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.