Sunday, March 29, 2015


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Candidate Forum Video 
Use the following link to view the Candidate Forum co-sponsored by the Raytown Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters held last Tuesday night. The event was attended by over 100 Raytowners who listened to speeches from the two Mayoral candidates and 12 candidates for Alderman.
To view the video use this link CANDIDATE FORUM


Charter Hearing 
Draws Large Crowd
Last Tuesday the Raytown Charter Commission held its last public forum before the April 7th Election. Over 50 people were on hand for the meeting which lasted about two and a half hours.
Charter Commissioners heard testimony from over ten private citizens including Witty Whitman, Chris Rathbone, Allen Thompson, Tom Pierce, Al Walters, David Cathcart, Steve Meyers and Don Plesser, Mike Hannah and Don Wilson.

Much of the discussion centered on three topics. By far, the most time was spent discussing the changes in the Charter that give more oversight to City Hall of the Parks and Recreation Department. To a lesser degree, explanations of the use of Initiative Petition and Recall and the residency requirement of the City Administrator were also discussed.

Changes drawing the most attention were:

The Charter places the responsibility of appointment of the Director of the Parks Department under the Board of Aldermen. The current practice has the Park Board making the decision.

Regarding the residency of the City Administrator it was pointed out by members of the Commission that current ordinances require the City Administrator to live within the city. The point being the Charter does not change that stipulation.

Commission members were also quick to explain the Charter cannot be amended or changed in any way with the express permission of the people through a popular vote. An example given was the prohibition of an Earnings Tax in Raytown is expressly written into the Charter.

The most interesting comments came towards the end of the meeting when two of the Commissioners who voted against the Charter were explaining their decision to do so.

Charlotte Melson and Jim Aziere, centered much of their argument on changes within the structure of the Raytown Park Board.

An interesting footnote to the debate, particularly on the Park Board discussion, was how Commissioners voted on that section of Charter.
Chairman of the Commission, Steve Guenther, had researched the final vote by Commissioners on the Park Board question. He told Commissioners the final vote on the Park Board portion of the Charter was 10 members in favor, 2 members against, and one member absent.

He went on to day the two “no” votes were cast by Greg Walters and Mary Jane VanBuskirk.
 Aziere and Melson did not comment on the discrepancy between their current position and the opposite position they took when they cast their votes in support of the changes.

A Raytown Recycling History
Recycling seems to be a hot topic these days with some politicians. Nothing wrong with that! Too much of what Americans call waste, particularly in the form of plastic, glass, paper and metal ends up in landfills.

Raytown had a recycling center for about a ten year period from the late 1990’s to 2009. I wondered what happened to it and why it was gone. The answer was not hard to find. Greg was the push behind Raytown’s Recycling efforts back in those days. He gave me a quick history lesson in Raytown’s first recycling center.

Around the turn of the century, Raytown had a new Mayor and, for the first time in a long time, a new City Administrator. His name was Curt Wenson. 

Greg told me he had an idea for a recycling center that had, in many ways, started on its own. It was located on 350 Highway at what was then a Vo-Tech Center for the Raytown School District. A number of private concerns had their recycling dumpsters at the location. It had easy access, was not near residential or business property.

Greg best tells the rest of the story himself. So I told him to go for it!

“When Curt Wenson was hired as City Administrator, he brought with him a young man named Beau Groceman as the new Public Works Director. Beau had some experience with recycling from his previous job in Lee’s Summit.”

Working together, the three of them organized the site and brought in more and larger solid waste containers.

“The real credit should go to Beau Groceman,” said Greg. “Without his connections and ability to get corporate help, the site would have failed.”

The site continued for a number years. People brought their recyclables. They were hauled off in good order. Then came what Greg calls “the budget crisis”.

“I think it was around 2004. City revenues had slipped and Wenson said he would have to pull funding for the recycling center.”

"I tried to find support on the Board to over-ride his decision but came up a couple of votes short to make it happen.  So I asked how much money they needed to keep the location open. I was given a target of about $9,000. I started making phone calls.

The first was to the Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields. From previous conversations with Katheryn I knew she was a supporter of recycling. She pledged a $5,000 grant to get the ball rolling."

"Beau Groceman and I made a trip to the Jackson County Courthouse and made our case before the County Legislature. Katheryn was true to her pledge. The Legislature unanimously approved the grant."

"I reached out to other groups like the Truman Heartland Foundation, the Mid-America Regional Council, some large private trash haulers, and private citizens who recognized the value of recycling. With the help of city employees who also wanted to see the site remain open, we were able to raise the funds needed to keep the center open.”

Greg went on to tell how the next hurdle to clear was when construction began on the Walmart located on 250 Highway.

“By then David Bower had been elected Mayor. I asked him if I could chair a committee to find a new location for Raytown’s Recycling Center. I knew of a number of private citizens who were enthusiastic about recycling. He gave me a green light and allowed me to form the committee."

"We came up with a number of locations including the SuperSplash parking lot, an open lot adjacent to Dirty Don’s Wholesale Outlet and an open lot next Westlake Hardware on 350 Highway."

"Due to liability concerns of such an operation on private property, we ended up going the public route and moved the Recycling Center to the City of Raytown Public Works Maintenance facility located on Railroad Street just south of Downtown Raytown."

"The site was a good choice. It solved the problem of illegal dumping (which had been a major problem on 350 Highway). It was also a popular choice with the public.

The center was open every weekend and we saw the number of users increase as word spread of Raytown’s new recycling center."

"After a period of time the number of hours the center was open was cut by someone within in the city administration (it was never shared who). Operating hours were limited to twice a month on weekends. The changes in operating hours caused confusion with the public. The result was fewer people using facility."

Within a year of his leaving the Board of Aldermen the Recycling Center was permanently closed.

It is heartening to hear that candidates for City Council are supportive of re-opening a recycling center in Raytown. It is also interesting to note that an “unofficial” recycling center of a sort is up and running behind Fun House Pizza on 350 Highway. Recyclers will find a large container provided by Ripple Glass and some other containers for cardboard, paper and plastic at the location.

Greg closed the interview with the following comment.

“Recycling gives the people an opportunity to participate in something good for the Earth, our community and our children’s future. When the leadership of a city promotes recycling it helps the people make a genuine connection with each other in the community. It is a win-win situation for all involved.”

How to Blacken 
Fish Like a Pro

My husband Jared and I are the kind of people who, when we order something “blackened” in a restaurant, usually specify “extra” blackened. We like spicy, and we’re not afraid to ask for it. Subtle flavor has its place … and its place is not in the realm of a delicious piece of blackened fish.We might also be a bit spoiled because, well, Jared makes the best blackened fish around. (Well, tied with my dad, of course, since he’s the one who taught Jared to do it!) While it takes a little know-how to get it right, it’s surprisingly quick and easy! And, since it is Dude’s Week over at FBG, I figured there was no better time than the present to share Jared’s step-by-step instructions. READ MORE

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Anonymous said...

Just saw a few of the anti-charter signs. I was wondering, what exactly are they against? As far as I can tell the Charter is a good thing, and intend to vote for it. However, in all what is "fair and balanced" what are some of the reasons they (the opposition) are giving to vote against it? I like to see -- and hear -- both sides of an issue, then make a decision.
(as a side note I posted this yesterday, but feel it it better here, Greg, if you feel the need to, you can edit this part out)

Anonymous said...

They are against giving power to the people. The elected officials behind this campaign think they are smarter than u and I. I am voting yes on the charter to send one last farewell to Nelson, Ertz and bower. Glad they are leaving.

Anonymous said...

To 4:21
Yes saw this exact post in the previous thread. Also saw the Salamander responded to your question. Would be worthwhile for readers to go back to the previous thread to read the response.

Pat Casady said...

The other day I was told that an article I had
written on this blog was taken off by the blog
administrator. To this day I don’t know why.
I did not use profanity and I did not call any one
person a bad name. in fact I didn’t use a bad name.
I merely stated the way I felt some of our elected
and elected wannabes act.
You see I feel that some of these elected people
think representing the people is not their job.
They feel the term alderman and mayor are
beneath them. They prefer to jump straight
into being kings and we the people are just in
their way. They can lie, they can deceive and spend
and give away our tax dollars as they see fit.
They can advance their friends. They can hand out
a huge pay increase to their buddy without him
having earned it. In fact he even lied to all of us
by saying he would move into Raytown and obey
the cities rules.
So if this gets put on the blog I will be surprised.
But, I still won’t understand why my earlier article
was taken off. I guess you can only write some of the
truth but not how you feel about the real truth.

Anonymous said...

Voting for or against something to send a message to a person leaving says little about your vote. It is better to be informed , read a document and then make your decision. It is not grade school where we vote because someone tells you to or not to so they can get even with someone.

Pat Casady said...

Give Jim Aziere a little slack. After all wasn’t it
he, mayor Bower, Pat Ertz and the Van Buskirks who
would have lined the streets of heaven in gold?
Just ask them!
These are nothing but bobble heads that do Bowers
biding. Get rid of all of them. they lie, they don’t care
about the people and they are egotistical, full of
themselves,people. Add in there Whitty Whitman
and you have a cluster of people that want to run
the town as they see fit.
It’s a known fact that Ertz promised twice he would not run.
In my book that is a lie!

Anonymous said...

Wow 2X5 miles give or take with 4 boards fighting over the tax money, The parks board is against the charter because it may take away there power, this is good. Supper Splash is all that needs to be said. As for Aziere how has he stayed on the Board of alderman for so long and done so little and lied so much.

Anonymous said...

Once again the city administrator has demonstrated his lack of professionalism at city hall by not address the city’s ordinance regarding signs on the right-away.
Maybe he thinks this will impress those same self-serving elected officials that praise his name whenever and as often as they can by allowing those individuals and issue they support to be placed around the city like some drunk throwing empty beer bottles from their car.
The reality is he is not enforcing the ordinances of the city, which sets in motion a clear and defined reason why his services are not needed. Clearly if he is not capable of enforcing this simple ordinance what more serious things is he looking the other way?
In 2013 three new and self-thinking Alderman were elected and this year there are three open Alderman seats, which sets the stage for Raytown to have the six votes needed as a 4th class city to stop the ongoing and open lack of enforcement of our city ordinances by this city administrator and his employees who don’t understand by not enforce the law are legally putting their jobs on the line too.
There is change coming and the winners will be the citizens of Raytown!

Anonymous said...

The election is a week away. Let's focus on electing those we feel will provide the best for our city. Let's not resort to a battlefield of name calling and childish behavior either by those running for office or the public

Anonymous said...

Thank you 3:16

It is time the people start calling out how the folks at city hall are not enforcing the laws or select enforcing on a few people.

Anonymous said...

As for the ordinance regarding signs, I complained several years ago about non-enforcement and was told that the sign owner must be contacted and given time to move the sign before the city can remove it. This seems strange to me because I know a candidate who claims the city picked up his legally placed signs.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...


You are right someone was feeding you a line at city hall.

I have seen in the past the city just pulling the signs.

It does bring into question being city hall is doesn't want the "Charter" to pass, if that is why they are looking the other way as most of the signs in question are are the "No" on the "Charter".

To me those at city hall need to spend more time doing their job and less time on the ongoing justifications why they cannot get anything done.

There is no way the folk that work for the city would ever keep a job working in a private business.

Anonymous said...

"All gave some and some gave all and some stood through for the red, white and blue and some had to fall and if you ever think of me Think of all your liberties and recall Some gave all"

Lyrics from Billy Ray Cyrus song “Some Gave All” that I am sure, like me, reside in our patriotic hearts.

It has therefore been alarming the number of calls I have received over the past week informing me about Alderman Jim Azierer and his comments at a local meeting where he was giving a campaign speech.

Alderman Azierer was covering what he had done for the group and his back ground when all at once he stops looks at the crowd and states “I didn’t go to Vietnam”.

I understand group as I was hearing over the phone quickly found themselves with a dropped jaw and open mouth.

Does Alderman Azierer have an underlining dislike of all those who have serviced our Nation or just those that went to Vietnam?

Does this mean Alderman Azierer avoid going to Vietnam by join so many others in opposition of the war that went to Canada and where only able to return thanks to President Jimmy Carters across the board pardon?

In any case, and as someone who believes we can never thank are service men and women enough, believe his comments to are just what is needed to help decide that Mr. Azierer time on the Board of Alderman has been long enough.

For those like me with a patriotic heart please join me next Tuesday and vote for Chris Rathbone.

Pat Casady said...

Now you are seeing the true Jim Aziere!
He is as sharp as a ball bearing. He is the reason for the
saying sticking your foot in your mouth. It’s a wonder
he can even breath with both feet in there.
However, and I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen,
there are people in Raytown that believe the stuff
that leaks by those feet and will vote for
Can somebody please tell me why the worst elected
people in this town are believed to be good, Bower,
Aziere, Ertz, Melson and Van BusKirk have done nothing but
go against what the people wanted. But yet there are
people that think they can do no wrong.
These people have done nothing but lie about the Charter!
Every word they have said against this Charter is a bold lie!
Nothing changes as far as the mayors office. Nobody will
be fired if the Charter is passed!
The Charter Commission does not have that power!
In fact after the Charter
is passed or voted down the commission is dissolved.

Anonymous said...

I seared this website out this morning because I have to post. Im just a casual observer of politics in Raytown, but Ive been following the Raytown Times for the past two months ONLY because the editor seems to be so far up the Mayor and City Manager rear end. That paper resembles a North Korean Government Newsletter. In reading how ridiculous some of the articles have been, Ive decided to throw my support behind the Charter when frankly I was on the fence. Yesterday, I read the article the Mayor wrote, frankly I dont know the man, never spoke to him, probably never will, but I found it very sad. Here is a man at the end of his tenure, trying to justify his "legacy", trying to defend himself by attacking others. I found the whole piece to be very sad for Raytown. I am in complete agreement now with the Alderman who wrote that letter to the city about this administration and it's divisive approach to governing. Im still researching the candidates for mayor, but one thing is certain, if they have the same mentality as our previous mayor, they will look just as sad at the end of their tenure as the one leaving now.

Beth said...

Interestingly Pat; the changes in the mayors office and people being fired of which you speak of ; is being used as a selling point from both sides. .... Those for and those against the Charter.
Hopefully people will READ the proposed charter so they can make a truly INFORMED decision as how to cast THEIR VOTE

Anonymous said...

The charter Commision is a group of individuals commisioned to write a charter
The charter is the piece that is writen for approval by the voters to be put into action
Whether the charter passes or not the commisioners of that Commision will dissolve as their job is done

Anonymous said...

This is going to be a very enlightening election. If you have been following it. It is a very heated race and the money spent is among the highest for a mayors race. Everyone in Raytown will be voting even if it is a vote of omission!!! There are some clear choices to be made. Lines have been drawn and very few fence sitters are out there! The choice is up to the citizens of Raytown. Let the games begin!
Marjain Breitenbach

Anonymous said...

To 8:44 the casual observer of Politics
Read the charter please. That way when you cast your vote for or against it will be because you are informed not because you are going by someone else's rhetoric or opinion. It's your vote; make it your vote.

Anonymous said...

I think you will be disappointed if you think a majority of Raytown citizens will vote. Most people have no interest in city matters and probably don't even know when election day is. As long as American Idol is on and the mall is open, they are happy.

Anonymous said...

8:44 you are so right on.