Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back From My Nap

Yepper..........I took a nap, Rip Van Winkle style.

Decided I needed a break from posting here. Now that I've woken up, stretched my legs, fingers etc, it's time to hit the keyboard and resume posting my opinions.

First.......the Cobblestone project. At a recent city council meeting (12/22/08)the council voted to approve a TIF District for this development. The three council members who voted against this were on the right track, IMHO. In particular, council member Sawyer, who as reported by the KC Star was really confused since city services and staffing have been curtailed. Is this really the time for a TIF for this type of project? Methinks not. Would have to agree with the three who voted against it.

I'm always intrigued when tax abatements and/or TIFs are given out and we are told that "x" number of new jobs will be created. In this case the number is 68. But, will that be 68 new residents in the city? Will that be 68 existing residents working here instead of in another city? Or, will that be 68 people working here but living and spending most of their money somewhere else? Bet that it's the latter one.

I have asked the city to do a quick, periodic survey of how many employees at each business (maybe just the larger ones) actually live within Shawnee. Not personl info (name, address etc) just the number. It would be so easy to do, by zip code.

Moving on..............let's look ahead to April 2010. That is not too far away. It's actually less than 16 months. What happens in 16 months. It will be city election time again. Four council members will be up for reelection. My personal opinion: three of them need to be replaced. More on this as time goes on. Suffice it to say that if they were electronic directional devices their combined initials would be GPS.

Ahhhhhhhh, the keyboard feels good beneath my fingers.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama's Civilian National Security Force

For those who question my previous post. The thought of an organization like this is scary, real scary.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Election 2008

Well, it's over. Almost three years of campaigning and it's over. A few weeks ago I read a commentary in the newspaper that JFK announced his candidacy on Jan 2, 1960. That gave us an 11 month campaign.

Why can't we have that again? These multi year campaigns can be a drag.....and the people involved in them are taking away from their regular functions to participate.

Anyway, we now have a new President-elect.

Which way will this country go? Will we go down the road to a socialist state? My opinion is that that is highly probable based on some of his statements. Will people strive to better themselves (as he did) only to lose whatever they gain?

On the international scene, what will happen in the mideast? I fear for our only true ally in that part of the world, and maybe in the entire world; Israel. Why are the countries such as Iran celebrating Mr Obama's victory? I fear that he will sell Israel down the road.

I fear for our military. I fear that Mr Obama will weaken its ability to protect this country. I fear for Mr Obama's proposed civilian national security force. I fear what that may become. If a civilian national security force becomes a reality will it in effect become a praetorian guard? Or worse, an SA type organization,(Sturmabteilung).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Vote, It's Important

By now many of us have read and or heard various individuals implore us to vote on election day.

Well, I'm going to toss out my two cents worth.

Probably the most common excuse for not voting is "my vote doesn't count".

Well, that is not true. Let's break the election into two categories: Presidential election and all others.

Most people's daily lives are affected by the "all others", from city council, to mayor, to state reps, to governor, to US reps. Everybody's vote counts. Many times, these elections have less than 50% of the registered voters turning out. Do the numbers. Every vote counts. We have all seen local elections decided by just a handful of voters.

Now let's go to the Presidential election. I have heard many folks say that their vote doesn't count, especially because of the electoral college. Let's look at that closer. Usually, the candidate that gets the most votes in a state gets the elctoral votes for that state. Look at Florida a few years ago. Less than 600 votes decided the outcome. Now is it possible for a candidate to get more popular votes and lose because of the electoral college? It is possible. Let's just use two states as an example. Florida and Wyoming. One candidate can get Flroida's electoral votes by winning the state by less than 600. His opponent could be super victorious in Wyoming (maybe by thousands) and get far fewer electoral votes. And that could happen across the board. The "winner" being victorious in large electoral states by minuscule magins, and the "loser" trouncing in small electoral states. Is this realistic?

It still boils down to the fact that every vote really does count.

We've all read and seen various items along the same theme: "Freedom isn't free.....all gave some, some gave all" Freedom is not free and one of our legacies of freedom is the right to vote. Don't throw that right away.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jordan's Robo Calls - Part 2

I received a call shortly after lunch from Matt Manda of Jordan's campaign.

He has taken care of the problem. I appreciate that, and a public thank you to him.

I will say this about Matt: In both of our conversations he diplayed respect for a constituent, and a high degree of professionalism.

Again, thank you Matt Manda.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jordan's Robo Calls

Robo calls (auto dial) can be a pain.

Now, political robo calls are exempt from the various "Do Not Call Lists". But, you would think that if a citizen asked for them to stop, that the campaign would do something about it.

Not the Nick Jordan campaign.

Oct 7, 2008: After getting what I felt were too many of these calls I contacted their office at 913.829.8683. A volunteer (I will not name her here)said she didn't think the name/number could be removed (wrongggggggggg), so I asked her to pass the info on to someone in authority.

Oct 19, 2008: Similar to the above (different volunteer) Asked again, to have my numbers removed from their lists.

Oct 28, 2008: They keep dialing and calling, dialing and calling. Called Jordan's office and this time the volunteer connected me with a staffer (Nat Manda). He seemed empathetic enough, said it would be taken care of, and asked if he could call me back to confirm that it was taken care. I gave him my cell phone number to call me back on.

Oct 29, 2008: Today, another call. Called the campaign office again. Manda was not available. Spoke with another staffer, a Barri Pruitt. She advised me that it was too difficult to go through these lists to remove folks. These lists are updated daily, and according to her are in "pdf" format, and it would just be too difficult. Huh?????? Something that is in pdf format is a written document. These numbers are loaded into a computerized calling system. There has to be a way to delete the numbers from a system. (The same or similar procedure that a commercial company would have to take for a do not call violation). Anyway, I informed Ms Pruitt that I considered the calls to be invasive and harassing. Are ya ready? She didn't think they were either one because they were recorded messages, not live calls. Hey, it's my phone, my house and I consider the calls to be invasive and harassing.

So this man wants to represent me in the 3rd Cong Dist? Shouldn't somebody who is running for office attempt or have a staff that attempts to be responsive to the citizenry? Basically, Ms Pruitt indicated when I asked if I would get more calls between today and the election that it could happen.

Ironically, I am a registered republican. In this election I have voted for two democrats (by mail ballot). Mr Jordan's opponent is one of the two.

Oh, I did inform Ms Pruitt that she could read about this episode on this blog.


Monday, October 20, 2008

I Messed Up - Cancel the Vote for Roman

Did I really say I was going to change my vote to vote for Pete Roman instead of Mary Pilcher Cook in the state senate district 10 race?

Change for Cook.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Dangerous Man

This man is dangerous. The last time a country had a national civilian security force they wore brown shirts, jackboots and a funny looking armband.

And, he wants it to be just as powerful as the military!!!!!!!!

Whoops.........Gotta Change One Vote

The more I think about it, the more I have to change one of my votes.

KS Senate District 10: Pete Roman

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How I'm Voting

These are the folks I'm planning on voting for..........naturally, everybody has to do what they think is right.

President & VP: McCain/Palin

U S Senate: Pat Roberts

U S Congressman: Dennis Moore

KS Rep Dist 23: Augie Bogina

KS Senate Dist 10: Mary Pilcher Cook

Johnson County Commission Dist 2: Jim Allen

District Attorney: Rick Guinn

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Agendas & Special Interests III

I have written about this on two previous occasions. With the upcoming election, I thought it might be interesting to bring it up again.

Many times we hear that a candidate has an agenda or is supported by special interests. These two terms are probably some of the most misused and abused expressions in a political campaign.

Agenda: What's wrong with having an agenda? As a matter of fact all candidates need to have agendas. They have to be able to state what they want to accomplish. That is an agenda. Voters need to have agendas. They need to know what they want their candidate(s) to accomplish. If a candidate does not have an agenda, then that person, if elected, is going to take office on a blind track. Having an agenda is only a negative if that agenda is different from your agenda as a voter.

Special interests: This is another abused and misused term. When a candidate has an agenda, then that candidate will be supported by folks who agree with that agenda. Hence, they are special interests. Again, what's wrong with that? Special interests are only negative if they disagree with your personal special interests.

I just wish candidates and political analysts (and the general public) would quit the abuse of these two phrases.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

KCI Responds

Before I post the response from KCI's spokesman, Joe McBride, I first must apologize to him, and KCI. He responded within 24 hours to my previous post. Because of some unforseen circumstances I did not get to post that response in a timely manner. His response is below.

Hi Ray:

I will address your questions regarding the master plan, but please read the below editorial first. The Kansas City Star chooses not to paint an accurate picture or downplays some key points to get people writing. The below editorial submitted some time ago may help allay some of your concerns.

Key here is that all Master Plans look at terminal needs in the future. The primary focus in this area is to protect land for future terminal development so the land is available if and when we need it. Planners take it a step further by looking at terminal needs in the future and how existing facilities can possibly accommodate additional passengers, flights, amenities, etc. while considering the buildings as they age. There will be another Master Plan before planning would begin for future terminal needs and changes. More than likely, we are 15 or more years out, probably more than 20. And when it happens, it will be a bi-state process.

KCI Master Plan

Master plans are conducted every 10 years and issues like noise, land use, airfield capacity, terminal needs, etc. are examined as a matter of course. The planning team’s focus is not only on possible terminal locations or designs, but future runway and taxiway needs to prevent the major delays that most large airports are facing.

KCI served 11.3 million passengers in 2007. At current growth rates, the airport could run out of terminal space by 2020 (the current economic downturn could push the date out even farther). As the Master Plan process looks at all aspects of the airport, the study team is looking into future passenger terminal needs for when, not if, KCI reaches full capacity of its three terminals. The Kansas City Aviation Department will not be prepared if we do not start planning now. No terminal concepts will be implemented before the next planning process in 10 years and it is likely that nothing would be constructed prior to the year 2020. Just because recommendations are made does not absolutely mean that they will be implemented. Circumstances like 9/11 and airline mergers can change plans. They are working documents.

The last Master Plan completed in 1995 suggested reallocating space for baggage claim, ticketing and concessions, and reducing the number of security checkpoints. This work was performed with the Terminal Improvement Project. The plan also called for constructing a new terminal complex when existing terminals reach the end of their useful life. The plan contemplated 20 million passengers as being the threshold.

When it comes time to refine a terminal design in years to come, we will task planners to produce efficient concepts that best achieve the level the convenience that customers are used to (short walk and short security lines). As is in the case of current Master Plan process, terminal design will be developed with City Council and public input.

Consider that KCI’s passenger terminals were designed in the late 1960s, prior to airline hubbing, terrorism and security checkpoints. The layout is very inefficient for passenger flow, security screening, baggage handling, concession variety and taxi and bus operations. The terminals were finished in 1972. While they were renovated and some of the faults fixed, the shell and other infrastructure will sometime deteriorate past their useful life. City officials at that time decided to extend the useful life of the passenger terminals at the lowest possible cost.
To simply add a fourth terminal of the same design would be to perpetuate an outdated design. To start from scratch and to incorporate the strengths of KCI’s terminals is an exciting opportunity! We promise to do so.

KCI is a true regional airport.

The questions I'd like to see answered are:
1. How many Kansas residents (numbers and percentages) utilize KCI? Possibly even broken down by county.See attached PowerPoint slides. This is all we have. (See attached file: Zip codes 2008 Powerpoint.ppt) (The powerpoint prsentation was a survey at KCI encompassing 32,992 transactions in June at the Garage, Circle and Economy areas. It broke it down by zip code and then recapped it by state. The state recaps were: KS 49% MO 45% and Other 6%)

2. How many tourists (numbers and percentages) visiting, have a Kansas location as their destination?We do not have that information. Perhaps the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association would have it.

3. How many business travelers (numbers and percentages) have a Kansas location as their destination?We do not have that information.

4. How many of those above would like to see the configuration of the airport remain the way it is. (Supposedly it was designed with the possibility of a 4th circular terminal being built if necessary)We do not have this information. Anecdotally, we receive a considerable number of complaints and insults from people who live outside Kansas City that the design is outdated and inconvenient.

5. How much input will Kansas residents and businesses be permitted regarding any changes?As with our Master Plan process, people from throughout the region can take part. Public meetings are held and are promoted in advance with news releases, public notices in the KC Star and direct mail post cards to thousands of northland residents (it would be very expensive to go beyond this area, and the noise aspects of the studies more directly affect these residents). As noted above, there will likely be another Master Plan that will address the terminal needs in 10 years.

Based upon the line of questions you must perceive that the Kansas City Aviation Department is unaware that KCI's customer base includes the Kansas side. Long before our recent zip code survey, we knew that not only was there heavy draw from Johnson County, but also the Emporia, Wichita, Des Moines, Springfield and other cities outside the metro area. Usually about a third are from outside the area. One swing through Economy Parking will tell you that. That said, we understand who our customers are and will solicit the input of those in the community when the time come to contemplate the future of KCI's passenger terminals.

Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in!

Best regards,
Joe McBride
Kansas City Aviation Department
601 Brasilia Avenue
KCMO 64153

Saturday, September 20, 2008

KCI Komedy Part II

About one year ago I posted a short item about the possible changes at KCI airport. Please see

More stories have been appearing lately about the possibility of changing the configuration of KCI.

The airport comes under the authority of the City of KCMO through its Aviation Department.

Having flown in and out of KCI I can personally say it is a pleasure compared to other airports with the single or central terminal design. Friends, relatives and business associates who have come through KCI also marvel at its positive uniqueness.

KCI is a true regional airport.

The questions I'd like to see answered are:

1. How many Kansas residents (numbers and percentages) utilize KCI? Possibly even broken down by county.

2. How many tourists (numbers and percentages) visiting, have a Kansas location as their destination?

3. How many business travelers (numbers and percentages) have a Kansas location as their destination?

4. How many of those above would like to see the configuration of the airport remain the way it is. (Supposedly it was designed with the possibility of a 4th circular terminal being built if necessary)

5. How much input will Kansas residents and businesses be permitted regarding any changes?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Video Worth Watching

This was on You Tube and is currently being passed around the net.

Definitely worth the two minutes to view..........especially the ending............

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Food for Thought

Received this in an email from a friend of mine. Seems to hit the nail on the haed.

You couldn't get a job at McDonalds and become district manager after 143 days of experience.
You couldn't become chief of surgery after 143 days of experience of being a surgeon.
You couldn't get a job as a teacher and be the superintendent after 143 days of experience.
You couldn't join the military and become a colonel after a 143 days of experience.
You couldn't get a job as a reporter and become the nightly news anchor after 143 days of experience.

BUT....From the time Barack Obama was sworn in as a United State Senator, to the time he announced he was forming a Presidential exploratory committee, he logged 143 days of experience in the Senate.That's how many days the Senate was actually in session and working.After 143 days of work experience, Obama believed he was ready to be Commander In Chief, Leader of the Free World, and fill the shoes of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan. .......................143 days?

We all have to start somewhere. The senate is a good start, but after 143 days, that's all it is, a start.

AND, strangely, a large sector of the American public seems to feel comfortable with this and campaigning for him.We wouldn't accept this in our own line of work, yet some are OK with this, for the President of the United States of America ?

Come on folks, we are not voting for the next American Idol.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Election 2008 Survey Results from 8/30/08

Our survey questions posted 8/30 are ready. Remember, these are not necessarily scientific in nature.

Guess we might have to do one closer to the election:

1. Who is your choice for President/VP?
McCain/Palin 62.2%
Obama/Biden 29.7%
Not sure 8.1%

2. Was Palin a good choice by McCain?
Yes 55.6%
No 33.3%
Not sure 11.1%

3. Was Biden a good choice by Obama?
Yes 51.4%
No 27.0%
Not sure 21.6%

4. Who is your choice for Congressman, 3d Dist?
Dennis Moore 54.1%
Nick Jordan 32.4%
Not sure 13.5%

5. Who is your choice for Johnson County District Attorney?
Steve Howe 43.2%
Rick Guinn 32.4%
Not sure 24.3%

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Results From Survey of 8/28

On 8/28/08 we posted:

Do you think Pflumm and/or Straub should resign considering the manner in which they responded to inquiries about the Wash. DC dinner?

Or maybe a recall?

Here are the results, not necessarily scientific, but most on-line polls aren't. Interesting at least.

1. Should Council Member Pflumm resign?

Yes 94.7%
No 5.6%

2. Should Council Member Straub resign?

Yes 97.4%
No 2.6%

3. Should Council Member Pflumm be subject to recall?

Yes 78.9%
No 21.1%

4. Should Council Member Straub be subject to recall?

Yes 81.6%
No 18.4%

Monday, September 01, 2008

KC Chiefs

Actually, the purpose of this post is to test a third polling format.

We have already tried two different poll formats and want to see which one we will use going forward.

Take the poll about the Chiefs. Will they make it to the playoffs?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What do you think?

Do you think Pflumm and/or Straub should resign considering the manner in which they responded to inquiries about the Wash. DC dinner?

Or maybe a recall?

Click here to take our Online Survey

Results will be published shortly after the 10 day period.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Council Members Should not Mislead the Community

How sweet it is.

Now the citizens of Shawnee will know what kind of arrogance is shown by certain council members.

Dan Pflumm's little Tijuana Two Step is shown for what it is, as the blog entry goes in as a letter.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Presidential Campaigns That go On, and On and On

When Sen Obama announced Saturday that Sen Joe Biden was going to be his running mate, he made the statement from the same spot where he had begun his campagin "nineteen months earlier".

Nineteen months we have been subjected to Presidential campaigning, from both parties. And the campaign still has another 2 1/2 months to go. This is way too much.

When JFK announced his candidacy, it was right after New Years, 1960, about 10 months before the election.

Does the length of the Presidential campaign this year have anything to do with candidates needing to raise hundreds of millions of dollars? Is this a trend?

Will the next Presidential campaign begin the day after the next President is sworn in?

Don't laugh. That's a possibility. The presumptive democratic nominee, Sen. Obama has spent almost his entire senate career running for President. This is not the time for on the job training.

Anyway, just to get one thing out of the way, I'll be voting for McCain, as the lesser of two evils.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Holes in Pflumm's Statement

To understand my comments here one really needs to read councilmember Pflumm’s statement from the 8/11 council meeting and published in the Shawnee Dispatch at:

Mr. Pflumm’s statement is so full of holes, as to make a piece of Swiss cheese look like solid steel. Anything I am about to say can be verified by reviewing the minutes of Shawnee council meetings on 6/23, 7/14 & 7/28.

First Mr. Pflumm states that informal meetings can enlist support for City’s needs and goals. This is true, if you know who you are meeting with.

Over the course of the three council meetings neither Mr. Pflumm nor Councilmember Straub were sure whether they met with 2 or 3 senate staffers. Names were used based on business cards in Mr. Pflumm’s possession (which leads me to believe that neither of them made any contemporaneous notes for use as follow up). One of those names proved to be of a person who never attended the dinner.

His statement at the 8/11 council meeting finally gave the correct names. He also says that these individuals can verify that. What Mr. Pflumm fails to mention is that it wasn’t until the 7/28 council meeting that he finally found out who he really had dinner with. And how did he find that out? Because I provided an email from Sen. Robert’s office denying that any member of that office was there, and then summarized a phone call with a member of Sen. Brownback’s office who supplied the correct names.

He would like folks to think that these were simple mistakes. I do not consider these simple mistakes. I consider them negligence and a complete lack of due diligence. If a councilmember does not know who they had dinner with, how important can that dinner be? In view of the fact that our council members do not dine every day with senate staffers this event should have stood out in their minds. If one does not know who they had dinner with, how can they follow up to see if their discussions have produced any results? This now makes me wonder what was discussed at that dinner.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's for Dinner?

Well, this week’s council meeting was covered by the Shawnee Dispatch in two areas. One area was the story of the meeting and the other area was an editorial.

These can be viewed at:

The article:

The editorial:

What a mess. What we have is a situation where two members of the city council, over a period of three council meetings cannot get their stories correct as to what happened.

What they don’t realize (or don’t want to realize) is that it is not necessarily the money, but it’s the constant giving forth of misinformation. It is also their cavalier attitude. .

This can be evidenced by Pflumm’s comment that the whole thing was “no big deal”. No big deal when between him and Straub we can’t get straight answers as to how many people were there? No big deal when between him and Straub we can’t get straight answers as to the names of these people? No big deal when between the two of them we can’t get straight answers about alcohol being served?

Let’s look at it from another perspective. The big, “what if?”. What if a department head had gone to a meeting of their professional organization? And what if that department head had submitted an expense report with questionable information? And then, what if the city manager questioned that department head, and got multiple misleading answers?
What would happen? The department head would be subject to severe disciplinary action to include dismissal. And, based on previous performance at city council, these two would be screaming for that department head’s head…………on a platter.

Now, let’s look at something else. At the first meeting that this came up Straub indicated that the legislative staffers would remember Shawnee down the road. Would they? Gee, why should they when the two council members can’t even remember which staffers were there? And, the total number (4 or 5) can be counted on one hand. Also, let’s talk about follow-up. If these staffers were taken to dinner to possibly be able to help Shawnee in the future how can these council members perform follow up? What’s follow up? That’s contacting these staffers 3, 6, 9, 12 months down the road to see what is happening that could be beneficial to Shawnee? If you don’t know who they were, how can you follow up? Is that “due diligence”? I am sure, based on their non-government work background these gentlemen are familiar with “follow up”.

And last but not least: indicating the name of a US Senator’s staffer, that was not there just because one had their business card. Read the confirmation statement on these expense reports. Was that confirmation statement adhered to?

But then, Pflumm says “it’s no big deal”.

City council members need to be held to a higher standard, and I don’t think these two have been open enough on this situation. Again, misinformation on top of misinformation on top of misinformation.

Maybe the next time someone presents something to the council and Pflumm says “show me” maybe that person should give Pflumm his own response back of “because I said so”.

We can’t forget Straub’s accusation that this was a witch hunt. Witch hunt? You open the door when you Texas Two Step around the truth.

Anybody in wards 1 or 3 want to check out KSA 25-4301?

Apathy Can be Expensive

Yes, apathy can be very expensive, especially when it refers to folks not getting out and voting in elections.

We cannot afford to do anything that would jeopordize our right to vote. And for those who think and say that their vote doesn't count, I could present a list, ad nauseum, of close elections with low voter turn outs.

Please, exercise your your voice be heard at the polls.

For the record, yesterday, I sent in my mail ballot for next Tuesday's primary.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Responses to Questionnaire

Well, the responses are in. Actually only two of them. One from Senate Dist 10 and one from House Dist 23. That means that 5 candidates in total did NOT respond. Wild. These questionnaires were sent to the House and Senate Districts that I reside in. Now a real big question comes up: If these five people won't respond to questions from someone whose vote they want, would they act that way if elected? Or are the 5 who did not respond trying to "duck and cover" (old 50's term) from this particular topic? First the Senate candidates, followed by the House candidates. Remember, excise tax revenue drops as the number of packs sold declines, and we are talking millions of packs over the past 5-6 years.You might have to scroll down a bit:

Candidate's Replies 10th Senate
Do you feel that we would or should have to raise the cigarette excise tax?
Objectively, I would have to say no to an increase in the states cigarette tax. The current excise tax is $0.79 a 28.3% tax rate. Missouri is $.17 a 6.9% tax rate while Oklahoma is $.23 a 9.3% tax rate per pack. th eimpact to Johnson and Wyandotte countis is apparent as a spread of $.62 cents a pack or $12.20 a carton must drive some revenues across the state line. As a regressive tax raising the excise tax will disporportionately impact lower income citizens and will simply drive more revenues across the state line; and may be one reason why the measure to raise Missouri's excise tax failed (rank 19th in the Union) to pass their legislature. In the time given to respond I was unable to confirm wheter revenue's in Missouri from the sale of tobacco products is on the rise but in a quick search I did not find an article suggesting a revenue shortfall in this category.
Do you feel we would or should have to raise other taxes to make up for the shortfall created by the loss of cigarette excise taxes? If yes, which ones.
I am on record in support of raising the tax on all tobacco products not jsut cigarettes. Currently the state has a 10% wholesale tax on all tobacco products. I would be in favor of raising the wholesale tax on cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco and snuff to 15% or 18% while lowering the excise tax to $.50. This will shift the tax burden from the individual to the free market as cigarette purveyors adjust their margins to maintain their sales. At the same time the individual smoker can shop for a better price and the excise tax spread between Missouri and Kansas will be somewhat marginalized.
Do you feel we would or should have to create new taxes to make up for the shortfall created by the loss of cigarette excise taxes? If yes, what are you proposing we tax?
Do you feel we would or should have to reduce government services to make up for the shortfall created by the loss of cigarette taxes? If yes, which services should be reduced.
None that I can speak to authoritatively but the legislature is spending the people's money and should always look at ways to effectively deliver services in the most efficient manner possible.
Any additional comments:
If the original intent of this measure was to help improve the general health of our citizenry and deter our youth from picking up the habit then a forward thinking legislature should have anticipated, forecasted and budgeted for a decrease in revenues; touting revenue erosion as a positive not a negative. This is yet another example of how our legislature is failing to lead. We must govern in the present with the future in mind; not govern for today with the special interest in mind!

Candidate's Replies 23rd House
Do you feel that we would or should have to raise the cigarette excise tax?
Do you feel we would or should have to raise other taxes to make up for the shortfall created by the loss of cigarette excise taxes? If yes, which ones.
Do you feel we would or should have to create new taxes to make up for the shortfall created by the loss of cigarette excise taxes? If yes, what are you proposing we tax?
Do you feel we would or should have to reduce government services to make up for the shortfall created by the loss of cigarette taxes? If yes, which services should be reduced.
Any additional comments: "I believe the legislature will shift to gaming revenues for new sources of general fund receipts ($125M +/- in license fees in 2009) to balance the budget. Depending upon the next session's testimony by the Kansas Health Policy Authority, there will be some movement to increase excise taxes per pack. I would not be favorable to this.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

DC Dinner Part II

Last night's city council meeting was almost non-eventful until near the end.

Mr Straub again brought up his concept regarding council travel and how many meetings a year they could go to and what approval was needed.

That was when I said to myself, "enough is enough". Prior to the meeting I had received a copy of the itemized $392 dinner that he and Pflumm were the hosts for (it was on Pflumm's tab).

Refer back to my blog entry of 6/25/08. I had asked Mr Pflumm if there was alcohol included on that tab. He said no, and that I had to rely on his word. Horse nonsense. Open records requests are beautiful.

Now with the full receipt available I informed him (and Straub) that there was $78 worth of alcohol on that receipt ($10 beer and $68 wine). Mr Pflumm then apologized for his original misleading response, saying he was not prepared at that meeting to answer it (huh????). Simple question Mr Engineer. He said that there was alcohol served prior to dinner, but on a separate tab. Guess what? You charged the city for booze for dinner, eventhough you claim you didn't drink any of it. More than one somebody at the table did, and you didn't notice?

Now the kicker. Pflumm indicated on his expense report that there were four people at that dinner. He claimed himself, Straub and one aide each from Sen Brownback's & Sen Roberts' offices. I asked him to explain how come the receipt showed 5 persons and there were 5 entrées served. Whooops, now he and Straub suddenly remembered that there was another senate staffer at that dinner. Who? Hmmm, don't remember, gotta go home and look at the business cards. Amazing eh? Couldn't remember to add that 5th person "another senate staffer" to the list on the expense report? Didn't even think to volunteer the info when the matter of the dinner came up at the 6/23 meeting.

Yes, I am still curious who the 5th person was. Was it really a senate staffer or was it an individual not authorized to have their dinner paid for by the city? Will be looking forward to seeing if a name is provided. For the record: Open records requests apply to federal offices as well as local. I believe there are logs in Senate & Congressional offices that would indicate when staffers were taken to events (dinner, ball games etc) by individuals having an interest in something that the Congressman and/or Senator can provide.

Oh yes, Straub thought I was carrying on a vendetta against him and Pflumm on this blog.

No Kevin, not a vendetta. Just tired of BS, and sanctimonious holier than thou attitudes. I'm still ticked off by Pflumm's "because I said so" comment on 6/23, apology notwithstanding. And Kevin, you want to control council trips but boy, you and Pflumm sure took advantage on the last one. And anyway, there are many other topics on here that don't include the two of you.

After all of the above (and there was quite a lengthy discussion by the council on Straub's suggested "controls") Dawn Kuhn came up with a motion.

Dawn proposed that the council decline their scheduled pay increase. The motion carried.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Senate District 10, House District 23

The letters and questionnaires are in the mail.

Now what am I talking about? Well, what I am talking about is what will the candidates for these two offices say about the cigarette excise taxes. I sent them copies of the tax work up that was done in conjunction with the Shawnee Smoking Task Force.

Since the number of packs being purchased have substantially (we're talking tens of millions of packs) declined the question that needs to be asked is what will make up for the lost tax revenue? Remember, the excise tax does not necessarily go towards smoking related issues or healthcare. Everytime the state needed money it was an easy target.

Some of the options are to increase the existing excise tax, increase another tax, create a new tax or cut back on services.

It will be interesting to see what these candidates have to say since their predecessors (State Sen Nick Jordan and State Rep Judy Morrison) did a Tijuana Two Step and avoided direct answers. You can view previous blog posts of mine on this subject and those two individuals. Jordan is now running for Congress and Morrison is retiring.

The candidates who got the letters, back-up info and questionnaires are:


Michael Bolton
Pete Roman
Mary Pilcher Cook
Sue Gamble


Mark Talia
August Bogina III
John Crabtree

The candidates were requested to return the questionnaires by 7/25. That way we can post them prior to the primary election. Any questionnaires received after that date will not be posted, as we don't want candidate's to have an unfair advantage and feed off of other candidate's responses.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rev Jesse Jackson, Medicine Man?

Need a legal opinion from someone.

The Rev Jesse Jackson was recently overheard to express a desire to perform a surgical procedure on Barack Obama. Specifically he was referring to testicular removal.

Would this be considered battery or practicing medicine without a license?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Shawnee's New Resident

Well, according to the KC Star, Phill Kline has now moved to Shawnee.

The address he lists with the JoCo Election Department is 6918 Marion St. That probably is much nicer than that apartment in the storage facility that he was living in, in Stilwell. Guess his family will have more room too out there on Marion Street.

Anyway, as a registered Republican I will be voting in the August primary, against Mr Kline.

When he ran for reelection as state Attorney General he was soundly defeated, not only statewide, but very heavily in Republican party dominated JoCo. Hopefully the republicans of JoCo will send him packing and undo what the precinct committee persons had done.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

City Budget and Cost Savings

It's in the papers, it's at council and council committee meetings, it's all over town.

The city is looking to initiate some cost savings plans for the 2009 budget.

Many folks have made suggestions, and apparently city staff is creating what could be some viable plans.

One thing that I feel needs to be looked at is an adjusted work week for some of the city departments. Many other cities, counties and even states are either looking at or have implemented the four day work week (10 hours per day) for certain departments. Usually the plan is to have half the department(s) work Monday-Thursday and the other half to work Tuesday thru Friday. This is not necessarily viable for all departments but could be for some. And, the departments would still be staffed five days. Some say that 4 days of 10 hours each can actually be more productive than 5 x 8. Plus another side benefit is that employees only have to drive to work 4 days instead of 5.

Would love to see a study on this to see if it is viable for Shawnee.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Trip Back in Time

Methinks it is time for a bit of travel back in time to September 2007.

For those of you who missed it, here is a post that you may want to read.
For those who have read it, it might be worth reading again.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

DC Dinner

You decide, read the article in the Shawnee Dispatch

One additional point: When asked for verification that the liquor was on a separate bill Mr Pflumm basically said because he said so. Strange, when he has questioned others and would not take statements at face value (from citizens, city staff and even other council members) his favorite statement is "show me".

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where Were the Colors?

Old Shawnee Days 2008 has come and gone. Many people put in lots of hours to make it another successful attraction for Shawnee. Congrats to all.

I only have one question: Where were the Colors? This year they were carried by the Sons of the Revolution, but they did not "step off" first.

OK folks.......I'm not going to get in the middle of which organization needed to be the first to march. Apparently there has been an ongoing dialogue about that.

What I am going to say is that, no matter which organization is first, the Colors need to "step off" first. Could it be the American Legion? Yes. Or a Color Guard of Shawnee safety personnel (FD and/or PD), a Guard or Reserve unit, or even the Color Guard from Ft Leavenworth as we are on part of the Old Military Road. Protocol, custom and tradition dictate that. The Colors should NOT follow behind any other marching unit.

For future reference, how about an invite to the mounted cavalry unit from Ft Riley? Part of their mission is to march in local and patriotic parades in Kansas.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Budget Meetings

Well, I couldn't stay for the entire presentation tonight. Various departments were making presentations to the Public Works & Safety Committee.

When the topic came up about council travel Mr Straub again made suggestions about how to cut it back.

It was at this point that Mickey Sandifer decided to get an item off of his chest and on the record. And, in my opinion he was definitely justified.

It seems that according to Mr Sandifer, when the council made its last trip to Washington DC, the council took our federal reps out to dinner. But, it appears that two of the council members decided not join the rest of the council, and on their own initiative took one staff member each of Sen Brownback and Sen Roberts to dinner. Mr Sandifer says that that dinner by the other two was at twice the cost of the council's own dinner. One thing we do know is that Mr Pflumm charged the city $392 for that dinner for himself, Straub and the two aforementioned senate staffers. These are also the two that are the most vociferous about others cutting back on expenses.

Ironically, Straub also claimed full per diem for that particular day. The least he could have done was to only claim breakfast and lunch per diem (like Pflumm did).

Question: Why did these two have to have their own dinner with the senate staffers?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sickening News

Was watching the early morning news today.

Phill Kline has decided to run for JoCo DA, after he had previously said he wouldn't.

Hey Phill, folks in Kansas didn't want you as Attorney General in the last election, and the folks in JoCo specifically also did not want you. By a fluke ya got the DA's job.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Possible TIF

Another item at the last council meeting was a possible TIF (tax increment financing district).

Mixed emotions on these things. More later on that aspect.

The item at the last council meeting was an agreeement between the city and a group for various studies, with the group paying the costs and no expenditure by the city. The group is made up of various individuals and one LLC. The kicker here is that the ownership info on the LLC is not public info, and according to the Secretary of State's office they are not required to file that info until 4/15/09. Or actually any time after 1/1/09 but no later than 4/15/09.

This could turn out to be a very viable, beneficial project, but again more on that aspect later. I personally just have problems with the hidden ownership element.

As it is now, it is just "being looked into". Let's see what happens after the "looking into".

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kevin Straub Comedy Hour (or 15 minutes anyway)

I just knew I could count on Councilmember Kevin Straub to liven up last night's meeting.

Let's set the scene. It's the end of the meeting when council members can bring up items that are not on the agenda. So, Straub decides he has an item which needs immediate attention.

He pontificates that with a budget crunch going on that the council itself needs to curtail its spending. He cites a budgeted amount of $45,000 for trips. He indicates that council members need to cut their trips from 3/year to one a year. The only way he visualizes a councilperson going on a 2d or 3d trip would be with preapproval from the council as a whole.

The trips he was referring to are like the recent National League of Cities trip to Washingto DC.
Now these trips do provide certain benefits. Education for our elected officials via classes and seminars. Various opportunities to meet and greet individuals that can provide positive input for business and economic growth for the city, etc.

Naturally, as in the past with other issues, Straub wanted a vote right now. No studies, no nothing. Most of the other council members indicated that with current budget presentations being scheduled that it would make more sense to analyze this item when it comes up at the appropriate budget meeting. Gee, now that makes sense. Naturally Straub got what he wanted, in that he can say he asked for a vote to cut council travel and got shot down.

One of the council members even accused Straub of grandstanding. Well, that observation is probably correct. I have obtained the figures for the council's trip to DC for the NLC conference.

Guess which city council person had the highest dollar expenditures? That's right, Kevin Straub, at $2,675.35 incurred the largest expenditure for this conference of all the members attending. The next highest was $2,328.42 and the lowest was $1,572.44

The average expenditure was $2,017.84 for the 8 individuals (Mr Goode did not attend).

Mr Straub recorded the highest dollar amount spent on lodging at $1,282.40. The next highest was $1,117.52 and the lowest was $512.96. If anyone is interested, the average lodging costs for the 8 individuals was $877.32.

Grandstanding? This man is in the left field bleachers. Maybe that is why there was a $55.95 internet charge to his expense report. The only individual that had one of those.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

So We Don't Forget

We must never forget


When you go to the first page, scroll down until you can click on the continue button

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Election Cycle

Ahhhhhhhh yes. It is coming soon.

Various state offices

Do not fear, there will be commentaries posted here.

Probably one of the first ones will be regarding the Dennis Moore/Nick Jordan Congressional race.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

5/12/08 Council Meeting

Quiet night. Meeting lasted not quite an hour and nothing really exciting happened.

No major discussions, and everything seemed pretty routine.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pflumm Pfails, Again

This was an unbelievable evening at the City Council. Early in the meeting the election of the Council President took place. The Council President fills in for the mayor when the mayor is absent, and, in a tragic situation would become mayor.

For whatever reason, Dan Pflumm allowed (or encouraged) Kevin Straub to place his name in nomination. Frank Goode seconded the nomination. He was rejected by the council 4-3.

Now, let's look at the background of this situation. On April 1, Pflumm ran against Jeff Meyers for mayor and lost. But, there were also four council members up for reelection. Pflumm actively recruited challengers to run against those four sitting council members. Challenging for public office is good. But is it smart for one council member to actively attempt to unseat four of his colleagues? Then, when all four are returned to office to think that they would want him to be their council president? The only thing that probably saved him from being defeated 5-3 is that one of the four councilmembers so challenged was absent this evening. The other member voting aginst him is not up for reelection until 2010 (just like him, Straub and Goode)

The questions that now beg to be answered are:
1. Can he be effective for his Ward I constituents?
2. If he chooses to run for reelection what chance does he have? In the mayoral election he lost in his own ward by approx. 60% to 40%.

His sanctimonious, arrogant attitude is going to continue to hurt him. But he can't see that.

Dawn Kuhn, of Ward III was nominated and was elected to the position.

Video at 11, or actually by scrolling down:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fox4's Reporting of Meeting

Fox4 had a reporter and video cameraman at Tuesday's meeting

Read their report , and click on the "Live" box under video (in the center grey square) for the video.

This is the link:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cell Phone Discussion II

Well, we tried. Tuesday's Public Works and Safety Committee meeting put a stop, for now, on a possible cell phone ban in Shawnee.

My primary concern was texting, particularly among youth. Councilmember Sandifer pointed out that last year's number (19) of accidents attributed to cell phone usage (2%) was low. Mathematically, he is correct. Chairman Sawyer agreed with Mr Sandifer as to how low the number was, but added a caveat "'s low, unless it's your kid. Then it's a big number."
Mr Sawyer's observation was right on.

Side note: Which city council member appeared to be using his cell phone/PDA to email/text or read some during the committee meeting? Guess it had to be pretty important stuff that it couldn't wait the one hour the meeting lasted. Or maybe the unit was on vibrate and he just wanted to see who called?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cell Phone Discussion

Some of you might remember that a few months back I addressed the council and asked them to consider restrictions on the use of cell phones in Shawnee.

At that time one of the council members asked that staff research it.

Well, staff has finished and the info is being brought to the Public Works and Safety Committee Meeting on Tuesday, 4/22/08 at 7PM.

For those of you who are concerned about this item, may I suggest showing up next Tuesday evening. Especially if you are concerned about our youths who have a tendency to use text messaging features while driving.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Is Commercial Development Really Helpful?

Much has been discussed recently about property taxes, commercial development and other related items.

That is why I find a recent article in the KC Star to be very interesting. The article can be viewed at

The item I found interesting was that Lenexa homes are valued at approximately 13% more than homes in Shawnee. Now, in the article that is appraised value, but the assessed valuations would have to follow the same pattern. On top of that, homeowners in Lenexa are also paying a higher mill levy than homeowners in Shawnee.

There are other interesting things to consider. Lenexa’s population is considerably less than Shawnee’s. And, it has a larger municipal work force.

Now here is the irony to all of this. Just drive anywhere in Lenexa and it appears that they have quite a bit more commercial development than Shawnee. So, why are its citizens paying more in property taxes with all of that commercial development? Could it be that tax abatements are actually hurting the city? Could it be that all of that commercial development in Lenexa is not carrying its share of city’s expenses so it is falling back on the home owners? Most of those businesses do not generate income (read that as sales tax) as retail expansion would.

And yet, there are certain infrastructure costs which have to be covered and which will increase as more commercial buildings are added. A Shawnee resident, Paul Cunard, wrote a very interesting letter to the Shawnee dispatch about this subject. It can be read at

Is it possible that commercial expansion could actually hurt rather than help the city?
Or, does the emphasis need to change as to exactly what kind of commercial development would be best?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What Happened Last Week?

As we all know, the incumbents in the Shawnee municipal election were returned to office.

Now, folks are going to offer a variety of reasons for this. So, I will offer my opinions.

The challengers all seemed to target the same issues. So, let's look at the three issues that appeared to be their primary focus:

A. The previous 17% property tax increase: While 17% is an extremely large number, when it is looked at in real dollars, is it really that significant? If I, as a high school drop out could see that the actual dollars were low, then apparently the more educated majority of Shawnee's citizens could also see that. The 17% amounted to approximately $8-$10 per month for the average homeowner in Shawnee. The average homeowner is paying approximately $60-$70 month for city services. Apparently, the majority of voters did not feel this was a major issue. Maybe, just maybe, they thought it was a fairly good deal.

B. Commercial development: Shawnee has been increasing the percentage of its tax base dedicated to commercial properties. Was this an issue? None of the challengers came up with any new ideas to increase or accelerate the trend that has been taking place. Even the KC Star made mention of that.

C. Smoking ban: Again, it would appear that a majority of Shawnee voters seemed to approve of the ban that went into effect. Some die hard opponents of smoking seemed to want to include those establishments that received exemptions under the new ordinance. Heck, virtually all "family friendly" establishments are currently covered. The "watering holes" are the ones that can apply for exemptions. Oh, and those that are concerned about the employees, it is just possible that most, if not all of the employees in the "watering holes" are smokers themselves. Was this an issue?

As in most elections, those that didn't prevail will sit around and try to determine what happened. Some will attempt to blame others. Some will attempt to analyze what they could have done differently. Did they zero in on the appropriate issues? Did they come up with new and innovative ideas? Did they come up with specific plans?
Why was the voter turn out low? Voter apathy? Voter satisfaction with the current situation? Low turn outs tend to favor incumbents. What was or wasn't done to excite the voters?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Looks Like the Incumbents Won

Looks like the 5 incumbents that ran for office were reelected.

Jeff Meyers, mayor, and council reps Cheryl Scott, Neil Sawyer, Dawn Kuhn, and Mickey Sandifer will all return for another four years.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Agendas & Special Interests II

Back in July of 2007 I posted a comment about these two terms and how they are misused, by just about everybody.

Agendas: Everybody has an agenda. Would a voter really want to cast a ballot for someone who didn't have an agenda? Don't voters want to know what candidates for office have in mind? Why is having an agenda a negative? Let's use the concealed carry law that went into effect here in Kansas. By letting folks know where they stood on this subject then the voters could vote for/support those candidates whose agendas were in line with the particular voter.

Special Interests: Same thing here. Using the concealed carry issue, those organizations that supported the idea also supported politicians that thought the same. And, the reverse is true. Organizations that were against the idea supported politicians that thought like they did. Both types of politicians were supported by special interests.

Rather than use these terms as negatives, use them for information.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

KC Star Endorses Meyers

In an editorial today, the Kansas City Star has endorsed Jeff Meyers for re-election.

The article can be read by going here:

The article is also copied below:

"Jeff Meyers deserves second term as Shawnee mayor

Two experienced elected officials face off Tuesday in the Shawnee mayoral race.
Mayor Jeff Meyers has made a strong case that he deserves to be re-elected in his contest against City Council member Dan Pflumm.

Meyers, a teacher and head football coach at Olathe East High School, previously had served on the City Council for almost 10 years before his election as mayor in 2004.

Pflumm, president of a company that sells hardware and software to manufacturing facilities, has been on the council for six years.

As mayor, Meyers has not shied from controversial decisions. One of his toughest came in 2006, when he broke a tie on the City Council and voted to raise property taxes.

The increase, strongly backed by the city staff, was necessary to pay off Shawnee’s debt and to keep a strong general fund balance for unexpected expenses. Pflumm voted against the tax increase.

Meyers and Pflumm both say it’s necessary to aggressively work to attract commercial development. While Pflumm criticizes the incumbent for not doing enough to woo businesses, Pflumm’s remedy — using public subsidies — isn’t exactly a bold idea. Shawnee has used tax abatements and other incentives in recent years.

Overall, Meyers has provided strong and stable leadership for Shawnee, especially with his backing of programs to maintain infrastructure. He deserves re-election."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm Confused

I went to last night's candidate's forum at SMNW HS.

Was confused by some comments made by two of the council challengers, Imgrund and Weigel.

Both seemed to want to control spending but could not or did not say how, or what they would cut. The answers were along the lines of they had not studied the info completely and/or they did not have the info that was available to the council.

First, copies of the budget are available to all.

Prior to the budget being approved, various presentations were made to the council committees and the council. The info is available in minutes of the meetings, and on CDs. Also, if someone had attended the meetings they could have gathered the info live, and even asked questions.

What info isn't/wasn't available? That's why I'm confused.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Challenger M.I.A.

Yesterday the Shawnee Dispatch held their first on line chats with candidates.

The first two scheduled were the Mayor, Jeff Meyers and the challenger, Councilmember Dan Pflumm.

Surprise, surprise........Dan Pflumm didn't show for his. Add that to his attendance record at council and committee meetings and one wonders would Mr Pflumm really be able to have the time for the mayor's job.

Torquemada Revisited

Last night's council session got real heavy at the end.

Kevin "Torquemada" Straub again went on an inquisition with the Parks Department.

And again, the mayor had to remind Mr Straub what the function of the council was in a Council/City Manager form of government. Confirmed by the City Attorney, the mayor advised Mr Straub that he was coming close to acting contrary to Kansas State law. Mr Straub apparently feels that as a councilman he can act with impunity and do whatever he wants.

Details? My fingers couldn't handle all the typing. Read the minutes when they come out. Better yet, get the CD and listen to it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Does Candidate Shoot From the Lip?

I’m really confused by some of Ward III challenger Bob Dyche’s recent comments to the Shawnee Dispatch.

One of his suggestions for financing a western aquatic center/pool would be to partner with the school district. That would be the DeSoto 232 District wouldn’t it? Well, just scroll down to a previous post “Pflumm’s Pfantasy” and look at residences C & D. These are in the 232 area. Their school taxes are almost 3x higher than the city’s taxes. Would the district really want to expend funds for this? This from a school district that has been unable to pass bond issues intended for building expansion, etc. I don’t understand the thought process here. Maybe that is one of the reasons why the voters in 232 did not elect Mr Dyche to the school board?

Another thing that makes me question his thought process is this statement of his:

“Dyche said the city needed the revenue from taverns, and a total ban could drive them out. But he said he doesn’t approve of using food sales percentages to discern what businesses can have smoking as in the current city ordinance. He would rather taverns be defined in some other way, set apart as places patrons visit specifically for drinking alcohol, unlike Chili’s or Applebee’s”

Needless to say I am not in favor of smoking restrictions. What I question is Mr Dyche’s wanting to use another method other than food percentages to differentiate between taverns (bars) and restaurants. Apparently he hasn’t done his research. All establishments that serve alcohol for on premises consumption must also serve food, by state law. The magic number is 30%. The city ordinance says, less than 33% in food sales then it can be a smoking establishment . Personally, I would have preferred to see 35%-40%. A low food sales percentage would indicate a primary drinking establishment where food is a side item. A high percentage indicates a dining establishment, where alcohol is a side item. The fact that he doesn’t offer an alternative is what concerns me.

His comments can be read at:

Friday, March 21, 2008

More Misleading Info

Ward IV council candidate Frank Imgrund is following in the footsteps of Dan Pflumm in misleading voters.

In various media interviews he keeps harping on the 17% property tax increase. Please see the info in the post below "Pflumm's Pfantasy" to see what that translates to in dollars.

Also, in the below post we talk about commercial development. Do we want what Lenexa has? More and more non-revenue producing commercial development which in turn has made Lenexa's mill levy higher than Shawnee's? Do Shawnee residents really want that? Apparently Imgrund and Pflumm do.

Then, they go on and on about how low Overland Park's mill levy is. Well, golly gee, look at the revenue producing properties that OP has. The retail (and not just restaurants), the hotels, all producing revenue. Sure OP has office building and techie type companies...........but they sure as heck have loads of sales tax generating businesses.

I sincerely hope that Shawnee residents (especially in Ward IV) do not fall for the bovine scatology being bandied about by Frank Imgrund, Dan Pflumm and the rest of the Pflummbuddies. If they were to get elected, we would have, as another individual once said, an idiocracy in our city government.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pflumm's Pfantasy

Dan Pflumm and his Pflummbuddies keep harping on the 17% increase in the city’s mill levy. What he is failing to do is to translate that percentage into actual dollars.

He is apparently relying on the following:
1. Many folks may not really look at their entire tax bill, and/or
2. Their initial reaction is to relate that percentage to the entire bill

Now, 17% does sound high. But let’s look at real numbers. Please keep in mind that homeowners pay higher property taxes for the school districts than they do for the city. When you add in the school bond issue taxes, those become even much higher. The “others” are JoCo, state, library, etc

Here is the info on 6 specific properties (these are real numbers). Property tax info is available online at the JoCo website if you have misplaced your copy. Check yours, and see what I am talking about.

Property A

Appraised & Assessed Value: $354,900 & $40,813
Total property tax: $ 4,586.62
City of Shawnee: $ 1,006.12
School Dist 512 : $ 2,076.62
Others: $ 1,503.88
If there was a 17% reduction in the city’s portion that would be $171.04/year or less than $15/mo. Did this homeowner get hit with an unreasonable increase for what our city provides?

Property B

Appraised & Assessed Value: $234,600 & $26,979
Total property tax: $ 3,062.77
City of Shawnee: $ 665.09
School Dist 512 : $ 1,357.12
Others: $ 1,040.56
If there was a 17% reduction in the city’s portion that would be $113.07/year or less than $10/mo. Did this homeowner get hit with an unreasonable increase for what our city provides?

Property C

Appraised & Assessed Value: $224,300 & $25,795
Total property tax: $ 3,652.36
City of Shawnee: $ 635.91
School Dist 232 : $ 1,797.39
Others: $ 1,219.06
If there was a 17% reduction in the city’s portion that would be $108.10/year or approximately $9/mo. Did this homeowner get hit with an unreasonable increase for what our city provides?

Property D

Appraised & Assessed Value: $244,600 & $28,129
Total property tax: $ 3,899.93
City of Shawnee: $ 693.45
School Dist 232 : $ 1,964.18
Others: $ 1,242.30
If there was a 17% reduction in the city’s portion that would be $117.89/year or less than $10/mo. Did this homeowner get hit with an unreasonable increase for what our city provides?

Property E

Appraised & Assessed Value: $236,400 & $27,186
Total property tax: $ 3,085.57
City of Shawnee: $ 670.19
School Dist 512 : $ 1,367.89
Others: $ 1,047.49
If there was a 17% reduction in the city’s portion that would be $113.93/year
or less than $10/mo. Did this homeowner get hit with an unreasonable increase for what our city provides?

Property F

Appraised & Assessed Value: $156,600 & $18,009
Total property tax: $ 2,074.69
City of Shawnee: $ 443.95
School Dist 512 : $ 890.61
Others: $ 740.13
If there was a 17% reduction in the city’s portion that would be $75.47/year
or less than $7/mo. Did this homeowner get hit with an unreasonable increase for what our city provides?

He keeps saying he wants more commercial development to take the burden off of the homeowner. Wow, is that why Lenexa with all of their commercial development has a higher mill levy than Shawnee?

Or could it be that the tax abatements given to commercial development put a strain on the homeowners to cover infrastructure costs. More commercial development means, among other things, more wear and tear on strets, more fire and police protection, etc etc.

Now, when that commercial development is non-income producing (no sales taxes generated) and they have abatements, it makes it worse for the homeowner. Are think tanks, research companies, and others that generate no sales revenue really that beneficial? They’re nice, they’re upscale, but do they help the economy of the city?

The city needs revenue generators, not fancy non-revenue generators.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Memory Chuckle

This is regarding the posting below about Dyche.

The night that Straub tried to emulate Pflumm and jam the OP oridinance down everyone's throat somebody pointed out an interesting item to him. Without an in depth review it appeared that one part of the OP ordinance could prohibit a certain annual event held by the Knights of Columbus. Straub in his wisdom, picked up a pencil and said something to the effect of "Well, we'll just cross that section out". And he "x'd" through the copy he held. Now, he and Pflumm wouldn't want any interference with those events, would they?

Anyway, there are blog entries here that are contemporaneous with the events when they happened.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dyche Misleads Voters in Ward III

Bob Dyche, challenger for Dawn Kuhn's Ward III city council seat is misleading folks in that ward on his website.

On the page: Mr Dyche makes the following statement, concerning Dawn Kuhn, that she:

"Voted against the smoking ban on 3 votes; then voted for it"

That is so misleading that, IMHO it borders on being an outright lie.

Now, let's talk about what happened. The council authorized the mayor to form a task force to look into the smoking issue. That was being done.

One evening, Dan Pflumm walks in and literally (that's right, literally, not figuratively) pulls the Overland Park smoking ordinance out of his back pocket and actually demanded that the council act on it. Mr Pflumm was attempting to circumvent a process that a majority of the council had voted for. He actually wanted Shawnee to pass the OP ordinance with no review by staff, no review by OUR city attorney and no review by the council. This same thing happened two more times, alternatively by Mr Pflumm and Mr Straub.

Did Dawn Kuhn vote against a smoking ban? No way. She voted against a spoiled brat trying to force another city's ordinance down the throat of Shawnee. She voted to preserve the process that the council had placed into being. She voted to preserve the integrity of the council and the city. And, apparently, a majority of the council agreed with her, that the process needed to be allowed to go forward to its conclusion. That we are Shawnee, NOT Overland Park.

After the task force did its job (to include a public hearing), and staff presented various proposals (with OUR city attorney's review), then she voted for what she thought was appropriate.

If Mr Dyche thinks that Ms Kuhn was wrong for her actions, and if he thinks the actions of Pfrick and Pfrack were appropriate then I feel sorry for the voters of Ward III if he was to be elected.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Candidate Withdraws

In a late afternoon posting yesterday, the Shawnee Dispatch reported that Kathleen Chipman Shamet has withdrawn from the race for Ward I City Council Rep. Info available at:

When reading the Dispatch's report of Ms Shamet's comments, it appears that Ms Shamet felt that she could not devote the time necessary to being a council rep. That is a very valid reason for withdrawing. If elected, the city and the specific ward would need someone who could devote the appropriate time. The current incumbent, Cheryl Scott, running for reelection, has definitely shown that she is willing to devote that time. That is good for Ward I.

The question though, still begs to be answered: When did Ms Shamet come to the realization of the time involved? Apparently not before filing to run. Could it be that prior to her filing she may have been misled by Dan Pflumm as to the time required? Anyone who attends council meetings on a regular basis has seen that Mr Pflumm has a penchant for showing up ill prepared. As if he hasn't put in the time to study the packet ahead of time for that particular meeting. That is, when he shows up. And that includes committee meetings too.

Anyway, Ward I will be well represented by Ms Scott.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bids and Requests for Proposals (RFPs)

Recently, Kevin Straub the Ward III council rep has let it be known how strongly he feels about the above subject.

With this in mind, it needs to be noted that the council will be taking its annual excursion to Washington DC for the meeting of the League of Cities. This is important.

Naturally the expenses of the council members are covered by the city (taxpayers) as they should be.

What happens when a married council member elects to take a spouse along? The answer is simple. The council person or the spouse covers the cost of the transportation, food, and any incidental expenses incurred by the spouse. Again, the way it should be. Now, when it comes to the hotel accomodations, that is also easily handled. The spouse gets to reside in the same room. That is because there is a contract. It is called a marital contract. And, it does not provide for any substitution of personnel as roommates. This is known as a sole source contract.

Now if the council person is single, like for example, Mr Straub, there is no sole source contract. As such, if he is desirous of having a roommate at city expense it should go out to bid, with the lowest bidder being awarded the contract for sharing the accomodations.

We have prepared an RFP, and.......wait a minute...........we might not need the RFP.

Seems like the bids have already come in. We have a low bidder.

The appropriate individual is pictured below and is the person who should accompany Mr Straub.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Pflumm Pfollower Misleads

Ron Weigel, challenger for the Ward II city council seat in Shawnee is following in the footsteps of Dan Pflumm by misleading voters, by repeating, verbatim one of Mr Pflumm’s grossly misleading statements.

In a recent article in the Shawnee-Lenexa section of the KC Star, Michael Kan, their reporter, posted some questions and answers by the Shawnee Ward II council candidates.

One of the questions was:

Q: What is your position on the passage of Shawnee’s recent smoking ban?

Mr. Weigel’s response was:

Weigel: A recent survey was done which showed 82% of the citizens of Shawnee were for a smoking ban. I feel that we need to listen to the citizens of Shawnee.

On various occasions Mr Pflumm has made the same statement and on other occasions that over 80% of JoCo citizens want a smoking ban. And he too referred to the survey.

The survey can be found, on line, at

I would challenge both Mr Weigel and his apparent mentor, Dan Pflumm to point out where in that survey does it say that 82% (or over 80% want a smoking ban).

Read the survey for yourself. Nowhere does it make that statement. It is a behavioral survey. But, the results have been twisted. Originally by Dan Pflumm, and now by his apparent follower to say something that it doesn’t.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Use It or Lose It

Did ya ever hear that expression before? Maybe you even used it yourself, sometime. :-) :-)

Last week we had a primary election in Ward IV of Shawnee.

Something even more important than the actual results jumped out at me. A total of 674 individuals voted (a combintion of early voting and poll voting on election day). Now, when you consider that Ward IV has 8,810 registered voters, that figure is a disgrace. That is less than 8%.

What this means is that 8,136 folks sat on their collective asses and did not exercise their right to vote.

It may be an old cliché but hundreds of thousands have died to preserve that right to vote.
Millions more have "stood guard", ready and prepared to do the same. Yet, 8,136 apathetic fools did nothing. Maybe these apathetic folks have never had to do anything to preserve these freedoms, and do not understand another cliché that "freedom isn't free". They've just been given these freedoms and, like other things they have been given, do not realize what it takes to preserve them. Have they ever lived in a society or spoken with someone who has, where the right to vote is nothing more than a dream?

When I say use it or lose it, I'm referring to the possibility that a small group of individuals could some day take that right away. It all starts with apathetic fools sitting home and not voting.
With the early voting procedures that are available in Johnson County it is even worse.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sandifer Takes Primary, Faces Imgrund in General Election

The unofficial results on the JoCo election web site have Mickey Sandifer the winner with over 56% of the vote.

Frank Imgrund came in second, and these two will now face off in the general election April 1.

To see the unofficial results, go here,

Mayor Spanks Straub

A late night at last night's council meeting.

I'm not going into all the details. Not enough time, not enough space.

The first item that involved lengthy discussion was an item concerning Widmer Rd. It is not going to be extended. Why can't the same logic that was used for this be used for other projects? Like Monticello Road? Basically, the residents on the road not wanting the changes.

Then we move on to the brouhaha.

Suffice it to say that Councilperson Straub had sent out volumes of email to other members of the council, the city staff and the media about what he perceived to be inappropriate activities in handling certain contracts.

Basically the mayor had to reiterate certain purchasing polices that are or were in effect, and that Straub was not following procedure for what is permissable at council meetings. Eventually he had to gavel him down. Apparently staff had attempted to sit down and review the policies with Mr Straub but he never had time to do so. Methinks he was trying to grandstand a non-issue, or to create an issue when none existed.

As for the media, apparently they found Straub's emails not worth considering. True, the Shawnee Dispatch and the Shawnee-Lenexa Sun reps were there, as usual. Didn't see the Shawnee/Lenexa rep for the KC Star. But, apparently Straub had contacted some of the major broadcast media. They didn't show up. Not one microphone or TV camera. Guess that just goes to show how much weight they give to Straub's rants. Did they not show because maybe, just maybe, they feel he lacks credibility?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Two Days to Go

Some folks have asked me about my previous posting.

Well, personally I am not in favor of Mr Imgrund. That leaves Paul Wohl & Mickey Sandifer.

This is a tough decision for me. I have found Mickey Sandifer to be conscientious about his position on the council. He participates in virtually all city sponsored events and has been actively involved in the community for many, many years.

Paul Wohl is new to community involvement. The one thing that stands out, is his military background. Individuals who attain "full bird" status are usually trained to make tough decisions. And, they are trained to accept responsibility should those decisions prove to be wrong. Since no councilperson can be right 100% of the time I find this to be an important trait.

As they say in horse races: "As they come down to the wire, it's Wohl by a nose"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ward 4 Primary - Tues Feb 26

OK folks it's coming down to the wire.

Next Tuesday is the primary for Ward IV. The two candidates with the most votes will go on to the general election on April 1st, and the candidate with the lowest number of votes will go home to lick his wounds.

My recommendation: Vote for either Mickey Sandifer or Paul Wohl and send Frank Imgrund home to lick his wounds.

Besides voting next Tues from 7AM to 7PM at your polling place, folks can vote early, in person, at the JoCo Election Office, today, Thurs & Fri 9AM to 5PM, Sat 9AM to 3PM and Monday 9AM to 12 Noon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Shawnee Mayor's Race

Well, the Shawnee Dispatch ran an article about the mayoral candidates. The article also included links to answers that the candidates gave to questions the Dispatch had asked.

The article is here:

Mayor Meyers’ answers are here:

Councilman Pflumm’s answers are here:

Pflumm is in a pfantasy world. To the question “What sets you apart from your opponent?” Pflumm replied “What sets me apart from my opponent is that I have experience selling and managing multimillion-dollar projects and I have the experience to bring major economic development projects to the City of Shawnee”

Who is he kidding? What sets him apart is that he doesn’t show up to as many meetings as the current mayor and when he does show up he is usually ill prepared. Maybe he’ll start showing up more often now, and maybe he’ll be more prepared going forward. Also, his comment about his experience needs to be verified. Using one of his favorite expressions: “Show me” He may have experience selling and managing multi million dollar projects but how successful is he at it? The company he owns is a privately held company. No public reports. Would he be willing to provide 5 years of audited and certified financials to back up his statement?

He gave a very simplified, canned answer to the question “What do you think the city should do about its economic development and efforts to bring businesses to the city?” His answer: “The City of Shawnee should greatly increase our efforts in economic development” Golly gee, a fifth grader could have come up with that. Maybe Pflumm needs to go on that new TV show.
:-) :-)

In reply to another question he said: “………Commercial properties pay a higher tax rate and provide the possibility of added sales tax revenue; commercial properties also attract dining establishments, which are desperately needed in Shawnee.” Are you sure about that? If you are granting these properties abatements, TIFs and other incentives up the old wazoo you are not going to get that income. Tax incentives bring in reduced income but certain infratructure costs have a habit of increasing......that's normal. As for restaurants………c’mon Pflumm open your eyes. Restaurants are one of the most volatile businesses to bring in. Many locations have revolving door effects. The location at SMP & Quivira which houses Bandanas is an example. How many restaurants have been there? Also, the location of Café Song. How many other restaurants have been there. And there are others. Or Kite’s. How many different ones have been there?

Nobody is perfect, and Mr Meyers is no exception. But, between the two of them I’d rather have Jeff Meyers as our mayor than Dan Pflumm. Click on the links above.

Read Jeff Meyers’ answers to the same questions. Well thought out and specific.

Pflumm’s answers remind me of how he prepares for a council meeting……….very limited.
Dan Pflumm needs to get a good spanking at the polls on election day, April 1st. I’m voting for Jeff Meyers

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Odor Is Getting Worse

Which is worse? The odors from a spoiled brat's diapers or the odor of an attempt to stack a city council with puppets?
Double click the image to see it larger

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pflumm's Elitist Attitude Surfaces

In an article in the KC Star, which can be read at Dan Pflumm's elitist attitude really surfaced.

The article states: "Pflumm said he plans to attract new developments to Shawnee with tax incentives. He said one idea is to create a tax break that would encourage engineers and scientists to live in Shawnee, improving the city’s employment base."

Tax incentives for scientists and engineers to live here? Golly gee Dan, it takes more than scientists and engineers to make up a city. Oh wait a minute, aren't you an engineer by training? Yeah, you are. See his bio at

This elitist, arrogant attitude is exactly what Shawnee does NOT need in a mayor. Is Pflumm really concerned about the city? Or is this just a personal ego trip that he is on? If he cared, he'd show up to council meetings prepared. Probably he'll do that now, before the election. But why hasn't he done that all along?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Smokers Cost Government Less

That's right, smokers, and obese folks, cost the government less money in the long run, both in health costs and social programs.

See info in today's KC Star

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Ward 4 Primary Candidates

Last week I sent the three council candidates some questions. They were asked to return them by yesterday.

As things would go, only one, Paul Wohl returned his answers. One thing I like about him, is that his background would indicate a person trained to make decisions. The thing I find funny is that as a Ward IV resident one would think that the other candidates would have been responsive. Makes me wonder. Mickey Sandifer has never ignored any queries in the past.

What about Frank Imgrund? Rumor on the street is that he is being pushed by Dan Pflumm. Now that could be bad. Does Shawnee need more Pflumm puppets on the council?

Right now, my opinion would be to vote for either Wohl or Sandifer in the primary. Then those two can battle it out in the general election.

Candidate's Replies 4th Ward Primary 2008
Education background No Response Civilian
Bachelors of Science, University of Nebraska, 1972
Masters, Science of Management, 1996
United States Army War College, 1998
No Response
Business background No Response I have been working in the energy industry, natural gas and electricity, for 21 years assisting utilities, municipalities, and power generators in optimizing their assets and managing price risk. The companies I have worked for are Aquila Energy, Shell Oil, and am currently a Vice President at XL Weather & Energy.No Response
Civic background No Response Military
Colonel (Retired) - 30 years of service active duty and Nebraska Army National Guard (primarily). Senior positions held - Deputy STARC Commander, Battalion Commander, Brigade Executive Officer
No Response
For incumbent: Why are you running for reelection? No Response N/AN/A
For challenger: Why are you challenging?N/AThe same issues continue to confront the city and I believe a fresh perspective can help resolve them. No Response
Who do you support for mayor? No Response I think Jeff Meyers is doing a good job.No Response
In the other 3 council districts who do you support?No ResponseIn Ward 1 Cheryl Scott does a great job. She researches the issues and votes with integrity.No Response
What is your vision for Shawnee in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?No Response The vision I see for Shawnee is a beautiful, vibrant, fiscally sound, family oriented city that is the prime community in the area.No Response
What will it take to make your vision(s) a reality?No Response WORK! First, we need to be fiscally sound (get revenues and expenses in alignment); second, target the businesses we want in Shawnee and get them; third, responsible development and infrastructure enhancementNo Response
Do you feel that tax incentives are being used effectively to attract new or expanding businesses to Shawnee?No Response Tax incentives can be an effective tool to attract quality business and residential development to Shawnee. However, the key to their effectiveness is to have clearly defined goals prior to their implementation, followed by detailed analysis to determine if they meet revenue objectivesNo Response
Miscellaneous commentsNo Response As a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board I have seen first hand the dedication, work ethic, and quality of the people working for the City of Shawnee; in addition, I have also seen the character of our citizens through the volunteers and participants at several city functions. We have what it takes to reach our goals, with leadership we can do it!No Response