Sunday, February 23, 2014


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The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – February 18, 2014

During public comments, Julie Arth told the Board the area around Lane Drive, Lane Circle and 85th Street is a mess with the kids, the vandalism, and the threats.  She said there has been no cooperation from the police department.  The street lamps are shot out and cars are broken into.  She reported the police are slow to respond and are rude to the residents.  Mayor Bower told her there wasn’t anything the Board could do to help her, but Police Chief Jim Lynch was in attendance.  The mayor assured Ms. Arth the Police Chief would talk to her and get the necessary information to resolve the matter.

Shirley Wittman said the Board members may be asking themselves why she was running for charter commission since she plans to vote no for a charter and plans to tell everyone she meets to vote no.  She said she has very real concerns about several candidates who wish to place a number of proposals that could result in the charter being defeated.  She said someone misspoke when they said she was against the charter.  She is not against the city having a charter as long as it is a simple charter which can be amended later by the vote of the people.  She was on the previous charter commission.  It was not a simple charter and it was defeated.  It cost several thousand dollars.  She said she will need at least six other charter members who also want a simple charter.  That is why she thinks it is important for each of the candidates to send where they stand to the local paper and let the people know what changes they want in Raytown’s city government.

During the committee reports, Alderman Lightfoot said he went to Jefferson City and talked to Representative Tom McDonald about the Municipal Court fines increase.  Representative McDonald sponsored HB 1829, which will give 4th Class cities in Missouri the ability to enact ordinances and enforce them with fines or imprisonment.

Police Chief Jim Lynch and Corporal Brett Clear gave the Board a brief study session on the Youth Court in Raytown.  Corporal Clear said the Court will be comprised of teens between the ages of 15 and 18 years old.  Offences will be tried, defended, judged, convicted, or exonerated by the peers of the offenders.  The court will only hear cases for 1st time offenders.  After that, the offenders will be sent to the Jackson County Juvenile system.  Some offences that will be tried are theft, minor assault, passion of alcohol, truancy, and curfew violations.  The maximum punishment will be 50 hours of community service.  If the community service is not performed, the violator will be sent to the Jackson County Juvenile system.

The Board approved the appointment of Danielle Miles to the Raytown Park Board. They also appointed Pamela Carney to the Council on Aging.

The Board approved the budget amendment for professional pool management services funds in the amount of $286,500.00 Based on recommendations of the Super Splash GovernanceCommittee, Super Splash will be self-managed by the City. A fund transfer in the amount of $279,400.00 is requested.  Alderman Jason Greene said he received a letter from the Park Board last November saying if Raytown returns to self-managing Super Splash, it will save the City $50,000.  The fund transfer Mr. Boji is requesting is only a $7,000 savings.  He asked where the rest of the savings were.  Mr. Boji said there may be more savings later, but it is weather-dependent.  They are already opening late because Raytown schools have to make up 5 snow days. 

The Board approved a resolution accepting a Law enforcement grant from the Missouri Department of Public Safety.  Chief Lynch told the Board the Police Department applied for and was awarded a Local Law Enforcement Block Grant,in the amount of $8,991.00 from the Missouri Department of PublicSafety for installation of magnetic locks within the jail facility. The total cost of the project is $9,990.00with the City providing a 10% match of $999.00.

The Board approved a resolution approving participation by the city in theMissouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety CrashReduction/hazardous moving enforcement.  Chief Lynch said the grant allows for approximately 410 hours of enforcement overtime and to send one person to theannual LETSAC conference. There is no match required by the City for this grant.

Alderman Jim Aziere told the Board he had been asked by the Mayor to draft a set of procedures for the Board of Aldermen.  He said Alderman Charlotte Melson had also been working on Guidelines.  He presented both versions to the Board for their consideration.  For a complete list of the proposed Board procedures, go to BOARD GUIDELINES (start on page 37)

Alderman Van Buskirk said at the beginning of the meeting when the Mayor and City Administrator gave their comments, he would like to see each Alderman have the opportunity to talk about what they have been involved in relative to their district or the city.  He said he has a problem with rule 20 (see page 42).  It says a majority of the Board must vote to allow an alderman to recuse himself.  Mr. Van Buskirk said he thinks if an Alderman wants to recuse himself, he should be able to do so.  Abstentions should not be counted as a yes vote.  It should be counted as an abstention.  He also thinks rule 30, paragraph 4 (page 44) steps on our 1st amendment rights. 

Alderman Emerson said we use Roberts Rules of Order.  It provides a smaller parliamentary set of rules for legislative bodies such as Raytown.  She said the Board of Aldermen already has a mission statement (page 38).  It’s posted on the City’s website and there is no reason to change it.  She said Rule 1 (page 38) is in direct violation of City Ordinance Section 2-29.  The current ordinance says it takes 2 aldermen to call a special meeting.  Rule 1 gives the Mayor too much authority to be the only one to call a special meeting.  Rule 2 (page 38) should read “the majority of people present” not the majority of the whole Board.  Rule 3 (page 38) should have a report by the City Administrator in order to be in compliance with Section 2-33-F of the city ordinances. 
Rule 6 (page 39) is not necessary.  The Board members are adults and don’t need a dress code.  If the people don’t like the way the aldermen dress, the constituents will let them know.  Rule 7 (page 39) is in direct violation of Section 2-36-C.  The mayor may get to appoint standing committees, but the aldermen have the right to vote on an Ad Hoc committee.  Alderman Emerson said no one is trying to take away the rights of the mayor, so why should the aldermen give up their rights. 

Jason Greene said he agreed with Alderman Van Buskirk about Rule 20 (page 41).  He believes Rule 11 (page 40) gives the Mayor too much power at the meetings.  That’s why they should have a Sargent-at-Arms.  Roberts Rules of Orders will work well if used equally and fairly. 

Josh Greene said Roberts Rules of Orders have been used for meetings for a very long time and will continue to work well if used properly.  He also believes there is no need for a dress code.  The voters will vote out aldermen if they believe he is dressed inappropriately. 

Alderman Lightfoot said he agreed with Aldermen Greene, Emerson, and Van Buskirk.

Mayor Bower said he didn’t expect the document to be so large.  He asked if the Board wanted to review the document further and make changes.

Alderman Ertz said they used Roberts Rules of Orders and that’s all they need. 

Alderman Van Buskirk said he agreed with the Mayor.  He thought they should review and make necessary changes to the document.

Jason Greene said the Board works just fine and he sees no reason to change it.  Alderman Emerson agreed.

Mayor Bower said he saw no resolution and suspended any discussion.  The meeting then adjourned.

Rule Changes 
Receive Cold Reception

Last Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting was an interesting lesson on how to derail bad legislation. Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere had been tasked by the Mayor David Bower to create some new “rules” to govern meetings of the Raytown Board of Aldermen.

So, create them he did.

Paul Livius has done an excellent job of dissecting the collected thoughts of Jim Aziere on how Board Meetings should be conducted. To view a copy of Aziere’s report, use this link: BOARD GUIDELINES (start on page 37)

Here is my short version:

Bower, through Aziere, appears to have been attempting to consolidate power on a City Council that has, as of late, begun to show some signs of independence. Most radical of the changes was a suggestion that “non-votes”, such as absences, abstentions and simple refusing to vote, by Council members be counted in the affirmative.

With the exception of a few Board members who did not state a position, this notion was roundly rejected.

What I found most interesting was the furious back-peddling by Aziere and the Mayor when it became apparent the support simply was not there to help pass their schemes.

The packet Aziere presented was quickly renamed “guidelines” by the Mayor.  The Mayor asked for guidance on how the Board wished to proceed. It is interesting to note that in response, none of the ten Board members offered a motion to move forward with the package.
Ward 3 Alderman Janet Emerson, made a lengthy presentation of her own debunking much of what Aziere proposed. Her alternative, use Roberts Rules of Order to conduct  Board meetings.

Aldermen Bill VanBuskirk and Steve Mock correctly pointed out that the Missouri Municipal League, of which Raytown is a member, has published broad guidelines on how to conduct Council meetings. They stated they felt Aziere’s rules were not needed.

Ward 4 Alderman Pat Ertz obviously felt the whole report was much ado about nothing.
As summed up his comments with an old bit of wisdom, saying, “if it isn't broke, don’t fix it”.

Ward 2 Alderman Jason Greene echoed many of the points brought forth by Emerson.

While we are on the subject, here are some suggestions as to some procedural changes that we feel the Board of Aldermen and public would find beneficial.

·         Use Roberts Rules of Order to conduct the meetings. Those time-tested rules work when used properly. The most important part being that Roberts Rules stops what is often called “The Tyranny of the Majority”.

·         Allow public interaction with elected officials during Board meetings. The current rules do not allow Board members to respond to questions from the public during meetings. This current rule stifles the free flow of information between the Public and its elected representatives.

·         Eliminate the Consent Agenda. The Consent Agenda allows the Mayor and City Staff to group items together for one vote instead of voting on each item individually. Any Board Member can ask for an item to be removed for separate consideration, but current rules require the rest of the Board consent to removing the item by public vote.

Remember the term, “Tyranny of the Majority”?

This rule effectively intimidates and stops an individual Board member in a minority position on the Board from bringing items already on the agenda up for discussion.

Last week a blogger asked that we publish the broadcast times City Hall re-broadcast meetings of the Raytown Board of Aldermen.

The city broadcasts meetings of the Board of Aldermen on the following schedule. This service is only available to subscribers of Comcast. They can be viewed on Comcast Channel 7.

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

Ann Harrison Murder Remembered
Twenty-five years ago (March 25, 1989) Ann Harrison was abducted while waiting for a school bus. One of Harrison’s murderers, Michael Taylor, is scheduled to be put to death by the State of Missouri next Wednesday.

The Raytown area was home to Ann Harrison. She attended school here. An annual softball tournament of the old Raytown Girl’s Softball League was established in remembrance of her. Her murderers have been found guilty but there has not been any sense of justice since their incarceration. Both men have been sentenced to death.

The legal maneuvering to hold up Michael Taylor’s execution is a sad statement of our times. By his own words, he is guilty of brutalizing and killing a 15 year old girl.

The following, copied from page A16 of this Sunday’s Kansas City Star, tells of the horror that a 15 year old innocent experienced before being brutally murdered.


The morning Ann disappeared, Bob Harrison was at work and his wife was inside their home when Ann yelled goodbye and stepped out their front door in southeast Kansas City to wait for the school bus.
Nunley, then 24, and Taylor, then 22, who grew up near each other in Kansas City, were binging on crack cocaine and cruising in a car they had stolen in Grandview. They eluded a Lee’s Summit police officer who tried to pull them over for having a broken taillight.

A few hours later, happenstance led them to the street where they saw Ann. One of them got out, grabbed her and forced her into the car. Each has blamed the other.
They drove her to a home in south Kansas City where Nunley’s mother lived. There Ann was raped. Testing of DNA later linked Taylor to the crime. He maintains that Nunley also raped her, though Nunley denied that.

It was then that they decided to kill Ann. Once again, each blames the other for being the aggressor.

They lied to her to get her into the trunk of the car. They told her they were going to call her parents and demand ransom money.

Instead, knives were retrieved from the kitchen. One of them stabbed her in the throat. The other stabbed her in the torso. Taylor’s confession revealed the horror of the moment:

“I stuck her, two or three times, probably four, you know I stuck ’em in the stomach down here, you know,” he told police.

“And then I stayed and watched it, you know. … Her eyes rolled up in her head, and she was sort of like trying to catch her, her breath. She couldn’t breathe, you know.”

What motivates Bob Harrison more than anything to see the case through to the end is the thought of what Ann went through during her last few minutes of life.

“That’s the part I can’t stop thinking about,” he said. “That’s the part that makes them need to have this punishment.” 

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Elisa Breitenbach said...

The story Tony Rizzo did on Ann Harrison did not do Ann Harrison Justice. My niece Susan Uman played ball with Ann. No one will ever forget the painful hard cold facts of this case. No child should ever go through such pain. Also no parent should be forced to relive all the hard cold facts in all the papers! This case changed Raytown Forever. Ann's friends who are 40 now are much different parents than all of us from the 50's. It's sad newspapers feel the need to print all the cold hard facts. I would just like to ask Tony Rizzo if this story was about his own little girl is this what he would want printed? Ann Harrison deserves Justice and she and her family deserve compassion and respect. May God Bless This Family!

Susan Dolan said...

This week the Paul Livius Report reveals that at the 2/18/14 BOA meeting Shirley Wittman said she will need at least six other charter members who also want a simple charter. That is why she thinks it is important for each of the candidates to send where they stand to the local paper and let the people know what changes they want in Raytown’s city government.

The election of Charter Commissions hasn't even been held, yet Shirley Wittman seems to feel that her need to unearth at least six other like-minded charter candidates is urgently important. I suppose Ms. Wittman feels she and her hand-picked other six would all be elected and would then have a like-minded majority vote within the Charter Commission.

Let's take a look at what the definitions of a faction are:

1. a group or clique within a larger group, party, government, organization, or the like: a faction in favor of big business.
2. party strife and intrigue; dissension: an era of faction and treason.
Synonyms: discord, disagreement, schism, split, friction.

1. a party or group (as within a government) that is often contentious or self-seeking : clique
2. party spirit especially when marked by dissension

From where I stand, it is not the place of the Charter candidates to tell the people what they want. It is the place of the potential and eventually elected Charter Commissioners to listen to the people in order to learn what the people want and to facilitate their desires.

Anonymous said...

Seems like Mrs. Emerson and Mr. Greene are keeping some of this silly stuff in check. In looking at these rules, they seem awfully written.

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.

Anonymous said...

If Aldermen Emerson and Greene can get the meetings uploaded to you tube, then does that mean the City can get rid of the Public Information Officer. Getting information to the public is her job, after all.

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement with Elisa one hundred percent! My daughter was friends with Ann and her younger sister was friends with my son. Her parents came to my home many times. Everytime they print the horrid facts they tortchure the family and anger all the friends of Ann's. I work in the school district and talk to all my students about stranger danger. Although we do not have to watch students make it to their home and inside their door when we drop them off at the bus stop; I do! So I'm alittle late to my next school to pick up .... Oh well! Atleast I won't read about my kiddos on the news.

Anonymous said...

I read the report on Ann Harrison too. I think it is unfair to fault the K.C. Star or the reporter on the story. Ann's friends and family participated in the story. It reads to me like they did so voluntarily. I see it as a call for justice for a horrific crime.

The only thing that can keep evil from success in this life is for good men and women to remain quiet when injustice is revealed.

Anonymous said...

I think we have enjoyed all of Shirley Whittman we can stand.
The only thing she did for the last charter attempt was to
sabotage it. She, Jim Aziere and others were there just to
ruin any hopes of Raytown ever having a charter.

Anonymous said...

Since when was a political candidate allowed to make a political statement as a public comment addressed to the BOA? The Lord Mayor used to quickly stop these IF he disagreed.

7:59 PM The problem with YouTube and other online videos is still bandwidth. Many citizens don't pay enough to download all of this bandwidth quickly, or they will be charged more for high bandwidth usage, or they will be throttled for too much usage.

Really who has 2 to 4 hours (or longer) to watch a whole meeting then they only need a paper document of minutes of a particular issue?

Andy Whiteman

Need To Know said...

I just read Melson's Rules.

"Our goal is to create professionalism, educate new Board members, educate the
public, create continuity, and to provide a simple and understandable procedure to
operate as a Board."

Plenty in there about giving the BOA respect. Small wonder it doesn't flow naturally to them instead of by mandate. I must've overlooked the part about respect for the public... didn't see that in there.

Professionalism cannot be mandated. It's either inherent or it isn't there at all.

Dress codes: What is this, Jr. High?

I'll record those meetings in any way I deem necessary since recordings of them isn't PUBLICALLY accessible to all, including those who don't have cable t.v. If I need a newspaper to use as a reference in addressing the BOA, I'll bring it with me. For it to be up to the Council to make the determinate decision regarding the ambiguous 'Rule' on who of those amongst the public is being loud or unruly and subject to removal (or arrest?) is tyrannical.

What a fascist document! Melson can take a hike.

Anonymous said...

POINT WELL TAKEN ANDY "Since when was a political candidate allowed to make a political statement as a public comment addressed to the BOA? The Lord Mayor used to quickly stop these IF he disagreed."

It seem apparent that Jughead likes the idea of a stripped-down Charter that changes nothing. Why wouldn't he?

I'm excited to hear the people come forward at the open Charter meetings and actually be heard for a change, especially since the Charter Commission, by law, will function completely independent of any influence from City Hall. The Charter Commission can hold their meetings outside of City Hall too - which seems like a good idea given the bad taste they have left in so many mouths.

Anonymous said...

I only hope that there is a large ticking clock near Michael Taylor’s cell. Tic, Tic, Tic, counting down the hours, minutes, seconds until they put that needle in his arm, and put him to sleep like I had to put down my old dog. Ann deserves better, than have her attacker put down like we would put down a beloved pet. Perhaps Missouri should use the firing squad instead, one shot, one kill right through the heart. Too bad he will not feel the pain he has caused others, when he finally dies.

Pat Casady said...

Mandate respect? I think not! Respect has to be
earned and most of our city leaders haven’t a clue
how to earn respect.
First and foremost they have to do their jobs. They
have to represent the people’s wishes and needs.
So far City Hall has not shown any advance it that.
Second, not lying would be a good plan. You can’t
earn respect by lying to the people.
Thirdly, stop giving away taxpayer dollars, tax
income and taxpayer owned property.
Plus, following this cities rules of residence would be
a huge step in gaining respect. Bending the rules
for any reason shows poor leadership and sends the
wrong message to the people. It shows rules are put
there to be broken.
I don’t care what our city leaders wear or how they
look as long as they do their jobs. So far it hasn’t
happened. Time after time the people have shown
City Hall they don’t want another grocery store in
Raytown. Time after time City Hall has ignored the
people’s wishes. This is no way to earn respect.
City leaders thinking and acting like they are better
and smarter than the people they are supposed
to represent is also no way to earn respect.
If they want to place new rules they should be how
to work FOR the people not against them.

Anonymous said...

Good point Andy. The Mayor has a problem when it comes to running these meetings he will treat others he agrees with differently than others he doesnt. Bitter old Wittman will not get my vote. The folks that started this Charter will. Does anyone know who the firsr to file were?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

February 26, 2014 at 6:25 AM - some of the first to file are on the BOA and some of those are for a charter that makes few changes to our present form of government so if you're happy with what we've already got and want more of the same...


Anonymous said...

Where I live, Jason Green, Robin Tubbs, and Chris Rathbone came around trying to get petitions signed for the charter. I don't know who else went around in other parts of town.

Anonymous said...

In my neck of the woods Greg Walters was making the rounds as well.

Didn't all of the candidates have to file petitions?

I really do not see what the big deal is about who's on first!

Anonymous said...

I agree with that last post. It seeems like there is too much attention being paid to the order of candidates on the ballot and not enough on what they want to do.

I don't agree with the Wittman woman but at least she does not leave a mystery about her plans.

The ones who send their informtion to this blog and the newspapers are helpful too.

I am not too excited about a Charter that does nothing. After what I saw last summer on the Walmart mess it is clear we need some changes in this town. I hope the people running are listening.

Anonymous said...

More important that the charter candidates are listening now is that they are willing to listen after they are elected when the citizens show up to speak at the open meetings of the charter commission. Unlike our city council, there will be no closed meetings of the charter commission.

If we vote for candidates who represent the people, not candidates who have political ties to our current troubled administration and candidates who just want to hurry it up and get it done without serious consideration that requires their hard work we'll be better off.

I plan to attend their meetings and expect to be heard because what I care about matters. There are some running who are in office whose voting history fails to gain my trust. There are some running who have made campaign statements that don't say much at all, sit on the fence, or reveal some leanings I don't like. We have to decide for ourselves as wisely as we can and need to be involved in the process as 'we' right 'our' charter.

Anonymous said...

Write or right? I do see the play on words of wanting and more so needing it to be the right charter as we write the charter. Good interjection! Point taken

Anonymous said...

Please get to the polls and vote on this election (and take every eligible voter you can along with you).

Remember, there's also a tax increase on that same ballot and personally, I think we're already being taxed too much.

Those 2 issues on the same ballot can make for some significant changes here.

Anonymous said...

Ann Harrison received some justice but only by half. She was attacked by two men, not one.

Anonymous said...

6:02 I hear your pain and know that the hole left in the hearts of Ann's family members can never be filled, but wish them peace.

Derek Astor said...

Just a brief comment regarding Mayor Bower's attempt at a state of the city address. Bad job. The guy is a political hack. He was dishonest in not revealing the details regarding the settlement with the State of Missouri and the Raytown Police Pension Fund. No integrity and nonprofessional. Raytown citizens deserve more than this sort of low rent carnival act.

Gadsden said...

Can Derek please explain what the Mayor did regarding the settlement with the state of Mo and PD pension fund. I have not heard of this before. Thanks

GADSDEN said...

I think that we must realize that Bower is dancing to the same drummer as Nixon and Obama. Never the truth.

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Anonymous said...

As tribe of Gad asked from Mr Astor; please tell more and where we may find such info about the PD pension

Anonymous said...

Here is the meeting posted on youtube.