Saturday, July 5, 2014


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JULY 4, 2014: When the sun comes up, I wake up. It is something that has always worked that way for me. Sometimes I may fall back asleep, but the norm is for me to make it the beginning of the day. Today was no different.

I carefully climb out of bed so as not to wake my wife, and walk to my office at the other end of the house and take my dog, Wickett, out to bring in the paper. In case you are wondering, it is Wickett’s job, who always notices any changes in the front yard, to alert me in case of peril. So far, she has been perfect in her role as watchdog of the morning.

Turning to my favorite section, the editorial pages, I see that the entire page (with the exception of a few letters to the editor), is devoted to our country’s Declaration of Independence. Given that today is the Fourth of July, it seems appropriate.

It also reminds me of a discussion held at a recent meeting of the Raytown Charter Commission.

The topic was the preamble of the Charter. There was some heated discussion over how the introductory chapter of the document should read. Lisa Emerson, the Charter Commission’s secretary, had written a preamble that brought in elements of the Declaration of Independence, Bill or Rights and the Constitution, with many other documents of western culture in attempt to set the tone for the Charter.

It immediately fell upon sharp criticism from an interesting mix of people from the left and the right. I won’t bore you with the arguments with the exception of one point brought by Commissioner and Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere when he observed that “We the People” is not found in any American documents. The graphic at the beginning of this column pretty much ends that argument. Even though it  should serve as a reminder to Charter Commissioners that the group is in dire need of hiring an attorney who can help settle some of the stuff that is so stridently offered up as factual in their proceedings.

To get back on track – I wondered if those who were so vehemently opposed to the preamble which was eventually adopted, were as much aghast at the Kansas City Star’s use of ink and newsprint to reprint a document we can so easily access on the internet.

As it turns out, Emerson and fellow Charter Commissioner Ted Bowman, were able to work out a compromise on the language of the preamble. The majority of the Commission agreed with the compromise and its language was adopted. Though not as flowery as Emerson had originally penned, the finished product did capture the essence of what she intended.

Now the Commission has come to another stumbling block in its proceedings. This time it has to do with Section 1.2.

Section 1.2 re-affirms the protection of the People of Raytown. It outlines prohibitions in which the city or its officers may use in governing. The same arguments heard on the preamble are coming back around – specifically, why include something that is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and Constitution.

An interesting question that I believe the Kansas City Star inadvertently answered when it reprinted the Declaration of Independence in this morning’s paper. There is a proper place to enumerate the rights of citizens of Raytown. What better place to list those rights than in what amounts to a “constitution” written by and for the people of Raytown?

It comes down to this . . . be they civil or property rights, those rights are a subject that should not be ignored in what is essentially the City's Constitution. 

The Paul Livius Report 

Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – July 01, 2014

The Board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of funds to the Wilson group for the city hall board room renovations in not to exceed $81,750.00.

Andy Noll told the Board the renovation of the boardroom had been discussed at two previous meetings and specific changes were requested by the Board of Aldermen.  The requested changes were to remove the proposed storage from the back of the room, update all of the flooring and ceiling in the room.  Staff has identified an alternative for the storage and the Audio/Video room.  That would remove the need for the proposed storage rooms in the south portion of the Board of Aldermen meeting room and the rooms have been removed from the plan.  The staff has received revised pricing for the project and includes a base price for the proposed project without the storage rooms and includes pricing for updated flooring and ceiling throughout the boardroom.

The renovation costs are:
Base Project – $77,850.09
Ceiling Replacement Add Alternate - $15,096.83
Carpet Replacement Add Alternate - $15,888.33
Lighting update Add Alternate - $10,264.25

He said the staff recommends a 5% contingency fee for the project which explains the difference between the base project expense and the $81,750.00 request for approval.  If any of the alternates are approved the total approved amount will need to be increased by the corresponding amount.

They reduced the original proposal by $17,000 by eliminating the storage and Audio/Video room.  They will convert the mailroom into the Audio/Video room since the city no longer sends the sewer bills out from City Hall.

Alderman Jason Greene said the staff put in a lot of hard work to reduce the costs, but he thought it was still too high.  He understands the need for an ADA compliant ramp and new carpet, but he thinks the one thing really needed is new chairs for the public, which is not in the proposal.

Alderman Lightfoot said the $82,000 doesn’t include cameras.  He said the cameras will be an extra $15,000.  He asked what percentage of Raytown residents even has Comcast any more.  There’s Direct TV, Dish Network, ATT Universe, and now Google Fiber.  He said he thinks less and less have Comcast.  He said a lot people in his neighborhood can’t watch the meetings because they don’t have Comcast any more.  He thinks this is too much money to upgrade the Board room when the majority of residents can’t even watch the meetings.

Alderman Emerson said she is against the resolution because she thinks the wood ceiling is beautiful.  It only needs to be maintained with some oil.  She is against covering it with sheet rock.

Alderman Jason Green said he agreed with Alderman Lightfoot.  The City needs to explore broadcasting to other providers in addition to Comcast.

Mayor Bower said the last time the City looked into adding providers, it was at a cost of approximately $5,000 per carrier.  He said if he is hearing the Board correctly, there may be a way to fund additional carriers.

Alderman Mock said he thinks the project costs too much.  He agreed they need the ADA ramp and new carpet, but he agrees with Alderman Emerson that it would be wrong to cover the wood ceiling.

Mayor Bower asked how much the Board is willing to spend.  He said this is the third meeting this issue has been discussed.  He said it is time to move forward with the project.

Alderman Mock said there was no need to replace the ceiling or the carpet.  He said he understand they need the ADA ramp, but everything else is unnecessary.

The Board passed a resolution to change the authorized representative for the SRF agreement with MDNR.  Since Mark Loughry is no longer our Finance Director, the city needs to replace his name with the current Interim Finance Director, Tom Cole.

The Board passed an ordinance to grant a conditional use permit to park and store business vehicles consisting of trucks, trailers.  On the parking lot surfaces the owners will use the buildings to perform mechanical work and maintenance of vehicles, store building materials and supplies, rent the house and office building to a tenant; and rent one of the buildings for a similar uses at 8506 Westridge Road.  John Benson told the Board the applicant was seeking to allow the following uses on the property:

1. Park / store business vehicles consisting of trucks, trailers, etc. on the parking lot surfaces.
2. Use buildings to perform mechanical work and maintenance of vehicles.
3. Store building materials and supplies.
4. Rent the house / office building to a tenant.
5. Rent one of the buildings for a similar use as described above.

Mr. Benson there were several concerns expressed at the last meeting.  Following the discussion at the previous Board of Aldermen meeting, city staff discussed the storm water drainage issue and determined that the storm water coming off of the subject property is following natural drainage patterns.  In regards to the parking of large trucks such as semis, etc., which the applicant said they do not have, staff recommends that a condition be added prohibiting the parking of vehicles over 20,000 lbs. in size, which is consistent with City Code regulating the maximum size of vehicles allowed to parked in a residential area.  Staff has also recommended that a condition limiting the hours at which vehicles being stored on the property can be brought or taken from the property, which would be in keeping with the residential character of the area. 

Kevin Foster said a couple of their vehicles are 24,000 pounds.  He said he objected to the additional conditions that restricted the hours of operation.  He said there may be times when they need to work past 9:00 pm to finish working on a truck, or a customer needs to come in before 7:00 am to drop off the truck.

The Board passed an ordinance approving an Intergovernmental agreement with the US Department of Interior for the installation of National Historical Trail signs for the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails.  Andy Noll told the Board the Santa Fe Trail Association has secured a grant for the purchase of 24 historic trail signs that comply with the National Park Service standards.  The signs will be 36” wide and 48” tall and placed along Blue Ridge Boulevard.  The City of Raytown will be responsible to supply all the hardware and labor to install the signs.  The Staff estimates that each sign will cost $60 to install exclusive of labor.  Labor is not included in the cost as staff can fit the work into the daily work schedule if there is no deadline for the installation of the signs.  The total cost for the installation of the signs is estimated to be $1,440.00.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance amending Section 50-107, land use table, of the code of ordinances of the City of Raytown for the purpose of allowing craft brewery.  John Benson said the City staff has recently met with a business owner who is interested in operating a craft brewery with an accessory tap room in Raytown.  The exact definition of a craft brewery varies, but the term typically applies to breweries that are relatively small in size, which is measured by the number of barrels annually produced.  After reviewing information from various beer industry sources, the staff found that craft beer is made by a brewery with an annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less. The staff met with the perspective business owner to discuss this proposed use in relation to City’s codes and regulations.  The review and discussion of the proposed use included determining if a craft brewery is an allowed use in the Industrial (M) Zoning District.  A review of the M District, as well as the City’s other Zoning District’s revealed that a ‘brewery’ is not permitted in any Zoning District in the City.  As such, there are two options available in order for the use to be located on the property as well as anywhere else in the City:

1) Amend the Zoning Ordinance to allow the use in certain Zoning Districts; or
2) If the use is determined to have certain aspects or intensity levels, require approval of a conditional use permit application.

In determining the appropriateness of these two options, staff reviewed the proposed use in relation to the type and intensity of other uses permitted in the City’s Zoning Districts, and contacted other cities that have craft breweries to learn how they regulate this type of use.  Based upon this research, the staff found that the volume of traffic generated by a craft brewery, including both cars and trucks, is relatively low.  The perspective business owner stated that the number of trucks delivering supplies and picking up the beer produced for distribution would be minimal, typically occurring only three or four times per month.  The number of employees would also be relatively small at approximately 7 to 10 persons.  In reviewing other permitted uses in the City’s Industrial and Commercial Zoning Districts, the staff found that the intensity of a craft brewery is similar to food / bakery product manufacturing; laundry service; manufacturing and assembly; transit facility; and warehousing and wholesale. 

The staff also spoke with staff from other cities and learned that craft breweries in those cities are not an excessively intense use.  Rather, the cities of Liberty and North Kansas City each have craft breweries that are located adjacent to retail and restaurant uses in their downtown commercial areas. North Kansas City also has one that is located in an industrial zoned area.



Cooking With Fire: The Big-Flavor Grill Review

Neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night shall keep me from grilling out.

Ever since college, I’ve been a die-hard griller. Even in the coldest Wisconsin winters, my roommates and I would bundle up, trudge a path through the snow, and light a pile of charcoal briquettes in the backyard. Today, I live Arizona, where I will gladly man a grill in 115-degree heat before I turn on the oven in my air-conditioned house. Sure, it’s crazy, but there’s something about grilling that just makes me happy. READ MORE

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John said...

So, let me get this straight. Jim Aziere, a former teacher in our Raytown schools, doesn't know "We the People" is in the Constitution. Wow! No wonder the test scores in the Raytown School District is going down. If this is the quality of the teachers, it's a wonder the students leaver high school knowing how to read!

Anonymous said...

DUH! From
Jim Aziere
After graduating
Central Missouri State University in 1965 where he ran track and cross country,Jim
took a teaching and
coaching position at Bi
shop Miege High School
where he started the high school s
occer team in
Kansas. He coached as a
graduate assistant
at the University of Kansas in cross country and track
, graduated in 1967, and
accepted a teaching
and coaching position in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. A year later, Jim returned to
De La Salle Academy as Assistant
Coach, Head Soc
cer Coach, and Head Track Coach, and formedthe Interstate High School
Soccer League, the first high
soccer league in
Kansas City. The track team
finished 12
at State
, and the Football team won the
souri State
. Jim divorced, and became a single parent moving
to Raytown High School
. During the past 46 years, Jim
taught Law, World Religion, and AP American History, coached 122 seasons in seven sports, and for 22 of those years,
coached a United St
Age Group Swimming team
year round. Since 1977,he
focused on swimming, and water
polo, served on th
e Missouri Valley USS Committee,
The United States Oly
pic Water Polo Committee,
Coach for the United States Junior Nation Water Polo Tea
He was named
Missouri High School Swimming Coach of
the Year in 1996, and received the Walter H. Lundt Award from the Missouri High School Activities Association in 1999.

It is amazing he doesn't know the Constitution after teaching American History!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I have always heard that Raytown was pretty much ruled by Democrats. Now when it comes to the Charter Commission you would think that it would be non partisan. Now we apparently have bloggers who really do not like any one other than a good old Democrat. For some reason any one that has a leaning toward anything other than a good old Democrat is not really thought of having a right to air his opinion. I have been to a couple of tea party meetings and they have a concept of smaller government and less intrusion into our personal lives by government. There are a lot of other reasons but you probably would not like to hear them. I really do not care if the three ladies talked about are tea par tiers or not but I hope that they have the best interest of the citizens of Raytown at heart.

Anonymous said...

Goodness sakes!
Are we now to hear people separating others by democrats, non partisan, tea party, liberals, republicans ???
Before it was the us against them theory .
What's next ? Men against woman?
Germans against Irish?
Get over it!!!
Not Everything has to be labeled by a party, race, nationality , or gender.
That's just back to the paranoid thought of us against them
They say the best defense is an offense
However this is not a sick game
Get over it!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if it matters but the Raytown City Council has had very strong Republican leanings for a very long time. Most of the people in power now are Republican in their national politics.

It really should not make any difference. When it comes to fixing a hole in the street there is not a democratic or republican way of repairing it.

The Charter Commission is very different. There are Democrats, Republicans, and what appear to be Independents in charge. It may be why the biggest arguments they have had is over personal freedoms and rights.

It is interesting to watch.

There is a Democratic Committeewoman and a Republican Committeewoman who are very frequently on the same side of an argument. Their target appears to what they call Tea Party people.

From watching the discussions play out on You Tube it would probably be more correct to call them Libertarians.

I wish some of the more traditional party members would join in and support their efforts. It would make for a better charter.

Then there are those who sound like they are trying to win an award for being diplomat of the year or just like the sound of their own voice.

They really do not add much to the debate other than waste a lot of time.

One thing that is very clear to me is that they do need some legal advice on their decisions. Writing entire sections of the Charter based upon faulty information and people presenting opinions as facts is a poor way to create a charter.

Pat Casady said...

What amazes me is the fact that people are just now
figuring out that Jim Aziere is about as sharp as a ball bearing!
He has never made any sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where the craft brewery mentioned in Paul's report is planned to be located? I think this is a good step forward and I hope the city council approves the zoning for it.

Anonymous said...

To change the subject just bit, has anyone besides me noticed how BAD our street are getting? There must be no overlay or replacement program. Where is the money going? A great example is 79th street between Raytown Road and Elm. Also, Alderman Ertz must travel this street multiple times a day, why isn't he doing something about it? It's horrible, a traffic accident waiting to happen. This city REALLY needs that state audit to see just where our money is REALLY going. It's certainly not into street improvements!!!

Raytown Newbie said...

Seems to be a week of amazement.. so here's mine: I am amazed that a person from Independence was a leader in the fight against the Neighborhood Walmart grocery coming to Raytown and guess where the newest Neighborhood Walmart grocery is being built? sure enough Independence.

Anonymous said...

So what they have more than one Indep.

Paul Livius said...

Michael Crane, who owns Crane Brewery, is interested in opening a craft brewery and tap room in an
existing building located at 6513 Railroad Street. This property, which is owned by the applicant, is zoned Industrial. The brewery will produce beer while the tap room will be open to the public to sample the beer that is produced.

Anonymous said...

A brewery would be a nice business to occupy that building

Pat Casady said...

To Raytown Newbie:
Prepare to be amazed again.
Raytown, being a 10 square mile town already has
over six grocery stores including a WalMart with a
grocery store in it. That is 1.6 grocery stores for
each square mile of Raytown.
Independence, being a 78 square mile town,
has room for such a store without putting people
working in most of their other grocery stores out
of a job.

Anonymous said...

Have you traveled Blue Ridge Blvd from 59th street going North on Blue Ridge? It is nothing but a wash board. Most of our streets are terrible. This is the result of our wonderful "city council" at work. Oh, I forgot they don't work for us,they work against us! Instead of "Welcome to Raytown" the sign should say "Welcome to Dumptown".

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pat you explained it very well. We do not need another grocery store The thought of one of our old stores being put out of business just to make Wal-Mart happy is not what I want.

Anonymous said...

How about Gregory between 350 HW and Blue Ridge, there has been a plate on the West bound side of Gregory for a least 4 months. Someone should be able to complete their project.

Mary Pat said...

There are 2 Applemarket , HyVee, Aldi, Walmart Grocery , and The Store.
I can't think of where the other stores are in Raytown.

Gloria said...

I am not sure if the plate on Gregory is from google fiber or MGE.
I live there and was upset because we keep getting dug up in our yards for the past six months. I thought it still was google fiber until one day I had the day off and I asked the workman why we are still being torn up?
He informed me that MGE is replacing all the underground lines in the Gregory Heights area and moving the meters from back yards to side front yards ; that all the underground lines are deteriorating .
He couldn't explain why last year they put new meters in several of the older homes backyards when a year later they are going to move them.
Personally; Im tired of the yards and streets being torn up by google fiber and now the gas company!!
I realize upgrades need to be done by both company however couldn't they hAve coordinated the efforts!!! Geez!!!!!!
The city can only sit back and oblige them much like we have to ; we are at all their mercies. Goodness gracious

Anonymous said...

I've been a resident for over 30 years and cannot believe the terrible shape of our streets. What happened to the transportation tax money approved for keeping Raytown streets up?
Where is that money going?

Pat Casady said...

There are a couple of Cosentinos. One is an
Applemarket and the other is a Price Chopper
just over the city line at 63rd and Blue Ridge.
There are two John’s Apple Markets, an Aldi,
WalMart, Hy-Vee and the Store.
Still Raytown has more than it’s share of grocery
Here’s the problem with installing another grocery
store in Raytown. A new store will almost certainly
ask for and receive tax breaks. That’s just the way
Raytown’s leaders do business. This means a loss of
tax income for the city. Then you have the smaller
local grocery stores going out of business and more loss
of tax income all the while making the fat cat (WalMart)
even fatter at the expense of the Raytown taxpayers.
Here’s another fact. This town runs on tax income.
If our leaders give away tax income by T.I.F’s or any other
means, it means they have to raise your taxes to make up
for the giveaways.

Anonymous said...

Independence has lost its share of grocery stores. The one at 24 hiway and Ralston and the Thriftway on Crysler & 27th are gone. Independence has a large area in square miles but has let Walmart monopolize the grocery business putting people out of work.
Very sad indeed.

John said...

You asked what happened to the money from the transportation tax. Well, it was spent on a parking lot for Walmart, a left turn lane and traffic light on both east and west bound 350 highway next to Walmart and for the bus turnaround spot at Walmart. Oh, and for the three monuments in Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Thanks John, now we can all cry

Anonymous said...


If the transportation tax was the only tax dollars spent on Wal-Mart, but we all know Wal-Mart took us to the cleaner and yet we have great thinkers a city hall that believe they did so much for our town that they should still be allowed to open a second location.

The other problem with our tax dollars is those same great minds giving one department head a $30,000 raise.

The same department head who always has some excuse as to why he cannot move into Raytown.

Gloria said...

The grocery store at 43rd and blue Ridge Blvd and the store at 63rd and Blue Ridge cutoff are not in the city of Raytown; they pay taxes to other jurisdictions and do not have Rsytown mailing addresses

Anonymous said...

from Raytown mind mixer - just another sign the PIO of Raytown is lazy and clueless read her last comment to the question....

Leilani H. added an idea in Charter Commission!
Jun 4

Why do we need a charter commission in addition to alderman? Sounds like more bureaucracy and the city isn't doing a good job communicating what it's doing right now!


Brenda Gustafson, Site Admin

23 days ago

I'm interested in your comment. We currently have Facebook, Twitter, the Website, YouTube, an administrator report, a newsletter that goes to every household twice a year. What other means of communication would help you in our communication efforts?

Brenda Gustafson, Site Admin

21 days ago

also, the charter would replace the current Board of Aldermen

Anonymous said...

Raytown’s city hall is like a dysfunctional family.
Ten aimless leaders that are governed by Big Daddy
Bully, who don't care for the people they run over.

John said...

My wife shops at Price Chopper at 63rd and Blue Ridge because we don't have to pay 10% in sales tax. In fact, I don't think we buy anything in Raytown. It is cheaper to drive to Price Chopper or even Lee's Summit than pay the outrageous sales tax in Raytown.

Lillian said...

John - I do my shopping in Lee's Summit or Independence not only because there is less sales tax, but because the stores are better. The fruit at the Raytown Hy-Vee is either over-ripe or still green. The Hy-Vee in Independence is cleaner and has better fruit and meat. Also, they have a lot more cents off items than Raytown. I eat out in Kansas City, Independence, or Lee's Summit because I don't want to sit in a restaurant with cigarette smoke.

GADSDEN said...

I find it surprising that some bloggers think that the charter commission will replace the board of aldermen. Nothing could be further from the truth, the charter commission has a purpose to write a charter and submit it to the voters for their ya or na. The charter commission only has a life of one year from the original date it was sworn in. Our board of aldermen will always be here even if they do something or do nothing The charter commissioners have to submit a charter to the people and it is up to the people to vote on it. Let us hope that they submit a good charter to the people and that the people will have the sense to be smart.

Gloria said...

To John
The tax on my grocery bill from Raytown HyVee yesterday is as follows
General 8.725%
Unprepared 5.725%

Price Chopper
K.C. Brywood Centre CID
8.725% general
5.725% unprepared
Go to sales and use tax rates by location-City of KCMO
This is a PDF form for all locations
Special Taxing District info which Brywood Centre is one of them.
It will help when you are out and about shopping : for you see not All Stores within a municipalities shares the exact same tax quote.
Hope this helps you and all others who want to stretch their tax dollar and be I formed

Gloria said...

To Lillian
Go to sales tax rate
There are 7 transportation development districts TDD
And 4 community improvement districts CID
Authorized within a portion of LSMO that have levied additional sales tax from 7.725% to 8.225% and 8.725%
Go to
They also have TDD and CID
You can see a map of taxing locations
Taxes are 7.85% 8.475% 8.6% 8.725% and finally 8.85%

Hope this helps as you venture out; knowing the special taxing districts has helped me to be more informed of how I spend my $ in various areas. Sometimes we just assume it is all the same across the board

Terrence said...

I'm alittle surprised that people don't understand the different tax within a city. Or atleast look at their receipts especially when they claimed to be concerned over sales tax.
Many years ago there was a Jones store at Bannister Mall, Blue Ridge Mall, and Independence Center . While all were within driving distance of our home we checked out the tax rate at that particular area to see if a CID or TPP was in effect that would change the tax rate. On large items like a piece of furniture or draperies which all the Jones stores carried; it made a difference.
For people to assume areas such as LSMO , KCMO , or Independence all have lower taxes across the line have never really looked at a receipt.
Might just be surprised .
Depends where you are in those cities as to what the sales tax is.

Anonymous said...

the bloggers on this site are understand what the charter commission and the proposed charter will do.

Brenda Gustafson the Public Information Officer who is highly paid with our tax dollars doesn't understand the process. She is the site administrator for the Engage Raytown site that is hosted by Mindmixer. and is once again publishing wrong information. Those who have paid attention and have had to communicate with her know she does not know how to do her job.

My question is if the charter is written and it requires management employees to live within the city limits will it be retro-active to the current positions that do not live within the city limits? how will this be enforced. I hope the commissioners have copies of the current employment contract for all managers. they my be surprised about the BS that has been given to these people.

Anonymous said...

Streets are a mess, Crime is up, property taxes are up, and all we have to show for our tax dollars are fancy new trucks for Public Works, fancy new SUVs for PD and a fat raise for our City Manager who lives, in a better community than we can afford. Real nice job Mayor and BOA. You took the taxpayers to the cleaners one to many times.

GADSDEN said...

I would hope that if they include anything on our out of towners that it will only be for new employes and not the old ones. It would have a better chance of passing.

Does anyone know how much money our PIO officer makes and by whose authority did she get hired?