Sunday, May 26, 2013

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Board of Aldermen Approve Walmart Application 

Over 200 Raytowner’s showed up last Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to voice their opinion on a proposed zoning application for a Walmart Grocery Store in Downtown Raytown. In a marathon session that lasted eight hours (7:00p.m. to 3:00 a.m.) the Board of Aldermen voted to approve the Zoning Application proposed by Walmart.The final vote to approve was six in favor to four opposed. 

Joe Creamer, Charlotte Melson, Pat Ertz, Michael Lightfoot, Steve Mock, Bill Van Buskirk

Josh Greene, Jim Aziere, Jason Greene, Janet Emerson

One small victory for neighborhoods surrounding the Downtown Grocery location was a vote to limit retail hours of operation to 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Walmart had originally proposed a 24 hour operation. Walmart representatives told the Board and Public that they could not comment on the amendment (which was approved by an 8 to 2 vote) until they spoke with “Bentonville”.

Proponents had asked for earlier closing times to match other stores in Raytown. City Staff had reported in an earlier presentation that two grocery stores in Raytown are open 24 hours and one is open until midnight.

During public discussion it was pointed out that those three stores are in a commercial district along Missouri State Highway 350. The proposed Walmart Store is located in the middle of large residential housing. The earlier closing time conforms with other grocery stores in the area like the Apple Market at 63rd and Woodson Road.

Josh Greene, Bill Van Buskirk, Michael Lightfoot, Steve Mock, Jason Greene, Janet Emerson, Jim Aziere, Pat Ertz

Joe Creamer, Charlotte Melson

That amendment was an important part of the proceedings and held some very interesting discussion by Board members. (see story in Bits and Pieces)

Ward 2 Alderman Jason Greene brought to the table a city ordinance requiring a two-thirds majority approval of the application because the Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended “denial” of the application. The inclusion of street improvements by the city into the discussion and plans entered into public evidence may make that an important point.

The City Attorney ruled, as he said “in his opinion” that the section Mr. Greene brought to play was not pertinent to the hearing. The majority of the Board acquiesced to his opinion.

Bits and Pieces . . . BY GREG WALTERS
Ward 1 Alderman Josh Greene was making an argument for a smaller footprint for a Downtown grocery store when he said a 32,000 sq.ft. Walmart Neighborhood Market is planned for Joplin. Shortly after, the representative from Walmart denied there were plans for a smaller store in Joplin.

As it turns out, Alderman Greene was correct.

The following link tells of the plans for a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Joplin, Missouri.

Police at Public Meetings? All four of the public hearings concerning Walmart filled the Council Chambers to capacity. For such large crowds and the controversial nature of the issue at hand prompted the Mayor to have a police officer posted at the hearings.
In retrospect, the move was unnecessary. The public was very well behaved. Not once were the police called upon for any reason during the hearings. By far, the most outrageous conduct was that of two elected officials (see the next story).

It is a very fair statement to say the stationing of police at the meetings was a waste of the taxpayer’s money.

Mayor David Bower and Alderman Joe Creamer were quick to criticize the public for bad behavior at the Public Hearings. In fact, Bower warned people in the audience if they were not considerate of speakers, he would have them removed by a uniformed officer.

As it turned out, the worst behavior of the night occurred when Bower and Creamer did what can best be described as a “tag team” attack on one speaker. The speaker at the podium was former Board of Zoning Adjustment member, Steve Gunther.

Readers may remember Mr. Gunther. He was the member removed from the BZA by Mayor Bower. Gunther is an outspoken opponent of the single use concept proposed by Walmart for Downtown Raytown.

Bower and Creamer interrupted and cut off Mr. Gunther during his public comments so frequently that Ward 5 Alderman Steve Mock interceded on his (Gunther’s) behalf and told Bower and Creamer that they should let the man speak.

Downtown bars made for some very interesting comments from the Board. The discussion came out during the debate for an earlier closing time for the proposed Walmart Store. Here is what they had to say:

When making the motion to amend, Alderman Josh Greene said earlier closing times were necessary because there are five bars within the walking distance of the proposed grocery store.

Walmart officials are on record as saying the new store will sell alcoholic beverages.

The concern Josh Greene voiced was that the store parking lot of the new Walmart could easily become a party zone for patrons of those bars. Police have often been called to the area proposed for the Downtown Grocery Store for after hours partying in parking lots adjacent to the “Green Space”. Often times the area is littered with empty beverage containers from the previous night’s activities

Alderman Joe Creamer (whose Ward borders the proposed project) argued that people would not leave the bars to party outside.

He also offered the opinion that he feared that Walmart may not look to kindly on the earlier closing time. Aldermen Charlotte Melson, Pat Ertz and Michael Lightfoot echoed Creamer’s comment on Walmart opposition.

Josh Greene responded that the Board should be more concerned with the needs of the people of Raytown instead of the needs of Walmart.

The Paul Livius Report BY PAUL LIVIUS
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – May 21, 2013
Mahesh Sharma reported the first cleanup coupon was issued Wednesday.  The coupons are available for the public to obtain at the Public Works window at City Hall.  A resident wishing to obtain a coupon no longer has to provide a recent utility bill as the information can be verified at the Public Works window.  A picture ID is still required.  The coupons will cost $5 and will provide $25 of value at two vendors.  One vendor is Material Recovery & Transfer located at 4020 Winchester Avenue which is just west of 435 on Raytown Road.  The vendor is a drop-off site only and information about fees and location can be found on the website at; the information will also be provided to the resident when obtaining the coupon.  The second vendor is Flynn’s Raytown Disposal and is primarily a pick-up service.  The resident must contact Flynn’s at 816-358-1211 to coordinate services and determine a fee.  The fees will vary depending upon the size and weight of the material to be disposed.  He showed a video from the St. Charles, Mo Public Works department.

The Board appointed Mike Apprill to a vacant term on the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

Mayor Bower told the residents present he expected respectability and if anyone became disrespectable, he would instruct the police officer in the chamber to remove that person.

  • Steve Gunther told the Board that after much consideration, he is resubmitting his application to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).  He did some consulting work with counsel, who asked why Mr. Gunther was not reappointed to the BZA.  Mayor Bower interrupted Mr. Gunther to ask why he thought he needed legal counsel.  Mr. Gunther said he didn’t say legal.  Mr. Gunther had been told he was not being reappointed because the BZA needed new ideas.  He reminded the Board the BZA does not make decisions based on ideas, just the five criteria of fact.  Other BZA members have been one the board longer than him, so this is not a valid claim.  He wants to be reconsidered as a BZA member.
  • Jeanette Gentry told the Board the minutes from the last meeting were inaccurate.  She found the city’s lack of professionalism disheartening.  At the last meeting, she asked if the extra exhibits passed out at that meeting would be available to the public.  She was told they would be available on the City’s website the next day.  After two days, she called city hall to ask where the exhibits were on the website.  Ms. Gustafson told her the exhibits were not going to be published.  Ms. Gentry said City Hall chooses to use the Government Channel and only communicates what they want the resident to know.
  • Mary Jane Van Buskirk told the Board she is disappointed with the people of Raytown.  Everyone should be given the respect they deserve.  Last meeting, a man got up to voice his opinion and there was a lot of hissing and booing.  She asked people to give each other respect and not embarrass themselves.
The Board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of funds for the open position of Senior Accountant.  The Finance Department has had to hire temporary accounting services to assist staff with the annual audit and with keeping up on the accounting procedures.  Due to audit constraints it is not possible to utilize the City’s audit firm for these services so staff has asked another accounting firm to provide the needed assistance.  This firm has worked with the City of Raytown in the past on a smaller scale and is familiar with the City’s software and processes.  Their services will be utilized on an as needed basis at a fixed hourly rate.

The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement with Google Fiber.  The agreement will provide Google similar rights to deploy its fiber network in Raytown as they have been afforded in their agreements with Kansas City.  Alderman Jason Greene asked if there will be a government channel and was told there would be two government channels for the city to do with as they see fit.

The Board passed an ordinance approving a conditional use permit for an existing building at 6309 Raytown Road to be used as a “single-tenant residential home.”  Alderman Van Buskirk proposed the permit be issued for 5 years, instead of 10 years.  That proposal failed.  The property currently has two buildings and is zoned Neighborhood Commercial (NC).  The other building on the property has been used as an office.

The Board passed an ordinance approving a conditional use permit for apartments to be located on property located at 6310 & 6312 Raytown Road.  The property is zoned Neighborhood Commercial (NC) and property contains an existing building within which several apartments are located.

Mayor Bower asked if the aldermen had ex-parte communications about the Walmart grocery store.  All said they had ex-parte communications and it would not affect their decisions.  Mayor Bower said he also had ex-parte communications.  He normally does not vote, except in cases of a tie on the Board.  If he has to vote, he will vote his conscience and do what he thinks is best for the city.

John Benson told the Board Raytown started negotiations with Walmart in September, 2012.  Mark Bryant, attorney for Walmart, told the Board they were trying to conform to the downtown Central Business Design plan as much as possible.  Walmart will add a center turn lane on Blue Ridge.  Alderman Melson asked if the grocery store would participate in the “Site to Store” program.  She was told they would have “Site to Store,” but not lay-a-ways.  Jason Green said at the last Board of Zoning Adjustment meeting, Walmart reserved the right to purchase additional property.  Alderman Aziere asked if they were in the market for more property.  Mr. Bryant said they had approached several businesses in the area, but no one was willing to sell. 

  • Jan Wynn told the Board we will have bigger problem in five years because Walmart has a habit of leaving.  She asked why we can’t have nice restaurants and shops there.  She said if she wants to have a nice steak dinner, she has to go to Lee’s Summit.  There are very few nice sit-down restaurants in Raytown.
  • Susan Dolan said on March 27, 2011, Mayor Bower told the Raytown Chamber of Commerce “this is not the time to change the direction of the city.”  The Board is changing the direction of the city.  She had quotes from the Economic Collapse blog at  According to this blog, over 100 million customers shop at Walmart weekly.  The majority of merchandise for sale comes from overseas.
  • Jerry Sisker told the Board he is the district manager of security with Walmart.  His company has a family atmosphere.  His benefits are better than other places where he worked.
  • Jeri Seamster said she is proud to work for Walmart.  She has been there 13 years and seen them donate many items to REAP.
  • Deloris Matthes told the Board it was dangerous to shop at Walmart because of the high crime rate.  She asked the Board to not listen to the Walmart lawyers, but to the Board’s constituents.
  • Bob Cutler says because of the comments he was making at the Board of Aldermen meeting, he expects Neighborhood Services at his home soon looking for violations.  He thinks the real problem is ego and greed.  After months of dinner and drinks with Walmart executives, the idea of a grocery store is now in the bag and it’s a done deal.  He was surprised the Planning and Zoning voted against Walmart because the Planning and Zoning members are appointed by the Board of Aldermen and usually do what they are told.  When the Planning and Zoning voted against Walmart, the Board of Aldermen started replacing BZA members.  He is going to establish a fund to investigate criminal activity on this deal.  He will also establish another fund to a recall election.
  • Susan Corkson told the Board Walmart has 300 empty box stores nationwide.  The stores are so big only other big box store companies can afford to buy the properties.  The only problem is Walmart refuses to sell to competitors.  She guaranteed that any Board member voting for Walmart will not be reelected in two years.
  • Chris Rathbone said after most people left the last meeting, the Board of Aldermen commented if the name was anything but Walmart, no one would care.  The people are unreasonable in only wanting small shops in the green space.  He said the Board of Aldermen members all told the Mayor their ex-parte communications would not affect their decisions.  He asked if that were true, why does the city post contact information for the Board members.  It is better to give the residents fair consideration.  He asked what they will do; listen to their constituents and vote no, or do they think they know better than the people who elected them and vote yes?
  • Jim Laurel pointed out there have been 6 grocery stores within a 5 block radius of the proposed site.  All have gone out of business.  If the Board lets Walmart build a grocery store, they should make Walmart tear it down when it fails.
  • Beth Kursaura said she polled the residents of Bowen Towers and 70% were in favor of the Walmart grocery store.  If nothing changes, everything stays the same.  The Board should put on their big-boy and big-girl pants and do the right thing.  People are leaving Raytown.  She doesn’t think it’s because of Walmart.  She told the Board to look around at the community.  There is no hospital, no community center, and one can’t eat out in Raytown with the risk of getting lung cancer.  She said Walmart can’t be blamed for the increasing crime in Raytown.  In downtown Raytown alone, there are 5 bars.  Look at how many bars are in Westport and look at the crime rate there.  Westport has to deal with rapes, burglaries, and car thefts.  The Board is leading the city in the wrong direction, and not just with Walmart.
  • Greg Walters told the Board he was pleased with the crowds who had attended the last 4 meetings on this subject.  Everyone has been well behaved.  He told the Board the Walmart grocery store is in a residential area and surrounded by residential areas from in all four directions. The store should have a closing time of 10:00 p.m., as do other stores in the Raytown area. He pointed out that the only grocery stores open past 10:00 p.m. are located on 350 Highway in commercial districts. 
  • Helen Wilson said she was concerned about the safety of the food from Walmart.  She bought meat from Walmart that had ground glass in it.  When she complained to the manager, he offered her a refund, but he didn’t care about her physical injuries from consuming glass.  He also refused to notify his district manager or request a recall of the product.
  • Rick Clark asked the Board why there was parallel parking at Walmart.  The snow removal will be a nightmare.  He said Raytown was filled with residents who are on a pension.  They are people who retired from places like Union Wire Rope, General Motors, Armco Steel, and Ford.  Walmart abandoned goods made in the USA for items coming from China.  He said he was wearing a suit, shirt, tie and shoes all made in this country.  He can’t purchase any of these items from Walmart because Walmart doesn’t sell American made merchandise.
  • Jeanette Gentry asked the Board why a court reporter wasn’t hired to keep a record of the meetings about Walmart.  She said she wanted to apologize to the Raytown Public Works employees for the video shown at the beginning of the meeting.  Public Works employees are a valuable asset to the city and deserve better than what the video depicted. 
  • Steve Gunther told the Board the company wanting to put in the Bridal shop had a better plan for downtown Raytown.  Phase 1 would have been a two-story, 25,000 square foot building with a wedding chapel, meeting areas, and a banquet center on the lower level.  The future plan called for a 13,000 square foot office space and/or retail shops on the upper level.  The building would have faced the street and the project called for mixed use businesses.  Mr. Gunther pointed out that the Walmart grocery store is just a grocery store.  He also said the Staff is providing the Board members with information as to why they should vote for the Walmart deal, but no information against Walmart.  The Board members should have all necessary information to make an informed decision.  He said he understands why Walmart wanted this particular piece of property.  The City sold it for $4 per square foot.  Mayor Bower told Mr. Gunther the plan he proposed wouldn’t work.  Alderman Creamer asked how large the grocery store would be under the Main Street Association’s plan.  Mr. Gunther said it would be 15-20,000 Square feet, which is normal for a downtown grocery store.  Mayor Bower told Mr. Gunther again the plan wouldn’t work. 
The Board voted 6 in favor and 4 against the change in zoning necessary for Walmart, and then adjourned the meeting.


What is the role of City Staff on public issues like Walmart? It should be to inform the public. In Walmart Hearings, the role was twisted into one of lackey and cheer leader. 

Alderman Jason Greene complained during the hearing that City Staff should provide ALL evidence, pro and con, for the BOA to consider. That was not the case in the Walmart hearings.
  • In his report to the Board of Aldermen City Planner John Benson definitely took the Mayor’s position on every item on which he reported. The bias of his report caused one Aldermen to comment in the hearing that City Staff should give an unbiased report which tells both sides of the story. Benson’s report was thorough, but there was definitely a pro-development twist to the report. Anti-Walmart positions, such as earlier closing times were glossed over. Emphasis was placed on how far Walmart had agreed to design specifications, while short attention was given to those specifications that were not met.
  • The City’s Public Information Officer, Brenda Gustafson, should have her title changed to Mayor's cheerleader. It appears as if she had her marching orders from the Mayor. And, march she did. The day of the hearing she distributed a reprint from the Kansas City Business Journal in support of the Walmart proposition. That same day, an editorial, which raised doubts about the wisdom of the Walmart proposal, appeared in the Kansas City Star. Gastafson did not distribute the Star’s editorial.
When asked for contact information of Aldermen by a private citizen (Jeanette Gentry) Gustafson became evasive and abusive of Ms. Gentry. Rather than offer the information requested, Gustafson went on the warpath, eventually engaging Gentry in an unseemly war of words of what amounted to lame excuses as to why the information was not available to the public.

Elisa Breitenbach is one of the most visible opponents to the Walmart proposal. At one of the earlier hearings she was interviewed by a local television station. Breitenbach told of how during the interview Gustafson walked into the room. After the interview was completed, Gustafson demanded that she be given (interview) time to refute statements made by Breitenbach. It may be proper for a PIO to give interviews to the press. But it is not proper to use that forum to engage in personal attacks of private citizens. Asking to “refute” comments is less than friendly, it is a statement as to the validity of the opinion of another. 

Calendar of Events

Watch for the following upcoming events in June. Click on the title to follow the link for more information.

Rice-Tremonti Garage Sale / June 6th - 8th
The bi-annual Rice-Tremonti Home Garage Sale will be conducted June 6-8, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day. The big twist this year, however, is that the sale won’t be held in the house or on the grounds. The Raytown Emergency Assistance Program (REAP) management has graciously allowed Rice-Tremonti to utilize their great facilities to hold the sale at the REAP building, which is located at 9300 E. 75th St. in Raytown.

Because REAP is the primary food bank for residents of the Raytown area, we encourage all contributors and attendees to bring canned goods with them to the sale to help restock the food bank shelves.

Rice-Tremonti is looking for donations of your “good junk” including furniture, knick-knacks, decorative items, children’s clothing, toys, usable tools, books and functional household items.

Please, no tires or obsolete computer equipment.

If you are unable to drop off your donations at REAP, call Leigh Elmore, 816-333-3586 or Phyllis Miller, 816-353-2338 and they will make arrangements to acquire your donations.
Proceeds of the sale will go toward necessary repairs to the Rice-Tremonti Home, which dates from 1844 and was a staging area for travelers heading west on the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails in the mid-1800s. 

The Friends of the Rice-Tremonti Home is a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization dedicated to the preservation of the historic home. 

Santa Barbara Half Mile Run BY KRISTEN

There are plenty of things I’ve tried once or twice and never gone back to. Pickles, for one. Gross. But some things—like a really full-bodied Cabernet—are an acquired taste that I’ve developed. In the weeks leading up to the Santa Barbara Half Marathon, I wasn’t sure which of these the 13.1 mile distance… Continue reading

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Andy Whiteman said...

I question conflicts of interest:

Do any of the elected officials or department heads involved own stock in WMT (Walmart) or receive any income from Walmart? Is any official or department head employed or contracted by Walmart? A full disclosure is in order.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Greg and Paul,

When you speak of Greene, you have forgotten there are two of them on the board and we don't know which one you are talking about.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:32PM, A police car at Walmart gives me a sense of security. They usually are there for shoplifters. I was approached at Walmart on Hillcrest by a "disabled" transient looking for a ride. I told him I didn't think that Hank would allow him in the car. KCPD had a mini-station there. When I was ready to leave, I went to the PD station and was escorted to my car. The Raytown Walmart should have a mini-Police station! I suggested this at the time Walmart was approved.

Anonymous said...

its jobs and tax money people. grow up.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on! It is minimum wage jobs at 30 hours a week. We are all grown up but it looks like some never read a paper, do any research or question the Walmart gods!

Our great city council has spoken. How could we go wrong with leadership like that?

Greg Walters said...

We have made changes to identify the two Greene's on the Board of Alderman. Thank you for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

well the fact that it is a minimum wage job it is better than no job. Im sure there are some people that would take it. The tax money that the city will get should go to fixing the roads and paying the cops. The fact that it is 30 hours a week is a by product of policy and changes in the govt (obama) or hell blame it on bush. There are a lot of companies reducing hours in the wake of the pending health care law. its a fact and i do plenty of research. the earlier question yes anyone with a 401k,457 or any funds like that will have some walmart stocks in them. even the great truth seeker/filmmaker michael moore has stock in walmart.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your thoughts on the economic danger of following Europe down the socialist path. But I see Walmart as a heartless cruel task master that cares only for Walmart. It's corporate policy is to break the opposition and drive them out of business. Once they have a market under their control their greed begins to grow.

Look at how the KC Royals are run to see the mindset of Walmart management.

The over-pricing of tickets, with a higher cost calculated upon how many tickets are already sold, is not the stuff of corporate leadership.

It is greed, plain and simple.

The City council has sold off its ability to market Raytown's future Downtown. We are stuck with a Walmart Grocery Store -- is this really an image for forward looking community?

Elisa Breitenbach said...

This was a very hard week for most of the people in Raytown that come into our Donut Shop. To find out that 6 out of 10 city officials could careless about what the citizens of Raytown want in the Downtown area was a bit much for most of them. The fact that the citizens took time to go to the Council meeting and had to set through a very out dated foolish little movie was a great slap in the face. To warn us with our very own police departmant was another slap in the face. It's not the public who has the Bad behavior. For the record city officials are voted in to stand up for the citizens that voted them in office. If they want to work for "Bentonville" maybe they should move and get jobs in Bentonville. I am proud of Ward 2 Alderman Jason Green who brought to the table the city ordinance requiring a two-thirds majority approval of the application because of the Planning & Zoning Commission had denied the application. The City Attorney may have an opinion that this was not pertinent but Alderman Jason Greene did his homework for the citizens of Raytown. We need to know why that is not pertinent? DOUGHBOYS is closed until Friday morning. We are still doing the petition drive on Facebook and hard copy at the shop. This Walmart deal is not over. The WAL-MART EFFECT has cost the City of Raytown many, many friendships. Happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.

Anonymous said...

From following this issue, it seems that the majority of the Raytown population were against a new WalMart being built in the "downtown" area. It is very important to not re-elect those those aldermen that refused to listen to their constituents.

Anonymous said...

You all assume because a couple hundred people showed up at a meeting that everyone in Raytown is against this market. Most of the Raytown residents I speak to are not even aware of the issue and don't hate WalMart. They regularly and happily shop at the Supercenter. I spoke with a well educated couple yesterday who were not aware of the issue.

Most people who live in Raytown don't care about the city and only live here because it is all they can afford. They have no emotional attachment to the city and especially the downtown area. Many, as I, did not grow up in Raytown and see the downtown area as run down and irrelevant.

The support for your opposition of WalMart is not as strong as you believe.

Anonymous said...

You are so wrong in your reading of the people in Raytown. The ones that count.The ones that care about their community and vote. They are what made up a lot of the hundreds that came to the four different hearings on Walmart. They are also part of over a thousand signatures who signed a petition against the change.

Since you are a relative newby in Raytown maybe this will give you some perspective.

Guess which town was the first to receive a Walmart in the Kansas City area. If you said Raytown you are right. 67th and Blue Ridge Cutoff was the first Walmart in the Raytown area.

It brought more revenue to the city and caused a massive exodus of other businesses as well. The trade-off was not worth it.

Raytown could have the same feel of Waldo or even parts of Brookside. But our city council has sold out the one marketable that could spark that re-development.

The 100,000 sq.ft. of concrete and asphalt will just be trading dollars from other area grocery stores.

Sad situation. The bright lining in the cloud is that the voters will undoubtedly throw out those who sold them out next election.

Andy Whiteman said...

What is wrong with Raytown leaders? Since the BOA chamber obviously was too small for the crowd, the meeting should haved been moved to a larger area such as the RHS gym.

Did people feel threatened by a Police Officer at the meeting? Every meeting I have attended has either had Chief Lynch or another officer present. From what I read the threat was from the elected Mayor to eject anyone who was disrespectful. That was a vague threat. Who would decide what was disrespectful? Was He limiting freedom of speech or did He mean to use the word "disorderly?"

The sheepole of Raytown need to turn out in mass at the next election to remove the Mayor as well as many of the 6 alderpeople who are up for relection.

Greg, before the next election please publish the votes on this meeting. Some will forget this vote but it needs to be an election issue.

Andy Whiteman

Elisa Breitenbach said...

To one of the many Anonymous who don't want us to know who you are. I have found many people in Raytown have no idea about the city working on this Walmart Deal. It has been done behind the backs of most of us. Even after we started hearing about it our city officials lied to many of us telling us it was only a rumor. Even after they told some of us the truth they went on record still calling it all a rumor. Stephan King could not write a stranger story about the city leaders disturbing behavor. Why would these people lie and cover up this Walmart Deal and act this desparate? What could possibly be in it for them? They truly do not care how bad this makes them look because they for some reason are desparate to get this Walmart Deal. If this happens far more money will be lost then made from the Walmart Deal. History shows what becomes of towns that put Walmart in. All they do is suck everything dry and empty. You think Downtown Raytown is dead now. Kiss All Hope Good Bye if it comes.

Even Wal-Mart Managers See a Problem said...

I was visiting some friends this weekend who live down towards Butler, MO. One of the things I noticed was every time we passed by the Wal-Mart in Butler you never saw even one police car parked in front of the store. This got the best of my curiosity so I stopped in and found a manger. I asked why they didn’t have police cars parked in front of the store like the do at the Wal-Mart in Raytown. He said he came from Springfield, MO where he was a manager and they too have the police at the store 24/7, but he said the problem is a large amount of the people will not shop at the store as they don’t feel safe. For that reason they have asked the Butler police department to not hang out with their cars in the parking lot or in front of the building as they want to create a warm and safe environment and not one that makes shoppers feel they could end up in the middle of something they would rather not ever be part of. He went on to said it must really be scary to shop at the Raytown store as it was to work at the one in Springfield, but I should always feel welcome and safe at the Butler location.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

The Raytown Walmart v The Butler Walmart. You may want to pull up the police reports. The Raytown Walmart has had over 400 people go to jail last year alone. The Raytown Information Officer told Action 41 News that I was given them misinformation when I said that on camera. What she had to say was none of the people had been killed or rapped at Walmart. They just took people to jail for other crimes and it was as if that sounded much better to her. When our police department needs to deal with 400 crimes at Walmart that takes time away from them protecting the rest of our city. To find out one location in Raytown has had 400 people that needed to be taken to jail is "Scary." To think our city officials want more Walmart is also "Scary."

Anonymous said...

I am curious as to how Alderman Lightfoots vote could count. He voted yes for the Wal-Mart deal when it was in planning and zoning. Seems he already has his mind made up when he walked into the council chambers.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how long it takes to book an arrest in Raytown. It would be interesting to see how much of our police department's time is used booking arrests made at Walmart.

Whoever wrote that every time an arrest is made at Walmart it takes an officer off of our streets hit the nail right on the head. Not only does the city NOT make any money from sale tax at the 350 Highway Walmart, it costs the city more to police it than any other location in town.

Thank you Mayor Bower for this boondoggle to Raytown. It was under your watch that the 350 highway Walmart was signed, sealed and delivered.

The Bentonville crowd should throw you a party for delivering again. This time Downtown Raytown.

Andy Whiteman said...

If Walmart in Springfield and Butler asked the police to stay away, that is pure stupidity. I have law enforcement experience and it is common practice for an officer to stop at a business to use the restroom or on a break or lunch for shopping or eating. Many businesses encourage officers to stop there offering discounts.

Recently I went to a military surplus store in Albuquerque. There was an EMS vehicle and a K9unit already there. As I arrived so did another K9 unit. I asked if there was a crime in progress and the officer stated that they were "just shopping."

I have wondered why I don't see police cars at other Walmarts. I think the answer is there are crime ridden neighborhoods close to the Raytown Walmart. I remember the south part of Lane had many yourth problems resulting in BOA action. I still see crime reports for the 8400 block of Lane. which is close to Walmart. The Kansas City Star had a series last summer about a high crime Zip Code west of Raytown which is pretty close to Raytown. Obnviously criminals from high crime areas will navigate to whatever area they can conduct their "business." Bannister Mall and the Walmart across from Bannister Mall used to have high criminal activity but since they closed, the Raytown Walmart has become a place of opportunity!

I am not speaking for or against Walmart. Just saying that Walmart being a large store with a high variety of merchandise is a place to supply business opportunities when there are crime ridden neighborhoods nearby.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The people of Raytown have been lied to, been betrayed by the
representatives they elected to work for them. It’s time for a legal
look into the way this town is being run. I believe there is more to
this story than meets the eye. I believe there is money exchanging hands
in a bad way. Either directly or indirectly.
Why else would our leaders at city hall betray us.
We need to look into the possibility of impeachment or criminal charges
that might be in order.
It’s time to form our own Tea Party!
It’s time to stand up for the people of Raytown!
It’s time to get rid of what stinks in city hall!

Andy Whiteman said...

7:44 AM, I agree. We can suspect money changing hands in a bad way but it must be proved for criminal charges or impeachment. Unfortunately since Raytown is a 4th Class city, there can be no recall. The sheepole must take a stand at the next election.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

Let’s take a look at our City Hall and what we have been promised.
First this town has gone through several developers. First was Dial.
They were paid tax dollars to come up with a plan for our downtown.
After threatening the downtown business owners with eminent domain
and condemnation, and taking taxpayer money they left Raytown’s
downtown and didn’t even turn a shovel of dirt.
Then came R.E.D. our leaders paid them over seventy thousand of
your tax dollars…….again for nothing. City Hall has paid thousands
of tax payer dollars for several surveys that did nothing.
Our leaders talked taxpayers into voting for a “street overlay.”
They told us all the money would go towards making our streets
better. Wal-Mart got the asphalt and we got…… a little chip and seal
on a couple of streets.
Our leaders talked taxpayers into voting for a “safety tax” this
money, we were told would not go into the general funds.
All money collected would go towards more policemen and equipment
to help keep the people of Raytown safe. Did the general fund get
any of this money? YES.
Now we have the bunch at City Hall saying for a long time they didn’t
know anything about a Wal-Mart grocery store coming into the downtown
area. We all know how that worked out. We the people got the shaft on that one.
The only one I see this city has done anything for is the City Administrator.
After all other city employees, including our police’s wages were frozen for
three years the CA got a $30,000 a year raise and didn’t have to live up to
his agreement with taxpayers, he would move to Raytown as the rules
To the people that I don’t know what I’m talking about, if I have written
anything false here, please point it out.

Anonymous said...

Gosh you'd think the citizens were like Royals fans and city hall is David Glass. Guess who loses?

Anonymous said...

I have become very confused with all of this walmart stuff going on. It seems that the current boa and mayor (they don't deserve caps.) have forgotten who elected them to their seats they are in. When you are elected by the people you should at least try to do what their constitunets especially when there are so many who are so adamant about what they want. What ever happened to listening to those poeple who elected you? What ever happened to alderman who think for themselves even when the powers that be don't want you too? I do think it's time that those who have been on the council for so long need to go, they have forgotten why they are there.

Andy Whiteman said...

One of the directors of finance (I believe it was the one who moved to KS as a county manager but really can't remember who said this) once stated that all funds are placed into the General Fund but items such as the safety sales tax are a separate budget item to separate these funds. I can't confirm or deny the accuracy of this person's statement. Someone would need to examine the budget and the current accounting. I took a budget home once and the font was too small for me to read.

We had a similar issue I was a secretary/treasurer of a fire district that was solely on a cash basis. Sometime after I was elected someone asked how close we were to getting the new fire truck we were saving for? My response was that there was no funds for it. After the board meeting the previous sec/treas and I sat there and debated it for over an hour. Finally he said, "In my mind, the money is there." I said, "The problem is that it is in your mind, but not in my mind." I handed him the ledger and asked him to show me where it was. He had named the ledger column "Equipment" which in my mind is various and sundry items ranging from hoses to bunker gear, to radios. At that point I backtracked the the $2000 that had been added yearly and transferred it to another column called "Fire Truck." After the next tax collection, I called the Lt. who wrote the specs and gave him permission to ask for bids. My point is Safety Sales Tax was started by a previous Finance Director so someone needs to follow up to make sure the next finance director carried through with the same procedure and didn't funnel the funds elsewhere. That is why I maintain separate bank accounts for various purposes and don't keep money in my checking account. BTW: Our money for the new fire truck was in CDs purchased yearly but for some reason unknown to me, the last person mingled the accounting as "Equipment" rather than keeping it separate as he should have done.

Andy Whiteman

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Pat Casady did you know the City Administrator who got the $30,000 a year raise along with the Mayor and city officials played the shell game with the Safety Tax $$$. The got rid of 5 people from the police department. The money the citizens voted to go into public safety did go into the general funds. Public Safety is not what they stand for. It's only about what they want & they will lie & do what ever it takes to get it. I took the last 4 days off to clean up my little shopping center we walked away from in Independence because of city officials just like the 6 who voted for Walmart, the Mayor & the City Administrator. The city officials changed the rules about the City Administrator needing to live in Raytown. Just as they changed the rules for Walmart. It's about them having no respect for the people who put them in office. It's about not having enough pride to even want to live in the city that employees them. Pat did you take the time to look at the Raytown Times this week? Randy needs to change the name of his paper to "The Walmart Times" His paper has no respect for the many people who called the BOA asking to vote for the people and not for Walmart. This paper has not been welcomed in our shop for sometime now. After this week I bet that I am not the only one who feels this way. Pat you know what you are blogging about and it's truly a shame!

Anonymous said...

I see Randy Battagler is upset because the BOA voted to have a 10 o'clock closing time for the planned Walmart Store for Downtown.

I think it is a good idea. Nothing but trouble with five bars within walking distance of the store. It would become an unsafe hangout for people too tipsy for their own good.

I've noticed a pattern here. Randy writes about it. Soon it becomes a discussion item at City Hall.

Mayor Bower you should be more discreet!

I am sure the folks in Bentonville are upset with a 10:00 p.m. closing time.

What a dilemma!!! You have to choose between supporting the people of Raytown or the Walmart gods in Bentonville.

What will you do?!? What will you do?!?!

Anonymous said...

The police department let the five police go not city hall. Maybe they should have used the money they spent on motorcycle riding boots ( a thousand dollars a pair) to fill the vacant positions. Get it right next time

Elisa Breitenbach said...

What happened in Raytown is happening all across the Mo. The citizens are flocking to these meetings and begging the city officials not to put anymore Walmarts in but the city officials vote for Walmarts to go in anyway. Randy with the Raytown Times and these city officials have not only covered this Walmart Deal up but they have lied about it over and over again. Why would they do this? What is in it for them? Only time will tell. How are citizens going to handle all of this, again time will tell. Many people have said they will move out of Raytown is Walmart goes in Downtown Raytown. It's sad city officials could careless about the people who put them in office and the city of Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Want the real story on the police department layoffs? Why not call he Chief of Police? He is an elected official. He is in office to represent you.

That's a pretty serious allegation -- that the police department laid off five positions in the p.d.

It most certainly is not the story that I heard.

All I know is that when they proposed the public safety sales tax they promised these positions would be created.

Now they have un-promised them. In a simpler time we would say we were lied to by City Hall.

Let's see. The BOA and Mayor adopted that budget unanimously. Guess we now know who made the final decision on it. Don't we?

Anonymous said...

If you want to know about the public safety tax and the funds and the police positions that were promised not fired then do some research into documents. Otherwise you will get alot of "chicken Little" the sky is falling! Theatrical comments to insure attention and confusion as well as uprise and separation. Take the time to educate yourself on items otherwise you may fall prey to someone's plot

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering if in three years after Wal-Mart opens their Neighborhood Market if they will then start the process to bring a Sam Club to town.

This I am sure would making us the smallest town in the World with all three of the wonderful Wal-Mart businesses.

What a proud moment for our fine mayor and embarrassment for our town!

Anonymous said...

What is in the dough?

If you check the facts you will find that our over worked and underpaid chief of police actually had budgeted for the 5 positions for some time, but he decided not to fill them.

After many years of not hiring anyone the Board of Alderman had enough and pulled the funding from the budget.

You also need to keep in mind the public sales tax does not fund the police department all by itself. If not from funds from the general fund we wouldn't have much of a department and those officers we did have wouldn't have any pension.

The real question that needs to be asked about our police department is where all the spending going is.

Examples of good questions:

1.) Why are we funding the gas, maintenance and other expense for police cars at Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee for the officers who are working off duty?

2.) How much money was spent on riding boots for our officers per pair of boots and did we really need that high class of a boot?

3.) How many officers do we have that seat at city hall do a job that could be done by a civilian position, which would put more officers on the street?

4.) Why do we have as many if not more officers with a rank (title) then those without and why extra expense is this to the city?

All these questions is going to lead to the chief asking that no one brings up the removal of the 5 officers from the budget in the future as it just leads to questions he would prefer not to answer.

Anonymous said...

Been watching the business of Raytown, particularly the Walmart section of it.

Some points of view.

Mary Jane Van Buskirk. You are ashamed of the people at the meeting!?! I am ashamed of your husband. Plain and simple, he sold us out.

I was at the last meeting when Walmart was voted in by the BOA. I have never seen a governmental body thumb their noses at the people like they did that night.

I believe the people who spoke were sincere. It is real clear that these were Joe Citizen coming to the meeting on their own.

To the four who voted against the zoning change. Good job! We will remembef that you stood with us when we needed you.

The rest of you are finished. Time to start looking for another job.

Anonymous said...

Double standard or plain discrimination

I was playing catch-up on this blog and it sounds like the man who was told to remove his hat while the wife of an Alderman was not needs to contact the US Justice Dept. about a the potential of discrimination against men.

After all this was on tape and in front of a large group of people, so hard for the "Good Old Boys" to hide at this point form a Federal Agency.

This is most important as it gives that agency an in for looking at other misconduct going on at city hall.

Anonymous said...

just talked with a few of our local firefighters. They say big changes are coming and they did not seem pleased. They said they are being forced into kansas city fire to help fix response times for them.I got the feeling that there is a mutiny about to happen. I always thought the fire department had my best intrest in mind. I think these guys have no trust in the Fire Chief or the Fire Board. I plan on calling the Fire Department on Monday to see what i can find out. Greg,you should investigate this.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Everything changes in the morning. With no one talking open about the big changes. When we call for help we will be dealing with Kansas City from now on. This will not be good for Raytown. Most of the city officials are doing all they can to bring in another Walmart in and now all our calls for the Fire Department will need to go through K.C. This is not a Chicken Little Story. This is just sad news that I have been told.

Anonymous said...

Let us join their fight and get them to join ours!


KCPS Repurposing Office will be discussing recent proposal changes, soliciting community feedback, and reviewing next steps for the Bingham site.

Thursday, June 13, 2013 @ 5:30pm
Keystone Church in Waldo
406 W 74th St, KCMO 64114

To recap:

1. Proposal came in to sell Bingham to Walmart for a new Walmart Neighborhood Market. Many people did not approve.

2. Waldo Area Business Association has written a letter of support to move forward with a decision, regardless of what it is, in order to get rid of the blighted building. They didn't outright say they wanted Bingham sold to Walmart, but they DO want progress so if it means selling to Walmart, then so be it.

3. Tower Homes Association has not made an official statement due to the many issues that came up between their member base. Some are opposed to certain PARTS of the proposal and some are completely against Walmart.

4. There was a meeting between WABA, THA, the Repurposing Committee and Walmart to go over, in fine detail, the many issues that were raised to see if Walmart could address those concerns.

5. This last meeting will be Walmart's newly revised proposal with all of the neighborhood's concerns addressed to some extent.


We really need a great turnout at this meeting. If you have been on the fence about this situation, then you'll really want to go to this meeting to see what they have to say.

There will probably be NO MORE community meetings to garner input so this is the time we've been waiting for.

Anonymous said...

John, I heard the same thing from some of the Raytown Police. They claim the fire dept can no longer talk to anyone in Raytown by walkie talkie. Also if you live on the edge of town you might have to wait 8 minutes for a Kansas City truck because Raytown fire will no be responding. The next time Raytown fire wants more money maybe they should ask Kansas City.
Raytona Beach Bum

Anonymous said...

When is the next Fire Board meeting, a change like this should have been approved by the voters. Not the fire chief he works for us. If he is our sourcing the service why do we need him. Time for him to go...

Anonymous said...

The city of Raytown has no control over the Raytown Fire District. It is controlled by their own board, which is elected by the citizens of Raytown. They are not conected to the city government.

Anonymous said...

They ask that caps be removed in court, not at council meetings!