Sunday, February 16, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE


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BREAKING NEWS . . . FROM KMBC NEWS
KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that one person was in custody. Raytown police said they were called to the 10700 block of US 350 at 10:28 a.m. The victim was shot to death in a car. The superintendent said that neither the victim nor the person police have in custody have any connection to the district. READ MORE

BREAKING NEWS . . . FROM KSHB TV 41 ACTION NEWS
RAYTOWN, Mo. - An 8-year-old girl sustained non-life threatening injuries by broken glass in a drive-by shooting in Raytown on Monday. Police received a call to 86th and Stark around 2:15 p.m. Monday regarding a drive-by shooting.

According to police, the girl and her parents were inside their home during the shooting when someone drove by, firing six shots into the side and front windows.
Police located a vehicle that may be connected to the incident was located nearby.

One person has been taken into custody, but no charges have been filed.

The couple said they never had any enemies during the last 10 years they've lived in the neighborhood, but said the shooting could be related to an argument their 17-year-old son had with someone on Sunday night.

The incident is still under investigation.
READ MORE



BY GREG WALTERS
A Bad Idea
All the talk in Raytown is about speculation of plans for the Green Space in Downtown Raytown. One of the stories coming out of City Hall is that the Mayor is proposing an annex to Raytown City Hall be built as part of the development.

It is a bad idea and should be put discarded by the Board of Aldermen so they can concentrate on serious proposals.

Why is it a bad idea?

First and foremost, it makes absolutely no economic sense.

City Hall is located at 10000 East 59th Street. It occupies property facing 59th Street. What most people are not aware of is that behind city hall is three acres of vacant land. The City of Raytown owns the three acre lot. It is more than enough room to triple the size of the current structure.

It is also without access to a public street. The only way to get to the vacant land is through the City Hall parking lot.

Another little known fact is that the land is also dedicated to one purpose, which is the use of the property for the purposes of a City Hall.

Many years ago, when the current City Hall was built, the homeowners to the east of the property were concerned there would be unfettered growth on the property. The Board of Aldermen agreed to a restriction on the use of the property for one purpose – that would be the use as City Hall.

What you have left is about four acres of land, one quarter of which is currently the location of Raytown City Hall. It sits on property that cannot be used for commercial purposes because there are no streets serving it. There is also the agreement with neighboring homeowners restricting the use of the property.

Mayor Bower is said to be in favor of using the city’s vacant green space to build an annex to City Hall.

A bad idea.

The land, already owned by the city at 10000 East 59th Street is available. Why not use it – IF – city hall really needs to be expanded. A question that is, to say the least, very debatable.

But the really bad part of this “bad idea” is that it takes land on the Green Space that could be use for commercial space . . . Land that could be developed to create tax revenue for the city.

The reality is that public buildings do not generate tax revenue. In fact, they do just the opposite. They consume tax revenue.

The Mayor’s plan makes does not make economic sense.

The Board of Aldermen should put this question to rest and then begin some serious discussion about development of the green space that makes economic sense.

From The Blog
There has been a lot of traffic on the blog this week about the plans for Downtown Raytown’s Green Space. A number of news related articles have surfaced in the wake of those posts. To read what other publications have said use one of the links below. 

The Board has had a number of closed session meetings lately. It can be assumed the Board of Aldermen is aware of the articles. If not, they most certainly should be part of their discussions and deliberations. Special thanks to Elisa Breitenbach and Pat Casady for bringing

Bankruptcy Filing May End Condo Buyers' Chance of Recovering Money FROM WSOCTV.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The developers of an unfinished condo project in uptown Charlotte which filed for bankruptcy told Channel 9 Eyewitness News on Tuesday that people who paid down payments for homes may not get any of their money back.
Flaherty and Collins's Charlotte arm, Charlotte FC, was developing 210 Trade but it filed Chapter Seven. It has to sell what it can to pay as many people as it can. READ MORE
  
Building Anxiety in Orland Park 
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY slafferty@southtownstar.com
Orland Park officials say the proposed luxury apartment building, Ninety7Fifty on the Park, will boost the local economy and serve as an anchor to further development, but similar projects ­— albeit condominiums — by the hand-picked developer have flopped elsewhere.

Flaherty and Collins, the developer of the Echelon property in Matteson, has not completed the project or responded to resident complaints. READ MORE


Paul’s Rant BY PAUL LIVIUS
Several readers have commented on Flaherty and Collins history in other cities.  I’ve seen several articles, but they only mention the bankruptcy by the North Carolina office.  According to some of the reports Dunn and Bradstreet was supposed to report any bankruptcy in Flaherty and Collins history. Apparently they did a poor job of investigating Flaherty and Collins. That is D and B’s only job, looking at companies and knowing their financial situations.

Flaherty and Collins and the City both can (and probably will) claim that was only the Charlotte division and has nothing to do with Raytown.

Are they shady?  Do they bilk the taxpayer?  Perhaps. 

Now – try to prove it will happen here.  Good luck with that.

Personally, I could care less who the developer is.  I want to know who will own the luxury apartments once they are built.  I want to know who will lose the money if the apartments aren’t full. 

Here’s the deal. There are luxury apartments in Downtown Kansas City.  People live there because it is Downtown, has the Power and Light District, Sprint arena, and the theaters. 

There are luxury apartments on the Plaza.  People live there because it is the Plaza.  There are lots of shops and restaurants, to say nothing of the views out the windows. 

What will bring people to the luxury apartments in Raytown?  All the fine dining?  Maybe the theaters.  Or, perhaps the panoramic views of the area.  Maybe, just maybe, all the Chiefs and Royals fans will fight over these apartments so they can be closer to the stadium.

The proposal before the Board of Aldermen has many of the earmarks of another Walmart deal.

Will the Flaherty and Collins plan for Downtown Raytown set the town on fire financially or will the taxpayers get hosed?

Time will tell. Meanwhile, “good job” to those bloggers who are taking the time to dig out information the Board of Aldermen should know about in their deliberations. Those bloggers are doing the city a service.


BY KAREN
FIT BOTTOMED EATS
A Truffle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
I love when healthy and decadent cross paths. And it doesn’t happen all that often. Sure, there are a lot of foods that are good and good for you, but not many of them have the ability to make your eyes roll back in your head. There is only one food that can be described as: velvety, rich, creamy, melt in your mouth, dare I say downright orgasmic, and healthy. READ MORE


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


Why the City Charter and the Candidate You Choose to Elect to Charter Commissioner are Equally Important

BY SUSAN DOLAN
My name is Susan Dolan. A candidate for Charter Commissioner on the April 8, 2014 ballot, it has come to my attention that many in Raytown are unaware that a Charter for the city stands to be undertaken in the near future.

What is a Charter? Currently Raytown is a fourth-class city, limited by Missouri law.  A City Charter is a constitution which affords protections under law that we do not currently enjoy and which we, ourselves, craft. Once written, it is put before the voters for their approval.

What can a Charter do for Raytown? The answer is as diverse as what the citizens feel is important and what the elected 13-member Charter Commission includes in it.

Equally as important as forming a Charter is who is elected to the Charter Commission (the group who writes the Charter).  Each candidate's affiliations, educational, additional experience and knowledge as well as their attitude toward individual rights versus governmental control should warrant serious consideration on behalf of the voters. 

It's the quality of this personal toolkit that shapes degree of each candidate's ability to benefit the working group of Charter Commissioners and ultimately, Raytown.

Here are some issues I feel are immensely important:

  • Senior citizen's rights
  • Balanced budget
  • Protections of home ownership and private land use
  • Safe schools and neighborhoods
  • Open meetings
  • Citizen Empowerment
A former corporate vice-president, and small business owner, I hold an honors degree in computer networking technologies with a minor in web design and administration. I am also a certified computer programmer. These fields require a strong ability to think logically, communicate well across diverse populations and effectively engage within  groups. A student of  law, I have won two court cases acting on my own behalf, overturned a Social Security Disability decision upon appeal and prevented the hostile attempt of a private party to impose unwarranted Guardianship and Financial Conservancy over a close relative.

In 2006, my husband I moved from Nebraska to Raytown, where we bought the home in which we hope to retire. We liked the proximity of Raytown to highways and interstates, but also that it's near undeveloped woods and public-use lakes. We also liked the fact that the city was small, quiet, devoid of big-box stores and cookie-cutter development and that the homes were on lots sized to afford privacy and additional uses, such as gardens.

Over the past seven years I've made it my business to study the history of our country's government in order to better understand the direction of our current state of affairs. During that time, my focus came to include local government. In the course of meeting and talking with more and more Raytown citizens, I came to learn that the folks of this historic small town believe in the promise of its' great revival. People want to be empowered to see that their true vision of the city they love and support with their tax dollars will come to fruition. 

A Home Rule Charter will allow Raytown the flexibility to adapt to changes and not be locked down by Missouri law.

I am a public citizen with no political conflicts, not subject to any political influence and with no private agenda. With no faction politics and as a public-spirited person, I will work independently of outside influence to promote the public's interests. I will appreciate your vote on the April 8th ballot for Charter Commissioner and can be reached at dolan4charter@gmail.com

© Susan Dolan 2014


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29 comments:

Need To Know said...

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

Here's the link to that article:

http://zaetsch.blogspot.com/2014/02/board-of-aldermen-request-deeper-study.html

Elisa Breitenbach said...

This is why I enjoy blogging. It helps put a light on the truth that news papers don't want to print but this is what the public deserves to know. Thank You Greg Walters not only for your insight but also for being a voice for the people of Raytown! I would also like to say Susan Dolan sure has my support.

KMCCLA said...

The area behind City Hall does not go to waste either. In late June (4th full weekend), K0GQ, the Raytown Amateur Radio Club holds it annual ARRL Field Day there. However, it does need more parking. As stated, there is still plenty of room back there for City Hall and the police department to expand. Although I do understand that a cell tower is either going to be built or already has been back there.

Another interesting note, and tid bit of information about the old Rock Island Line. In the "current" (March) Issue of Trains Magazine (page 14), it stated that the Missouri Central Railroad and the Central Midland Railway have discontinued their track rights of the Union Pacific line from Pleasant Hill to Leeds Junction, a distance of about 25 miles. These track rights, where granted when they acquired the line from Pleasant Hill to Union, Missouri. These rights where never exercised. In other words, the part of the line that runs through Raytown, could have been reopened if either line had decided to reopen the line to Pleasant Hill. However, part that line (from P-Hill to Windser) where it will connect to the KATY Trail, is being converted to a rail trail and rails have been pulled up. What this means to Raytown, I do not know. It is ever more unlikely that Union Pacific will want to keep it, (I also have read something that the UP is making a move to officially abandoned the line, but I have heard nothing official). The viability of it being used for light rail is slim to none. Bridges would have to be built, the line lowered in other places (in Lee's Summit), and raised in others (Raytown), clearing and grubbing (removing over growth), removing the old rail, rebuilding the roadbed, rehabbing grade crossings, bridges, and everything else, would prove to be extremely cost prohibitive. However, I do not know if it is viable, but if the UP could be convinced to rail bank the line (such as the KATY Trail is), there could be a possibility of extending the trail into Kansas City (pure conjecture on my part).

Greg Walters said...

KMCCLA comments about current usage of property behind Raytown City Hall is correct. It is used on an annual basis by the Raytown Amateur Radio Club for the ARRL Field Day.

I understand one reason is that the large expanse of empty land sits is one of the higher elevations in Jackson County (as does a good portion of Raytown along the Blue Ridge)

Years ago the Chamber of Commerce used the space for its annual Raytown Round-Up Days as well.

When 59th Street was re-built the city constructed a new bridge near the intersection of 59th and Raytown Trafficway.

The new bridge was built above the railroad grade line.

Because of the higher elevation, railroad engineers estimated it would be necessary to raise the railbed grade a quarter of a mile in each direction to make it possible for trains to ride over the "hump" created by the bridge.

The old line would make a perfect bike and walking trail from Downtown Raytown to the Truman Sports complex.

It would make a perfect joint project with Jackson County (owns the Truman Sports Complex), the City of Raytown and the State if Missouri (which operates a tourism stop at the Sports Complex as well).

If city hall needs to be expanded it would make a lot of sense to do it at its current location.

Building it on the Green Space would waste potentially valuable retail space.

Susan Dolan said...

How to stop getting those Yes! advertisements in pink plastic sleeves twice a week.

Call 703/854-3400 and tell them you want them stopped.

This is the number to Gannett Publishing's customer service.

We never approved of them being dropped in our driveway and never requested this refuse. They just started appearing after someone came to our door wanting us to subscribe to the Kansas City Star a few weeks ago. If they bug you like they did me, now you know how to make them stop coming.

KMCCLA said...

The main and primary reason that the Raytown ARC, K0GQ, uses the area behind City Hall, is one of the primary purposes of the club is to support the city of Raytown. As it is, the club was granted a generous gift of a TOW (tower on wheels) and a 17 KW generator, which allows us to be fairly self sufficient in case of an emergency. To learn more about the Raytown ARC, please visit our website, www.K0GQ.com.

Greg, as for the bridge, you are partially correct. From what I understand, the line would have to be raised, roughly a quarter to half mile (depending on the grade) in both directions, in order to have the clearance over 59th Street (a .5% grade it would raise it about 6.5 feet for the quarter mile). However, there is no bridge, at 59th Street. From what my understanding is, funds have been "set aside" to build the bridge, if one was ever needed, as the city would be responsible. But, when you pass through where the old line crosses the "new" part of 59th street, there is no bridge. (Unless the dirt work has already been done). However the old narrow bridge is still there, although it is hidden and over grown. Being a rail fan I would have loved to see trains running on this line. However, that cost would be to prohibitive to see it ever come to fruitarian. I am now more of an advocate of seeing the line turned into a rail trail. I would perhaps even write Union Pacific to see it the line could be rail banked, if I knew who to direct the letter.

Raytown Newbie said...

Of all the ideas that have been suggested for the "Green Space",
building a city hall annex seems to me to be the most unworthy. Just another example of our leaders squandering our taxes. When I moved here a few years back, I met the mayor and during a long conversation he said there were definite plans in the works to move city hall to a Hwy 50 location and use the existing city hall location as a dedicated police station. I think what we have now is befitting a city in our circumstances. I would like to see something built at the green space that would create tax revenue to help out. Preferably sales and property taxes.

I remember all the new water lines being installed near the green space last year and wonder who paid for all that. I suppose it just got passed on to the customers of the Raytown Water Company.

One thing I think should be studied by the city is a plan to buy out this private water utility and make the water system a city owned utility like in most other cities.

Anonymous said...

After reading those articles you guys linked to your website I am not sure if the ones they are talking to about the Greeenspace are a good idea for Raytown.

I would think twice before I got into any kind of real estate deal with them.

Derek Astor said...

To alleviate any confusion about the business practices of Flaherty and Collins, it is a little loose.

As a new resident to Raytown, and as a recent Ivy League MBA, I see Raytown as a potential gem of a community. Additionally, as a digitized member of the millennial generation let me encourage my elders to wake up and get with it. Our city government is dated and from what I can tell we employ people at the administrative level that cannot get a job elsewhere. Please do not accept what is going on in this little town as professional government. It is too backward. I would not hire these people to mow my lawn let alone run a town.

Raytown has two city taxes on the ballot and the public school district is asking to extend its property tax. And the city is considering a further tax increment proposal on their vacant lot. Is there any person in Raytown who has the intellectual capacity to recognize the inherent devastating consequences of this situation?

Have I made a mistake in investing in this town?


Need To Know said...

11:32a > You GET it! -glad you wrote that.

Either way you slice it, it's scary. Either city hall is clueless or there's a lot of graft in it some of them (hence, the closed-door meetings) and the rest are just a bunch of bobble-heads. I'm inclined to believe that Bower, Sharma and Cole are not clueless but fit, rather, into the second category while our BOA are the off-the-shelf bobble-heads.

Watch and learn. When this genie is finally let out of the bottle, Flaherty and Collins will have set up yet another shill LLC just for this project to shelter their parent company from liability just like did in Indiana, Minnesota and other cities they've victimized. That way, when the project goes to $@#, you and I are left holding the bag, not F&C, and certainly not our city officials who don't live here. Sweet deal, huh!

With F&C and city hall obviously in bed together (there's a visual image you don't want to hold on to) and the bobble-heads cheering them on you can be sure they're cooking up a real special pot of bend-over for Raytown taxpayers.

Their problem is going to be that there's a new sheriff in town who know's what's cookin'.

Anonymous said...

Good job to everyone involved. Pat and Elise, Raytown Report, all of you. The BOA cannot claim ignorance on this development scheme. If they climb in bed with characters like that we are in for some hard times in Raytown.

Gadsden said...

Had breakfast at our new city restaurant it was nice hope to eat there often. Food was good and they were very friendly.

Anonymous said...

I ask again how much is under the table of the elected officials?

Anonymous said...

Watched the BOA meeting last night. After listening to the comments of other board members it is pretty clear that Jim Aziere's plan to stifle and bully fellow board members was not well received.

Good job to the Board. Especially Janet Emerson. She did an outstanding job of shutting down Aziere's nonsense.

A couple of members tried to paint a picture of Council meetings as the scene of near fisticuffs. But it just did not go down with the majority.

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 7:26,
Your assessment of Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere was spot on!
Mr.Aziere couldn’t pour water out of a boot if the instructions
were on the bottom. I guess I shouldn’t pick on old poor Jim,
after all he is not much different from almost all the rest of our
city leaders. The stroll down memory lane with all these leaders
have spent and taken away from the taxpayers all in the name of
doing their jobs.
The only thing these people have done is lie to us, spend tax money
in ways they said they would not. They have taken care of our
friendly city administrator my giving him a big raise per year and
basically rewarding him for lying to us about moving to this town
as was set in the rules of this town. Let’s not forget how our
leaders let millions of tax income slip through their hands by
working with Walmart on a twenty three year tax free run.
All the developers they have paid for nothing. All the surveys
they have paid tens of thousands for, that a smart seventh grader could
have done for free.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that our leaders want to do business
with yet another devious developer.
I have a friend that has been divorced a couple of times. He told me the
next time he thinks about getting married, he’s just going to find a
woman that hates him and buy her a house.
Maybe our leaders should just pick a developer out of the yellow pages
and send them a hundred thousand dollars and get this out of their
system for another two or three years.
OR, maybe they should look into who they are doing business with.
What a novel idea.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:26

Yea I watched last night as well, Emerson and Greene really laid out how wrong some of these rules were. I like the point Green made about how nowhere in history does an abstention vote count as the affirmative. I liked the fight those two showed.

Need To Know said...


CITY HALL AS PROPERTY DEVELOPERS - HOUSE FLIPPERS Courtesy of OUR TAX DOLLARS

This business of city hall doing things they were never intended to do) at our expense is not new. Let's look back to 2011.

HUD was rolling out grant money, which is OUR money since no government agency actually produces any tangible and marketable on their own, and the city council in cooperation with MARC voted to go into the residential real estate business. It bears repeating that they were using our tax dollars and making changes that directly affected our property values. Choosing winners and losers in the game, others decided what homes would be rebuilt or demolished and who would live in the newly developed homes - preferably people who were of low income. We had NO SAY in this matter as city hall voted to repeat the errors of the great housing bubble at our expense.

As you watch the video, observe how VanBuskirk speaks against it, then votes for it. Melson jumped right on the bandwagon. Lightfoot knew it was a bad deal and voted that way. Mayor Bower and other aldermen ridiculed those against it, and Bower ridiculed everyone.

Here's the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkQJGb_Ytow

Raytown needs to put all economic development on hold until these people are out of office.



Anonymous said...

Where can I see the video of the 2/18/2014 BOA meeting please?

Anonymous said...

Go ask city hall for a copy.

Need To Know said...


Correction: VanBuskirk did vote no on the HUD/MARC/Raytown House Flipping Scheme.

Note that this item was borne out of MARC, not our local government. The strings attached to the HUD/MARC scheme were twofold: the homes had to be sustainably redeveloped or rebuilt according to LEEDS standards which means they cost more. 25% of the homes were required to be purchased by those of low income. This at a time when many of us were stuck with underwater mortgages and would have loved to sell our homes. This at a time when we were all suffering the ill effects of the government-created housing bubble.

That city hall would approve a measure to effectively compete with private homeowners, using the taxpayer's own money, for the sale of their own homes in a horrible economy is appalling.

MARC is a non-profit, non-govermental agency. Their intrusion into the process of what should be a purely local matter should alarm the citizens of Raytown as they have absolutely no legal standing here.

Raytown needs to return to handling Raytown's business and divest themselves of outside interests. Common sense and lawfulness must prevail.

Greg Walters said...

The City of Raytown re-broadcasts the latest Board of Aldermen meets on Comcast Channel 7.

The city re-broadcasts meetings of the Board of Aldermen on the following schedule:

Tuesday and Thursday - 10AM
Monday and Wednesday - 7PM

Anonymous said...

How dare Greene and Emerson disagree with the thoughts and ideas of those out of town department heads

Anonymous said...

I wish that AT&T U-verse would show the video of the Raytown Board meetings.

Anonymous said...

Sarcastic quibbles? Kids must be playing on here again

Andy Whiteman said...

I will point out again that Comcast is NOT available to the general public. It is available only to the rich who have money to waste on cable TV. For the rich, there is no choice if they want to watch city affairs. The rich must subscribe to Comcast.

Anonymous said...

9:13

The problem is the city of Raytown not ATT.

All the city has to do is post the meetings online so that we can view at anytime from any computer anywhere in the world.

However that would be a sign of professionalism and we live in Raytown were professionals is just an over used word at city hall to try and justify the salary of those that don't live in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman said...

1:12 PM, I suggested that posting meetings online and was told that it can't be done because it would use too much bandwidth.

I have requested minutes on paper in the past and was offered CDs. My question is who has the time to watch 2 to 4 hours of a telecast or CD? An item on a paper document can be found much more quickly without listing to all of that chatter and garbage.

The Fascist Fief does as much as possible to keep information from becoming public.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the excuses and stories they told you at city hall but I do know that Raytown Online has placed entire meetings on You Tube.

If the Raytown Online can do it, why can't they at City Hall.

Guess they will have to come up with another excuse!

Anonymous said...

To February 20, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Video of the meetings should be publicly accessible. Since many don't have cable tv, the city can upload the video to youtube who has plenty of bandwidth to handle the traffic. There is no excuse for not doing this.

Perhaps Aldermen Emerson and Greene can get this done.