Monday, December 26, 2011

. . . BREAKING NEWS . . .

Sears Closing Two Area Stores by Paul Livius
Sears Holdings has announced it will close two stores in the Kansas City Metro area.  

The Sears store at 601 North 291 Highway, in Lee's Summit and a store in Lawrence, Kansas will be closed. Exact dates of the store closings has not been announced.  

Raytown School District Joins Lawsuit from KMBC-TV

Five area school districts are asking a court to clarify the policy regarding Kansas City, Mo., School District student transfers. Blue Springs, Independence, Lee's Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown filed a petition in Jackson County last week.The Kansas City School District will lose its accreditation on Jan. 1.

"Parents and kids are wondering what in the world are they supposed to do? That's a great question," said Dr. Jim Hinson, superintendent of the Independence School District.

Under state law, KCMSD students can apply to transfer to an accredited school district in Jackson County. Under a 1993 amendment to the law, accredited schools are required to admit student transfers from an unaccredited district if that district provides transportation and pays the tuition determined by the accredited district. On Dec. 21, the Kansas City school board adopted a policy that requires the accredited school district to provide transportation for students.

The school districts claim Kansas City's plan is neither legal nor reasonable."Do we really expect buses, for example from the Independence School District, to be running bus routes in the Kansas City School District? That's how Kansas City's policy reads," Hinson said.

The school districts contend Kansas City's policy does not comply with state law. They also claim that Kansas City only wants to pay a fraction of what it really costs to educate a student. The school districts are asking a judge to order a hold on implementing any plan.

The school districts contend Kansas City's policy does not comply with state law. They also claim that Kansas City only wants to pay a fraction of what it really costs to educate a student. The school districts are asking a judge to order a hold on implementing any plan.


The Paul Livius Report . . . by Paul Livius


Paul Livius

Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – December 20, 2011

Invocation was given by Stephen King, of the Ivanhoe United Church of Christ.
Several residents came before the Board with Public Comments:
  • Bonnie Stevens said she has lived in Raytown since 1998.  She told the Board that on July 5, 2010, her neighbor, the Raytown Fire Marshall physically and verbally abused her.  She present documents to the City Clerk.
  • Andy Whiteman said the consent agenda is being used to avoid public scrutiny.  The Board has $155,000 of spending hidden in the consent agenda at this meeting alone.  He said he told the Board two meetings ago that he is disabled and entitled to verbal and written communication.  He requested that all consent agenda items be read, and he has been ignored.  The Board of Aldermen are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Mr. Whiteman went on to say that Matt Cushman was the last Department Head living in Raytown and he resigned.  There are now two positions open.  He hopes the Board of Aldermen will require the new department heads to live in Raytown.
  • Alderman Bill Van Buskirk wished the Board, the staff and employees, as well as the resident of Raytown a Merry Christmas.  He then turned on his hat, which sang “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Mayor Bower asked everyone to support local businesses and shop Raytown.  He attended St. Matthew Episcopal Church and enjoyed listening to the Community Band. 
Mahesh Sharma, City Administrator, reported that the Emergency Medical Services have been busy in December with the child safety seat education project.  The River of Refuge is redeveloping the Parkland Hospital into transitional housing for the working poor.
Alderman Aziere reported that Monica Hernandez has received an appointment to the US Naval Academy.
Consent Agenda: Alderman Mock requested item R2467-11 be removed from the consent agenda.  Alderman Van Buskirk requested items R2466-11 and R2468-11 be removed from the consent agenda. The other items on the consent agenda were passed by the Board:
  • Resolution accepting a community grant from State Farm in the amount of $2,000 to further the City’s Community Education programs through the Emergency Medical Services department.
  • Amended the 2011-2012 Budget to allow for $469 grant funds awarded in FY 2010-2011.
The items removed from the consent agenda:
  • Authorized an agreement between Dow Richards, MD and the City of Raytown for Medical Director Services.  Alderman Mock asked what hospital Dr. Richards practiced and was told it is Research Medical Center.  Alderman Mock asked why this agreement hadn’t been looked at since 2008, and was told this is only a renewal.
  • Approved a continuation of an existing service agreement with MED3000 in excess of $15,000 for EMS billing services.  Alderman Van Buskirk said the contract doesn’t expire until 2013, so why renew it now.  Brandon Buckman said this will authorize the expenditures.  Alderman Van Buskirk pointed out that last fiscal year, the City spent $63,755 for EMS supplied, and Mr. Buckman was budgeting $84,000.  Alderman Van Buskirk asked the amount budgeted increased by 32%.  Mr. Buckman said this is what might be spent, but there is no way of knowing the exact amount.  The EMS department doesn’t have to spend all the money.
  • Approved the purchase of medical supplies and uniforms from Alliance Medical, not to exceed $70,500.  Alderman Van Buskirk asked Mr. Buckman if the Fire Department used the medical supplies of the EMS staff.  Mr. Buckman said they did, but it is supplies the EMS staff would have used anyway.
The Board moved on to the Regular Agenda:
  • Amended the FY 2011-2012 Budget for Parks and Recreation operating and Capital Improvements.  Kevin Boji asked for $150,000 for Super Splash.  Alderman Van Buskirk asked Mr. Boji when the improvements would be done.  Mr. Boji said it depended on how well the Super Splash park did this year.  Perhaps the improvements would be done in March or April, and if not, then in September.
  • Appointed Senior Accountant Brianna Burrichter as a City Representative on the Ditzler Community Improvement District Board of Directors.
  • Approved the expenditure of $15,000 for transcription services with Speak Write for the Police Department.
  • Approved the expenditure of $68,301 for the purchase of a John Deere 310 SJ Backhoe from Murphy Tractor and Equipment.  Andy Noll told the Board this will replace the Case backhoe Public Works employees use for storm water work in smaller yards.  The Case backhoe was purchased last Fiscal Year, but it kept overheating.  After several attempts by the manufacturer to repair the unit, the City returned it. 
  • Authorized the purchase of a 2012 Ford F550 truck from Dick Smith Ford for $34,920 and expending $25,942 with American Equipment for a total of $60,862.  This will replace old equipment slated to be sold at auction.
  • Approved the Intergovernmental agreement with Jackson County Board of Election Commission allowing City Hall to be used as a polling place.
  • Approved the first amended and restated Raytown Live Tax Increment Financing Plan and approved Project 2 as a Redevelopment Project.
  • Heard the first reading of the First Amendment to the agreement between the City and the Ditzler Community Improvement District.  David Christy, with Christy Developers, came before the Board to say they had completed Phase I (Aldi’s Grocery Store) at Gregory Blvd. and 350 Highway.  They are ready to start on Phase II, which will be a Jimmy John’s restaurant, as well as a national retailer.  These businesses will have 10 year leases, with three five-year options.  They are asking for an increase to the CID, due to additional costs for the project.  They had to spend $2.500 for the concrete and heavy-duty asphalt at the site, build an additional trash enclosure for the restaurant for $21,000, and they had to make $44,000 in allowances to the businesses to get them to sign the lease.  Mr. Christy pointed out they will have to install a left turn lane on Ditzler, as per the City’s request.  That will cost an additional $50,000.
  • The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance that would change the term of the pension plan’s Fiscal Year.  Currently the FY is October through September.  The ordinance would make the FY January through December.  The Board voted to suspend the rules and hear the second reading of this ordinance, which the Board passed.
The Board moved into closed session.

Changes Coming to the Raytown Report by Paul Livius
We hear from our readers other than through the “Comments” portion of the Raytown Report. We make note of what we are told and try to incorporate suggestions into our weekly publication.

And now, we are going to do something significant about it.
Our readers often tell us that what they really miss in a local publication is hard news. From time to time we have addressed that need under the heading of “Breaking News”. However, the use of the Breaking News story has been limited.

We plan to use this Breaking News venue on a more regular basis to give you timely stories of interest to Raytown.

The following story is from one such news feed.

Bomb Scare in Raytown from KMBC TV
Several homes in the 9000 block of East 74th Street were evacuated Thursday morning after a homeowner on the block found a suspicious item in his house, Raytown police said.

Raytown police said the item appeared to be a home-made explosive device.

Investigators said they were called to the home Wednesday night to investigate a domestic dispute. One of the residents was arrested. Just before 10 a.m., police said they were called back to the house by another resident who discovered the device.


Authorities called the Kansas City Bomb Squad to check out the item. Bomb technicians deactivated the device. Raytown police said that there was harmful explosive material involved.

Police are questioning people in the home. No charges have been filed.

Sales Tax Increase Effective January 1, 2012
Last November voters in Jackson County, Missouri voted to increase the sales tax by one-eighth of a cent. As a result, Raytown shoppers can expect to pay 8.225% at most retail outlets in Raytown.

Some retail stores will have a higher sales tax rate due to so-called tax incentives provided them by the City of Raytown. Those retail outlets with the higher sales tax amounts are  Aldi’s, Hy-Vee, Sutherland Lumber, Walmart and the House of Pancakes.

Walmart’s sales tax rate leads the Raytown area at 9.225%.

Unlike the Missouri State Sales Tax, the new sales tax in Raytown is applicable on all purchases, including food and medicine. 

Thank You Readers!
A most appreciative “thank you” to our readers for their support in 2011. In the world of paperless news reporting a publication’s “strength” is based on how many hits it receives over a given period of time.

We are pleased to report that for the third year running, the Raytown Report has seen its readership increase. In 2011 the Raytown Report was visited over 31,000 times by readers. 

It’s an impressive number of which we are very proud.

We like to think we are the right track as a news source and sounding board for the good people of Raytown.

But we are always ready to improve. They used to say “keep those cards and letters” coming to let us know what you expect from an electronic news source. In the 21st Century it may be more appropriate to ask that you keep sending those emails and posting those blogs.
We are listening!

Filing for Raytown C-2 School Board Closes January 17th

Filing for two, three year terms on the Raytown C-2 Board of Education is open until January 17th.

Candidates may file between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Raytown School District Headquarters located at 6608 Raytown Road. However, District offices will be closed through January 2nd for school break. 

Candidates are required to be registered voters living within the District. All property and personal taxes must be paid in full before filing for public office in Missouri. The Election for the Raytown School Board will be held on Tuesday, April 3, 2012.

Park Board Defers MOU Decision
The Board of Directors of the Raytown Parks and Recreation did not take any action on the proposed Memo of Understanding with the City of Raytown at its last meeting.

The Board did, however, elect Michael Hanna as its new President.

Hanna is a former Raytown Municipal Judge. He currently practices law from his office in Raytown. He replaces former President Bob Smith as a permanent President of the Raytown Park Board.

Smith resigned from his position on the Raytown Park Board when Mayor Bower first brought the Memo of Understanding to the Park Board for consideration.

Other Parks and Recreation news . . . Diane Krizek is stepping down from the Raytown Tree Board to be President of the Friends of Raytown Parks, Inc. During Diane’s term, she assisted in the creation, development and funding of the Walking Arboretum in Kritser Park and assisted in annual Arbor Day celebrations, which culminated in the planting of many trees for the betterment of our community.

Friends of the Park is an independent organization dedicated to promoting Raytown’s city parks.

This Week’s Poll Question
The New Year is fast approaching. With it comes the age old tradition of resolutions – a ritual of self-improvement that many take up annually -- some more seriously than others.

We wondered what folks thought of the concept of New Year’s Resolution. So, please take a few moments to check out this week’s poll question.

Greg Walters
Percentages Lie – Look at the Hard Numbers by Greg Walters

I read an interesting editorial in one of our competing Raytown news sources this past week. It was chock full of adjectives building up Mayor Bower and his crew of professionals of at City Hall for cutting the cost of running the city this last year. The story was written by the Mayor’s favorite bearer of good news, Randy Battagler.

The story was a clumsy use of percentages in making an argument that the city is increasing revenue while cutting costs. 

BEWARE OF SMOKE . . .  Typical of such stories was a reliance on percentages to make the argument. Not one hard number was used to back up the claims. We call this trick “Smoke and Mirrors”.

For instance . . . Battagler wrote that tax collections had increased 6 to 7 percent. We wondered where that increase came from. Certainly not Walmart. ALL of the tax revenue from Raytown’s leading retail giant is earmarked for the retirement of TIF bonds to build the store, parking lot and traffic intersections that serve the store.

There is one source of tax revenue that has seen an appreciable “bump” this year. That area is property tax revenue. Many homeowners and businesses in Raytown saw their property tax climb to new highs in 2011. When you include the property tax levy increase the city added in 2010, the increase in revenue begins to make sense.

Another source of revenue is the payment of delinquent property taxes. The recession that has held our country in its grip since the mortgage housing crisis has extracted a very high price in the way of foreclosed homes and businesses. Those foreclosures had a significant effect on local government revenues. Raytown is no exception.

As people re-populate homes and businesses fill up vacancies there should be growth in all areas of revenue.

However, it is important to look at the big picture and see how much is ground lost beig regained.

There are also reports from Jackson County (which collects all property taxes in Raytown) that 2011 was a significant year for property owners “catching up” with delinquent tax bills from the previous two year. A little known secret is that property owners can forego paying their tax penalty for two years. In year three, the property goes up for sale on the court house step.

Is the six of seven percent a real increase, or, is it just catching up? The percentages will never tell you that. Only the tracking of hard numbers and statistics will tell the whole story.

. . . AND MIRRORS
Battagler also wrote of another statistic of dubious qualification. The reduction costs by 29% (once again, percentage) of costs in running the city.

Battagler is quick to admit that the numbers are unaudited.

As a presidential nominee recently said, “whoops!”

That’s a big one.

Unaudited means unqualified. As anyone who has run a business, or, for that matter participated in working through a budget as complicated as one for a municipality can tell  you, one year snapshots do not really tell the whole story.

But there is something that is even more puzzling about Battagler’s editorial point of view.
Let’s say the 29% figure is correct. It is, as he wrote, “a significant number”.

Then, why isn’t the money being used to correct some of the long overdue maintenance of our City? 

Residential streets are crumbling. The gravel and slurry seal that Mayor Bower started using four years ago to resurface streets is at best a poor man’s street overlay. It looks bad. It rides rough, and in many places has proven not to weather the Midwest’s harsh winter very well.
I hope that Battagler’s “blue sky” reporting turns out to be accurate. 

If it is let us use  that surplus to improve the quality of life of our people in Raytown’s residential  neighborhoods.

Our leaders at Raytown City Hall have proven to be adept at giving tax incentives to large corporations to locate here. As their official mouthpiece, Randy Battagler is now trumpeting how much they have saved the city.

Let’s see some real results. Take care of the people in Raytown with the benefits of those savings.

Gluten Free Cookies!!! by Jenn Walters for Fit Bottomed Girls
Each year my immediate family gets together for a day of holiday cookie making. I don’t do a ton of baking throughout the rest of the year, but I really, really enjoy this holiday tradition of ours where we spend all day baking far more cookies than we could possibly eat (thank goodness for neighbors and friends!). However, this... Continue reading

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44 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

New Years resolutions are the most stupid thing I have ever heard of. Totally useless! The only resolution I ever made was NOT to make New Years Resolutions.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

If you have Top Management at City Hall who was fired after being caught/accused lying by a past employer, there will always be serious problems with perceived, and more importantly, actual honesty from those we hold accountable.

It seems that lying and misrepresenting the facts to carry out a personal agenda, or for political reasons has become the norm with those who are pay very well to carry the public’s trust.

City Hall has dropped the ball on this one, Big Time.

Anonymous said...

Please people. A little political correctness is in order.

All nantional holidays, be it Christmas, MLK or Fourth of July should only be referred to as Holiday.

We certainly do not want to offend anyone.

Andy Whiteman said...

5:06 PM, the word HOLIDAY offends me as stated below which I am reposting to correct a typo. Yes, those days are holidays but avoiding the name of Christmas and referring to it as "The Holiday" is offensive. This especially offensive when the Fascist Fief buys HOLIDAY lights with taxpayer money! I expect said lights to be displayed for EVERY holiday since they are holiday lights.


12:01AM, I am in agreement. Since most holidays fall on a Monday, they have become a 3 day (or longer) vacation stopping commerce in this country. These are 3 wasted days costing business $$$$$$$$$. If holidays would fall on their proper day, they would have more meaning and not be a disruption to commerce. I have an intense hatred of holiday unless they fall on the proper day.

MLK day is now a useless 3 day vacation. If it fell on the correct day, it would be more respectful of the man.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Rate President Obama’s performance in office. What grade would you give him?

I would say a “D.”

This president has completely failed in an effort to make Washington function better. I’ve had the chance to interact with the president on a couple different occasions, and was really struck by his inability to bring rooms together. He was very adept at dividing and debating the people in the room, and not very good at bringing people together.

This sense that our country feels more divided than it has in the past, this sense that we’re focused on the haves and have-nots, and all of this division is I believe a result of the president’s speeches, his approaches, his tone, his tenor. It has taken what is normally a toxic and divided environment in Washington and thrown kerosene on it.

It’s the first time in my lifetime I remember a president giving speeches where he really pitted groups against each other. And it’s unfortunate.

Many of the policies haven’t worked that this president has pursued on the economy and the budget. Any of the problems that we were facing when he was elected that he pledged to fix, you name them, they’ve gotten worse.

Anonymous said...

As a nation we are being hurt by the loss of jobs, which are being exported overseas. Another fracture to our way of life is illegal aliens, which are coming to this country by the millions. With no education and basically nothing but low paying jobs, they get on the already over burdened welfare dole and start popping out anchor babies.

Finally, corporate and government greed has put a knife though the heart of the middle class in this country.

No President can change the course of this nation unless serious "change", it adopted to fix the problems we face.

Of course when you attempt real change, you create more enemies than friends. i.e. City Hall vs. Raytown Parks, Raytown Police, Raytown Fire, Raytown Schools, Raytown business, Raytown citizens, etc...

Anonymous said...

I would give the Obama administration an F-. The man was all talk and still is. God help us and our country if that man should get re elected.

Signed,
He didn't get my vote the first and if he runs again he won't get it this time either.

Anonymous said...

Obama is still trying to clean up the mess that George Bush left us. Why is the budget in such a mess? Bush tried to fight a war (an unnecessary one at that) while cutting taxes for his rich buddies. Now how much sense does this make?

Anonymous said...

I remember when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter. He turned our country around.

He did not do what Obama is doing. Creating class warfare, blaming his failing presidency on the guy who held the office nearly four years earlier.

Tired of Paying For KCMO said...

Why is Mayor Sly James got his hand in the KCMO School District mess and not fixing the things that he actually has the power to address?

Mr James, you have no issues taking money from those who work in your city, but you have done nothing to start fixing the major issues facing you city like new water and sewer lines.

Maybe you and the rest of KCMO residents are wait for some new tax for those who work in your city to fix those issues for as you know you failed school district wants us in other districts to pay to educate you children.

What a mess you have before you and nothing positive to show when it comes to getting the city on the right path. Again why not focus on things city hall should be doing and let others focus on the schools. If not by the grace of God maybe the state can take over the city and get things replaced like they should have been years ago.

Anonymous said...

Oh that is a bunch of hog wash. I'm sick and tired of blameing Geo. Bush for everything. Obama has had 31\2 years to turn this country around. Hope and Change remember? Well how is that hope and change working out for you? Lost any of your savings in your 401K? Still have your job or you living off unemployment? Which I ,Mr. Taxpayer am paying for. So you Demorats just need to admit it this pres is just as bad if not worse than Jimmy Carter.

john henry holiday said...

greg, i thought this was a local blog. I tried to interject last year how what goes on in washington affects us localy and you wiould not print it.
Has this changed if so i can blog page after page of opinion.
ie: its all bushs fault

Anonymous said...

I don't remember your post.

But you are correct that what happens in Washington does affect us. The last two national elections are proof of that.

2008 was unique in that Obama was elected President. The repercussion of many of his policies were so strong that the 2010 (local) elections saw a complete sweep of Democrat candidates in Clay and Platte Counties. Even in Jackson County, with the exception of a few strongly Democratic seats in the Missouri House and the County Legislature, the sweep was nearly complete.

2012 is going to be an election of an unpredictable outcome. The coat-tails of the Presidential campaigns will have a huge impact on local races.

For instance, the Raytown City Council is by and large, a Republican bastion of candidates. Two of its members are Republican Committeemen. Another member is a former Republican Committeeman.

Would another sweep of Republican officeholders in Missouri affect that reality? In the words of another well known Republican, "you betchya".

Conversely, a Democratic sweep would probably loosen the hold of some of those seats on the City Council. Just as the euphoria that followed President Obama's election as a call for change had far reaching effects on the local municipal elections in Raytown that followed Obama's election.

Your comments are welcome. Keep the hits above the belt and, please, no profanity or even the hint of profanity will be allowed on this site.

Pat Casady said...

Yes he could! Could the republicans fix things?
Yes they could!
But they won't, none of them care about you or me.
They care about their parties and the people that
control the money in this country.
And if you think for one moment that Raytown city hall's
church of Wal-Mart cares about saving you money, think again.
They have put more people out of work by causing the
closings of American factories than any other company in history.
You want to put people back to work demand that W-M and others
bring back American made products and jobs.
A smart man said over thirty years ago,
send American jobs overseas and America will go downhill
and the economy will be a disaster.
Think of all the jobs that Sprint sent to India.
This area alone lost over two thousand jobs. Yet we still
keep using and buying from these un-American job killing
companies. Don't even get me started on foreign cars!
Nissan and Mitsubishi built the bombers, the Zero's
that killed Americans at Pearl Harbor and all through World war
two. Toyota's trucks took Americans to camps to be tortured and killed.
Yet, look on our streets at all the import cars and trucks.
I guess we get what we deserve.
As far as Democrats or Republicans, they both are no good.
The sooner you realize this the better off we will all be.

Anonymous said...

I only know of one Republican Committeeman serving on the BOA and one that was at one point elected, showed up at one meeting wanting to know how to get money if he ran for some elected state office and one other meeting and was going to do big project. He didn't do the project and we never saw him again. He is NOT a Republican. As a matter of fact he is no more a Republican than I am a Democrat. If he ever ran for office I wouldn't vote for him no matter what ticket he was on!!!~

Andy Whiteman said...

Obviously Rasytown is not an island to itself.

Andy Whiteman

Salamander said...

Greetings of the Season from your correspondent.

With Christmas 2011 a pleasant memory, perhaps it is time to pickup on current events.

Some are worthy of acerbic comment:

Item: USA Today, the nation’s only daily national paper, reports annual pay for the average Federal (government) employee now tops $70,000.00 a year. Add to that almost $26,000.00 (average) benefits and your overworked, underpaid Government employees receive way over $100,000.00 for 12 months’ work.

Not bad pay for a job where the average employee puts in 2.4 days a week.

If you’re thinking of changing jobs, check it out. The Government, despite a 14 trillion dollar debt, is still hiring. They may, in fact, be the only big corporation outside of the auto industry which is adding to the work force. All know how the auto industry was bailed out by your tax dollars.

Readers may be interested to find that government employee pay and benefits is almost 65% higher than comparable jobs in the private sector.

When asked why government drones are paid so much more the reply was, “Government employees have to be better trained and more knowledgeable than those in the private sector. They also work harder and longer days.”

What hogwash!

The third largest bureau in the U.S. Government is the Transportation Safety Authority (TSA).

What special knowledge and training do you need to sit in a chair, watch people take their shoes off, walk through a scanner and endure verbal abuse?

Do my readers suppose there is some college or university out there where people major in “watching shoe removal” or perhaps “belt removal.”

If so, the Salamander would like to hear about it. He would also like to know if the institute of higher education has a football team. In actuality, having an athletic team is the main reason most college exists, is it not?

The solution. Nope. The Salamander will not go there but here is his advice:

Keep voting yourself new taxes, fees, etc. He guarantees the bureaucrats will waste every penny they take in. And will come back for more again and again and again.

Andy Whiteman said...

Yes Salamander, you are correct that elected officials are experts at wasting tax dollars! This is been well demonstrated at the city and national levels. The states appear to be cutting back.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

Earlier this week I posted a blog that said three of the current City Council had served as Republican Committeemen for Brooking Township, which covers the same geographic area as the City of Raytown.

An anonymous post responded saying that there is only one Republican Committeeman on the City Council.

I did some checking and found out that I was half right.

Bill VanBuskirk is currently on the City Council and is also a Republican Committeeman.

Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere has served as a Republican Committeeman.

Ward 5 Alderman Michael Lightfoot ran for the post of Republican Committeeman but was not elected.

Sorry about the mistake.

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg, we all can and will make mistakes. My worst mistake was moving to Raytown for a job despite the fact I already knew ho miserable that climate is. I never knew how expensive it is to live in Raytown. The Chamber lied and told me the taxes were the lowest in the metro.

I wish my friends a safe and Happy New Year! If you drink, please have someone else drive.

Andy Whiteman

There is a better way said...

Greg,

Thank you for the clarification of the Board of Alderman members who have taken a public stand on which party they support.

It is apparent from the voting of many of the others as well as their stand on issues that our board is a little heavy on the Republican side, which sure explains the ongoing corporate give away.

I for one sure would like to understand the full impact those give a ways have cost the tax payers. You have done a good job to point out the impacts over the years to city services, but let us face the reality of the situation. These tax breaks also impact the school district and fire district, so I would also assume they are impacting the library system and any other taxing entity.

Our elected officials at city hall want us to believe the only way to attract new business is to give away the farm. However, if they would take an educated approach they would quickly learn it takes all the entities working to gather for the common goal of those living in the community for the community to grow and attract new businesses.

The thing that strikes me as odd about this is many of these same individuals on the board of Alderman do not want the city (government) to tell the businesses what they can and cannot do. Examples include but are not limited to going to a single trash hauler, maintaining a consistent stand on the sign ordinance and a making Raytown smoke free.

I guess these same individuals missed the message from the occupy Wall Street groups who were protesting in part on the companies who took government money. It is sad that they didn’t understand how big of an issue this really is in this nation. Either way it is clear Americans are tired of flipping the bill for business.

So our elected officials in Raytown need to understand that if you true want and support free enterprise you stop giving money away to Corporate America. You do not give special compensation or exemptions as they love to call them at city hall for businesses.

You treat each and every business the same so not to create any additional appearance of special treatment for select groups, which only leads to discrimination real or perceived from others who do not receive this same special treatment.

January first is just around the corner let us all pray that our elected officials understand the mistakes of the past and start the new year out by stopping their countless give a ways and start treating everyone the same under the ordinances that are on the books, by stopping the special treatment for those select few.

Anonymous said...

I see that printed paper in Raytown is bragging about all the new things in that came to Raytown in 2011.

As always, the piece fails to cover who is paying for those new things.

There was no indication of how much tax revenue was being generated and if they are generating more revenue than what it is costing to pay off the debt.

It seems that printed paper needs to learn a lot about printing the news and less about print what the owner is told to print in an effort to make all of us feel good about what the city is doing.

We need the news, we need the facts and if for one minute anyone things we need propaganda all they have to do is watch a Board of Alderman meeting. I have yet to see one that does not have at least one of the elected officials proclaiming about the professionals we have working for the city.

I know I cannot be alone in fearing that this ongoing purposefully misguiding of the citizens is ever going to benefit any of us other than those at city hall who thrive of falsehood and deception.

Those that buy into this have not had firsthand experience with any of those fine professionals we hear about.

Let me not paint a picture of how things are, but how things should be:

When citizens drop of things at the recycling center we should be greeted by the city employee who helps to unload the items we are recycling.

When we call in suspicious activity within the city the dispatcher should quickly gather as much pertinent information and just as quickly dispatch an officer to investigate the concern.

When the police are not patrolling the city they should be parked in either high crime areas or high traffic areas to deter additional criminal activity.

When documents are requested for review they should be quickly made available and if they are list like a list of members of boards and committees they should always be current and correspond to who is actually still on the boards and committees.

Codes enforcement should be proactive and citizens should be able to obtain a clear understanding of how a proactive approach is being used in the city to improve our overall image to those who are shopping our business or looking to relocate to our city.

It is apparent the ideas of positive change are not hard it is the lack of professionals working for the city that make them imposable to enact.

Anonymous said...

There is a better way,

You couldn't have said it any better!

Andy Whiteman said...

This is posted in bold red type on the City of Raytown home page:
****Personal Property Tax, Real Estate Tax and Business Tax bills****

We encourage everyone to spread the word and pay their taxes at Raytown City Hall located at 10000 E. 59th Street. The City benefits by receiving 1% of the tax dollars collected for acting as an agent for Jackson County.

Taxpayers benefit by receiving their tax receipts immediately upon payment.


I can't pay my home taxes because they are escrowed, but I pay my car taxes at City Hall. It is easy. I simply drop the stub and payment check in the sewer bill drop and the city mails me the receipt.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I think it was Mark Twain who wrote, "when something is said, and said well, have no hesitation. Write it down and say it again.

That quote came to mind when I read the following paragraph from a contributor to this page who wrote:


"The thing that strikes me as odd about this is many of these same individuals on the board of Alderman do not want the city (government) to tell the businesses what they can and cannot do. Examples include but are not limited to going to a single trash hauler, maintaining a consistent stand on the sign ordinance and a making Raytown smoke free."

Don't know who you are but we need people like you on the City Council.

Please consider running for office in the next election.

Paul M. Ramirez said...

Hello, I'm a Raytown resident and am curious as to why Laurel Lanes Bowling Alley closed? I can't find anything online why? I would appreciate any information you could have/share. Thanks.

Pat Casady said...

Mr.Ramirez,
I'm not really sure but I was told they had tax problems. A group of us
used to eat breakfast there every weekday morning.
The prices started going up and
the quality of the food went down. Usually a good
sign of money problems.
The owners were and are good people, it's too
bad it worked out the way it did.
If this prints twice I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

I am not too surprised to see that the Sears there in Lee's Summit is going to close. It was a K Mart, then a Sears Grand, and now a Sears. I was in there not long ago, and really did not see much (that I needed). I do recall when it was the K Mart, and it was closing I got a $15 fishing rod for something like 75 cents. I also heard that besides getting a Jimmy Johns and Dunkin Donuts, but also Chipotle might be going in (anyone know about that one?). I have been hoping for a Chipotle for awhile, since the closest are in Lee's Summit (there are now two, one in Summit Crossing, and the "old" McDonalds on 291). I have had Jimmy Johns while at work, but never on my one "dime" but there sandwiches are good. I have not had a Dunkin Donuts for years. If I recall there used to be one at 87th and Blue Ridge some 25-30 some odd years ago (I am that old...?) I for some reason have a hankern for a jelly donut....

Anonymous said...

Handicap Parking

After watching the ongoing shortfall of sales tax generated from Wal-Mart to meet the bonds issued for the project, it is apparent that something needs to be done other than the ongoing usage of money from other city accounts. The simplest answers are often right in front of us and in this case there is an unlimited supply of individuals who are not handicap, but believe they are entitled to park in the handicap spaces. I have checked with a former city official and learned the city can issue a $125.00 ticket for each violation.

Earlier this year this blog reported a $70,000 shortfall, which could be recovered with actively monitoring the handicap spaces at Wal-Mart and this should be fairly easy considering how often the police are at Wal-Mart as it is. I understand they are often working security for Wal-Mart, but they are still commissioned by the city and are wearing the city uniform. Therefore, they should always first enforce the laws of the State of Missouri and City of Raytown and not the wishes of their part time security jobs.

Wal-Mart might interject about tickets being issued to their customers, but they should not care that their customers are getting the tickets for after all Wal-Mart is fine with the customers paying an extra sales tax for privilege to shop their store. Wal-Mart should also embrace the challenges faced by their handicap customers and support them by requesting the off-duty police officers to hourly monitor the handicap parking spaces and issue tickets accordingly.

Just think 560 tickets later the city would recover the $70,000 shortfall.

Andy Whiteman said...

I prefer Winchells doughnuts. We used to stop at Winchells (at 350 HWY & Gregory) for a cinimon roll when we came to Raytown from KCMO. I wonder what happened to Winchells?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Shaking down handicap parking space violators will only work if the car is towed. If it is not the ticket received will just be torn up and thrown away.

The no show for court appearances of non-moving violations is extremely high. Especially in Raytown. That is because a lot of those folks you will be going after do not live here. So there chances of being stopped for not showing up in court are slim to none.

Anonymous said...

In 2004, Winchell's was purchased by Yum-Yum Donuts, a company which operates 70 donut shops under its own name, but continues to operate Winchell's shops under their historic name.

In 2005, it withdrew from the Kansas City area, and most locations became Krispy Kreme.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchell%27s_Donuts

Anonymous said...

I agree something needs done to gain back the loss of funds thanks to the Wal-Mart deal. From the two pieces I have read, it seems the best answer is a crackdown at the Wal-Mart parking lot where the vehicles are towed away.

This will help the city regain loss funding from the negative impact it continues to suffer from the Wal-Mart venture and send a message to those who should not be parking in those places in the first place that we do not allow others to abuse the handicap in Raytown.

I wonder why the professional staff at city hall has not come up with a plan like this to address the shortfall in revenue as well as showing that the human rights committee actually wanting to address our diverse culture even if it has to be done through enforcement of the law.

In either case it further shows the type of individuals who continue to get hired at city hall.

Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to read the positive ideas that many of the readers have shared to address the Wal-Mart burden on the city.

We can all hope that the city will agree that a solution needs to be found to eliminate additional funding to cover Wal-Mart’s inability to meet the sales tax impact they have created for the citizens.

Please keep in mind that Wal-Mart could step put and meet these shortfalls that others have wrote about. However, that would mean they would show some corporate responsibility for the mess they helped to create. Let them not be alone in this effort to remediate this issue as Block & Company too played a role to which they still have not delivered upon the promises to build additional retail space to the West of Wal-Mart.
.
Both Wal-Mart and Block & Company deserve to be on the Raytown worst company list again for 2011 and I am doubtful we will see any positive change in 2012.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 9:24 AM, I don't check handicapped parking places because I don't have a citation book. Is it that people who park there don't have a state permit or is it you assume they don't appear to be handicapped? There are many types of disabilities that merit a handicapped permit even though the person appears to be able bodied. I questioned one of my managers and she had an bad reaction to sunlight so had to park close to the building. My father was dieing from cancer, appeared able bodied with people making comments to him, but he was unable to walk any distance.

I agree there should be enforcement. I suggest you call 737-6020 and make a complaint whenever you observe a violation. This number is answered 24/7/365.

1:19 PM, Thanks for the info. I sure miss Winchells. If I ever see an YumYum, I will check it out.

Happy New Year to everyone. If you drunk please have someone else do the driving.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy,

I am sure most people are able to understand the state law and the fact that those who park in the handicap parking spots either need a handicap license plate or a rearview mirror tag. In addition, the individual who was issued this special permit needs to with the vehicle for the specific trip. In other words, a family member cannot park the vehicle in the handicap space unless the issuer of the permit is along for the trip. Also regardless if you have a permit you are not allowed to park in the stripped area reserved for loading and unloading or otherwise known as the ramp area of the parking spot.

I know when I have been at Wal-Mart there have been multiple vehicles in the handicap spots without any state tag or permit on the vehicles.

Now I understand that if you spend too much time conversing with those professionals at city hall you might find it hard to believe that main stream individuals in Raytown are educated enough to read and comprehend the laws of the State of Missouri. However, to the surprise of those at city hall and yourself this is not the case.

Anonymous said...

Andy,

It is nice to hear you have had good experience with call the non-emergency number.

I have found that when I have called I have to justify why I think an officer should need to come out and check something out.

For example I called at one point because a car with a teen was parked in front of the unoccupied home on my street that still has all the belongings in it as the owner is in a nursing home. I had let the car set for about fifteen minutes before calling and had to spend five minutes explaining that this car did not belong on the street and it was not one of the family members. The family had asked several of us to keep an eye on the house so we know who should be coming and going, which happened from time to time when they check on the house.

I know I must be wrong to complain as I have heard we only have professionals working at city hall. However, it doesn’t sound like professional services to me.

Andy Whiteman said...

11:50AM, I have always had a good experience at that number and received a prompt response. I too fail to understand what it takes you 5 minutes to explain the problem. Maybe it is a language barrier. I have law enforcement experience and could have stated your complaint in 10 seconds. On the other hand, the dispatcher has to triage calls. If it is a time that officers are occupied on emergency calls and/or there are few officers on duty, the dispatcher has to ensure it is a legitimate call and that he/she is not taking a officer away from something that could be more urgent.

I have that number on speed dial of both my home and cell phone.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy,

Sorry for an anonymous response, but I'm not very good at understanding new technology! Just a quick note to say I ran across a Winchell's donut shop a year ago in downtown Denver. I was glad to see it. I'm not sure what happened in Raytown. However, it seems as though the company is around.

Best,
Edward "Ed" Fischer

Anonymous said...

~~I have not had a Dunkin Donuts for years. If I recall there used to be one at 87th and Blue Ridge some 25-30 some odd years ago (I am that old...?) ~~

Yes you are and so am I. heh

It's been 39 years since that first opening day. I should know as I was there. It was my first job while in high school. Good times.

Andy Whiteman said...

Ed, Thanks for the info. There are several in the Denver metro area. One is fairly close to where I used to live, but that area is now off limits to many due to discrimination.

Your post lead my to a qwestdex.com search for addresses which lead to a website with locations: http://www.winchells.com/
They are also in Wichita, Lincoln, Omaha, & Enid. I wish someone would get a franchise in Raytown, but I won't be here by the time it is open. I haven't had a Drunkin doughnut (that is what my father called them) since I was a kid. Back then they were all cake donuts. I prefer raised.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

12:21 AM, I don't know about understanding State laws, but every Police Officer is sworn to enforce them! It should be a simple matter to cite someone for parking in a handicapped place without a permit. I think the issue is officers don't have the time to look for these violations. That is why I suggested reporting them. If an officer is doing his/her job, he/she is not wasting time cruising Walmart checking handicapped parking. This is private property so why not speak with the manager of Walmart.

BTW: My father was manager of a remote rest area on the interstate. He reported the place was being used as a drug drop off place but the authorities didn't want to be involved because the quantity was too small. He asked for and received a deputy sheriff's commission. He never made a drug arrest, but when he announced that he was arresting someone for littering, the person complied with his order to clean up the area.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

What bar was Robert Long drinking at before last night's shooting?

Anonymous said...

What bar was Robert Long drinking at the night of the shooting?

Please respond to:

Cara Doyle
5PM Producer
KMBC-TV
cdoyle@hearst.com

Thank you!