Sunday, February 24, 2008

Changes . . . and other stuff

Changes . . . Many readers have noted that a counter has been added to the Raytown Report. Just below the counter is a button that reads “view my stats”. You are invited to visit the link to the counter homepage. A wealth of interesting statistical information can be found at the site. At the same time, it is important that readers know the counter does not provide personal information of any visitor to this page or the counter site. Another change that will be instituted on this blog will be a no tolerance rule for those who use profanity in their posts. Simply stated, if you are going to post a message, keep the language clean or your post will be deleted. This has not really been a problem for 99% of those who post on this page – a statistic that speaks highly of those who share their comments here. The People’s Right to Know . . . A review of the many posts has shown that this site has become a gathering place for those interested in sharing information. One regular contributor, Andy Whiteman, questioned the veracity of some reports that are written. I visited with former Raytown Post owner and editor Lee Gray about comments like Mr. Whiteman’s. He told me that people generally believe what they want to believe – that the best course of action is to “simply lay out the facts – they will tell their own story.” I think it is good advice and will continue to publish all that is legally allowed under the law for your consideration. As to the accuracy of what is written here – as Thomas R Amlie once said, “let’s look at the record.” The question has already been answered. It was on this page that Raytowners found out the City Administrator was actively looking for another job. It was also on this page that Raytowners learned of the true cost of the HyVee/Walmart/Benetti's/Coldwell Banker tax abatement/TIF schemes. One issue that has received a lot of attention on this page is the Raytown School District spending close to $200,000 to buy the former Raytown Sewing Machine/Vacuum Building on Blue Ridge Boulevard (next to Raytown High School). Originally the building was to be used to as a warehouse. It has since been discovered the building has serious structural problems. A well-placed source within the School District says City Hall code inspectors estimate the cost of bringing the building up to code at nearly $100,000. That same source says the School District now plans to raze the building and turn the property into a parking lot. City Grounds to Re-Open Under New Ownership . . . The closing of City Grounds has been another hot topic. Sheri Wells, the former owner/operator of City Grounds says she has sold the business to Inge Howard. Look for a grand re-opening of the local bistro in the near future. And She Said . . . Ms. Wells has alleged that a highly placed city official used the city’s email to promote her competition’s business. She also has witnesses to the same city official promoting her competition’s business while performing official acts as a city official. The following excerpt from the Kansas City Star pretty much sums up a reasonable position on a similar matter. Ms. Wells tells me that she has yet to receive any official explanation or apology for the abuse of public office. From the Kansas City Star . . . “On February 21, The Kansas City Star published a short story about the one-day suspension of a staffer who was hired to play guitar at Kansas City Councilman Ed Ford’s 55th birthday celebration, which was also a political fundraiser. That performance violated the newsroom Code of Ethics which states that while staffers are encouraged to “exercise their franchise as citizens to discuss matters of public interest to register and vote,” they should avoid any deeper involvement. That includes “active campaigning” . . .

55 comments:

JWDT said...

Greg,

Once again, thanks for opening up the blog. I find all sorts of useful (& useless) information as well as very entertaining as well. Sure beats the three 'news' sources currently in town (i.e. Post, Tribune & the falling Star).

Justin Tomac

J. Newton Numbskull said...

Greg, thanks for a great blog. As a former Raytown resident I look to your site each week for the 'straight stuff' on what is going on in my hometown.

I don't know what your policy is on promoting other places for opinion, but after seeing your success I decided to start a blog with a broader focus on topics of interest for Greater Kansas City in general. Mine will be less 'hard news' as you report, and more opinion and discussion. Please just keep in mind that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and keep up the good work!

-JNN

Anonymous said...

What exactly constitutes profanity? Some people use it in their everyday conversations. And some do not. Some words are borderline profane and have become acceptable in daily conversation.

What about abrasive topics or subjects that can bring about heated or spirited sparring between some, sometimes the end result can be name calling and degrading or deragatory terminology being used? Is this a mere form of censorship that we are starting to see?

I just figured that I would toss that out for discussion. I don't have a problem with keeping things clean until someone else draws 'first blood' if you will, then any and all is fair game to me.

Sounds like everyone had better be thick skinned to hang with this crowd.

Andy Whiteman said...

I think we all know the meaning of profanity. Unforunately vulgar language is comming into common use so that it may not be recognized as profanity by some people.

The school district could have saved money if they would have had a professional inspection of the building. $195K is pretty high for a small parking lot! Why did city codes inspect it since the school district is exempt from city codes?

As Juston said, the blog is a better source of news than the 3 newspapers. Even the 2 local papers could never cover the detail that is covered here by nunerous writers. Thank you Greg.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Have you been to the Funky Monkey feel good website for Raytown?

Talk about an agenda! They ask for your comments and then ask which Ward you live in! Check out the button that has comments. Contributors are identified by their initials.

Hmmmmm, I wonder, who would be: TT BH CW VT

Or, for those that need the help:
T-- T--------
B-- H---
C------- W----
V----- T------

Anonymous said...

To Anon February 25, 2008 7:06 PM.

If you feel the need to discuss us,

1)At Least Have the Common Courtesy
to SPELL our name CORRECTLY.

2) The CORRECT Spelling is FUNKY MUNKY, not FUNKY MONKEY!!!! and

3) Make sure your FACTS are CORRECT!!

Thank you!
Many Blessings to you XXXXXXXX!!!
Joye Hughes
Owner Namaste Unlimited - Funky Munky Gifts

Anonymous said...

Last I checked this was still a 'FREE' Country and we are entitled to discuss most everything without restriction or permission.

Anonymous said...

Must be a hot button for Namastee?

JWDT said...

Has Funky Munky officially registered a complaint? Is that not contrary to what they stand for? Take it easy...just having a little fun!
Justin Tomac

Anonymous said...

Ironic is a better word to explain the endless complaining coming from the Funky Munky.

I do wonder why they want Ward numbers.

Better check your SPAM blockers if you give them your email address.

Otherwise you may end up receiving unsolicited email messages about how to vote in Raytown elections.

Of course, they may want the Ward numbers so they can more easily give directions to out-of-towners!

Anonymous said...

Is the Funky Monkey another political club in disguise? Just wondering!!

Pat Casady said...

Here's a bit of news I got this morning at breakfast.
Evidently the school board awarded the construction bid for the
Herndon Career Center to a contractor that pays below area standard wages.
But here's the problem, the awarded contractor's bid was $783,000.00
higher than the low bidder, a local contractor that uses higher standard craftsmen and pays area standard wages.
In other words someone is making a lot of money from the Raytown taxpayers and the quality of the building may be in question.

Anonymous said...

You want to know what I stand for!!!

You want to know why I created the Complaint Free Raytown Campaign!!!

You want to know who I am!!!

You want to know my agenda!!!

You want to know what the Stats are for!!

It is real easy to find out if you REALLY want to know, all you have to do is email or call.

I have even set you up your very on email address,

So EMAIL me at bloggers@namaste-unlimited.com

Or

You can call and setup up an appointment with me, I will be happy to discuss all of it with you personally. You should allow a minimum of 2 hours to 4 hours for this scheduled appointment.

To setup up an appointment with me, call 816.313.1680 or email bloggers@namaste-unlimited.com.

And Thanks for the free advertising for Funky Munky - Raytown's only "Hippie and Feel Good" Store

Joye Hughes
Owner - Namaste Unlimtied - Funky Munky Gifts

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm....getting a little defensive are we? That sounds rather 'funky' compared to what your site promotes.

Anonymous said...

As a fellow traveler of the 1960s I think Greg might have to implement his no profanity clause where use of the words "Funky Munky" are concerned. I know what that term meant back then. Ms. Hughes if you spend 2 to 4 hours talking to one person you're not going to be in business too long. Less talk and more work was the boss's motto. And isn't it a little arrogant to think you have 2 to 4 hours worth of stuff to say that anyone would be that fascinated by?

Greg Walters said...

I received the following message the other day from a fellow blogger. It may be old news to some, but not to others, so it merits being repeated.

NATIONAL NO CALL LIST FOR CELL PHONES

If you want to block telemarketing companies from calling your cell phone – call this number:

1-888-382-1222

It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five years.

You must call from the cell phone number you want to block.

You cannot call from a different number.

Andy Whiteman said...

Thanks Greg, I will call it. I already blocked all of my numbers online but I will do this just to make sure.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE ECOMOMY?
AIN'T IT THE TRUTH!!?

Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock


(MADE IN JAPAN) for 6am.
While his coffeepot


(MADE IN CHINA)


was perking, he shaved with his


electric razor


(MADE IN HONG KONG).


He put on a


dress shirt


(MADE IN SRI LANKA),


designer jeans


(MADE IN SINGAPORE)


and


tennis shoes


(MADE IN KOREA)


After cooking his breakfast in his new


electric skillet


(MADE IN INDIA)


he sat down with his


calculator


(MADE IN MEXICO)


to see how much he could spend today. After setting his


watch


(MADE IN TAIWAN)


to the radio


(MADE IN INDIA)


he got in his car


(MADE IN GERMANY)


filled it with GAS


(from Saudi Arabia)


and continued his search


for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.


At the end


of yet another discouraging


and fruitless day


checking his


Computer


(Made In Malaysia),


Joe decided to relax for a while.


He put on his sandals


(MADE IN BRAZIL)


poured himself a glass of


wine


(MADE IN FRANCE)


and turned on his


TV


(MADE IN INDONESIA),


and then wondered


why he can't find


a good paying job


in AMERICA ...

Y'all gotta Keep this one circulating, please.!

JWDT said...

Andy,

Good one and agree wholeheartedly!

Now for something to think about.

I am just curious as to where he obtained the money to purchase all of these foreign made items, including the wine? Probably invested in the Stock Market when he had a job and helped drive the insanity to offshore because he was not getting his Media hyped 10-20% ROI so he reallocated his stock/mutual funds to "Wall Street Picks of the Week". Which in turn sends an indirect/direct message to the CFO/CEO of the major corporations that they are not giving the maximum shareholder benefit, now the CFO/CEO does something drastic to shore up the company in the short term like offshore & lay off all the employees.

Justin Tomac

Anonymous said...

Before you call a National Do Not Call List for cell phones, read this and then decide if you really need to do so.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/cell411.asp

Anonymous said...

It does sound like the complaint free person has forgotten what she preachs. I new it would'n last.

Anonymous said...

If any of you are Democrats the Caucus to elect delegates to the conventions is Thursday evening at the Painters Hall 9902 east 62 St. on the lower level in the back of the building. Time is 6:30p.m.

See you there.

Sandy Hartwell

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

No, it must be Amway sales.

Anonymous said...

pat,

You are right on the money! Why do you think the union is picketing the Raytown School District! I shows that there are to many "brother-n-law" deals that go on in the school district. I just can't wait till they move into the new Herdon Center and see in the near future all the inferior construction work that will have to be fixed. That will probably take another "tax increase" to come up with the money. Just like the Lander's Farm on Noland Road that the district bought and uses for some sort of "Warehouse". Isn't amazing that Terry Landers is on the school board? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm?????

Anonymous said...

Pat, that is what we normally call 'Scabs'. All that it boils down to is corporate greed and someone knows someone or it is someones brother in law. What I am referring to is the school district's dealings with the choice of a General Contractor.

They should be paying the area's prevailing wage and fringes, including health insurance and retirement benefits. But they are not. I believe that a rat, or non union contractor is performing construction work for the General Contractor on the Herndon Career Center.

The Carpenters Union has an ongoing labor dispute with this particular contractor, named Enterprise Interiors. Excel, which is the General Contractor, was not even the lowest bidder for the job. The lowest bidder, a local general contractor, actually pays their subcontractors area standard wages and benefits, but did not get the job. Excel's base bid was $783,000 more than the low bidder.

Watch out for shoddy workmanship!

Also, I thought that the Board of Education was a lot smarter than that, especially knowing that local Labor Unions are contributing monetarily to the ongoing programs at the Herndon Career Center as well as funding from the US Department of Labor. Thanks a lot C-2 District! Helping to tear down working conditions, wages, and benefits for all working families here locally. Shame on you C-2 School Board!

I am glad that my kids will not be attending any classes at that scab building!

Anonymous said...

What a bargain! What are these numbskulls on the school board thinking? Oh, that is it, they were not thinking were they? It will cost more of our tax dollars to clean up this mess. Vote all of these board members off as their terms expire!

Anonymous said...

Think it was established months ago on this blog that Terry Sanders is not the same "Sanders" family regards the new elementary school.

Lee Gray

Anonymous said...

Yes, Landers.... that has been established here earlier.

Just like Smith or Jones. How many are NOT directly related to one another, they just happen to have the same last name.

Anonymous said...

Alright, I will take a stab at it.

T-- T--------
Tim Truesdale
B-- H---
Ben Helt
C-------- W----
Christine White
V----- T------
Vickie Turnbow

Anyone want to do a crossword puzzle?

Anonymous said...

The school board should be ashamed for letting the contract to a non union contractor. Again, it only shows us just how stupid these board members are. They will end up with poor quality and a building that might not be safe for our kids. Our school district continues to slide downhill just like our city. My advise, get out now before it gets worse

Andy Whiteman said...

Sounds like the school board needs to go back to school. From what I am reading here, I wonder why they accepted a higher bid? Isn't it customery to require a good reason for not accepting the low bid? Or was there money under the table? How much and to whom?

Anon 7:24 AM, I am not good at crosswords. I only got one name correctly. Thanks for the answers. (I haven't seen that blog anyway but if I wrote on it, I would use my dog's initials--not mine.)

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ask the school board or the school district about the bids? It appears that some of the people here have heard one source that may be biased and have run with it. Ask the district about the bids. Is it possible that the low bid did not meet all bid requirements? Is it possible that the low bid did not meet all specifications for the work? Verify the wages that are being paid are or are not within the rules. It may not have been a good decision in this case, but make sure you know the facts from all sides before making accusations of bad judgment.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

I made a typo yesterday regarding the address for the caucus. It is 9904 E. 62 St. instead of 9902 but there will be signs on old Raytown Rd.. Sorry about the mistake. Sandy H.

Pat Casady said...

It would seem that even if you have a yard long string
of degrees it doesn't increase your common sense
as shown by most of our leaders.

The school district spends money like they are playing
the game "Those who die with the most toys wins."
(In this case property) Along with awarding bids that are
way over the lowest bidder.

I was told this morning that the low bidder didn't have all
the paper work turned in or correctly done, but common sense
would tell you that in order to save the taxpayers three quarters of a million dollars you tell them to do it right. Not tell them what to bid, that would be illegal. But tell them to do the paper work right or point out their error if that was the case. Anything to save the people money
and get it done right.

I just don't get it. Why aren't people upset about the way things
are being done around here?
Elected officials are supposed to watch out for the taxpayers.
City officials are supposed to promote business, neighborhood
growth and safety.

Maybe I'm not smart enough to get it. Could someone please explain it to me? I get just a little crazier every time I try to understand what the heck
these people are thinking.

Anonymous said...

Pat, There is just no PRIDE taken by our city or our school district anymore. By that, I mean the people, both elected and appointed that are in charge. A good example, just passed a city vehicle on the street and it looks like it hasn't been washed all winter. How long does it take to run it through a car wash? It starts at the top and filters right down to the guys and gals on the street. WHERE IS DAVID BOWER? Oh yes, he's probably out of town as usual. WHAT A WAY TO RUN A CITY!!!!

Anonymous said...

The following info is from a press release from the school district in January regarding the bidding and wages on the Herndon Center:

District Responds to Union Allegations

The Carpenter's Union has a current labor dispute with Enterprise Interiors, Inc., who is a sub-contractor for Excel Constructors, Inc. Excel serves as the Raytown C2 School District's general contractor for the Herndon Career Center construction project.

The dispute alleges that Enterprise does not pay area standard wages. The Carpenters Union also has concerns that Excel's use of Enterprise is unfair.

The State of Missouri requires public entities, such as the Raytown C2 School District, to uphold Missouri's Prevailing Wage Law. This law requires contractors to pay workers a minimum wage rate set by the Division of Labor in an Annual Wage Order. The bid specifications for Herndon Career Center construction project require all contractors to adhere to the Missouri Prevailing Wage Law. To ensure compliance, contractors submit pay applications and certified payrolls to the architect and the owner of the construction project.

Additionally, the Carpenter's Union alleges that Excel did not provide the low bid for the project, claiming that another company's bid was lower.

An apparent low bid was provided by another company. The bid was found to be non-compliant for the following reasons:
- No bid was provided for alternates 1, 2 & 5, which are related to mechanical systems and ground source wells
- The company had not been involved in three projects of equal size and complexity in the last five years per the requirements of the bid specifications
- A sub-contractor to be retained by the bidder to install ground source heat pump systems was not properly qualified to perform the work

After conferring with the architect for the Herndon Career Center construction project, Excel Constructors, Inc. was identified as the lowest responsible bidder.

Anonymous said...

Greg...your blog appears to be hijacked. The normal walk-through to get here isn't working.
Might want to check and virus scan. Took me six tries to find current comments.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, I had one HS teacher say that those people with a yard long string of degrees are "intellectual idiots". In other words, they may have a PhD in their field, but no common sense in regard or practical matters. I was in a Math 101 class in college that was taught by a teaching assistant (TA). This guy was working on his PhD in mathematics. I assume be knew his field, but he did not know how to teach so anyone could understand the matter he was teaching.

That is what those administrators with multiple (useless in my opinion) degrees are doing!
*******
Re: Prevailing Wage Law: Does it have any relationship to Union Scale, or is it the prevailing non-union wage? There could be a lot of difference between the two.

Anon 10:23 PM, I noticed that this blog now has a pop-up. The 1st time it tried to pop-up, it was blocked by my security system. Anyone with a pop-up blocker or Windows security features needs to click "allow all pop ups from this site." I suspect that may be your TBL. At least it was mine.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

A prevailing wage is the median wage paid to workers in a specified locality
Prevailing wage may include both wages and benefits. It encompasses the compensation for a worker given for performed labor.

In the Davis-Bacon Act all federal government construction contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects.

In the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act the federal government set the minimum wage equal to the prevailing wage in an area.

That should help shed some light on things Andy.

Anonymous said...

The school district sure knows how to "put a spin" on why they didn't take the low bid or use union labor. This is a "blue collar" town, so as one of those I suggest that we all vote no on their tax increase and not vote for any incumbent school board member. The voting public still has rights, so now we have to express them.

Pat Casady said...

Getting back to the topic of this Blog,
"From the Kansas City Star......"
It mentions a "Code of ethics." This brought to mind
a question. Does the City of Raytown have a "code of ethics?"
And who enforces it, if there is one?

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that the Carpenters Union has also "put a spin" on things regarding the Herndon Career Center. It seems as if many people on this blog have decided that something is wrong or spin just because it comes from the school district.

As for school board, you can choose to not vote for any incumbents, but that means you won't be voting at all. The candidates are three current incumbents and a fourth who was once on the board and is running only to give an alternative to voters (meaning bringing back old incumbent to replace new incumbent). If you really want change on the board, you are going to have to get off this blog and get out there and find candidates that share your views, get them to run and support them financially. Griping here changes nothing!

Anonymous said...

Pat, To the best of my knowledge the city does not have a code of ethics. In Kansas City, I suspect it is part of their charter. In a 4th class city I suppose you could have one, but it probably wouldn't have any teeth to it. 4th class city government is pretty "backward" for a city our size. It was supposed to serve cities of less than 5,000 population mostly in the rural areas.

Anonymous said...

An old incumbent for school board is better than the present incumbents.

Anonymous said...

So why are we still a fourth class city?

Anonymous said...

Will those running for school board be handing out a bag of popcorn for votes? I want at least a Royals ticket, a parking space, and 3 hot dogs!

Salamander said...

Can you believe the article in yesterday's Star (Feb. 27)? I'm referring to the story about the Raytown School District sending its annual event photo contract out for bid.

According to the Star the bid originally went toa firm owned by a member of the School Board. A fellow named Steve Mullaly.

Was he the lowest bid? Not even close. Mullaly's bid was 38% higher than the lower bid.

In case you wonder why the bid was rejected, read on. The lower bid, Prestige Photography did not meet all the bid specs.

One specification required was that the successful bidder must have previously provided similar service to a district with at least 7,000 students.

Think about what you just readc. Is it any wonder the School District is and has the reputation of being the most money-wasting bureaucracy in the area?

It is obvious, with specs such as the one item outlined, the District wanted to give the bid to a selected individual. I wonder why they didn't also require the successful bidder's first name to begin with an "S" and his last with an "M".

I also wonder if Supt. Dale Houck or his new replacement would ever have been hired had either been required to meet a seven or ten thousand student requirement.

Give them more money in April. They will find a way to waste it!

Anonymous said...

To answer anonymous about why Raytown is a 4th class city: As I understand it we only have 2 options. One is to become a charter or another is to change to 3rd class. A charter has been attempted 4 or 5 times and voters have continued to reject it, one as recent as 2 or 3 years ago. As I recall, Sue Frank and her cronies at city hall didn't want it so it failed. I don't know if changing to 3rd class has ever been explored.

JWDT said...

What is the difference between a 3rd & 4th Class city?

When I was working as a Project/Program Manager for a publicly held company I wrote a lot of Bid Spec's and at times wrote it in a way that only the 'management preferred' bidder won. After reading the Bid controversy in the Post last night, it appears the same was done in this case...my question is, you have to have a Website in order to be qualified? Give me a break! How does that impact the quality of the photo, unless you want all the students to order on-line.
Justin Tomac

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Raytown, where the Fix is In. Those in competition with the politically connected need not apply.

Anonymous said...

A young man working in Arby's told me Raytown is corrupt. That is not necessarily my opinion but if someone who may barely be voting age can recognize it, it must be fairly obvious!

Anonymous said...

Sue Frank did more to promote the "good ole boy " system in city government than probably all of the other mayor's combined. Look at her appointments, either RRFT or from her political club Continue Raytown's Progress. She disguised it as progress, but it was really favoritism for her inner circle. People recognized this and don't want to live here anymore. Results, our declining population. She's was the kind of politician that give elected officials a bad name.

Anonymous said...

It's funny to listen to white people blame the suburban flight on everything but white flight.

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 02/28/08,

This morning a friend of mine showed me the section in the
Raytown web site with the ethics lists. But the real question
is will they use the rules against each other......doubtful.
In sec. 14-16......Conflicts of interest, it states,
"No person in the municipal service who has the power
or duty to perform an official act shall:

(3) Grant any special consideration, treatment, or advantage
to any citizen beyond that which is available to every other
citizen."

This is in Ord. No. 3686-91 08/06/91 and Ord. No.4267-97
05/06/97.

So can that person in the municipal service who has the power
or duty to perform an official act tell us all again where we should
get a cup of coffee or what business to patronize?

Anonymous said...

It is not very funny to see new people moving in to the city that you grew up in and totally trash things out turning it into a slum. It includes white trash, some blacks, some other races as well. This is not a racial thing. It is just fact Jesse Jackson!