Sunday, November 27, 2011

Paul Livius

Shopper’s Comparison by Paul Livius
A couple of months ago, I wrote an article telling what I found at both the Save-A-Lot and Aldi’s grocery stores. While I was in each store, I glanced at the prices and was not impressed. I didn’t think the prices at the discount store were that much lower than other stores in the area.
One reader accused me of being an elitist who thought of myself as being too good to shop at a discount store.

Over the past month, I have visited four grocery stores within a two mile radius of each other.  It has taken me awhile to pull this information together because I wanted all factors to be the same, as much as I could make them.

Therefore, I visited each store at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.  I gathered the prices on the same items, making sure I compared the same size of each product.  I looked for the absolute lowest price of the items on the shelves, paying no attention to the brand of item.  I chose items that are basic ones that most families purchase every week.  Here’s what I found.

Apple Market
Save a Lot
White Bread
Butter - 4 sticks
Canned Corn
Eggs - 1 dozen large
Whole Milk-Gallon
Hamburger-80% lean
Peanut Butter-18 oz
Potatoes-5# Idaho

I realize some people chose 2% milk instead of whole milk.  Others prefer 90% lean hamburger.  The items I chose are the ones that are available at each store.  Aldi’s and Save-A-Lot, for example, did not have 90% lean hamburger on their shelves.  That’s why I priced 80% lean.
I did not go to Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart sells food and food items, but is not a grocery store.  I am only comparing grocery stores.
For myself, I will choose either Hy-Vee or Apple Market.  Both stores offer customer service as well as groceries.  I am willing to spend an extra $40 a year in order to have a young sacker carry my groceries to the car.  This is important to me.  It may not be important to you, the reader.  

Should Raytown Consider a Charter? by Greg Walters
Raytown is governed under the laws of the State of Missouri as a Fourth Class City. It is a form of government originally set up in Missouri to bring conformity to all of the small communities that populate the state.

Fourth class cities are statutory cities. That means that their power to collect taxes and pass laws comes directly from laws that are first approved by the State Legislature.
When Raytown was incorporated the Fourth Class status was a good fit. The city was less than five square miles in size. The population was less than 5,000 people. But as the 1950’s turned into the 1960’s Raytown saw explosive growth that would continue into the 1980’s. Raytown was considered one of the premier residential areas in which to locate a business and raise a family.

As the metropolitan area grew, Raytown made the transition from an outer ring suburb to an inner ring suburb.

Many things have changed in Raytown since its days of rapid growth and expansion.
One thing has not changed. It remains a fourth class city.
Charter Government . . . a Better Way?
The first question most people ask about Charter Government is “what’s the difference?”
The biggest difference is that under a Charter government the people are allowed three basic rights of not allowed under a Fourth Class City.

Initiative Petition – The right of private citizens to petition to bring issues to the City Council for consideration.

·     Referendum – Unhappy with legislation passed by the City Council? Referendum allows for the public to vote on decisions already approved by the City Council.

·     Recall – Elected officials may be removed from office by a direct vote of the people.
Another difference is that elected officials would not be allowed to play the games they do with the laws that govern the city. A good example of this is the City Council’s shameful way of handling its residential requirement of the City Administrator.

There is a city ordinance that specifically requires the City Administrator to live within the city limits of Raytown. Twice, the City Council has voted to “extend” the deadline for the current City Administrator to move to Raytown. Their action have accumulated to an extension of six years. 

They have made a farce of their own law.

If the residency requirement was written into the Charter the City Council would not be allowed to circumvent the rule. Such a change would require a direct vote of the people.

Recall is an effective tool to keep elected officials on the straight and narrow.

For instance, let’s say a City Councilman rarely shows up at meetings – is ill-prepared for discussion and is pretty much just collecting his or her paycheck for attending two meetings a month. Voters could petition to have the errant councilman removed from office in a special election.

There have been four attempts to create a Charter to govern Raytown in the city's 50 plus years of existence. Each attempt has been started by private citizens stepping up and gathering signatures to be elected to form a charter commission.

In each case the voters over-whelmingly approved the formation of the commission. 

In each case the voters then rejected the Charter that was written by the Commission they elected.

This week's poll question asks if Raytown should explore the formation of another charter commission.

O'Hara Defeats St. Pius in Conference Game by Brother Richard Geimer
In a game that was scheduled to be played at Saint Pius, the Archbishop O'Hara Celtics boys basketball team won handily 70-47 in the O'Hara gym. The game had to move from St. Pius to O'Hara due to electrical problems at St. Pius X High School.

Building up a six point lead in the first quarter, the Celtics surged ahead 35-20 by halftime.     Nine O'Hara players scored in the runaway contest with Daniel Hurtt leading the way with 21 points. Nine free throws along with three baskets gave Rayshaun McDonald 15 tallies and Kyle Baker was in double figures with 12, half of which came from two three-point shots.
Rice-Tremonti Open House
Rice-Tremonti Home welcomes you to "Puttin' on the Glitz", Holiday Open House and Country Store - December 3rd through December 18th. Open House hours 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  -- Santa visits 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. -- Twilight Tours: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays, December 8, 10 and 17. Adult Admission - $4.00. Children under 12 are free. Complimentary cider, coffee and cookies will be served.
For more information go to

My Produce Picking Quirks by Erin Whitehead
I’m not a huge fan of the grocery store. I think it goes hand in hand with not totally loving to cook. I do both tasks because I have to, but I consider them both chores. Grocery shopping is always more fun when my hubby comes along, but I try to do most of the shopping while he’s at work because a) the store is less busy and... Continue reading

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Anonymous said...


I agree Raytown should be a Charter city, but I think this effort will be circumvented by elected officials as was alleged to have happened in the past.

I am sick and tired of a few good Alderpeople being sidelined by those with small minds.

The main problem with Raytown is the PEOPLE who either don't care or are too lazy to vote. Whether or not we have a Charter, the PEOPLE should vote the deadwood out of office. In my opinion this has already happened in 3 seats on the BOA.


Good report and survey! I question, were all of the prices on the same Saturday? The same day is important to be fair because sale prices vary week by week. One or more of the items may have been a sale and not regular price.

I think you have proven that Aldi compares their prices against high priced brands. One I noticed is Wholly Guacamole which in my opinion is expensive and not very many people buy that type of product except maybe for a gathering.

I also question butter 4 sticks. I have NEVER seen butter at Hy-Vee for $0.95. I think the cheapest I have seen it was a little under $2 on sale. Are you sure it wasn't margarine? There is a difference. Margarine is one molecule away from being plastic and is not a dairy item.

Personally I feel both Aldi and Save-A-Lot have a very limited selection even of their generics and Save-A-Lot may not stock their sale items. I tried to by the advertised spaghetti sauce at the Raytown Save-A-Lot and they don't stock that brand. I wanted 5 cases and the manager did mark down 2 cases of the other brand saying that he was losing money at the sale price. I emailed Save-A-Lot headquarters and was told that I shouldn't expect to find the advertised items in the store because not all stores have all items.

I generally buy only sale items in quantity plus maybe some other things.

BTW: Hy-Vee just had a 3 day sale of eggs 1 dozen for $0.88! I made a trip for eggs, bread on sale, and also found bananas @ $0.47/lb.

I won't buy produce at Aldi because it is packaged. There may be a bad piece in the package giving me no selection. Also the package forces me to buy more than I want. What is I want one bell pepper and not 3?

There are some items that I can definitely get cheaper at Aldi such as generic type Gator Aide 32 oz. @ $0.69 (which I give to letter carriers, UPS, Fedex, and trash collectors). Also I get granola bars a lot cheaper at Aldi.

I agree that Walmart is NOT a grocery store. If anyone wants groceries at Walmart, this is a bad time of year if they don't want to wait in a long line.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

The last charter attempt was voted on and
passed by the voters of this city. The voters
also voted in a group of people with hopes
of a charter being written.
The problem was not the right people were
voted in. At least that is what the then
administration thought. However they did get in
a few ringers. These people voted for each and
every item in the charter. In fact in some cases
helped write them. Then when it was time for the
people to vote on the charter these plants, deceivers,
traders or whatever you want to call them started
pushing the voters to vote against the new charter.
The city didn't want the charter and used a lot of taxpayer
money on lawsuits and lawyers to try and keep it away from
the voters. In the end the city won the day.
I really don't think this city will ever have a charter.
The elected officials won't let it happen. They don't have to
answer to anyone now and as we have seen in the last fifteen years
rules don't mean anything either.
By the way, one of the plants is still an sad.

Anonymous said...

Yes a charter would be a good thing.

The reason the last two attempts failed was due to bad choices by the authoring commissions. Two different political factions made the same mistakes. It is ironic that these factions have existed in almost a blood feud for almost 16 years, but are so much alike in their arrogance that they both chose the same path to failure.

Maybe someday we will get a charter commission that will write a simple charter that gives us the right to Initiative Petition, Referendum, and Recall. Maybe someday we will have a commission whose members play well with others, at least to the extent that they can reach a consensus on a charter.

It would be a good thing, but it would also be a surprise.

Anonymous said...

Raytown has too many PETTY PEOPLE to ever have a charter. The very few have turned off a majority of the registered voters to where they are so disgusted that they won't even vote in city elections. I could name you names but I think most of us know who they are. The last two city administrations have just about destroyed Raytown forever. Look around you, why are there so many empty houses? Why are so many Raytowners moving to other communities? Until city hall can answer these questions I believe that they are going to have a hard time getting younger families to consider living here.

Anonymous said...

I think 10:42AM may be partly correct. I am moving not because of the elected officials but because the climate is not fit for human habitation. That is why I call it the State of Misery.

If home buyers check into it, Raytown is only for the rich:

1) Property taxes caused mainly by the school district taxing 69% of the total bill are outrageous.

2) Utilities are unaffordable along with high franchise and sales taxes on top of the bills.

3) Streets are poorly maintained. Has anyone driven down Blue Ridge Blvd past RHS which is a main access to downtown from the north?

I question why would a rich person want to move to Raytown at all? There is nothing to attract a rich person to Raytown. I am hoping that the condition of KCMO schools will cause people who are dissatisfied with the schools to move into Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Garth Bare said...

If you order from Walmart online and pickup the items they pull for you at the Raytown Walmart, you pay only 8.1% sales tax. If you go to the store and pull it yourself, you pay 9.1%.

It is hard to tell for certain, but I think that they are not collecting the CID Tax on purchases made online.

Anonymous said...

A charter needs to be simple at first. Elections, initiative petition, recall. That simple. Everyone can agree on that no matter what side of the fence you are on.

Anonymous said...

The Walmart tax issue should be brought to the attention of whoever is the Financial Director for the city. I questioned sales taxes once and was told that they are collected by the state. I suspect if something is rung up at the physical store, the state knows it is in the CID but if ordered online, the state has no knowledge what store it will be picked up at.

If I order something online I expect delivery. The reason for ordering online is so I don't make a trip and wait in line.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Turner Gill, the football coach at KU, has been fired by the university. He is going to have to get by on 6.2 million dollar severance package.

The Occupy People are protesting in the wrong place.

Anonymous said...

A city charter becomes the constitution for the city. Sorry people, but it can't be "simple". It must be detailed in order to protect the citizens of the city against unscrupulous people who might get control of the city government. Those who say "keep it simple" are a dangerous bunch; they just don't understand what a charter form of government is all about and how it works. The last proposed charter was not a perfect document (none will be), but it would have served us well. People with wrong motives lead the drive to defeat it. They were able to “fish-in” and manipulate “simple” minded and naive people with the "keep it simple" line. They did this because they lost control of the process when the “wrong” people were elected to serve on the Charter Commission. We need a charter, but it will be an extensive and expensive process to get one that will serve us well.

Anonymous said...

Oh Mercy me, the last charter attempt was with X Mayor Sue Frank as Mayor. She undermined all attempts to create a charter, more concerned with allowing WalMart to screw the City over and getting her close friend Jim Lynch elected Police Chief, so he could promote her hubby to Captain.

That is the epitomy of a petty mind that the citizens of Raytown have to deal with when trying to move this City Forward. Get out and vote for a charter to rid this City government of crooked politics.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Andy. I am sure that if someone posts it on this page that it is read by the folks at City Hall.

Only a damned fool goes for a hike in the woods without checking the weather forecast.

Give them credit for being at least that smart.

Anonymous said...

A charter can't be simple stupid. There are certain things that must be put in the charter.

Anonymous said...

A new charter attempt is like giving a child
(elected officials) candy all this time and
then taking it back. They would have to answer
to the people...for a change.
People change. Governments don't. Once elected
people forget why they were elected and most of
the promises they made to be elected.
Who didn't expect better from our elected people?
Name one promise that has come true. You could count
them on one finger. While your at it list all the good
things that this towns government has done for the
people or small businesses.
Now name the things this towns government has done
for each other. Like ignoring the residency rules,
citizen passed tax increases for safety, street overlays
and so on. Giving away millions in tax income just to name
a few. They spend, waste and do as they please.
I don't believe this town will ever see a charter
form of government.

Anonymous said...

9:11 PM, There is nothing simple about the how the city is run except maybe some of the elected officials.

6:53 AM, I think you are correct but many deny reading this blog except for 2 or 3 aldermen. Possibly others have their staff read it and report what was said the same way as Gov. Brownback's staff monitors Twitter. A true waste of taxpayer money!

I hope they are reading because The People Speak!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

In the grocery ads today both Aldi and Apple Market had 48 oz. generic vegetable oil for $2.49! Apple Market is a weekend sale. If I wanted only the vegetable oil, I would go to Apple Market because they have a better selection of other things because I won't make a trip for only one item.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:24

While the document itself may not be simple, the changes it entails can be small and simple. As for the "stupid" flame part, use your brain to think,understand, and search for solutions to Raytown's problems, rather than to look for a chance to attack.

Anonymous said...

Simple people can only think in simple terms, reality isn't always simple!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank the city for the nice park downtown.

I had family visiting this weekend and the kids all wanted a large grass place to play and I could not think of anything better in Raytown, but our large downtown park.

I sure am glad that we have this place for the kids to play and it is just a great place of those at the senior tower to stop on their way down for lunch at Fox Drugs.

Anonymous said...

Park, what Park? Mayor Bower said that is NOT a park. It is a green space. That is where the city owned olde Baptist Church used to be before it was before it was razed with Federal money. The Federal money was for a Green Space, not a park.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...


Bower said also said Wal-Mart was a great deal for Raytown.

What year are we going to start to see the tax dollars from Wal-Mart go back to improve the city?

Last time I checked a large grass area owned by a city government was called a park.

Anonymous said...

PS. There has been talk that the Green Space may at some time be developed. Past year there was a bridal shop thinking about opening a wedding chapel-bridal shop where the Green Space is. I don't know what happned to them.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I saw where the BOA approved the hiring of a Finance Director after a nation wide search. His name is
Mark Loughry. I googled his name and found some interesting Internet articles regarding his two year stint for the City of Basehor. The best predictor of the future is the past.

Mr. Loughry should fit in very nicely at Raytown City Hall.

Anonymous said...

4:32PM, I respectfully disagree with Mayor Bower regarding Walmart and he knows that. I have been corrected by Mayor Bower that the Green Space is NOT a park. It can't be called a park because the Federal Funding was for GREEN SPACE NOT a park.

Andy Whiteman