stay in that location open for business for a MINIMUM OF 25 years otherwise they will be held accountable for the lost taxes plus interest at the highest going rate in a lump sum and/or possible further legal action. That would be a possible way to keep businesses from taking advantage of these TIFs. If they dont do something like that, you will continue to see this same thing happen all over the metro area, not just in Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Hey Laughing Ass, er, Laughing Gas...

Step forward, meet me anywhere and I'll show you a toothless tiger. Lee Gray

PS. You should start going by the name "Cowardly (Lie'n) Lion"

Anonymous said...

Here's to laughing all the way Have another drink oh no wait I think you may have one to many now, or you might want to call your shrink maybe he can help,you sound so frustrated. Oh by the way after reading the KC neighborhood news this moring and Michael Millers comment I know now why is eyes are brown he is full of shi-!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know where you got your info. but it is incorrect. TIF'S are 23 years not 25 and Wal-mart or any other business that gets a TIF is not required to stay for 25 years. I know of which I speak because I was on a TIF commission in another local city. There is no requirement for that business as to how long they have to stay.

Anonymous said...

Do you know what a "For instance" is? similar to a hypothetical. 25 years is a number that was used as an example. It was not meant as a fact. And what was being said was another example, or idea, that might help put a stop to some of the abuses/misuses of TIFS.

Now we know that 23 years is the factual number. Okay? So basically include the clause that I discussed earlier about that the business must remain at that location and open for 23 years otherwise the company owes the TIF money plus interest at the current rate back to the city. In other words, hold the businesses accountable for their actions!

Anonymous said...

WalMart has a history of having stores built and then after ten years or so they leave them and build another one at a differtant locaion thus creating more enpty buildings just as we will have when we get the new, and glorious one on 350 Highway. From what I understand Wal Mart leases these buildings so they never really have an investment in the city in which they operate. Fo example look at Blue Springs only they were lucky enough to get a business to come into the one left empty by Wal Mart. Another lessons on Wal Mart read the insert in the KC Star neighborhood news about Blue Springs and the trouble Wally World is causing them about Target wanting to come in to a new strip mall they are developing. Wal Mart is bad news!!! So girls (Witty, Ertle and Adkins)) sounds like you were sold a bill of goods about a Target comming to the new center.

El Gecko said...

To Laughing all the Way . . .

I've read your comments. You seem to be a pretty partisan dude to me. I wonder, are there any mistakes that those you hold in such high esteem that you will own up to.

Let's face it.

Downtown Raytown is far from a success story.

You don't have to mention to people that a recent article on the "big building boom" in Raytown is all tax supported institutions spending taxpayer dollars on monuments to themselves.

They point it out for you.

Like I said -- I really don't see the success story you brag about.

I see a lot of bad decisions. I see our city infrastructure being ignored so that wally world can come to raytown.

I see the taxpayers paying for it for the next 23 years.

Buddy, I would hate to see what you call good news!

Anonymous said...

NOT SO FAMOUS QUOTES:

"I've watched it happen for 40+ years now. Now we finally have some folks on the BOA, and a past and present Mayor, who have the cojones to make tough, unpopular decisions with respect to the revitalization of this community...while the same old, same old do the same old, same old."

What's this moron been smoking??? Ive been around for 40+ years too. All that I see are unpopular decisions all around. And NOTHING POSITIVE GETTING DONE! You are just happy with all the bobbleheads in local government, basically all the yes men and women.


"You don't seem to see that the majority of the citizens of Raytown are tired of the same old crap that these people dish up year in and year out. We've had it with their negativity and hate."

I sure as hell havent elected you as an official spokesperson for my viewpoints, and from the sounds of what you have to say, it sure aint worth even a piece of toilet paper to write it on either!

"Why are some of the other cities around us doing well? Because their past administrations and politicians had the foresight to look at the problems in their community and do something about them. Our problem is that many of our past BOA have ignored problems, ignored solutions, and let this town go to hell in a handbasket! "

You talk in circles, and make no sense. You have it all wrong, and backwards! Used to we could get things done here with one phone call, try to do that now! There are too many cooks in the kitchen. Better take off those rose colored glasses and lay off the wacky tobbackie. It is really effecting the way you think, say, and do things. You have this sense of feeling left out, and you are lonely, starved for attention, yet you are in denial, because the past administrations wanted nothing to do with you, now you feel like the big kahuna, so powerful and important. Better talk to your doctor at two rivers again and tell him you forgot to take your meds again. There may be help for you yet with Republicans Anonymous. Good Luck Brother!

Anonymous said...

Very amusing. Very true to the writer above. Got my PR sheet from the city this week and I've never seen a poorer print job/information piece in my life. The little pie charts aren't readable but the dialogue leaves the impression everything in Raytown is wonderful. Wonderful photos of the ceanup day. HaHa Oh, and the Gateway.Then there are the washed out photos of the parks. Who takes this crap? With all the wasted space in this bird cage liner there could have been some real discussion of the community survey and some readable results. Talk about a waste of city money! Noticed on the finance committee on TV that there is a $375,000 short fall and when questioning starts Alderwoman Melson wants to know about the city's web page. Now that's a priority! And "laughing stock" thinks the rest of us are negative? Miller and Estes spent their time talking about cost of living raises and merit raises. Would not want to miss the bucks for those worthless city employees when there is no money to pave a street, would we? There will be a day of reckoning folks.

Pat Casady said...

When the BOA was talked in to giving Curt Wenson his first big increase in pay
I wondered ....for what?
Then he talked the BOA into another pay raise I wrote an article questioning their reasoning.
It couldn't be because he had earned it my merit. It couldn't have been because
of his accomplishments, because he hadn't done anything.
So what was the reason for a big pay increase?
It was because other City Administrators in other small towns made more money than he did.
Never mind that these other small towns were actually growing and prospering.
Receiving money from their growth in taxes collected.
No our geniuses on the BOA gave him the raise to keep up with the Jones's.
They gave this man nearly a hundred thousand dollars a year.............for destroying
the town we all love. I can't thank Liberty enough for taking him away. Now from what I here they wish we had him back.

My point?
I say other than the cities support workers like the city garage, the city maintenance
workers and the police. Nobody gets raises until and when they actually earn them.
Finance director.....when the city is out of debt.
Economic director.....when there are no vacant buildings and new businesses are coming in.
And so on.

In other words management doesn't get any more money until more money is coming in. Plain and simple. On a personal note, I think raises should be voted on
by the people.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat has a good point about voting for raises for management. I think rather than voting on raises, the people should vote on what the salary will be. That might eliminate the high pay. I look at it this way: Is a person who makes only $7-$10 an hour going to vote for a manager to receive $100K/year.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Pat Casady for Mayor!!!

Anonymous said...

I second PAT CASADY FOR MAYOR!! Pat makes more sense than that whole board, the mayor and their overpaid administrators put together. What a bunch of loosers they are. THEY are why we are not prospering and other cities are. Put the blame where it belongs, don't try to blame it on the past. You are the ones in charge, so if things aren't looking too good, their attitude is, just pass the buck. As Harry Truman once said The Buck Stops Here. Let's keep watching and see if the current administration can screw it up any worse than the Curt Wenson and Sue
Frank did.

sparky said...

I think what is needed here instead of the current BOA voting on pay raises for themselves and their successors before their current terms expire is to form a committee from a cross section of registered voters that reside within the Raytown city limits.

Call the committee the Elected Representative Accountability Committee. The committees duties should include:

Job performance apprasials for all BOA members, Mayor, City Administrator, and all departmental directors.

Recommend to the voters once per year raise packages from 0% to 5% of current salary only if job performance warrants a merit increase.

Make each BOA member, Mayor, City Administrator, and departmental director sign a pledge that they will effectively carry out their job duties, listen to the citizens, vote on the citizen's behalf, not how they feel about a particular issue, but from the general consensus of the people that they represent.

This would be a start toward some change.

Anonymous said...

before you get to crazy with the voting stuff, remember that Raytown is not a charter city and cannot vote for things like this. Also, special elections cost around $15,000 which I believe would be counterproductive to your mission.

Salamander said...

That parade last Saturday. “PITIFUL“ would be a generous appraisal of this sad
Display. Don’t lose hope, dear reader. Perhaps next year our Mayor will assert himself, tell the out-of-town controlled Chamber of Commerce that Raytown wants a Grand Marshall who represents and is a resident of Raytown.

To the bureaucrats in Jefferson City: Thanks, fellows, for giving us back $400 Thousand of our money. The city is going to put it to good use, tearing down the former Baptist Church. Problem is that total costs of this demolition will, more than likely, exceed $750,000.00. So, get ready to pony up a few more dollars to help erase the memory of Sue Frank’s Folly.

Even worse, the $400,000.00 bone the boys in Jeff City threw at us will do nothing to erase the more than $650,000.00 spent purchasing the building.

WHICH REMINDS ME. The end of the month is upon us. This means another payment of interest is due on the purchase price of the old Baptist Church.

Dig deep, readers. Do your share and pony up some of the monthly $2200.00 plus needed to pay the interest due on the debt owed for purchase of a building which, more than likely would have been given to us.

Anonymous said...

$15,000 for a special election? Since when did the BOA let that bother 'em? They spent that on wanting to vote to seat a charter commission instead of waiting for a regular election cycle. They spend that on worthless city newsletters, trips for the uppity up higher ups, and surveys. You must be one of those who would be affected. That or a disgruntled charter commissioner from the last bloodbath.

Want to do something, the rest of you? Let's set up a "shadow government." Hold public meetings and vote on each issue the BOA does a few days after the BOA votes. Greg can be Shadow mayor, Briggs can be president of the board, on and on. We'll show the people what could be done instead of putting up with what is being done. Of course there will be no legal status for a shadow government but you've got to admit it would make people think and laugh. That ought to jerk some people's chains.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Casady can't run for Mayor...he doesn't live in Raytown. Now all you who have been hammering Al Maddox can bite on that biscuit. At least Al is involved in trying to make things happen, Pat isn't.

And don't tell me that because Mr. Casady owns a business in Raytown, he has a right to speak. I know more than a few Raytown business owners who don't live in Raytown and I don't hear them try to run things like Mr. Casady does. And Raytown has done just fine by Mr. Casady over the years!

And you can make a point that Mr. Casady pays taxes in Raytown....payroll, sales (not much) and a few others...well so do I!

Anonymous said...

I'm giving Pat a room in my house so he can establish his Raytown residency to run for mayor. Now what do you have to say Mr. Wiseacre above?
Mr. Walters must have a pretty good ear to the street as someone called to tell me the Raytown Post has a new "pubisher and editor." Mr. Phillips, I'm told, reported that he had served as "editor" for "the past eleven years." Tjat's odd because Mr. Gray retired from the paper as "editor and publisher." Guess Mr. Phillips can't even get how long he's been in a specific job correct. Figures.

Anonymous said...

We have elected leader accountability...it is called elections. Yes, they did not go the way most of the people on here want, but when you lose elections you have two choices: whine or get over it and move forward.

Someone quoted Harry Truman earlier in the thread. I do not remember the exact words, but one famous Truman quote talked about how optimists alway ruled the day.

Anyone see any optimists in here??

Pat Casady said...

I guess I better clear this up before it goes too far.
First of all, as has been said I don't live in Raytown so Mayor is out.
And I unlike some, knew it was said in humor.
Beside the fact, I think we have a good mayor. He is trying and I know this because we talk. In fact I've talked to him more than I have ever seen or talked to
my ward representatives.

Now, although I don't have to defend myself from misinformed people like anonymous 6:02. I feel I must say this, I have been trying to make things happen.
I'm just not as outspoken about it. As I write this, I am working at getting a group of
downtown business and property owners together to try and come up with some helpful suggestions for our downtown. The key here is helpful.
Buy the way 6:02 I am not trying to run things!
I just want things better for everybody.
So if that makes you upset with me so be it.
If you can prove any different I challenge you to do so.

I am not trying to get a group of people together to sway votes, fight City Hall or put down people that will run for office. I'll leave that up to small minded people like..........
You, all know who I mean.

As far as voting for pay raises, I didn't mean the B.O.A. though what little they are paid would keep the average person from even considering running for
those offices. I have always had respect for our elected officials. However, I have the right to say and criticize some of their decisions as does anyone.
In fact, I may not like some of them but I have never disrespected them.

What I meant by voting on pay raises was for city management positions.
That is, if they aren't doing their job for the people, the people could reward
them in kind. Not just hand out pay increases just because. Pay increases should be given after and not until the city is making more money through growth.
Plain and simple. I don't know how I can explain it any clearer.

We need suggestions to make things better and not fight among ourselves.
I know it's hard but we need to stop replying to the people that clearly want to
keep things stirred up and our focus off what we all want. A better Raytown.
They can accuse you and me of not being whatever they think in their minds we should be. We just need not read, reply or listen to them.

sparky said...

Okay, then what if a group of citizens got together and set up a group, or a committee, to make the recommendations to the BOA for wage increases or freezes for certain top level management positions at city hall?

I am not aware of any laws forbidding anyone from forming a group or committee that would meet and discuss matters like this, then attend BOA meetings and present the groups recommendations to the BOA for its consideration and vote. Why couldnt something like this be done?

Andy Whiteman said...

Sparky,

I have been wondering this too. With all the complaints I see here, I expect to see many at the BOA meetings, but many times I am the only one. I wonder why?

Is it because many of the complainers are anonymous? Are the afraid to speak out? Maybe they have good reason to be afraid. I have had people tell me their opinion is that I am being harrassed by the city because they don't like what I have said.

This is America, not Nazi Germany, a fascist country, or a medieval fief. The people have a right to speak their opinion. True everybody may not like what is said here or at the BOA, but it is our right to say it. I feel that these complaints should be addressed to the city officials.

Maybe my idea of speaking out is wrong because I feel the BOA does not listen to the people. If more people stood up, it might get attention. After almost a year of meetings on animal control, one of the board people had the audacity to state that she couldn't understand why people were suddenly complaining! That proves that some members of the Board DO NOT LISTEN.

Some of this blog is like children arguing and insulting each other. We are adults, lets not run each other down but lets address the issues.

I am willing to state my complaints, opinions, and ideas here and to the Board. I think there would be more positive progress if there was an attempt to present a solution to the problem.

My first suggestion to the solution is to replace the alderpeople we are dissatisfied with as their term(s) expire.

Andy Whiteman

sparky said...

Andy,

You are right on target about the people who do get on here anonymously and I dont blame them for doing so. If you speak out against the local government, there is usually some form of retaliation that comes down the line, sort of like playing favorites at school. It does happen here. You could be getting backlash for speaking out. If that is the truth, which I myself believe that it is, then that proves to me that we have some childish people involved with our local government.

Replacing the alderpeople as their terms expire is a viable option, however, the machine comes up with another puppet to fill the void and all of their cronies come out of the woodwork to vote the puppets in, leaving the frustrated outsiders like me and you out cold, again.

There needs to be further change with the chamber of commerce as well. We need to have people in charge there that really do have a vested interest in Raytown, both from the business owner end and the homeowner end. I think I heard that the lady running the COC doesnt even live here. Seems like if you are trying to promote business in Raytown one needs to have strong roots tied here as well.

Most of these groups I find have their little cliques with core people that they feel comfortable with. If an outsider comes in with a differing point of view, they are quickly shunned or shown the door. I have personally been affiliated with some groups that exhibit that type of response. I know the school district is like that, and a lot of the church groups are like that here also. Usually, most of the blowhards that are associated with these groups lose interest after they have totally ravaged and destroy the membership base and they eventually leave. Maybe that is what eventually has to happen here also.

I think that there has definately been some progress here with some ideas. That is a good starting point, but a plan needs to be formulated and action on such is neccessary, otherwise nothing will ever change.

Not everyones schedule is such that is to allow participation in the BOA meetings due to scheduling conflicts ie; work, families, other scheduled events. Even if time were available to attend, it sounds like any commentary would probably fall upon deaf ears, except for one alderman, and possibly the mayor.

Andy Whiteman said...

Sparky,

Thanks for your comments. What you say seems true. I once lived in a town of 125 houses and maybe 400 people. Raytown is much like that small town in that people do not want change because "that is the way it always has been done."

It may have always been done that way, but we need to ask is that a good way to do it or is there a better, more productive way?

I can sure understand why people are anonymous. Many of the anonymous writers have good, valid points and ideas. It just seems to me that may be the reason for not speaking out at the BOA or writing a letter to someone in authority.

Originally I was going to be anonymous or use a pseudonym, but I figured people would know who wrote it based on what I said and my pseudonym would be self descriptive. Besides putting my name on the post gives it more credibility.

I also can understand reasons for not going to Board meetings. I never went until the animal ordinance became an issue and continued after that if there is something on the agenda of interest to me or if I want to address the board. I missed one of the important secret meetings because I had a doctor's appointment (Yes I only make evening doctor's appointments.) Actually I have better things to do with my time.

I wonder if I am wasting my time speaking to the Board. As my father would say, "It is like talking to a wall!" I came to realize that there are real citizens listening. I have had people come up to me on the street and comment on something they saw me say on CH7.

As for the COC, I agree the manager should be a resident, but maybe they couldn't find a qualified local person.

I wonder if the supervisors and department managers are required to reside in Raytown. I can remember at one time there was talk of making that a requirement. At one time Wenson was telling me that be could hear airconditioners from 2 neighbors. I told him his lot was too small. I later found out that he lived in Lees Summit. If our top city employees are living in another city, I have a big issue with that. Mainly they are not affected by their own actions because they do not live here. Another point is their property tax money is going to another city. I sure would like to know where what city these people live in. If not Raytown, we can assume their loyalties are not to Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy, City employees (only The City administrator is required to live inside the city limits) are not required to live in Raytown. Most people don't have a problem with a clerk or a street department employee living outside of Raytown. But the ones they do have a problem are the ones that when their hugh salaries and benifits are included are being paid in excess of $100,000 a year. These people need to be living here. It would show they have a vested interest in their town. They also would be more aware of their community and maybe we wouldn't be looking as trashy as things do now. Also why not spend their paychecks where they work instead of taking them home to another city. The citizens should demand that the board of aldermen change this.

Anonymous said...

I got a Raytown Post thrown yesterday maybe a new owner but the same old bull ----! If anyone read the letter from OFM Al he had to pat himself on the back about the new pocket park. I guess he had to write it because no one will. Give it up FM Al you have worn out your welcome in Raytown move it on to Kansas City.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 9:22,
Thanks for your post.
I have a real problem with department heads (any department) if they don't live in the city they work in. It is not a money thing (except property taxes) because they can shop anywhere they want.

If the Public Works manager, Planning and Zoneing, Finance Manager, etc. don't live in the city they work in: they really have no vested interest in what happens here. We don't need foreigners telling us what we can and can't do. (Foreigners is not a racial term. By foreigner, I mean any person living in another city since they are foreign to Raytown.) Maybe things would be different if these people could see on a daily basis what is happening in Raytown. Most of Raytown is not a slum area and there are nice homes these upper level people could buy.

If the clerks and other workers live in another city, that is there business. Possibly it is impossible to find qualified workers who live in Raytown willing to work at low pay. Personally, I wouldn't feel that a low paying job is worth driving any distance but that is their personal decision when they took the job.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to the Crescent Creek development? The community development director and chamber of commerce were talking about how it would help revitalize Raytown. Were the houses too expensive, poor location, developer pull out again, a mixture of all or something else?

Andy Whiteman said...

I was wondering about Crescent Creek myself.

My opinion is that they are trying to squeeze miniature houses onto miniature lots. That is like living in an apartment and puts too many people into a small area causing an increase in crime and violence.

Personally, I won't buy a miniature house on a miniature lot. My suspicion is they may be unable to locate buyers. Have you noticed the FOR SALE signs in Raytown? They are very slow to sell if they sell at all. In 2004 my Realtor told me the average time on the market in Raytown was 6 months. I suspect more than that now.

There has been a real estate slump for several months now. Homes, especially new construction, are difficult to sell. Simply put, this is not the time to start a project unless the intent is to sell the units at a loss.

Anonymous said...

My realtor tells me that the type of homes that they are building in Crescent Creek only appeal to about a third of the home buying public. In an already depressed market, I suspect that they are also overpriced.

Greg Walters said...

Crescent Creek was a leap of faith that did not pan out. The developer has since asked for, and received, permission to build a different style of house more along the lines of small ranches for the remainder of the development. Most of the homes will be one story -- trying to attract a wider range of owners that includes senior citizens.

The developer also received permission to have the driveways join the street in the front of the house instead of the rear. This saves them a ton of money on concrete and gives the setting more of a suburban look insteadof an urban look.

Personally,I think they would do well to keep the exclusive nature of the development -- posibly adding security features -- as in a gated community.

But then again, it is not my money on the line.

Anonymous 3:17 said...

It is nice to be able to ask questions and get good responses. Thank you for your responses to my question about Crescent Creek.

JWDT said...

Can someone tell me what the CitySpirit Workshop is? Also, when does it meet & what is its purpose?

Thanks,
Justin Tomac

Anonymous said...

the city spirit workshop thing was another of those non publicized events for the in crowd that took place back in june or july of this year only for the afflunently well off socialites obviously

Andy Whiteman said...

Anonymous 3:17:
What I like about this blog is that since everyone here is concerned about Raytown, someone in the know is likely to respond. In the case of Crescent Creek my response was my analysis of the Real Estate market and the economy in general. You even got a response from someone who knows what is going on: Greg Walters.

Justin Tomac:
I don't know if the City Spirit was advertised widely or not. You would think that something of that importance would receive much publicity! I have been complaining for way over a year about secret, unanounced public meetings. They may be public but not announcing them in effect makes them secret! They get away with it by saying that the announcements are posted at City Hall. City Hall is open only 8A-5P M-F and in effect not open to the general public (most of whom work those hours.) Also the postings at City Hall are blocked by a garbage can or newspaper machine so on one can get close enought to read them.

Can you believe anyone who has the time to make several trips to City Hall to look for hidden notices? If everyone in this city came to search for postings, the parking lot would be full so it would be impossible for everyone to park.

They also claim they are advertised on CH 7. My TV does not have a CH 7. Therefore, notice is restricted to only those who pay for cable. I use an antenna and don't waste money on cable.

Andy Whiteman