Sunday, March 20, 2011

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.
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
To post a comment click on the word comments below:

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 . . .


Andy Whiteman said...

It may be that there are no posts because there is a long blank space between the end of your article and the "COMMENTS" link.

Greg Walters said...

Thanks, Andy.

The problem has been fixed.

Anonymous said...

You are so right about teh stalking horse. I believe it is being used in the Ward 2 race. It appears to be coming out of Jim Aziere's camp.

What amazes be is that anyone would allow themselves to be used in that role. It speaks of very low self esteem.

Andy Whiteman said...

Stalking horse explains why 2 opposing candidates have signs on the same yard unless the homeowner can't make up his mind or maybe husband and wife have different views.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

A friend of mine and a Raytown business owner
was recently shafted by the general contractor on the
Aldi's project. Taylor Mechanical, a Raytown
commercial pluming company, was told they won the
contract for the project and was waiting for the contract
to be signed.
Yesterday Taylor Mechanical called the general contractor
for a list of floor drains and was told that the general
contractor had changed his mind and had given the contract
to a friend that he owed a favor.
I will never step foot in that store!
This is not how the biding system works. Taylor should have
been working today. They had the general contractors word
that they had the job.
Another Raytown business screwed by a new business going
up in Raytown.
I hope if we are lucky enough to get a new bunch of elected
officials in this town they will at least ask any new contractor
building in this town to use local businesses.
The general contractor? Barsto Contracting, another company
I will never use and from now on if I know anybody wanting to
build I will thell them to forger Barsto Contracting.

Anonymous said...

Pat, tell Taylor Mechanical they need to see a lawyer. If they won that contract and it was given to a buddy, that's illegal. They should be awarded the money they should have collected on the contract, plus punative damages. Don't let them take this laying down. Go after the ba$tards!

Andy Whiteman said...

I wonder what what kind of work they do if they conduct business in that manner?

The general contractor who remodeled my house did a lousy job and ripped me off. He failed to follow written specs, installed a front door I could see light through, wired my phones improperly, left 3 jacks a 2 wire instead of 4 wire circuit. He came back several times, said he couldn't fix the door and it has leaked air for over 10 years.

After I got here I told him if I had seen the work, I wouldn't have paid him. Since it took me over 6 months to move it wasn't reasonable to make him wait for payment until I could inspect the work.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The city could have required that local businesses be used in the construction of Aldi's. After all, the city council did give a $600,000 of our money for the project.

Hindsight is 100%.

Especially when the ones in charge have absolutely no foresight!

Anonymous said...

Will Creamer, Par Due, Hamilton,White,Melson and Superman show up the cities annual clean up day to lend a hand? Or do they feel they are to good to help in this way is all they want to do show up at council meetings and ramble on about how good they are and everything they have done for the city. We would like to see some participation and just see your mouth flap

Anonymous said...

Terrible, just terrible the way city officials treat businesses and citizens while catering to the out of town department heads.

Andy Whiteman said...

As for Taylor Mechanical, I question was the acceptance in writing or was it a verbal, "You have the contract?" If it was in writing, they should see a lawyer otherwise verbal isn't binding.

When taxpayer's dollars are financing a project the BOA should somehow encourage the use of local (Raytown) contractors and employees. This is difficult to enforce because obviously the general contractor wants the lowest bid regardless of location.

I asked a Raytown company to price some work. They said that unless they had worked for me before, they were too busy and suggested I call someone else. After several unturned calls, I asked for the manager and explained that I preferred a Raytown business. After all of that someone came to look at the job.

I was shocked at some of the comments and answers I heard at the Candidate Forum tonight! It was being taped so it may appear somewhere. If you see the tape, listen to the question, "If you were told while campaigning that an unreported sex offender lived in a house, what would you do?" One of the answers was so off the wall that it could lose votes for that person. I support someone else, but the answer still upset me.

Greg, Please change your poll votes to 19 YES, 1 UNDECIDED since I decided to go.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...


I can't change the vote totals. The software blocks out the administrator once the poll is started.

As for tonight's debate. My thanks to Richard Tush and the Raytown Democratic Association for sponsoring the debate.

I stayed for the School Board Candidate portion of the program and am glad I did. I had wondered who to vote for in the School Board race -- there are five candiates, three will be winners.

Thanks to tonight's debate I have made up my mind.

I was also impressed to see Ward 5 Adlerman Michael Lightfoot show up to participate even though he does not have an opponent.

Well done, Michael!

Anonymous said...

Wow, the legal advice on this blog is grounds for sanctions as it is dead wrong. Pat, do not recommend any of this to your friend.

Anon- There would be no punitive damages, just equitable relief and perhaps lost opportunities

Andy - Verbal contracts can be valid. In this case, it would have to be written likely due to the statute of frauds. However, if this gentleman detrimentally relied on the word of this contractor, there could still be an issue.

...Everybody is a lawyer these days...

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 8:28,
As I said they were awarded the job but had not gotten
a signed contract yet. The way the legal system works
these days, I doubt it would or could ever go to court.
Anonymous 11:36,
It is illegal for a city to make a contractor use local
companies but, it could be strongly suggested.
Raytown taxpayer dollars are financing this project.
It wouldn't have hurt the contractor let the Raytown
business that actual won the bid in the first place.
As I understand it this is how it went:
Taylor won the contract. The contractors friend came in
after the bidding was done and undercut Taylor.
I believe the contractor told his friend if he was cheaper
than Taylor he could have the job.
The contractor then called Taylor and said he could
still have the job if he would cut his bid down.
Taylor couldn't cut his already to the bone price and
This is not a fair or just way to run a job.
I know this is hard to understand but these are hard
times for everybody. Residential plumbers are not
working so they have jumped into commercial pluming.
They don't have the experience to do the job well.
I just hope that Raytown has at least some idea of
commercial codes and have the people to enforce them.
I'm not going to hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

I also attended the school board forum last night. My personal take on this,is that we don't have a qualified person running to sit on the board. Some couldn't answer the questions, and the others just answered all around the question. They won't do anything about some issues unless some citizen request it. These guys don't have a brain to play with. I won't vote for any of them.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, I agree that is not the way to do business. It is very unethical! As 11:57PM said, maybe your friend should consult a lawyer and see what happens. It may be a "he said-she said" debate or a settlement may be offered rather than going to court. Ideally the buddy's contract should be rescended and the contract awareded to the original low bidder (your friend.)

Greg, I didn't think you could change the vote, but it could be noted when you publish the results next week if you think it is important.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy, after reading your comment about the answers that were given about the sex offender,could you share the answer that was given. You don't have to give the name of the candidate. I also attented the forum and must have missed that answer. Thank you.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:53AM, Which board are you referring to? One person running for city office appeared to me to have little knowledge of what was going on in this city.

10:12AM, I was hoping to avoid quoting anyone, but one candidate answered to the effect that it depended on what type of offense the person had committed. He commented to the effect an adult boy having sex with and underage girl is not that bad.

The answer was disgusting. If a person did it, the law is still broken. It was up to the jury and judge to convict or not to convict. If convicted, the person is a sex offender.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

I just read the Raytown Times articles by the incumbents
Charlotte Melson and James "Jim" Aziere. No where in their
writings did they explain or point out they had attributed
to higher taxes and lower property values. No where did they
explain why they helped to give away millions in tax income
to big stores. Nowhere did they explain where your tax increases
for street overlays and the safety tax went.
And, neither one of them explained why you the taxpayers of Raytown
have to make up the bond payments on the Wal-Mart deal they voted
for, that has cost you over 1,800,000.00
Both bragged about the new businesses brought to town but neither explained
at what cost to the taxpayers.
Aziere said and I quote "Our job on the board of Aldermen was
to meet the interest of our constituents." I don't know about the
rest of you but I haven't seen either of my so called representatives
in years. I believe the other one is Hamilton and I
have never even met him.
How the Hell does he know the interests of us downtown
business owners when he, or they don't talk to us?
As I have sad a million times, don't believe these political
promises and boasts about how they have made your life better.
Step back and see the truth. Higher taxes, lower property values
and remember they raised your real estate taxes when it wasn't
necessary. Take a drive down any Raytown street and ask yourself
what did they do with my street overlay money?
Please don't fall for the BS! It's time for a real change.
Don't be afraid to vote in new people. After all they couldn't
hurt us any more than the incumbents already have.
When you get down to it and think about it. Each deal, each new
business, both tax increases for street overlay and safety,
have either cost you money or never came about.
Aziere said, "Those citizens who choose to cast a vote on April 5 will
be the jury. Has the "sweetness" of unity of the Board of Aldermen
and the mayor made the difference, of should we change direction?"

Anonymous said...

Customers of General Contractors can make stipulations or requirements that must be met by the General and subs, and that can apply to the bidding process as well. One way to ensure cooperation between the City and the Customer could have started with dialogue between the parties advising that it would be preferred that their General Contractor chosen should try whenever possible to solicit bids from contractors with local or state ties first, then anyone else. There is nothing illegal about doing what the customer wants to have done, after all, the customer is paying for the work.

Andy Whiteman said...

Walmart has a 5 star parking lot with our street overlay money!

I wish I could receive the Raytown Times. Being disabled I have no access to it. I have made special trips looking for it and wherever I have been is usually out. I rarely go shopping but when I do, the shopping is on my mind, not the Raytown Times so I forget. The owner of the Times sill has 7 of my stamped envelopes to mail my copy but obviously he is too lazy. He is failing to make a reasonable accomodation for a disabled person.

Helmet Head

Anonymous said...

In regard to the 5-star parking lot of Walmart, one feature they left out. When you are entering or exiting onto 350 either way, they failed to put a one way sign in the center of the "little" concrete divider. I don't know how many times I have seen drivers go on the wrong side pullinhg out or entering.Just saying...............

Andy Whiteman said...

3:02PM, Good point! I have had the same trouble going to and from the Gas Lamp Grille as well as other places.

I pointed out to the city long ago after I stopped a wrong way driver that they need large ONE WAY signs leaving Walmart turning onto 350 HWY in both directions. I can see where someone may forget that 350HWY is a divided HWY after shopping (especially if they aren't from Raytown) and turn the wrong way.

NO ACTION was taken. I guess someone has to be killed first!

Any City Officials or candidates reading this?

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

Randy brings in a stack of the Raytown Times for people
to pick up here at my business.
If you want, and I assume you don't live too far away, I could
drop one by your house. Or if you are still walking I could
try to put one in my door like you did for me.
If I can help, you can call me at 356-1590.

Anonymous said...


I sure don't understand why you or anyone would want to read Randy's paper.

The only one that reads it here is the dog while taking care business in the garage.

If Randy is not telling us about what wonderful things opening, which we all get to pay higher taxes to shop. However, it seems to alwas take twice as long as he writes about for anything to open in Raytown. Just think about the 63rd Street Bridge or Aldi's which was to open in April. Okay we still have a few days in March and April has 30. So they still have 36 days to pull a rabit out of the hat and have Aldi's open by April 30th.

Yes, I know things take time, but don't report something we be open by a set date as in Raytown nothing seems to make the dates Randy reports.

I also wonder why he cannot find someone local to write in his paper every week. Come on he is the one that named it "The Raytown Times" Do any of us real need to have Bob Philips tell us second hand what is going on in our own city.

Best of all is I wonder if Randy is starting to making any money on this attemp at a city paper so he could pay Lee Gray back for the last attemp.

No, I nor any educated individual needs to ready Randy and Bob's great adventure!

Andy Whiteman said...

Thanks, I used to walk Hank several times a day but he died 4 over 4 years ago. I used to walk Red Dogg but her behavior on a walk is unacceptable to me so we no longer walk. I will think about it and get back to you.

Anonymous said...

If Jim Aziere is doing the great job that I have heard him boost about or his fan club preident Cathy Sims has wrote about why can he not seem to get anything done.

He tried to get a single hauler for our trash, but was not able to move that forward.

He tried to address the smokeing in Raytown, but couldn't even show up at meetings. I know I was not surprised when nothing ended up being done.

Now why after several terms in office he wants us to re-elect him.

Has with this past November people need to vote the imcumbnants out of office.

It is time to elect someone new who we can only hope will do somthing for Raytown.

If all you want is a chair warmer I guess you will be voting for Aziere as his past record speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

Just finished reading Jim Aziere's dillusional comments in the Raytown Times.

Six new major businesses in Raytown, where are they Jim. I hope you are not counting businesses that are not yet open or even built!

Had a budget shortfall his year? Do you think it could have come from giving Walmart 15% of our city's sales tax?

Scrape 15% off the top of any budget and you will have trouble.

My favorite comment is about the street seal joke of rod repair in Raytown. You went into that one with your eyes wide open.

Poor decisions do not merit a vote of confidence from anyone.

As far as this Ward 2 voters is concerned you are finished Jim.

You've had a good run. What is it, 16 years you have served? Time to give it a break and let someone else try for a while.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if they are going to tear down that abandoned gas station at 350 and Raytown Road. They talked about it at one time at city hall but there has not been any move to remove it.

I hope its not one of those campaign promises that is forgotten the minute the election is over!

We have had so many of those antics from the Board of Aldermen I am ready to vote for anyone who is not already holding office.

Anonymous said...

You know what I really like about Raytown politics? It is the trip down memory lane. All the way back to junior high school. If someone deos not agree with you the best response is to treat them like they have the plague. They do not agree with you so they are bad people.

Grow up guys and gals. Speak to what matters to us in Raytown. The high school name calling does not work in politics any more.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:54 AM, Maybe the erroneous dates come from the city. What date was stated for completion of the 63rd St bridge and when was it really completed? Just the facts. I am not backing Randy. I still don't like his keeping my 7 envelopes.

12:09 PM I am voting for a new voice, the best choice:

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I have been to 2 different function in which Anwar Kahn spoke about his campaign for Mayor. He does not seem to have the grasp of what his job will be and what he can and cannot do as mayor. At both meetings he did not seem to understand the questions and at one meeting he just plain could not answer a question and would not attempt to try answer it. All of the other candidates were able to answer the question without any problem.

Over the last few days I have done some other investigation and have found some very interesting information. Mr. Kahn has never voted in a city election and he says he has lived in Raytown for 30years. So what's up with him wanting to be Mayor if he has never been interested in Raytown for 30 years? Why would he all of a sudden what to be mayor? He has only been to a city council meeting 1 time and he didn't stay for the whole meeting. He has never been appointed to a city board or committee. If he had he at least would have some small inkling of what the his job would be and how to deal with others on those boards or committees. He has another home or apartment in KC,MO as well as his business is also in KC,MO. How do we no for sure he does live here in Raytown.

I have been asking around and No one seems to has seen him out working like the other candidates are doing. It appears that he doesn't want to work for the job he's running for he just wants it handed to him.

I am afraid that we need to seriously think before we vote for this man.

Anonymous said...

Anon March 26 2:12 PM,

Although many of your concerns have merit, I have to question why one would need to have served on a board prior to seek the office of Mayor.

The reality of politics in Raytown or anyother places is only good old boys get appointed to server on these boards. If we therefore only elect from this sub-culture within our city we would be elected the same good old boy thinking that has and keeps holding Raytown back.

Example: Why doesn't the city run over to Noland Road? Because the good old boys could see to the future and the advantage to Raytown as a whole.

Today this say good old boy network has moved several individuals from city boards to elected officicals. Who could make a good deal for us taxpayers if they had to.

Example: The mayor was reported a forum with the residence of Wildwood Lake to state the city is not and will not for some time make any money form sales tax at Wal-Mart.

No, I believe to move our city forward we need good citizens to come forward that have no ties to city hall.

Anonymous said...

have to agree with that last post. Let's face it. The bunch up at city hall right now have not been doing a very good job of running our city.

Remember the 63rd Street Bridge and how it took FOREVER to build it?

How about when they raised our property taxes last year. My tax bill went up 15%!

I don't care who the candidate is. If they are in office now it is time for them to go.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Wal-Mart was paying their fair share of taxes would Raytown had to done the following:

1.)Increase property taxes by 13%

2.)Pushed the voters to pass a saftey sales tax

3.)Pushed the voters to renew the park tax.

Yes, with bright mind like we have for elected officials in Raytown it is no wonder we keep picking up the check.

It is time to stop this it is time to vote the incumbnants out of office.

VOTE April 5th like you pay check is going to be taken from you as with the leadership we have now it surely will be.

Andy Whiteman said...

Hard to believe someone lives in Raytown for 30 years, never voted in a city election (assuming that to be true) and expects others to get their arse out and vote for him to be Mayor.

Just because people are dissatisfied with the incumbent doesn't mean that another person can do better. He could do worse!

I am voting for DAVID BOWER for Mayor.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I submitted some comments a while back that would likely be viewed as critical of the school district. I supported my comments with rather eye-opening facts and stats, so the comments would not be viewed as just my opinions. I've never seen the comments posted and was wondering if my comments for some reason were never received by the blog author, or if the school district is viewed as a sacred cow and comments critical of the district will never be posted. If the latter is the case, I understand. I would appreciate a response from the blog author, just so I'll know whether to spend any time in the future to post comments concerning the district. Thanks.