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.