Sunday, May 4, 2014


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- - - BREAKING NEWS - - -
The following press release was received from Lisa Emerson, Secretary of the Raytown Charter Commission
It was discovered that City Hall will not be available for the next two scheduled Charter Commission meetings on Monday, May 12th and Monday, May 26th.  The body has therefore informally decided to move the next meeting to Tuesday, May 13th and are expected to move the following meeting to Tuesday, May 27th, both at the same time and place, 6:30PM at City Hall.
For those in the media and media relations, if you would please post a public notice to your audiences that, due to the conflict, the next meeting has been informally agreed upon for Tuesday the 13th, it would be much appreciated.  

Charter Commission Moments
The Raytown Charter Commission held its first meeting last Tuesday. Like all newly elected bodies, it had its rocky moments, and some that were strange. Here is a run-down of some of those moments:

  • The first order of business was the election officers. Before that vote was taken, Lisa Emerson made a motion to vote by secret ballot. The motion was seconded by Mark Moore. Jim Aziere, who was running the meeting prior to the election of officers, asked for a voice vote to approve Lisa Emerson’s motion. Greg Walters objected to the use of what he called “shouting through” motions and insisted on a roll call vote.

AT ISSUE: The use of secret ballots to elect officers. Greg Walters objection was in favor of a roll call. Lisa Emerson’s motion called for a secret ballot.
In favor of a roll call vote – Greg Walters, Steve Guenther
In favor of a secret ballot – Lisa Emerson, Mark Moore, Jim Aziere, Jason Greene, Janet Emerson, Ted Bowman, Susan Dolan, Mary Jane VanBuskirk, Mike McDonough, Charlotte Melson
Absent – Sandy Hartwell
OFFICERS ELECTED: Steve Guenther, Chairman, Jason Greene, Vice Chairman, Lisa Emerson, Secretary. The position of Treasurer was held open until the following meeting because Sandy Hartwell had been nominated but was not present to accept the nomination.

  • Televising of the meetings on Government Channel 7 was brought up by Greg Walters at the end of the meeting. Mr. Michael Downing, who tapes City Council meetings and publishes them on YouTube was taping the meeting that evening.

He volunteered to videotape future meetings of the Charter Commission when he is available and to provide a disc of the meeting for re-broadcast on Raytown Government Channel 7 free of charge as a public service.  

To view the meeting or minutes of the meeting use the link found at the end of Paul's Rant! (the column following this story)
Greg Walters made a motion, seconded by Mark Moore, Lisa Emerson and Mary Jane VanBuskirk, that the meetings be rebroadcast on government channel 7 on the same schedule the city uses to re-broadcast City Council meetings, from media provided by Michael Downing of his own volition, for free, when he is present to do so.
AT ISSUE: Broadcasting of Charter Commission meetings.
In favor of re-broadcasting meetings: Greg Walters, Steve Guenther, Jason Greene, Mark Moore, Lisa Emerson, Jim Aziere, Mike McDonough, Ted Bowman, Mary Jane VanBuskirk
Voting “no” on re-broadcast of meetings:  Charlotte Melson
Abstaining on the vote: Janet Emerson, Susan Dolan
Absent: Sandy Hartwell
The issue now goes before the Raytown Board of Aldermen for final approval.

  • Two city officials, City Administrator Mahesh Sharma and City Clerk Teresa Newton were on hand during the meeting. They were very clear that they would not participate in the meeting because they were not part of the body. The city’s camera remained sitting in a closet, forty feet from where they were sitting.

I watched the inaugural meeting of the Raytown Charter Commission. Like a child learning to walk, some members stumbled, but that is expected. Still there are some moments that cause a person to wonder just what is going on.
Charlotte Melson, who is also a member of the Board of Aldermen had a “Let Them Eat Cake” moment when she argued that meetings should not be televised because people can watch it on their computers.
Shame on you, Charlotte!
Not everyone has the means to afford all the niceties of the 21st Century. Put the show on television. The more people you reach out to, the better for your effort.
It was also clear that the Board is dividing along lines of a “do nothing charter” and a “do something charter”. The numbers are pretty much evenly split, but as anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of math will tell you – on a thirteen member board, there will come a time when those divisions will tell their own story.
It is going to be interesting to watch.
Here are some observations about some of what was said.
  • Mr. Aziere, quit bashing a Charter Commission that was elected nine years ago. You spent an inordinate amount of time trying to justify what you did nine years ago. It is time to let it go. Let the past be the past. Concentrate more on the future. Try building something for once. You will find it more fulfilling than tearing something down.
  • The video is hard to hear. Why not use the sound system hardwired and seating used by the City Council? There are 13 members on the Commission. There are 13 chairs on the Diaz! You will be much more comfortable and, more importantly, the public will be able to hear what you have to say.
  • A special “thank you!” is owed by everyone in Raytown to Michael Downing for stepping up to broadcast the Charter meetings. His example of volunteerism is a lesson to us all. Mr. Downing taped nearly all of the meetings of the Raytown Charter Commission nine years ago. Charter Commissioners would be wise to take his advice on sound and video production ideas to heart.
    To view the video use this link: CHARTER VIDEO
    To view the Minutes of the Meeting use this link: MINUTES

Televise the Meetings
Last Thursday I was dropping some books off at the Raytown Public Library. It was early, the library was just opening. As I was waiting for the librarian to unlock the door and old acquaintance of mine, Larry Edwards, came walking up to the door. We exchanged pleasantries and I asked him what was going on.
He told me he does not have a computer at home so he comes up to the library to use theirs.
If you have not been to the Raytown Library lately you should drop in. It is well laid out, extremely user friendly, and has about 15 computer work stations for the public to use.
As Mr. Edwards' presence attests, the work stations are used frequently. In the evenings it is not unusual for users to sign up on a waiting list for one of the stations to open up.
Incidentally, Larry is a Raytown senior citizen. He ran for the Raytown Charter Commission nine years ago and has always had a deep interest in what is going on in Raytown.
I share this bit of trivia with you because it emphasizes the need for the Charter Commission to go to the extra mile in informing the public about the work of the Commission. Mr. Edwards is a case in point. He is in good health and has the means and interest to go to the library to see what is going on in Raytown.
Not every Raytowner has the ability to go to the library to watch a meeting on You Tube. Some are homebound. Some may not have the transportation. However, according to the last United States census, nearly ALL of them have a television.
The Raytown Board of Aldermen broadcast ALL of their meetings on the Raytown Government Channel. Why not broadcast the Raytown Charter Commission meetings on the same channel?


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You’ve probably had a strawberry margarita before, but have you ever made a sriracha-strawberry margarita before? Because, um, if you haven’t yet, you haven’t lived! Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo or not, this Sriracha-Strawberry Margarita recipe from Lee Kum Kee is worth celebrating! READ MORE

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Anonymous said...

I tried to watch the You Tube video of the Charter meeting. It was completely inaudible with the exception the only person I could understand was Teresa giving the oath. The city camera sitting 40 feet away in the closet, unused, is absurd! Why couldn't someone take responsibility, borrow the key and operate the camera? That wouldn't cost the city on red cent.

Why is voting secret and not by roll call? Do some of these representatives elected by the people not want the people knowing how they voted? Is there any open government law requiring a public roll call vote of elected boards/commissions. In my opinion, it seems typical of the City of Raytown to keep government secret.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I have digital tv; how do I get channel 7 to view the meetings?? Was the audio for you tube not up to par? I do wish a roll call vote would of happened but secret vote is what was done so we must move on

Anonymous said...

I think that a secret ballot was a good idea for them electing positions. With several different types of people you would hate to have other members personally upset over a vote. Now if they voted on everything in secret I would be upset.

Anonymous said...

Time for the Charter Commission to put on the big boy pants. There are going to be votes when you do not agree. Hiding that disagreement with secret ballots is not a solution. It is hiding what should be a public vote.

public votes by representatives of the people is part of the process. It gives the people you represent a chance to give you feedback on important issues.

Do not be like City Hall where secrecy and keeping the public out of city business is the name of the game.

Remember who you represent. You were elected by Raytowners. Not by out of town bureaucrats.

Anonymous said...

Comcast is the only provider that broadcasts raytwon government channel 7. U-Verse has the ability to broadcast and does so in many other cities like Lee's Summit and Grandview, but Mayor Bower's city council has not voted to do give the ability to to broadcast to U-Verse.

They will tell you it costs too much money. But the truth is that it would cost less than a third of the $30,000 pay increase they gave the City Administrator a couple of years ago.

By the way. The U-Verse cost is a one time payment. The city administrator's pay increase is paid every year for as long as he works for the city.

Anonymous said...

Put on your BIG boy and girl pants get your ass up off the sofa and come to city hall to observe the charter meetings if you have as much interest as you say!!!!

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify a misconception from last week's comments:

KCPT is not a public access channel, as Comcast's channel 7 is. KCPT has never carried local government meetings and I am confident they never will.

Everyone who thinks KCPT should carry Charter Commission meetings is confusing PBS with public access cable channels, they have completely different missions.

Anonymous said...

To 8:29am

I would like to come to the meetings, but I am a Registered Nurse at a local hospital and I am on duty in the evenings. The only way I can watch the city council meetings or charter meetings is if I record them for later viewing. There are police officers, firefighters, ambulance drivers and many others just like me. Please don't think that just because we don't come to the meetings it means we are lazy. Maybe we just can't be there.

Anonymous said...

8:29 - 11:41 is working to pay the ridiculously high taxes in Raytown. So are the rest of us. If we take off work to come to these meetings, how are we going to pay taxes? Get off our backs!

Anonymous said...

Have a question, noticed that the Hy-V in Ks is closing because the city will no longer float another tiff or what every it takes to increase the sales tax to fund remodeling of the store at tax payers expense. I know that our Hy-V has some kind of a tiff left over from when it was originally a grocery before it sat empty for so many years. Hope that our Mayor is not around to give more money away. Spoke to an old man at the Red Bridge Y and he was very upset that the city would not fund it. It is hard to believe the people in rich KS being so scared that their shopping center will no be blighted. Maybe they can have our Super Center Walmart.

Anonymous said...

I can tell from the comments here that there are a lot of good people in Raytown who care deeply for the community.

If you are a member of the BOA please, PLEASE, direct the city to broadcast the Charter meetings. We want our city to be better.

Pat Casady said...

Does anybody reading this think it is nuts for someone
to say “Put on your Big boy and girl pants, get your ass
up off the sofa and come to city hall to observe the charter
Meetings.” When they won’t put on their big boy or girl
pants and sign their name?

Anonymous said...

Just remember Mr. and Mrs. Raytown where there is a will there is a way to view the charter meetings. So put on your thinking caps and find a a way. Don't depend the city to do it for you. It is not their responsibility it is yours.

Anonymous said...

The video of the Charter Meeting is good, the audio is lacking and needs to be fixed otherwise what good will it do for citizens to watch?

I guess with all the department heads and city manager living out of town, who gives a darn what the citizens of Raytown want.

Maybe if I can finagle a $30,000 a year raise from my employer, I can leave Raytown to live in a nicer, safer neighborhood. Until then, C'mon City hall fix the simple broadcast of the Charter Meetings!!!

Peter said...

To Pat ;
In agreement with you . Just odd what some come up with. Sayings, quirks, cliche's all tell a lot about a person's presence and past. Have to agree with you on the irony of that comment

Anonymous said...

Some folks, like the nurse that wrote earlier, are at work when the meetings are held.

The BOA have their meetings broadcast. The taxpayers pay for that service in their taxes. Is it wrong for them to expect a little service for their tax dollars.

I don't think so.

From what I have read here, I guess some people do!

Pat Casady said...

Well folks, I think our charter is in trouble already.
It should make the people that didn’t want the
charter and City Hall very happy. As I understand it
the arguing and bickering has already started and they
haven’t even had the first real meeting. It’s really too bad.
I thought something might really happen this time.
The sad thing is, it’s not even who I considered to be
the bad choices, Aziers, Melson and a couple of others.
They just have to sit back and watch everything fall apart
with a big smile on their faces.
The charter commissioners need to step back and remember
what and why they are there in the first place.
Stop bickering and trying outdo the next guy.
The chairman needs to step up and stop this before it gets
going and can’t be stopped. Most of all stop the BS emails!
My guess is there will be some good charter members get
tired of the crap and will walk out.

GADSDEN said...

As I understand, it seems like there are ones that want no change whatsoever only to have a very simple charter. Then there are those that want simple changes. It would seem that if this is what is going to kill the charter then I would say we go with the simple charter. Next year other changes can be proposed on a slow as you go theory. If this is the only way to get the charter passed then I think that we should go with a simple charter. I understand that the former mayor will only back a simple charter and she does have at least two voices on the commission.

I for one want to at least get the charter approved so that we are no longer looked upon as a 4th class city.

Anonymous said...

You know I watched the first meeting of the charter commission on U Tube and the sound and picture were both up to par. What is the matter with you people that can not turn the volume up?

Pat Casady said...

As I understand it, the city council has given the
charter commission ten thousand dollars to cover
expenses incurred, no thanks to Joe Creamer. He was
against that little piece of legal procedure. He made a
big point the last charter attempt costing so much. He
was partly right about the costing too much but, he seems
to have forgotten it was also the BOA and the administration
bringing law suits against the charter that helped bring up the
cost. All said, the last attempt was a bad deal.
That was then this is now.
And of course they have to account for every dollar.
This new commission would do well if they had only one
or two people that can talk to or ask questions of the lawyer.
Instead of asking questions several times a week at a
hundred dollars an hour minimum , they should make a
list of questions and ask them all at the same time once
a week.
As for the context of the charter I am beginning to think
simple, baby steps just like the Constitution. Then after
being passed by the voters, amendments can be added
just like our Constitution. Let’s face it, the more put into
the charter the more opponents of the charter have to
use against it passing.
In other words work to get the charter passed, work for
the people not against, and above all stop the pecking order
BS you elected leaders let them lead.

Terrence said...

Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians makes a bad order. The Charter Commision will work best when all get along and no single one is a hot dogger or a hot head . Those were chosen to lead; if it was not you them please assist and not pout or point fingers

Anonymous said...

That was it!!!! I hadn't turned up the sound on the Charter broadcast...Thanks for telling me to do that!

Newsflash- Not everyone has U Verse as their cable provider. The Comcast audio broadcast was horrible.

And..."Get up off the sofa and go to the meetings"....

Ignorant response to those that work in the evenings or are elderly but still care about Raytown.