Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Greetings

Well, it's that time of the year.

To those who will be celebrating it, a very Merry Christmas.
To those who just celebrated it, Happy Hannukah

And to all...............a Happy and Healthy New Year.

And In This Corner.....................

Last night was a real learning experience.

First, there was the special city council meeting. This was to clear up some year end business with regards to licenses and a few other items. Believe it took about 25 minutes to accomplish this. So far so good.

Next, we had the regularly scheduled Public Works and Safety Committee meeting.

The last item on the agenda is where the fireworks started.

Apparently at one time Councilmember Straub had asked staff to review the procedures for grounds maintenance by the Parks Dept.

Well, it looked like staff did one heck of a job. A brief synopsis would show that by adding 3 1/2 additional employees, obtaining some equipment, the city could eliminate the outside contracting that it does now. It appeared to show how the city could save money, and also better cover other areas. These areas are the special events that the Parks Dept employees have to cover and also participation in snow/ice abatement.

It appears that Straub and Pflumm seemed to think the info was incomplete. Basically, they want the city staff to prepare RFPs (requests for proposals) to have private contractors bid on the grounds maintenance performed by the Parks Dept. Like they are going to get private contractors off their butts at 2AM to come in and assist the Public Works Dept in snow/ice abatement. Like these contractors would be there for city events with the same dedication as the employees.

Straub seemed to contradict himself. He said something about the sub-division where he lives hires a contractor. That they don't go for the cheapest, that they go for the best quality. Then he turns around and wants the city to go the cheapest route. There was more to it, but the discussion got so hot and heavy at times that I really thought there would be a physical confrontation. I have witnessed more decorum in a telecast of the WWE.

It got to the point where I was going to ask the City Clerk if she had a copy of the Marquis of Queensbury Rules instead of Roberts Rules of Order.

What was really "cute" was when Pflumm flat out, looked at Straub and again pulled the puppet strings. He flat out told Straub "If you make a motion to yada yada yada I'll second it". Naturally, Straub did as he was instructed. Only thing I didn't hear him say was "Jawohl Herr Pflumm".

When the RFP goes out it will be interesting to see which contractors respond. Very interesting.

Anyway, there are so many things that the Parks Dept employees do that a contractor would never do............oh well............hopefully the council as a whole will see the light.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stock That Refrigerator At Work

Last Monday (12/10/07) I addressed the city council about financial incentives to businesses and residency within the City of Shawnee. I have waited almost a week to post my thoughts about what transpired because, if posted earlier, my anger towards the arrogance of one councilman would have been obvious

Again, I must reiterate, that personally I support most incentives to bring business to Shawnee.
When companies get financial assistance to either open new or expand existing businesses I feel that they have an unwritten obligation to attempt to also bring new residents into the city.
Ideally, such a concept would be a requirement of any asistance package, but this is NOT feasible. Another alternative would be to offer additional incentives (carrots) if not only new jobs were created, but new rsidents also. In reality, the only thing that can be hoped for at this time would be an annual report from these companies that gave the city very basic info as to how many of their employees reside within the city. New residents also contribute in many ways to the financial viability of the city.

Ironically, it is possible (and I failed to mention it at the time) that those responsible could use that info to attract even more new businesses. What a wonderful sales tool........."Not only is Shawnee attractive to businesses but the employees of those businesses also find it attractive to reside here".

Anyway, here is where the problems began with Herr Arrogance aka Pfrick. Mr Pflumm indicated that he thought it would take too long for a business to prepare that info. Au contraire. A company's human resource department could extract that info in a matter of minutes by a ZIP code search of their employee database. I am NOT talking about detailed employee profiles. Something very simple: i.e. out of 32 employees 8 live within Shawnee ZIP codes. Modern computer technology would allow a firm even with thousands of employees to extract that info in minutes. It is understood that there are a few ZIP codes that are shared with other cities, but hopefully not enough to skewer the info too badly. What we are looking for here is a healthy estimate. Just like the estimates as to what new businesses bring to the economy over a period of years.

The one item that really got things "going" was when I mentioned that new residents would be doing more shopping closer to home (Shawnee). Mr Pflumm then regaled us with his commentary of how one of his male employees, who lives in Overland Park, did his grocery shopping in Shawnee, places the items in the refrigerator at the office and then takes the items home. I tried to point out that that was probably the exception rather than the rule. Just ask most families where they do the bulk of their grocery shopping (among other things). Mr Pflumm tended to disagree with that.

Here's the fun part. At that point I said "Gimme a break" and he replied "No I will not give you a break". Ahhhhh, what fun...............out of respect for the rest of the council I did not pursue that comment. Mr Pflumm took my comment literally. What he failed to realize was that that comment, when stated in a manner of exasperation means something like "Gimme a break, and quit trying to BS us" Oh well, he would have us believe that one man on his staff of 12 is indicative of shopping trends. Curious, never did ask if the gentleman was married or single. That could make a difference.

Anyway, it would still be nice to know if any of these businesses that receive financial incentives also attract new residents to the city. Even if it is just an informational report with no strings attached. Another upside could be for businesses applying for incentives to expand. What a great argument on their side if they could show that they have aided the city in growing its population.

What really bothers me is that apparently Mr Pflumm did not think it was important to find out if companies that are getting financial incentives are also helping the city to grow in other ways.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Santa Has Elves in Shawnee

Just found out, via the grapevine that Santa's elves were spotted in Shawnee.

In council wards I & II they were spotted here

In council wards III & IV they were spotted here

And over at city hall they were spotted here

And somebody said I turned into a real Scrooge

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Resident Gets It Right

In a recent letter to the Shawnee Dispatch, Sheila Kostos hit the nail on the head.

Read the letter here

Anyway, a natural instinct is for most folks, in most cities, not to really be concerned about things "outside" of their neighborhoods. The situation that Ms Kostos is talking about could have an effect on citizens not living in the Monticello area.

See the previous posts about that project and the Southern Star high pressure natural gas pipeline.

Gonna get interesting..................

Friday, November 30, 2007

Kline Sticks it to JoCo

Most people are probably aware by this time of the brouhaha caused by the recent KCTV5 investigation of our illustrious DA, Phill Kline.

What did the investigation come up with?

1. Phill Kline rented a rundown apartment in Stilwell, KS
2. He changed his voter registration to that address
3. He registered his cars at that address

Technically, that probably makes him a Johnson County resident.

A Johnson County resident who visits his family in Topeka to have dinner and spend the night.

What Mr Kline apparently has done is a little political two steppin'. Sneaky, underhanded and who knows what else.

Another part of the investigation questioned how much time he spends in his office in Olathe. And apparently neither he nor his office staff feels that he must answer for or justify his time. Surprise, surprise Phill do have to account for your time. You work for us, it's not the other way around. As an elected official, if the people want to know how you spend your time you better be able to provide the answers.

Here's the kicker. The voters of Johnson County are approximately 2 to 1 registered as republicans. When Paul Morrison (D) ran against Phill Kline for State Attorney General, not only did Morrison wipe the floor with him statewide, but in Johnson County Morrison won by almost 2 to 1. Folks in Johnson County did not want Phill Kline in public office anymore. What happened? The Republican Precinct committee persons gave him the DA's job. (Morrison had been a Republican when he had been elected to that office before he switched to run against Kline)

Kline may be a JoCo resident because of a technicality. The reality, in my opinion,Kline has scammed the folks of JoCo.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tax Incentives

Last Monday one of the items on the agenda was the city's policy regarding tax incentives to businesses.

I always wondered why these businesses never were required to at least report how much of their payroll stayed in the city.

It would be nice if they were required to maintain a certain "local" payroll to continue their incentives. If that is not feasible then at least toss them a carrot for additional incentives if they did maintain a level of "local" payroll.

The comments to the council are available by clicking here

Campaign Questions

Starting next Monday individuals will be able to file to run for four city council positions and the mayor's office in Shawnee.

I know that I will have some questions for these folks. Quite possibly some of you may also have some questions.

My plans are to prepare a questionnaire and send them to all the candidates at the same time. That means the questionnaires will go out some time in mid-February AFTER the filing deadline. There will be a deadline for returning the questionnaires and then the results will be published on this blog

The questions will be of the kind that all of the candidates can respond to each question. None of the questions will be personal/individual in nature.

If anyone out there has suggestions for some questions please send them to me by
clicking here

Remember the questions should be able to be answered by ALL the candidates and not individually directed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Recognition

Now this blog is starting to get recognized metrowide.

Besides our recent letter to the editor that got published, an edited version of the post "Be Careful What You Wish For" appeared in todays KC Star on page B9 under "Blog Bits". They used the heading "Contradictory Goals".

It's also available on line at

It's wonderful!!!! An ordinary person like me can have his voice heard.

Modern technology is grand

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Golly Gee................

..............we've got another letter in the KC Star.................

Got Gas?

Natural gas that is. High pressure pipeline type.......

Councilperson Distler asked if anything had been finalized with Southern Star regarding the pipeline that is located in the Monticello Road project area.

The answer is: There is still no resolution.

Questions Re: Justice Center

At last night's council meeting Neal Sawyer had some questions.

Seems that some items originally planned for the Justice Center/New Fire Station have been pulled or reduced to keep within the budget. On the surface that sounds stay within the budget.

Mr Sawyer wanted to know are other things going to be pulled in the future also to remain within budget?

Now, that brings up another question: Will some of these items be put back in, at a later date, at a higher cost?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For

That's an old saying......but it has some truth to it.

Some things that may happen could really come back to haunt all those who have pushed for smoking restrictions. And I'm gonna sit back and chuckle.

Let's lay a little groundwork here. The feds are considering two things. One is placing tobacco under the control of the FDA. Wow, that means they could really control the sale and use of tobacco even more than now. Believe the goal is to eliminate smoking entirely. Well, they are getting close. Since the 1960's the number of smokers in the US has gone from over 50% of the population to approximately 20%.

The feds also want to finance the SCHIP program with a 61 cent per pack increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes. That would make the fed tax $1 per pack. Bush has threatened a veto if that is the financing. Remember, this plan is not designed to help folks necessarily sick because of smoking. Typical! Need money for something, hit the smokers.

On one hand the government (in this case the feds) want more restrictions on tobacco, and yet they also want more money from smokers to finance non-smoking related issues.

Here's the kicker. Eventually there won't be enough smokers left. Where is all the money going to come from to finance all the things that the tobacco excise taxes have been paying for? It's going to come from either new taxes, increases in other existing taxes or reductions in governmental services.

On the state side, some of our legislators like to run and hide from addressing this question. Also on the state side in the past 6 years the number of packs sold annually has dropped each year so that now it is over 50 million packs less than 6 years ago. That's alot of money not collected. Check this out:

So, all the folks who have pushed for smoking restrictions and reducing the number of smokers..........rejoice........for now anyway. Eventually, you are going to have to spread your pocketbooks to make up what the smokers have been subsidizing all these years. Or, suck it up when services are cut back.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Teenager With Common Sense

The letter below appeared in the KC Star today. Nice.

November 18, 2007

Cell phones, teens and driving

I am writing today about the use of cell phones while driving. As a teenager I feel that I sometimes spend more time during the week on my cell phone calling and texting people than I do with my homework.

Like many teenagers and adults, I have used my cell phone while driving. Lately, there have been a few stories in the news about people getting in accidents because they were using their cell phone, so I have been just putting my cell phone away in my center console of my car where I can't hear it and it doesn't' distract me.

I feel that too much in today's world people feel that they need to take every call they receive, or read every text they receive even when they're in the car driving, which puts them and the people around them in danger.

Cities in the metro area should pass laws banning the use of cell phones while driving, like some cities across the nation have already done.

Sean O'Connor
Overland Park

Saturday, November 17, 2007

KC Star Talks About the Pipeline & Monticello Road

Looks like the KC Star is looking into the pipeline issue.

There are a bunch of unanswered questions. Questions that need to be answered before any construction starts. Questions concerning costs, property acquisitions, etc etc.

Check out the Star's article at

If the link doesn't work properly, this is the article:

Residents fear effects of pipeline relocation
The Kansas City Star
The planned relocation of a gas pipeline has some residents who live along Shawnee’s Monticello Road improvement project concerned that it will force them out of their homes.

The city is proceeding with a $15.5 million project to widen Monticello Road from a two-lane street to a four-lane thoroughfare from Midland Drive to 71st Street. But residents long have opposed the plan because of the commercial development it could bring and because the city will need to demolish two homes to clear the way for the widening.
Now some residents are worried about the 3,000-foot pipeline that must be moved. Arguing that there is limited space for the relocation along the road, the residents say the line might be moved closer to their homes.

Karen McQuiston, who lives near Monticello Road, said she fears that if such a move were necessary, it could make her home uninhabitable because its septic system might need to be removed.

Bob Hamlett, who also owns a home in the area, said he is concerned that the pipeline might be placed where his home currently stands, forcing the pipeline company to condemn it.

During a City Council meeting on Tuesday, McQuiston raised her concerns.

City officials say it is too early to say exactly where the relocated line will be routed. The city and the gas pipeline company, Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, are still working to make that determination.

An official with Southern Star said relocation costs also are still being studied. He added that the company does not typically need to take homes.

Shawnee is allowing Southern Star to move the line within the 90-foot-wide road project corridor. Paul Lindstrom, city traffic engineer, said the relocation route ultimately will be Southern Star’s call.

“I’ve never got any indication from (Southern Star) whatsoever that they plan on moving the pipeline closer to the homes,” Lindstrom said at Tuesday’s meeting. “They are talking about options of either across the street or possibly on the backside of the homes as an alternative.”

But Hamlett said he has examined possible routes and maintains that moving the line across the street or behind the homes would result in complications and added city expense. Southern Star probably would choose to relocate the pipeline closer to their homes instead, Hamlett believes.

The city expects to begin construction on the Monticello Road project in late spring or early summer. The council on Tuesday approved hiring appraisers to begin appraising properties the city will need to acquire to do the work.
McQuiston, who owns some of that property, objected to the city starting the appraisals. She said she wanted to know exactly what will happen with her home before she negotiates with the city.
To reach Michael Kan, call (816) 234-7725 or e-mail him at

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

8 Inches - That's Big

Yepper, eight inches is pretty big, especially if it’s a high pressure interstate natural gas pipeline. Keep in mind, the eight inches is the diameter. For those who need to relate it to something else, that is the same as a pair of jeans with a 25” (over two foot) waist. Button them up and see what they look like.

Now what is prompting this discussion of an 8” high pressure interstate natural gas pipeline?

It seems that there is one of these puppies along the route of Monticello Road. In the area where the new construction is to take place the length of the pipeline is approximately 3000 feet long.

Various residents of the area told me they have been unable to get specific answers to certain questions. According to their research there are certain federal guidelines that have to be followed with regards to these pipelines. Among these are distances from residences, water lines etc.

These are the questions which need specific, not generalized answers.

1. Where will the pipeline be moved to?

2. Aren’t there also certain unshared easements that the pipeline company must have?

3. Will additional land have to be obtained from residents? What will that cost?

4. Will additional homes have to be taken down? What will that cost?

5. What will be the exact cost of moving the pipeline? The city shows approximately $300K to $400K being allocated for this. Is this realistic? Or is this just the construction cost, and not property acquisition costs?

6. What will be the total costs relative just to the pipeline situation that have not been figured into the original project costs?

7. Who will pay for this? Will it be Shawnee (its citizens)? Will it be Southern Star? Will that issue be disputed?

8. Has the City finalized the procedures for the relocation of the gas pipeline with Southern Star? Is this in writing?

This situation is addressed partially at (page 23 of the report, page 33 in Adobe Reader, Section F Utility Impacts) Besides being both horizontally and vertically in conflict the cost of moving the pipeline could also be financially conflicted.

Why do I get the feeling that the full impact of this pipeline has not been revealed.

Curious! Is HNTB that has done some of the preliminary work on this the same company that is the focus of this article?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day 2000 - Worth Repeating

I wrote the below item in 2000 and it was posted on another web site. Thought I might repeat it here today.

The GI in the foxhole
The sailor out to sea
The leatherneck standing guard
The pilot flying free

These are the brave men
And yes the women too
Standing guard to protect us
'Neath the old red, white and blue

They haven't asked for much
To them it's not a chore
Staying ready in peacetime
Just in case they go to war

Proudly they do serve
Like thousands gone before
Duty, honor and country
Be it peace or be it war

Our sons and our daughters
It is them that we do love
And proudly do they serve us
With guidance from above

I originally dedicated the above to two special veterans to me.....Abraham Erlichman, USAAF, WWII and the grandson he never knew Ashly Clayton Erlichman, 1/34 Armor, 1st Inf Div, SW Asia

What is a Veteran?

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a
missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the
evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the
leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the
refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have
kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by
looking. What is a vet? He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi
Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers
didn't run out of fuel. He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden
planks, whose overgrown frat boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the
cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel. She -
or he - is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing
every night for two solid years in Da Nang. He is the POW who went away one
person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat, but has saved countless lives by
turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and
teaching them to watch each other's backs. He is the parade-riding Legionnaire
who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. He is the career
quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by. He is the three
anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington
National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes
whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's
sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied
now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who
wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the
nightmares come. He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a
person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his
country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he
is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest,
greatest nation ever known. So remember, each time you see someone who has
served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people
need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been
awarded or were awarded. Two little words that mean a lot, THANK

It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom
of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of
speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the
freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves
beneath the flag, And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the
protester to burn the flag.

Authorship of the above has been disputed over the years, but that does not take away its meaning

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Will Local Newspapers Step Up To The Plate?

That's a question that they may or may not answer.

I had an idea. What if the local newspapers (The Shawnee Dispatch, The Shawnee-Lenexa Sun, and the Shawnee-Lenexa section of the KC Star) did something productive for the community?

Based on the previous blog entries about voting this is the suggestion:

Thirty days prior to a primary or general election each newspaper runs a full page ad. The ad would have a picture of a military cemetery on it with the phrase "Don't lose what they died to protect.....Vote on Election Day" superimposed. This ad would be large enough for folks to cut out and stick in their windows (either at home or in a business). Or it could be on slightly heavier stock and included as an insert.

The cost? Two ways to handle it........the newspapers could suck it up and absorb it as a public service (would that be considered a business expense?) or they could seek sponsorship.

I'd be interested in seeing if any of them decide to go forward with this. Would also be interested in seeing if any of them contact me about this.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Addendum I to Shawnee - Apathy & Laziness

Forgot to add..............if you are happy with your elected representatives (at any level of government), then you also need to vote to show them your support.

It still boils down

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Shawnee - Apathy & Laziness

There will be folks in Shawnee who will read this post and get upset with me.

Too bad, because the facts support my comments.

In 6 months the citizens of Shawnee will have the opportunity to elect 1/2 of the city council and the mayor. An unacceptable majority of these citizens will sit home on their lazy butts and not vote. They will not even take advantage of utilizing a mail in ballot. Also, depending on how many candidates file to run, there could be a primary election in February.

Now let's look at some previous city elections.

April 2006

Ward 1 1232 votes
Ward 2 618 votes
Ward 3 854 votes
Ward 4 1084 votes

April 2004

Ward 1 2223 votes
Ward 2 1482 votes
Ward 3 1400 votes
Ward 4 1801 votes
Mayor 7042 votes

These numbers are putrid. Each ward has approximately 7,000 voters and the city has over 30,000. For Presidential elections and Gubernatorial elections though the turn out is usually much better.

The city council affects many aspects of our daily lives, and yet gets the least amount of attention. Think about that the next time you look at your property tax bill (among other items). Or think about that the next time you bitch and complain about a city policy, or lack of one.

People will rant, rave, scream etc etc and want to know "how did that happen?" But they don't take the time necessary to review the candidates for local office, or the issues. Then they don't take the few minutes necessary to vote. They don't "have time" to vote. Their vote "doesn't matter". Their vote does matter, and don't use time as an excuse. Especially since the rules for mail in ballots have been changed. You no longer have to be out of state, or in a medical facility to obtain a mail in ballot. What could be more important than having a say in your government?
People have died for us to have that right. Many have experienced severe hardship to maintain that right. And yet there are those among us who just ignore it.

If you need info on advance/mail in voting go to

Also, if you need info about registering to vote you can get that at

Don't forfeit the most important right that you have in our form of government. Don't take an apathetic, cavalier attitude about it. Get off your lazy butts and vote. If you don't, then don't complain about what does or doesn't happen.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Phelps Bites the Big One

Looks like Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church are going to have to come up with $11 million. See the info at:

It's about time somebody stuck it to this low life SOB. I have no tolerance for what he and his followers have been doing at military funerals.

Doesn't this low life piece of fecal matter not realize that it is American military personnel that have defended and protected us against all enemies, and who have defended and protected the constitution that has insured that we have freedom of speech and religion?

When this group tried their little act at Ft Bliss in El Paso this past February they literally ran for their lives, as counter protesters out numbered them, and, in a peaceful manner, stopped them from protesting at a memorial service for 6 GIs

Couldn't Resist

Too good of an opportunity............ :-) :-)

Background: At the 10/8 council meeting Kevin Straub in his push for recycling in city parks made a feeble attempt to compare himself with John Kennedy's push for a man on the moon. Dawn Kuhn borrowed a line from Sen Lloyd Bentsen when he referred to Dan Quayle as "You are no John Kennedy"

Well, on 10/10/07, in the "Local" section of the KC Star, page 1, was an article about that council meeting, complete with pictures of the late Sen Bentsen and Kevin Straub.

I just had to get it framed and presented it to Straub at the 10/22 council meeting. Heck, it's not every day that a Shawnee council member gets their picture in the Star..........and for such an auspicious reason. ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)

Mark Your Calendars

Unbelievable.........apparently next Wed, 11/7/07 KMBZ Radio 980 is going to have a discussion between 8AM and 9AM regarding distractions while driving.

They contacted me. Jayme Monacelli, producer of the morning news show, did a taped interview yesterday. Not sure how much of the interview they will use, nor at what point in the show it will air. It is my understanding that the entire hour will be dedicated to that topic and that law enforcement and others have also been interviewed.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Cell Phone Restrictions

Las Vegas, New Mexico has joined three other cities in that state to ban the use of cell phones while driving. It joins Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos.

See the info by clicking here

And, a New Hampshire state legislator has introduced legislation to restrict text messaging while driving. See that info by clicking here

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Two Questions

Last week a reporter for one of the local high school newspapers interviewed me about the cell phone proposal.

When the interview was over I asked her to ask her friends and classmates two questions:

1. What would you be willing to die for? Firemen know they may have to, as do policemen and members of the military. Even regular folks, defending a family member from a violent attack. But, is finding out what color dress somebody is wearing to the prom or which pizza place to go to after Friday's game worth dying for?

2. What would you be willing to kill for? Policemen and members of the military are sometimes faced with that. And, again, so would a regular person to protect a family member from a violent attack. But, again, is finding out what color dress somebody is wearing to the prom or which pizza place to go to after Friday's game worth killing for? That is what can happen if someone is talking or texting and their car goes out of control and hits another one.

Even adults need to ask themselves those two questions.

Think about it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ugly Old Woman ?????

Went to one of the major supermarkets the other day to get a birthday card for my grandson. It was one of those that when you open it up it talks to you.

Then I went to their customer service area to get postage for it. It was one of those that needed extra postage. The young lady at the counter was going to print off a meter strip for it. Told her that I would prefer a stamp. She told me the only 58 cent stamp they had, had a picture of an ugly old woman on it. I said no problem.

Then I looked at the stamp. It was Margaret Chase Smith. I asked the young lady if she knew who that was. She said no. Gave her a quick history lesson. Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to be elected to both the US House of Representatives and then the US Senate. Did not go into the rest of her history. Women like her paved the way for the female politicians (and corporate executives) of today.

Ugly old woman???? No, a very beautiful lady.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Media Clips About the Cell Phone Proposal

Wow, never realized that the proposal to restrict cell phones in Shawnee would attract the media attention that it has.

Anyway, here are some media clips.

Video Clip: Interview on WDAF-TV on 10/14/o7 Click here

Sound Clip: Interview on the KCUR-FM show "Up To Date". After it starts, fast forward to the fifteen minute fifty-one second mark (15:51), unless you want to listen to the interview with Mayor Mark Funkhouser of KCMO Click here

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Brownback Part III

On Friday Sen Sam Brownback dropped out of the Presidential race. According to news reports he also apologized for missing 35 percent of the votes in the Senate.

Apologize? Heck the man should resign. How many committee meetings did he miss? How many floor debates did he miss?

He was elected to represent the people of Kansas. If he wanted to run for President then he should have resigned his Senate seat and allow someone else to serve this state in Congress.

If he had been in "civilian" life he probably would have been fired for excessive absenteeism and dereliction of duty.

What is ironic is that his chances of getting the nomination were so slim as to be comical. I have a better chance of getting a dinner date with Julia Roberts. And we know that is slim and none.

What makes it even worse is that this round or pre-nomination campaigning started real early in the cycle.

I'd still like to see a federal law that any member of Congress actively seeking the Presidential nomination needs to resign.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pflumm is Soooooooooo Wrong..............

Just read the draft minutes of the 10/8/07 city council meeting. That was the meeting in which I brought up the cell phone issue.

Councilmember Kuhn asked the staff to research the info. She also brought up some info on her own regarding teenagers and auto insurance.

Anyway, Dan Pflumm is recorded as saying........ "Councilmember Pflumm stated he thinks Mr. Erlichman and Councilmember Kuhn rehearsed this." It's also on the CD of the meeting.

That is sooooooooooo wrong. Ms Kuhn had absolutely no idea what I was going to speak about.

Now, if he wants to talk about "rehearsing" things.........well......he needs to listen to the CDs of the various meetings and listen to the interactions between himself and Kevin Straub. Who is the puppet and who is the puppet master?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

State Sen. Nick Jordan - - - MIA ????

State Sen Nick Jordan apparently does not feel it is necessary to respond to questions concerning taxes. I sent him an email on 8/26/07 with a follow up on 9/15/07. To date, he has not responded.

I can understand why. No politician likes to address the possibility of increasing taxes. Or, discuss the possibility of reduced government services.

The email was based on the research material presented to the Shawnee Smoking Task Force. A copy of this research is available at:

Eventually something will have to be taxed to replace the lost revenue generated by decreasing cigarette sales. My questions basically pertained to State of Kansas taxes. Local sales taxes are also affectd. Additionally the federal government is considering increasing the cigarette excise tax 61 cents a pack to a total of $1. Eventually this golden egg laying goose will disappear, and then the feds (and the state) will also have to tax other items or reduce services.

So, as a current state senator and candidate for congress, I think Mr Jordan needs to answer these questions. What taxes will he support raising, or establishing if not existing? What services would he consider reducing or eliminating?

The original email from 8/26/07 is quoted below (I felt it unnecessary to post the 9/15/07 follow up, but it is available):

Dear Senator Jordan,

Allow me to "re-introduce" myself. We chatted briefly at the reception for the new Shawnee Magazine.

First, let me wish you the best in your campaign for the US Congress.

There is an item that we started to discuss and I would like to get your input. This relates to the state excise tax on cigarettes. According to the KDOR annual report, there was a spike in receipts of this tax, but that was due to an increase in the tax in 2003. Until that time, receipts were dropping. Also, since 2000 and until 2006 the actual number of packs of cigarettes in Kansas declined each year, to the point where the figure for 2006 was over 55 million less packs than in 2000. At 79¢ per pack that is alot of money. To verify this all one has to do is to divide the monies collected by the amount of the excise tax in effect at the time.

The KDOR annual reports for 2005 & 2006 can be located on line as follows:

As this trend continues it would seem that something has to be done to replace the monies that will no longer be supplied by this excise tax. I see the choices as follow:

1. Increase the excise tax again (until such point that the number of packs sold become negligible)
2. Increase existing taxes in other areas
3. Create taxes where none currently exist (such as an excise tax on computers ond associated peripherals and supplies). This would be more equitable as it would impact more people and spread it out more evenly.
4. Maybe something I haven't thought of?

Also, since you are running for the US Congress it would be nice to know your thoughts on the attempts to increase the federal excise tax on cigarettes from 39¢ to $1 per pack.
So there is no misunderstanding as to my intentions, I plan on posting this email together with your response on my blog located at

Ray Erlichman
Shawnee, KS

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Talkin' & Textin' while Drivin'....then add Recyclin'

Last night I proposed that the city council consider a local ordinance restricting the use of cell phones while driving. This is not a popular idea in Shawnee or Johnson County. Too many cell phone users, myself included.

So far only 17 states have passed restrictions and a handful of cities. But we need to take the initiative on this because of the various problems associated with cell phones and driving, particularly among our youth.

Wonder of wonders, Kevin Straub actually agreed with me. I asked the recording secretary to make a note of that. He and I agreeing on an issue is a miracle

Dan Pflumm on the other hand played the fool. Instead of agreeing with me (since he has so strongly expressed his concerns for people's health and welfare) he decided to question why I was proposing this, especially in view of my stand on the smoking ordinance. He appeared to want to debate the smoking ordinance again. He actually referred to it as "your ordinance".
If the guy had any guts and he did not like it, he could have voted against it, and given a qualifying statement (he didn't think it was strong enough) It would still have passed (6-2).
But he probably didn't want to give the impression he was in favor of allowing smoking. He did the politically expedient thing by voting for it, as it was, intead of standing by his principles.

Anyway, I digress, because the smoking ordinance was NOT the topic but apparently Pflumm wanted to try and make it the topic. Accidents, injuries and deaths are occurring. Something has to be done.

Now we move on to a later portion of the council meeting. Kevin Straub brings up the issue of recycling in the city parks. Basically he wanted the coucnil to go ahead and approve a recycling program, "tonight", without allowing staff the opportunity to research costs, procedures etc.
The motion was seconded by, guess who? That's right, Dan Pflumm. (Do we have verification that these two are not joined at the hip?) Anyway the vote was 6-2 against. Interesting though, is that all of the other members of the council appeared to be very much in favor of the concept. They just wanted the facts and figures relative to the cost. City money (taxpayer money) will be used. They want to know how much. They want to know if they have to reduce some other expenditures. Ya just don't rush willy nilly into any project.

Oh well, Pfrick and Pfrack at their normal levels of common sense.

Hey, I've got a recycling idea. How about if the voters in Wards I and III recycle their council members in 2010? Say bye bye to Pfrick & Pfrack ??

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Failure of Common Sense

Well, the Shawnee Dispatch (actually, its editor) has gone and done it again. Yes, in an editorial entitled " A Failure of Leadership" (see at ) the editor of the paper (anonymously, because he loves to hide and not take credit for his work) spews forth with outright lies.

He takes issue with the recent smoking ban because as it turns out certain establishments will be exempt. Again, he gets on his moral high horse espousing concern for employees who are exposed to smoke in these establishments.

Hey, John Beal, get off your sedimentary posterior and go into these estanlishments. Yes, you and the holier than thou narrow minded fools and liars of the Shawnee Clean Air group.

Do you know what you will find in these establishments? You will find that they are old fashioned neighborhood bars. They are not family friendly restaurants. They are not what one would call high class upscale night clubs. Your supposed concern for the health of the employees is a bunch of BS. The people who work in these establishments smoke....just like the patrons. Is it possible that these employees don't want you meddling in their health or livelihood?

I'd bet a cup of coffee that neither you nor the Shawnee Clean Air hypocrites have ever even looked inside those establishments.

Oh, by the way, speaking of hypocrites. How come you didn't mention that when it was pointed out to one of the two council members who tried to pass the OP ordinance, that by doing so a portion of that ordinance could adversely affect certain activities of the Knights of Columbus he was quick to take that section out?

Also, show some intestinal fortitude and start signing your editorials.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

DeSoto....Wherefore Art Thou?

Has anybody ever looked at a map of Johnson County?

The City of DeSoto has a unique "shape" to its city limits. A good part of the city sits on the K-1o corridor, just west of Olathe & Lenexa. Lots of good commercial and industrial space.

Also, there is a mini building boom going on there with low density residential housing.

Now, here's the deal. Three cities border on DeSoto.............Olathe, Lenexa and Shawnee.
Some day one of these cities will annex DeSoto.

What is wild is that children who live in west Shawnee attend schools that are in the DeSoto USD 232.

Now, which city will eventually be successful in annexing DeSoto?

If I was a betting man, my money would be on Olathe. Personally, I'd rather see Shawnee do it, but I doubt if it would happen that way.

What a shame.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Small Victory

The Monticello residents achieved a small victory last night at the Shawnee Planning Commission.

The Commission voted not to recommend a change to the Land Use Guide for the area of 75th St to 79th St along the "new" Monticello Rd.

It's a small victory. The Council could still ignore the recommendation. Someone can still come in and request a zoning change for the area or part of it.

The hang up is going to be the two new arterials intersecting at 75th and "new" Monticello. That is, unless the Monticello residents can figure out a way to stop the reconstruction and realignment of the road.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Size Does Matter ------- Sometimes

It sure does.

Especially when one discusses fish and the ponds that they swim in.

Take me for an example. Here in Shawnee I'm a little fish in a little pond. If I was back in my hometown (NYC) I'd be an even smaller fish in a real big pond.

Then you get folks who are big fish in big ponds. As a matter of fact, some of those folks would be big fish in oceans.

Now along come the big fish in the small ponds. These are the fish that would be little fish in big ponds. But most of them don't realize that. Now, how do these fish become big fish in little ponds. Usually, by one of three ways:

1. They bust their fins and gills to become big fish.
2. They are the fingerlings of 1 above
3. A combination of 1 & 2

Now, usually those in group 1 above are pretty decent. The same usually goes for those in category 3.

It's the fish in category 2 that are the most problematic. They are the ones that swim around with humongous chips on their fins, thinking that everyone needs to bow down and kiss the water that they swim in. Some of them eventually realize that they need attitude adjustments. The ones that don't realize that just bring ridicule (justified) upon themselves. Eventually they prove to everyone that they are not nice fish, and even their fellow big fish don't want anything to do with them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Monticello Monday Coming Up

As a reminder, part of the Monticello Road project is scheduled for the Planning Commission meeting for 10/1/07.

I am still trying to figure this one out.

Some things still bother me. First, what a waste of a beautiful neighborhood with a neat historical background.

Second thing that bothers me is money. The info I was given (and I will round these figures off) is that the project will cost approximately $15 million. Now about $5 million dollars of that is supposed to come from the county via CARS.

The rest is to be financed via bonds. Then, if the property is developed the developers will have to pay an excise tax. Heck, make developers pay for it up front. Better yet, leave the area alone.

So there will still be an outlay of taxpayer's money (county money is still from taxpayers, and then debt service on the bonds). When will the development occur? Two years from now, three years, five years? That could be quite awhile before money comes back in via the excise tax.
Unless, there are developers already lined up for action once this thing is finalized.

Something still seems strange to me. Curious if the folks that own the property that is shown to be potential retail/office space will be at the meeting. Am sure that the residents along Monticello Road have some questions that they'd like answered

USD 232 Rumors - Not Nice

This is wild. A Shawnee resident who happens to be in the DeSoto School District sent me a copy of an email that she received from the Director of Community Relations for USD232.

It seems that someone is starting or has started a rumor that the USD 232 Superintendent has a $30,000/year dry cleaning allowance.

Come on folks, if that was true, the superintendent wouldn't have to have her clothes cleaned. At $2,500/month she could refresh her wardrobe every month, and donate the older clothes to charity for the tax break.

Why do folks do these things? Anyway the letter from the District is quoted below.

Hello, parents and patrons.
I cannot believe I have to send this e-mail out today.
However, I have received information from a number of patrons regarding an outrageous lie being spread about the school district and the superintendent. Specifically, the lie states that the district is paying the superintendent $30,000 for dry cleaning… or that the superintendent has a personal district budget of $30,000 for dry cleaning. This is false.
I am embarrassed to address this rumor, but this is what some individuals have decided to do with their time.
Alvie L. Cater, II

director community relations

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Shootout at the Shawnee Corral

The big night finally arrived. The City Council was going to review the information and recommendations from the Smoking Task Force.

The first few items on the agenda went smoothly, but prior to getting to item 10 (believe it was right around item 8) up jumps Kevin Straub and makes a motion (again) to adopt the Overland Park ordinance. Needless to say, when queried by the mayor as to why, Straub gave some convoluted explanation about being shut down in April when attempting to nominate an individual for council president. Huh...?? Where did that come from??

As to be expected his motion was seconded by Dan Pflumm. Are these two joined at the hip? Or is it possible that at varying times one has their labium superioris and labium inferioris firmly attached to the other one's gluteous maximus muscle. No, I'm not being vulgar. Look it up.

Basically, we were now treated to almost 4 hours of debate, discussion etc etc. Much of this could have been left out if Straub had just waited for the draft Shawnee ordinance first. When pressed by Councilmember Dawn Kuhn as to why the OP ordinance should even be considered over the draft Shawnee ordinance, Mr Straub could not answer directly. Was this man attempting to pander for the TV camera crew that was there? Would love to have a full copy of KCTV-5's tape. His comedic performance would be a treat to watch again.

It's amazing though how Mr Pflumm can engage in debate on items before the council without his packet of materials handy. He does this alot. Guess he must speed read it before the meeting and then commit it to memory. Wish I could do that. Or, maybe not, since on many occasions he makes statements or asks questions that other members have to point out are answered in the packet.

Anyway to make a loooooooong story short, the Shawnee draft ordinance was approved with some of the recommended exemptions from the task force. This was after the council refused to approve the OP ordinance for use in Shawnee.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Vigilantes.....Good or Bad?

Good question. Guess it depends on which vigilante group is being looked at.

KCMO Mayor, Mark Funkhouser has been taking a beating for appointing Frances Semler to the KC Parks Board. Seems that some folks don't like the fact that she belongs to the Minute Men. this group is patrolling the US/Mexico border. If they spot an illegal crossing over they radio the info to the Border Patrol.

Apparently though, La Raza and the NAACP don't like that. They are so upset with Ms Semler's appointment that they are threatening to pull their conventions from KCMO. The potential loss to KCMO would be about $15 million. That's alot of money.

My problem is I haven't heard either of these two groups voice any criticism about the Guardian Angels opening two new chapters in the area. One in KCMO and one in KCK. Aren't they a vigilante group too?

Strange, isn't it?

Friday, September 21, 2007

It's Almost Over

Monday night, 9/24/07 the Shawnee City Council will receive the report and recommendations of the Smoking Task Force that was appointed to review the smoking question.

This meeting will give the city council the opportunity to not only review those recommendations but then to discuss them, in open session. Additionally, the public will also have an opportunity to listen, and if desired, to be heard.

The process at work. Whatever the outcome is, it can never be said that the citizens and business owners of Shawnee weren't given the opportunity to voice their opinions and to be heard. Unlike what took place in Lenexa, KS where the council just went ahead to enact an ordinance on the eve of a holiday. Maybe I should ask the members of the Lenexa City Council to explain their definition of a participatory republic.

With the exception of two members of the council who attempted to short circuit the process, on two separate occasions, this has been a positive lesson about the process.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dumb Rumors

We all need a good laugh once in awhile. Are ya ready?

Somebody is going around and starting a rumor that I am planning on challenging Mickey Sandifer for city council in 2008. That is the dumbest, most irresponsible thing to say.

First, why would I want to run against somebody that I both respect and agree with on many issues? (Ya can't agree on everything, but most is good). Second, and more important, I don't want to be an elected official. I don't have the time to give it the attention it deserves. I would not want to be like some council members that hardly, if ever, come prepared to meetings. (You know, like reading the packet ahead of time). Third, I would not want to have some other "ankle biter" bite my ankles. This, (the blog) is more fun than being an elected official. If you haven't read it (it's on the lower left hand side of the blog) I wrote a statement. It goes like this:

Sometimes I feel it necessary to speak my mind. This is a perfect venue to do it. The political climate is changing and we as citizens must exercise our right to speak out. What our legislative bodies need are more ankle biters and I'm sharpening my teeth.

Anyway I have a pretty good idea who may be behind this stupid rumor. And, as it was said in Forrest Gump: "Stupid is as stupid does".

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Monticello Rd - Planning Commission 10/1/07

It is my understanding that items related to this project will be on the agenda for a public hearing that day (10/1/07).

Would suggest all who may have an interest attend.

Wonder if any potential commercial developers and/or institutions that finance these types of projects will be there?

Thank You

I had received an email from Shawnee City Manager Carol Gonzales offering to provide some background info on the Monticello project.

We met in her office this past Thursday for about an hour. Lots of info that I am still trying to digest.

I would like to publicly thank her for her time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Councilmen Speak With Forked Tongues

Some folks have asked me why I was so upset with what happened at the 8/27/07 council meeting. See the posting "Live From Shawnee...It's Monday Night (again)" dated 8/28/07.
Well, I do feel that two members of the city council need a refresher course in Civics 101, or at least some needle and thread to sew together the split in their tongues.

At the March 26, 2007 council meeting it was Kevin "Pfrack" Straub who actually made the motion to form the smoking task force. This is from the minutes of that meeting, readily available on-line:

"Councilmember Straub, seconded by Councilmember Scott, moved that Mayor Meyers appoint a task force made up of residents and business owners to study smoking regulations in the City of Shawnee"

Then on 8/27/07 he tries to get the city council to accept the Overland Park Ordinance (with handwritten changes). This move was seconded by Dan "Pfrick" Pflumm. Straub was trying to subvert the very process that he had made the motion to place into being.

Maybe he was trying to play both ends against the middle? He could stand up and pound on his chest and pontificate to one group of citizens that he was instrumental in getting the process going to obtain citizen input. He could then boast to another group that he tried to get the OP ordinance approved and that the rest of the council (other than Pfrick) shot him down. Justifiably, as they wanted the process to play out the way it was intended to.

Some of you might remember that Pflumm basically tried the same thing back in April (to get the city to approve the OP ordinance), with Straub being the second on that one. Now here's the background. The 3/6/07 meeting of the Finance & Administration Committe was the meeting that recommended 4-0 for the council to take the action that it eventually did on 3/26/07. And guess what? Mr Pflumm was one of the "4".

So dear readers, do you see why I say these guys speak with forked tongues? Why I say they tried to subvert the very process that they helped to put into play? Oh, Mr Pflumm will probably say that he didn't vote for the task force. He's correct. But, he didn't vote against it either, since he wasn't at the 3/26/07 council meeting. But, again, he voted to recommend that the council do it. Is he trying to play both ends against the middle also?

Maybe they need a reminder that sometimes citizens will put up with just so much garbage. How about a framed copy of K.S.A. 25-4301 ? Just to keep them humble. For those not familiar with it, it reads:

Chapter 25.--ELECTIONS

25-4301. Officers subject to recall; exceptions. All elected public officials in the state, except judicial officers, are subject to recall by the voters of the state or the political subdivision from which elected.

History: L. 1976, ch. 178, § 1; April 14.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

KCI Komedy

Yepper, we may be losing KCI Airport. At least as we know it.

Seems like the braintrust in KCMO wants to change the layout of the airport.

The fact that the current layout has enabled KCI to be ranked as the number one mid-sized airport means nothing to these brainless twits.

KCI is so user friendly it is a pleasure to use it. Anybody who has flown knows the difference between KCI's user friendly atmosphere and other airports' funnel configurations.

I don't have the info, but I am sure that folks on the Kansas side of the metro make up at least 50% of the passenger traffic at KCI. Yet we have no voice in its operation.

Who Ya Gonna Call? Not the DA.....

Had an interesting experience on Friday. Was looking for some general information regarding an aspect of KORA (Kansas Open Records Act)

Called the Johnson County DA's office. See below (from my cell phone info):

09/07 02:00 PM OLATHE 913-715-3000 DT 10

Basically, I spent almost 10 minutes on hold until the party that originally answered the phone came back to tell me that there were no ADAs around who I could talk with. BTW, her attitude was not what I would term "customer friendly". Seems like the office has adopted the DA's arrogant attitude.

So, I call the State Attorney General's office:

09/07 02:11 PM TOPEKA 785-296-2215 DT 15

I spent most of the 15 minutes speaking with an Asst AG who was very helpful in answering my questions. Additionally, she not only gave me info on a web page that had a copy of an AG written opinion on the subject, she actually offered to walk me through the links. And then gave me info on the state statute.

Three cheers for the AG's office...............three boos for the DA's office

Thursday, September 06, 2007

An Odor in the Air

When I left Monticello Road the other day I detected an odor in the air.

It was a very bothersome odor. Ironically I could not determine what the source was, nor what it actually smelled like. I do know that it had something to do with the proposed changes to Monticello Rd. These changes will apparently cause two families to completely lose their homes and many others to lose parts of their properties.

Admittedly, I am not very knowledgable about zoning laws, eminent domain, capital improvement planning or any of the myriad procedures to develop a city. What I do feel I have though, is a reasonable amount of common sense.

With that in mind, there is an item in the 8/6/07 minutes of the Shawnee Planning Commission that caught my eye:

"The City contracted for a traffic study for the Hodgdon property late in 2006, and the recommendations were presented to the Governing Body in February, 2007. The area included in the study is generally located between I-435 and Ogg Road and between Johnson Drive and Shawnee Mission Parkway. The study makes recommendations for street improvements in the area to handle the commercial and office designations on the Land Use Guide.Modified location of the 71st Street and Monticello Road intersection from approved plans for the project.

Modified location of the Midland Drive and Monticello Road intersection as development occurs south of the current Midland Drive and Monticello Road intersection.


As requested during review of the Shawnee Mission School District Softball Complex, the location of schools and school related properties will be identified in a different shade of blue than the current public/quasi-public designation.

Review of the west side of Pflumm Road in the 6100 and 6200 blocks (north of the AT&T service center) to include the potential for some office/retail development.

Review of a wedge created by the new alignment of Monticello Road between 75th Street and the 7900 block of the existing Monticello Road to include office and retail development"

I was always under the impression that it would be developers that would pay for road improvements that created commercial zones. Maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway, I now have some questions:

1. Why is the city paying for this road expansion and not the developers that would benefit from the office/retail development?

2. Who owns the "wedge" ?

3. Is the owner of the "wedge" going to be doing the developing or has the owner made arrangements to partner with, sell or otherwise transfer the property to another party?

4. Why is this residential area being chopped up for commercial reasons?

5. Will the folks developing the retail/office space reimburse the city for any of the road improvements?

6. What is the cost of this road work? (I have heard anything from $10 million to $20 million)

7. Who benefits from this?

It is my understanding that the property owners affected were wondering why Monticello Rd couldn't be upgraded to only a two lane road. Similar to Mission Rd, complete with the curves to follow the exisiting line of travel.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Reader Responds....

A reader has emailed me a response to "Not Thomas Jefferson's Monticello", the previous blog entry.

I'll admit.........I had to read it twice to get its full effect. Great response. Loved it.

I read your article about Monticello Road and couldn't believe my eyes. What are you from "New York City" or something?

You said the area is “Pretty“. Didn't you see all those darn trees lining the street? Don't you know those things provide shade and oxygen? I am sure you felt lost because all the houses don’t look alike. And those over sized lots are just pure wasteful. We could probably fit twenty town homes on just one of those lots.

You said you weren’t sure but you thought saw acreage. Don't you realize some of that "acreage" has never even had a bulldozer ran over it yet? Don't you realize that all those trees and grass are a perfect habitat for bugs, horses, and wildlife? And all the diseases they carry.
Just the other day, I saw wildflowers out in a field along Monticello Road. I hope you understand that there is like 10% of our city that doesn't get sprayed with pesticides. Can you believe that? People out here don't even dump poison on their yards? All that unpaved ground could cause the rain water to soak in and provide clean ground water. Don't you care about our planet at all??

The safety of our citizens is of course the most important thing. In the past ten years there have been two accidents on this two mile stretch of road. If we don't do something, some one else might crash here by the year 2012.

The convenience that development will bring. Do you realize that now that my doctors office, grocery store, convenience store and McDonalds are almost a mile away? Thank goodness we are getting another Wal-Mart, the old one was five miles away. Can you imagine, five miles to get to Wal-Mart? It actually takes longer to drive there than it does to walk across the parking lot.

Thank goodness our city council has the wisdom to see the need for a 4 lane road to handle 2,000 cars per day. It's just too bad they weren't around 150 years ago. Those folks that traveled the California Road, that went through Monticello could have used a 64 foot wide strip of asphalt. How did those folks get along without another strip mall?

We need this road to spur development. This is such a blighted area. I don’t know when the last new thing was built in Western Shawnee. We must provide some of them good old boys with tax breaks so we can at least have ONE new thing.

And as for this being a rural area, this is the "CITY of Shawnee". Cities have asphalt like Overland Park. I'm sure you have heard of them. They are our idol.

Who really cares about people losing their homes? We need more asphalt. We need more strip malls. We need more banks. We need more housing. You can hardly find a house for sale in Western Shawnee.

About those folks that are loosing their homesteads. Who cares if their families lived in Monticello before the Pfricks came to America? Who cares if they built their house themselves before Pfrack went bankrupt in Nevada? We need to get rid of all that green. We want Overland Park beige.

I'm not Bill
But I live
on the hill.

P.S. To the families being evicted. Maybe the council would change their mind if you would just paint your house beige

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

No matter what the size of the city. Be it Gardner, KS or the Big Apple itself, no one person can ever be aware of everything that is happening.

That is why I am upset with myself for not getting involved earlier with the situation regarding the widening of Monticello Rd in western Shawnee.

How do I explain it? I went there's pretty. Actually, it's like being in a different world. Like being in a truly rural area. I'd bet that is why most if not all of the homeowners there chose to live there. It also has some history to it. A quaint old cemetery, a home once lived in by Wild Bill Hickock, an historic settler's well, and other items.

Anyway, the current plans call for widening this pristine country road into a four lane arterial complete with turn lanes, etc etc. This is going to involve some folks losing parts of their property and in two cases (already enacted) folks actually losing their homes.

Why? That area is basically a "rural" area. Most lots are oversized, and some appear to my untrained eyes to be acreage. I spoke with a couple of the residents. Some of them seem to think that once the road project is complete that there may be attempts to get the area rezoned to commercial property. Eventhough there is nothing right now that could confirm that, it is, in my opinion, a possibity. The folks living in that area do not need a monster 4 lane road complete with turn lanes. A commercial development would. And possibly, a residential sub-division that would have multiple homes on smaller lots. And, if that is the case, who would actually end up paying for this road project? The developers? Nahhhh, this would be going in up front. Seems to me, it would be all of the other Shawnee residents paying for it now.

It would be interesting to find out if any developers, (commercial or residentil sub-division) have made any offers to any of the property owners along Monticello Road.

Is it too late to get the area added to one of those national or state historical lists?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Live From Shawnee...It's Monday Night (again)

What's better than a TV sitcom? Going to a City Council meeting and listening to the Dumbonic Duo (AKA Pfrick & Pfrack) and a whiner who wants his way now without regard for a process that is in place.

Tony Lang got up to give a report about his group "Clean Air for Shawnee Campaign Committee" and its progress regarding a petition to force a ballot initiative for a smoking ban. So far, his group has been working with an informal petition, but he is now stating he is going to make it a formal petition, with all of its ramifications.

He didn't seem to care that the council authorized the mayor to appoint a task force. That the task force has met 3 times already, starting in June (he erroneously claimed the first meeting was July). That on 8/15 there was a public hearing and the task force is scheduled to meet again on 9/11, prepare their recommendations for the council and have that info submitted at the council meeting 9/24.

He wants action now. Basically, in subtle and not so subtle threats he would like to see the process that is in place get thrown out, and a variation of the Overland Park ordinance adopted. Last night preferably. Huh????? If not, his committee was going to go forward with a formal petition which could result in a special election at a substantial cost to Shawnee (estimates are $20,000 to $50,000). Ironically, if he would wait for the task force to complete their activities and the council to perform their function, a special election might not be necessary. And, if at that time he and his committee still didn't like the outcome, they could still go for a ballot petition. The difference is, it would be closer to a regularly scheduled election and eliminate the need and cost of a special election. But remember, he cares about Shawnee. He reminds me of the kid at the school yard, who because he wasn't picked to be the pitcher, wanted to grab his glove, bat and ball and go home, leaving the other boys without the ability to play. Wants his way, and wants it now.

There were some comments from the council indicated that folks may have signed the informal petition without realizing what some of the provisions of the OP ordinance were. Did people really sign the informal petition without taking the time to read it? Thinking it was just to stop smoking?

Now enter the Dumbonic Duo. This was painful. It would take a novella to describe what happened. Suffice it to say that Pfrack now makes a motion to approve the OP ordinance. When challenged about certain items (public burning, etc) he modified his motion to include some changes. Then basically Pfrick moves to second it. Now, realize what these two are doing. They are trying to get an ordinance passed, that has not had all of its provisions formally laid out, as in written out, and without input from the city attorney. Pfrack basically was making pen changes to a copy of the OP ordinance. Huh??? Additionally, if this was to succeed it would also circumvent the process that was put into place by this same council. What is scary is that rumor has it that one of these individuals wants to be mayor. A mayor who would circumvent the process? Another little boy who has to have his way now? Real scary.

Anyway, let's now look at what the other members of the council did. First it appears that they were not happy with the threats. They did not appear to be happy with the possibility of not allowing the task force and subsequently the council itself to complete the process. Pfrack's motion to approve the OP ordinance (with handwritten changes) went down 5-2. It should be noted that most of the 5 indicated that they were not necessarily against a smoking ordinance, but they wanted the process to come to fruition and not have another city's ordinance jammed down their throats. Makes sense to me.

Neal Sawyer brought out an interesting and valid point. He made reference to what happened in Lenexa. The council there brought their ordinance for a vote on Juy 3rd, the night before a holiday. With virtually no input from the citizens. At least Shawnee is making an attempt to gather citizen input. Isn't this the way things are supposed to be?

One thing that bothers me. Lang and the Dumbonic Duo showing concern to have a smoke free workplace for the health of the employees. This has come up before. They keep saying it's for the employees. As I've pointed out in the past, that argument borders on the bogus (but it sounds good). Virtually all non-eating/drinking businesses in Shawnee are smoke free. Either because of the existing ordinance or the policies of the various businesses.Now, when it comes to eating/drinking establishments.......over 55% already are smoke free. Of the remaining 45% what percentage of their employees are smokers themselves? The smoking ban folks have some valid arguments, but to say that they are doing it for the benefit of the employees is pure bovine scatology.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

James Madison Quotes

Following are three quotes attributed to James Madison, our 4th President and considered to be the "Father of the Constitution"............methinks they are pretty interesting:

In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Imported" and "Hired" Guns

These are not the kind that fire bullets. At least not the kind that are capable of physically hurting folks. These are the "outsiders" that are brought into a local issue to assist one side or the other.

What are we referring to here? We are referring to last Wednesday's public hearing about a smoking ordinance for Shawnee.

Let's define the two terms first:

Imported Guns: These would be folks like the Director of the Johnson County Health Dept AND one of his subordinates. A Kansas State Rep, from Lenexa, and others.

Hired Guns: These would be representatives of various organizations, and in this case that would be the American Cancer Society, Clean Air Kansas, and others

The reason why I bring this up is very simple. When one totals up the speakers, one gets a figure that indicates substantially more folks spoke in favor of a smoking ban.

Now, take the Imported & Hired Guns out of the equation, and the equation does a flip flop.

So, the smoking ban proponents could honestly say that more people spoke in favor of a ban. But, that would mean conveniently leaving out the info that many of them were NOT Shawnee residents or business folks.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

London & NYC Fighting Pollution and Gridlock

Some of you might remember that back in May I brought up an issue at a city council meeting.
Info is here

At that time, I said that if Pfrick and Pfrack were really concerned about the health of people in Shawnee they would do something about vehicle emissions. I mentioned a user fee for for SUVs and trucks. Needless to say, I was ridiculed for that suggestion. I expected that.

Anyway, I don't know if he reads this blog or not (actually I doubt it) but the mayor of London, England is proposing a daily user fee for SUVs etc, which would amount to $50 a day.
Info about that can be found at,0,4583427.story

Also, from the article, the following already exists "....anyone driving into the city's 6.5-square-mile "congestion zone" between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. must pay a daily fee of $16. Car owners living inside the zone get a 90 percent discount."

And, are ya ready? New York City is getting ready to do the same thing. To reduce gridlock/congestion and to reduce pollutants. See info at

My yearly proposal looks like a bargain compared to either NY or London. :-) :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Smokescreen or Smokescream

The Smoking Task Force for Shawnee had a public hearing last night at city hall. Here is one man's opinions, mine.

Let's start with the folks that are so concerned about employee's health. First, when it comes to non-eating/drinking businesses, virtually all are smoke free either because of the current ordinance or because the companies themselves have their own policies. Now, let's look at eating/drinking establishments. Currently in Shawnee over 55% of such establishments are smoke free on their own volition. As for the other 45% the question begs to be answered: How many of their emplyees are smokers? Methinks the "concern" for the employees is a questionable one....but it sounds good.

The previously mentioned figures also indicate that non-smokers have plenty of places to go. And, there is always the strong possibility, that if these folks let the "cash registers do the talking" others would go smoke free on their own.

We have in Shawnee neighborhood type bars that are mostly populated by smokers (as customers and employees) Should we drive them out of business? As the co-owner of Foobars said, she didn't remember ever seeing any of the smoking ban folks patronizing her establishment. My opinion: I doubt if they ever would. I doubt if they would ever patronize any of the older neighborhood type bars.

Stephanie Sharp, the 17th District State Rep (from Lenexa) was a trip and a half. This sanctimonious snit had me laughing inside. She stated that on her drives south on I-435 she had a choice of stopping at Barley's (Shawnee) or Tanner's (Lenexa) since she lived equally between them. Guess it'll be Tanner's now that Lenexa is smoke free. Why do I question the veracity of her statement about what she would do? Easy......because she didn't keep the "big promise" to her constituents. She ran for office, they elected her, and now she has resigned. Her successor takes over January 2008. If she couldn't handle the position she shouldn't have run for it to begin with. My opinon...........

The speaker that really caught my attention was the lady who claimed that her son and his wife moved to Denver because Colorado is smoke free. She also claimed that Shawnee is losing young peole because of that. I see, so smoke free communities nearby (Olathe, Lenexa, Overland Park, etc) do not fill her son's requirements? I could swear that I heard her say "money" before she corrected herself to mention "smoke free" as the reason for her son's moving.
If Shawnee is losing folks, I wish somebody could show me the figures. Our population is like a certain TV keeps on growing, and growing and growing.

Leon Vinci, the Johnson County Health Department Director had an interesting comment. He touted the JoCo ordinance that banned smoking in unincorporated JoCo. When pressed as to how many drinking and eating establishments did that affect, he said the total businesses were 14. He was asked again for the number of eating/drinking establishments and said less than 14, but he didn't have tha statistics available. Seems to me the figure was 3 of those and the other 11 businesses were doing something on their own anyway. Didn't the local media, and smoking ban advocates criticize the JoCo Commissioners for wimping out with their ordinance?

When an individual from the floor asked how many establishments the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Assoc represented, nobody had the answer....including the rep from Clean Air KC.
Good question though, because the two have "partnered" on a suggestion for a strict ordinance.

Some folks know that I personally quit smoking 18 months ago, after 45 years. What most don't know is that my late mother passed away because of lung cancer, from smoking. And yet, I am against a smoking ban. Yes, because a business owner should be allowed to choose how to run his/her business. Customers by their patronage or lack of will tell a business owner what to do.
Nanny government does not belong in our society.

But then, as the Shawnee Convention and Visitor's Bureau points out on their web site, Village West and the Legends are only eight minutes away. :-) :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hot Summer Night

Fortunately the A/C was working last night in the City Council chambers.

Two items drew some extended discussion. One had to do with box culvert/pedestrian bridge replaement on a private street. The champion of unilateral contract changes, Dan Pflumm was upset that St Joseph's was going to pay for the replacement.........eventhough it was something they agreed to years ago. 'Nuff said.

Moving on.................the special use permit for the Peanut to have an outdoor concert came up for a vote. Quite a bit of discussion here. Many conditions were put in for the SUP to be granted. Aparently, after some situations last year, the conditions seemed to be appropriate.

One of the owners of a business that is located in the same shopping center expressed concern that he los business last year and would lose business again this year. Mr Compassion, Dan Pflumm tried to waive that concern off with an"it's only one day's worth" type of comment. Ironically the same business owner had to correct Pflumm on one of his statements which made it obvious that he (Pflumm) did not read the packet for the meeting. Not the first time that this has happened. On previous occasions other council members have had to do the same thing.

Fashion alert: Kevin Straub has now joined Dan Pflumm in the "shorts are appropriate" school of fashion. He showed up last night in shorts and open sandals. I realize that I am no poster boy for GQ, but I am old fashioned and expect council members to dress appropriately for council meetings.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Goin' Roundabout

Gotta admit, sometimes government meetings can be fun.

Last Tuesday's (8/7/07) Finance & Admin Committee had some levity to it.

There was a discussion about the roundabout that will be going in at Johnson Drive and K-7 when that intersection will be reconfigured.

Some of the ideas were quite novel:

A buffalo, sort of a companion piece to the oxen at the other side of town

Plantings in the interior of the roundabout of native prairie grasses (good idea, low maintenance and natural)

Other possible statues in the center (examples were shown of a flock of birds and of a gigantic eagle)

One idea that was requested NOT to be considered was a fountain. Seems kids like to vandalize fountains by pouring soap products in them. They like the bubbling effects. Gee, vandalism in that part of town? Impossible.

One idea that wasn't brought up might be a dedication to the council. Or maybe to my two "favorite" members, Pfrick and Pfrack. We could erect large statues of them in the center of the roundabout. The plantings could be artificial tulips (so they are there all year long). Since these two are in agreement so much of the time, maybe they could be depicted as walking arm in arm or holding hands. Wait a minute, not walking, but tip toeing. Yes, tip toeing through the tulips. Then we could also include a low volume rendition of Tiny Tim's song of that name being broadcast from the roundabout.

Truth be known, I think that a depiction of the original indigenous inhabitants would be appropriate. It was their land first.

Friday, August 10, 2007

More of Too Much Too Soon

For background you can read my original post at

Now, South Carolina wants to have their Presidential primary in January which could make New Hampshire change their primary to earlier in January, and which could have Iowa holding their caucus in December 2007.

This is getting out of hand. The nominating conventions are about a year away, and these folks have been camaigning for almost 6 months already.

Give us a break. This pissing contest as to who can have the first primary and who can have the first caucus is extremely aggravating. This Presidential campaigning almost two years before the election is ridiculous.

The Senators and Congressmen that are involved are AWOL from the jobs that they are getting paid to do. Again, I call for a federal law that any Congressman or Senator who is involved in a Presidential campaign needs to be removed from office and someone willing to work for their constituents take their places. Until such a law is passed I am calling on these folks to resign their positions. C'mon Brownback, Clinton, Obama, McCain etc............if you're not going to serve your constituents give up the job. You are taking paychecks on false pretenses.

Think about it this way. Joe Citizen works for a company. He spends 3 days a week going around to other companies looking for a new job, while drawing his paycheck. How long would his company keep him around and on the payroll?

States need to pass similar laws regarding their governors and other elected officials within their state.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

KC Star---Missing Info

Did anybody read the Saturday 7/28/07 hard copy of the Shawnee/Lenexa edition of the KC Star? If not, the article I am going to be referring to is on line at

The article starts off about a Shawnee citizen who is exercising his rights to obtain a petition to ban smoking in Shawnee. That is that citizen’s right.

What bothers me is the “drift” that the reporter takes. He goes into quite a bit of detail about Shawnee Council Member Dan Pflumm’s attempt to get a smoking ban passed at the April 23rd city council meeting. Mr. Pflumm’s attempt was defeated. What the reporter in the Star article did not explain was how that all came about.

Mr. Pflumm literally pulled the Overland Park ordinance out of his pocket and wanted the council to copy it, as is, right then and there. Note, this item was NOT on the agenda for that night. Therefore, citizens who would want to speak (pro or con) were not given that opportunity. Note, the city attorney had not had the info submitted to him for review. Note, the other council members had NOT been given a chance to review it either. Mr Pflumm was attempting to grandstand and circumvent procedure. That is why the council voted his proposal down

Ironically, the smoking task force, that the council had previously, unanimously authorized was being formed. The purpose of the task force: to obtain input from the citizens of Shawnee and to make recommendations to the council.

Surely, there are some members of the community who probably wish that Mr Pflumm’s proposal had been approved. The question I asked in my original posting still stands. Would these same folks want the city council to circumvent procedure on something they may be against?

I explained it right here on this blog at

And if you as the reader would like corroboration of my comments, they can be found at the City of Shawnee’s web site record of the minutes of that meeting at Did the reporter check the minutes before writing his article?

Another item that appeared in the Star article was a comment by Mr Pflumm that a recent Johnson County survey showed over 70% of the county opposed smoking. Mr Pflumm must be reading a different survey than I did. Did the reporter read the survey before publishing that comment? It is located on the web at

What the survey says is that over 70% of those surveyed requested non-smoking when being seated in restaurants. There was NO question on the survey as to whether or not one was opposed to smoking. To infer that requesting non-smoking seating and being opposed to smoking are one and the same is wrong. Many folks request non-smoking but are NOT opposed to other folks smoking. They just don’t want to sit in the same area as the smokers.

Why do I feel that there was a lack of research on the part of the reporter? Why do I feel that the article was slanted? I do know one thing, that is a fact: the reporter’s editor has come out publicly in support of a smoking ban.

Reporting? Or editorializing disguised as reporting? Read the City Council minutes and the Johnson County survey and then decide for yourself.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Brownback Part II

Some folks added some comments to the below post of mine.

Great, and I responded.

Just thought I'd mention part of one of my responses, "up here".

Besides missing votes (another one this week). How much time has Mr Brownback missed on the Senate floor? How much time has he missed in committee and sub-committee hearings?

Would a civilian employer tolerate that much lost time?

Ya wanna run for President Mr Brownback? Go for it. Just resign and let someone else do the job that you are getting paid to do.