Listening . . . by Greg Walters
Campaigning for public office is really more about listening than telling. As one of 17 candidates who have filed for public office in Raytown this election cycle I will share with you what I have heard.
PROPERTY CODE ENFORCEMENT: If there is a prize for the number one complaint I have heard in my door to door campaigning it is the lack of property code enforcement. I have heard stories from people in Ward 1 of code enforcement officers telling them that the tall, noxious weeds in the a vancant property's back yard canno be cut because they cannot be seen because of a privacy fence -- even though the tall weeds could be seen from a neighboring back yard. People have complained that minor problems are addressed, but major ones ignored. And, then, of course, there are the landmark signs telephone poles advertising "cheap loan rates", "we buy houses", and so forth, that our codes enforcement people do not see. Because we know if they saw them they would most certainly remove them. Make no mistake about it. Codes enforcement is the Number One Complaint any candidate will face this year.
NEW CONSTRUCTION: Generally speaking, people are pleased to see that there is new construction going on in Raytown. Plans for new retail outlets are welcome as well. People also understand that all of the "new" construction and plans for the future has a price tag attached to it. They see it when they buy a new car and the sales tax portion is surprisingly higher than expected. They see it when they look at the bottom line of a sales receipt at Walmart when they read the sales tax rate is 9.125%. Still, people, in general, are pleased to see the old buildings come down and the new ones go up.
A LOW TAX TOWN NO MORE: At one time Raytown was known as a "low tax" Town. That is not the case anymore. Raytown's property tax levy is so notoriously high that an editorial writer for the Kansas City Star, Yael Aboulhalkah, refused to use the statistic in comparing property tax rates when comparing tax levy rates in a column in the Kansas City Star. The base sales tax rate in Raytown is 8.125%. By comparison, the sales tax rate in Downtown Kansas City is 7.25%. If you shop at Walmart, Westlake Hardware, or any of the other new retail outlets being planned in Raytown like Aldi's or the House of Pancakes, be prepared to dig deep. The sales tax rate is 9.125%.
HOW THIS EFFECTS THE APRIL ELECTIONS is anyone's guess. Incumbent's will gloss over the high sales tax rate and try (unsuccessfully) to explain how property values can go down but property taxes go up at the same time. Challengers will take pains to show ALL the details. Explanations of how TIF, CID, Tax Abatements, etc, affect the bottom line in what they pay in property and sales taxes.
FACTS ARE STUBBORN THINGS: As one of the 7 candidates filed for public office in Raytown I hope that voters take the time to contact the candidates for office, learn where they stand and make informed decisions on how best Raytown and the School District should be governed. Apologists for those in office are quick to say that mistakes have been made in the past and then quickly move on to the next subject. Perhaps, but it would be well to learn from those mistakes. Dismissing them and trying to dodge the debate on what is best for Raytown's future is not an answer to that argument.
Watch for These Tactics . . . As the last few weeks of the City Election draw near voters can expect to see the following tactics used by some candidates for Alderman. No one likes to be played – so watch for these tell-tale signs:
THE STALKING HORSE: A stalking horse is a person who mounts a challenge against someone on behalf of an anonymous third party. This tactic is usually used in a heated race where all of a sudden, a third candidate becomes active. The third candidate is the “stalking horse.”
Typically this tactic is used when an incumbent feels threatened by a challenger. The Stalking Horse Candidate has no intention of winning. The sole purpose of the Stalking Horse is to attack and try to defame the candidate who has surmounted a strong campaign against the incumbent. A stalking horse candidate will have very signs in yards and mainly on the city right of way. Watch for personal attacks from the Stalking Horse Candidate.
This tactic is usually used by an incumbent who feels threatened by a challenger. The tactic is simple. Go directly to supporters of his opponent and tell fanciful tales, anything, to get the sign down.
TARGET THE SIGNS
TARGET THE SIGNS
If they are wrong, they lose nothing, because the opposition supporter will not change their vote anyway. If they are successful, they may make a difference in a close race.
Do you plan to attend the Raytown Democratic Association Candidate Forum on March 22nd?
52% . . . . YES 41% . . . . NO 5% . . . . . NOT SURE
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Exercise Helps Keep the Weight Off
by Jenn Walters
We all know that losing weight can be tough work. But keeping it off may be even more challenging as it requires real long-term lifestyle change and change can be hard. Some recent research though sheds light on how to keep it off for good: exercise! Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia (my alma mater—what what!) found that staying fit even if you regain weight helps keep the health benefits of weight-loss, and regular sweat sessions in and of themselves keep those extra pounds from creeping back on. Music to our workout-lovin’ ears! To learn more use this link Work it out to keep it off!
Jenn Walters and Erin Whitehead jointly publish Fit Bottomed Girls. To read more of their thoughts on lifestyle choices and fitness go to Fit Bottomed Girls
Last Week's Poll Results . . .