Sunday, May 5, 2013

To learn more details about the proposed Walmart Store in Downtown Raytown use this link Downtown Raytown



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Community Leader Speaks Out on the Future of Downtown Raytown

The following letter was written by Patrick Searcy, local Raytown business leader and  President of Power On Technology. In his letter, originally sent to the Raytown Board of Aldermen, Mr. Searcy laid out a clear vision of the best path for development of Downtown Raytown.

There has been tons of material written on this subject. None hit to the core of what needs to be understood on the issue. Please take a moment and read what Mr. Searcy has to say.

Letter From Patrick J. Searcy to the Raytown Board of Aldermen

Although I am no longer a resident of Raytown, a sizeable portion of my assets currently remain in and are invested in Raytown.  With emotions running high with the current debate about the “Green Space”, I wanted to be sure to make a few points.  

We are not in the grocery business and Wal-Mart is not a competitor. My competitors are located in Johnson County Kansas, North Kansas City, and Lee’s Summit. We all compete for and employ technical and professional people from around the entire Kansas City metropolitan area. Please create an environment that helps me to attract and retain good employees.
  • Do we want one large store or twenty to thirty small shops in downtown Raytown? It’s simple; you have the choice of one big 42,000 square foot building with a huge parking lot or the potential for 20 to 30 small shops, restaurants, and bars facing the road with sidewalks, trees, and benches. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a grocer or a furniture store; one large building is one large building. Give my employees a reason to stay in, and enjoy Raytown. Raytown has had an Economic Development position for a few short years and just recently has had a responsible owner take over the Raytown Plaza; certainly there will be other opportunities for this space.
  • The city will not gain any new sales tax revenue. Although there could be a gain if it were a Trader Joes or Whole Food Market - I find it hard to believe someone would drive to Raytown from another city to shop specifically at a Neighborhood Market.
  • I’ve heard, “It works in Brookside”.  Take a look at the two maps. Brookside’s Neighborhood Market is on the extreme Northeastern edge of the entire area which is two blocks from Brookside Blvd and an entire block from 63rd street (the two main streets). The proposed site in Raytown is right smack in the middle of everything and will be adjacent to the main thoroughfare.  Hardly a comparison.
  • I’ve heard, “They are paying more than the asking price and are not asking for special tax treatment or TIF’s”. Throwing money around is more commonly known as greasing the wheels to get things done your way. Unfortunately it happens far too often at the state and federal levels – don’t let it happen here. It’s obvious the developer has deep pockets and is currently trying to buy their way in.
  • I’ve heard, “The city should not be in the real estate business”. The city of Raytown got into the real estate business on July 17th, 1950 - the moment Raytown staked out some real estate and incorporated to prevent Kansas City from annexing it. Cities control the Board of Zoning Adjustment and the Planning and Zoning Commissions. Cities regulate zoning so that pig farms aren’t put in neighborhoods and property values are protected. Looking out for the welfare of property values through good planning is the roll of any competent city. Many cities even have land banks to deal with abandoned properties.
With Mayor Bower’s letter to Mr. Guenther that he would not re-nominate him to the Board of Zoning Adjustment; it’s not hard to notice the political games that are being played. I urge you to direct your City Administrator and Economic Development personnel to either reduce the size of the building or find a developer with a downtown vision that fits within downtown main street guidelines.

Sincerely,

Patrick J Searcy
President

POWER ON TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
5893 Raytown Rd S-101 
Kansas City, MO 64133


OTHER PAPERS DISCUSS
Fighting City Hall, Walmart . . .  REPRINTED FROM THE KANSAS CITY STAR, BY YAEL ABOUHALKAH

In Raytown, insurance agent Sue Frank knows how tough it can be to battle City Hall. After all, Frank used to be City Hall.

Specifically, she was a progressive mayor there, working to bring in economic development and spruce up the rather mundane downtown area where she works.

But now Frank and others are battling to keep Wal-Mart from building a neighborhood grocery on a large, a city-owned green space at 62nd Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard.

Opponents make an excellent point: The Wal-Mart store would severely damage plans to create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown Raytown, the kind that Lee’s Summit, Overland Park and other cities have built over the years, featuring small shops of all kinds.

Of the green space, Frank points out, “It’s the heart, plum and jewel of what could be a nice little part of our downtown.” READ MORE




To leave a comment go to the bottom of this week's post (under the "Fit Bottomed Girls" story) and click on the word "comments".

more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/05/08/4225217/fighting-city-hall-wal-mart-and.html#storylink=cpy

City Council Holds First Public Forum on Walmart Zoning 
An estimated 150 people were in attendance at last night’s Raytown Board of Aldermen meeting. It was hard to tell exactly how many showed up. Every chair was taken, leaving standing room only. A number of late arrivals turned back when they saw there was no room to sit or stand to watch the proceedings.

In response to the large crowd, the Board of Aldermen moved the Special Zoning application of Walmart up to the second item for consideration. That portion of the meeting lasted well over four hours.

The number of public speakers from the public – as the evening wore past 10:00 pm a number of people who had signed up to speak left before their turn at the podium arrived.

One moment of contention occurred when Mayor Bower attempted to cut off former Mayor Sue Frank from speaking.

The Mayor attempted to cut her speaking time off at five minutes. Mrs. Frank told him she was speaking on behalf of her neighbors. The Mayor told her that she should have mentioned that fact at the beginning of her speech.

At that point a number of people in the audience loudly announced that “I am her neighbor”.
The Mayor asked the Board if they wished to hear more of Frank’s testimony. None of the members spoke in opposition – Mrs. Frank was allowed to finish her statement.

The former Mayor, speaking in opposition to the proposal brought to light many lapses by City Hall in its handling of the Walmart application. She noted:
  • Lack of proper public notification by the City of the public hearings.
  • Misleading news stories printed in the Raytown Times as to when meetings are held.
  • Improper meeting time posted in the City Administrator’s Weekly Report on the city’s official website.
  • Absence of an Oath of Truthfulness at the beginning of the hearing.
Another interesting fact that came to light through public testimony was that the City of Raytown recently approved special zoning in Downtown Raytown for a Tatoo Parlor.

Former Ward 1 Alderman Greg Walters reminded the Board that they recently set hours of operation for the Tatoo Parlor at 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

He told the Board that if they can set hours of operation for a small business, they can also set them for a large business.

The hours of operation of a Downtown Walmart has been a continuing subject of debate during the hearings. Walmart representatives say that their bosses in Bentonville, Arkansas, home office of the retail giant’s headquarters, want operating hours of 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 Midnight.

Ward 5 Alderman Steve Mock suggested in BOA comments toward the end of the meeting that hours of 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. would be more appropriate. The consensus of the Board seemed to be to check area stores to see what the norm was for operating hours within residential areas for grocery stores of this size.

The next and final meeting on the Walmart Zoning Application is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21st at 7:00 p.m. at Raytown City Hall. The meeting is an open forum. The public is invited to attend and speak on the record about the Downtown Walmart application.

To read more about last night’s meeting watch for the Paul Livius Report later this week in the Raytown Report.


How Big Is a Walmart Neighborhood Market?
Jeanette Gentry has attended all of the meetings concerning the proposed Walmart in Downtown Raytown. She is a big supporter of the Mixed Use Zoning endorsed by the Downtown Raytown Main Street Association.

She is getting tired of what she calls misleading statements by the applicant and the cat and mouse game being played by Mayor David Bower’s administration in the process being played out at City Hall.

To illustrate her point she gave us the following example:

Jeff Clayton is the realtor who has put together the deal for Walmart. On April 25th he testified that Walmart must have a 42,000 square foot building for their use in Raytown. He also said that the old Sav-A-Lot location (at 33,000 sq.ft.) was too small for Walmart’s use.

But is it?

Jeanette took it upon herself to do some research and found out that Walmart has many sizes for their Neighborhood Markets. The following links are for different Neighborhood Markets opened across the USA. Some of them right here in Missouri. 
Ms. Gentry said, “I hope this opens the eyes of some of our elected officials. There is room for compromise on the size of a Neighborhood Market. Maybe we can reach an agreement that will satisfy everyone.”

She went on to say the current proposal is simply too large. “It uses up the entire Green Space,” said Gentry. “That’s not my definition of Mixed Use Zoning.”


GREG WALTERS
Public Officials Behaving Poorly by GREG WALTERS

Last week’s Raytown Times carried a short story reviewing the first of two hearings before the Raytown Planning and Zoning Commission.

It ended with a most curious sentence. Whoever penned the story (it was unsigned), wrote:

“Citizens who spoke in opposition were well spoken, displayed no anger and showed no animosity toward the Walmart representatives.”

An interesting comment.

It caused me to wonder if a different type of behavior was expected of private citizens at the hearing. If someone was looking for a show of self-righteous indignation, they were disappointed.

It would be appropriate to remark that the citizens who participated in over eight hours of hearings were on their very best behavior. It would also be accurate to say that nothing less was expected.

The same cannot be said for all of our city’s public officials.

I am not talking about the Board of Aldermen. Those Aldermen who attended, Steve Mock, Bill VanBuskirk, Josh Greene, Michael Lightfoot, Janet Emerson and Jason Greene did not participate in the debate and were professional in their manner.

The same cannot be said about the city’s Public Information Officer, Brenda Gustafson. Like the confrontation between Mayor David Bower and Elisa Breitenbach (owner of Doughboy’s Donut Shop), what took place was uncalled for and show a lack of professionalism of the position she holds.

The string of events is interesting:

When I arrived at the Planning and Zoning meeting I noticed Channel 41 was interviewing a supporter of plans for a Walmart Grocery Store in Downtown Raytown. I lingered awhile to hear what was being said, recognized the usual talking points and went into the meeting.

Channel 41 came into the meeting and recorded part of the proceedings.

During public comments, Elisa Breitenbach was approached by the reporter from Channel 41, who asked her if she would like to be interviewed. During the interview Mayor Bower and the city’s Public Information Officer, Brenda Gustafson, entered the room.

The Mayor left. Gustafson remained.

After Breitenbach’s interview was completed, Gustafson, who was visibly angry at the swing of events, approached the newsman and said she wanted to “refute” Breitenbach’s interview. What followed was an unseemly give and take between the two women.

The reporter, who acted somewhat surprised by the demand, then taped some comments by a visibly agitated Gustafson. After which he commented “that was hot” to Breitenbach.

His comment should not be taken as a compliment.

Public Information Officers have a role to play in political events. And make no mistake about it, the Walmart Grocery Store application is a political as it gets.

But that role does not include cheerleading for one side over another. Nor does it include taking on private citizens who are only expressing their views to a news service. Gustafson is paid well for her service to the City of Raytown. We hope that getting into arguments with the public is not part of her job description. 

The Raytown public and the Board of Aldermen have been exemplary in their demeanor and conduct at the two hearings on the Walmart application. It would be good if all city officials were to follow their example.

* * * * *

Mrs. Brteitenbach was not the only target of the City's Public Information Officer. Jeanette Gentry, in a series of emails requesting information from Gustafson, was stunned at the treatment from the city's PIO officer.

She has shared the string of emails with us. To view the messages (which are public information) use this link Gustafson/Gentry Emails


PAUL LIVIUS
An Honest Mistake, Conspiracy or Incompetence?

“The problem up there,” he said (referring to City Hall), “is that the place is dysfunctional".

The “he” is a friend of mine. We were discussing the terrible handling of public notification by City Hall of one of the most important issues facing it in many years – the Walmart Neighborhood Grocery application.

The recent handling of the public announcement of May 7th (Tuesday’s) meeting of the Board of Aldermen and the Walmart Hearing in particular illustrates my friend’s point.

Consider the following:

The schedule of Public Walmart Hearings has been public information for the last month.
  • Last Thursday, at the end of the Planning and Zoning meeting, John Benson, the City Planner of Raytown told the 100 plus people assembled that the next meeting on Walmart would be Tuesday, May 7th at 7:00 p.m.
  • That same night, the Raytown Times (the unofficial mouthpiece of Raytown Cit Hall) had a front page story in which City Administrator Mahesh Sharma was quote saying the Walmart Hearing would not be held until May 21st.
  • I checked the City Administrator’s Weekly Report as well. It too, said the meeing would not be held until May 21st.
  • So I checked the city website and looked up the Board of Aldermen meeting agenda. The Walmart Hearing is listed as item Number 10 on the May 7th agenda!

It could be an honest mistake. After all, the Raytown Times is pretty well known for having to backtrack on its stories and make corrections. Since it is part of the “hard copy” newsprint media, it would take a full week before anyone would know about the mistake.

That does not explain away the City Administrator’s Weekly Report. The mistake could easily be corrected on the internet. An apology for the confusion would be appropriate.
Some have suggested that this confusion is not an accident. Mayor Bower is known to control the agenda with an iron grip.
Could this be an attempt to lower the number of people who have shown up at the two previous meetings? Both events had over 100 people in attendance. Even last Thursday’s snowstorm did not keep the people away.

Perhaps my friend is right. It could be a simple mistake. It could be a conspiracy – or – it could be plain old incompetence.

You be the judge on this one.


FIT BOTTOMED GIRLS
How to Run With Your Dog BY JENN
For Fit Bottomed Pets’ Week, we’ve talked a lot about getting active with your pet. And, obviously, running is a fabulous way for both you and your four-legged one to get some exercise. But how much can—and should—your dog run? Is there anything you should do to warm them up? Or make sure that running certain distances… Continue reading


To leave a comment go to the bottom of this week's post (under the "Fit Bottomed Girls" story) and click on the word "comments".

50 comments:

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Today at DOUGHBOYS we gave out yard signs that read SAVE DOWNTOWN RAYTOWN NO WALMART. We have only 4or so left. We will be closed Mondays starting this Monday. We hope and pray for a large turn out this Tuesday for the BOA meeting at 7:00.

Anonymous said...

Nobody's excited about the Google Fiber initiative? This would potentially make Raytown the second city in Missouri to get Google Fiber.

This is huge.

Chris Rathbone said...

Anonymous 9:36,
I did not state that as "fact". I said it was something that I had heard. I also said "if that is true" which should imply that I don't know if it is true or not. I had only heard the one side and appreciate it when someone else can fill me in on the rest of the story

You also did not claim your statement to be fact, just what you believe to be true

Is there anyone else on here that has more information on this?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous May 5, 2013 at 9:36

Your a day late and a dollar short pal, if the WalMart goes in at it's proposed location it will affect the streetscape project as designs, standards, and costs will be effected. The federal grant was to only 75% of the orginal estimated project, however as costs change and estimates go up for a variety of reasons, the more the city is on the hook. Regardless, people are not idiots and this design for a downtown WalMart is awful and not condusive to a pedistrian friendly downtown. The people are overwhelmingly against it. Take your pretense of knowledge somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that Google is huge for Raytown. Here is the part that really bothers me. I talked to two aldermen today. Neither of them knew anything about it!

This "need to know" business coming from the Mayor is hurting Raytown.

It hurt us with the YMCA when he did not share that they were shutting down the operation with us.

It is hurting us with the Downtown Walmart proposal.

I hope it does not hurt us with Google.

And to think, this guy went around spouting the word "transparency" when he ran for Mayor.

It is very clear to me that transparency to him is just a combination of letters strung together.

Andy Whiteman said...

The vacant Sav-A-Lot space only 33,000 sf? I have news for Walmart. There is a vacant pad next door and the wall can be knocked out. This was one unit until for Thriftway until Sav-A-Lot
wanted a smaller space. This location would be much better for a business wanting a large customer base and needing to bring in semitrucks for deliveries. Locating a high volume business on the green space is planning for failure. Looks like a business plan for a tax loss write off.

In reference to the conduct of some city officials explains my comments over the years about the "Socialist, Fascist Feif of Raytown." I recognized it years ago.

Greg, The link "Gustafson/ Gentry Emails" takes me to a log out page.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I can not understand why two alderman did not take it upon themselves to be informed about google fiber; it was on the city of Raytown web site Facebook and Raytown online to mention a few; excited for the google opportunity for the city of Raytown ; to respond to the person asking if anyone was excited; good things derserve good comments

Greg Walters said...

The Gustafson/Gentry Emails link has been repaired.

Apologies for the mistake.

Anonymous said...

Guess it just goes to show that not that many people read the city's website. Not even the Adlermen!

The announcement did kind of come out of the blue. Bad timing. Looks like the Walmart news is pushing it off the front page.

It happens.

Andy Whiteman said...

6:20 PM, Goes to show you that people have one track minds. The IMPORTANT issue now is the Green space Walmart! I assume there is plenty of time to sign up for Google fiber. People deal with the most important item first and catch up on the news later.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

I just read the Gustafson/Gentry Emails with a lot of government speak. It brings brings up the question by a PR person is needed at all? Quite typical of Raytown since I started complying years ago and attending BOA meetings. Continually no or hidden notice of public meetings and not publishing the agenda until the last legal moment. Nothing has changed at all by adding a PR officer. Why is taxpayers' money being wasted on this unneeded position in addition to the CA's pay increase that is said not to be an increase and he still isn't required to live in Raytown? Hopefully the new alderpeople will change things for the better.

Remember there is another election in 2 years for 1/2 of the BOA and Mayor. Raytown has several good people who should run for Mayor. Raytown needs change for the better, not backwards as has been the practice.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Mean old Jeanette Gentry!

She expects the city Public Information Officer to have the new aldermens phone numbers and email addresses on the website within one month of them being elected.

What a slave driver!


Pat Casady said...

I'm sorry but I don't see the need for a Public
Information Officer that doesn't inform the people
he or she works for. Again, everybody that receives
a paycheck form City Hall works FOR THE PEOPLE!
If they can't or won't do their jobs...let them go!
If they won't conform to the rules of this town, let
them go! If they are supposed to live here, you don't
reward them for not following the rules by giving them
a huge yearly pay increase. You let them go! If the
information officer doesn't give the people information,
let them go! Most of all, if the people don't want a Wal-Mart
grocery store...DON'T DO IT!
I know that it is hard, for some reason, for elected officials
to do what the public wishes and wants. But they are supposed
to represent the people and do what the people trust them
to do. NOT what Wal-Mart wants them to do. NOT what some
other officials want them to do. They got the job because
they promised to work for the people not against them.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

They must not like our yard signs up. We are missing some and we have some crushed & smashed. Sure hope everyone makes the meeting who can.

Andy Whiteman said...

Maybe the administration doesn't want the public contacting the new Aldermen by keeping them transparent (hidden) from the website.

Also if the public meetings pertaining to Walmart remain transparent (hidden), fewer people will attend.

Keep infromation away from the public. If they don't know, they won't protest.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Any updates on how the meeting went tonight?

Anonymous said...

Estate sale signs disappear as well; something about them having to be so many feet away from the curb and on private property.... We have lost many estate signs until we moved them closer in. However I did see around 15 of the signs this a.m. And p.m along 63rd st and 59th st and in the neighborhood between Blue Ridge and the trafficway

Anonymous said...

The Walmart portion of the meeting is over. It was very crowded. Literally standing room only. Many people spoke against the application. A few spoke in favor (by a few I mean two).

I left as they were winding down that portion of the meeting.

The next meeting, when the BOA is expected to vote is Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 7:00 p.m. - Raytown City Hall.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Last night was a WOW but we need to pack that room even more in two weeks. Thank You EVERYONE!!!

Anonymous said...

The last department head who lived in Raytown is no more. For the past 30 years the Director of EMS has had to live in Raytown and last night our city administrator changed that we he appointed Doug Jonesi. Doug lives in Grain Valley....not Raytown. Not sure of the hiring process or who was interviewed? What are his qualifications? Does he have a degree? Or is just managing to stay employed with the city all we are asking for these days. I

mb said...

"Literally standing room only" it's a shame that this has been downgraded to "a few dozen" in the media reports. It's a shame that the signs are being pulled, I hope someone is caught doing it, that would make more news outlets

Andy Whiteman said...

Elisa Breitenbach, I hope police reports are being filed about destroyed yard signs. It may seem minor, but it is "Destruction of property" which is a crime. This will be a crime report on police records and make officers on patrol aware to be on the lookout for this activity.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Obviously if certain elected officials are so intent on bringing in Walmart, the must have something to gain personally. It makes me wonder how much is under the table and to whom?

It is my understanding that elected officials file a yearly disclosure that is required every 2 years by law but Theresa doesn't know which year they are required so they are filed yearly. Maybe the fact the Alderpeople are elected every 2 years has some impact on with not knowing when filing is required. Maybe those statements need to be reviewed (assuming they are true statements.)

Hy-Vee, adjoining a residential area closes at 11PM. I believe the opening time to be 6AM or 7AM but never paid attention because I am not up that early. The Kicks across from RHS used to be open 24/7 and I wondered why they cut their hours back. In my opinion 5AM is an unGodly hour for a business to open!

Andy Whiteman

CHRIS MERRILL said...

After all the people left the meeting last night, Ertz said that they (BOA) should not try and help small business out. It is a free enterprise, and everyone for themselves.
Sounds like he just spit in the face of all the small business' that were trying to support it.
Mayor Bower said that ALL the comments against this proposal are just because of the name WALMART. It's obvious that he wasn't listening last night.
SHAME on all the BOA and Mayor. A used car lot tryed to come to town. They were a not for profit donation site for cancer. The BOA and Mayor tore him up in 2 meetings. He had everything ready to go, paperwork and info. A tatoo parlor and pawn shop applied for licenses. They both had everything they needed and were there to answere questions. The BOA and Mayor tore them up. Last night, the gentleman after the Walmart issue, had done everything he needed. And he waited tell after everything was over when he was supposed to be first. The city messed up his paperwork and was working to fix it during the meeting. Vanbuskirk starteed ripping him a new one. Walmart comes sturting in with a plan on a single piece of paper that has changed 10 times, and the BOA and Mayor start slobering all over them. No 3d model, no full color print of the proposed site after constuction, no surveys, noone that is able to answere questions and be accountable for the answeres.
The proposal should have been postponed to a date certain of January. To allow Walmart time to get it all together.
Any of the 3 new aldermen reading this, it is not to late. Make us proud.
Mayor Bower, you can remove my application for city boards at this time. I will wait for the new Mayor in 2 years.

Anonymous said...

I thought we still required our emergency leaders to live in Raytown. I know the police and fire chiefs do why does EMS not have to? Thank you Mayor Bower...glad our safety matters to you.

Anonymous said...

I think it is great that the city finally promotes within.

If there are those of you that are unhappy with the fact the person promoted doesn’t live in the city they should be aware that our city doesn’t require its employees to live in the city with the exception of the city administrator.

The current city administrator is the only city administrator who has continued to refuse to locate to our city and always has some new excuse as to why he cannot relocate to our city, but what are worse is our elected officials that allow this being this is in the contract.

While on the subject of city employees, I have yet to hear that the new head of EMS demanded a $30,000 year pay increase, which is unlike our city administrator.

Pat Casady said...

Ertz has forgotten who he is supposed to working
for. If he did say what was written, he should step
down and let somebody that wants to work for the
people and small businesses in.
Any elected official that is arrogant enough to
think they know what the people want even after they have
spoken against this store is just showing how stupid
he or she is.
Our elected officials are no smarter than anyone else.
In fact I question some of their intelligence as it is.
What part of you work for the people don't these people
understand? Yes we all know this town needs tax income.
But going against the people's wishes is not the way.
The mayor is right. If it wasn't WAL-MART it probably
would be different. But it is WAL-MART and the people
of Raytown are tired of financing and getting financially
screwed by W-M. In fact people through out the country are
tired of it. I can't believe after how our city was lied to
by W-M and their developer on 350 hwy. they would even
consider this deal. Not to mention how much it has cost
the Raytown taxpayers for the Wal-Mart bond payments.
Yes, I wanted this at first. I was mistaken on the size.
Now, I, unlike our leaders, know this would be like
placing a basketball on a golf tee. It will not fit the
downtown area. It would look and be ridiculous, be an asinine
decision and would just plain make our town the laughingstock
of the country.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5/8 @ 7:20

You prove one of the biggest problems in Raytown is that of the miss informed citizen.

I recommend that you go and spend a day with the department heads up at city hall and learn not only the requirements for their residency, but for their departments too.

I understand where you would be missed informed when many of the miss information be passed around town is coming from former elected officials.

If you took the time to vote in city elections you would quickly discover the reason our police chief, who is listed on the ballot as city marshal, lives in the city is because elected officials must live within the area they live.

I also understand where that can be miss leading being Raytown has had more than its share of elected officials who believe it is okay to still serve the citizens that elected them even when they no longer live within the area that elected them.

Now don’t get me wrong this doesn’t mean I take everything at face value coming from city hall, but when I go out and take my time to do a fact check I find the comments from city hall to be able to be validated as correct more often than those comments on the streets of Raytown.

recommend one question be who is responsible for the lack of property maintenance violations being enforced it is not only shocking, but explains why people and business don’t want to locate to Raytown.

Anonymous said...

WalMart stated that they would immediately create 100 new jobs with the Neighborhood Market. If the Neighborhood Market does not happen, how many jobs do you think will be created in that space over the next 10 years? I think the number would be pretty close to zero.

Anonymous said...

Because there is something to be said for department heads living in the city they serve. Department heads work under a contract and are paid completely different than traditional employees, therefore they should be made to reside in Raytown. As for the promote from within theory I thats fine if your a large department, but when there is only 10 people and you are the third person in a year. That equates to 70 percent or a (C-) choice. I would have thought Raytown would want to perform a nation wide search based on qualifications, and possibly look for a qualified minority to break some of the (good ole boy) stereotypes city hall is known for.

Anonymous said...

Those Walmart jobs that are going to be created are LOW PAYING no BENIFITS jobs. It that the best that Raytown can do?

Keep an Open Mind said...

I have been looking at the map for downtown Raytown and it is clear that many of the current property owners are not living up to the street scape plan.

Some of these are the very people who have been speaking out against the downtown grocery store complaining that it will not fit the guidelines for street scape. This seems to be all, but insane as who would complain about someone when they too are not following the guide lines.

As I took the time to then drive around downtown Raytown, I noticed many buildings that are also not up to code and found to no surprise these too are owned by some of the people saying we do not need a grocery store in the downtown area.

Could the real issue be that they do not want a new bright and shiny building downtown as the code violations on their buildings and properties will be more apparent than ever as well as they fact they themselves are not meeting the street scape plan.

The question we all have to ask is it time to move forward with rebuilding our downtown or do we forever right our downtown off as many ghost towns have been across the our nations historical past. Yes, this might not fit the dream that some many have had, but who else has come forward including those that have owned property in our downtown area and still have not brought the property up to the street scape standard.

I encourage you to keep an open mind and as long as no tax give away are given and as long as the other property owners in the downtown area refuse to bring their own properties up to street scape standards that we accept the grocery store. With hope and pray it will be the first productive move for our downtown in years and a driving force to keep moving our downtown forward.

To review the street scape map click on my name.

Anonymous said...

Building an ugly box store with a sea of asphalt around it for hundreds or cars would be a blight on Downtown Raytown.

Try to show a little vision and broaden your horizons.

What is being offered by Walmart is not an improvement. If they were reasonable and cut down the size of their building -- or better yet, use the vacant space available to them at Center 63 where Sav A Lot was located most people would accept it.

But they will not bend or change. That is not their way.

It is time we started looking out for the best interests of Raytown. Not the best interest of Walmart.

Anonymous said...

I would think placing the Neighborhood Market in the old Thriftway building would be best. That location certainly gets a lot more traffic than the green space and when you have other shops nearby it always benefits every store with people running next door to pick up something while they are in the neighborhood. It would also be within walking distance for several apartment dwellers. And, about the NEW 100 low-paying, low-benefit jobs, how many other jobs in the Raytown area will be lost because of another Wal-Mart store? In full disclosure: I strongly dislike Wal-Mart, their brainwashing of shoppers, their business practices and their treatment of staff. I have not made a purchase in a Wal-Mart in decades and my family gets along just fine. Let’s face it: Wal-Mart is a blight on America.

Anonymous said...

6:10 AM and 10:16 PM

You both make good points

I too agree Wal-Mart needs to move into the location at center 63 if they want to open a grocery store in our downtown area.

I too agree that the property owners in our downtown need to address their property maintenance violations.

I also agree that for those property owners to complain, but have unrented space and/or buildings not meeting the street scape plan they just need to shut up as their building make our downtown look like part of the hood. I think that is why no one wants to rent from them and shoppers are not coming downtown it just doesn't look like a safe place.

It is way past time that the property owners in our downtown area cleanup their mess, work with the city and whoever to get their business rented and we don't need them renting to tatoo places like that one property owner wants. I also recall from watching the Board of Alderman meeting that his property is not up to fire code for the safety of his renters and their customers.

Come on Raytown is this the image we want others to have of us and our downtown!

What about the building that fell down about a year or so ago I heard so people talking that it was going to be some time of food place, but fell down because the guy who owned it didn't take care of it.

Again just another sad story about our downtown and those who own building in it and a city who will not enforce the laws on the books to clean it up.

Don't forget the downtown merchants group who look the other way on the local property owners who let our downtown look the hood!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever worked at a grocery store.

Pay is not fit for man or beast and what is health insurance.

So I guess Walmart is not the only employeer who just doesn't care about the people who work for them.

Anonymous said...

I live on the north side of Raytown and myself and many of my neighbors currently shop in KC or Independence. The new downtown market will indeed bring additional sales tax revenue to the city. Many of us are in favor of a modern store with good prices being available on the north side of town that you can actually safely walk to. It does happen to be on one of the very few streets in Raytown with sidewalks.

Susan Dolan said...

Mayor Brower won't even read comments here because they're too negative !?! What hogwash! Did you know that Brower signed Raytown up for ICLEI years ago and that the City has been paying annual dues to be part of Agenda 21 (the United Nations New World Order) ever since? Did you know that Brower also signed up for the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement of which WALMART IS A PARTNER? The Mayors Climate Protection Center of the United States Conference of Mayors, partnered with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in Spring 2007, to jointly work to combat global warming by launching an annual Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards Program. The awards program will honor leading efforts by mayors in American cities who are taking action and implementing innovative programs to decrease energy dependency and reduce climate emissions in the communities they serve. The winning mayors will demonstrate a true commitment and progress toward the goals that the Mayors Climate Protection Center and Wal-Mart share, including: to protect our environment, increase energy efficiency in cities, and make our planet sustainable for generations to come. Read it for yourself here > http://www.mayors.org/climateprotection/partners.htm

Seems "Our Boy" Brower is in bed with Walmart as well as leading us to the (Unconstitutional, I might add) Agenda21 slaughter via ICLEI.

Did we vote for ANY of that??

And he says there's too much bad news here for HIM?

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Chris THANKS for standing up for all of us! The out of touch remarks that are made are jaw dropping from the BOA & the Mayor. I don't blame you for not wanting to work under this Mayor. It's his way or your off anyway. It's a shame people are not wanting to stand up to him & stand up for Raytown. Again Thanks for standing up for all of us!

Anonymous said...

The new grocery store WILL NOT GENERATE more sales tax, because it will run some of the current grocery stores out of business. Walmart wants a total monopoly. So my question is what have we really gained?

Anonymous said...

I can assure you the Mayor and ALL of the BOA read what is on these pages. Especially the blogs. To not do so makes as much sense as refusing to drive a car and relying upon a horse and buggy to get around.

Oh, they will never admit they read the page. But somehow (could it be by magic!) they know very well what is written.

Andy Whiteman said...

The Walmart decision should be a no-brainer, but unfortunately many of the elected officials have no brain.

Andy Whiteman

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Happy Mothers Day To All! Saturday at DOUGHBOYS we had a packed house and sold out early. The good news for Raytown is that the first of the week we should have 200 large signs that read No More Walmart. They will look like our bumper stickers. On Monday when DOUGHBOYS is closed we will be having our first public meeting for our locals who want a "voice". The meeting will start at 9:30 A.M. The illusion that city hall can lie to us, step on us, cover up and hide the truth from us must come to an end. We have been mesmerized long enough. This is our hometown that we take so much pride in, many of us chose to bring our business here. We far out number the people at city hall who spend $1,000 dollars on office chairs & give out $30,000 dollar raise's. Raytown Supports Local, that is what makes Raytown Great! Hope to see you all Monday at 9:30.

Andy Whiteman said...

Elisa, I am glad that someone is standing up to the Socialist, Facist Fief of Raytown! No one dared to do that, except me, all the years I lived in Raytown.

Does $1,000 office chairs make them better than us?

Andy Whiteman

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Andy I think it just helps them have bigger heads & happy little bottoms. That is truly not much bang for our tax dollars. xox

Anonymous said...

If a grocery store location is needed on the north side of Raytown "that you can actually safely walk to" that happens "to be on one of the very few streets in Raytown with sidewalks." I happen to know of an empty former grocery store location on the same street still in Raytown.

I see two positives from this location; one: it fills up an otherwise empty building, two: it leaves the greenspace available for a better use that would better benefit the community.

Better uses:
* an amphitheater where community plays and music could be presented
* it's a great location for the Raytown SummerFest & BBQ Cookoff where will it go?
*the Katy Trail will be coming through soon, think about what we can offer the users of the trail (does a grocery here make the most sense?)
* a city park, this side of town is still unserviced by one.

Expand your minds and think of how we can better utilize ALL of our resources.

Anonymous said...

Hey sleepheads, wake up! It's great that so many are standing up against Walmart and our "mayor" would be well-advised to turn Wally-World away permenantly 'cause he's sure pissing-off a lot of citizenry and business owners. Remember though, the guy is a sell-out (selling us out, I should say, for his progressive party's glorious New World Order). He's pulling more of the same by inviting Goggle Fiber into our burg as well. Did you know that Google has said that their Fiber network is an experiment? Did you know that Google has strong ties with the CIA and the NSA? Do you realize that everything you say and do and watch over Google Fiber is captured and stored on Google's gigantic database? It's Big Brother (read George Orwell's 1984 if you haven't already). So, a after Google moves in, drives out all the competition, tears up our streets and hangs miles of their wires on our already loaded telephone poles and collect all the data they 'need' they go "Oops, experiment over" and pull out.... Just like Walmart does. That, after our Mayor bent over to pick up the soap for both of them, pulled the wool over our eyes, got his reward and left us holding the proverbial bag of doggy doo. People - Raytown's biggest problem is Mayor Bower. He's a fascist who is heavily invested in the United Nation's New World Order and its' associated Agenda21 and ICLEI. He's in bed with Cleaver, an officer in MARC, has signed us up for the Cool Mayor's climate change program and has us paying annual dues to ICLEI (local Agenda21). Yes, he signed their agreement effectively stating that our fair city would participate. The State Legislature passed a bill that makes ICLEI and Agenda21 inititives illegal. It is on our Governor's desk awaiting his signature. Let's be proactive and stop Bower where he stands, err sits in is $1,000. chair. Stonewall Walmart, Google Fiber and every other "progressive" initiative he attempts to drag us into. If we don't, we lose big. In closing, Bower hasn't told you that Google Fiber is only being used by 20% of the population in areas where it's been installed, has he! Has he told you about the free office space and other incidental goodies he's promised Google? It seems any vote on this should be forestalled pending further investigation.

Susan Dolan said...

WALMART FACTS. On March 27, 2011 in Mayor David Bower’s dissertation to the Raytown Chamber he said, "As your Mayor this past four years, I am proud to bring the experienced leadership, and demonstrated professionalism, which will be required as soon the governing body and administrative staff will begin working on the 2012 budget. I know this will be another difficult discussion as we continue to address growing demands for services with reduced revenues but I am confident in the abilities of this Administration and the governing body, to do what is best for the community and continue to provide the best value possible. This is not a time to change the direction of this City. " REALLY David? Given your actions since re-election one would have to say you were being dishonest in making that statement, wouldn't one! What you're doing is not a "mistake". All whitewashing attempts aside, your self-serving direction is ruinous, economically irresponsible and unwelcome. One might say that Raytown has got your number Sir!

Still on-topic let's take a read about Walmart (who is sure doing their part to redistribute wealth) from economiccollapseblog_dot_com .... it is a long but pertinant and enlightening read:
Is Wal-Mart Destroying America? Facts About Wal-Mart That Will Absolutely Shock You
America absolutely loves Wal-Mart. 100 million customers visit Wal-Mart every single week in this country. But is Wal-Mart good for America? That is a question that most people never stop and ask. Most of us love shopping in big, clean stores that are packed with super cheap merchandise, but the truth is that Wal-Mart is destroying America in a lot of ways. As you will see below, Wal-Mart has destroyed tens of thousands of small businesses and countless manufacturing jobs over the past couple of decades. Wal-Mart has become a gigantic retail behemoth that sells five times more stuff than any other retailer in the United States. Unfortunately, a large percentage of all the stuff sold at Wal-Mart is made overseas. What that is costing the U.S. economy in terms of lost jobs and lost revenue is incalculable. But Wal-Mart is a perfect example of where our economic system is headed. Our economy is becoming completely and totally dominated by highly centralized monolithic predator corporations that ruthlessly crush all competition and that will stoop to just about anything in order to cut costs. In the future, will we all be working for gigantic communal entities that funnel all of the wealth and economic rewards to a very tiny elite? That sounds very much like how communist China works, and red-blooded Americans should want no part of that. America is supposed to be about free enterprise and competition and working together to build up this country, and Wal-Mart is destroying all of that.
The following are 20 facts about Wal-Mart that will absolutely shock you....
#1 The average U.S. family now spends more than $4000 a year at Wal-Mart.
#2 In 2010, Wal-Mart had revenues of 421 billion dollars. That amount was greater than the GDP of 170 different countries including Norway, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates.
#3 If Wal-Mart was a nation, it would have the 23rd largest GDP in the world.
#4 Wal-Mart now sells more groceries than anyone else in America does.  In the United States today, one out of every four grocery dollars is spent at Wal-Mart.
#5 Amazingly, 100 million customers shop at Wal-Mart every single week.
#6 Wal-Mart has opened more than 1,100 "supercenters" since 2005 alone.
#7 Today, Wal-Mart has more than 2 million employees.
#8 If Wal-Mart was an army, it would be the second largest military on the planet behind China.
#9 Wal-Mart is the largest employer in 25 different U.S. states.

Continued

Susan Dolan said...

WALMART FACTS, Part 2 of 3
#10 According to the Economic Policy Institute, trade between Wal-Mart and China resulted in the loss of 133,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States between 2001 and 2006.
#11 The CEO of Wal-Mart makes more in a single hour than a full-time Wal-Mart associate makes in an entire year.
#12 Tens of thousands of Wal-Mart employees and their children are enrolled in Medicaid and are dependent on the government for healthcare.
#13 Between 2001 and 2007, the value of products that Wal-Mart imported from China grew from $9 billion to $27 billion.
#14 Amazingly, 96 percent of all Americans now live within 20 miles of a Wal-Mart.
#15 The number of "independent retailers" in the United States declined by 60,000 between 1992 and 2007.
#16 According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wal-Mart spent 7.8 million dollars on political lobbying during 2011. That number does not even include campaign contributions.
#17 Today, Wal-Mart has five times the sales of the second largest U.S. retailer (Costco).
#18 The combined net worth of six members of the Walton family is roughly equal to the combined net worth of the poorest 30 percent of all Americans.
All over the country, independent retailers are going out of business because they cannot compete with Wal-Mart and their super cheap Chinese products. Often communities will give Wal-Mart huge tax breaks just to move in to their areas. But what many communities don't take into account is that the introduction of a Wal-Mart is often absolutely devastating to small businesses....
A study of small and rural towns in Iowa showed lost sales for local businesses ranging from -17.2% in small towns to -61.4% in rural areas, amounting to a total dollar loss of $2.46 BILLION over a 13-year period.
When we buy stuff made by people working for slave labor wages in China, we destroy good paying American jobs and we make America poorer. This is a point that I have tried to make over and over.
Wal-Mart often tells one thing to the public and then does another thing in private. Sadly, the truth is that Wal-Mart does not care about U.S. manufacturing jobs. Wal-Mart just wants to get products as cheaply as they possibly can, and most of the time that means getting them from China.
Just check out this first-hand testimony from an 81-year-old retired apparel manufacturer....
I was president of the Southwestern Apparel Manufacturers Association. There was a meeting sometime between 1985 and 1990. Walmart had contacted our organization and asked if they could meet with us at our beautiful Apparel Mart we had here in Dallas, which has now been razed, because all the independent merchants don’t exist that used to come to it. Two people from Walmart came down and they said they were going to be sourcing goods from overseas and we would have to meet those prices for consumer products and to get ready for it—we are going to be sourcing the world. Walmart was the only company that came out and said this. It was sort of shocking: I was selling them some merchandise at the time. On the back of their trucks it was saying “Bring it Back to America!” They had the big “keep it in America” program going at that time on the big signs in the stores. Meanwhile when I reminded the buyer of that, she told me, “that is just for domestic consumption, we’re going to buy at the cheapest we can anywhere on earth.”

Continued

Susan Dolan said...

WALMART FACTS, 3 of 3
As I have written about previously, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
We are losing millions of good jobs that cannot be replaced. If you can believe it, the United States has actually lost an average of about 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Last year, the U.S. trade deficit with China was the biggest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world, and Wal-Mart played a huge role in that.
In fact, Wal-Mart has actually been forcing some U.S. manufacturers to pack up and move overseas.  The following is from a recent article by Amy Traub....
Walmart’s market power is so immense that the even the largest suppliers must comply with its demands for lower and lower prices because they cannot afford to have their goods taken off its shelves. Companies that used to manufacture products in the United States, from Levi’s jeans to lock maker Master Lock, were pressured to shut their U.S. factories and moved manufacturing abroad to meet Walmart’s demand for low prices.
Unfortunately, the vast wealth that Wal-Mart is sucking out of our communities is not put back into our communities. The profits are funneled out to Wal-Mart executives and shareholders. We may enjoy the low prices, but very little of the money that we give to Wal-Mart gets recycled in our local areas.
In the old days, you could actually support a family selling electronics or running a general store. But you can't support a family working at Wal-Mart. The vast majority of the jobs that Wal-Mart creates are very low paying. Large numbers of Wal-Mart employees are actually on welfare, and this is part of the reason why we have seen such an explosion in the number of the working poor in America.
At this point, more than 40 percent of all jobs in America are low wage jobs and the middle class is rapidly disappearing.
If we do not support American jobs and American manufacturers they will continue to go away and the welfare rolls in this country will continue to explode.
There is not going to be any prosperity in this country without jobs. Unfortunately, most Americans simply do not understand how good jobs are being systematically destroyed in America every single day.
The path that America is headed on today is only going to end in complete and total disaster. We are being transformed from a wealthy nation into a poor nation. In the end, we will be dominated by a very tiny elite and everyone else will either be among the working poor or will be totally dependent on the government.
Our system is supposed to be about open, honest competition. But that is not what Wal-Mart is about. Wal-Mart is about crushing small businesses and manufacturers here in America and getting us all to buy their super cheap Chinese-made goods.
DAVID!!! In your Dissertation letter of 03/27/11 as part of your bid for re-election you said, "The foundation of this city and community was built upon the labor and dedication of countless business owners, like yourselves, over the years. " Did you forget this? You forgot to mention the general citizenry here as well. You have also, quite apparently, forgotten it was all of us who elected you. Oops! Try to imagine how you'll feel if we just decide to just forget you... happens you know.