Sunday, November 13, 2011

Greg Walters
The Rest of the Story
by Garth Bare and Greg Walters

One of our regular contributors, Andy Whiteman, questioned what the big deal was about KCP&L trimming trees under utility lines. It is a fair question. We hope the following answers it.
It may seem like ancient history to many reading this page. But here is what happened.

Back in the early 1980’s two very young Aldermen from Raytown received calls from their constituents about notice they had received from Missouri Public Service Company (MOPUB) concerning the trimming of trees in the utility right of way. The most upset calls came from homeowners who had not received any notification who returned home after a day at work to find their tree-lines decimated by MOPUB work crews.

The two aldermen were Garth Bare (Ward 2) and Greg Walters (Ward 1). 

We did some checking through our resources at City Hall and found that the utility’s plan was not to just trim trees. But to eradicate any plants growing under a utility line. After the tree and shrub removal was complete, the utility then had intentions of using a herbicide to prevent new growth from taking place.

Garth and I wondered about the herbicide that was intended for use. We managed to obtain a label from one of the containers the utility had on the herbicide planned for Raytown homeowner’s backyards.

We were shocked to see that the warning label advised that if contact was made with the herbicide that extreme care was needed in cleaning it up -- to the point of burning the clothes that were worn by the handler in case of a mishap.

After reading that on the label it was off to the library for a few hours of research (remember, this was before the internet). We found the active ingredient in the herbicide planned for use by MOPUB was a chemical known as 2,4-D.

The name rang a bell. A little more digging and we found that 2,4-D was the main carcinogen found a chemical used in defoliating jungles in the Vietnam War – more  commonly known as Agent Orange.

Here is an abbreviated explanation of what Agent Orange was used in Vietnam. 

Agent Orange is the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the United States military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people being killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.

A 50:50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, it was manufactured for the United States Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical. The 2,4,5-T used to produce Agent Orange was later discovered to be contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachorodibenzodioxin, an extremely toxic dioxin compound. It was given its name from the color of the orange-striped 55 US gallon barrels in which it was shipped. 

During the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the United States military sprayed nearly 20,000,000 US gallons of chemical herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia, as part of Operation Ranch Hand. The program’s goal was to defoliate forested and rural land, depriving guerrilla combatants of cover.

Armed with our information, we took out case to the Board of Aldermen. We eventually wrote and passed an ordinance banning the use of such defoliants in Raytown. The ordinance also set specific guidelines for tree trimming and for the timely notification of Raytown homeowners when utilities were doing line maintenance in neighborhoods.

The ordinance is still on the books.  In fact, then City Attorney Robert Neds told us that he had received requests for copies of the ordinance from surrounding cities who used it as a model in writing similar laws for their communities.

Of course, this is not to say plans by KCP&L to trim trees in Raytown is a deep dark conspiracy. In fact, when the story broke a spokesman for KCP&L was quoted as saying that they do not used a “scorched earth policy” in their line maintenance in neighborhoods.

We hope that is still their policy. 

So, Andy, now you know the rest of the story.

. . . Breaking News . . .

Raytown police are investigating a home invasion late Monday night in the 6900 block of Raytown Road, police said.

The homeowner told police that his son opened the door about 11 p.m. after hearing a loud bang and two men armed with guns demanded that he let them in.

The homeowner said the men forced him and his son to lie on the floor while the men took things from the house. They were not hurt. Police said one of the intruders was carrying a long gun and second man had a handgun. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS. 

Weekly Poll Returns . . .
We are bringing back a popular feature of the Raytown Report – the weekly poll. This week we are switching gears from local to national politics. The poll asks, “Who is your favorite of the Republicans running for President?” So far, there have been ten debates between the candidates. So everyone should be getting pretty familiar with who they like. 

By the way, there are 15 more debates scheduled between now and March 19th. No doubt about it, this is a race that deserves to be watched!

Community Development Position Remains Vacant by Greg Walters
Raytown City Hall has seen two resignations of Senior Department Heads this past summer. The first resignation was that of former Raytown Community Development Director Beth Lynn.

There has not been any move by City Hall to replace the position since Mrs. Lynn worked her last day at City Hall on June 24th.

One reason the position has not been filled may the creation of the Department of Economic Development.

In 2009, the City Council hired Mr. Tom Cole as its first Economic Development Director. Many of the duties of the office paralleled those of the Community Development Director.
City Planner John Benson has been assigned most of the duties of the Community Development Director. In fact, some City Council members refer to Mr. Benson as the “interim” Community Development Director. 
The position of Community Development Director was created by in the mid-1990’s by then Mayor Jack Nesbitt.

There has been criticism of City Hall being top heavy in management. The fact that the City has not actively worked to replace the position since last June is viewed by many as admittance that the position is not really necessary.

Search for Finance Director has Begun
City Finance Director Jeremy Wilmoth served his last day at City Hall this past week. City Administrator Mahesh Sharma is not wasting time his time looking for a replacement. Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk and Ward 5 Alderman Michael Lightfoot have been asked to serve as representatives of the City Council in the hiring process.

The vacancy gives the city a unique opportunity to correct a flaw in its hiring practice. Raytown has seen a large number of departures of Senior Staff members over the years. This “revolving door” in senior staff positions is not in Raytown’s best interest.

The Board of Aldermen, and in particular, the two members who have been appointed to interview and review applications, have an opportunity to bring stability to City Hall.
The solution is simple.

Up until the mid 1990’s Raytown City Hall required its senior staff members at City Hall to live in Raytown. The practice brought stability and the ability to make effective long range decisions.

Since the city dropped its residency requirement there has been a revolving door at city hall in which department heads take a position, stay about  three years and then move on. It is not a recipe for success.

The Board of Aldermen have an opportunity to look past the candidates who are looking at taking another step on the corporate ladder. They should set their sight on candidates who want to put down roots and become part of the community. 

City Hall would be doing itself and the people of Raytown of favor by taking a firm stand and requiring the position of Finance Director to reside within city limits.

Paul Livius
We Wonder . . . by Paul Livius
The following press releases came from the office of Raytown’s City Administrator:

“Staff has participated in a series of meetings held by the Raytown Main Street Association on the forthcoming central business district Streetscape Project and ongoing regional planning efforts involving the Rock Island Rail Corridor. The meetings allowed staff to provide information about the nature of the streetscape project, the anticipated time line for project design and construction and that opportunities for community input will be available during project design. Staff also helped provide information on the planning efforts currently underway for the Rock Island corridor.”

Sounds good. We wonder why none of the Board of Aldermen attended the meeting. After all, they are the direct representatives of the people. Were they invited?

“Neighborhood Services impounded 30 animals during the month of September. Of those 30 impounded animals; 17 were released back to their owners and 1 was adopted. For this fiscal year (beginning November 1, 2010) a total of 385 animals have been impounded, 119 were returned to their owners and 106 have been adopted. The year to date total is approximately 30% less than those of FY 2009-10.”

Let’s see . . . 30 animals impounded, 17 released to owners and 1 adopted. That leaves 13 unaccounted for. We wonder what happened to the 13. Did they escape by tunneling their way out of the pound? Are they being held elsewhere by someone else? Or, are they not saying because pet animal advocates may get upset?

“KCP&L has notified the City that they may perform line clearance operations in Raytown during 2012 however, did not give specific locations and stated that affected customers would be notified no more than 90 days in advance of any work. Line clearance work is performed to minimize outages from trees interfering with electrical lines and equipment.”

We wonder if the City Administrator is aware of the city’s ordinances and prohibitions regarding “line clearance” operations by utilities. We wonder if the City Administrator has become familiar with them. If not, it would be a very good idea to do so.

It is good to know they will be notified no more than 90 days before the cutting of trees under power lines. The real question to ask is will home owners be notified before the utility crews show up. That way homeowners will not be in the dark as to what is going to be cut down by power and light crews.

Jon Stewart
The Plight of Muscled Americans by Jenn Walters
Fact: I love Jon Stewart. Fact: I also don’t dig the big, sweaty, loud grunting dudes at the gym who slam down their weights. Fact: This video is hilarious. Fact: We’re not for sure that it’s a true story—but we don’t think it’s entirely fictional. After all, Planet Fitness is a real gym with a real Lunk Alarm (beware:... Continue reading

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Anonymous said...

There is an important choice missing from the poll:
"Too early to decide"
How can anyone decide this early? There will always be people who are undecided.

Greg, what is your point about the electric line maintenance? I am glad that KCPL is finally trimming the trees around the power lines. They won't come when I notify them. Anywhere I have lived, there has been no notice. They just come with their saws. I have my fence set back to the right of way line so they don't need access. My fence is located where the alley should be if there was an alley.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...


I meant for the poll to be a snapshot of thie particular time. No doubt people will change their mindes before the various primaries. I find it interesting that the poll is so evenly split.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought, there has been better code enforcement since Beth Linn left then when she was here. Of course there is a long way to go. Like Clarks Auto on 350. I know for a fact it has been called in what is the hold up? Let's get this mess cleaned up....

Greg Walters said...


The notification is significant. A number of years ago there was a very controversial situation regarding tree and brush trimming by Missouri Public Service in Raytown.

I will be posting about it later this week on our main page.

It is an interesting story . . . look for it on Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Greg, I will be waiting. I had a friend (now deceased) whose tree was trimmed by KCPL. The tree died allegedly from an unclean saw blade transmitting disease from a diseased tree. The tree died and the city forced my friend to remove the tree.

I can understand where trimming can cause a problem when the trimmers enter private property. The could be bitten by a dog or letting the dog loose. I have locks on my gates to prevent opening.

Anonymous said...

looks like the occupy forces have fallen on the ash heap of history.

i wonder if there will be an occupy raytown movement?

Anonymous said...

Occupy Raytown has occupied City Hall for many years and is running the city!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

How about the turn key property on 350. Don't tell me the mayor has not seen it. He drives by it everyday. How about it Mr. Mayor give us an answer as to why it has not been done months ago???? This is a situation where you could push your weight around and get it cleaned up!!!!

Pat Casady said...

Speaking of polls,
I would like to see a new poll on
a scale of one to ten on how the readers think our Raytown elected officials are doing.
Listing each one.

Anonymous said...

If you bang on my door at 11pm and fail to identify yourself, know that you will have at least one firearm aimed at you on the other side of the door. Be prepared to protect yourself and your family. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Anonymous said...

I recommend a large dog to deal with intruders.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I think the poll would be a great idea. Might open some of the aldermans eyes to know people think they aRE A BIG MINUS when it comes to what the vcitizens really think of them and the job they are doing

Anonymous said...

I wonder how some of them are reelected? I think it is from apathy with people writing on this blog and not bothering to vote.

Maybe we need an anonymous poll of whether or not people voted in the last election.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Chris White and Shane ParDue sure looked stone faced at the BOA Tuesday night. Could it be because thery got their toes stepped on??? Poor babies

Pat Casady said...

It's no secret that I moved to the country
about five years ago. We raise miniature horses.
I really don't think you could drag we away
from our farm if you tried.
My closest neighbor is about a quarter mile
away on both sides. However we all have a
something in common. If we see a strange car
or truck in someone's drive we call or go see
what they are doing there. Not to mention
almost all of us carry a weapon on that occasion.
I always have a weapon on me for snakes and skunks
both four and two legged and slithering.

Anonymous said...

In response to all the retail stores who believe it is socially acceptable to open on Thanksgiving or in the middle of the night on black Friday.

Thank you Corporate America for once again showing you value the almighty dollar and greed over family values.

It is time our senior members of society teach us all what the unions have done for us and why we need them now more than ever.

It is time the politicians who speak of family values stand up for family values and force these business to support family values by supporting national holidays. Yes, corporate America you create messes that result in more government oversight for your industry because you get to darn greedy.

It is time these same businesses stop taking tax money from us to open new stores for if you take tax payer money the government should be calling the shots.

It is time Corporate America stops sending call centers and other services oversea as we do not need all of our personal information in the hands of individuals from other countries. Yes, Corporate America where is my right to privacy.

Anonymous said...

I suggest we put our money where our mouths are. Don't shop at any store that opens on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I see IHOP is proud of the fact they will be open Christmas.

Anonymous said...

11:09AM, I don't shop for Christmas at all. I give very few gifts and the few I do give are accumulated over the year. When my wife was alive, we did Christmas shopping during the summer when we were working overtime and had $$$. There are no crowds when one shops during the summer.

@Greg, thanks for the explanation. I am glad that you and Garth investigated. Hazardous chemicals should never be used!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I don't trust Alderman Creamer, why you ask. Anyone who has to do as much brown nosing as he does is a snake in the grass and can't be trusted. Just a word of warning!!!

Anonymous said...

11:09AM, What is wrong with a business opening Thanksgiving or Christmas? This is the United States. It is very difficult to find a restaurant on those holidays?

When I was able to work, I was in 24/7 jobs and I worked EVERY holiday that I could work. For one thing it gave a coworker the day off if they wanted it. For another thing working a holiday is the only way to make enough to live on. To me, being off on a holiday is a wasted day because there is no mail and most businesses are closed so I can't do things that I want to do.

BTW: I am looking for a restaurant that serves Thanksgiving Dinner after 6PM. Most of them are on the Plaza where there is no parking. I don't mean IHOP or Dennys.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I just checked my house taxes online. Even though I protested the assessment and my assessment was lowered, my tax bill went up over $50!
I expected my taxes to go down. I wonder which government body is extorting money from us? As I have said only the rich can afford to live in Raytown and I don't number among them.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about the confused plight of the Occupy people.

I read in the paper this morning that MU's football coach is paid a paltry 2.3 million dollars a year. That great Penn State pedophile enabler, Joe Paterno, is being forced into retirement at just over half a million a year.

The Occupy forces are protesting in the wrong places.

Anonymous said...

The people who are occupying Wall Street need to get a job!!!!

Anonymous said...

6:50AM & 7:06 AM, Agreed!
Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

It is on TV news and in the Red Star that AT&T is opening a call center in KCMO and is hiring.

I wonder why it wasn't big news when AT&T sent my job and other jobs to India??? But at the same time they poisoned me which put me into the hospital after which I was fired due to disability. I had no knowledge the the jobs went to India until I filed a grievance.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...


Just because you don't have a family doesn't mean those that do want to have to work on holidays.

Lets face it some jobs are 24/7 like fire, police, hospitals and nursing homes. It is also reasonable to believe that those who perform these types of jobs would expect to take their fail share and turn at working the holidays.

However, do retail businesses really need to be open as what life saving factor do they bring to any community.

I can actually name several retailers in Greater KC who before the original owners died respected their workers and family time.

However once the grandkids got hold of the businesses it was all about the bottom line.

My suggestion is if you don't have family around these parts get out and make some friends to spend the holidays with. If you don't have friends go around to the senior care centers and visit with those who don't have family come visit. The one thing that is apparent is you need more human interaction and less time on this blog. There are areas in our community that could benefit from your personal interaction like join the “Youth Friends” and reading or just spending quality time with a student who doesn’t have a positive role model in their life. You might at the end of the day find that you too benefit from the social interactions and reflect less on pass life experience on this blog, but instead on how you are molding the next generation of leaders.

Anonymous said...

I am sure many of the members of occupy Wall Street would like to get a job too!

Does this mean that you support their complaints against these Wall Street corporate giants as you all need to recall the number of jobs annually that these Wall Street corporate giants send to third world countries along with all of our personal information?

Yes it would be nice for all those occupy Wall Street individuals to get a job once those jobs come back to America.

Yes it would be nice for those jobs in America to be filled with true Americas or at least those who are legally in America.

Yes, it would be nice for the government to put those who hire individual who are not legally in America in a federal prison in some desert in the Southwest and have them live out of surplus world war II army tents serving one year for every illegal they had on the payroll and times the number of years each illegal was on the payroll.

Yes, it would be nice for America’s to put America first and demand our government to do the same.

I for one am tired of all the talk but no improvement in the problems facing America and I for one will be asking these hard questions of those seeking office in 2012.

Anonymous said...

If you like Communist rhetoric and ultra liberal socialism then you would love the "occupy" crowd. They are a bunch of confused kids being used by those who have an agenda contrary to every rhing this great nation has been and hopefully can be again in the future. It's just the opposite of the majority of the people involved in the "Tea Party" movement, they are patriotic Americans who really do care about this country and are feed up with the liberal garbage and out of control spending in Washington D.C... They know exactly what they are for, whereas the "occupy" thugs don't have a clue! They (occupy) are very reminiscent of the “hippie” people from the 60’s and 70’s. They care about drugs, sex, and free stuff. They are irresponsible losers.

Anonymous said...

The "Tea Party" has done nothing since the 2010 election with the exception of holding working families hostage.

No "Tea" for me!

Anonymous said...

Dogs are better than the occupy thugs. These thugs are defecating and urinating in what is now their living area. A dog is smart enough not to soil his living area.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice the last small local Raytown phone book we received in June? I couldn't find my name and thought they left me out.

I was looking up an address tonight and couldn't find it. The book seem too thick. I looked at the front cover and it was the "Raymore Belton South KC" directory. Apparently someone mistook Raytown for Raymore. I wonder if people in Raymore have our phone books?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Cleverly done!!!
T'was the Month before Christmas
T'was the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
See the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a 'Holiday'.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzer
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
not Happy Holiday!
Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet
Christ is The Reason' for the Christ-mas Season!

Anonymous said...

Raytown has lost its third Department head, a reliable source at city hall informed me that a third department head resigned Friday November 19th at 4:30 PM. Until I can verify this for myself I don't want to comment on who, but is the allegations are true this one is a shocker.

Pat Casady said...

At first I was in agreement with the Wall Street
protesters. I thought they had a point. Then as in any
good thing in came the thugs and losers.
As far as patriotic Americans, I have a problem.
We all like to say we are patriotic and would do
anything for our country as well we should, but,
what goes against all of that are stores like
Wal-Mart that force American companies out of business.
Force the closing of hundreds if not thousands of
American factories. Then we have the import cars and
trucks that have helped hurt this country.
People have short memories when it comes to who and
what have hurt fellow Americans. It was the Japanese
and their Nissan, Mitsubishi and Kawasaki planes that
bombed Pearl Harbor and killed thousands of Americans
throughout the war.
It was Toyota that took American prisoners of war to
be beaten and tortured. Then we have the illegal's that
take American jobs away from American citizens.
It's hard to parriotic when our government lets these
things and much more hurt this country.
As long as stores and big companies keep sending
American jobs to other countries this country will
just keep going downhill.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what is wrong with the City of Raytown! Raytown has a "Holiday Lighting" for an unnamed holiday. Last year they posted a sign on City Hall, "CLOSED FOR THE HOLIDAY," but couldn't name the holiday. Why is an unnamed holiday observed and employees given a paid day off? Somehow the Mayor slipped up during communication from the Mayor at the Board of Aldermen meeting and used the word "Christmas" one time when he was asking people to buy Holiday gifts in Raytown. I am offended by use of the word "Holiday."

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

To anon 12:14 I heard the same thing, not sure why the city is being so secretive about this. Its sad that we lost the only department head that still lives in Raytown.