Saturday, February 1, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

Bragging Rights! We normally publish articles from Fit Bottomed Girls or, more recently, from its companion publication, Fit Bottomed Eats, at the bottom of our weekly post. Read on and you will agree the recognition received by Jennipher Walters, Publisher/Owner of Fit Bottomed Girls, deserves a little more attention this week. Not bad for an operation run out of Waldo. Good job Girls. We are very proud of you.


Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet Book Featured on the Today Show!
File this in OMG, did that just happen?! Earlier today, our book The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet (pre-order here and get free goodies!) was featured … Read More






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The Salamander Returns! 
Several weeks ago Raytown Times' columnist Bob Phillips, carried an update  about the once proposed Downtown Raytown Walmart store.

In the main, Bob's column consisted of excerpts of a letter he had received from Ward 4 City Councilman Bill VanBuskirk.

To say the least Alderman from Ward 4 did not hold back. No mealy-mouthing.  He let all hang out.

Here are a few quotes (as he spoke of those who opposed the Store):

"A handful of people raising hell about the store."

"Some people opposed initially were grossly and purposely misinformed."

"Most of them changed their minds when they were told the truth."

"There were so many lies out there clouding the issue."

Calling residents, some of whom may have even voted for you, names like stupid, misinformed, and liars, etc., is not very “Councilmanish".

As your Salamander sees it, the real concern is that anyone, especially a majority of the City Council. would be so tunnel-visioned that most of them voted to approve the deal at all.

Bill VanBuskirk's rage is misdirected.  He obviously has a very short and selective memory.

He apparently has forgotten all the promises made -- then broken -- when the City Council voted the Give-Away of the Decade -- the Highway 350 Walmart.

VanBuskirk and others on the council should be reminded how we were promised, once Walmart 350 opened its doors, that it would set off a "gold Rush" of other businesses, restaurants, etc., fighting to get in on the best deal in the history of western Missouri. 

The tax base would literally solve all the city's problems.

The exact opposite has happened.

The area targeted for growth on 350 Highway store is a vast economic wasteland. The tax base was there but so was a little problem. All of the sales tax generated at Walmart goes to pay for the debt to create construction of the shopping complex. The city does not get one penny of it and will not share in this "flood of revenue" for more than two decades.

A more graphic representation of how monumentally large this economic disaster is evident just south of the Walmart Store. That large vacant lot, just to the East of the now vacant YMCA, was promised to be Phase 2 of the 350 development.

The foregoing is what happened with the 350 Deal.  Why on earth anyone would think it would end up any different with another store located in Downtown Raytown?

If being located by a Walmart is so advantageous why hasn't anyone moved in? 

After all, there is plenty of space available.

No. Mr. VanBuskirk. don’t take your angst out on the good people of Raytown. They have been there and done that. The difference between you and the people of Raytown is that they learned from the experience and became that much wiser.

Apparently, you did not.



BY GREG WALTERS
Downtown Raytown Development

Last week I sent a letter to Raytown’s Economic Development Director, Tom Cole, requesting information about the plans to develop the area known as the Green Space in Downtown Raytown. The Raytown City Council recently chose Flaherty and Collins as the developer for the project. Following is a copy of my letter to Mr. Cole and his response.
  

Tom,

Can you share with me any information of the financial package and tenants (if any) expected for the Green Space in Downtown Raytown?

There have been some claims made that the city intends to:

Give the land to the developer without charge. Is that a true statement?

An undetermined amount of 353 funding. I am interested in the nuts and bolts on this one. Specifically how such funding would work. Actual cost and value of the funding. The timeline and any hurdles -- does it require a vote of any public body other than the Board of Alderman for approval.

There are rumors out there. I would like to shed some light on what exactly is happening.

Greg Walters



Greg:

As always, thanks for reaching out to me.

At this point, my answers haven’t changed from the last time you asked.  The development process is lengthy, but I believe Flaherty & Collins will deliver a full/final proposal demonstrating all of the development costs (construction, design, engineering, etc) near the end of the first quarter of 2014.  Once those numbers have been established, I also anticipate having a full understanding of the finances they bring to the table in addition to the remaining gap that they would request the City to assist in filling.  This is typical of most large development projects.

We met with them last week and they are beginning to complete their due diligence on the property.  I also anticipate that our Joint Review Committee (Planning, Zoning, Codes, Public Works, Fire, etc) will meet with their team in the coming weeks to assure all parties understand the design guidelines and the process for developing in downtown Raytown.

In regard to incentives and rumors…at this point, we simply don’t know as we have yet to receive the real economics of the project.  Regardless, an evaluation of the incentives and the cost/benefit to the City for the project will be completed by a third party (unbiased) source once all of the data has been received.  The third party will likely either be Integra Realty Resources or Springsted.  They will do a thorough analysis and if there is not a tangible benefit to the City, we will either encourage the developer to reconfigure the project in a manner that is more beneficial to the City or simply dismiss the project all together.

 In the Request for Proposal, we identified a number of incentives that are available under Missouri State Statutes.  Among them were Community Improvement Districts, Tax Increment Financing (the project area is within an existing, but unactivated TIF area), Chapter 353 and perhaps, if warranted, donation of the property.  It is critical to note that NONE of those items are guaranteed and that the Board of Aldermen has the ability to deny/dismiss any or all of them.

Again, until we know the values and economics of the project, the incentives really hold no value at this time.

You specifically asked about the workings of Chapter 353…if utilized in this case, the developer would pay property taxes on the real property value (the land), but not on the improvements to the property (the new construction) for a period of 10-25 years depending on the total investment.  The project area is also within a Chapter 353 designated area that I believe was approved in 2006/7.

I cannot stress enough that none of this is solidified or even in current negotiation.  The City HAS NOT offered a financial proposal to the developer and we will not offer a proposal to the developer until/unless we receive a full understanding of the economics of the proposed development.  In the event a positive cost benefit is returned, and a third party deems it appropriate and positive to assist in filling a “financial gap,” I am only interested in assisting with the gap and not an excessive outlay of funds for an unnecessary duration.

Basically, I want to see a real shift in the economics and appeal of our downtown and the project before us has the potential to do that…of course, it all comes down to economics and we’re waiting for the numbers to be presented.

In regard to tenants, there currently are none as any potential tenant would also want to fully understand the economics of the development prior to expressing any level of interest.  I know there is concern in the community that Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market may come back.  Flaherty-Collins has never completed a project with Wal-Mart and they do not have a relationship with Wal-Mart.  I suppose stranger things have happened, but I would be quite surprised if the Neighborhood Market expressed any level of interest in again pursuing the same property.

If you have additional questions, please ask.

Thomas A. Cole, CEcD
Economic Development Administrator


THE FOLLOWING IS THE FIFTH IN A SERIES OF ESSAYS BY CANDIDATES FOR THE RAYTOWN CHARTER COMMISSION.
  
TO VIEW OTHER CHARTER CANDIDATE PROFILES . . .
USE THIS LINK: CHARTER CANDIDATE PROFILES

BY CHRIS RATHBONE
Chris Rathbone for Charter Commission
My name is Chris Rathbone. I first moved to Raytown with my family in 2007. My children have attended Raytown Schools since pre-kindergarten, my wife and I have been on their school PTA boards, and my wife is now serving on the Raytown PTA council. A couple of years ago we bought our first home together in Raytown. I had recently finished 12 years of service in the United States Army after serving for a year in Iraq

Shortly after purchasing our home, I discovered that Raytown was a 4th class city under Missouri rules. Being a 4th class city, Raytown must be run the way Missouri law states. We as residents, have little voice in Raytown matters. Any changes to the way Raytown is run must go thru the Missouri Legislature for permission. The rules for a  4'th class city in Missouri are set up for cities with less than 3,000 residents. Raytown now has a population of around 30,000.

After speaking with quite a few residents about issues they had with the city, I thought that now would be a good time to get the ball rolling again to try and make Raytown a Charter City. I started meeting with some friends and spoke to people who were on the Charter Commission the last time this was tried. We got together and came up with a petition which we circulated and got the required number of signatures. I presented the petition to the City at the Board of Aldermen meeting on June 4, 2013.

As a new homeowner here, I have a vested interest in the future of this great little city. It is centrally located to just about everything in the metro area, but as great as it is, I think it could be much better.

I am asking you to vote yes on April 8'th to form a Charter Commission and to vote for me to serve on its board.

I don't think we need to re-invent the wheel with a new Charter. I think the less changes we make to how the city is run, the better the chances it will pass, however, there are a few things that a lot of people I have spoken with would really like to see happen, and I personally agree with them.

If elected, I would push for the citizens of Raytown to have the power to petition for initiative, referrendum, and possibly recall. The hard decision with that will be where to set the thresholds for the number of signatures required. There would need to be provisions for Charter amendments in the future. I also think that there needs to be discussion about city leaders not living in Raytown.

I have also talked to some people that are worried that if we change very much at all, this charter will not pass. I disagree somewhat with that. The Charter Commission could write a "simple" charter with very little change to the way the city runs now, but also put changes on the ballot as parts to be voted on seperately. That way, the simple charter could be easily passed, and we let the citizens decide what changes, if any, that they want. I think this is the safest way to ensure that we are not all wasting our time on this, and also empower voters to have a part in drafting the Charter.

I don't know how this is going to turn out. It all depends on who is elected to the Charter Commission, and what they can agree on. If elected, I will only be one voice out of 13. Everyone running has their own ideas of what they want in the Charter. We need people who will listen to what the citizens of Raytown want in this Charter and vote accordingly. That is what I promise to do.

I welcome any suggestions, or questions you have of me.

I can be reached at crathbone78@yahoo.com, or follow me on my Facebook page: "Chris Rathbone for Raytown Charter Commission" at https://www.facebook.com/crathbone78,
I would very much appreciate your support on April 8'th. Thank you.


Chris Rathbone



BY JENN
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76 comments:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the "eye opening" story about Mr. VanBuskirk. He has truly been a BIG disappointment to the people who elected him. Now his wife wants to be on the charter commission. I'm sure her goal is to protect him and his YES BUDDIES on the council from any form of recall that would have surely cost him his seat after his distarous vote on the Walmart. It's too bad that he has turned his back on the voters of ward 4 and has become just one of the "Mayor's votes".






'

Gadsden said...

Amen to 1:29

Anonymous said...

Some good post from last week.

I really enjoyed the pieces asking if The Skillet is ever going to open.

I couldn't agree more. I am sick and tired of hear about a business for over what I believe is now 3 years and still not open.

What a joke the owners are and anyone who thinks this will ever open.

Anonymous said...


Not to divert well-deserved scrutiny away from the current proposed development, I write to strongly suggest Tom Cole cease and desist on further development in Raytown until he cleans up some of the messes he's already 'developed".

In his year-end, glowing appraisal of his efforts, Tom Cole conveniently overlooked The Skillet which is still not open for business - a tax base sink hole. Another, Newzroom, seems to be following suit with a lot devoid of grass and windows covered inside with brown kraft paper. Good job Cole - don't believe we trust your "due diligence".

Andy Whiteman said...

The real blame for Raytown's faults lie with 80% of the voters who don't get off their duffs and get out to vote! The sad part is they don't have to get off their duff's. All they have to do is call the election office to have an absentee ballot mailed. They can vote and return their ballot without ever leaving their house.

The percentage of those voting should easily be higher than 90%

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy, you've said this several times and saying it again isn't necessary.

Anonymous said...

New York City, 1 February 2014: American cities are worried that proposals concerning municipal bonds will greatly reduce their ability to issue new or re-finance old debt. The US Federal Reserve is discussing new rules, which would prevent banks from including municipal debt in their holdings of legally required liquid assets. Following the 2008 financial crisis, banks will be obliged to hold enough liquid assets to meet cash needs for 30 days. US city and state treasurers say that municipal bonds are safe, easily tradable instruments and should thus be part of any liquid reserve requirements.

The financial market has already seen a significant fall in sales of US municipal bonds. The financial information provider Thomson Reuters reported yesterday that in January the sale of new muni bonds fell to its lowest level for two years. “Total bond issuance of US$17.63 billion for the month was the smallest since $17.11 billion sold in January 2012 and a third less than the $26.53 billion issued in January 2013. Altogether, only 581 deals came to market during the month, the smallest number since February 2011.”

Reuters reported that North Carolina treasurer Janet Cowell wrote to the Federal Reserve saying that the proposed rules would rob financial institutions of a very safe source of liquidity and prevent institutions from using municipal bonds to diversify their portfolios. "This will increase borrowing costs, leading to increased taxes and rates for citizens and delayed or foregone capital projects," she added. North Carolina’s comments were supported by several US cities including Houston and Junction City. A number of big banks have also voiced their concerns. Bank of America’s treasurer said the proposals included a number of new operational requirements, which introduced uncertainties and added unnecessary burdens.

http://www.citymayors.com/news/metronews_americas.html

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the Skillet is opening? It seems there are contradictory posts. Some say it is opening. Some say it is closing.

i hope it is opening.

As for municipal bonds. The rates are extremely low. That is why the market for them is so slow. Investors are looking to other areas that bring a better return for their money.

That is how and why capitalism works so well.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you 4:16a capitalism does work well. What is unnerving is that Kansas City has 3 free trade zones (one is near Raytown) and is positioning us to become cheap labor for free market industrialization and logistics. Remember this difference as things try to progress - free trade = socialism, free market = capitalism.

Anonymous said...

Spoke with a guy at the grocery story today he had a great idea, which was anyone with an ETB card needs to be in a line for ETB card users only.

He said explained that it was wrong for us to work hard and support these people with our tax dollars and the least they could do is wait in line being we are paying for their purchases.

If we could only get the stores to implement his idea as I am sure we all know way too many people who are getting benefits that don’t deserve them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I don't see any major business willing to or wanting to move into Raytown. Walmart Grocery didn't want any tax abatements at all and you all whined and cried until they pulled out. Raytown is too small land wise for any big retailer. Look at the demographics of this town.

To the brave Anonymous writer that posted this, they did not have to ask for tax breaks they were already there for the taking.

Anonymous said...

Well Andy apparently it bears repeating if it is still a problem and draws attention to get people out to vote.. Just as the many yes many comments about the city and it's flops bear repeating because the issues still exist

Anonymous said...

@10:04, that doesn't make sense during slow times. You'd have an extra employee hanging around to serve a small portion of your customers.

By the way, have you ever had to use EBT? Just curious becomes that comment has an attitude that comes across a bit "holier than thou". Either way, trying to create another class of people is the wrong way to go. All that Agenda21 ICLEI stuff that gets posted here? This goes along with it by dividing people even further and making them feel even lower than they already are.

Andy Whiteman said...

The problem with muni-bonds is not only low interest rates but the credit rating of the municipality. Still the interest is higher than available from CDs. Another problem is that as interest goes down, many muni-bonds are being recalled and reissued at lower interest rates. Hence, even on a 30 year bond, the interest is not guaranteed for 30 years.

1:44 PM, I repeat myself hoping to get the attention of new readers who don't or won't vote. It is pathetic that fewer than 20% of the voters elect those who are supposed to run the city intelligently!

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 10:04,
When Codington’s s.p.? was still over on Raytown
Traffic Way, I had an employee that was behind a
person that was dressed in high priced clothing, wearing
an expensive watch, talking on a smart phone paying
for her groceries with ETB or food stamps, put the receipt
into a purse full of cash. She then went out to her new
Lincoln Navigator and drove away.
Makes you proud to be a dumb taxpaying American.

Anonymous said...

2/2 10:04 PM
We could make that idea even better. Perhaps we should approve of what they purchase, since it is OUR tax dollars. Maybe we should also require them to publicly express their thanks by bowing to us, kissing our rings, or taking our purchases to our vehicles.

I'd love to see how you determine who does and doesn't deserve benefits, just by seeing them use EBT cards at the store. People can work hard and still need the assistance of food stamps if the job does not pay well enough.

Funny thing is, the odds are pretty good that your tax dollars are supporting the guy you talked with more than you are the person using an EBT card. If that guy has a mortgage, owns property, has medical expenses, and gives to charity, he is likely taking deductions on his tax return. Your tax dollars get to make up those reductions in taxes you pay. You get to do it for the wealthiest people in America as well. If you take advantage of any of those deductions as well, someone is supporting you with their tax dollars. Are you going to wait behind the people supporting you?

Do you realize that the street in front of your house is paid for by a lot of people who will never use that street? If you had children go to school, the cost of educating them was also paid by people with no children in the schools.

Truth is, everyone gets entitlements and the amount the poor receive is a fraction of the amount the better off receive. Yes, there is fraud but that comes with all entitlements, not just food stamps.

These are not the ramblings of a wild-eyed liberal or socialist (I usually vote Republican), just someone who understands that nobody goes it alone and refuses to hypocritically condemn others without looking in the mirror.

Pat Casady said...

As for the Skillet opening, I talked to Mr. Chris Payne
two weeks ago about the situation. He told me that
the owners have spent over a hundred thousand to
try and get their place open. They have had trouble with
Raytown and the health inspectors. Seems rules change
daily. By the way it’s only been a little over a year.
I feel for these young people that have invested their hard
earned money to bring another restaurant to Raytown.
I have found in my forty years of being in business in this
town, that City Hall really doesn’t want any small businesses.
Especially in an area they want to plant a big corporate
store.
You would think since our leaders have given away so much
in tax income they would welcome any small business that
would actually pay taxes. But, that is not the case.
Don’t even get me started on Van Buskirk. What
a disappointment.

Peter said...

Well said 4:20 pm !!! Hope that other person was able to catch your comment.

Also congrats in order big time for Jen on your diet book getting National Attention!! Very proud of you!!!!!! Congrats to the entire Walter family; bragging rights Indeed.

Anonymous said...

4:20 you are a tiresome little liberal. 'Everyone' has not received entitlements. Maybe you're just speaking of everyone you know.

The entitlement spending has been hugely expanded by design; it's milk and honey to keep the progressive liberal voters coming back to the polls to vote for more of the same. It is socialism, pure and simple, and it keeps the seemingly downtrodden at the bottom of their ladders. That their is fraud in the system is due to the mismanagement at the hands of every gov't employee from the local welfare office on up to the White House. It's further abused by recipints who sell or trade their benefits for non-intended uses, refuse jobs they could take, keep having children out of wedlock, and otherwise game the system. Entitlements weaken the very fabric of our society. We don't need them. Americans ares the most charitable people in the world and if there were no SNAP or section8, etc. we'd take care of those who truly needed it without the injurious and conspicuous manipulation of the gov't. I don't have any stomach for politically correct whiners who can't see beyond the next tree they're going to hug. Our country is in some real serous trouble because of people who refuse to see the big picture and continually paint themselves into corners. Puppets.

Need To Know said...


10:51 What you said: All that Agenda21 ICLEI stuff that gets posted here? This goes along with it by dividing people even further and making them feel even lower than they already are.

Bull roar! Agenda21/ICLEI is about creating one class, serfs, to serve the elite. It is about destroying personal, local and state sovereignty. It is about impoverishing everyone, removing their rights, their religion, their children, taking their personal property (land, intellectual property, privacy), taking their right to travel at will, their choice of food/nutrition/healthcare, education and vocation, robbing them of their heritage and personal wealth. I don't believe you've been paying attention - so sad.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed that Greene and Emerson abstained at the last BOA vote on the Flaherty development in the town square. This is no attack; it is public record.

Anonymous said...

There you go midway down 8:29 quoted word for word an anonymous blogger from a previous thread and added a comment. Sure hope the blogger sees the response to their blog

Anonymous said...

My husband went to the Skillet last Saturday and no one was in the building but the doors were open with no sign saying they weren't open. When we went in there was stuff was all over the place but no one inside to talk too. We left and then 2 people came out of another building and said they would be open in 3 weeks but I don't know who they were. I'm not so sure that we will go back it's been so long in opening.

Anonymous said...

To need to know.... The serfs serving the elite and taking their choice of nutrition etc from them. That's exactly what 10:51 was talking about . With reference to the persons mind set and lowering others just as the Icle agenda21... They more than listened! Some are so busy thinking of a belittling comeback that they can not comprehend another's words.....,.so very Sad indeed

Anonymous said...

Serfs to save the elite? Agree with you; that person must feel the are the elite and the EBT person is everyone's serf. They must be in support of Ickle agenda 21

Anonymous said...

No 5:33 pm, that isn't right. 10:51 addressed singling SNAP card users out by having them check out of a grocery store in a separate line so that the people who were paying for those people's entitlement groceries wouldn't have to wait on them. 5:33 is sympathetic toward the poor card user feeling lowly.

Rest assured, the only people who feel lowly about using those benefits are those who really, really need them and they are far outnumbered by those who think they're pulling a fast one on the rest of us. It is the latter group, who think they're 'getting away' with a free lunch on the backs of the taxpayers who need to be routed-out and eliminated from the entitlement programs. We've all seen them, loading up on foods we can't afford on our hard-earned income, paying for their food with SNAP, dressed in designer clothes with all the bling, driving away in a new vehicle. I don't give a hoot how anyone shops, eats, dresses, or what they drive until it comes to doing it at my personal expense and those people have taken bread from my mouth to put it into their own and when it's blatantly apparent that they didn't 'need' it, I become justifiably upset.

1) Don't redistribute my wealth. If it warrants being done, I'll do it myself & will do it far better than any government will.

2) Food. shelter and a living wage are not rights. They were never meant to be guaranteed and there's a reason for that.

3) A lack of planning on your part does not create an emergency on my part.

4) I am not your host and you are not my parasite.

Anonymous said...

To 9:54 it was 10:04 that suggest the individual lines not 10:51. And 5:33 was saying the reference that 10:51 was making had to do with the elite and serfs similar to the Ickle agenda 21 doing a separation and the designs to take our freedoms away as need to know speaks of in the agenda21 experiance

Anonymous said...

It would appear the moon is full or someone just liked to be constantly argumentive

Terrence said...

My daughter in law recieved her BA in Criminal Justice and one of her first jobs was at the welfare office. She would interview and examine case loads for approval. One of the many people she turned away after attempting to educate them on managing what they did have finicially came back to threaten her in the parking lot as she left work one evening. She no longer works there and now has a much better paying job with advancements also a better work environment . Some people have never been taught how to manage what they have and get by or set goals for themselves. Some don't care to. I know a woman who's son landed a super job with a big company after a few days he quit. Going back to being self employed and barely getting by. He had been a felon and took an opportunity to move up and walked away from it. When we have so many looking for a job not to mention this one paid high and had medical and retirement. Seems such a shame

Elisa Breitenbach said...

The current Public Information Officer's last post was "Please make sure your pets are inside during this cold weater." I was wondering if anyone watched her and her husband on KC TV 5 News yesterday at their Gusto Coffee Bistro in Lee's Summit? I missed it but I am still having people call me about it. When you pull up the piece Reporter Eric Chaloux did Brenda Gustafson tells Eric Chaloux "She is not worried about her commute because it't only three blocks." People are asking is she now just working in Lee's Summit?

Elisa Breitenbach said...

The resturant The Skillet has my prayers. As a small business owner I have found out the hard way how hard it can be to open a Mom & Pop resturant. We tried to open up our Donut Shop in Western Independence. It's a area that is full of empty buildings. Everytime we turned around the rules of what they wanted us to do changed. Each change was going to cost thousands of more dollars. That was in our own shopping center. That was a shopping center that we already own and still own today. That is how I ended up back home in Raytown. Our shop we have now has always been a Donut Shop in Raytown so all we had to do was paint and move it. I would never ever start a resturant from scratch. I welcome The Skillet because I understand how much it takes to start a Mom & Pop. It sure sounds like they have worked with all the hearts to get their doors open. I truly wish them the very best.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Raytown Report you do have Bragging Rights! I am so happy for the girls and their Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet Book featured on the Today Show! Way To Go Girls!!! Maybe soon we will be able to see YOU on tne Today Show! Keep Up The Good Work!!!

Been there said...

I'm not sure how the food stamp system is now but I do know back in 02 I lost my job 1wk before I was to go thru breast cancer surgery. I called the Government office to inquire about any assistance there might be for me. I had always worked and paid into the taxes, being single and knowing I would be unable to look for work while going thru the massectomy...... Because I owned a home I would be uneligable for any assistance; I was told I could sell my home and live off that....ok but like Now if not yesterday would work to sell it and while I would have tubes in my chest I could pack up and look for a place to rent???? United way told me the same thing. As did a church charity I had given to yearly for over 20 yrs ( don't give anymore to them). REAP helped by giving me canned goods and boxed goods for 6 months. When I was working again I gave to REAP every week a small grocery bag at a time. My unemployment barely covered my cobra insurance and co pays , Aztra Zenica helped with all my meds. My 21 yr old son paid my utilities for me. My point is you just never know who or why someone may need help occasionally and as with the case with me I had paid in for well over 39 yrs but the Government refused me help even with food stamps.. Don't know how it is now or the circumstances of the people reviewing food stamps. If I had gotten help I may of been one of those you look at in disrespect.

Need To Know said...

Since we were pretty much shut-down by a fierce snow storm yesterday that our POI, Brenda Gustafson, should have been on the job fielding or redirecting Raytown's phone calls. It seems Mrs. Gustafson doesn't consider being Raytown's PIO as her work since she had the day 'off' and was too busy working at and promoting her coffee shop instead of having Raytown calls forwarded to her home instead. I think this coffee shop interview in the midst of our worst snow storm to date this winter speaks loudly of Brenda Gustafson's priorities. Since neither she nor our city clerk hasn't much to do, we can probably fare just as well by combining the two positions and saving the money spent for the salary of the PIO - let her go.

Anonymous said...

Where is Brenda's coffee shop? I would like to check it out. Yes a lot of City offices were closed yesterday as well as the court systems not to mention schools and attorney offices; glad so many whom WORK OUTSIDE OF THE HOME were afforded the opportunity not to have to head into the office,

Anonymous said...

A number of years ago a little breakfast diner started up where the skillet is . We ate there a handful of times and then it was gone

Gadsden said...

The diner you refer to was known as the 5 K, Two owners a man who did the cooking and he was good and a lady that ran the rest. They had a split over ideas on how to get rich quick. He went to L.S. invested in a bar restaurant and it went under. Very hard to make a going in that line of business. When they open we need to support them very much on the strong side.

Anonymous said...

@12:26, use Google and search for "Gusto Coffee Bistro". It's the first result.

If city offices are closed, I don't see anything wrong with her working at her own business three blocks from her home. If anyone else had the option to do that, tell me you wouldn't do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Brenda Gustafson's bistro is 8.6 miles from Raytown city hall... just a hop skip jump for her to take I470 to 350 hwy and on it, but I was told she had called city hall to say she couldn't make it in to work. I'm pretty darned sure 470 and 350 were plowed and moving traffic just fine. A man I know had to go to work downtown from Raytown at 6 am yesterday and he said the route was plowed at that early hour so I'm guessing MODOT had taken good care of 470 and 350 by that hour too. Blows a hole in that excuse, eh?

Anonymous said...

To 2:15pm thank you for the info on Brenda's coffee shop! I'm in so much agreement with you on her working at her coffee shop the other day. People can be so petty or jealous. Or maybe they feel they own everyone and every aspect of other peoples life's . I try to frequent Mom and Pop shops where ever they may be when I'm out and about. If we support more Mom and Pop Shops then there will be less empty buildings from big bussiness's heading out and more Mom and Pop Shops staying. I'm sure a lot of Mom and Pop Shops would like to be close to their home within walking distance .

Anonymous said...

Except city hall was not closed.

Anonymous said...

To Elisa; as I understand it the City offices are closed on weekends and I'm sure that Brenda's coffee shop would be open on weekends as well as during the week. A lot of couples as well as singles hold many jobs. That may very well help answer the question about Brenda that others are asking of you. I personally don't know Brenda so I really couldn't say but it sure sounds like a lot of people are interested in her Mom and Pop shop as well as yours. And I'm with you on the Skillet; wish them lots of luck and just can't wait till they open. Haven't had a Mom and Pop family style diner since that Raytown couple had Neptunes. Loved their hot open faced roast beef sandwich and the Reuben's .

Anonymous said...

I don't know who wrote it but they were 100% correct. City Hall was not closed this week. Maybe Ms. Gustafson could not make it in due to the weather. I guess she can thank her lucky stars that the Channel Five news was able to make it out to her place despite the impassable road conditions!

Face if folks. She got caught dirty and you all know it!

Anonymous said...

I don't know of too many business that don't allow a couple of "personal days off" per year. My sis works for a small law firm 8 miles from her home and took a personal day on feb 4 as well.

Anonymous said...

i don't see what the big deal is about a city employee having a job of their own on the side.

But if that person skips out from their city hall job to take care of their personal business when they are being paid by the city, well, that is a BIG deal.

Our elected aldermen are supposed to be watchdogs of what is going on with our local government.

But I don't think they watch very closely.

They strike me more as a bunch of men and women are pretty much intimidated by their employees and the Mayor.

It is one of the reasons I am going to vote to form a charter commission. At least then we will have a means to remove those board members that do not do their job.

KMCCLA said...

I was wondering about the schools closings all the time now. Now I have to admit I have no "dog" in this fight, as I do not have any children. However, I did attend Raytown C-2 Schools (up until high school, when I get to private school). I hate to sound "old", but back in my day we did not get out for it being too cold. As I remember it, Raytown C-2 was often one of the last -- the very last -- to close due to snow. The "rumor" was that the superintendent would drive around in a 4 X 4 if he had a difficulty getting around on the roads, they would cancel school. Granted, I can remember standing out waiting for the bus to take me to Spring Valley, with tears running down my face as it was too cold. As a matter of fact another bus -- from a different route -- picked me up and took me to school that day. I can also remember one time we went to school on a Saturday (I think I was I fourth grade) because something had happened to the school one day. However, now days it seems like Raytown is one of those schools that closes at a drop of the hat (or if the temperature drops too low). Now grated, Tuesday and Wednesday, school should have been closed, the roads where bad, and not safe. But Today (Thursday) and now Friday they are closed again -- why? Because it is too cold? As I said, I hate to sound like an old foggy (and I am only in my mid 40's) but back in my day -- we did not get out because it was too cold.

Anonymous said...

To 3:34 pm yes the roads were much better on the 5th than they were on the 4th. Lots of people were able to travel as opposed to the 4th when MODOT urged everyone to stay off the hiways because of the continual snow accumulation thru out the day.. The road conditions were shown on tv thru out the day. Wow what a mess the 4th was and what a difference a day makes

Terrence said...

Is an alderman job a full time position now? I was under the impression that it was not a 40 hr a week paid position. And don't employees of City Hall, School district, water co., police dept, etc have a certain amount of allowed personal days off? Most company's doI did not realize these did not. I have a friend that works in a small 10 person office building and she took one of her personal days on Tuesday and a vacation day on Wednesday .

Anonymous said...

To 3:34 isn't Brenda and Dons coffee Bristol at Longview ? Why wouldn't she just take 3rd st to 350??? Haven't they had the Coffee shop for a couple of years?

Anonymous said...

City hall was open Tuesday feb 4 th but as their site said with very limited services.

M B said...

3:34

According to mapquest it is 8.4 miles if she were to travel view high to Raytown rd and 11. Miles if she were to take 470. At any rate it is an interesting thought. One I'm sure many; as well as myself are glad you brought this up and shed light on it. Certainly makes one wonder about the whole situation

Anonymous said...

What Brenda Gustafson does on her own time is her business but she wasn't one her own time, this time.

Her excuse for skipping out on work to the city of Raytown was lame, she has been surly toward citizens who have asked her to do her job with the city website, and she has interfered with a public citizen's press interview.

Perhaps Mrs. Gustafson should be given a permanent vacation. Then she could spend all the time she wants in her Lees Summit house and Lees Summit business.

I'm sure there is someone in Raytown who would be grateful to have a new job as our PIO.

Susan Dolan said...

.
Here's a link to RAIDS online where you can see current Raytown crimes pinpointed on a map. On the left side of the page, you can specify the date range you want to view as well as the types of crime you want pinpointed on the map. Mouse over the circles (pin points) on the map and you can read the details about each crime. Nice

http://www.raidsonline.com/?address=Raytown,MO

Anonymous said...

I wondered why the Channel five news story had Brenda on it but when you went to the website it was removed and her husband was on instead.

Guess she did not want the bad publicity of being caught playing hookie. I am surprised that she has enough pull with the television station to get the stories changed.

I guess her public relations connections paid off big time.

She certainly is lucky that the t.v. crews did not take a personal day or vacation day due to the snow storm.

Face it folks, she is a clever gal who took advantage of a slow news day and her buddies from t.v. land took care of her.

As for her calling in and saying she could not make it into work due to the weather. Hogwash. She made it to her business. The news van made it to her business. She could easily have made it to Raytown City Hall.

Kansas City is receiving praise for how their Mayor stepped up and at least acted like he took charge in the snow storm.

In Raytown it looks like city hall was like children getting a snow day off.

Anonymous said...

To 2:11am yes to self employed people the thought of a personal day or vacation day worked into many if not most companies would seem like a Hooke day. And to 6:46 Sly James did a remarkable job! Jackson County was closed as well as many others; Raytown being one of the few open on Tuesday with limited services. Sly James was great to suggest staggered times on the hiway for the following days ; he should be commended for heeding MDOT and the National Weather Services warning. Now there is a Mayor who cares

Peter said...

To KMCCLA ; back when I went to Raytown schools if snow did not reach the supers mailbox we had school. Back then people had sense to dress properly as weather indicated and most had 1 parent home to see that they did. Dress codes were intelligent then too. I had a student wearing nike sandles and another wearing nylon gym shorts! And forget coats; they only wear hoodies with a designer name on them. School Districs have a certain amount of snow days worked into their yearly contracts

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the post on the City's' Facebook page about snow routes and priority roads? I don't remember seeing that posted during past snow storms. It was the post just an hour and two minutes prior to the infamous " keep your dogs in" post. Sure don't remember seeing that at all in previous snow storms but then again I don't check that sight regularly. Hmm I wonder what prompted that...... Makes one wonder

Anonymous said...

Slow news day? Really??? The major t.v. Stations were on the coverage all day long Tuesday. Measuring snow fall, showing empty parking lots with snow drifts, showing white out conditions, showing wreaks. My older son came by the night before and slept on the sofa so he could shovel "7" times my driveway that day. Luckily neither of us had to go into work. I live on a major emergeny snow route and it was coming down at an alarming rate just as was predicted. He would come in warm up and we would flip thru all the news channels.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to lie, at least be accurate. Here's the story:
http://www.kctv5.com/story/24631400/as-snow-piles-up-some-businesses-remain-open. Pretty sure her and her husband aren't both named Brenda. Heck, it's not even a big story, and people are acting like a 60 second clip on the local news is as big as Hollywood.

Again, don't get what the big stink is. At best, her bosses told her to not come in because frankly being a PIO isn't that ESSENTIAL of a task in that type of weather. In fact, the city's website says City Hall is closed during weather emergencies. If Tuesday didn't qualify, you may not be posting from the midwest, because it definitely qualified as a weather emergency type of day. Here's the city link, first question: http://www.raytown.mo.us/index.asp?Type=B_LIST&SEC={2AED44E3-F4DD-4949-B816-86F3571A5FD2}&DE={AA3C60A9-91CE-4FD5-A9BD-AF5C2A9E0D4D}

At worst, she took a personal day to work at her own business, one that's THREE BLOCKS from her apartment. She could WALK there.

Anonymous said...

O well, so they caught the PIO, dirty handed. The roads are too bad to get to Raytown city hall, which was open all week, but not bad enough for her to get to work at her private business.

That's pathetic to say the least.

There goes a good $60,000 a year with additional costs of benefits down the drain for the City.

Good to know this is what we get when the City wishes to raise taxes.

Again, pathetic and a black eye for the Mayor and BOA.



Andy Whiteman said...

I would think that Brenda, being a PR professional, would have refused to be interviewed at HER business. Why does Raytown need to waste money on a PR person? Always has seemed like an unneeded job to me unless it is for cover up purposes and that makes it more unneeded!

9:15 PM, I agree with you, but in the old days it never occurred to anyone to sue the school district is a child felt too cold or got frostbite waiting for the bus. Society today is litigation happy.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

A sad day we have in this Nation when you have people who think they are entitled to services from our government. Many of these same people do not pay anything back into the system or have paid very little back.

Example:
Several people we have helped including a niece who believes it is alright to breed with the first sperm donor who comes along and instead of getting a job and supporting the child as well as going after the sperm donor to get him to assist with the child he help make they run down to the nears government office and start getting all kinds of government support. When things look like they are not getting as much as they feel they should they spread their legs and start the baby process all over again.

If that is not upsetting enough for those of us who work for a living and are not making children with anyone and everyone. We have those that self abuse themselves so they can get on government assistance.
I can name two different families within Raytown that are currently getting government benefits because they have allowed themselves to get so over weight that they say it hurts their back and they cannot work. Fun thing is they can do other things and have publicly complained that they had to find a new doctor to get their benefits as the doctor they had been seeing told them they needed to go on a diet.

The mother of this person has been getting benefits for some time always with some excuse about she should get a job, but one minute it is she cannot stand the next it is she cannot set for long periods, but she sure can go spend hour after hour in a chair fishing.
Now I agree there are those that need assistance from time to time, but this government give away has to be fully reviewed and we who pay for these services need to say enough if the bleeding hearts want them then let the chuches go back to actually helping the people and those who think everyone needs help without first helping themselves can go to the churches with funds to help.

Anonymous said...

Our city leaders pat themselves on the back
telling themselves and us, what a great job
they have done. Consider this, how many new
car dealers have we got now? How many does
Lee’s Summit have now? Sales tax gone? How much
tax income does the WalMart generate that
Raytown gets to keep? How many small businesses
have been run out of Raytown because of the
way city hall does business? Why does it take
so long to appease our city codes people before
a new business can open in downtown. When will
the people of Raytown get what their tax dollars are
supposed to do for them?
Now lets see what we do have. We have a group of
people running Raytown that doesn’t give a damn
for the people and or their wants and wishes.
We have a group of people in city hall that spends
our tax dollars like there is no end to it.
We only have ourselves to blame for this sinking ship.
Please talk to your neighbors, friends and anybody
that can vote in this town to vote, vote, vote, them
out!

Anonymous said...

I went to KCTV 5. Com and just read the story and it has her quotes and the entire story my computer is acting up so I could not pull up anything video. However I noticed Nrendas interview was live at 11:53 am and two post were put on the City website one at 12:11pm and one at 1:13pm so this shows not only did she play Hookie but someone else was doing Her Job as well my daughter and daughter in law worked from home that day but they work for sprint and quintiles and their jobs can be done on the computer

Anonymous said...

For the PIO to realize that she was on the news and then to immediately have her face taken off the air, is a clear indication that she knew she did wrong. Why remove your face otherwise...Bad hair day?

C'mon Raytown City hall!!! You keep asking for more tax dollars and this is where it goes?

Anonymous said...

Understand it now; the connection with the city clerk and the public information officer. And the comments about both. Yes they both have been surly to that public citizen

Andy Whiteman said...

5:16 PM, Maybe it depends on who the citizen is and their behavior. The City Clerk has NEVER been surly with this citizen. We have had disagreements but she always remained professional. I don't remember interfacing with the PIO except once via email about a website that was not updated and she had an excuse for not updating.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy, if you had been at a recent city council meeting you could have heard the off the record comments being made by the city's PIO making fun of Councilmembers as they were speaking during public session.

Then there was the infamous showdown she had when Elise Breitenbach was being interviewed by channel five. She told the reporter after the interview that she wanted to refute everything Breitenbach had said.

Then went into a monolog attacking a private citizen. Don't look for the video. It has mysteriously disappeared from the channel five archives.

At the recent lottery at city hall I witnessed the city clerk mixing it up with one of the charter candidates. She was abrupt, cold and downright mean in her body language and words when asked if unused numbers in the lottery would mean that ballot positions could change if the number was not used.

Anonymous said...

I agree with an earlier post.

Why pay for a person who is truly NOT needed fulltime. Any senior staffer could of taken on talking to a news crew once in a blue moon. PD has always given news releases in this manner.

The PIO position is a complete waste of tax dollars. I would rather have more PD, EMS and street employees.

City hall will ignore this or put a PR spin on the matter...more waste of tax dollars. Never ends.

Anonymous said...


"I'm tired of Liberals dividing this country up into little groups, setting them upon each other, breeding spite and envy, and then having the nerve to accuse Conservatives of hatred." - Allen West

Can I get a 2nd on the motion?

Anonymous said...

5:15 comment was in reference to that one public citizen and the recent comments about the 2 city employees ; there is the common denominator in all of it ANDY.

Anonymous said...

Say goodnight Gracie

Anonymous said...

3:17pm Your statement is so elusive, so ambiguous, that it is very difficult to surmise what it is you're trying to convey. Was that your intent? If so, why bother posting.

Anonymous said...

Good night George

Anonymous said...

Just returned to the Big R and read up on the bloggers. Back to the storm which paralyzed our city and almost put our city's PR department into Limbo.

zno problem as far as I am concerned when it comes to going home early in
case pf snow. Those public info and like jobs are useless and whether or not the person filling the position shows up for work doesn't matter because they accomplish nothing while on the job.

Enough of that. Let's go back to that fellow who wrote telling his son had to shovel the sidewalk seven (7) times during the recent snowstorm.

My only question is this: What was he using as a shovel -- a spoon?

The individual who wrote that gibberish is either kidding or he is, as our friends south of the border would say, "One Sunday Short."

Either that or he is one slice of bread short of a sandwich.


Salamander said...

From The Salamander

A few comments about the demise of
Raytown's Jewel -- Super Splash.

It is closed, for the 2015 season,
and more than likely will never re-open.

Why?

Who knows?

Some individuals blame mismanagement by the Parks Department and its secretive board.

Use of the word "secretive" is the correct term when describing the actions of Mayor Bowers' park
board.

Is the pool really losing money hand over fist. There is no way of really telling. And stories we hear on the street or read in
the local papers are conflicting.

Example: Randy Battagler's Raytown Times carried a lengthy report indicating his sources claimed the water hole had "turned things around and the future looked brighter than ever."

A couple of weeks later the Parks
Department votes to close the pool because it is "losing money".

Who should we believe? a quandary, to be sure.

Battagler is a trained, respected veteran Newshawk. Either he was
blowing smoke at his readers when he glowingly wrote how the park had turned things around. Or, someone with knowledge of the pool's status deliberately misinformed him.

In this instance your Salamander will side with Randy's professionalism.

As for the Parks Department, your correspondent has long wondered how on earth the PD could possibly know the state of the pool operation finances.

Some time back your writer made
specific inquiries about the pool's finances.

I was told that the pool does not maintain or issue a profit and loss statement.

The then park director told me they (the pool) do maintain some sort of tracking record.

When pressed further he invoked the usual bureaucratic double talk about confidentially preventing further information being disseminated.

Moving on, the park department tells us that it might take as much as $400,000.00 in repairs just to get the pool in shape
to stay in business.


This astounding figure causes one to wonder if ever any maintenance was pulled on the pool equipment It almost appears as though no one ever troubled themselves to perform maintenance on the place.

Was the pool properly maintained. It appears doubtful. The records show an instance which tell you a lot about how poorly the place was kept up:

When Super Splash opened originally, the facility operated daily (except Sunday) from 10:00 A.M to 9:00P.M.

The pool was a perfect fit for the community.

Parents could take their children to the pool and enjoy their choice -- bright sunlight or a cool swim in the summer evening.

One day, one of the underwater lights went on the blink.

Was the malfunction repaired? No. It was not. Not on your life.

Instead of fixing the light it was decided to shut off the lighting system -- which allowed the pool to be open evenings. The result: Pool hours were drastically curtailed.

It was all downhill from that day on.

Is there any hope for Super Splash? Doubtful.

More than likely the park board will go out of town, find some sort of self-styled pool rescuer and pay him a wad of money to assess the situation.

Like most people you hire, he will come back and tell us the situation is hopeless.

Your Salamander is not guessing this will happen. He is flatly stating this is exactly what will happen.

I have only this advice for the Park Board.

When you secure the services of this overpaid expert, be certain that he lives at least 50 miles outside of Raytown.

50 miles is the accepted standard for hiring out-of-town experts.