Sunday, February 9, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE



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BY GREG WALTERS
Mixed Signals
Raytown has a Public Information Officer. In the alphabet soup that makes up the language of the military and much of the bureaucracy in this country, Public Information Officer is often abbreviated to the initials “PIO”.

As the name implies, the Public Information Officer’s job is to inform the public. So we can safely assume that Raytown’s PIO did just that last week when the Kansas City area was blasted with up to 11 inches of snow.

Raytown City Hall went down to a skeleton crew to keep the wheels of government churning away. That is understandable. A lot of companies closed down early due to the inclement weather. Given the severity of the storm, it would appear the city’s PIO was giving some good advice for everyone to foll0w.

But then later that same day, the same Public Information Officer is seen on Channel 5’s newscast suggesting that people come by her coffee shop in Lee’s Summit during the storm.

So, the question is, what advice do we follow. Do we go home and hunker down for the worst of the storm to pass, or, do we venture out onto the by-ways and highways for a cup of ‘joe’.

The sincerity and honesty of the message lost something in translation. It would be fair to say the first suggestion was good advice. The second suggestion was, to say the least, irresponsible advice.

Judging by the high traffic of comments on last week’s blog, the Board of Aldermen need to mindful of the message it is sending to constituents.

It is one thing to say the sky is falling, stay home to stay safe only to find the message is being ignored by those who are sending it.


BY PAUL LIVIUS
City Council 
Meeting Cancelled
City Hall downsizing to a skeleton crew was not the only casualty at City Hall. Last Tuesday night the Board of Aldermen was scheduled to meet at 7:00 p.m.

The meeting was called off.

It probably would not have been much of an inconvenience for Board members to attend. Raytown is a small city. The city is only ten square miles in size and City Hall is located close to the center. City street crews had most of the major roads in pretty good shape by that time.

However, that is not especially the case for some of our city department heads. None of them live in Raytown. Some of them would have had to make some pretty long trips to make the meeting.

For instance, one appointed department head lives in Raymore, Missouri. That’s over a 20 mile drive. Another lives in Basehor, Kansas, over 34 miles away!

A lot of folks in Raytown believe the ones running the city should live in the city as well. Last Tuesday’s storm re-enforces that position.

But that is not the only part of the picture that bothers me.

I checked on the city’s code of ordinances about meeting times and what happens when a meeting is called off. Here is what I found.

Sec. 2-28. - Regularly scheduled meetings.
The board of aldermen of the City of Raytown shall meet regularly on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the council chambers, City Hall, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Regular meetings may be rescheduled by the majority of the board for good cause.

So far City Hall has not rescheduled the meeting. I suppose last Tuesday’s snowstorm could be construed as a “good cause”. So why hasn’t the meeting been rescheduled?
It is a question which deserves an answer. For some reason I do not think it will be offered by City Hall.



BY KAREN
FIT BOTTOMED EATS
Give Tapioca a Try!
This past holiday I was given the most precious of gifts: a bag of pearls. Not the Grace Kelly type of pearls, but a bag of hard-to-find, old-fashioned, large pearl tapioca — the holy grail of all foodie gifts!

Contrary to popular opinion, tapioca is merely a starch extracted from the root of the cassava plant, not harvested fish balls (eyeballs, that is). It comes in the form of pearls, granules or flakes and can be a useful tool in the kitchen for thickening gravies, stews and pies. In powder form, its gluten-free goodness can be used as an alternative to traditional wheat flour. It is less expensive than arrowroot and will give your foods an eye-appealing glossiness, not to mention prolonged freezability. Read More



THE FOLLOWING IS THE SIXTH 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 JANET EMERSON
Janet Emerson for Charter Commission
My name is Janet Emerson and I have placed my name in nomination as a candidate for the Charter Commission.  I ran for office for the first time last April and was elected as an Alderman for Ward 3.  I ran because I believed I could help make a difference in our community.  I have placed my name on the ballot for the Charter Commission as I feel it is important to make some changes in the way Raytown is run.  I believe that it is important that we should be self ruled.

By having a charter, I believe that Raytown will grow stronger and prosper.  Raytown lags behind cities of all sizes in the ability to make decisions for ourselves. Without a charter, we continue to seek approval from Jefferson City. We deserve better.  A charter will give Raytown citizens a greater say in how things are done in our city.

The Charter Commission is really about one thing: OUR VOICE. A Charter will help guide our elected officials, hold them accountable to the people and not the State government, and the citizens of Raytown will have the basic right to petition the City Council to make our wishes heard.

Let us guide our city by electing strong, capable and passionate members to the Charter Commission. Let’s make a charter reality, and your say in our city will be heard once again. I welcome your questions and your ideas on how we can make this next step in the progress and prosperity of Raytown a reality.

The prosperity of Raytown is my priority and the Charter Commission is essential to our thriving.  I believe that citizens should have the ability to fully guide their city.  The charter will give them that opportunity.  I will listen to the wishes of the community and encourage them to have a voice in what they would like to see in a charter.  Please email me at janet4raytown@gmail.com with any ideas, questions or concerns. 

I know that through this commission, we will be forming Raytown’s future as a community that respects the voices of each individual citizen.  Let our voices be heard.  Let us make that difference together.  I would appreciate your vote of confidence at the charter commission election on April 8th.  Let's move Raytown forward in a positive direction.
janet4raytown@gmail.com



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30 comments:

Need To Know said...

.
Who will work in our interests on the Charter Commission and WHO IS WEARING SHEEP'S CLOTHING?

In the last issue of the Raytown Times, the editor wrote that the Raytown Board of Aldermen were ALL for Flaherty doing the development in our 'green space'.

Strangely enough since then, little has been released to the public on the topic much like the hush-hush that ensued as the proposed WalMart was underway in our recent past.

Many are not happy with what they've seen of the proposed plans and are unhappy that Sue Frank dismissed her suit against the city (to which some of them had contributed). There are concerns about who the grocer will be, how the increased traffic and densely packed population will affect us, the height of the structures and the increased amount of heat the buildings and parking lots will add to the center of town. We want to see the details, all the details and don't like that the 'green space' in the heart of Raytown (which belongs to us) is going to be given away for free nothing with little or no green left growing.

This is a big, big deal and it is a perfect example of why we need a well-crafted City Charter that gives us protections, a voice and open government.

Raytown Times writes that our BOA is ALL on-board with the Flaherty development and, at the same time, two of those Aldermen are running for Charter Commissioner and telling us about how they'll work in the public's interests. Do we believe their actions or their rhetoric?

Anonymous said...

Street crews worked on the roads last Tuesday but no they were not able to keep up on them by 7:00 pm. The snow was unrelentless I live on a major snow route and after having my drive cleaned 6 times by 7 pm no way we would venture out. 10 mile City or not; roads were bad!! I'm a CDL driver and was canceled to drive for work ; that was the reality of Tuesday .... Plain and simple....

Anonymous said...

You cleared your drive six times by 7 pm? I cleared mine once.

Maybe you got more snow where you live than where I live!

I don't blame the department heads for not wanting to drive 20 or 30 miles in the snow lasst Tuesday. It was definitely a storm to remember.

Anonymous said...

To 9:41 pm possibly so and living on a 4 laned emergency snow route piles up a lot; or we're you incenuating something?? Surely not

Peter said...

We shoveled ours at every two inch intervals and dug out the end of the drive numerous times from the plows going thru. Really don't cherish this snow at all. That's what happens when you get older; harder to shovel and don't like the cold... Ha ha! Oh well it was a blast this time; a blast of snow that is!

Anonymous said...

We shoveled our numerous times; had to! What a storm! Hope that's the last

Anonymous said...

Yes the young guy across the street waited inside and did his once late that evening, the older guy next to his house used a snowblower and was out doing his drive a good 4 times;

Anonymous said...

One only needs to look at the statistics of Tuesday to know how much snow fell in how many hours and go back to MODOT reports and the national weather forecast for that day. Guess that answers that question

Anonymous said...

I do believe the point is that those who run city departments and govern the city should live in the city. Until that day arrives, responsible adults plan ahead and buy a vehicle that will get them where they need to be when they're supposed to be there. The day of our big snow, my spouse put her truck in 4-wheel drive and was at work in Olathe on time. Key words here are "responsible adults". It's a matter of priorities and maturity.

I am concerned about what's going on with the green space. Has anyone said anything about how much running new water, sewer and electrical for that build are going to cost the taxpayers? Who is going to put it in writing that those apartments will never be allowed to go section 8? I watched Capt. Lynch's very recent video-taped talk to the Raytown Democratic Assn. saying how anytime, as with Walmart, you've got a lot of people congested into one area, the chance of crime naturally increases... how crime ridden will the developed green space be? Lots of questions and an uneasy feeling on this.

Anonymous said...

Need to know; on the Sue Frankand all those who promoted that downtown Raytown web site and heavily encouraged people to give of their hard earned cash for the law suit against the City for the Green Space; what a truly black eye that is

Anonymous said...

4:39

I believe Greene and Emersons ACTIONS. You have really been in the dark to say that these two running for the charter (since they both campaigned on here) dont have merit. I can tell you that I spoke to one of them about the Charter and Downtown. I was told that Greene and Emerson were two of the ORIGINAL people to petition for a charter. So we wouldnt even have it on the ballot if it wasnt for people like them. Secondly, the BOA never had a vote on the proposal for downtown. They are waiting to see the idea this group has. Why dont you see what the plan is before being against it. Why your at it, watch a few meetings so you can be informed as I have. Maybe you wont sound lile your in the dark.

Anonymous said...

To: Need to know,
Our elected officials learned with the last go around,
if they actually tell us what their plans are for the green
area, it will give us time to consider it. If they give us
time and we don’t like the idea, like the last time, it
causes them all sorts of trouble.
This time it’s a version of the old reach around.
They aren’t giving out much information. They aren’t
telling us much but, will for sure use our tax dollars
and probably give away our property.

Need To Know said...

6:38 pm There was a vote and both of them abstained from voting - that's ACTION (or really, inaction) - if they're against it, why wouldn't they vote that way and why didn't Raytown Times report there were 2 Aldermen against it?

You're not as informed as you'd like to have us believe... Chris Rathbone was the ORIGINAL person regarding the charter petition. Read what he said, " 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." It was Chris' idea - they may have assisted but Chris didn't mention their names, did he?

The 3 concept plans Flaherty presented were posted online - saw them. They lacked detail. Wait from outside of the closed doors. Yeah, sure, been there & done that when they tried to slide that WalMart past us and nearly succeeded.

It reminds me of what Nancy Pelosi said on the floor of the Senate about Obamacare - Wait until it passes to see what's in it.

If you're okay with the BOA putting their seal of approval on giving our land away and sinking us into abysmal debt in exchange for a 5 story structure with high density housing and a mystery grocery when we already have 11 grocery stores and generously slathering pavement over that area with few, if any, trees, then I question your reasoning.

Face it 6:38 AM, you're in the dark as much as the rest of us because this is being done behind closed doors and while you may be perfectly happy with that BOA modus operandi, others have learned from past experience and are not inclined to be seduced by pretty pictures and fast talk, slapping our fins together and barking in support from the sidelines like a group of trained seals.

Andy Whiteman said...

Why does Raytown need a highly paid PIO to tell the sheepole to stay home and then tells them to come to her business for a cup of Joe? She has a right to work at her business on her own time but if she was paid she should be at City Hall. Is this a paid city employee getting free advertising to compete against more than one Raytown business (coffee shop, donut shop, and several food service businesses that sell coffee and deserts) that pay taxes. This reeks of conflict of interest. I am assuming she was in a paid status and not on a vacation day.

Andy Whiteman

Chris R said...

Need to know,
Im just curious, where did you hear that Jason Greene and Janet Emerson abstained from that vote?

I was at that meeting and there was no official vote taken. The aldermen were asked informally,which of the proposals they wanted the city to pursue, and I believe everyone said they wanted to look into the Flaherty group's proposal further.

I don't know where you heard that from, but I'm assuming you weren't at that meeting, or didn't see it for yourself on tv. I was there. There was no vote taken by the City Clerk about the future of the green space.

The charter petition being circulated when it was, was my idea originally, but Jason and Janet were a huge help, as were others. I may not have mentioned their names on my piece on Greg's blog last week, but I have mentioned all who helped get sig's on the original petition several times on here. Without their help, we probably wouldn't even be talking about a Charter right now.

Anonymous said...

Need to Know

Please show me where those two astained, please show me the vote. There is no plan yet for downtown, why don't you see what it is before you are critical of it. Secondly, one of my neighbors is a one of the original group forming a petition. This seemed to require a lot of signatures and Im almost certain these two aldermen were on that. If Chris Rathbone reads this could you please provide clarification to this?

Anonymous said...

Do you not watch the Board meetings Need to Know? You have a completely different version of events than what I recall. Not that I trust thiscurrent BOA, I do however like so far the two that were elected last year. They have proven to go against the grain and are not afraid to challenge this mayor.

Anonymous said...

It would appear there is a rather confused interpretation of a meeting both attended and watched by many. Please go back and watch it and possibly take notes. Sometimes the written word is easier to grasp and retain for some. Good luck everyone and remember it does not warrant duking it out verbally

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Who is Flaherty & Collins? More than 200 people paid over $7.3 million in deposits for units in uptown's 210 Trade. $7.3 million of good faith condo buyer money just disappeared! They filed liquidation, instead of a reorganization so they could likely kill any chance of any of the depositors being able to get their money back. These are the developers the Raytown City Officials think they want to "Gift" the "Green Space" to along with giving them a TIF. Would you like to know more about these developers? Please drop by DOUGHBOYS for some free coffee and look at the note book of information we now have on them.

Anonymous said...

http://www.hadd.com/node/1506;

http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2009/10/05/daily24.html;


Links to what Elisa is talking about, very interesting. The city should require a performance bond from anyone they do business with.

Pat Casady said...

First it was Dial, then came R.E.D. now it is Flaherty
& Collins. The first two developers promised our
leaders the downtown area would be prosperous
with many new businesses. All the taxpayers got was
a bill for over a hundred thousand dollars flushed
down the drain. You would think that with all the
smart people that run this town,(that is a huge shot
at humor) that someone would look into who they
were doing business with.
Dial did nothing except threaten property owners
with eminent domain and condemnation and charge
taxpayers for some drawings of what could be.
R.E.D used almost the same drawings and charged
over $45,000 for them. Then they asked and were given
another, I think $60,000. All the taxpayers got……some pretty
drawings of what could have been.
All this done without so much as a guarantee of any work done!
Neither of these so called development companies turned
one spoonful of dirt towards any downtown development.
Now, it’s beginning to look like the taxpayers are about to
be hosed again. Plus it’s pretty clear our leaders are keeping
what is going on to themselves. Please keep an eye on them
for they know not what they do. (yes that was a shot!)

Anonymous said...

Good job Pat and Elisa It looks like you dropped the troglodyte's jaws for a little while! I've been looking into the 'Chosen Ones (Flaherty & Collins)' track record for a while now - bankruptcies, 2 fires, shoddy work that goes up in flames in a heartbeat and yes, section 8 housing, but they're making a butt-load of cash for themselves off the backs of the taxpayers. ..read that they like to get those TIFs cause that's great for subsidized housing like section 8 and those Bonds! Oh my, that's just icing on the cake. And they're mighty, mighty good at building stack & pack housing right next to depots for those new-fangled polluting diesel trains that Mayor Bower is frothing at the mouth to have running right through the heart of town. Why, I noticed on their response to the RFP that according to their desired timeline they'll have city hall busy working to get their contract all lined up through April. Looks like we'll be gettin' soaked for around $8 million. Whee-haw, aint' that just great news! Well, that's 'bout all I got to say fer now. You boys and girls be good and mind you don't ferget to keep an eye on that naughty mayor and his good ole boys up there in that city hall. They're a bunch of slippery rascals. That's fer sure!

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Anonymous thanks for the link you gave out. People should also look at Developers are Crabgrass consultants are sandburs. The last post was Feb/4/2014. It reads David Flaherty, the suspense. Will the town give the man a subsidy? Will he do nothing, without one? As surely as the Pope is Catholic, he will await his due subsidy. It is his M.O. His habit. His business plan and model. In Ramsey. Elsewhere. Oh you don't want to miss reading all this blogger has to say about Flaherty & Collins! Pat Casady as always thank you for the history you shared. It looks like Raytown in desperation wants to do government subsidization of private sector gambles.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

The fire at the Cosmopolitan has been described as the biggest fire in Downtown Indianapolis in 20 years, it took 125 firefighters nearly 11 hours to get it under control. Investigators in a report state "Canal fire was intentionally set."

They also walked away from 210 Trade in Charlotte, N.C. The Downtown was left with Steel erected. What did Flaherty have to say about it, "We never abandoned that deal. It just didn't make economic sense.

The faulty workmanship and the history that Flaherty and Collins has with other cities that shows they catalyzes nothing should make Raytown take note.

Pat Casady said...

Here’s a thought for a plan for our downtown area.
Forget the big less than reputable developers. They
all have our Raytown City leaders number. They know
they can bilk them out of thousands of taxpayer dollars
without so much as turning a shovel full of dirt. Passing
around almost the same drawings as the next guys.
These developers know that deep down no business
other than another grocery store, wants to be within
five miles of the small business killing WalMart.
This last one, blowing smoke up our leaders with a brand
new City Hall building, is just another long line of BS for our
leaders to buy into.
What Raytown needs and what we were promised, is many
new small tax paying businesses that will complement the
the Raytown Plaza and all the other small businesses in the
downtown area. This is more realistic and equitable than giving
away taxpayer property and city taxable income. Remember we
were all told that the development would make it a good place to
walk from store to store. A big grocery store does not make a
store to store walk. A two hundred unit apartment building does
not make that walk and a three story parking building doesn’t
either.
If our leaders would ask themselves if they would build a
big retail store, invest millions of their own money,
within five miles of a WalMart I’m sure the answer would be
a resounding NO.
So what magical wand does any developer have to bring in
any business to compete with the WM killing machine……..
none!

Anonymous said...

Where are our wonderful streets after the million dollar transportation tax? No where.

Where is public safety after the public safety sales tax? No where.

Where is the 350 hiway sidewalk , which the PW director keeps pushing for and spending money on for years? No where

Where is the downtown re-development that Cityhall talks about? No where.

Where is the PIO person when snow blankets the city and we need up-to-date information? No where.

Where is Raytown going? You guessed it...NO WHERE!!

Where will our tax payer dollars go when raised, again? NO WHERE!!!

Thanks City hall. We are not Lee's Summit and Blue Springs. There is no slush fund in Raytown to support pie-in-the-sky projects and staff. We are in need of basic services, better streets and safer neighborhoods. Not the stink you have been shoveling us for the past 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Several have made excellent, succinct points these past few days - bravo! Mr. Mayor, what you're trying to do to Raytown is patently unwanted, fiscally irresponsible and outright foolhardy. You don't have respect or trust of your constituency and are the embodiment of "The Emperor's New Clothes". While you tout an administration that's transparent, it turns out that it is you who is transparent; you are fooling no one (outside of your direct 'control').

I wonder what the law says about the Constitutionality of a high city official whose actions are based upon his accord with an agency outside his own nation's government.

Anonymous said...

Transparency? Our mayor doesn’t know the meaning.
Well, Mr. Mayor, it means you tell the taxpayers what
is going on with their property and tax money. It’s
being honest to those you represent. It is not
bullying people into doing what you want. Using newly
acquired sales tax dollars meant for streets and our
police, the safety tax, for something else altogether is
a criminal act. We the people trust our elected to
do for and as the people want. Not what the king of
Raytown wants. Being an elected official is a privilege
not a ordained appointment. None of our elected
people seem to realize their jobs are to do what the
people want. Not what they think the people want.
Shame on each and every one of you.
You can pat each other on the back and give your
buddies raises all you want. The people know what
you are. All they have to do is look at our streets.
Look at Raytown’s crime rate since you took office
and spent the safety tax on other things.
You, mayor sir should be ashamed of what you have
done to this town. Now you want to do business with
another less than reputable developer who, will
probably just take more of our taxpayer money and
not do anything to earn it.
Why not have our extremely over paid City Administrator
look into some real developers. Of course that would mean
he might actually do something!

Need To Know said...


...AND THEN THERE IS 'WITTY' (a misnomer) WITTMAN. It seems Shirley Wittman just can't stop while she's behind.

I her February 12, 2014 Letter to the Editor (Raytown Times), Ms. Wittman again mounts the soapbox to reiterate her stance on a City Charter. It seems Ms. Wittman wants things to stay just as they are. Why she's so terribly happy with the status quo boggles the mind but then, that's fodder for a whole other dissertation.

From her position on the fence (she won't vote for a Charter but would work on one if elected), Ms. Wittman would work on a Charter, if elected, but would do nothing to change our current form of government.

Ms. Wittman's circular thinking, like a pet mouse running on the wheel in its' cage, would surely not contribute to the efforts of those who will be elected to produce a Raytown Charter that contains the language necessary to distance our fine city from the problems inherent to our current form of government.

Ms. Wittman's contribution to the Charter would surely be like that of a black hole in space that consumes and crushes every bit of matter/energy surrounding it.

She states she would need at least six other elected commissioners who also want a simple charter to work with her [to change nothing]. To think that Ms. Wittman would find herself elected and surrounded by like minds makes me shudder.

Interestingly some candidates have already stated they think a 'simple charter' is what they support, which must make Ms. Wittman very happy and, seemingly, makes them candidates for Ms. Wittman's faction.

This is a venture that needs to be undertaken by those who have the best interests of the public in mind, are willing to work hard and are smart enough to bring Constitutionally sound solutions to the table. I think we've had more than enough of our 'current form of government'.

Factional politics are the problem in Raytown and personally, factional candidates will not get my vote for Charter Commissioner.






Elisa Breitenbach said...

The Blog Spot of Developers are Crabgrass have a warning for Raytown. Check it out it was posted Saturday, February 15, 2014.