Sunday, October 11, 2009

Potemkin Village . . .

by Greg Walters . . . a pretentiously showy or imposing façade intended to mask or divert attention from an embarrassing or shabby fact or condition. Potemkin villages were purportedly fake settlements erected at the direction of Russian minister Grigory Potyomkin to fool Empress Catherine II on tours along the Volga River where she witnessed a happy and thriving bourgeoisie living in clean and prosperous villages. But this was all a show to cover disease, poverty, and misery that lay just behind the facade that had been erected for her benefit. This is the origin of the phrase Potemkin Village, a place where a politically generated appearance covers a less impressive underside. The term came to mind as I drove past the Raytown Road/Gregory Boulevard construction site of Raytown’s newest “Gateway Intersection”. Just south of that construction site is another at 350 Highway and Raytown Road where a new traffic island is slowly taking shape. No doubt the new intersection will be impressive. But does it hide a secret found on neighborhood streets off the main roads of Raytown. Drive through Southbrooke, Southwood or any number of local neighborhoods. More than likely you will be in for a bumpy ride with views of eroded curbs, crumbling intersections and freshly filled potholes on what should be pristine neighborhoods streets. Streets that our local leaders promised would be maintained regularly if the voters approved a Transportation Tax just a few years ago. I remember a City Council meeting not so long ago when the Public Works Director reported that a number of streets in Raytown were rated as “failed”. Of course they are! That is what happens to streets when you do not maintain them. The new intersection will look nice. Many out-of-towners will drive through Raytown and take note of how Raytown is moving forward. However, just as in Czarist Russia in the 19th Century, they will not see the lack of maintenance or the broken promise of regularly maintained streets just a few blocks from where the new obelisks will stand at Gregory and Raytown Road. Are the improvements at the intersection a bad thing? Certainly not. The mistake being made by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen is in breaking their promise to the voters for regular maintenance of residential streets as well. Empress Catherine II had Potemkin. He built false villages to impress her. In Raytown we have city leaders who, like Catherine’s minister, have placed style over substance. Sanders to Address RDA County Executive Mike Sanders will be the featured guest at the monthy Raytown Democratic Association meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at Las Chili’s Restaurant located at 6210 Raytown Trafficway. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. Guests are urged to come early at 6:00 p.m. to socialize before the meeting. Pancake Fundraiser The RDA is having its annual pancake fundraiser Saturday, October 17, 2009 from 7:30 am - 10:00 am at Applebee's located at 9330 E 350 Highway. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $6.00 per person. Meeting Notice Space Available The Raytown Report will make available space for local organization meeting notices. Send your notice to gregtwalters@sbcglobal.net We will post the meeting notice on our next regular publication date (Monday morning). The best part? The service is free! High School Football Standings O'Hara High School.....................6 wins / 1 loss Raytown High School...................1 win / 6 losses Raytown South High School............4 wins / 3 losses LAST WEEK’S RESULTS O’Hara 32 / Center 0 Raphael Spencer scored four touchdowns for O'Hara and T. J. White returned an interception for a TD as the Celtics shutout the Center Yellowjackets 32-0 on October 9. Julian Gidley kicked O'Hara's two first quarter extra points, but those were the only extra points scored in the game. At the very beginning of the game, O'Hara was unable to sustain a drive and punted. Center, after four short gains, lost the ball on a fumble on their own 26 yard line. Raphael Spencer ran the ball in with just one play. On Center's third play in the next series, T. J. White intercepted and returned the ball to the end zone with a 42 yard return. The Celtics moved the ball within the 20 yard line with their next possession, but gave up the ball on downs. The Yellowjackets took the ball from deep in their own territory to midfield when Ted Dujakovich recovered a fumble for the Celtics. It took O'Hara ten plays to gain their third touchdown; Raphael Spencer carried the ball for the final three yards in the drive. In the third quarter following a Yellowjacket punt, the Celtics took over on their 26 yard line. They mounted a nine-play drive ending with a 4 yard run by Raphael Spencer, boosting the score to 26-0. As the third quarter came to a close, the Yellowjackets gambled on a fourth down fake punt, but gave the ball over to the Celtics. Three plays later, T. J. White completed a 32 yard TD pass to Raphael Spencer. Center's last drive to get on the scoreboard was halted by an interception by Jimmy Clark. Raytown South 47 / Belton 21 Darrien Bruster scored three touchdowns and Eric Brantley added two to lead the Cardinals (4-3, 2-2) to a Suburban Middle Six win at Belton (2-5, 2-2). Bruster caught 40-, 47- and 5-yard scoring passes from Dennis Tanner and Eric Brantley scored on 8- and 3-yard runs. Tanner tallied a score on a 2-yard run. Marc-Allen Tucker made the other South score on a 1-yard burst. "We did a good job of getting the ball to our receivers," South coach David Allie said. "Our defense played well. Hopefully, this win will help us with momentum going into district. "Our players did a good job of focusing in practice this week and we had a good way of practice." Raytown 0 / Fort Osage 49 NO REPORT

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Umm??? Raytown South 4 wins- 3 losses..... please update!

Pat Casady said...

It is a shame that our elected officials don't want to
carry out promises made before election. Almost every
single one of them promised to be for the people and
with a promise to take care of the people first, have let
Raytown taxpayers down.
They can spend taxpayer money on every intersection but, until
they fix the rest of town all they will have is a made over intersection
with expensive monuments. Showing just how much their promises
mean by not spending taxpayer money on the more important things this city
needs. Until codes are enforced to maintain neighborhoods, all streets
are repaired as promised, parks are maintained and vandals that try
to make them unenjoyable and unsightly for others are caught and prosecuted
those expensive "Gateways" mean very little. I think it was Lee Gray that
called them "Gateways to the graveyard."
I agree we need to repair
some intersections but, to doll them up with unimportant, expensive
monuments is an insult to the taxpayers of Raytown who drive down
their "failed" neighborhood streets to go to their dropping in value homes,
and their overtaxed, unappreciated life. All brought to them by promises unkept by elected officials.
I once told a good man that was wanting to be elected, to treat people the
way he would want to be treated. I don't know what happened but, I do know the people should not be treated the way they are being treated now.

Andy Whiteman said...

I have been opposed to the Gateways projects as a waste of money because they are purely decorative serving no real purpose. In fact, they appear to be safety hazards.

Greg, you made a good point. These ornaments are being used to cover up blight in Raytown so maybe they serve a purpose. We don't want the average person to know what Raytown is really like because they might turn around and leave.
************
The city was sweeping my street last week with their street sweeper. It seems to me like this is a waste of resources. Why not wait to do this until after the leaves have fallen? My gutters are alwasy full with leaves and the city doesn't clear them despite the fact I call them about it. I either have to push the leaves into the street to clear the gutters or ask the person who mows my leaves to also mow the gutters.
***************
I used to hire Ron Wilson to do handyman work. Now that the Raytown Post no longer publishes. I don't have his number. The phone book is useless. One number is a wrong number and the other doesn't return my call so I assume it is also a wrong number. Does anyone know his number?

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Very few politicians keep their promises. They are lies to get elected.

Did Dictator O'Bomba keep his promises? They were all lies to BUY votes. People voted for him because they believed they would get entitlements, tax cuts, and health care.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

To my good friend, Mr. Ummmmm,

The Cardinals record has been corrected.

For those who had not noticed, we had published it at 3 and 3. The correct record is four wins and three losses.

My apoligies to all those Cardinals fans out there. I will be more careful in the future.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is that your story is so right on the money. Some of our city council appear to be only interested in the $400 a month they get.

The mayor fooled a lot of people when he ran for office. It is impossible to tell where Sue Frank left off and he started. The same old tired faces appointed to city commissions. He only gets tough when he wants to block someone elses plans and has demonstrated a surprising lack of leadership skills.

I wish we had a time machine to escape what is in store for Raytown in the next two years.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:21AM, The Aldermen are really performing a community service. In addition to board meetings they have committee meetings and research that is time consuming. $400 is a pittance. Would you do all of that work for only $400? I wouldn't.

If it really is the $400 they want, there would be more people running for office. I think they are there for reasons that don't involve the $400.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

City Council members are paid $400 per month PLUS a $50 monthly auto allowance. They are also eligible to participate in the city's Group Health Care Plan.

Anonymous said...

So how much did the Board of Aldermen raise city salaries last night? I heard old simple Joe was concerned that everyone would quit the city if they didn't raise salaries!

What planet is this guy from? Salaries aren't being raised anywhere. Unemployment is over double digits in most parts of the country.

Let's see, if our city administrator makes $100,000 a year that means his two percent is equal to $2,000.00 pay increase.

Not too shabby. Don't worry joe. He is not going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe. Did you go to work on Monday? They didn't at Raytown City Hall.

Hey Joe. How many sick days do you get a year? Raytown city employees get 12.

Hey Joe. How much vacation time do you get a year? Bet its not as much as our city employees get.

Don't worry Joe. They are not going anywhere.

For that matter. Neither are you.

Anonymous said...

I think Greg Walters know the salaries of the Alderman he was one for 26 years.

Pat Casady said...

Andy,
I disagree with you on your following statement:
"The Aldermen are really performing a community service.
In addition to board meetings they have committee meetings
and research that is time consuming."
However you were right if you were talking of just about
any other city or town.
It is clear from most of the decisions made that there is clearly
no research coming out of Raytown's aldermen. They don't even
ask proper questions when it comes to spending or giving away taxpayer money.
They just sign off on it as if it is an obstacle in the way of the
door out. If the City Administrator or the city lawyer says it's OK then
who are they to question? Other than they are the elected people that the citizens
used to have faith and trust that they would do right by and for them.

Greg Walters said...

That was an interesting comment about me knowing the salary of the Board of Aldermen. If I remember correctly, the Board was making $175 a month when I was first elected in 1980.

Andy is right about some Aldermen. There are those who do put in the time and work hard to learn about the issues.

There are also those who do little more than show up twice a month for the regular meeting.

Pat's comments are, sad to say, extremely accurate. The Board of Aldermen, and this is a change that slowly evolved over the last ten years, allows staff to make too make their decisions for them.

It was not that way back in the day. I personally think it has not been a change for the better.

Hopefully, someday, we will see a return of more active and forward thinking people as our represetnatives on the City Council.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, I can somewhat agree with your point. Some Aldermen are well thought out and have studied the issues while others are incapable of logical thinking (or what we consider to be logical.)

I think you will agree Greg was one who put in quite a bit of time, researched the issues, and stoop up for the citizens. I can name others but I think it is obvious to those who attend meetings.

The voters (or non voters as the case may be) are responsible for who sits on the BOA. Lets blame the voters or non-voters for the selection.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

Big article in this morning's KC Star about a new glass recycling operation opening up in Kansas City. The used glass will be melted down and spun into fiberglas for use as insulation.

Up to this point glass has not been recycled in the KC metro area because of the high cost of taking it to market (the nearest recycler was located in St. Louis).

It was the reason Raytown quit recycling glass when we move he recycling center to its new location.

With this new facility opening up our city leaders should seriously consider recycling glass.

Raytown's Recycling Center continues to be a revenue producer for the City of Raytown. This opportunity could increase that revenue, help the environment and give Raytowners a way to participate in recycling.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Joe Creamer one of the city councilmen who voted to hand our 5% pay increases last year?

I thninnk he was. I sure do wish he cared as much for the people that live in his area as he does his city employees.

Anonymous said...

To Anon October 14, 2009 8:20 AM

Get your facts straight before you flap your gums on-line. Columbus Day is NOT a holiday for city employees.

How much time off do you get? I'm sure its equal to or more than city employees. And there are City Employees who work nights, weekends and holidays.


Maybe if the BOA had given the city employees the raises they deserved every year when the economy was good, there wouldn't be the need to try and catch up now. There were a lot of years where employees got zero raises and some where it was a small cola raise while expected to pay more for insurance.

Anonymous said...

If the mayor were a child in todays society he would be know as a "bully"

Andy Whiteman said...

How about giving 5% tax back to the citizens? Doubt that will happen, but Dictator O'Bomba is buying more votes by giving $250 to retirees on Social Security or other government retirements plans. In this case, I will look a gift horse in th mouth.

I was glad to read about the glass recycling now in KC. Makes a lot better sense than hiring a company to haul it to the dump. Improvement is still needed. There are people who are unable to haul glass and other recyclables to a collection site. Curb side recycling is needed. I will gladly set my recycables at the curb while I won't haul them to a center during day hours. They might get better participation with curbside collection. I am surprised that glass has almost disappeared from grocery shelves. I rarely see a product in glass. I believe the only item I have in glass is hot dog relish.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Simple Joe will never get it. By the way the Knabe property at 79th and Spring Valley looks like a lake, sure hope it freezes soon so we can get rid of the mosquitoes. This is the city's solution to solving codes problems, just let it get cold enough and some of them will go away. What a LAZY BUNCH IN CODES ENFORCEMENT.

Justin Tomac said...

Greg,
The recycle center at the old Bannister Mall area takes glass, not sure where they send it. I have been taking our glass there for more then a year.

Shame on me...I have not kept up on the BoA or there antics on handing out pay raises, additional taxes to handle those raises, etc.. I can validate that I did not receive a pay raise or bonus this year. A lot of peers of mine from across the United States have shared with me that if they were not losing their job, they took a 1-10% pay CUT, in addition will now pay more for their benefits.
If the BOA action is correct, which I really hope it isn't but can imagine it is....I am just wondering what sand dune have these guys/gals had their head stuck in? Yes, we want to keep intelligent and good employees. But in a time when all is crumbling around you, you want to ignore reality?
JWDT

Anonymous said...

By golly you are right! A few of the city employes did show up on Monday. I was thinking of that other great government holiday that most others do not take, President's Day.

Not going to deny the 12 days a year sick days, are you?

Guess those high stress jobs at city hall really cause a lot of illness!

NOT!!!

Anonymous said...

I watched the BOA meeting on Tuesday night and was totally disappointed by the actions of the board and mayor. There was one alderman who stood by his convictions and that was a new alderman by the name of Van Buskirk. The rest blindly voted right along with the mayor. The mayor does everything he can to put down anyone who does not agree with him. It seem to me he thinks if you don't agree with him you are not wanting to be proactive for Raytown. The fact is everything Frank and Bower did and are doing is not for the good of the city. I keep hearing about the property at 79th and Spring Valley Road owned by Gary Knabe. I drove by and they are right this is a mess. I would like to know is this Mr. Kabe some kind of godfather? Raytown must be afarid of him not to make him clean up this mess, or he has something he is holding our the mayors head. Mayor praised Beth Linn and how wonderful a job she was doing with the codes department he must have had a brain freeze when he said that and forgot about this mess. The mayor said he drove down Spring Valley Road,evidentally he had his blinders on when he drove by this mess. I am sure the upper crust will enjoy there new raises while the rest of us work to scrape enough money to pay our bills and keep our heads above water.

Pat Casady said...

I don't think any one of us would say the city workers that actually
get out an work, I mean hands on labor, shouldn't be due a raise.
It's the management that should have a wage freeze. Personally
I don't think they should get any pay increase until this city comes
back and the tax income increases. After all that is what they are
hired, to make this a functioning, viable city. If they don't increase
tax income then they shouldn't get an increase.
It doesn't take a person smarter than a fifth grader to figure out that if the cities income is decreasing, the pay scale shouldn't increase.
But, we all know there are very few on the board that could make it
past the first round on the "Are you smarter
than a fifth grader" program.
My apologies to all the fifth graders in town.

Anonymous said...

its not the work at city hall that causes illness...it is dealing with all you uninformed ranting people..think about that and for $400.00 a month i wouldnt answer my phone when you called either..

Anonymous said...

The people who work in codes have no leader so therefore they do not work. The head of codes dosen't do her job as she has no leadership in the mayor seat. I guess this is the trickle down effect..

Andy Whiteman said...

There are too many holidays. Most of them fall on Monday creating a paid day off with a long weekend. I think most people are clueless as to the meaning of the day. All it is is a paid day off work. Holidays hurt the economy because people have to be paid not to work while people are unable to transact business. To me holidays are useless, wasted days. In many cases holidays cause extra work on Tuesday trying to catch up.

When I was a kid, I enjoyed them only because I didn't have to go to school. Other than that, they had no meaning.

The number of holidays should be reduced to the important ones: New Years Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

When I worked for AT&T, several of the holidays were not observed. We had a Union designated holiday plus 3 or 4 personal holidays. The personal holidays didn't impact the whole workforce or customers because everyone took them at different times.

All holidays should be on the proper day, not Monday. A holiday in the middle of the week is easier to endure. A holiday on the proper date would reflect on the date we are commenorating. Obviously Washington, Jefferson, and Martin Luther King weren't all born on Monday or Friday. Do we know any living person who celebrates their birthday on Monday or Friday rather than the actual day?

The city, school district, as well as all of government could cut back on payroll be eliminating the useless paid holidays.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

8:31 a.m.

I am always amazed by people like you. If all that it takes to shut all these people up is for city employees to give a fair days work, enforce the laws equally, and be honest in their actions, why don't they do so?

I think I know you. You are one of those who apologizes for the failures of others and then blames those who have been let down.

Andy Whiteman said...

There have been many complaints about codes not being enforced. I don't understand this be cause I know a senior lady who has been telling be for at least 3 years that codes people have been harassing her, entering without a warrant, and she has spent time in jail! She has stated that she has no violations. I am sure there is another side to this story but I wonder why they are picking on this lady and ignoring violations such as 79th and Spring Valley? If a city official wants to know who this is, I will provide her name if they contact me.

Codes should be enforced equally and fairly.

On the bright side, the swamp at 79th and Spring Valley should soon be iced over and can be used for ice skating but it will also be a safety hazard.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

October 16th 8:31AM, you too are expendable and can be replaced if you do not do your job. If you ignore your telephone at work and just let it ring, and your job is to answer it and take the complaint, then you do not deserve the $400.00 per month that you are to get for your job, and you should be replaced.

Andy Whiteman said...

8:21 AM, How do you propose to replace October 16th 8:31AM when only a small minority in Raytown votes in local elections? I am beginning to think that most people don't give a damn. They will bitch but come election day, they won't get off their butts to vote.

Andy Whiteman