Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Lesson Learned . . .

A week ago Saturday the Kansas City Star ran a story in which Kansas City area suburbs were ranked. From any Raytowner’s point of view, the story was not welcome news. Our hometown received the lowest ranking in customer service and dissemination of information from city hall than any other suburb sampled. To underscore their point, the reporters for the story wrote “neither Mayor David Bower nor City Administrator Michael Miller responded to repeated email or telephone messages seeking comment for this article.” At last Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen the Mayor made comments regarding the survey. But those comments did not include any enlightenment as to why he failure to respond to the opportunity to speak on behalf of Raytown. Most people are not upset with the survey results. If the recent New Hampshire Primary taught us anything, it is that polls and surveys are often written in sand. The strangest of events can change the result. Just as Hillary Clinton’s spontaneous bursting into tears can sway voters, so can a street slick with ice impact the result of a survey. People are, however, upset that calls from the Kansas City Star were not returned. The Mayor ignored an opportunity to speak on behalf of the city. Other cities, ranked at the lower end of the scale (with Raytown) had spokesmen who responded appropriately to questions raised by the Star’s article. Why didn’t Raytown? Hopefully, Mayor Bower has learned from this experience. Government is best practiced in the open. Ignoring difficult questions from the media is not a solution to our problems in Raytown. Indeed, facing such questions and taking them head on is the first step in finding answers. ABOUT THE K.C. STAR ARTICLE . . . Some contributor's to this blog have mistaken the Star survey with a similar survey conducted by the City of Raytown last year. The survey conducted by the Star was not related to the Raytown survey. Though many of the same conclusions were reached by both surveys.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Raytown School District voters would be justified in turning down an 89 cent property tax increase. The property tax is charged against all real property (homes and businesses) and against all personal property (cars, boats, recreational vehicles, etc.). The 89 cent levy increase will place the Raytown School District levy at the highest level it has ever been.

The reason voters would be justified in turning down the increase is two-fold.

Under the guidance of Dr. Henry Russell, the school district was operating in the black. His replacement, Dale Houck, has gone on a wild spending spree with district money purchasing and building new facilities for the district.

Money that could have gone to pay teacher salary increases was squandered on unnecessary facilities like a day care center at Blue Ridge Elementary and purchasing/leasing vacant buildings in Downtown Raytown and elsewhere.

The school district does not need more money. What they need is competent leadership that puts teachers ahead of monuments to superintendents.

Voters would also be justified in turning down the levy because of the unfair way that property is evaluated in Jackson County.

Everyone knows that our homes have dropped in value. Yet, the value placed on our homes by the County Assessors office is still sky high. The school district wants to place an unfair burden on long time homeowners in the Raytown District whose property is over-valued for tax purposes.

I would be willing to support a fair tax. But this is not a fair tax. It is rigged to squeeze more money out of school patron pockets on over-valued homes.

Help send a message to the school board that they need to straighten up their act before they come out for more of our dollars. Vote NO April 8th on the Raytown school tax increase.

Anonymous said...

To follow up on a no vote for the tax, you must vote against the three incumbent school board members. Send Cathy Mack, Terry Landers, and Rick Moore a message, that we are not going to take anymore of this INCOMPETENT leadership.

Anonymous said...

I too was very disappointed that Mayor Bower and City Administrator Michael Miller failed to respond to the KC Star. Again this just shows what happens when you elect someone with no political experience. Nice guy Mr. Bower, but we need a strong leader and someone with the political connections to get things done. One only has to look at what is happening in the mayor's office in Kansas City to see what a disaster this can be. Probably the only thing worse that Mayor Bower could do is put his wife to work in the mayor's office.

JWDT said...

Greg,
I agree, hopefully the Mayor and the citizens of Raytown learn that any opportunity we get to 'brag, highlight or put in a positive word' for Raytown the city wins overall.

Putting this behind us and chalk it up as a lesson learned is what is important now.

The question I have for the BOA/Mayor and Raytown Citizens is what is the Vision on how we are going to Repair the image we have received? Or does it really matter to anyone?

Instead of slinging Mud or pointing fingers lets take a proactive and positive approach and "focus on and work the problem(s) people" (to borrow a line from Gene Krantz in Apollo 13).

IMHO: The 1st order of business is to figure out what the priorities are for the Raytown citizen. I do not believe street lighting is as big an issue when compared to lack of or shrinking tax base to offset the corporate giveaways that have been practiced over the last few years. To me nothing repairs an image faster than the when the occupants/residents can write positive and refuting editorials to the KC Star in lieu of the Stars analysis. Unfortunately, for us the Mayor/City Admin did not respond, so tactically these two (yes I know we are in need of a CA) and the BOA need to get Raytown in the larger Media as a positive place to live, breathe (sorry the Trib & Post do not cut it) and shop.

Justin Tomac

Anonymous said...

You want to improve Raytown's image and get its citizens to comment positively? Then fix the crumbling streets! We should file a class action lawsuit against the city for universal damage to all our vehicles! We don't need a CA, we need his salary in overlay!

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with anonymous 4:07 about image. If you have a good city government that is fixing it's streets, enforcing it's codes and delivering good basic city services, you don't need to put a spin on it. People will be able to see it for themselves. Ask any realtor, I'm sure there are parts of Raytown that they would just as soon not have to drive thru to show a prospective buyer a home.

JWDT said...

Two votes in from Anon 4:07 & 5:31:

1) Fix the roads or infrastructure
2) Make the city government relevant i.e. 'good'

I agree if you have a good city government and happy citizens you do not need an image, the image will be apparent. Unfortunately, Raytown does not have the positive image and judging by how fast & long it takes something to happen here we need a two pronged approach. 1) repair/salvage what image is left and 2) lay out a plan and execute to fix the top two or three things the citizens agree on to build upon.

Some Streets can/should receive an overlay, others need more than an overlay. Think of an overlay as a bandage to stop the bleeding & make things look nice. Some of the Streets need a wholesale revamping of the base as well as new curb & gutter.
Justin Tomac

Greg Walters said...

Justin,

I agree that our economic base needs to be looked after. The problem with the last administration was that they used that as an excuse not to do anything else.

A lot of fuss has been made about streetlights. But it is important to do so because when the Board included them in this year's budget they sent a message that they were ending the three year moratorium on placing new streetlights.

It was (to say the least) a step in the right direction.

There are some of us who are looking at areas (other than economic) to improve Raytown's image.

I am working with the Recycling Committee. We should have a comprehensive report regarding that subject before Spring.

Alderman Jim Aziere is looking into laws regarding smoking in public places.

Alderman Pat Ertz is studying ways to allow for the safe sale and usage of fireworks in Raytown.

Small items, yes, but collectively they add up to improvements in our image.

I do agree 100% with contributors that our streets need repair and I can assure you that the transportation tax which the voters approved a couple of years back will be on track next summer and beyond to catch up with improvements.

Economic Development is important. But it should not be to the exclusion of all other issues in Raytown.

A balanced plan is needed.

Andy Whiteman said...

I was unaware that there were 2 surveys. I thought the survey was the one the City of Raytown paid for. Who paid for the 2nd survey?

I don't know how many cities/towns/villages are in the metro area. When taking my dog to and from training in the northland, I passed through towns/villages I never heard of before. (One is just a few square blocks and generates is revenue from traffic tickets.)

Did the survey cover every village, town, and city? If we assume there are 100, then #20 is a good rating. Serveys can be skewed depending on who received the survey and who interprets it.

I am appalled that neither the Mayor or CA Miller returned the Red Star's calls. Maybe they didn't receive the messages?

A newspaper will publish whatever it takes to sell papers! The article may or may not be factual.

Anon 10:20AM, please publish your article closer to election time if you still feel the same way. People will forget it by then. I also suggest that you put it in the Post and News for those who don't read the blog. The KC Red Star is a good idea too.

One writer said that curbs and gutters need replacement. I hate to tell him, but there are areas in Raytown without curb/gutter.

As I pointed out at the BOA meeting, one area of street is a NUISANCE and safety hazard. Mr. Sharma told me that he would check the safety hazard for a possible temporary patch when it warms up. Who do I complain to about the nuisance and who at city hall would be sited for maintaining a nuisance? A property owner is required to abate the nuisance but apparently the city can violate its own codes.

As for attracting business, we need a plan. At the last BOA meeting it sounded like there was a group working on that.

I previously pointed out that there is public hearing 2/12 about an amendment to an ordinance stated by ordinance and section number. No one has a clue what that ordinance is unless they inquire. It is actually a revision of the CBD plan. One city employee emailed me that this doesn't affect anyone's property. If youn ask me it could potentially affect everyone in and near this CBD which appears to have mushroomed in area. Does anyone care?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Okay, about the mystery surrounding the survey. As quoted from the KC Red Star:

"Called DirectionFinder surveys, they were all conducted by the same firm, the Olathe-based ETC Institute, which asks standardized questions in the same way from survey to survey. The point of the survey is for cities to benchmark themselves against others."

Basically, I remember that there was a survey that appeared here at my house from a place in Kansas that was conducting a survey for the city in which the results were tabulated and provided to the city for publication in their 'newsletter'. Seems that they also conducted surveys for at least 18 other cities here in the metro area and they used the same data for the KC Red Star's article as well.

Anonymous said...

Another thing, I have stated that infrastructure needs to be maintained and/or replaced. Crumbling concrete curbs, sidewalks heaving and buckling from trees and their roots, asphalt roadways that are like washboards, decaying sanitary sewer systems. A lot of the things here were constructed 50+ years ago or better. No wonder property values are declining and there are more vacant properties here that have not sold unless the owners eat a huge loss because they cannot get what they were worth because most people in their right mind do not want to purchase a house in a blighted, run down area.

But then again maybe Raytown wants to purposely create a blighted area by themselves neglecting upkeep and maintaining the infrastructure by deliberately redirecting funds for that purpose to other things like chair warmer salaries. They can then use emiment domain , 353's or TIF's on the blighted area to their advantage to attract new development in Raytown. Maybe that is what they are trying to accomplish.

Jason Hayward said...

I was at the meeting Greg, Why didn't you ask the mayor these things IN PERSON when you sat next to him on Tuesday, instead of coming to this virtual world to whine and complain after the fact?

Why are you afraid to be a MAN and ask questions of the Mayor and the City Administrator FACE to FACE?

Don't be a coward, be a leader!!!!

Former Raytowner said...

Maybe the city leaders should take a look at what the suburbs ranking in the top five offer their residents to help develop a plan to improve the image of the community and satisfaction of the residents.

I grew up in Raytown and still own property there but now live in one of the cities that was rated top 5. To me, the difference boils down to two factors: 1) increased tax base, and 2) progressive government.

Barring significant tax increases, Raytown can't do much to grow the tax base from a residential perspective. Without major new residential development, the only option is to revitalize the commercial sectors to bring in new business and tax revenue. This is a balancing act, as most new developments expect a large part of the tax benefits be returned to them through TIFs. Give them, and you dilute the effectiveness; don't give them and you risk driving commercial development to neighboring cities.

Progressive government is another story. This could, and should, be the focus of the elected leaders. Recycling, fireworks, etc., are all nice issues from a tactical perspective, but a new broader vision is really necesary to place Raytown in a position to improve public image and satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

I have been in Raytown for about fifteen years. When I came here the trees were beautiful. In that time we have had two major storms that did a lot of damage. There are now many street trees that are badly damaged and could be considered dangerous. I am not an expert but I believe the City could be liable if one of these trees fell and hurt someone or their property. This along with the crumbling roads and sidewalks need to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

The big question that needs to be asked. How much longer can Raytown afford to be a city? Sometimes it looks like we would be better off if someone annexed us. I'm afraid its coming.

JWDT said...

Jason,

Never presume that someone has not asked the question. Politics, as business, is never clear cut and when you play your hand or ask the 'tough' question the result may not be what you would expect or hope for. I wasn't at the meeting, but my guess is, it was either already asked in private or the status quo says not to ask such a direct & in some cases embarrasing question. If you want an example of this, take a hard look at Kansas City's problem between the Mayor (Funkhouser) and the City Manager (Cauthen). If you believe the media (i.e. KC Star, et. al.). The Funk is a racist and a bigot. Just remember their are two sides to each situation. Greg can stand on his own & this is not a defend stand.

My analogy is this: Have you ever been in a situation at work or home where common sense or decorum has given way to asking the rather blatant or embarrasing question? If you have, what was the response? More than likely, if you still had a job or family to speak of, you would have thought twice about it. Having been in these type of situations before, it is not always easy nor prudent to be the 'questioner' or in some peoples eyes the 'ass'. So my response is cut the Mayor & Greg as well as the BOA some slack. Now did you stand up and ask the 'tough question' you were expecting Greg to ask?

Also, in reading this blog, I did not notice the wording where Greg was being critical to the Mayor & his lack of response. If you did, please respond with the quote within the Blog itself?

I do appreciate you signing your name, that takes guts.
Justin Tomac

Anonymous said...

Hey Justin,

Do you think the Moody Blues will be releasing any new tunes soon?

Nice try!

Pat Casady said...

I guess I'll put my two cents in about the K.C. Star survey too.

In Mayor Bower's defense, what would you have him say?
Most people are upset with the way things are going in Raytown.
When Raytown city officials can't even agree on a simple recycling
program but have absolutely no problem giving away large portions
of the cities tax income.

Raytown hasn't really had a City Administrator that did any good for
the city.
Raytown still has at least one employee that tries to run more business out of town than is brought into town.
The school district is on a runaway spending spree and wants more money so it can spending.

So what should Mayor Bower have done?
The K.C. survey just stated what we all knew.
But I have faith that Raytown will be better in the future.
And I think Mayor Bower is on the right track.
The Raytown Plaza is under way, the old church is getting closer to
coming down and in fact, things are starting to happen here.

If our city leaders don't give away any more income to companies
that don't really need welfare from Raytown, we might just get through this.
Raytown will also need a person that work hard and get out and
find some new businesses to come into town, because after the big
tax give away, Raytown will have to find a way to make up for the twelve to twenty percent income City Hall gave away for twenty three years.

Anonymous said...

Now that Miller is gone will the BOA try to hire a new city administrator soon? Will it cost us more than the current one was making? How long will the next one stay? Miller only lasted about 18 months. Again lots of unanswered questions coming out of city hall.

For the Record said...

Setting the record straight.

The blogger who told the Salamander Al Maddox did not plant the 50 trees is correct. But he should read the Salamander again. The Salamander didn’t say Maddox planted the trees. Hew said Maddox took credit for planting the trees.

Doesn’t really matter. Most of the trees are doomed to an early demise or stunted growth during their term in the ground.

A busy intersection of a main street in a town is not the forest. Trees in urban areas do not react, either genetically or agranomically in the same way as do those growing in a primal setting.

While on the subject of Al Maddox. What ever happened to his efforts collecting funds with which to build a clock tower for Downtown Raytown? I would not object to his issuing a financial report on this endeavor.

Speaking of financial reports. In view of the departure of our chief financial officer and the city administrator at city hall, who left with only two days notice, an outside audit is definitely in order.

Andy Whiteman said...

As for "asking the question" one rule is don't ask a question in public unless you already know the answer. I would like to ask it privately, but wouldn't expect a response.

I have felt the CA is an unneeded chair warming position, but I have heard Miller and Sharma present info that is specialized in nature such as state/federal funding and grants as well as legal requirements. We could do without this chair warmer, but it would require the use of consultants or attorneys on various issues/projects. If the position is filled I suggest:
1)A long term contract (5 to 10 years)
2)Pay tied to performance.
3)Termination for unsatisfactory performance.
4) CA to manage and not come to the board for "direction" on each issue. CA should have limits set in the contract that he can operate within without receiving permission from the BOA.

Anonymous said...

Who in their right mind would give cash to foul mouthed Al Maddox for anything. This guy has no obligation to turn this money over to the governing body. I'd just as soon give it to some homeless guy on the street. It would probably be put to better use. I'm still waiting to see Al's financial report.

Anonymous said...

To the person who was talking about the BOA having to hire a new CA now that Miller is gone. That is not entirely true. We have not always had a CA. Curt Winson was only the second CA. the city has ever had. The mayor did both jobs and the city ran better then than it does now.

Mayor Bower could do both jobs if he were inclined to do so and that would save us a lot of money that could be use on the streets. I don't want to hear that Mayor Bower has a full time job. Some of the other Mayors had full time jobs as well. He is still the mayor and if necessary he should step up and do what is necessary to get us out of the mess we are in. I voted for him and I like him as a person but I am beginning to wonder if I wasted my vote.

We now have only one Dept. Head that has been there more than 6 months. He is not capable of doing the job of fill in person. Where does all this stop?

I read all of this "ragging" on Greg on this blog but isn't he the one who is giving you a place to find out what is going on at city hall? Isn't he the one who is giving you the place to voice your grips about him and other things? Have any of you stop to think that you would not know anything if it were not for Greg Standing up and asking those tough questions. City hall is not the most open places in the world with there information. There are a lot of things that we would never know if someone wasn't willing to stand up and say what is important for us to know because who are paying the bills up there.

Greg, Please don't stop what you do we need you and anyone who is not afraid of city hall and let all of us know what things are happening there. We should all be more involved it is our money they are spending up there or not spending as in the streets.

Keep up the good work Greg!!

Anonymous said...

The BOA should not hire a new city administrator for a long while. You are right, the most senior department head is NOT qualified to to be "acting" city administrator, in fact we would probably have been a lot better off if he had resigned and Miller had stayed. I don't know much about the public works director, but what little I've heard is he is doing a good job as is the new city attorney. And yes, Greg keep up the good work with this blog. I find it much more informative than any of the newspapers that cover Raytown.

The Insider said...

As a longtime Raytown School District employee, I am tired of see the waste and mis-management of the tax payers money. Vote NO on April 8th.

Anonymous said...

To: Mark Siettmann

Maybe you can explain for all of us today's (Monday's - MLK Day's) stock market reactions and losses around the world.

You could be right --- no "recession" --- looks like we'll bypass that and go directly to "World Depression."

My parents lived through that.

But, hey, what do I know? I'm only 59 and lived through only four or so recessions in my lifetime.

Best wishes, Lee

PS. Go to the grocery store and take a close look at the meat counter and shelves elsewhere. Look'in kind'a picked over to me.

Andy Whiteman said...

If a long time Raytown school district says there is waste and mis-management, I suggest people pay attention.

I hope both sides post their comments close to election time so it will have the voters' attention. Please post here and in the paper publications (even the KC Red Star if they will print it). Who knows, they may publish it in the Raytown/Independence section on Wednesday.

Who is the "only one" department head with over 6 months service? I can think of more than one.

I feel that Mr. Sharma, public works director, is very qualified to be fill-in CA. I think the position should be eliminated, but if it isn't, I feel that Mr. Sharma is qualified to handle it permanently if he so desires.

I have spoken with Mr. Sharma numerous times. I find him to be service oriented as well as customer service oriented if you consider taxpayers to be customers. He has responded to ALL emails from me either via email or in person.

At BOA meetings he knows the details relevant to his department and projects including applying for grants. The only thing he cannot do is budget for acts of God. He has no clue how many times and how severe snow and ice storms will be and therefore, cannot budget for salt.
*******
I wonder why Foul Mouth Al and Clay Chastain are so interested in cities they no longer live in? Do they own property in the cities they no longer live in? I can tell you that after I move, I may keep up with Raytown news, but that is it. You won't hear from me after I sell my house unless I keep it as a rental due to the poor real estate market.
*****
My bedroom was too cold tonight so I couldn't watch NBR and don't know about the world markets, but I feel we are in recession. The government isn't going to admit to it in an election year. I see low inventories in many stores and if there is a sale, the sale item I want is usually sold out when I get there. Also prices are way up! Now an item is ON SALE at last year's price! Maybe since it isn't moving, they mark it down for one week or one month!

Andy Whiteman

Mark Siettmann said...

Lee,

You act like a "recession" is the only type of poor economic status. Are we in "recession" during any type of bad economic news? Seems a pretty broad definition if you ask me.

"Recession" is not a reflection of individual personal income, buying power or economic misfortune, it is a statistic of overall economic growth. Last I looked the economy was still growing overall.

Now, are portions of the economy troubling? Yes, as I admited before. Would a stimulus package, such as offered by Bush and applauded by leading Democrats help AVOID recession. Probably. Is our reliance on foriegn products and credit dangorous for the long term. You bet.

But, and here is the key, the solution is not throwing up the panic button by crying "wolf (read:recession)" when the wolf isn't even yet in the neighborhood. We have time to build fences to keep the wolf out, without using threat of the wolf to manipulate everyone (and their votes.)

Lee, this all may be about semantics, but if you watched Clinton and Obama claw away at each other last night you will know that semantics seem to be important these days.

Anonymous said...

Well, Mark, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Guess those on CNBC were wrong today saying that 2,000 points lost on the stock market since last October reflects recession.
You remind me of the Germans after WWII, who answered: "I was only following orders." But you can follow the economic theory and newsspeak dictated to you by the GOP. It's a free country. (Well, except for the Patriot Act.)
I haven't seen all the happy/crappy talk by certain Raytown groups make things any better in our ruptured city. Same goes statewide and nationally.
And, yes, my graduate school focus was "semantics." Undergrad degrees in political science and journalism. Was yours in economics?
And where "time" to fence out the wolf is concerned, all the pundits indicate otherwise --- that's why the fed cut the rate this morning and Bush is shuffling to stimulate the economy.
His peace plan for Palestine and Israel appears to be working out well too --- now that he's realized after seven years that issues exist there.
I bought a German buddy of mine a t-shirt in Hermann, Mo. It read: "You can always tell a German but you can't tell him much."
Auf Wiedersehen - Herr Grau

Salamander said...

Let's get real for a change. Something does not feel right about what's going on at city hall.

The city's chief Finance Officer, Dan Estes, resigns to take a job in Liberty, Missouri.

Nothing wrong with that, but read on.

Less than half a year later Mike Miller, the City Administrator, resigns.

Mark Johnson of the Raytown Tribune wrote that Miller is officially on administrative leave until March.

Miller turned in his resignation on Wednesday, January 16th. Friday, January 18th was his last day on the job. Just two days later his desk cleaned out and any evidence of his tenure removed!

Miller announced he was quitting to go into some sort of religious/philanthropic type of job.

But cutting it two days is hardly proper notice.

We then learn that Miller is on administrative leave for the next two months.

The Salamander has never heard of someone taking administrative leave from a job he has no intention of returning to. Bear in mind. The Mayor said Miller was quitting his job, period.

The purpose of administrative leave is to allow those in authority to conduct an investigation to clear the air and remove any doubt of misconduct on behalf of the person on administrative leave.

Why in the name of common sense would anyonem be paid for "administrative leave" from a job to which he does not intend to return?

It all sounds a little wacky. Your correspondent believes that with two departures, an audit of city finances would be in order.

How about it, Mr. Mayor?

If not an audit, surely you can tell us what on earth motivated granting paid administrative leave to someone who will never return to his job.

One more point, this is for the benefit of "excusists" who would point out that there was no call for an audit when Dan Estes left.

Dan Estes case is different. Mr. Estes gave timely notice. Stayed an acceptable period after his notice was given. Not the case with the City Administrator. Just 48 hours after giving his notice he was gone with the wind.

Andy Whiteman said...

The Salamander has a good point. I guess we can all draw our own conclusions.

By the way, Salamander, isn't it about time for the city to write a big interest check on that blunder of an eyesore and safety hazard the Olde Baptist Church?

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

US MOVES TO AVERT ECONOMIC MELTDOWN is an AP story on Yahoo:

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080122/economy_stimulus
.html

"The White House meeting was intended to show the world that Bush and his Democratic adversaries recognize the gravity of the economic slowdown and are serious about protecting consumers and investors who have watched their holdings shrink. Wall Street and global markets fear the stimulus package outlined by Bush is not enough to avert a recession. The Dow Jones industrial average is down nearly 10 percent since the beginning of the year -- its worst first 14 trading days ever."

Now the Government is taking action does that mean recession? I am glad they want to avert one.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the GOP has a different definition of what "Recession" means. It is almost like the GOP is in denial that there is anything wrong with the economy as a whole even when the economy is hurting the middle class and the poor, and the wealthy are reaping huge rewards. Vote them all out!

Pat Casady said...

What is it with this town? They are at it again.
With the city meeting to be able to use eminent domain against Westlake.
My guess is that negotiations haven't even taken place yet.
Can somebody tell me why any one business is better than any other business?
We are taught from birth that nobody is any better than anybody else. We are all equal.
We are told not to discriminate against one another and yet when a bigger business comes to town this town will bend over backwards to run established neighborhood loved businesses out of town by eminent domain. Businesses that have been here and supported this town for years.
Businesses that, I might add, are paying their fair share of taxes to the city.
Not like the Wal-Mart deal that could end up costing the people of Raytown millions.
Sometimes I wonder how these city officials even find their way home.
Apparently they use vast amounts of bread crumbs.

Andy Whiteman said...

What is happening with WestLake? It was said at a previous BOA meeting when the 350 Project came up that WestLake welcomed Walmart because of more customers being attracted. At the last BOA meeting, there was vague reference of talking with WestLake about gaining construction access.

Is Westlake being forced out? If so I will be forced to Walmart because Smith Bros. closes too early for me. Actually Walmart would never have the stock that Westlake has so I would be forced to a different Westlake.

I remember when Home Depot opened in my area of Albuquerque. The True Value owner was unconcerned because he offered a service that Home Depot didn't have. He lost one employee to Home Depot due to higher wages. I moved away and went back 15 years later in search of a house. The True Value (which also was a lumber yard) was no longer there.

Are we going to lose Westlake and Smith Bros?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

What's going on with Westlake? Is the city trying to force out another successful business to accommodate Walmart? I'm so sick of Walmart and I don't even shop there. They suck the blood out of a small community like ours and take all their money back to their corporate headquarters. Anyone who thinks a Walmart is good for your community is terribly mistaken.

Pat Casady said...

Andy,
It may just be for construction access but I go crazy when the words "eminent domain" and "condemnation" mentioned at City Hall.
As with giving away tax income City Hall doesn't know when to quit.
It seems they can't or won't ask the developer the simple question,
"Have you talked in good faith with the property owner and made an
honest offer?"
I know it's asking too much for our representatives to watch out for us. We all know they think more of the developers than they do their own people so we must be on guard.
I may have over reacted to the words but I'll bet if they pass this "construction"
eminent domain rule, the full deal isn't far behind. It's the old give them an inch,
and you better watch your ass. I feel for Westlake but I know they have good lawyers on their side too but why does this town put people through this. It just makes us not trust them on anything.

Jason said...

JWDT,

"To underscore their point, the reporters for the story wrote “neither Mayor David Bower nor City Administrator Michael Miller responded to repeated email or telephone messages seeking comment for this article.”

At last Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen the Mayor made comments regarding the survey. But those comments did not include any enlightenment as to why he failure to respond to the opportunity to speak on behalf of Raytown." - Greg Walters

OK, you may not read this as criticism of the Mayor but I did.

As for your lame analogy, if that were true why did he blog this??? It appears that every point you tried to make was invalidated by the mere fact that Greg chose to confront the Mayor on this blog (coward) rather than in person.

If he was not wanting to embarass the mayor, then why do this blog???

I did not ask the Mayor, because I, unlike Greg and you, understand that the Star probably gave him less than 24 hrs to respond which is their normal MO,and that is not enough time for anyone to make inteligent remarks about a survey of this magnitude.

My beef is with Greg not confronting the Mayor with his question, but rather opening up this blog and letting everyone bitch and moan rather than take your complaints to the council

Jason

JWDT said...

Jason,

No, I did not read it as a criticism. Instead, I read it as a commentary to address all of the comments posted in the previous topic "Actions speak louder than words". BTW, I read pretty much everything as commentary on the internet (and from any other media source) because I realize there are two sides to every story.

Did the KC Star only give him less than 24 hours to respond? I do not know for a fact. DO YOU? Or is it another baseless assumption on your part? In reading the article and the aftermath commentary in my opinion, I am under the impression this article was written several weeks (if not months) ago and tweaked the night before it was printed.

How do you know Greg did not ask Mayor Bowers in person before or after the meeting? What makes you so certain? Have you asked Greg in person or via email? Have you raised this with Greg in person? If so what was his response? My point here is you are making an assumption based upon his commentary in his blog entry "A Lesson Learned". To be frank (no pun intended), I don't really care because I learn more about what is going on in Raytown on this Blog than from any other source. So I can & will put up with other peoples opinions or commentary.

You have peaked my curiousity with your last paragraph. If I read it correctly, you have a problem with Greg opening up a Blog for people to read, ask questions or vent in regards to Raytown issues. If this is so, where is your Blog or should we abolish the Admendment known as "Free Speech"? Or do you think it is only inappropriate for a BOA member to have a blog? If so why?

BTW did anyone else read Mayor Bowers article in the Neighborhood section of the Star today? Thoughts?

Justin Tomac

Anonymous said...

Read Mayor Bower's comments in Star today. I'm sorry the more Bower opens his mouth the more he sounds like the failed administration of Sue Frank. Same old crap about prosperity being just around the corner. Raytown is an older community and if they don't hurry up and do something we'll all be dead and gone, so it's not really going to matter much, is it? x

Euripedes said...

I read the Mayor's comments too. Long on adjectives, short on substance. He probably perceives the job as one of an imagemaker who can makes reality.

Why don't we just change the name of Raytown to Camelot.

Then the professionals at City Hall can decree laws that:

The rain will never fall until after sundown.

By 8:00 a.m. the morning fog must disappear.

I know it sounds a bit bizarre but its how conditions are in Camelot.

with apologies to Lerner and Lowe.

Salamander said...

Andy Whiteman wanted to know if it was time to write another check to pay for the interest on the Olde First Baptist Church.

No, Andy. You have another seven days before they need your money.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, Eminent Domain irks me too. Greg was questioning the procedure with Westlake at the BOA so at least one Alderman is looking out for us locals.

As to numerous other writers, I agree the blog is the best source of Raytown news though not always reliable depending on who does the writing. As Festus Hagan said on Gunsmoke when Doc asked him whe he didn't learn to read, "Why should I learn to read? How do I know that the person who wrote the reading wrote thre reading right?" I consider that point even from a news source.

Anything not stated as factual and appears to be opinion, I consider as opinion. A person is entitled to their opinion whether I (or you) agree or not. If I don't agree, I can state my opinion if I so choose.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Euripedes ...too true, too funny.
Your Buddy, Hericides

Anonymous said...

I read where silly ole Witty Wittman is trying to justify why Raytown finished last in a recent KC Star poll. Her reasoning is they they polled the wrong people. What a joke this woman is!! Also, that the political club Raytown Reaching for Tomorrow has solved all of Raytown's problems. In my opinion they are responsible for many of our problems, just look at the jokers that are running city hall. I bet if you ask her, their group would take credit for electing all of these "fine" politicians that are currently running our city into the ground. She is probably even dumb enough to think that Walmart is going to save our city. Bet she even shops there.

Anonymous said...

Probably wants the 'greeter's job.' here take this damn cart whether you want it or not!!!

Anonymous said...

Now I remember this Witty woman. She was that really rude person that served on the city charter commission. It's no wonder it didn't pass if someone like her wrote it. x

Anonymous said...

Herbicide said what?

Hercules

Anonymous said...

You're showing your ignorance, Strong Man

Pat Casady said...

Did anyone see the business section of the Kansas City Star?
The headline was one of the most arrogant statements I've heard
in years.
Seems the CEO of Wal-Mart has a new motto:
"IN WAL-MART WE TRUST!"
I don't know why this should surprise me though, Wal-Mart sold that thought to our city leaders and they fell for it hook, line and sinker.

He also said he was "going to require that suppliers factories meet environmental, social and quality standards." Like this idiot can tell China how to do business.

Anonymous said...

The Wittman lady is typical of what is wrong with the thinking by many in Raytown.

I was part of RRFT when it was started by Curt Wenson so many years ago.

It became clear early on that if you did not follow the lead of Frank/Wenson administration you were not really welcome at RRFT. Especially when it came to tax increases and supporting schemes like buying the Old First Baptist Church.

It was easy for them to ignore and pass over many of us that started with the group. If you did not suppport there agenda.

It's why I and many others quit participating in their schemes.

As for the Old First Baptist Church, by time they are done it will be the most expensive real estate in the state. That old building, allowed to go to ruin by the city, will cost more than 2 million in purchasing and tearing down.

Could have filled a lot of potholes and paved some streets with that kind of money.

Anonymous said...

I too saw Witty Wittman and her cronies take a good idea and turn it into something political. Raytown Reaching for Tomorrow was never a democracy, they never voted on anything, it was just whoever could be the biggest bully. It was the bullies ideas that were pursued and the others that didn't agree were basically ran off. Again, maybe that why we are loosing population instead of growing like most of our neighboring cities.

Anonymous said...

Some of us were too smart to buy into the reaching for tomorrow idea to begin with. We were trying to survive today and knew RRT was just so much PR and eyewash.
Since everyone is on Shirley Wittman and mentioned her part in failing the charter, don't forget her cohorts, Mrs. Tim (Michaelle) Trusdale, Alderman Jim Azaire and School Board President Kathy Mack. They were other charter members who didn't vote to submit the final document and walk out on the process.

Anonymous said...

Jason,

How do you know for sure that Greg had not already tried to talk to the Mayor before he put this on the blog? Greg has never had a problem speaking his mind. It seems you are assuming a lot unless you were in every meeting or with the Mayor every second to hear all conversations he has had. If that is the case you need to get life.

To assume that you know all things sounds pretty arrogant to me. If Greg had talked to the mayor and he got no responce wouln't you want to know that? I would because I voted for him, as I'm sure you did, just from many of your comments over the weeks. Sorry Greg, but I'm beginning to believe I should have voted for you.

Ducky said...

I see the spectre of Ye Olde Baptist Church and its purchase with taxpayer money is again rearing its ugly head.

As a disinterested observer, it would appear that something is putrid in Raytown -- not to be confused with Rotten in Denmark.

I cannot understand what on earth could have motivated Sue Frank and her followers to spend $650,000 on a deserted building which they could have had free for the asking.

I would be able to understand someone a gratuitous donation -- referred to some as "dipping your beak" for this action.

I find it repressive to logic that anyone would pay even the money of others for that building without taking some sort of a kickback.

Please, will someone tell me that specie changed hands in this deal.

I would hate to think everyone connected was too stupid to do otherwise.

If it ..... like a duck and ...... like a duck -- it must be a duck!

Anonymous said...

All of us wish the shakers and movers the best in realizing their dreams and schemes in revitalizing Raytown.
The Raytown Post, which made its biannual appearance in my driveway unwrapped today, featured all of those dreams.
The logic of throwing an unwrapped newspaper in a snowbank is as illogical as John Ivey writing in his paper that public transportation is more important than public education and must be addressed immediately before state lawmakers go back into session. Then he says the state of course will be necessary to make transportation happen.
That makes as much sense as NASA relocating to Raytown because the community has so much spin it may be the next thing leaving Earth and going into orbit.
There is much to be commented on but let it suffice to say that "Funky Munky Gifts" "21 consecutive day Challenge with us NOT TO COMPLAIN!" is nothing more than 21 more days of the previous Raytown plan of several years to "continue to stick our heads in the sand"

Anonymous said...

The talk at the time off and on had been about a "Community Center" and the Old Baptist Church was supposedly the ideal building and the ideal location for such a "Community Center".

The City bought it hook, line, and sinker. The Baptists got their money and ran straight to the bank with it. They had their new church complex, and had sold the old one. There had to be someone on the inside at city hall that was affiliated with the church that provided some help/assistance/and/or motivation to persuade the CA at the time and the Mayor at the time to help the church out and take the burden off their shoulders. Talk about a conflict of interest!

Now the taxpayers pay twice for this dog and pony show!

That RRFT group really is/was screwed up! Those people couldn't even balance their own checkbooks. That Wittman gal sounds like a real flake. She has no idea about this town. Some of us don't have to attend a meeting because we know what the outcome is going to be before the meeting is held usually, especially if what the 'opposition' has to say goes against the status quo, so the majority don't even bother with trying to say anything. Why waste our time.

Andy Whiteman said...

I also tend to think that some BOA meetings are decided before the meeting. I really feel that many of the BOA don't listen to me but there have been times when department heads have approached me after meetings with a response or a request for documentation. So some people do listen.

Sounds like an audit is needed about the church. I assume it is an audit of the bookkeeping, but who cross checks for conflict of interest? That is the type of audit that is sorely needed for many issues. I am not accusing anyone but I wonder how this city becomes involved in so many bad deals? Much more than normal! Can't be bad luck!

I had to go to Blue Springs to pick up something tonight. The person I spoke with said, "Raytown is too hard to get to!" That confirms my statement of why downtown will not attract high end stores because Raytown is not a destination point. 350 HWY might be a possibility due to traffic flow.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Where's the state auditor's review?
If you noticed on the Fox news the other night, the KCMO superintendent of schools is gone and replaced by a former Grandview super, who underwent a state auditor's review. And it wasn't favorable.
Demand a state audit of the city and school district be requested by our elected officials at the city and in the C-2 or let's get the petitions to demand one (like they did in Grandview). Otherwise we can shut up or we can never vote another tax for either governmental entity/

Anonymous said...

It's ironic everyone wants a state audit, since they do such a wonderful job with a much larger pot of money.

I'm curious what the bitching will be about if an audit is done and all the records come back legit?

Anonymous said...

DThere will still be plenty to bitch about. This is Raytown and its school district. Speaking of which there are $127 million reasons (74 million in unreserved fund) to vote no on April school issue.

The Insider said...

The Raytown School District would NOT want a state audit. Then the district would have to come up with an answer on what happened to the $500,000.00 missing from the budget. The "chair warmers" at the administration are leaving the district like "rats off a sinking ship" The new Superintendant doesn't really know what he is getting into.
I'm tired of the waste and mis-management. Vote "NO" on April 8th Levy.

Rebecca said...

Funky Munky Gifts-Namastè would like to invite you to participate in a Complaint Free Raytown Challenge Campaign.

Did you know that the average person complains 15-30 times a day? In Will Bowen’s Book, A Complaint free World, he states that most people could agree on two things:
1. There is too much complaining in the world.
2. The state of the world is not the way we would like it.

Just take a moment and imagine what our city and community would be like if the residents spent more time praising each other than complaining.

How can you participate?
1) Pick up your free purple complaint free bracelet At Funky Munky Gifts – Namastè
2) Make the commitment to not complain for 21 consecutive days
3) Begin to wear the bracelet on either wrist. You do not have to have a bracelet. You can use a rubber band, pocket coin or even a stone. With the coin and stone you just move it from one pocket to another when you catch yourself complaining
4) When you catch yourself complaining, gossiping, or criticizing, move the bracelet to the other wrist and begin again
5) If you hear someone else who is wearing a purple bracelet complain, it's okay to point out their need to switch the bracelet to the other arm; BUT if you're going to do this, you must move the bracelet first! Because you are complaining about their complaining
6) Stay with it. It may take many months to reach 21 consecutive days. The average is 4 to 6 months
7) Write down 10 things you are grateful for each morning and each night
8) If you can’t say something nice, don't say anything at all
9) Celebrate when you have reached your 21 consecutive days.


The Eleventh Annual Gandhi-King-Chavez Season for Nonviolence
January 30 – April 4, 2008

The Season for Nonviolence is a grassroots campaign growing out of the passion and creative expression inspired by the lives of Gandhi-King-Chavez. Their ideas of spiritual and civic-minded empowerment have encouraged individuals in more than 400 communities around the globe to be the change they wish to see in the world. The vision is to inspire individuals to a proactive life and growing awareness of the nonviolent activism as demonstrated by Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Cesar E. Chavez, and other heroic voices for peace through justice and nonviolent communication.

The program began with Arun Gandhi in 1997, when he wished to have a celebration commemorating the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of M.K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. In 1998 the 64-day Season of NonViolence (January 30 – April 4) began nationally at the opening ceremonies of the United Nations. Today more that 400 cities around the world endorse and plan celebrations throughout the Season.

Today Missouri has no Government offices committed to practicing 64 – days of Nonviolence. The following Kansas cities have committed to practicing the 64-days Fairway, Leawood, Merriam, Mission, Overland Park, Prairie Village and Westwood.


Visit the website for more information at www.complaintfreeraytown.org