Sunday, October 17, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story . . .
If you ever visit Washington, DC do not plan on renting a car. The subway system is inexpensive, clean and efficient. Though rush hour can get crowded. The picture on the right is of an entrance to a subway station.
Washington's subways are extremely clean because food and drink are not allowed in the train stations.

This Week's Poll Questions by Greg Walters

Some people may not be familiar with the issues in this week's poll questions. The following is a brief summation of the three questions covered by this week's polls.

Proposition A: This is the Earnings Tax vote. If you support repeal of the earnings tax, vote yes. If you are opposed to repeal of the earnings tax, vote no.

Proposition B: This proposition would place restrictions on dog breeding operations in Missouri. It would prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 dogs at one time. It would set minimum standards for the housing and feeding of dogs used in breeding. It would also create a misdemeanor crime for "puppy mill cruelty".

Constitutional Amendment 3: Prohibits state and local governments from imposing any new tax on the sale and transfer of of homes. To prohibit the imposition of new taxes on the sale of homes in Missouri vote yes. To allow the creation of new taxes on the sale of homes in Missouri, vote no.

To vote on these questions go to the top left corner of this page.

The following transcript is from the opening remarks given by Greg Walters at the Lee's Summit Chamber of Commerce Political Forum held on October 13th.

Good Evening,

My name is Greg Walters. I am a candidate for the Sixth District seat on the Jackson County Legislature.

I was first elected to public office at the age of 24.

During my terms in office I earned my reputation as a fiscal conservative who believes that we already pay enough in taxes and that government must learn to live within its means.

I have been out of public office for the last couple of years and find that I miss the process of working with others to improve our communities.

I feel I still have a lot to offer.

I have very strongly held beliefs that the role of government, be it at the federal, state or local level, should act as a servant of the people.

And, that it is the responsibility of our governmental bodies to make certain that society runs smoothly through the maintenance of our infrastructure and development of opportunities for all of us to improve our quality of life.

I also believe that some of our governmental bodies have strayed from that tenant of good government. This is evident in the proliferation of what are commonly called “tax incentives” for corporate businesses. These incentives, be they tax abatements, TIFS, CID’s or any other combination of the alphabet, have been misused.

What is worse, the cost of those unpaid taxes has been shifted to area homeowners.

You see this in increased property taxes.

You see it when you pay an extra “sales tax” when you shop at a store that has been granted a tax break.

These tax incentives favor the commercial developer. In short, they pay less – you pay more.

The collateral damage to our economic infrastructure is witnessed in the failure of small businesses who cannot compete with the large stores that are given this unfair advantage in the marketplace.

Jackson County has a seat on every TIF Commission within its borders. I believe the County should take a more proactive role in the decision making process on ALL projects that include tax incentives.

Looking to the future . . .

I am very interested in the concept of improving our mass transportation and believe that County Executive Mike Sanders is on the right track in pursuing the creation of Regional Rapid Rail for the metropolitan area. I look forward to being part of the team that makes Light Rail a reality.

Finally, I want to thank the Chamber of Commerce of Lee’s Summit for hosting this event. You have a beautiful city. It has been my pleasure to campaign here.

Coldwell Banker Closes its Downtown Raytown Office

Coldwell Banker has closed its Downtown Raytown office.Coldwell Banker was one of three Downtown Raytown businesses to receive a property tax abatement for improvements to its office by the City of Raytown. In return for improvements to their buildings, the City exempted the three businesses from paying municipal real estate property taxes.

Even though the building is now vacant, the property owner will continue to receive the property tax abatement for the remainder of the 12 years on the agreement.

The City can avoid such predicaments by writing "claw backs" into property tax abatement packages. Claw backs allow the city to rescind property tax abatements if the property granted an abatement should become vacant. Other cities (Kansas City and North Kansas City) have used such agreements in the past. They are an effective tool that ensures commercial property owners will keep their end of the bargain on property tax abatements.

The two other business locations to receive similar tax abatements are still operating. They are Bennettis' Coffee and Clark's Appliance.

No Pay Increases Planned for City Employees

The Raytown City Council is scheduled to consider the final draft of their annual budget at their next meeting. One point of controversy is the lack of pay increases for city employees.

Two years ago the city granted 7% across the board pay increases for city employees. The move came as a surprise to local residents and business owners, many of whom had lost their jobs or suffered pay cuts in response to the recession.

The proposed budget has caused tension at City Hall.

The City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 19th at Raytown City Hall, 10000 East 59th Street. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Yo-Yo Yogurt! by Jenn Walters

I have such an on-again, off-again relationship with yogurt. I’ll eat it daily or twice daily for a month and then, out of the blue, drop it like a hot potato. Which is dumb. Because that “hot potato” is full of good-for-your-tummy bacteria, calcium and deliciousness. Whether it’s a flavored yogurt or plain yogurt that you snazz up with some mix-ins, I have now realized that I should have never broken up with yogurt, even if it’s just for a weekend. Hopefully, yogurt will take me back.

A few months ago, we reviewed a slew of yogurts, but we thought we’d revisit the subject with an emphasis on low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is seriously thick, creamy and filled with protein, which makes it a perfect post-workout snack. Check out our ideas below to keep your yogurt-relationship full of surprise and nutritious excitement!

Unplain Jane

Who says plain is boring? Plain yogurt is one of my favorite things EVER because it’s like a blank canvas for your culinary desires. After a run, I’ll grab a few big scoops of non-fat Greek yogurt and top it with some berries, honey and maybe a few nuts for crunch. Other times, I’ll mix it with some chocolate protein powder for a pudding-like treat. Occasionally, I’ll even throw it in a smoothie or eat it with cereal instead of milk. The possibilities are endless…

Yogurt Swap

Plain nonfat yogurt and Greek yogurt has a sour flavor to it. At first, trying it plain, I wasn’t sure how much I liked it. And then I realized that it tastes just like sour cream, except it is thicker, creamier and has fewer cals and more protein than sour cream. In other words, it kicks sour cream’s arse and then some. So the next time you want a topping for your burrito or a dip for your raw veggies, make it with yogurt, and you’ll reap the tasty benefits (and not even notice a difference)!

Perfectly Packaged

Sometimes when you don’t have time or are having trouble channeling your inner Giada De Laurentiis, you just needto grab a snack that’s tasty and good for ya. That’s where the pre-flavored Greek yogurts come in play. They’re portable, tasty and are offered in fun flavors. Erin and I recently taste-tested the new Chobani Greek yogurts and fell in love. Erin went gaga over the pomegranate flavor, and I developed a healthy obsession with the pineapple variety. They both taste great, and with 18 grams of protein, less than 200 calories and all natural ingredients, you can see why we loved ‘em so.

Do It Yourself!

I’m not gonna lie; Greek yogurts aren’t cheap (unless you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s nearby, in which case it’s much, much more affordable). However, if you’re okay with getting a little Martha Stewart in the kitchen, you can make your own! All you need is a bowl, colander, cheese cloth, a large container of plain non-fat yogurt and some time in the fridge. I would go through the steps, but this blog explains it really well (with pictures, too!), so I’m not even trying. And it totally works and tastes just like the store-bought brands. I make it almost weekly I heart it so much.

Yogurt really does rock, doesn’t it? So many options! I don’t think I’ll ever leave it again. Feel free to share the nitty-gritty on your yogurt relationship in the comments!

To read more of Jenn’s musings 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


Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised that Hometown Reality has closed it's doors. The real estate market is very different today than it once was. When I was first looking for a home, you went to your local real estate office in the community you were looking to locate in so the local realtor could show you what was available. Today it is a much different world with the internet. You can sit at home and look at hundreds of listings, then when you find the the few that you want to look at, you can call any realtor in the book and arrange a showing. So much for your local realtor.

Andy Whiteman said...

How many times does the City of Raytown have to be Schnukered before they start using claw backs? Greg had brought up claw backs at the TIF public hearings. The first time shame on you. The second time, shame one me. Will there be a 3rd time? I hope not. The real responsibility lies with whoever was city attorney at that time for not properly representing the interests of the city.

I wasn't aware that Coldwell Banker was gone since I no longer walk Red Dogg. Doesn't surprise me because very few homes in Raytown are selling. The citizens are being ripped off with this tax free property sitting there.

As long as the city wage increase applies to real WORKERS only, I am in favor of it. I know we have bad economic times but this group has always been paid substandard wages. The city workers now must pay more towards their health insurance so I doubt if they will actually receive an increase in their checks. I will object if any of the increase goes to tie wearing chair warmers. Chair warmers already are overpaid and don't live in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...


Does the hold on raises at city hall also include the dept. heads and city administrator? If not why not? What is the Mayor making now?

As for Colwell Banker they should never have been given that ITF in the first place. The city does not give me a tax break when I paint my house.

This city needs to quit playing favorites (a former Alderman, a person that did everything that mayor Frank wanted and a business who has been in Raytown for ever and that good but I see no improvement to their property either outside or inside.)

Anonymous said...

I am not suprised at the Hometown Realty (Coldwell Banker branch owned by Gary Knabe) has closed its doors either.

I am bothered that the city keeps signing stupid deals that gives the kitchen sink away.

Did Knabe keep his end of the bargain?

He fixed up his property.

But wasn't part of the bargain to keep the building occupied with a business that would generate sales tax revenue?

Face it, folks, if no one is going to work at the building, then no one (including the city) is receiving anything back on the deal.

Like Forest Gump said. Stupid is as stupid does.

Andy Whiteman said...

Strange we went to the bank tonight and saw the sign lighted at Coldwell Banker. If the office is closed, why is the sign lighted? Could it be that a lighted sign indicates the office is still there or is it so people won't know they are gone?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Don't knwo why the light would be left on. I doubt they were open on a Sunday evening.

A lot of realtors have moved their offices to their homes to save on the expenses. Ask anyone trying to sell a house.The market is very slow.

The light could be on for security reasons. Next time, knock on the door and see if anyhone answers!

Pat Casady said...

Get ready folks!
The city is planning for a reduction of $218,000 in our
Police department and $257,000 in public works.
Now let's see, the brilliant minds at City Hall will be giving
away almost three quarters of a million taxpayer dollars to the developer
of the new Aldi and maybe a new restaurant, but see fit to cut the police and city services.
Does anybody else see how stupid this is?
Raytown's crime is on the rise because of the bad decisions this
bunch has made in the past and they want to cut the police!
Our city leaders have a job, an obligation to the taxpayers that
they come first. It's called representation! It's clear this bunch of doesn't have a clue what they are doing.
Please, find somebody with an ounce of common sense to run against these people.

Anonymous said...

Anyone thinking about voting yes for the puppy mill should first contact your vet and see what they think about it. It is NOT what it would lead you to believe. I urge you to vote NO.

Andy Whiteman said...

It was not the lights that were on. The SIGN was lighted which seems strange for an office that is not there according to the Raytown Report.

The real estate market in Raytown is worse than lousy. Even when the market was good the average time to sell a house was 6 months which is way too long for me. Now I am seeing homes on the market much longer.

All Realtors I have worked with did most of their work at home but went to a broker's office to meet clients and process paperwork. I guess a broker could run an office out of his/her home. Then it could be a zoning issue if too much traffic is generated.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Last week it was posted that the pocket park needed to be mowed. The tall grass is in rain garden, it was planted there. It may look a little like turfgrass but it is not.
I am not sure how the city is giving money to Aldi. I may be wrong but I thought they were taking in an extra .01 in tax and that was going to the developer.
As far as the police and public works it depends where they are taking the money from. If we lose patrolmen then you have a right to complain, if it comes from somewhere else then I say they are being a little more fiscally responsible.

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree with Pat that if the BOA is doing stupid things, we need new people to run for these offices. The plain fact is these people don't dive a damn what the people think because people in Raytown don't vote in numbers especially in local elections. Nothing will change unless the voters are angry enough to turn out and vote.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I can't help but notice that there are a lot more votes being cast on the puppy mill question than the others.

I know your software keeps people from voting more than once. Why do you think more are voting on this question than the others?

Anonymous said...

Here's the facts,
Every time this town runs into a financial problem,
always brought on by City Hall, the first to get any cuts
is the police department and the city workers. The people that
actually provide a service to the public.
Never is there a cut in upper management or a reduction in
the amount of worthless aldermen that get this town in trouble
in the first place.
Just think how much money we would have if they hadn't given away
twenty percent of total tax income to Wal-Mart. The reason we need
more police. This store brings in crime and keeps the police busy.
Over three hundred police calls this year!
These people haven't A clue how to run a town or do good for the people.
It is our money they are wasting and giving away.
Anonymous 8:35,
The city is "loaning" the developer $600,000.00 of your "taxpayer dollars"
to build the Aldi store. A grocery store Raytown does not need!
This money could be kept in the general fund to keep our police from having to cut and to keep our city services at the level they are now.
Granted, chip and seal isn't what you voted for and not what you would call a high standard of street repair. In this economy we are all cutting back on
expenses, except for City Hall. They are spending your money but,
you get nothing in return except for bad streets and unsafe neighborhoods.
This is not what you and I pay taxes for. We should expect and get first thoughts from our city leaders.
Vote these losers out!

Anonymous said...

He didn't feel sorry for Ann Harrison, so why should the State?

ST. LOUIS -- A federal judge says Missouri must hold off on executing a man condemned in the 1989 killing of a Kansas City-area teenager until issues involving his sentencing are sorted out.

Chief U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan in Kansas City issued the stay Monday in the appeal of Roderick Nunley, scheduled to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Nunley's lawyers sought the delay after arguing the constitutionality of whether Nunley's sentence should have been determined by a jury, not by a judge, after he pleaded guilty in the 1989 killing of Ann Harrison.

Harrison was waiting for a school bus when she was abducted by Nunley and Michael Taylor, who also is on Missouri's death row. Authorities said she later was raped, then stabbed to death.
It's not yet clear if the state will appeal the stay.

Andy Whiteman said...

Looking at the "Votes so far" the total number of votes on each topic is close 31,30,25. People may have more interest on one issue opposed to another.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Is Mitch Crawford Holiday Motors going out of business? The sign was removed long ago. Now there are only about 4 or 5 cars on the lot. Did Raytown drive them out or was it the car companies closing their other location(s)? Sorry to see them go.

Andy Whiteman

Robbie Tubbs said...

Anonymous 9:23:
I took your advice and called my vet. He said he is against Missouri Prop B because Missouri already has laws on the books against illegal dog breeders. He said he personally knows of several dog breeders with more than 50 dogs, and they take excellent care of the animals.

The state is not effectively enforcing the laws on the books and looking for illegal and unlicensed dog breeders. It is his opinion that this law would not affect the unlicensed dog breeders, because they were never licensed and the state obviously doesn’t know they exist. The only dog breeders affected will be the legal, licensed breeders.

Perhaps, instead of trying to pass more laws, the state should enforce the laws already on the books.

Anonymous said...

I just happened to come by the Coldwell Banker real estate office today and it does appear to be closed. No lights on, no cars in front of or behind the building. I can't believe that our city council and Mayor gave this guy ( Knabe) MY TAX DOLLARS to fix up his place so it can now sit EMPTY. These guys at city hall have to be the biggest bunch of SUCKERS around.

Andy Whiteman said...

There is a tree trimming company operating in Raytown without a city business permit. I contacted the City to determine this. I suggest everyone who is approached by workers ask to see their Raytown business permit.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I recentley got my hair cut at the Raytown Plaza Barber Shop. Good service and good cut for $12. If anyone is looking for a new barber shop I hope you will give Michael a try. He is the only barber and is trying to get his new business going.

Andy Whiteman said...

In reference to the hot dog stand on Raytown Rd. I questioned the "claw back" at the BOA tonight. Beth Lynn stated that it continues the entire 10 years whether or not the business is there because the blight has been abated.

I remember the remodeling of Hometown Realty and I never observed any blight? What did the taxpayers really pay for?

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

Anonymous 3:05,
The city did not give Knabe your tax dollars to fix up
his building. He got a tax break to fix up his property.
Which means he didn't have to pay real estate taxes
for the amount he needed to fix up the property.
The idea is the property will be worth more so the
city can charge more tax because of the improvement.
However, I agree with Greg, there should be a "Claw Back"
written into every tax break.
I'm not defending City Hall, in fact I don't trust anything
they say or do but, none of your tax dollars were handed to
This kind of tax break is a good idea as long as there are
safety valves to protect the taxpayers. It is a way to fix up a business
property, make our downtown area look better and bring in
new businesses. However, the property owner still has to be
able to come up with the money to do the repairs or upgrades
before they can get the tax breaks. In this economy that's
the big problem.

Anonymous said...

The comment by Beth Lynn is typical of a bureaucrat. First, redefine blight. Then, decide who should be paid for doing away with it.

By her definition, anyone who did the improvements that Knabe did should receive a tax a abatement.

Ask here what improvements Knabe did. You will find out that he put in office cubicles, painted and made other repairs.

Then ask why Knabe gets this abatement but the guy next door does not for simply taking care of his property.

This is what happens when you allow out of towners who have no stake in your community take charge. How much does she get paid for spouting such nonsense?

Add that to the mess caused by weak to no leadership in the Mayor's chair and

Andy Whiteman said...

3:05PM, I consider the real SUCKERS to be the voters for not voting these officials out!

I don't consider puting in cubicles as removing blight. Actually I consider cubicles to be internal blight. He should have put in offices not cubicles! Painting is routine maintenance. I have seen buildings in need of painting. Will everyone who repaints their propertry get a tax break? After all they are removing blight.

Anyd Whiteman

Lee said...

I voted on all three polls; for, undecided, and against.

I don't have a problem with KC, or any other city, levying an income tax the the voters approve. The problem with KC and St Louis is they tax residents AND anyone who works in the city. As a non-KC resident, I avoid working in KC whenever possible because I can't vote for or against the tax. If they want to change it to simply an income tax on residents I wouldn't oppose it. And if at some point in the future I move to KC, then it's simply a choice of whether it's the most effective way to pay for services. As it stands, it's taxation without representation, even if the constitutionally ignorant judges see it differently.

On the puppy mills, I don't have enough information, yet. On the surface it seems like a good idea, but I have learned to be wary of those kinds of laws. Take for instance cell phone and texting laws. There are already distracted driver laws on the books. But the prosecutors are lazy and want a specific law because it's easier to prosecute. With every law passed there are unintended consequences. So I'm going to do more research before voting for it. I still have several candidates to check out as well. Most of the local races have been below the radar until just recently and I've been lazy about checking out the candidates.

Now, the one that most of you will probably disagree with. I'm voting AGAINST amendment 3, and here is why. I don't believe we should be changing the state constitution on a whim or as part of some political gambit. I have been unable to find ANY record of past, current, or plans for future sales taxes on real estate. Keep in mind this is completely separate from capital gains taxes. Those are income taxes and won't be effected by this change one way or another. Are we going to put clauses in the constitution for everything that might happen? And if that passes, suppose Raytown at some point in the future decided to put a sales tax on commercial property. Maybe as a clawback on tax breaks. As a city we couldn't do it because it would be prohibited by the state. The only way voters could approve something like that, at any level in Missouri, would be to pass a new amendment to remove this one. There is a higher requirement for amendments than simple initiatives, meaning a majority might vote for a tax but still fail to remove the amendment. And I strongly suspicion that this amendment was placed on this ballot to rally anti-tax voters in state and national elections. Political gamesmanship that could have some of those nasty unintended consequences I mentioned earlier.

Anonymous said...

This is so bizarre.The Economic Development Director tries to explain away a failed tax incentive plan by saying that blight was removed by because the owner of the property removed blight.

But the business closes its doors. The city receives nothing in return.

Sounds like economic blight to me.

And these people call themselves professionals!

Anonymous said...

One man's or woman's blight is another man's or woman's
Treasure. Maybe this is why we can't get any codes enforcement
in Raytown. The person in charge doesn't even know the
meaning of blight.
If you look at the Center 63 and the Raytown Plaza you will know
the definition of blight. This blight was brought to you and your town by past city administrators trying to make a name for themselves.
Running out good businesses in favor of that big box on 50hwy.
our city leaders worship.
By the way I found out the other day that the new inconvenient stop
light at 350 and "Walmart Dr." was paid for by you! Not MoDot.
That's right your street overlay money paid for it all. The street, the traffic light, the parking lot and the bus stop. Aren't you proud of our leaders?
More favors for the house they worship.
Vote them out!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Did Ann Marie Harrison get a chance to say don't kill me. I would say most likely not. Still these two no goods get a second chance. They should have been put to death years ago. We the tax payers are paying for these two no goods to beath everyday

Andy Whiteman said...

4:25AM, These people are professionals at nonsense. They dispense illogical "logic" when asked a question to the point that the public is confused until they stop and think it out.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

8:51AM 10/21, I couldn't comprehend your post until I read it again just now.

It cost more to keep this slime on death row than in the general prison population. From what I understand about prisons his crime won't be taken kindly by fellow inmates.

I feel we should abolish prisons and this type of slime should be left on a desert island which would cost the taxpayers nothing. These lowlifes can may their own laws if they so desire. The point is we are rid of them at no taxpayer expense.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

PS. Australia was originally a penal colony.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:21 AM 10/21, Strange I didn't see your post until now!

I have seen traffic signals at Walmarts, malls, and large stores. You may notice traffic signals at the Home Depot and KMart on Bannister as well as 2 signals for the old Bannister Mall. The simple fact is if Walmart didn't have signals it would be impossible to exit causing numerous accidents daily. It is a matter of public safety, but I feel that the business (in this case Walmart) should bear the expense.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

As a business owner/property owner in Downtown Kansas City I understand the unfairness of the use of tax payer dollars to build public infrastructure for large corporations.

Simply stated, it is not done for the small businessman.

In fact, last year I paid to have sidewalks repaired in the right of way on the northwest corner of 12th and Harrison.

But in the case of Walmart, those curbs, sidewalks and traffic signals on 350 Highway are being paid for by the taxpayer.

The tax revenue my small business creates goes to the general fund of many government agencies.

The tax revenue generated by Walmart goes to pay off the (TIF) debt created when the store was built.

This uneven playing field is strangling our local economies. It pushes out the small businessman. The loss of jobs when the small businessman closes down shop is only one small effect.

The employee of the small businessman loses his job, or only finds a job that pays less.

It is all downhill from that point.

Election day is coming soon. Take a hard look at ALL the candidates -- find out their position on these important issues that affect your wallet.

Make your vote count!

Andy Whiteman said...

I know it is not reality, but I would like to see at least 99% of legally register voters voting.

Some people won't vote. Some don't know who to vote for. My neighbor said that she didn't know about any of the candidates. I found that hard to believe. I pointed out 2 signs on my property (one democrat and one repuplican for different offices) and we discussed both candidates. Truthfully in a general election it is impossible to know ALL of the candidates but there are certain issues and offices I am aware of and can vote intelligently. As for the other offices, I hate to admit it but my choice will be purely random based on a name I recognize or party.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman