Sunday, February 8, 2015


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Jury convicts man of murder in Raytown shooting death

FROM KCTV5: Falonzo Davis, 43, on Wednesday was convicted of armed criminal action in the Feb. 20, 2014, death of Steven Jones outside a Raytown education facility. READ MORE

Street Lights
Anyone visiting Raytown City Hall in the past couple of years has seen many changes to the interior of the building. According to the minutes of the Raytown City Council, the city is in the process of spending over $210,000 in remodeling at City Hall.

At its last meeting the Board approved a resolution spending $58,000 with Incite Design Studio Architects of Overland Park for design work in the lower level of City Hall.

I understand the need to upgrade and maintain our public buildings. But some of the changes appear to be over the top.

In light of some real needs in our community – such as street lights in neighborhoods – perhaps a more balanced approach would benefit the security of our community.

Each year the Raytown Police Department participates in a national “light up the night” event in which homeowners are encouraged to leave outdoor lights on as a deterrent to crime. It is a good program. One the city should participate in by increasing the number of street lights in Raytown. If a few less frills at City Hall are given up to make the money available for more street lights – so be it!

City Hall may need improvements. But it is a mistake to turn a blind eye to neighborhood improvements in the process. An election is coming on April 7th. There are many candidates running for the job of representing their neighbors on the Board of Aldermen. When they come around and ask for your vote, ask them where they stand on increasing the number of street lights in residential neighborhoods.

The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – February 3, 2015
Catherine Nelson went before the Board to say she spoke to the Board last September about the flooding at Willow Bend.  She said the flooding was still occurring, and she would like a meeting to find out what the plan is to prevent further damage.

The Board approved an agreement with Infinity Building Services for mowing services.  The Parks and Recreation Department will have the contractor mow up to 14 possible areas.  Included are 7 park areas on the base bid which will be mowed on a regular basis and another 7 areas on an alternate bid that will only be mowed when needed. All 14 of the Parks mowing areas line item costs are lower than the previous contract amounts. The Public Works Department will have the contractor mow 34 areas throughout the City.  The number of times each area is mowed will depend on the weather. In 2014, $18,913.00 was spent by the Public Works Dept. Their amount budgeted for 2015 is $27,000.00.   The estimated annual mowing amount for 2015 is $17,217.00 for the base bid. This includes a zero percent increase for 2016 and 2017.

The Board approved agreement with Professional Design Services for the lower level of city hall renovations.  The Public Works Department has been working with the Police Department for the last several years on plans to remodel the lower level of City Hall. The lower level has issues with the sewer drains for the building, with the configuration of the space, with the HVAC system for the lower level, and some small pieces of concrete have broken off from the ceiling.  Staff has a proposal from Incite Design Studio Architects to design the remodel.
Staff has not requested other proposals because there is one firm who is extremely well acquainted with City Hall, and especially the lower level. Incite Design Studio Architects did the recent remodels for the main floor of City Hall, and worked with staff over the last few years to define the scope of the lower level project.

The proposed price from Incite Design Studio Architects for design of the remodel of the lower level of City Hall is $58,000.00. The price is based on a scope of work developed by Public Works and Police Department staff over the last three years.

The Board passed 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.  Tom Cole said he included a copy of the 2006 Redevelopment plan in the Board packets again for Alderman Creamer.  Former Mayor Frank said she will complete the project in late spring or early summer, depending on the weather.


In its last issue, the Raytown Times carried a story filled with what we have come to expect from the Raytown Times -- subtle innuendo, confusing rhetoric and outright fabrication of the news. If you guessed I was reading a Bob Phillip’s column you hit the nail right on the head.

Phillip’s wrote a rather lengthy story knit-picking the proposed charter, only to end up by saying, all in all, he found nothing wrong with the document.

So tell us, Bob, why waste all of that space complaining about non-issues only to say you really think the final product is OK?

Oh, I get it. Your using your story like a bird hunter uses a shotgun. Trying to hit as much as possible over a large area with one shot.

Sneaky, sneaky, Bob . . . Shame on you!

Last April the voters of Raytown approved the formation of a Charter Commission with over 67% of the vote in favor.

The Raytown Times urged people to vote NO on the formation of the Charter.

Now, about ten months later, the Charter Commission’s work is finished. The voters will have their final say on April 7th.

Why is not surprising the Raytown Times is urging a NO vote again?

My favorite part of your story is where you take after Greg Walters because of the language used in the Initiative/Referendum/Recall section of the Charter. You all but accuse him of personally writing the language himself.

I did my homework on this one Bob. That section of the Charter was taken almost word for word from the Missouri Municipal League model charter. The only part Greg had in writing it was his insistence language be included empowering voters to lower taxes!

If your plan is to rile people up about the Charter, it may have worked. Former Mayor Sue Frank gave the Raytown Report a call and asked that we print a response to your column. It immediately follows this story.*

*Sue Frank also told us she is sending a copy of her letter to the Raytown Times.

Former Mayor
Speaks Out 
I appreciated Bob Phillips comments in the February 4th, Raytown Times about the proposed Charter. I especially appreciate that Bob took the time to read the document. Having quite a bit of experience with previous Charters I have read the proposed Charter several times and have been to a couple of meetings to ask questions. I encourage everyone to read it and attend the upcoming meetings on February 24th and March 24th. I understand that printing is in the works but in the meantime it can be read at RAYTOWN CHARTER

Bob states, he “does not believe the City Administrator should be required to live in the city. Period.” It seems the residency requirement is the most divisive issue of this Charter. Of the 39 Charter cities in the State, the commission studied 37.  Of those 37 studied, 36 required City Administrator residencies. There is still an ordinance on the books in Raytown that requires a City Administrator to live here, even though this administration has chosen to ignore it. Had the Board of Aldermen simply repealed the residency ordinance, I doubt we would be having this discussion. The three prior administrators were required to live here; no one’s feathers got ruffled then.

Maybe residency requirements aren’t reasonable for Raytown anymore, but the fact remains an ordinance –our law-requires it.  Many people feel just as strongly that a City Administrator should have to live with the consequences of their direction, pay their taxes and spend their income at local businesses within the town that employs them.

But to the Commission’s credit, this Charter is not targeting individuals, all contracts the city has with employees will remain in force.  If the Charter passes it will not affect the current City Administrator. Residency would only apply to future City Administrators.

Bob also said that he disagrees with electing a police chief. There have been cases where an appointed police chief is directed to harass the political adversaries of elected officials, and have been fired for not doing so. Like the Judge, maybe the elected police chief should not have to be a resident, but again, the commission chose to write the Charter in a way that mirrors our current ordinance, and how our City is currently doing business and I think that’s proper. This gives us all common ground and a common starting point from which to discuss and/or vote on these types of changes in the future.

In response to Bob’s concerns about the percentages for Initiative, Referendum and Recall being too low, I know the Commission spent many hours of discussion about these. They studied what other cities required. The goal was to make them high enough that it could not become a nuisance or waste people’s time and tax dollars with elections. But at the same time, the percentages needed to be obtainable if the citizens felt so strongly about an issue they wanted change.

I understand that Initiative and Referendum would require about 1400 registered voter signatures. Recall for a Ward would require around 600 from the Ward, and for a city-wide position, about 3000.  For anyone that has tried to collect petition signatures, that’s a lot of work. To quote a friend, “Why would any American citizen argue against a method to redress grievances with their government?” That’s not to say you are un-American if you oppose the charter, but the democratic process of discussion and voting is our American way.

Should the percentages turn out to be too low, and nonsense elections start, I have every faith that the people of Raytown will raise the percentages in the future.

I do agree with Bob about compromise. I think it would be impossible to write a charter that everyone would agree with 100 percent. If I were writing this charter by myself, there would be minor changes I would make, but there is nothing in this Charter that I can’t live with.

Home Rule gives us all an opportunity for discussion and gives citizens a voice in shaping their government. It provides a balance of authority over the direction for the future of our city that we don’t currently have. A charter is a living document.

To quote Lee Gray, “change should occur by evolution, not revolution.” As Bob states, the Raytown Charter Commission did a good job, I agree.  I hope we don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Recipes for Two
I’m a huge fan of leftovers, so even though it’s generally just my husband and me sitting down to dinner (and, because he travels a bit for work, sometimes it’s only me), we’ll often make more than we need for just that meal, which means that a lot of my favorite recipes make four to six servings. But sometimes, if I’m trying something new or just know we won’t be around to chow down on the leftovers, those recipes designed for larger families aren’t a good fit. And if they’re complex, well, forget cutting them in half. There’s a reason I became a writer and not a mathematician. READ MORE


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Anonymous said...

It was quiet evident that Sue Frank MAY have read the charter but she didn't understand it. Almost all of the questions she asked could have been answered IF she had read the charter and if she has all the understanding she said she had about charters.. Maybe she isn't as smart as she thinks she is.

Anonymous said...

I think your comments are unfair towards Sue. She is a good person and I trust her judgment. If two people read a document there will probably be some disagreement on the interpretation. I noticed you were not very specific in what you did not like about the Charter. Why not share your vision for Raytown?

GADSDEN said...

Sue Frank is a good person, 1:54 must have an axe to grind.

Michael said...

I turn out of my driveway every morning around 6:40 a.m. There is always a young girl at a T-intersection in front of my house, waiting for the bus. There are not enough street lights to make her visible. I always think of what a dangerous situation that is. I agree that street lights should be an issue of concern.

As far as upgrading the aesthetics of City Hall.... I don't think that's a particularly bad idea. I think I have a better one though. Why not increasing aesthetic improvements to Hwy 350 and Raytown Rd? Such improvements would be an opportunity to showcase the visual pride of our community to tens of thousands of people. I imagine we have less of an opportunity to do that with city hall upgrades.

Anonymous said...

Bordners on 50 HW is for sale that is a surprise 3.5million. Also the drive in bank on 65th Raytown Road is closed and for sale.

Anonymous said...

Much of the 350 area is an embarrassment. Between the abandoned car lots and the run down body shop, there are plenty of eyesores. Maybe the city can get a grant from WalMart to spruce things up.

Anonymous said...

You can always tell from going from Kansas City, into Raytown, the number of street lights drops dramatically. However, from what I understand, in Raytown, the street lights are owned (and operated) by KCP&L, and not the city. If a street light is out, you do not call the city, you have to call (email) KCP&L. In Kansas City, they take care of their own street lights, and if one is out you have to inform the city. If they where to add more street lights, what streets would get them, and who would pay for them? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Last summer a streetlight near my home was burned out. So I took a picture of the pole number and emailed it to the city. They had it fixed in less than a week. I don't know who owns the pole or light for that matter. What difference does it make. The cost in electricity for the light is going to be the same in Kansas City as it is in Raytown. One of the reasons we pay taxes is for the city to have streetlights put in place and maintained.

Why are some areas well lit and other not? Can't really say. I do know you could play baseball at night under the lights up at City Hall. But if you are going for a walk in some of our city's neighborhoods at night you'd better carry a flashlight!

Anonymous said...

And a GUN!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don’t know Chris Rathbone nor do I know Steve
Guenther but, PLEASE people of ward 2 do NOT
vote for Jim Aziere again!

Anonymous said...

Probably have better roads, infrastructure, code enforcement, etc if the Police dept didn't eat up half the city's budget. Oh that's right more salary more pension, more top heavy rank more fancy cars and SUVs will make Raytown a safer place to live. I've never been more frightened living anywhere than I feel living in this town.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget it is not the police that set their budget. It is the City council on the advise of their staff and recommendation of the mayor's office. The problem is not especially the one wearing the unifrom but the one those who are afraid to say no at some of the demands they receive.

Pat Casady said...

Ya, our Raytown Police have it so good.
That’s why we are so under staffed. I believe the
count is now eleven officers short. Raytown Police
I am sad to say are some of the lowest paid officers in
the area. Every one of us should walk up to our Police
men and women and thank them for their service. I know
quite a few of our Police Officers and I have never heard
them complain about their pay. However almost all of them
work 12 hour shifts and still have to work after hours and
days off at places like WalMart and HyVee to make ends meet.
As far as the “fancy cars and SUV’s” equipment wears out
and has to be replaced. Most Police Departments are
going to SUV’s. these are NOT designer series SUV’s.
The brave “Anonymous” 7:04 & 7:22 seem to want to blame
the Police Department for Raytown’s financial problems.
They could not be more wrong.
Next time you see one of our aldermen ask them
how many millions the WalMart deal has cost the taxpayers
of Raytown. That’s where most of your street lights
and street repairs have gone.
Really “Anonymous” complainers, the blame actually falls on your
shoulders and the voters of Raytown. You keep electing
people that care more for the big corporations than they care for
this town.
So. if you just love to complain, keep voting the incumbents back
to make you happy.

Anonymous said...

Pat for City Marshal?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

The SUVs the police departments are all going to are specific to police departments needs. Look inside one; learn about its features then you will understand why all the police department s are upgrading to them. If you want to complain I guess you could say why don't they still have the 1972 model cars they were solid. Or why don't they ride bikes instead. Why why why and so on

Anonymous said...

All Police Departments are expensive. They carry huge liabilities because they carry guns
They carry guns to help protect the People
The more they are engaged in their craft the more likely something bad could happen to them
The Military is expensive. Would you expect our soldiers to go into combat without good equipment? The Police are at times engaged in combat with Criminals who are not much different than Terrorists

Anonymous said...

There is over-staffing at City Hall but it is not just in the police department. SHarma has surrounded himself with high paid staff to insulate himself from the public. Pat, the problem does no end upstairs. There are a lot of highly paid police who do not go out on 12 hour shift patrols and who do not supplement their income by working at Walmart and HyVee. Don't close your eyes to that problem. The disparity between command staff and the rank and file tells the real story of an over-staffed p.d. in Raytown.

Anonymous said...

I will believe that Anon 10:18 is full of it until they can provide specific details.

Anonymous said...

Someone finally understands the problem. Thanks for the post Anonymous 10:18 p.m.

Anonymous said...

Raytown is better off with with her out of office, The person who replaced her is better in every aspect. I am happy that Raytown has a new perspective on things, and that they are taking a big leap in a new direction for the better. Do they not deserve it, I believe that they do.