Sunday, January 25, 2015


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Crowded Ballot Awaits Raytown Voters
In the past decade Raytown City Elections have been sleepy events. It was not unusual for incumbents to go unchallenged or with only token opposition in their elections. All of that changed in 2013 when voters elected three new comers to Raytown City Hall. In two of those races, incumbents lost their seats by lopsided margins.

Two years later, the 2015 races have many of the same makings of the upsets witnessed in 2013.

Consider the following. In Wards 1, 2 and 3 there are three way races in contests in which the winner will take all. In Wards 4 and 5 the incumbent Aldermen are not seeking re-election. Open seats always make for interesting races. 

The Ward 1 and Ward 2 races are especially interesting because the incumbents are facing two challengers each.

Ward 1 incumbent Joe Creamer is surrounded by controversy this election. Despite the Missouri State Constitution requiring elected representatives to live within the district they represent, Creamer has lived outside of Ward 1 for an extended period of time.

He is being challenged by Karen Black and Greg Walters. This is Black’s first run for public office.

Walters most recent public service was on the Raytown Charter Commission. The Charter Commission just finished nine months of work on writing a new form of government for Raytown. Voters will decide whether or not to accept the Charter at the April 7th Election.

In Ward 2, incumbent Jim Aziere is challenged by Chris Rathbone and Steve Guenther. Rathbone and Guenther were both active in the petition process that formed the Charter Commission.

In Ward 3 incumbent Charlotte Melson has not filed for re-election. This leaves the field open for three candidates. Two of the candidates have run for political office before. Mark Moore ran for Alderman in 2013 and also served on the Raytown Charter Commission. Sterling Brown was a candidate for the Jackson County Legislature in 2012. This will be the third candidate, Ryan Myers, first attempt at running for public office.

Ward 4 is open because the incumbent, Pat Ertz, is running for Mayor. Two candidates, who also happen to be neighbors, are running for the seat vacated by Ertz. The contest in Ward 4 is between long time businessman Steve Meyers and Mary Jane VanBuskirk. Mary Jane is married to Bill VanBuskirk. Bill VanBuskirk is currently serving on the Raytown Board of Aldermen – this is his “off” year for election.*

In Ward 5 two newcomers have filed for the seat being vacated by Alderman Michael Lightfoot. Voters will choose between Eric Teeman and Barry Park in the Ward 5 race.

Leading the pack in all of the above races is the contest for Mayor. Two viable candidates, Pat Ertz and Mike McDonough are headed for a showdown next April for the seat being vacated by Mayor David Bower. Ertz is currently serving on the Raytown Board of Alderman. He will face Michael McDonough, who recently retired from the Raytown Police Department.
*Aldermen serve four year terms. Two aldermen are elected from each ward on a rotating basis with an election held every two years.

Emerson and Ross Withdraw
Two last minute withdrawals from the April 7th election caught the attention City Hall watchers last week.

One was the withdrawal of Lisa Emerson. Emerson served as Secretary to the Raytown Charter Commission and had filed for Alderman in Ward 3. In a statement sent to the Raytown Report Emerson said she was bowing out of the race because fellow Charter Commissioner Mark Moore had filed for the same position. Emerson wrote she believed, “Moore would make the right decisions for the right reasons on behalf of the people of our ward.”

Raytown Fire Commissioner Willard Ross unexpectedly withdrew from the race on Friday. As of this writing he has not released a statement as to why. His absence from the race means that the other candidate for the open seat on the Raytown Fire Commission will go to Richard Tush by default.

The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – January 20, 2015
Mayor Bower said the City of Raytown is a proud supporter of the Metropolitan Community College system.  The Metropolitan Community College-Longview Lakers Women’s Volleyball team competed in November and won the Regional Volleyball Tournament at East Central College in Union, Missouri to capture the 2014 National Junior College Athletic Association Division II, Region 16 Crown and went on to the Division II National Championship Title on November 22, 2014 at Phoenix College in Phoenix, Arizona, one of only 16 teams nationally to Compete.  He proclaimed January 21 a day for Raytown to celebrate.

The Board passed a resolution approving the appointment of Mary Jo Simmons to the council on aging.

The Board passed a resolution approving the appointment of Rick Thode to the police pension board.

The Board passed a resolution approving purchase of six (6) Motorola MW810 mobile computers in excess of $15,000.00 from Motorola Solutions Inc.  The Police Department utilizes an IT hardware replacement schedule, which includes the mobile computers in the police car fleet. This allows the department to better forecast expenditures and avoid large, single time expenses of hardware replacement. Six (6) Motorola MW810 mobile in-car computers are scheduled for replacement this year. This is the second phase of in-car computer replacements.  The Motorola MW810 computer has proven itself to be a durable and reliable solution to the Police Department’s mobile computing needs. Motorola provides special government pricing through the State of Kansas Contract with Motorola. Their cooperative bid pricing makes a responsible choice for our in-car computing needs.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of a Powered ambulance cot with mounting and associated hardware from Stryker EMS Equipment in an amount not to exceed $15,995.00. A Ferno ambulance cot, purchased in 2006-2008, still in service in the department’s backup ambulance, has reached the end of its service life and needs to be replaced. Two of the previous Ferno cots were replaced in early 2014 due to frequent, costly repairs, and the anticipation that they would not remain serviceable much longer.

The Board passed a resolution approving the repair services of wastewater and storm water infrastructure from Wedenmann, Inc. The Public Works Department received a complaint from a resident regarding slow flow on their sewer. The complaint was received about the 4th of November, 2014. Upon televising the sewer line, staff found that the sewer has several cracked and displaced pipes between the manholes near 9309 E. 82nd Street. The repairs are beyond the scope that can be handled by staff, and must be addressed in the near future to prevent collapse of some of the pipe. The tentative price from Wiedenmann, Inc. for pipe bursting of the 110 linear feet of sewer line is $46,800.00, with the actual price to be determined by actual cost of the repair. The price is based on using unit prices from the cooperative contract from the City of Lee’s Summit. The unit prices are firm, but the actual quantities may differ from the estimate. The final price is expected to be less than the estimate.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the City Administrator to enter into an Agreement with Leath & Sons Inc. for the 79th Street and Elm storm drainage improvement project within the city in an amount not to exceed $78,930.00.  The Public Works Department received 14 sealed bids that were opened January 6, 2015.  Leath & Sons Inc. is the lowest, bidder at $78,930.00.  This emergency project came about after a car ran off the road a few months ago at 9209 E. 79th Street and damaged the guard rail and storm sewer. This project was quickly surveyed and designed to get it out to bid. The design was done as 2 different designs. Option A bid the project to leave in place the existing stone arch cross road culvert and to push a 54” diameter storm sewer pipe through it to carry the flow of water under 79th Street. Option B bid the project to remove the existing stone arch cross road culvert and to install a new 60” diameter storm sewer pipe in a new trench just to the west.

The Board passed an ordinance to grant a conditional use permit subject to operate an event space at 10028 East 63rd Street.  Nathan Prather, on behalf of Siatta Investments, is seeking approval of a conditional use permit application for operation of an event space / banquet hall at 10028 East 63rd Street in downtown Raytown.  The proposed conditional use would allow persons or organizations to rent the property for special events such as weddings, bridal showers, graduation parties, birthday parties, super bowl parties, wedding anniversaries, youth dances, dance lessons, school fund raisers, community meetings, and other types of gatherings.

The Board passed an ordinance adding Article XVII to Chapter 10 of the code of ordinances for the purpose of defining smoke and tobacco stores and limiting their occurrence in the At the request of the Board of Aldermen City staff has developed an amendment to the City of Raytown Code of Ordinances regulating smoke and tobacco shops within the City.  The amendment proposes regulating smoke and tobacco shops through the creation of Article XVII in Chapter 10 of the Raytown Code of Ordinances.  The amendment defines “Smoke and tobacco shops” and “tobacco paraphernalia” and limits the sale of tobacco paraphernalia to exclusively smoke and tobacco shops as defined in the ordinance.

•             Article XVII proposes to define “smoke and tobacco shops” as retail stores that sell tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia comprising 70% or more of their total sales.  Article XVII would additionally define “tobacco paraphernalia” as items used for the packaging or consumption of tobacco or other plant products.  Such items include pipes, water pipes, bongs, and hookahs.  See the attached ordinance for the full list and the official definitions.  Department stores that have tobacco departments would be exempt from the definition of “smoke and tobacco shops”.  The amendment further proposes to limit the number of smoke and tobacco shops in the City limits based upon the following population limits.

•             Smoke and tobacco shops would be limited in Raytown to one store per 5,000 residents.  The location of smoke and tobacco shops is also proposed to be regulated as follows:

•             Smoke and tobacco shops would also be restricted from operating within 2,640 feet of the boundary of the City, 2,640 feet of any other property on which another smoke and tobacco shop is located, and 500 feet of any property legally used as a public park, school, church, or residence.  Enforcement of the regulations would occur through the City’s annual Business Licensing Process, which would require a business stating that they are a smoke or tobacco shop to provide information showing that the sale of tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia products comprise 70% or more of their total sales.  If a business meets this standard then they would be allowed to sell tobacco paraphernalia.  Any business that sells tobacco products that do not comprise 70% or more would be allowed to sell tobacco products but would not be allowed to sell tobacco paraphernalia.

Alderman Josh Greene made a motion to amend the bill to eliminate a requirement that tobacco shops not be allowed within 500’ of an occupied residence. The motion also asked for a removal of a “one store per 5,000 residents” cap in the ordinance. Greene also questioned a section of the ordinance that prohibited tobacco shops from opening within a half mile of the city limits. Raytown is only two miles wide. The prohibition effectively removes all but about a one mile strip of 350 Highway, and a small square city blocks in Downtown Raytown as a location for a business.  The motion fell short of acceptance by a vote of seven to three.

Alderman Jason Greene argued the ordinance placed a hardship on private business owners by requiring them to report to the city on sales of tobacco items. Greene said the reporting requirement serves no useful purpose and is unfair because not all tobacco sellers are required to fill out the reports (drug and grocery stores are specifically exempted from the requirement in the ordinance).
HOW THEY VOTED: Creation of Smoke and Tobacco Ordinance
VOTING YES:    VanBuskirk, Ertz, Aziere, Melson, Creamer, Mock

VOTING NO:    Jason Greene, Lightfoot, Josh Greene, Emerson

The bill passed by a vote of six to four.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance approving the application for Chapter 353 tax abatement by the sixth amended development plan submitted by the Raytown Municipal redevelopment corporation.  This will establish a Redevelopment area located at 10014 E. 63rd Street as described within the plan and declare the area is blighted and in need of development and redevelopment.  It authorizes certain tax abatements within the redevelopment area described within the plan.

The property in question is Sue Frank’s State Farm Insurance Agency located in the middle of Downtown Raytown. Frank recently completed over $80,000 worth of renovations to the inside of her offices. The plans call for a renovation of the outside of the rear and front of the building. The finished design would give the building an appearance of a two story structure.

The tax abatement package would affect property taxes collected by the City of Raytown and the Raytown School District.

The second reading of the application is scheduled for the next meeting of the Board of Alderman on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at Raytown City Hall. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.
Some of the Raytown Board of Aldermen has a reputation for “posturing”. By this I mean some of them have a tendency to puff up their chest and wax rhetoric about certain subjects. As you no doubt understand, the purpose is two-fold. One, to show the public they are on the ball and taking care of business. The other is a little more selfish – it falls under the term of self aggrandizement. Or, as my copy of The American College Dictionaey plainly states . . . "to make somebody or something seem bigger or better than is actually the case, especially through exaggerated praise."

Case in point – the recent passage of an ordinance setting rules for smoke shops in Raytown. Smoke shops are those little stores that specialize in selling tobacco products to the public. At last count, there are two of them in Raytown.

Never mind that the City already has laws against selling tobacco products to minors. Never mind that the City already has laws on the books prohibiting the sale of drug paraphernalia*. Six of the Board of Aldermen felt we needed another set of laws to keep our streets safe in Raytown.

The law is passed – but all it really did was create another layer of bureaucratic red tape for small business owners to wade through.

Want proof of how ridiculous this law is? Large retail venues like drug stores and grocery stores are exempt from the rules set down for the smoke shop owners. Including the tedious business of reporting sales of the same product.

Will someone please tell me where the sense is in that? If selling tobacco products is a problem at a small business, why wouldn’t it be so at large grocery or drug store?

Perhaps those six votes on the Board of Aldermen thought they had a winner with this ordinance. It would be more accurate to say all they have done is added to the definition of “aggrandizement”.


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Pat Casady said...

Can anybody tell us why Raytown Road from
63rd st. north toward City Hall has been ground up
but not resurfaced? It has been this way for several
months and there is quite a drop off passing over
63rd onto Raytown Road.
When a snow plow hits that drop off it will surly
damage the plow and the trucks frame.

Anonymous said...

Call Raymore and ask our City Manager I am sure that he knows why.

Anonymous said...

Pat. Why is Raytown Road not finished. Probably because they waited too long to put asphalt on the surface. Asphalt will not hold well to the surface it is placed on if the ground temperature is too cold.

It really points to a bigger problem. It is kind of like absentee owners of rental property. They don't live in the neighboorhood so they do not care. They care only about the rental check they receive each month.

Same is true for absentee leadership at city hall. When your city administrator and even one of your elected officials does not live in town you will have problems.

The are not stakeholders. They do not care. Their leadership is false because they are not part of the people they are leading.

The result manifests itself in shoddy repairs to our streets. Or worse, repairs that go unfinished.

No pride. No reason to have some.

Pat Casady said...

I guess all that is true.
They can however, manage to pass a much to do
about nothing law as in, that stupid smoke shop
ruling. I never thought I’d see a politician manage
bend over far enough to toot his own horn but Ertz
managed to do just that, and on TV to boot! Makes
me wonder who called the tv people because they
like most of us probably think that ruling was just about
the dumbest thing since the WalMart tax give away.
Oh wait, there has been a lot more since then.

Anonymous said...

Hedges at 75th Street has been torn up for months also. It was repaved in the summer and I thought it was done very well. Then they came back and tore it up again and left it.

Pat Casady said...

Let me tell you why this town can't get any small businesses t stay or come into Raytown. A friend of mine was wanting to build a larger better building to expand his business. He used a builder to deal with this city but as usual everything changes day by day. This city will tell you one thing one day the then another the next day. A few years ago this town passed a rule or code, that any building built or bought on 350hwy. could NOT have metal on the outside construction. That is why the old Toyota and Payless Cashways buildings were stuccoed. Absolutely no metal buildings on 350 hwy. After these business did what they were told to do and build according to codes the high school built their huge STEEL BUILDING! Nothing was said. These codes were for 350hwy only. Not inside the city. I pray we will get a new Mayor that will work with the people and not against them. A mayor that will want to help new and old small businesses instead of run them out. I could write a book on how this town has run off our small businesses and welcomed the big box stores. All without collecting any or little tax income. Then when a small business that pays their taxes trys to become a little better they are shut down before they even get to start.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the insurance company may get a tax give away with the 353 tax abatement in the plans

Anonymous said...

I was and am all for banning more smoke shops. Wake up and think about our future and that of the city.

Vicky said...

I have never smoked and I don't want to be around people who smoke. BUT - smoking is legal in Raytown. It doesn't make any sense to put an extra burden on a small smoke shop when the big box stores can sell all the tobacco products they want. Either leave the smoke shops alone or make it illegal for all entities to sell tobacco products. While you're at it, why don't you ban smoking all together. You can't say you want to leave it up to the shop or restaurant owner to make that decision, because you just took that decision making ability away from some owners.

Anonymous said...

Shame on Mr. Ertz for grandstanding on the smoke shops. If he were serious about smoking he would ban smoking in all eating establishments like the rest of the cities in Jackson county have. Raytown is so BACKWARD in it's ways of thinking.

Willy said...

I don't think you guys get it yet. Ertz and Van Buskirk only want to forbid those actions that don't comply with their sense of morality. If they wanted to truly make this a place for young families, they would outlaw smoking in public places, lower the sales tax to a reasonable level, do something about the horrible streets, and stop giving the schools' tax dollars away with all the TIFS.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

Says the smoker who hasn't had his addictive fix in awhile.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of you are missing the point
read Pauls Rant and it explains the problem VERY simply

Anonymous said...

I thought smoking was banned in restaurants in Raytown. Only bars / grilles have smoking. Thought that was put in force years ago

Anonymous said...

I wish they would go back to the days of the blue law

Anonymous said...

They were commenting on Willy's statement not on Paul's

KMCCLA said...

Anonymous 1/28/15 at 5:15 --

No, smoking is still allowed in many places in Raytown, in fact Raytown is one of very few places it is allowed. I am a nonsmoker, never have, and never will be, however I think it should be left up to the owner of the establishment if they want to allow it or not.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Raytown the beautiful?
The old church lot “Green Space” is a trash dump!
The barbershop by the pool hall uses the ally for
a tire dump. Our streets are in shambles. Codes are
not kept up to par, and the most important thing
on our leaders minds, especially Ertz, is going after the
small tobacco stores. Only one thing left to do, use the
flush handle.

Willy said...

KMCCLA - I understand what you are saying. I don't want to be around all the cigarette smoke, so I go to Lee's Summit to eat. All I'm saying is I think Ertz and his buddies are talking out of both sides of their mouths. They want to make small business owners jump through hoops so the BOA can thump their chests and claim they are making Raytown better. All the while, they are ignoring the same actions when it is being done by big business. If they want to regulate smoking, then fine - regulate it. Just don't put the onus on one group and not another.

Anonymous said...

Before you get your pantyhose in a wad look at what this is about. It is to limit the amount of drug paraphernalia that can be sold in our city. By state law we can't totally stop the sale of drug paraphernalia, but this will allow the city to limit it. Before you get all fired up find out the facts first.

Anonymous said...

I walk the green space every morning and it's not a dump site

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I thought beer cans, broken beer bottles,
McDonalds sacks and so on were trash. I guess
Someone thinks it’s art.

Anonymous said...

Omg the last few comments are so hilarious ; these folks must have no real life; just too funny

Anonymous said...

Goes to show you some people can't find beauty in anything and are always looking for a debate and turmoil in their lives

Anonymous said...

Who was that last post by? Mary Poppins?

Find beauty in everything! Give me a break! There is beauty everywhere but there is also the opposite. To completely ignore the bad things in life is a pathway to disaster.

Anonymous said...

Mary poppins or whom ever you are ; you sure hit a nerve on that one blogger or hit the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Talk about negativity! That last comment definitely came from someone who views everything from the dark side. Bet he never had a kind word for anyone or thing in his life.

Anonymous said...

I think we are all in agreement with 8:18am