Sunday, October 10, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story . . .
The photo on the right is of the Washington Monument as seen from the World War II Memorial.
The discoloration of the stone on the bottom third of the monument was caused when construction was put on hold during the Civil War. Stone from a different quarry was used on the top two thirds of the monument.
The photo on the bottom right is of the White House. Note the two Secret Service men on the roof.
Bottom left is a photo of one small section of Arlington Cemetery.
Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign by Greg Walters

Yard signs are a politician’s curse. They are the most effective way of letting the world know you exist. But they are expensive, time consuming to put in place, and a favorite target of children and some adults who act like children.

Last week I received a call from a campaign supporter who told me she saw a public works employee pull up her street, stop in front of her neighbor’s house, and remove my campaign sign from the yard. Upon investigation I found that same scenario was repeated over 20 times last Thursday.

I called Mr. Andy Noll, the Director of Public Works, and asked why city employees were stealing my signs. He told me they were helping out the codes department in enforcing the sign ordinances by removing signs from the right of way.

I found the explanation less than satisfactory because my signs were on private property and well back from the right of way.

I was told the signs would be returned to me. Three of them were, two without the wires. I went by the Public Works Garage to retrieve the rest of them to find out that the trash hauling service had just left with the signs.

To say the least, I am upset about the string of events. Especially because there were inconsistencies in how the city picked up the signs.

  • If my signs were alone in a yard, they were picked up. If they were in with a clump of other candidate signs, they were not touched.
  • Large 4’ x 8’ signs that are a lot closer to the road, and no doubt on the city’s right of way were allowed to remain standing. The maximum size for political signs in residential neighborhoods is 4’ x 4’ (which makes the 4’ x 8’ signs illegal).
  • Signs were removed from streets that have virtually no right of way, like 59th Street between Raytown Road and Blue Ridge Cutoff. I had a personal role in having that street designed and built. I can assure you the right of way ends at the property owner’s edge of the sidewalk on 59th Street.
I finally came to an agreement with Mr. Noll that if he had complaints about my signs in the future that he would contact me so that I could move them.

I am not a litigious person. But if this type of activity continues, I will become one.

If any of my reader should witness city employees removing my yard signs from private property please call me at 816-517-6852 or email me at

If you want a yard sign, please contact me as well.

Finally, a personal note to Andy who frequently posts on the blog. I know I owe you a sign, but have misplaced your address – please resend it to me.

Speaking of Tax Breaks . . .

Word on the street is that one of the businesses City Hall gave a property tax abatement to in Downtown Raytown is said to be closing its doors. If it proves to be the case, the tax abatement, under the agreement written by the city, stays in place even though there would be no business occupying the building!

The city can easily avoid this situation by writing “claw backs” into their tax abatement agreements. A “claw back” requires a business to occupy the property when a tax abatement is given. If the property “goes dark” (out of business) the owner of the property is required to pay the full amount on property taxes.

This is not the first instance in which the city has been left holding the bag on a property tax abatement in which the owner vacated the property. Schnucks Grocery (current location of Hy-Vee), left the Kansas City market after only a few years of operation. The property tax abatement stayed in place for an empty store.

A new property tax abatement was granted when HyVee moved to the location two years ago.

Progress as Promised on 63rd Street Bridge

Last Friday evening I drove across the new 63rd Street Bridge. The light poles now have lights on them. Three of them were even lit up!

Saturday afternoon I was on the bridge again. This time ALL of the lights were lit up.

Now, if they can just get them to all light up at night and turn off during the day we will be one step closer to having a completed bridge!

I Ran Like a Girl by Jenn Walters

Spur of the moment, I had the opportunity to attend Nike’s Global Running Summit and run the oh-so-popular (and rightly so) Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. AsTish has already pointed out, Nike knows what’s up. They wine you, dine you, dazzle you with new products, and let you pound the pavement for 13.1 miles. It’s fitness bliss at its best—and sorest.

In future posts, we’ll review some of the new running gear that I tried out, including Nike’s new Lunar running shoe offerings. (It’s amazing what technology and thought goes into new products.) But for now, I want to give you a recap of the half marathon, or what I like to call “The Biggest Challenge of My Running Life Thus Far.” (I know; it’s probably a little lengthy to catch on.)

The 13.1 miles of the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Fran were as beautiful as they were challenging—a start at Union Square, hills, breathtaking scenery, hills, Fisherman’s Wharf, hills, Alcatraz, a MILE-LONG HILL, amazing cheering spectators, more hills, the Golden Gate Bridge (it was covered in fog, but I could feel it), hills, running along the Great Highway between forest and ocean, a few more hills and a finish line with handsome tuxedoed men handing out Tiffany boxes filled with “Run Like a Girl” pendant necklaces. It. Was. Awesome. And hilly. But so totally worth it.

I was even close to tears a few times because the landscape was so amazingly and almost unfathomably beautiful. Plus, I was running with more than 20,000 women from 50 states and 25 countries who raised more than $14 million for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. See? That alone makes you feel a little verklempt, right?

Despite the hills…and the near-crying…and the walking on hills twice…I took 2 minutes off my previous and only half marathon time. It’s awesome to see how this full marathon trainingis really getting me more fit with faster times. Sure, I got passed by about 3,000 people (seriously not exaggerating here), but I saved enough in my energy tank that, near the end, I passed at least 20 or so of those people with a final hard push. There’s nothing better than sprinting to the finish line once you have it in sight.

Immediately after the race, my muscles were tight (heeelllooo warm bath), and the two days after the race I was SORE. My legs were heavy as to be expected, but my traps were incredibly sore, even to the touch. I never get sore there after my long runs and I felt like I was pretty relaxed during the race, so I wondered what was up.

And then I realized the one thing I did differently this race than any other time that I run: I texted. A lot. I had the “brilliant” idea to text my husband during the race, so he could (graciously) upload my texts to Twitter and Facebook. (Ironically enough, Twitter was down during the entire time that I ran. Bastards.) It was a fun way for me to let my friends, family and readers know how I was doing, and, honestly, it gave me something fun to focus on. Plus, it reminded me how much support I had out there. All warm and fuzzy stuff.

What’s not warm and fuzzy is that apparently when I text while running, I clinch my shoulders up to my ears in order to keep my upper-body steady enough to text amidst the jostling of jogging. And my body isn’t used to that. Hence the insane soreness. I even have the proof in the race photos, where the photographer got a photo of me texting. My loved ones got a kick out of that, and, truthfully, so did I. At least I look happy texting.

What did I learn, you ask? Three things. One, if I’m going to text during a race, I need to train for it. Two, “running like a girl,” the official motto for this girl-power race, really means running like a bad-ass, and it results in jewelry from Tiffany. And three, I could really stand to add more hills to my training.

To read more of Jenn’s musing go to Fit Bottomed Girls

High School Sports . . .

To catch up on O'Hara Sports use this link O'Hara High School

To catch up on Raytown South Sports use this link Raytown South High School

Last Week's Poll Results . . .

Should the Raytown City Council approve a tax incentive package for the House of Pancakes?

YES - 27%
NO - 72%

Should the Raytown City Council approve a tax incentive package for Aldi's?

YES - 31%
NO - 58%


Andy Whiteman said...

Apparently sign enforcement depends on who you are. There seems to be no written rule. Enforcement is arbitrary and capricious as it is with almost every ordinance.

I remember complaining about signs on the ROW (right of way) numerous times to the BOA and Mahesh's excuse was someone had to go out an look at it, then the owner of the sign had to be contacted (which seems to be impossible to do). City workers could not remove signs.

Have the rules changed? Greg, I think you should make a written complaint to the city as stated in the City Ordinance under complaints about employees. These are unknown public works employees. Also I suggest you submit a bill to the city for the costs of the signs along with the complaint. That is what I would do. They can either pay it or deny it. They should pay because they are in the wrong.

(Please check your email for my address.)

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

I saw a news interview Saturday evening.
They talking to a pole taker about the upcoming
elections. He said the people are tired of their
elected officials NOT representing them and their
views. Which is why they voted and supported them
in the first place.
They feel they have been betrayed. Sound familiar?
Think about your cities elected people when you look at your streets.
You get tar and gravel, not what you voted for. Wal-Mart
got your asphalt. No representation there?
Big stores get tax breaks, you pay higher taxes. Big stores make no
contribution to the cities tax income, you get lower property
values but you pay higher real estate taxes. Does that seem
What have these big companies done for Raytown. We were told
they would bring in more businesses. Again we were betrayed.
Kind of makes you wonder, what kind of stupidity pill do we take
when we believe these people will represent us.

Greg, you should present this city with a bill for your signs. They were legal and you didn't get them back as promised. Big surprise

Anonymous said...

A lot of folks now a days have cell phones with cameras. If you see someone, regardless of who they are, removing political signs, snap a photo of them. Send the photo to the candidate. That way, he or she can confront the city with proof. If Andy Noll is going to behave in an unethical manner, and someone can prove it, he should be fired. Immediately! I would suggest that if the Mayor doesn't support this, he should be recalled, but we aren't a real city and can't do recalls. Another reason we need a charter.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Mayor Bower and his cronies are still out to get Greg. By ordering Public Works to pick up only Greg's signs Bower is again showing his "pettiness". Bower is abusing his powers just like Sue Frank did. It's amazing how these "public servants" become so political so fast after they get in office. Vote this guy out next April.

Greg Walters said...

In fairness to Mr. Noll, I do not think he would conspire to remove my signs.

Whether it was someone who went overboard in their duties, on purpose or otherwise is in the past.

I have been promised by the City Administrator the event will not happen again.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why the city doesn't cut the grass on the median on 350 higvhway? They cut it in Kansas city and in Lee's Summit. Why don't they cut it here?

It looks so trashy.

I want to be proud of Raytown but when stuff like that is allowed it is hard to see whose side the city is on.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:27AM, Don't know for sure but I think it may be because 350 HWY is a state highway and is the responsibility of the state. I emailed in reference to a pot hole and was told the city did not maintain 350 HWY because it is the responsibility of the state.

I suggest you call Public Works 737-6012 and/or Parks.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

I thought the bridge was finished, but driving south on Raytown Road from the bridge was a flashing "BRIDGE CLOSED" sign. That is a little confusing.

The pocket park is in dire need of mowing. This is in downtown Raytown and unmaintained. A very poor presentation to prospective businesses or residents. As I have told the BOA, the city is in violation of its own ordinances.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

Last night I attended the candidate forum for Jackson County office holders in Lee's Summit. The event was sponsored by the Lee's Summit Chamber of Commerce. I counted 32 people in attendance.

County Executive Mike Sanders (neither of his opponents showed up) was on hand, as was my opponent in the upcoming election for the Sixth District seat on the County Legislature.

On Tuesday night there was a candidate forum for those candidates running for state wide office.

I was told by a spokesman for the event that the County contest drew a larger crowd than the forum held for state office seekers.

We three candidates fielded questions for two hours. It was a very informative and enlightening event.

The Raytown Chamber of Commerce should consider hosting a similar event.

Anonymous said...

The Rayatown Chamber only holds fund raisers. Pretty sad isn't it?

Anonymous said...

There has to be a way we can stop our elected
People from giving away our tax dollars!
We have a bunch of people running this town that
Can't see how much all this is hurting this town.
I don't see how we can wait until April to get rid of these
terrible people. They absolutely don't know what they are doing.
They are supposed to be working for us not Aldi, Wal-Mart
and Hy-Vee! I know most of you feel the same way when I say
STOP giving away our money. Before long we will be back to
dirt roads!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny that all of a sudden the codes people are pulling up signs when they don't take care of any other code violations? It seems like the codes people only work during election time.

Anonymous said...

The road closed sign is for the 'wonderful' dedication ceremony for the bridge tomorrow night at 5:30 on a Friday night. Rush hour will be a mess.

Andy Whiteman said...

I am making this notice available to the public:
Too big to publish so will do so in parts.The BOA on Tuesday 10/19 will have a discussion secession about the one way Willow. See City Attorney's opinion:

Andy Whiteman said...

DATE: 10/8/2010
“It is well established that a city has a duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain its
streets in a reasonably safe condition for travel by those using them in the proper manner
with due care.” Williams v. City of Independence, 931 S.W.2d 894, 896 (Mo. App. W.D. 1996)
(citing Lavinge v. City of Jefferson, 262 S.W.2d 60, 63).
It is my opinion that the municipality may increase its potential liability for what may be
labeled a “dangerous condition” on Willow Avenue if it is returned to a two way street. It is
my understanding that the original purpose of the change from a two way street to a one
way street is the safety considerations in light of the fact that the street is so narrow.
While it is true that municipalities enjoy generally broad sovereign immunity, there are
exceptions. RSMo. § 537.600 is the statute that provides for sovereign immunity and lists the
exceptions to same. The statute states that sovereign immunity is in full force and effect in
the State of Missouri with exceptions. One of those exceptions is that sovereign immunity is
expressly waived if an individual sustains injuries caused by the condition of a public entity’s
property if the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, that the injury
directly resulted from the dangerous condition, that the dangerous condition created a
reasonably foreseeable risk of harm of the kind of injury which was incurred, and that a
negligent or wrongful act or omission created the dangerous condition or the entity had
actual or constructive notice of the condition in sufficient time to take protective measures
to prevent it.

Andy Whiteman said...

The City of Kansas City, Missouri was held liable for a dangerous condition on one of its
roads in 2007 in the case Huifang v. City of Kansas City, 229 S.W.3d 68. In that case, the
dangerous condition alleged was the traffic control mechanisms in place for a dangerous
intersection. The Court noted that the Statute allows for claims against public entities for
“negligent, defective, or dangerous design of roadways.” The Court outlined the elements of
the dangerous condition waiver to be as follows:
The “Dangerous Condition” waiver [of sovereign immunity] is effective if:
1) The property was dangerous at the time of the injury
2) The injury “directly resulted” from the dangerous condition
3) The dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury
occurred; and
4) Either a) a negligent act or omission created the dangerous condition or b) a public
entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition in sufficient time
to have taken measures to alleviate the danger.
Missouri municipalities have been held liable under the sovereign immunity standard for
“dangerous conditions” such as failure to install traffic signals (Kraus v. Hy-Vee, Inc. 147
S.W.3d 907); insufficient marking of roads (Cole v. Missouri Highway and Transportation
Commission, 770 S.W.2d 296); and improper road signs at dangerous intersections (Jones v. City
of Kansas City, 15 S.W.3d 736) to name a few. Jones, a Supreme Court Case, specifically notes
that defective design encompasses more than a physical defect in the pavement itself. Id. at
In light of the information presented above which establishes that municipalities
effectively waive sovereign immunity for dangerous conditions in the negligent, defective or
dangerous design of roadways, it is my opinion that, if Willow Avenue, (which was recently
changed from a two-way street to a one-way street upon staff recommendation due to
concerns of safety as a result of the narrowness of the road) was returned to a two-way
street, and an accident occurred that could be reasonably related to the street’s size, a viable
claim could be made that would meet the requirements outlined above to potentially expose
the City to liability. It could be alleged that the City was aware of a potential dangerous
condition by virtue of the fact that it changed the design of the road from a two way street
to a one way street. If it is changed back, it could be alleged that the City knew or should
have known of the dangerous condition and/or that it acted negligently in returning it to its
two lane status.

Anonymous said...

I see that someone mowed the brush and weeds on 350 Highway. Don't know who was responsible but it looks a lot better.

How do you prove someone had a wreck on a two way street because of the width of the street?

Someone at city hall is reaching for straws on this one.

By the same logic, if someone wrecked their car on the four lane Highway called Raytown Road because they were forced to use that street because Willow remained one way, wouldn't the city be just as negligible?

You guys and gals on teh city council better reel in your bureaucrats. They are getting carried away with their own importance.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:35 PM, Rush hour? What is rush hour? The ceremonies of the Socialist Fascist Fief of Raytown trump your wanting to get home. I don't understand why a ceremony is necessary, but if one is required, why not have it on Saturday or Sunday when there will be the least disruption?

9:18PM, If 2 cars crash on a narrow street, I would say that one or both failed to yield the right of way. 2 large signs "NARROW STREET" on each side in both directions with a posted speed limit of 5 MPH should be all that is required. In that way, the city has posted notice and restricted the speed.

I totally agree with your logic of the left turn across Raytown Rd. and have thought of it previously when this first became an issue.

The City Attorney is exercising CYA to protect the city, which is his job; but at the same time he should be looking for a way to resolve the issue rather than the "easy" way out.

I can tell you that if I was sitting at that high an mighty table at the palace on 59th St., I would sure stand up for the people and not accept the lunacy being put forth.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Iknow why the bridge blocking ceremony is being held at 5:30 on a Friday evening instead of during the day on a weekend.

You see, all of the city department heads will be expected to be there. And it is a long drvie home to places like Raymore, Shawnee, Gladstone and Lee's Summit for our city's devoted department heads.

After all, we don't want to inconvenience them by having them drive from so far away to take care of business here in Raytown.

Ceremonies like this are set by the head of he governing body.

Way to go Mayor Dave. You have shown us once again who is number one on your list!

Anonymous said...

Who on earth would celebrate opening a bridge that was five months late on schedule?

Anonymous said...

Let's have a contest.

Write down some of the great lies of the 20th and 21st Century.

Lies like:

The check is in the mail.

The 63rd Street Bridge in Raytwon will be completed by May 1, 2010.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:17 AM, A good reason for department heads should be required to live in the city limits of Raytown! They would know what life is like here with dusty streets, etc.

Following your logic, why not hold the ceremony at 10AM or 3PM so these elite staff are not forced to be in Raytown on their own time? Remember they ar 9-5 M-F people! Now they have to work over an hour of their own time.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg, I am, really enjoying the pics.
Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Just when you think our elected and hired people
couldn't do or say any more stupid things, out they
pop! We have a Director of Community Development
that doesn't know blight from a hole in the ground
and doesn't enforce codes violations.
Now we get to build an Aldi's. It's not bad
enough we built the new Wal-Mart store and gave
away so much in the process but, now we can't even
get our streets fixed the way we voted for.
But, our city leaders can come up with over a half a million
to finance another grocery store.
It's too bad they can't see how stupid they look.
April can't come soon enough!