Sunday, November 4, 2007
Area Elections and a Look Back
TUESDAY is general election day in Missouri. This is an “off year” in the election cycle so there are few elections to watch. Raytown voters will not be voting on any issues this year – but some interesting elections are taking place in neighboring communities. The City of Grandview will consider a ½ cent sales tax increase. If it passes Grandview will join with many other communities in the area in making the K.C. metroplex one of the highest taxed areas in Missouri. By far the election that holds most attention for the Kansas City area is the effort by Independence residents to wrest control of schools located in the western portion of their city. Those schools in western Independence currently fall under the jurisdiction of the Kansas City Missouri School District. Voters in both the Kansas City and Independence School District are allowed to vote on the question. Independence voters are expected to approve the change. How Kansas City voters will cast their votes is the big question. Approval by K.C. voters would definitely speed up the process of changing the District lines. If they do not vote approval, look for a court challenge to the law enabling the removal of Independence schools from the K.C. District. That law was passed earlier this year. The law’s chief sponsor, Senator Victor Callahan (who also represents Raytown), has worked hard to make the dream of a unified Independence School District that fits the city’s boundaries. My prediction: Look for an upset win for Senator Callahan, Independence and Kansas City, when voters make the common sense decision to approve the proposal. This will give Independence what it wants and give the Kansas City School District the opportunity to increase their focus on problems within the remainder of the district. ANOTHER interesting election is taking place in Lee’s Summit. At issue is correction of language in the city’s Charter – originally passed by Lee’s Summit voters years ago. It seems that some typographical errors have come to light that need correcting. Questions 5, 6, 9 and 10 are amendments to their Charter that clean up typographical errors along with a few minor changes. What an enlightening idea! Raytown voters will remember that a similar situation occurred in our city when the final draft of the Charter had three typographical errors in it. Mayor Frank jumped on the typos as the crime of the century. In what was clearly the nastiest campaign* in Raytown’s history the Mayor used the issue to defeat the Charter and bring a lawsuit that eventually cost the city nearly $30,000 in legal expenses**. Guess Lee’s Summit is just lucky they didn’t have a Sue Frank at the helm when their Charter was written. You can also add Lee’s Summit to the list of cities that require department heads to live within city limits. Some have suggested that had the Charter passed, Raytown City Hall would not be experiencing the revolving door it has in place for its management personnel to enter and leave the city. In other words, people who live in a city, put down roots here and become part of the community are more likely to stay than leave. One blog contributor brought wrote we do not need a Charter to put this policy in place. In fact, it was during former Mayor Jack Nesbitt’s term in office that the policy was changed. Up until that time city department heads were required to reside within city limits. Changes in management personnel were rare and uneventful. Look for the issue to be revisited by the Board of Aldermen. * Mayor Frank was caught removing charter books from the local library, copies of the charter given to the City Administrator for distribution at City Hall mysteriously disappeared, and anti-charter campaigners were caught trying to walk off with charter books from local merchants who had offered to distribute them. ** The City Council under Mayor Frank voted 8 yes to 2 no to bring suit against the Charter Commission and the Election Board in an effort to keep the election from being held. The city lost on all counts of the suits it brought.