Sunday, October 2, 2011

Click on image to enlarge.
Every Picture Tells a Story . . .
The calm, sunny conditions turned the mountain lakes into natural mirrors of the surrounding forest. This was especially true of Shadow Lake. The shallow waters surrounded by grass land helped to keep the waters still for perfect reflections of the nearby forest. The picture captures the image of the forest reflected in the lake in such a way that it appears as if the surrounding trees are in the lake, surrounded by grassland. The photograph was taken four hours into a hike into Desolation Wilderness at Lake Tahoe.

 
Early Meeting Times Not Working as Planned by Greg Walters

Tuesday night I caught the tail end of a budget hearing of the Raytown Board of Aldermen. Budget hearings can be major boring, but the meetings are a very  important part of running a city.

I was surprised to see that only one half of the Board had bothered to show up.

This shows, once again, that the stated intention of moving public business meetings to a six p.m. start has failed to increase participation by our elected officials.

Early last summer Mayor David Bower announced that he was combining the two standing committees of the Board of Aldermen and moving their meeting times to 6:00 p.m. His stated intention was to increase participation by members of the Board in the all the city’s business.
He should rethink that decision because it has failed.

Participation at the early meetings averages only 50% of the Board of Aldermen, and that is being generous because often times fewer show up for the meetings.

WHY THE EARLY START TIME?
What is the real story behind the early start time?

Sources at City Hall who have asked not to be identified tell us that the real reason for the early start time is for the convenience of the city’s appointed department heads who also must attend the meetings.

None of the city’s salaried department heads live within the city limits. Some of them have pretty long drives to and from Raytown. Destinations as far away as Gladstone, Raymore, (east) Lee’s Summit and even Harrisonville are quite a trek.

The early start time of meetings saves out of town department heads two hours of waiting for a meeting to start.

The downside is all members of the Board can make a six p.m. meeting due to  job responsibilities. Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer and Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk have let it be known they both have occupations that require them to work into the early evening making their attendance difficult if not impossible. It is only right they give their day-jobs priority.

TRANSPARENCY?
There is another problem with the six p.m. start of public meetings. This problem is the most serious of them all. The taxpayers of Raytown, for whom the public meetings are being held, are, in effect, shut out from the meetings because of the inconvenient start time.

Attendance at meetings of the Board of Aldermen is not that overwhelming. Part of this is because the meetings are broadcast live on television.

The early start of public meetings does not help increase participation by the public. 

Some of our elected officials made a big deal about how much they believed in “transparency” in government when they ran for office. Sounds nice, but the simple fact is their actions are speaking louder than their words.

Missouri State Statutes require that public meetings in Missouri be held at a time that is convenient to the people the government serves. The policy enacted by Mayor Bower by starting public meetings at city hall at 6:00 p.m. tests the limits of the open meetings law in Missouri.

The Board of Aldermen should re-think the policy of such an early start to public meetings and return to a later start so everyone can attend and participate.

Watch for the Paul Livius Report later this week for a complete rundown on what transpires at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen.

Wildwood Lakes Issue Missing from Agenda
The official agenda packet of the Raytown Board of Aldermen makes no mention of the Wildwood Lakes Homeowners Association demands for help with the dredging Wildwood Lakes.

Our last contact from with City Hall said that the Board was conducting its due diligence and waiting for reports from the Public Works Department. That was one month ago.
Some say that the Board is still conducting its research. 

A long-time political observer of Raytown city politics said that more than likely the proponents of the use of taxpayer dollars to help dredge a private lake simply do not have the votes to make it happen.

Blair Shanahan Lane
Blair's Foster Socks (BENEFIT GOLF TOURNAMENT) 
To access a PDF entry form for this event use this link Blair's Foster Socks Entry Form
WE HOPE TO COLLECT HUNDREDS OF PAIRS OF COLORFUL SOCKS AT A BENEFIT GOLF TOURNAMENT ON OCTOBER 16, 2011! PLEASE BRING ANY SIZE AND COLOR YOU WOULD LIKE! THERE WILL BE A PICKUP TRUCK ON SITE FOR COLLECTION. WE HOPE TO OVERFILL WITH BLAIR’S FOSTER SOCKS AND MAKE HER DREAM COME TRUE!!!

BLAIR'S STORY . . . 
Blair Michaela Shanahan Lane didn’t have a problem with feet. Each time a new foster child was given to her family’s care, Blair, 11, asked the same question. “Why do foster kids always show up with stuffed animals, but no one can find them socks?”

That was Blair. Pragmatic. Compassionate. And determined to fix the problem. Her solution was Foster Socks, a program dedicated to providing socks to foster and homeless children that she hoped to launch as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. While most girls complete their Gold Award projects as juniors or seniors in high school, Blair had a different sense of urgency. Though not yet a sixth grader at Nativity of Mary School in Independence, she was already filling journals with ideas and project plans for Foster Socks. CONTINUE READING

Photo Credit: Shahram Sharif
Health Apple Recipes . . . Convincing a Friend to Work Out and More! By Jenn Walters 

Not sure what to do with all those beautiful fall apples? We have healthy apple recipes for you, along with exercises to work your booty, tips to eat healthy on the cheap, how to try kale for the first time and much, much more from all of our interweb buddies! Did you fall off the workout wagon? Ten tips to get right back on! —AOL Healthy... Continue reading



City Administrator’s Report Posted by Paul Livius, September 30, 2011

  • In the week of September 19, 2011 Neighborhood Services had 48 counts of animal control activities; 12 animal impoundments, 13 responses to an animal running at large, 12 dead animals (typically wild animals; raccoon, possum and deer), 3 bite cases, 5 trap settings, 1 injured animal, 1 barking dog, and 1 animal welfare investigation. For the same week Neighborhood Services also performed 172 property maintenance and tall grass and weed inspections and abatement duties. Neighborhood Services continues to perform sign sweeps in conjunction with Building Inspection and Public Works Right-of-Way Inspector resulting in 67 signs removed from the right-of-ways during the weekly sign sweep.
  • In advance of beginning demolition work, Block & Company has had all utilities turned off to the property on which the former BP Amoco is located at Raytown Road and westbound Highway 350. While the demolition permit has not yet been issued, as of today, staff anticipates the contractor applying for a demolition permit the first week of October. CONTINUE READING
To post a comment on this blog click on the word comments below:   

28 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

Beautiful pic Greg! Before I read the description, I assumed the leaves were floating on the lake.

I think the early meetings have served their purpose! The time keeps aldermen (especially those who may voice opposition) away. The claim is they are aired on "live" TV but it said TV is not available to the general public. It is on cable TV for the rich and then the rich must have a certain provider. This takes away the public's right to public meetings. 6PM is NOT a reasonable time!

Too bad that the Tie Wearing Chair Warmers had a 2 hour wait. I assumed they use the 2 hours to have dinner since it is when most people eat dinner. I wonder when they eat now? Do they leave work at 4PM for dinner? Some one needs to audit this. Of course the Chair Warmers should be required to move to Raytown when their contracts renew.

I sure wouldn't want to drive that far especially in the snow and ice. At on time when I lived in San Diego County, I drove 45 miles each way to work while the office was remodeled and my company paid a per Diem for the trip.

I always assumed part of the reason was for Chair Warmers with the main point of keeping certain people (including alderpeople away.)

Is anyone going to file a complaint with the state?

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

PS. I can agree with Blair's cause. Maybe they don' have socks because quality of new socks is so poor that they don't last! I have only 2 pair because the new socks didn't last more than a few wearings. Really cheaply made by Chicom slave labor.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

What a convenient way to hide "in plain sight"
what the city is wanting to do with our tax
dollars. Maybe they are embarrassed that they
have ruined our tax structure and income by
making stupid decisions.
Either way, it's apparent that this city doesn't
want the people at this meeting.

Anonymous said...

I see that the Raytown Times is asking for people to subscribe. I've been burned by the old Raytown Post twice when they did not send back pre-paid subscription money.

I think I will pass this time!

Andy Whiteman said...

4:41 PM, I suggest addressing that with the owner.

Pat Casady said...

My friend has a building next to his business.
This building is an eye sore. Raytown told him he
had to tear down the building and he agreed that
is was pretty bad. Here's what's funny and not
funny Ha Ha. He had to go into City Hall and
pay four hundred dollars for a permit to tear down
the building that the city wanted torn down.
You would think this city would be grateful he wasn't
fighting the teardown order.
It seems to me a pretty rotten way to drum up money.
Tell a person they have to do something or they will
be fined then charge them a fee for a permit to do what
the city wanted done.
Another friend has a business in Raytown off 59th st.
The city put in a culvert and has kept the grass mowed
and kept it clean ever since the put in the culvert.
My friend was sent a letter saying he had to mow the grass
and keep HIS CULVERT area cleaned up. He called the city
and told them it wasn't his culvert and that he had never
been responsible for the upkeep. He was told the city
had no money and that it was now his problem.
This city pays a company to mow the "Green area" that
was the old church property. Doesn't sound like they
watching spending that close does it.

Anonymous said...

I was burnt on a refund by the last owner of the Raytown paper as well, but I really like the local news so I have sent in my money, again.

Anonymous said...

Pat,

The city has no money because they have given 15% of their sales tax dollars over to pay Walmart's debt.

It is interesting that they are cracking the whip on small businesses in Raytown after they given so much to Walmart.

As for the Raytown Times. What kind of paper only reports how great things are in Raytown and completely ignores the city's problems?

It makes me appreciate the Raytown Report more and more for exposing things like the attempt to use city tax dollars to pay for Wildwood Lake cleanup.

Andy Whiteman said...

What Pat described proves that insanity is governing Raytown. We need conservative, sane, rational leaders. They discovered a way to rip off the property owners.

We have a new business wanting to open a used car sales on 350 HWY. There is an argument about allowing them 3 years to comply with installing curbing. I think it is insane to require curbing since no one else has curbing. What does curbing accomplish? I was treated rudely at the public hearing when I questioned why curbing was required. I think they didn't have a good explanation so they were on the offensive.

It is NOT the taxpayer's responsibility that the city has no money. I thought the BOA established a budget. Isn't there a reason for having a budget. I don't know for sure but I suspect the "green space" may be mowed by the parks department. It is used as a park even though it is green space.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

the hypocrisy at city hall is so deep that you can cut it with a knife. the argument about three years being too long to put in curbs on an uncurbed portion of highway bya new business in town is a perfect example.

Three years reminded me of the time period our city adminstrator was given to move to Raytown. What did the city council do when the time period was up?

They gave the city administrator another three years to make the move!

It seems our city council has two sets of rules. One for how they treat the public and another for how they treat each other at city hall.

Anonymous said...

How about the Walmart mess? The city did not make them put in curbs. They created a tax incentive to pay for them.

That translates to us paying for Walmart's curbs with our own sales tax money.

Andy, you are so right in your analysis. The double standard at city hall is why so many business owners will not open up shop in Raytown.

Pat Casady said...

Anonymous 8:14,
What you said about this cities leaders giving
away 15% of it's income for the Wal-Mart deal
is true but, there is more to the story. The
more I am referring to should have ousted every
elected last election. It should have every
Raytown taxpayer so mad they should be demanding
an explanation of why this town is forced to use
taxpayer money to pay towards the W-M bonds because
W-M doesn't collect enough sales tax to pay the bond
themselves. You, me and every taxpayer in this town
has paid over $1,800,000.00 of our money that was
supposed to make this town better for the people.
Not only has the W-M deal caused over thirty small
businesses to fold up and leave Raytown (more lost income)
it makes the rest of us pay for the store.
They get a free ride on taxes and the rest of us have to
carry the load. Property values went down, the crime
rate has risen and we can't get any new small businesses
to even try Raytown.
City Hall can tell each other what a great job they are
doing but until I see the Raytown Plaza and Center 63
full of new businesses they will never here it from me.
Every single person in this town should be mad as Hell
for what has happened. I really don't know what kind of
stupid pill these people are forced to take when they are
elected but, they should be found and thrown away...fast!

Anonymous said...

How many of you will be at the next BOA meeting?

Anonymous said...

You sent your money in for a subscription (Raytown Times) to the SAME man that took your money and filed bankruptcy before. Now how smart is this?

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, obviously the voters are taking a stupid pill before they vote. I blame the voters and non-voters for mismanagement at city hall. Lets take personal personal responsibility.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I won't be at the meeting. But I will be watching on t.v.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. All of you think the BOA and mayor screwed the taxpayers on the Walmart deal, and that they are hypocrites. So know this bunch wants to tell the Park Department how and where to spend their money and you have no problem with this. I tried to warn you two weeks ago. Why try to fix something that is not broke.

Andy Whiteman said...

8:58 AM, I am not rich like 2PM who has cable TV, so I have to go to the meeting if I want to participate. The problem is very few people will go and state their opinions. Part of the problem is many are apathetic. I also blame the boob tube because the rich may watch on TV.

Andy Whiteman

Max said...

Wildwood is a privatly owned Lake why would the City pay for dredging it? If the owners want it done, then they can pay for it. Its private property, private means private and not open for public funding.

Greg Walters said...

I understand your concerns about the Park Department and its relationship with the city. Bu the fact is that non one has stepped up from the Park Board to bring make a case in support of your allegation.

If there is real concern within the Park Department of the city taking over its operation or direction, then someone will have to step forward and say, "wait a minute". They will have to do so in a public manner.

An anonymous post warning of impending doom is simply not enough go to down that road on.

Salamander said...

There you have it, folks! A candidate for President who actually called it as it is.

The Salamander is referring to Republican Candidate Herg Cain.
Here is what Mr. Cain said:

Speaking about jobs, general employment and life in general he said, “If you want to be rich, go out and work for your money like the rich did.”

Truer words were never said. The Salamander knows a number of individuals who have accumulated considerable wealth. In each case they work for and earned every penny.

Most put in 60 – 80 hours a week gaining success.

That is what Mr. Cain was talking about. He most certainly was not talking about those rabbles (mostly union led) who are picketing in front of the stock exchange in New York.

Their demands: (Among many) All housing debt be written off by the banks; along with all other bills such as medical or other material items.

These beggers’ list goes on and on. It is almost as insane as when school teachers in Wisconsin slept in, demonstrated day and night in front of and in the capital building. Their demands were absurd. All they accomplished was causing about 8 million dollars damage to the interior of the building.

Mr. Cain is right. In our society, if you want something, try this radical approach.

GO OUT AND WORK FOR IT LIKE THE SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that long time, Park Board president, Bob Smith has resigned. Seems very suspicious, was he forced out by Mayor Bower?

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree with Salamander! I worked a lot of overtime and holidays while my coworkers didn't because they had to pay more taxes. Even though my taxes when up, I had the extra $$$. In some cases it was tax free because I was putting it into my 401K with the company matching part of it.

If nothing changes on the Republican side, my vote if for Sen. Cain.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Sutherlands is scheduled to open Thursday 10/13/11. This could change as it has already been pushed back once.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Herman Cain and will vote and work for him should he run for President

Anonymous said...

Greg,

What concern about the park department? I read your post and then scanned backwards to see if I had missed something. Did you not post what you were replying to or is it in a different comment chain?

Anonymous said...

Watch your back yard sheds. I had mine broke into last week and they cleaned me out of most of my lawn/garden equipment at BIG BUCKS! I was the 3rd in the neighborhood. They must of done it late in the night or early in the am. These are professionals and not kids.

I know they are coming from the intercity like a plague of locusts! You see them in Raytown all over the place. I talked to the officer that made the report and the thefts/robberies are everywhere and getting worse.

Time to bear ARMS!

Your doing a real good job Chief Lynch. Yeah, right.........

Andy Whiteman said...

I suggest a big dog as well as a tall locked fence and locked shed with a motion alarm. The customary 4 foot fences are useless merely toys.

Andy Whiteman