Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hello Raytown!
My name is Paul Livius. I am the “new” guy at the Raytown Report. You saw my inaugural article last week in the Raytown Report. It is my job to give an objective report on what takes place at Raytown City Council meetings. I have seen broadcasts of City Council meetings in Raytown and find them to be a tedious and slow way to show what our City Council is up to.

So I hope that my bi-monthly contribution to the Raytown Report is a welcome addition as a source for keeping track of what our local officials are up to.

You will not see much editorial comment from me. I will leave that to Greg. I think most of you will agree that he does a good job of cutting through the “noise” of Council meetings and comments on the real issues that affect us the most.

Here is this week’s report. I hope you find it informative.

Raytown Board of Alderman Meeting – April 19, 2010

  • Mayor Bower thanked Joe Creamer for his service as Mayor Pro Tem during the last year and presented Mr. Creamer with a City Proclamation for his services.
  • Dawn Weeks, Pastor of the Raytown Christian Church, told the Board that the Kansas City Royals made a $2,000 grant to the Summer Ministry Lunch Program.
  • The Raytown Main Street Committee told the Board that the Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held on the Green Space, along with the Old Car Show. Family Story Time will be at the Raytown Library and photos with the Easter Bunny will be taken at the FOP building.
  • Mayor Bower reminded everyone that the Annual Clean Up day will be Saturday, April 30 from 8am to 3pm at the Super Splash. He thanked all the volunteers who will be helping.
  • City Administrator Mahesh Sharma told the Board that the Budget line items based on revenue projections are available on the City’s website.
  • The second reading of the Housing Grant was brought before the Board. Beth Linn, Community Development Director answered many questions. Alderman Melson asked if the grant money would be held in a separate account. Ms. Linn confirmed that it would. Alderman Melson also wanted to know if the Board would receive regular reports to show how the money is spent. Ms. Linn said the money would be used to purchase homes in the targeted area (53rd Street to 59th Street from Blue Ridge Cutoff to Woodson). The homes would be rehabbed and the grant includes money to help with down payments, lower the mortgage rates, and assist with home ownership classes. Ms. Linn also stated that the grant money can be used on any home in the target area, not just foreclosed property. She also stated that she will be asking the Board next week to hire a Grant Administrator and a Housing Specialist to manage the grant money. Raytown will also have to monitor the property to make sure that the owners reside there. This money will fund 27 homes. Alderman Aziere asked if the construction companies will have to bid on the homes per the government regulations. Ms. Linn said that the new staff members would be able to explain the bidding process. Alderman Van Buskirk stated that he has voted to approve grants in the past and would probably vote to approve grants in the future, but he believed that this particular grant was not in Raytown’s best interest and would be voting against the acceptance of the grant. Alderman Creamer thanked the staff for all their hard work in preparing this grant. He said that while he was campaigning, he saw many vacant homes. He thought this grant would be a good opportunity for Raytown to make vacant homes habitable. Alderman Melson asked if the grant money would pay the salaries of the new Staff Employees. Ms. Linn said it would. The measure passed 9-1.
  • The Board voted to enter into an agreement with the Missouri Highway Commission for bridge rehabilitation. The approach pavement and sidewalks on Blue Ridge Blvd over 350 Highway would be replaced.
  • The Board approved the measure to enter into an agreement with Mid-America Regional Council to fund the Green Light Traffic Control System at a cost of $9,623.
  • The election results were certified and the Board members were sworn into office. The session was adjourned Sine die, which is the end of the legislative session.
  • After a short break, Mayor Bower declared the new legislative session open.
  • Jeremy Wilmoth, Finance Director, presented the new rates for employee health insurance. Vision insurance is now offered to the employees as an optional benefit. He said the insurance premiums went up as much as 8% over the previous year. The city offers health insurance as a PPO and an HMO. Currently, the city pays 100% of the premium for single coverage for the HMO, and 50% of the coverage for couple and family for the HMO. Alderman Lightfoot said he supports splitting the premium increase 50/50 between the employees and the city. Alderman Ertz agreed, saying the city employees do a lot for us. Alderman Van Buskirk agreed, stating that is the fairest way to handle the increase. The new insurance rates and employee contributions were passed.
  • The Board approved a contract with Creative Landscaping for city mowing services. Andy Noll, Public Works Director, stated that he had only received two bids. The current provider had won a larger contract and didn’t bid on the Raytown job. Alderman Van Buskirk asked if combining the contracts for Public Works and Parks Department would attract more bidders and perhaps result in lower cost for the City. Mr. Noll agreed that it would.
  • Police Chief Jim Lynch asked that $13,540 be moved from Salaries to Education and Training in the Budget. He said this would not result in more spending, but would allow the Police Department to reallocate funds for the Police Academy.
  • The Board passed a resolution that appropriated $15,528 of unspent monies from the 2009/2010 budget to various Park Department projects.
  • Mayor Bower asked for nominations for Mayor Pro Tem. Alderman Creamer nominated Alderman Aziere for the position, saying that Mr. Aziere had shown excellent leadership skills. Alderman Hamilton stated that the process is flawed. He believed the position should not be nominated and voted on, but should be appointed by the Mayor.
  • The Board adjourned into a closed session.
Changes We Would Like to See . . . by Greg Walters

The April Election is behind. A new Board (which is really the same as the old Board) has been sworn in and they have already accomplished their first bit of traditional business, the selection of one of their own as President of the Board.

This time they chose Jim Aziere. Which is not much of a surprise as he was the only one actually campaigning for the job. Sources on the Board say the past Mayor Protem, Joe Creamer, wanted to continue in the job but apparently enough members said “no thanks, Joe” to dissuade him from pushing the issue.

Like a baseball team in the Spring, hope springs eternal for better times ahead. This is also true of governments and those we choose to lead us.

With that in mind, consider this a short list of pet peeves and sincere hopes that we believe the BOA should change and address:
  • For crying out loud, please, please quit the Junior High School antics of having some sort of contest as to who gets to make a motion for adoption of city ordinances. It is demeaning to the office you hold to see adults act like pre-teens trying to get the Mayor’s attention for this dubious honor. As a matter of decorum, the sponsor of a bill or its main proponent should be making the motion.
  • On the same note, Mr. Mayor, please quit treating the honor of who makes a motion as some sort of contest. It demeans your position as much as it does those members of the Board who conduct themselves this way. (editorial note: Not all members of the BOA conduct themselves in this manner. Those that do know full well who they are, we hope they are listening)
  • Consent Agenda. The consent agenda is a device by which a number of agenda items are voted on at one time. It is supposed to be used for housekeeping items that are agreed upon by ALL members of the Board. The goal is to save time and to make more time for more important issues before the BOA. Makes sense. But the Raytown Consent Agenda has an ugly little twist to it. If any member of the BOA objects to an item being on the consent agenda, he or she must gain the permission of the majority to pull it off the agenda. That is contrary to the very term “consent”. It is, in fact, a perfect example of what is called the Tyranny of the Majority. The Board of Aldermen is supposed to be a board of equals. A rule that allows the majority to effectively muzzle the objections of even one member is not good government or good politics. Open your minds and return real democracy to Raytown City Hall.
  • The Board of Aldermen has done something somewhat out of character by removing the fees for Raytown Cleanup Day. We applaud them for their action. Now it is time to build on that action. Be more considerate of neighborhood friendly projects. The cry for more street lights and better road maintenance is not just campaign rhetoric. It is the echo of what your constituents are saying. Listen to them.

Crème Brûlée: Fancy and Heart Healthy! by Erin Whitehead

Crème brûlée is one tasty dessert. But I’d hardly consider it to be a healthy dessert option. However, miracles happen. Case in point: This heart-healthy version of crème brûlée from Florida Juice. This and other orangey recipes can be found here, including one yummy-looking Butternut Squash Soup that we’re filing away for later!
Orange Tapioca Crème Brûlée
Makes 6 servings
1 c 100% Florida orange juice
1/3 c small pearl tapioca
2 c 2% milk (or fat-free half & half)
2 eggs, separated (or ½ cup egg substitute plus 2 egg whites)
Pinch of salt
½ c sugar substitute or sugar (check sugar substitute package for amount equivalent to ½ c sugar)
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Zest of 1 orange
6 tbsp turbinado sugar, such Sugar in the Raw
Florida orange segments, optional
Fresh mint leaves, optional

1. Combine orange juice and tapioca in medium saucepan; let stand for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine milk, egg yolks and salt; add to orange juice mixture. Bring orange juice mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes until thickened.

2. Meanwhile, beat egg whites in small mixing bowl; gradually add sugar substitute. When sugar substitute is dissolved, add cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form; set aside.

3. Fold ¾ cup of orange juice mixture into beaten egg whites; then add to remaining orange juice mixture in saucepan. Fold and let cool. Add the vanilla, nutmeg and orange zest until blended. Divide mixture into 6 ramekins. Chill for at least 4 to 6 hours until firm. Just before serving, remove from refrigerator and sprinkle each ramekin with 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar.

4. Caramelize sugar with small blowtorch, moving flame evenly back and forth over sugar just until sugar is melted and golden brown. Garnish each créme brûlée with orange segments and mint leaves, if desired. Serve immediately.

Note: Don’t have a blowtorch? The sugar can be caramelized under a preheated broiler. Place 2 to 3 inches from heat and broil 2 to 3 minutes, just until sugar is melted and golden brown.

My mouth waters just thinking about that crunchy carmelized sugar over that yummy creaminess. Must go make now.
Jenn Walters and Erin Whitehead jointly publish Fit Bottomed Girls. To read more of their thoughts on lifestyle choices and fitness go to

ASK PETE . . . a column dedicated to gardening

If you had dropped by our Eden’s Acre this weekend of April 22nd and 23rd you would have been able to buy radishes, spinach, mustard, collards, turnip greens, and lettuce of different colors and varieties.

I was going to address planting tomatoes this week, but the soil is wet, the weather prediction is for more cool weather and another week would not hurt and might even be wise. Instead, I want to address what Robyn said about our radishes.

She said, “These are the best I have ever eaten“.

I know, she is my ‘significant other‘. But last fall I had customers returning and talking of how our turnips were the best they had ever eaten. Now what is the secret?

Fresh for one thing. You can’t beat product just picked. Let us go a little farther into this discussion.

We buy vegetables that have had a ’man made’ fertilizer applied to the soil. The vegetables are grown on soil that has been ‘used up’ for years. Only the bare minimum of nutrients have been added, nutrients that promote fast growth at the expense of everything else.

Before soil became soil, it was rock. And as soil developed, the minerals in the rock remained. Some 90 minerals have been identified in soil and most farmers, even organic farmers, are unaware of these minerals and their importance both for plant growth, vegetable nutrients, and taste.

If you are interested in knowing more about these minerals, feel free to drop buy 5900 Raytown Trwy and we will discuss the minerals with you.

In the meantime, there are simple ways you can add many of these minerals and organic farmers will recognize what I am speaking of. You can add any sea product such as kelp or fish emulsion. Think about it, water from the mountains carry minerals down the rivers to the sea these products grow.

In addition, think of the deep roots that trees have reaching down to rock and virgin soil bring up minerals, so leaves would be good to add to your soil. And of course, the manure of animals will concentrate the foods they eat and the manure they pass will be mineral rich.

So, do you still want to just add commercial fertilizers?

On another note, I had a gentleman stop by and ask me about his tree. He wanted to know what he could do about roots growing up from the soil. I began by asking exactly what he meant and found out that they were growing out, not up from the tree. In addition, I he informed me that the tree was taller than his house. Immediately I told him he was not going to change the tree much at that size. Those lateral roots are what keeps the tree from falling over. At one time they thought that roots of a tree extended down so that they looked like the tree above the ground. We now know that the roots do not go down that deep, but do spread outward an extended distance. I have seen roots 50 feet away from the tree itself. So remember this when you plant near trees, they will such water and nutrients as well as block sunlight.

Questions or comments,

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
To catch up on Raytown High Sports use this link Raytown High School
To catch up on the Raytown Police Blog go to Raytown Police Blog
To view Raytown Crime Statistics go to Raids on Line

Last Week's Poll Results:
Should the Board of Aldermen cut street overlay and street lights to cover shortfall of payments for Walmart and the ambulance service?

29%  . . . YES
71%  . . . NO

To post a comment click on the word comments below:


Andy Whiteman said...

I am glad to see a posting of the minutes of the otherwise secret BOA meetings since the board has only summary rather than detailed minutes. The minutes from this blog should become public record and perhaps published in a local paper-type publication as a permanent record.

I never understood what the big deal is of who made a motion and second. Is this a BOA meeting or does the board consist of children? I challenge the legality of the action that is taking place. The "motions" and "seconds" have the appearance of not being legitimate. Anything this board passes could be challenged based on the procedure that is used.

Happy Easter,
Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

If the department heads lived in Raytown, they would know that the white lines marking the lanes and pedestrian cross walks around 55th and Raytown Road were so faint as to be non-existent. Since department heads don’t live in Raytown, anyone want to make book as to how long it’ll take before the lines are repainted?

Anonymous said...

Hey Greg I really like your new report by Paul Livius though I am sure it is not his real name. I checked it out and his reporting is extremely acurate. So much better than to sit through tow to three hours of video to see what happened at city hall!

The gardening section is a nice touch too. Keep up the good work. You are on track with giving Raytown a news source that we have been missing for many years.

Andy Whiteman said...

6:11 PM, I will tell you when the striping work will be done. It will be done when the next contract is issued which is once a year. I previously reported Raytown Rd (the one way bridge road, 63rd St, Blue Ridge Bl. north of 63rd, crosswalks at RHS, and 63rd & Raytown Rd. intersection. I was told the city doesn't re-stripe bad areas. It is done only once a year with the yearly contract. I suggest you email Public Works and see what response you get. Maybe there has to be an accident before the city will maintain their streets.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy, According to Roberts Rules of Order, when a motion is made, someone has to second the motion, or it can't be put to a vote.

Say what you will about Bower, but he follows Roberts rules of order correctly.

Anonymous said...

What I believe Andy is saying is that motions and seconds are many times made by people who have NOT been recognized by the chair, but that the Mayor considers them as acceptable anyway and shouldn't. There are certain people on the board who attempt to make every motion and second, it is rather childlike and the Mayor needs to put a stop to it.

Andy Whiteman said...

4:47PM has expressed my meaning correctly. I have heard the mayor say, "You get the next one." Not only is the procedure childlike (kindergarten age) but I wonder if there are stats on how many motions and seconds an Alderperson has made? If so, what is the purpose unless there is an evaluation of the quality of the motion and second.

Anonymous said...

I see on your poll that those voting are pretty much split on how to choose a Presideent of the Board.

After watching some of our city's councl meetings the real question should be who gets to make the motion!

Anonymous said...

well Andy I suggest you get out a paint brush and some white paint if you think it's going to take so long to get it done..

Anonymous said...

The President of the Board of Aldermen (Mayor Protem) should be nominated and chosen by the board and not appointed by the Mayor. The position has a specific purpose and it's not to be a clone of the Mayor, Mayor Jr., or Mini-Mayor, although the person who is chosen for this position will be a representative of the Mayor, the city, and of the board. They should be available to fill in for the Mayor when and if necessary. There might be a situation where they become the acting Mayor for a short or even prolonged period of time, and need to be available for that also if needed. The problem with the current procedure is that Roberts Rules are not being followed to choose the individual for this position.

Andy Whiteman said...

There have seen posts and comments on this blog critical of Raytown city government because of business vacancies. I went to my eye doctor off 40 HWY either in Blue Springs or Independence. My route was Blue Ridge Bl to 47th St to 40 HWY. I noticed MANY vacant business units along this route in KCMO, Independence, and along 40 HWY. This is clearly not a Raytown only issue. To me it is a metro wide issue (depending on area) as well as an issue caused by the economy. I am very pleased when new businesses are attracted to Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Now, now, let's be fair about this. After all, Walmart has new striping on their parking lot. And we got to pay for it. Don't we deserve to have new striping on our intersections? How about where children cross the street to go to school?

Maybe the city counciil will vote to give them selves a loan like they did for Aldi's to pay for street striping.

Anonymous said...

The mayor doesn't follow any Roberts Rule of Order. He does as he damn well pleases. The same for appointing people to boards such P&Z, Park and others. It is the same old people. He is afarid to put new people on these boards. They might have questions or not do as he wants them to do.

Andy Whiteman said...

1:58 PM, Painting the streets is the city's job, not mine. The city told me they don't use paint. They use tape which lasts longer. Since I am disabled and don't work, why don't you do the painting?

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Latest tally from the Alamogordo Daily News. I think this is near the end of the poll:
State of our nation
How do you feel about the direction in which our nation is heading?
Total Votes = 537
We're headed in the wrong direction
484 Votes, or 90.13 %
Things are going in the right direction
53 Votes, or 9.869 %

Andy Whiteman said...


Conoco at Raytown Rd and the one way bridge was $3.59 just before 8PM. Other stations were $3.72.

Gas prices posted on:
Please scroll way down.

Greg Walters said...

The reason the Board of Aldermen should choose their own pro-tem is because they are a separate body of government from the mayor.

The mayor is part of the executive branch. he is he leader but has no vote (except in ties).

Teh BOA is part of the legislative branch. They have the real power. Though they often act like they are not aware of it.

Without them nothing happens. The mayor cannot act alone. He must have their support.

But the separation of power between the two is necessary to keep balance in our government.

Andy Whiteman said...

I completely agree with Greg. I also wonder why the Mayor Protem isn't an elected position the same way as Lt. Governor is elected?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Donald Trump sure has been doing a lot of talk about President Obama.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think it is time Donald Trump is up front and honest with America.

It is my understanding he has taken millions of our tax dollars to build and support the empire he has created. If this is true, how we can find out how much he has taken and how much of that has he repaid.

I also believe he needs to share with all of us where he has his money invested. In other words does he have a bunch of money invested in companies like BP and Philips/Conoco which are making millions sticking it to us at the pump?

What is next the head of Wal-Mart telling Obama what documentation he needs to share with America? All of us in Raytown and other small towns across out Nation know first had that Wal-Mart is no friend to America.

I hate to think what repayment Wal-Mart owes the people of America.

Anonymous said...

Obama is NO friend to America. I think most of you liberals down deep really know the truth; you just refuse to admit it. Do you actually believe that socialism is going to improve our nation in any way? It has failed miserably everywhere it has been, and is being tried. If we continue on our current path as a nation we will be destroyed from within in a very short time. Wake up before it is too late! Trump may not be the best person to run, but he would be head and shoulders above what we have now!

Anonymous said...


So corporate socialism is okay!

Silly me I live in Raytown with Bower as Mayor who believes in all those corporate social give aways.

Andy Whiteman said...

From the Alamogordo (NM) daily News the tribe has spoken:

State of our nation
How do you feel about the direction in which our nation is heading?
Total Votes = 650
We're headed in the wrong direction
585 Votes, or 90 %
Things are going in the right direction
65 Votes, or 10 %