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.