Sunday, March 4, 2012


-- BREAKING NEWS --


Voices become heated over Bass Pro finances by BRIAN BURNES
Tempers flared Monday night in Independence during discussion of The Falls, the city’s troubled shopping district. Jason White, a former Independence City Council member, criticized his former colleagues and other city officials, saying they had not been sufficiently transparent regarding debt service payments for The Falls, and added that he would not be voting in favor of the proposed Independence police property tax on the April 3 ballot. READ MORE

Raytown Middle School Student Reports Rape at School by TONY RIZZO and GLENN E. RICE
13-year-old tells police she was walking to class at Raytown Middle School when she was pulled into a room by a boy. Kansas City police are investigating a reported rape of a 13-year-old student at a middle school on the city’s East Side. The alleged attack was reported Friday but occurred about noon on Feb. 27 at Raytown Middle School, 4900 Pittman Road. READ MORE


U-Verse Provides Public Access to Municipalities
WHY ISN’T RAYTOWN ON BOARD? BY GREG WALTERS AND PAUL LIVIUS
A regular reader of the Raytown Report called the other day and said he was switching  his home media service from Cable TV to U-Verse.

U-Verse is the operational arm of AT&T’s telephone/internet service. They compete directly with Comcast as a provider of home entertainment options to Raytown homeowners.

He went on to say that while working with the sales representatives from U-Verse he discovered that AT&T provides free public access channels to the communities they serve.
He wondered why Raytown does not take advantage of this free service as does surrounding municipalities like Grandview, Independence and Lee’s Summit.

It’s a good question.

We’ve written about this topic before. We know City Hall is not ignorant of the opportunity to broadcast City Council meetings through U-Verse. Raytown was one of the earlier markets tested by U-Verse when the service was first offered to Raytowners. Plain and simple, Raytown should be broadcasting its municipal meetings on U-Verse.

The way we disseminate information of our local governments has changed.

In 1980 Raytown was served by four newspapers. There was The Kansas City Times*, The Kansas City Star*, the Raytown Post and the Raytown Tribune.

Three of those news sources no longer exist. The one source remaining, Kansas City Star, has greatly diminished its news coverage of small municipal governments.

Those news sources are slowly being replaced by websites like the Raytown Report. Another source is the live broadcasting of City Council meetings. Raytown was a leader back in 1985 when it became the first community to broadcast meetings of the Raytown Board of Aldermen.

*Both papers were owned and operated by The Kansas City Star. However, each had its own news department and editorial point of view. The Times was thrown in yards in the morning. The Star was delivered in the evening.

Paul Livius
So Why Doesn’t Raytown Take Advantage of the Offer? BY PAUL LIVIUS
That is another good question.

It is also one that we cannot answer. The power to step up to the 21st Century rests in the hands of the Mayor and Raytown Board of Aldermen.

The following list gives the contact information for the Mayor and Raytown Board of Aldermen. It is a fair question. Why doesn’t the city take advantage of the free service offered by U-Verse?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The email addresses and phone numbers were obtained from the city’s website.

mayor_david_bower@raytown.mo.us    737-6000 (city hall)
alderman_joe_creamer@raytown.mo.us    517-4773 (cell phone)
aldermanshanepardue@raytown.mo.us    398-8053 (cell phone)
alderman_jim_aziere@raytown.mo.us    358-8375 (home)
alderman_jim_hamilton@raytown.mo.us     737-6003 (city hall)
alderman_charlotte_melson@raytown.mo.us    737-6003 (city hall)
alderman_christine_white@raytown.mo.us    213-0196 (cell phone)
alderman_pat_ertz@raytown.mo.us    356-8233 (home)  
alderman_steve_mock@raytown.mo.us    358-6283 (home)

Regional Transit Asking for $10,000 BY GREG WALTERS
The Regional Transit Alliance is asking the City of Raytown for a $10,000 donation towards a $750,000 budget for an Educational Fund. The purpose of the Educational Fund would be to educate Jackson County residents the need for mass transit.

Most people will recognize effort as light rail or transportation.

Documentation provided with the request was long in overview but scant in precision. Administrative costs for the program are estimated to be at $126,330.00. In the proposal the administrative costs do not include cost for a “media relations firm to support RTA under the administration task above”.

Most people are in support of some sort of rapid transit in Eastern Jackson County. However, the information provided in the packet to the Board of Aldermen raises more questions than answers. The Board should ask some hard questions about the proposal.

Since Raytown money is involved, how much say will Raytown have in the governing of the Regional Transit Authority? Who will serve as its Executive Director? What are the short and long term targets – or more specifically, will Raytown be directly affected by the implementation of the light rail or will we be at the end of the line for construction?

The concept of Light Rail is a good one. But implementation, particularly at the early stages is where the details are very important. Special care needs to be taken to keep the costs involved in the RTA’s zeal to “educate” the public.

Getting My Vitamins BY KRISTEN FOR FIT BOTTOMED GIRLS
I don’t take vitamins. There, I said it. And Mom? I’m sorry. You raised me better than this. In fact, every morning, when I woke up, there was a vitamin C tablet and a Flintstone (or some other cartoon or animal-shaped) multivitamin waiting for me on a paper towel on the kitchen counter. I developed good habits early on, but... Continue reading

CITY NEWS . . .
Pat Jackson Nominated for Raytown Park Board
Mayor David Bower has nominated Pat Jackson for a vacant seat on the Raytown Park Board. The Board of Aldermen, which has the final say on appointments for the Park Board, will consider her appointment at Tuesday night’s meeting (March 6, 2012).

Ms. Jackson has previously served on the Raytown Community Development Implementation Team, Raytown Reaching For Tomorrow and is a member of the Raytown Area Chamber of Commerce.

Raytown Parks and Recreation to Receive $75,000 Grant
Raytown Parks and Recreation is in the final stages of a grant application for the $75,000 to rebuild the tennis courts at Coleman Park located at 59th and Lane Streets. The grand process is currently before the Raytown Board of Aldermen for approval.
  
Downtown Streetscape Committee to Meet
The Downtown Streetscape Steering Committee will conduct a meeting on Tuesday, March 13th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at City Hall. The consultant will be presenting and seeking comments from the Steering Committee members regarding the refined plans for Phase 1 of the project at this meeting, which will then be presented at the March 20th Board of Aldermen Work Session.

The city is discussing spending approximately $603,000 (75% of which is from a federal grant) in the development of Downtown Raytown. Interested parties will want to have their input at this early planning stage. 

The meeting is open to the public. 

To post a comment on this blog click on the word comments on the line directly below this sentence.

15 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

I have issues with AT&T but I feel that the City should take advantage of any free media source especially when said source is generating $$$$ in both franchise fees and sales taxes. In my opinion, not to take advantage of a free service is both idiotic and stupid!

I wonder if the City's contract with the cable company prohibits using another provider?
I don't know if this is correct or not, but I was told by a friend that Raytown residents receive free cable TV. Does anyone know if this is correct?

I am not among the rich who will pay for TV which can be received free over the air. I feel discriminated against because I can't watch the city channel. It should be broadcast over the air so that all may watch.

I contacted the Star about Raytown coverage and was told:

"Andy, I'm sorry for the lateness of this reply, but I was out of the
office for a few days. The reality is that every regional newspaper in
the country (and most of the world, for that matter) has pulled back
from reporting on smaller communities in larger metro areas. The great
expansion of the 1990s that resulted in meetings such as this being
covered simply wasn't sustainable. However, I'll suggest to the Metro
desk that they reconsider.

Derek Donovan
Readers' representative
The Kansas City Star"

BTW, Raytown does have a weekly paper but it will not be a legal paper until it receives its Second Class mailing permit.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

You are 100% correct about the Raytown Times not being a newspaper.

It is a lesson in small town corruption.

By definition, it is not a legal newspaper of general distribution in the Raytown area. Yet the city still uses it to advertise municipal elections. The cost to the taxpayers of Raytown is not insignificant.

now you know why you will neever ever see an ill word written in the Raytown Times about Raytown City Hall.

Somebody must be putting the heat on someone somewhere!

Raytown Resident said...

Andy, Raytown residents do NOT receive free cable TV. If a Raytown resident does have cable TV, they receive the government channel (City Council meetings) free, same as any other local channel.

Andy Whiteman said...

It is called the State Controlled Media.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I think it is a good idea to broadcast city council meetings. I used to watch them when I was with comcast but cannot now that I have changed to uverse.

I hope the city council makes it possible for me to watch them again. It is so much better to make an opinion on our city council based on what they do rather than have it told by another source.

Andy Whiteman said...

8AM, Thanks for the response. I think it was a case of my friend bought a house and the cable company didn't cut off service when the last customer cancelled, so she assumed it was free. The same thing happened to me in KCMO--Basic cable was still active. I called the company and told them I wouldn't pay but they didn't want to turn it off. Finally they disconnected it at the pole after a bad storm, but they REFUSED to remove the drop. After fall blizzard in '97 knocked the drop down, I cut it off and left it for the trash people.

My 2nd level at AT&T said the point is once a line is established into the house, leave it there in case someone in the future wants to buy service.

Andy Whiteman

KMCCLA said...

Some years ago when we had cable, after it was disconnected they left the cable in the yard. I picked it up, and kept it. It was RG6 -- very expensive cable. I have used it for various of things. Things like Dish and Direct TV also do not get "local feeds" such as this, at times it would be nice as well.

Anonymous said...

There are some strange folks voting on your blog. They are against city council meetings being televised?

Where is the sense in that?

Pat Casady said...

Well folks, here we go again!
The other day a man from Overland Park
Kansas stopped by my shop as well as
Fox Drugs and many more in the downtown
area and stated he or his company was going
to buy up all the properties in downtown
Raytown. I didn't talk to him but that was
the gist of his conversation with my employee.
It is also how Fox's understood it.
This is round three. So far the score is
property owners two and developers zero.
However, the developers didn't really lose
anything. You see they charged you, the taxpayer,
over sixty thousand dollars to do nothing.
I have nothing against this town becoming a
better place in fact I would welcome it. My
problem is with our city leaders hiring these
developers and the developers coming in and
acting like they are the final answer and then
treating us property owners like crap. Thinking
we will just fold and go away for the
betterment of the team. I love this town but
let's get real here. I'm not going to give
my property away for a few dollars. This business
is my life and my lifes work not to forget my
employees. Most of us own our property. That
means no payments. If we are forced out that
means either going into debt or closing the doors.
I will keep you posted on this.

Andy Whiteman said...

I have found that disconnected cable sometimes can be used as an antenna so it may serve a purpose.

8:48PM, Are regular and satellite parts interchangeble? My new house has a satellite dish with a 10 or 12 amplifier/port splitter. I am going to use an antenna and was thinking of using the splitter. Someone told me that a satellite splitter won't work on antenna TV.

7:04 AM, I agree that some people in Raytown are strange. Obviously some believe in preventing public access to city business. I have an opinion as to which group of people these votes are from.

Andy Whiteman

Interested Raytown Citizen said...

"Suspect the reason why U-verse is not on Channel 7 is the same reason it is not on some other city government channels. The Comcast franchise agreement was entered into years ago. As part of that agreement, Comcast provided Channel 7 equipment funds through a local PEG grant and provided free access to their cable system. The State has superseded local franchise agreements with a State-wide franchise agreement. As old local franchise agreement expire, it is probable that cable companies will elect to use the State agreement. Not really a bad agreement, but not as generous as the old local ones.

My understanding is the State agreement does not require cable companies to provide a local PEG grant and, thus, does not offer a source for equipment funding. So while it may be true that AT&T provides free access, but they probably do not provide equipment funds to make the connection happen.

Many cities are streaming council meetings over the Internet at local expense. That would probably best future process for Raytown.

Andy Whiteman said...

I would like to hear a heated debate at the BOA about Wally's World but I bet you it ain't going to happen under the present regime.

Pat, I know some prime locations in downtown Raytown that would not displace any business. They would cost this developer less because he can buy them ASAP without hassle.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy. I thought the same thing to. The tax give-aways by City Hall on Walmart in particular are hurting our city. I can tell the maintenance of our neighborhood streets is way below standard. The rock and gravel stuff they put on roads is ugly and a very rough ride. Some of the places they did in Southbrooke a couple of years ago is already starting to break up!

Anonymous said...

I think someone is tampering with your opinion poll. The number of votes is way above normal.

Andy Whiteman said...

I suspect the poll votes are coming from a special interest group such as city officials, Comcast employees, Comcast stockholders, those who oppose AT&T, those who like secret government, etc.

As an FYI I have an intense dislike of AT&T but still feel if they are willing to provide free service to air city government, the city should take advantage of it.

Andy Whiteman