Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Voter Apathy, Again

What I am about to say will probably upset and even anger many Shawnee residents.

We have local elections coming up. If past history is any indication, 85-90% of Shawnee residents will sit on their butts and find a variety of excuses for not voting. Yet when the Presidential election comes around there will be an extremely high voter turn out.

Well folks, apparently the highly educated citizens of Shawnee fell asleep in their civics classes. It is local government that has the MOST effect on your daily lives. From property taxes to street repairs. From sales taxes to fire & police protection. I could go on and on and on.

The various excuses will be heard: “I don’t have time”, “My vote doesn’t count”, “I didn’t know”, “I forgot”. Then, when something bothers them they will bitch and complain. But, they won’t do anything to get involved in the beginning. They won’t study the candidates. They won’t follow what the council does. They’ll just wait. Usually until it’s too late to do anything. But ask these same folks who they support for President and they’ll bend your ear.

Last I heard employers are required to provide time for folks to vote. Last I heard there are provisions for in person and mail early voting. There is NO reason not to vote. Just apathy. And that is not valid. Also, if you support what your local elected official is doing, then you also need to vote to keep that person around. “How did so-and-so not get reelected? They were doing a good job.” Well, did you vote for their reelection? No!!! There’s the answer.

We have a pretty good process in place in this country. Use it, or quit bitching about what does or does not happen locally.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

O.R.C.H. 1/28/08

O.R.C.H. (Overheard in the Restroom at City Hall)

"Oh puppetmaster I am sooooooooo sad"
"Why are you sad puppet?"
"Last weekend, nobody from the council wanted to sit with us at the Chamber dinner. I felt abandoned, again."
"Do not feel sad puppet. I am working on a plan to change that. I have a select group of cronies, folks that will be like you, puppets on the council. We have to work to elect them. "
"Will I still be your number one puppet?"
"Yes you will."
"Oh goody. Thank you puppetmaster. May I kiss your ring now?"
"Yes you may, as long as you don't slobber all over it"
"Thnak you puppetmaster"
"You may rise now"

Monday, January 28, 2008

KC Star Artilcle 1/22/08 - Elections

This is wild.

See the article at

What is really neat is that there are almost two pages of comments posted. One person even made reference to this blog. I just had to thank them for that.

Also, the article was inaccurate in that it indicated that there was no challenge for Ward III.

In an email, Loren Stanton said there would be a correction. Haven't seen it yet


Yepper, it's that time again

Democratic Caucus 2/5/08
Republican Caucus 2/9/08

See post below for Jo Co Election office. Times and locations are listed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Potpourri - 1/27/08

Just a couple of items:

  1. The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps will be holding their first national conference in KCMO on Feb 1, 2008 at the Uptown Theater, 37th & Broadway. With all the fuss about this organization I still don't know why folks didn't complain about the Guardian Angels recruiting in KCK & KCMO.
  2. The questionnaires have been sent to the 4th Ward primary candidates. They have been requested to return them by Friday 2/1. I would like to have the answers on this site next weekend since the primary 1s 2/26.
  3. Go to and check your polling place if you are in Ward 4. They have changed. The election office will also be sending out postcard info
  4. If you are unable to vote in person on election day, then early in person and mail voting is available. The above site has the info. Regardless, get out and vote. Quit making local elections the low turnout embarrassments that they have been. Remember, approximately 90% of what affects you occurs at the local governmental level.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Verification - Smoking Bans Hurt Business

The St Louis Federal Reserve Bank has recently published info that shows that smoking bans have a negative effect on sales in drinking/eating establishments and the corresponding collections of sales taxes.

Go to the link below and see what the Fed says. They also provide info specific to Columbia, MO

The Houston Chronicle picked up the AP (Associated Press) story on this and went a little more in depth about Columbia, MO

Will be interesting to see how our ban affects sales and taxes here. Will also be interesting to see if the folks who wanted this and the "outsiders" go out more often to compensate for any loss of revenue.

If there is a proven loss of sales and the corresponding taxes, what remedies will the supporters of the ban recommend?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mayoral Candidates

So, Dan Pflumm filed to run for mayor.

The thought of this narcissistic, arrogant control freak as mayor makes my stomach churn.
So much so, that I was tempted to ask my doctor to increase the dosage of my Prevacid®.

Anyway, more on this later. After I finish barfing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ward 4 Primary

In the next few days I will be sending out some questions to the 3 candidates who have filed to run in Ward 4. Their responses will be posted on this blog. The top two vote getters in the primary will move on to the general election in April.

After the primary election, the same thing will then be done for all candidates running for mayor and council.

The primary is Feb 26, 2008 and it is very important that folks get out and vote. Quit worrying about the Presidential election. Probably 90% of what affects our daily lives is handled at the local level, and unfortunately those are traditionally the elections with the lowest voter turn out.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

O.R.C.H. 1/14/08

O.R.C.H. (Overheard in the Restroom at City Hall)
"Wow, this was tough. I couldn't say too much tonight. My puppetmaster wasn't here. Oh puppetmaster, why have you forsaken me? Please return soon. I try so much to be like you. I even came to the meeting tonight unprepared. You know, not having read the packet ahead of time. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? Hmmmmm, how do I wash my hands without somebody pulling my strings?"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Citizens DO Make A Difference

Interesting happenings at this past Monday's council meeting.

The Planning Commission had recommended that the council approve the new Holiday Inn over on Midland Drive near I-435. This could be a very welcome addition to the city.

A group of residents that live in an adjacent sub-division had some very valid concerns and questions. Each and everyone who spoke appeared to have their ducks in a row. Their questions and comments seemed to be, for the most part, specific, rather than general. Various council members also jumped in with some very good questions.

To make a long story short (the minutes will eventually be posted), the council turned down the project, at this time. A motion was then made to send the item back to the Planning Commission, to get the answers to these various questions. The item could then come back to the Council, and if the answers are the right ones, will probably be approved. The process appears to be working. At least with this item.

I was a little concerned about one comment that was made. When the vote was being taken to send the item back to the PC, Councilmember Kuhn voted for it (to keep the project alive, that's good) but said something to the effect that she thought all the questions had been answered. Not from where I was sitting they hadn't been. As Mr Sawyer had previously pointed out even the question about the size of the hotel patio had 3 different answers. This could be important because it could involve folks socializing, with alcohol, in close proximity to the housing area. Large crowds might not necessarily be in the resident's interest. The patio size could affect the number of people using it for that function.

This project, if followed to fruition, could be extremely beneficial to the city. But, the applicant does need to address the concerns of those individuals that will eventually become the hotel's neighbors.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Monticello Resident's Letter - Ross Murphy

Here's a letter from Ross Murphy, a long time Monticello resident:

On December 14, Matthew Schmitz, a Shawnee civil engineer and Mrs.Easterwood, an appraiser working for Shawnee, came to examine my property at 71st and Monticello Road.

They want to obtain an easement for two years that will let them park trucks and excavation equipment on my front lawn and to dump rubble on it for the same period, until they can use it elsewhere.

I examined their latest map and saw an ominous addition. There is now shown a projected island blocking my driveway. I asked Mr. Schmitz how I was to exit my driveway if I wanted to go north, considering that the island would block my left-turn exit, or to go south, as this would require me to back and fill in the soon-to-be busy boulevard.

His answers were that it would be both too dangerous and too illegal.I asked what was the rationale for having an island so injudiciously placed. I asked other embarassing questions. He couldn't answer my questions at the time, which I could understand, as my questions have no logical answers.

Mr. Schmitz told me that he or his project manager would respond to my questions, by letter, that is, in writing. Twenty-two days of my diminishing life have now passed away without a response. In corporate America, where long did I labor, an inquiry from a customer or a stockholder required an answer within three days. No responsible organization wants to risk losing a customer or a part owner, because
they are the ones who fund the salary system of the organization. This is why they are treated so politely and carefully. Of course, they wouldn't have to be so polite if they were taking the money at the pistol's point.

This is assuredly so, even though I am a good customer, paying Shawnee many thousands of dollars each year, almost $140,000 so far for the past 38 years. I am also a part owner of Shawnee, as evidenced by my deed.

I'm a good citizen too, having worked for no pay for six years, day and night, as a fire fighter. I'm a good citizen of our motherland also, having volunteered to risk my life for four years on the high seas in time of war.

Surely by now the project manager has had the time to question why such a hazardous impediment should be installed to block the passage of automobiles, trucks, school buses and bicyclists right in front of a good customer's driveway. So why not take a few minutes to tell me?

But thus it is with almost all the questions posed without answer to the denizens of the craziest building on Johnson Drive, the Shawnee City Hall. None of the customers in the Monticello area are given answers to questions; answers that are kept secret from the citizens, that will require millions of dollars of additional taxes from the people of our town to solve. Once the digging starts, and the answers are grudgingly revealed, more money will be demanded at the pistol's point, because
the juggernaut, once it starts to roll down Monticello Road, cannot be stopped.If they cannot afford the postage, which I also understand, why not have my letter delivered to me by the omnipresent surveyors and flag planters to which we are and have been, paying millions?

I have asked my chosen agent, councilwoman Michelle Distler, who is always prompt and polite, and honest, as those with the secret information allow her to be, to inquire of the people who draw the maps, that are then turned into lovely concrete, why I have had no response. I hope they will show to her the same courtesy I extended to the "engineer" those many weary weeks ago who wants to drive the
trucks and dump the rocks on my front lawn.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Budget Shortfalls??

In a recent article in the Shawnee Dispatch the City Manager expressed concern about the possibility of revenues for 2008 not being what was projected.

I find that hard to believe. Actually I expect revenues to far exceed projections. Why? Because of all those folks who said they would eat out more often if Shawnee passed a smoking ordinance.

Well, the ordinance has been passed. Yes, there are some bars that are exempt. But, I am talking about restaurants. You know, those family friendly places where the ban advocates said they would take their families to eat more often. If the numbers supplied by the ban advocates (especially council members Pflumm and Straub) hold true, then Shawnee should be swimming in extra revenue. Maybe even enough to drop mill levies?

I also expect John Beal, editor of the Shawnee Dispatch to start pushing "eat out more often" articles and maybe even some freebie ads for the restaurants. Heck, he has been patting himself on the back for pushing that ordinance. It's a wonder he hasn't torn a rotator cuff. The same holds true for other publications that pushed for the ordinance (Shawnee-Lenexa Sun and the Shawnee-Lenexa version of the KC Star).

Also, where are all those "outsiders"? Like the head of the JoCo Health Department, various clean air groups, etc etc. Are they going to bring their families into Shawnee and contribute to our economy.

Sales tax revenue from each restaurant is confidential information. But, sales tax revenue from all restaurants is not. Rest assured that at the end of each calendar quarter I will be requesting open records information regarding tax revenue from restaurant sales. This information will be requested by quarterly comparisons and year to date comparisons against last year.

OK ban advocates. Time to start putting your money where your mouths are (no pun intended).
Get out to those restaurnats and do what you said you would do.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Overheard in the Restroom at City Hall

"Hey, Herr Puppetmaster, ya need to stop pulling so hard on the string attached to my hand."

"Why do you say that puppet?"

"Well, when you jerked on it, I was urinating and now it's all over the wall and the ceiling"

"So what?"
"Well, that is kind of messy"

"Prove it!"

"Just look at it, it's messy."

"No problem. We can say it's emergency flood damage and then call in the guys from the parks department to clean it up. "

"Will they do that?"

"They have to"


"Because I'm important and I say so"

"Are you really that important?"

"Sure I am. There's a street named for me."

"I thought that was one of your ancestors"

"Shut up puppet. It is what I say it is."

"Yes Herr Puppetmaster. Anyway, what other department do we want to try and destroy?"

"I will have to give that some thought. Anyway, it's a good thing you didn't hit one of the vents. That stuff would have blown back on you"

Tune in after the middle of the month for the next adventures of Puppetmaster & Puppet, live from Shawnee KS.

Paul Morrison.....A Disappointment

Some folks have asked me why, since I have been critical about Mr Kline, I haven't said anything about Paul Morrison. The answer is easy: it hurts.

Paul Morrison was a very respected DA in Johnson County (and actually in the rest of the state). So much so, that even when he switched to the Democratic Party, republicans still stood by him in huge numbers to trounce Phill Kline in the Attorney General election.

So, now what happens. Morrison gets caught in an extra marital affair. And with someone in his office. That is stupid. Plain stupid. Old expression: "you don't s**t where you eat"

Now his former paramour has lodged a sexual harassment claim and the JoCo DA wants to investigate the possibility that Morrison used his affair for illegal access/influence to happenings in the DA's office.

First..............the sexual harassment claim. Definitely going to have to see how that plays out. Didn't she consent to it for over two years? Is it harassment or is it the revenge of a scorned woman? Could be interesting.

As for the alleged improprieties about access to the DA's office inner investigation is probably justified. Need to wait for the results.

If Morrison was unhappy at home, he did have a choice. He could have pulled a "Giuliani". Get a divorce and find a new love. But, don't play around (especially when you are a high profile individual) and not in your own backyard.

Paul Morrison will be missed for his prosecutorial acumen. The worst part of it is that he caused it himself. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Monticello, Again

At the last couple of council meetings the question has again been brought up: What is the status of the natural gas pipeline with regards to Southern Star and the Monticello project?

As of the last council meeting nothing had been resolved. Only conjecture.

Here's my take. Very simply, there is not enough info available for folks to make an intelligent decision, city or residents.

Nobody knows if enough land is being taken over, or if enough houses are being bought out in their entirety.

Nobody knows who will pay for any additional lands, if needed. Nobody knows who will pay for the pipe relocation.

How can the homeowners make informed decisions about their property and the appraisals and offers? How can the city move forward without knowing if this project could cost the city bunches more than planned?

The whole issue of the pipeline has to be resolved so that ALL parties have ALL the facts.