Monday, June 22, 2009
Public Safety Comes Under Question
By Richard Tush contributing editor The big catch phrase this past city election cycle was "Public Safety" rather it was directly related to the "Public Safety Sales Tax" or something the alderman candidates wanted to achieve as one stated "Keeping Raytown safe is absolutely necessary". However, it seems now that the election cycle is over these where just attempts that paid off to reach deeper into our pockets. Many of us might feel different if we could see the city as a whole providing us acceptable service across all departments. But the service provided by public service remain questionable. 1.) Our streets are in worse shape that I can ever recall. The budget amount for overlay has been on a decrease over the last several years while the cost for asphalt has increased. Street in the condition that ours have become presents a hazard to those who use them as well as increase the wear and tear on vehicles. 2.) Non-functioning or miss-functioning traffic signals should be repaired within a reasonable amount of time. Those like the ones at 79th and Raytown Road shouldn’t take four days to repair. Anything longer then 24 hours, people should start questioning the ability of those repairing the issue or to escalate the repair to the responsible parties. 3.) Streetlights still remain on the ground after last week’s storms or in other cases not light even though we still shell out an average of $140 per streetlight annually. Odd as it has been proven that additional lighting helps to reduce crime and is recommend in many crime prevention brochures and books. Yet, in Raytown those at city hall have not ensured all departments are working together to keep the lights burning bright. Other cities in the greater Kansas City Area have their police officers call into dispatch streetlight and traffic signals that are not light. The next day the list is provide to public works and the lights fixed within 24 hours. This ensures the public safety within those communities as well as a team effort to provide the best service possible to the residence. 4.) Tires continue to be allowed to pile up and collect water at the public works building. This creates a perfect breading ground for mosquitoes and other insects. It seems the city has missed the information about the increasing concerns from viruses like West Niles. In center of the property a pile of what appears to be old sidewalks keeps growing. Back by the recycling area you will find drainage pipes that are on an increase, and making prefect housing for small rodents. 5.) A once nice and grassy park is now an eye sore as the safe padding of grass has not been replaced with the sewer line work at Smith Minor Park. Those who don’t want to play or picnic on rocks will defiantly want to refrain from visiting this park until the company placing the lines is held accountable for returning the property to its former state. On top of all of these direct safely related non-address issues, public works also seems to be challenged to address issues with nuisance like over grow weeds on city properties. Now in some cases they might be able to make a logistic point that they miss some with all of the properties the city owns. However, when the areas in question are at public works or coming from the retaining wall added by the city as part of repair to the old railroad bridge, which is directly across from the public works it becomes very questionable as to why these weeds have not been addressed. Please note one of the weeds is growing from the garage door on the South side of the building. Maybe the underling answer lies within the lack of following through from the interim public works direct Jason Hanson, which may very well explain why he was not given the job on permanent bases. We can only hope that new public works direct Andy Noll has truly been made aware of the issues facing him on June 29th and that he is prepared to quickly turn around the mess he has been handed. No Way to Treat a Dog By Greg Walters contributing editor By Richard Tush contributing editor A story crossed our path this week about a stray animal. It is bothersome. The story tells of neglect of animals. What is worse it also shows that there is no coherent policy on when animal control should be called out in an emergency. Last Saturday the police department received a call from an individual concerned about a dog that had been left tied up in a neighbors back yard. The owners of the house had apparently left town and someone had tethered a dog to the back fence. The dog did not have food, water or shelter. The caller had called animal control only to receive a recording saying that they are closed and that in an emergency to call the police. The police dispatcher confirmed that animal control would not be back on duty until Monday. The caller asked what was to become of the dog. The dispatcher was not sure if the police would respond. The caller said that the poor animal would die from exposure in the heat. Over the weekend police officers stopped by the house and checked on the dog, bringing it food and water. On Sunday an individual from an animal rescue operation came and took the dog away. Several weeks prior a puppy was running lose near the new Wal-Mart construction site. Police responded after they were told that animal control was not available that evening. Fearing that the animal would be struck by vehicles on 350 Highway the police managed to get the dog to run down into the Wal-Mart construction site. One officer, infuriated by the non-response of animal control personnel, finally tracked down the animal control officer on call and insisted they come out and do their job. Kudos to our officers for taking the steps to do the right thing. As for animal control, we will be polite and not comment. Free Family Fun A reminder that this Friday, June 26, 2009 night the Parks Department will be showing "The Last Mimzy" Rated PG at Colman Park, 5912 Lane starting at dusk. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, etc. Concessions will be sold Two siblings begin to develop special talents after they find a mysterious box of toys. Soon the kids, their parents, and even their teacher are drawn into a strange new world and find a task ahead of them that is far more important than any of them could imagine! Democratic Fundraiser This Saturday, June 27, 2009 Noon – 2:30 The Raytown Democratic Association will be holding their annual picnic fundraiser at Kenagy Park (79th St Entrance) Meal plates of either a hamburger or hotdog may be purchased for $7.00 This is a great opportunity to speak one on one with elected official in a non-formal atmosphere. Fix This Eye Sore DAY 22 – 84th Street Sanitary Sewer Project: The mess left behind by the city after sanitary sewer improvements remains. NOTE: The is part of the same project that is impacting Smith Minor Park. Day 15 - Time to Get Serious About Cleaning up Raytown: The proliferation of large trucks using our city as a parking lot. It is especially noticeable along 350 Highway. Day 8 – Stop the Mosquitoes: The breeding ground for mosquitoes still remains.