Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tonganoxie Proves a Point

And what is that point? Apathy. Voter apathy.

Earlier this week the citizens of Tonganoxie voted to permit alcoholic beverage sales on Sunday.
Personally, I agree with that.

But, that is not the point. The point is the vote totals.

The measure passed 250 to 132. OK that means that 65.4% of those who voted approved the issue.

Now, when you consider that Tonganoxie has 2,897 people registered to vote that then means:
a. only 13.28% of eligible voters bothered to vote
b. 8.6% of the eligible voters made the decision for the entire city

We see a similar trend in elections here, especially when the election is just for city offices.

What a waste of a freedom that many have died for. Don't just gripe about things.......go to the polls. Get involved.

Have a comment about this item? Post it at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Slight Mistake

But, it has been corrected.

Regarding the interactive forum I set up at

When I set that up it was supposed to be done so that anybody could view the commentary, without a password or ID. The only people who would need passwords and IDs would be those who wish to add comments.

Well, I found out today, that even guests were being asked to create an account before viewing the forum.

That has been corrected. Passwords and IDs are not needed just to view.

My apologies to those who wanted to read the items but could not. Please try again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Red, Yellow & Green (part 2)

Received an anonymous email that said:

"City staff had suggested this several times over the past few years. It was not her idea."

That was with reference to the Shawnee Dispatch comment that council rep Kuhn had recommended the item as a budget cut.

Interesting. Does anybody have any additional info on this?

Let me know or post it at :

Sex, Lies and DVDs

Did that title get your attention? Hope so. Wrong topic, but wanted ya to read this.

Franchise Fee Follies

Yep, more on this subject. In a recent letter to the editor of the Shawnee Dispatch former council member and county commissioner John Segale had some negative comments about the franchise fee. He was right. Yours truly also voiced some of the same comments at the council meeting. A small mill levy increase would have resulted in a lower cost to the citizens. Even had a chart showing that. As previously mentioned in this blog (and Segale’s letter) certain individuals are relying on people transferring the responsibility for increased costs with their utility bills to the companies rather than the taxing authority.

Mickey’s Monkey

Council member Mickey Sandifer has a monkey on his back. It’s called the misleading monkey. At least that is what it appears to be to me.

Let’s start at the budget approval council meeting. Sandifer made an impassioned statement that he was concerned about medical response times for those in need if the budget as such was not approved. The comments seemed to be focused on the senior citizens of the community. This is traditionally, the group with more health problems, including life threatening illnesses. Well, I don’t remember seeing anything in the budget that would reduce emergency services. Additionally, ambulance services are provided by Johnson County Med Act. Now it is true that our fire department also provides first responder activity, but again, I didn’t see anything about a reduction in those services. Also, what happens if the units closest to your residence are on another call? Well, a unit from another station could (and does respond). This also includes responses by units from other cities as the result of our mutual assist agreements.

For those who don’t know me, I am one of those senior citizens with potentially life threatening illnesses. Yes, I am over 62, have hypertension, diabetes, and a history of being a guest at Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

Mickey’s Other Monkey

Now we come to the night the council voted on the franchise fee. Apparently some of Sandifer’s fellow council members had received citizen input that he (Sandifer) had intimated that if the franchise fee was not implemented that the city could face litigation.
Sandifer claimed it was a couple of people who misunderstood him. His fellow council members indicated that it was substantially more than just a couple. Hmmmm, interesting. Now where did this supposed litigation come from?

Also, it was brought out that one person was upset because after emailing Mickey, he (Mickey)showed up unannounced at their residence. When confronted with that Mickey actually went ballistic and shouted out words to the effect that “If you email me I’m going to show up”. Wrongo Mickey baby. If someone emails you, you can email them back, call them, or send a snail mail. But you have no right to show up unannounced at their residence.

If you want to comment on this blog post (or any blog post) go to and click on the Blog Commentary section..

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Red, Yellow & Green

In an article this past week, viewable at the Shawnee Dispatch reports action by the city on how the city can save $49K a year by buying rather than leasing certain traffic signals.

A thumbs up to Ron Freyermuth, DPW and Mark Sherfy, Traffic Engineer.

What made me chuckle though was this line in the above referenced article:

Researching the feasibility of buying traffic signals and street lights the city currently leases from KCP&L was one of several cost-saving measures Council member Dawn Kuhn had requested the city research.

Golly gee willikers, was Ms Kuhn the only one of eight (nine if ya count the mayor) that made cost cutting suggestions? Or was she the only one that suggested this particular item?

If anybody wants to email me with an answer to the above two questions, I’ll be happy to post those answers here. One request………keep the answers short, and to the point.

Just click on this link:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Bunch of Stuff

Got a bunch of stuff to comment on:

School Crossing Guards

An issue in Lenexa as evidenced by this item in the KC Star

Is still an issue here in Shawnee. At a city council meeting it was mentioned that parents might want to volunteer. Apparently this was an idea by several council members and members of the community.

Another member of the community suggested that the city also look into the feasibility of the AAA school crossing guard program. Not a bad idea if I say so myself. :-) :-)

See some of the comments posted to the above referenced KC Star article, after the article.

None of your business

Those were the words uttered by council rep Sandifer when council member Straub inquired about some travel expenses that were listed on the bill payment list this past Monday.

OK, Straub asked some questions that probably could have best been answered by staff prior to the meeting. But when he did inquire about some travel expenses by Sandifer, I felt that Sandifer's reply was out of line. There is no love between these two members of the council.
But, council member's travel expenses are everybody's business, other council members and citizens of the community. Personally, I feel that Mr Sandifer owes the council and the city an apology for that comment.............and an explanation now. Will the written copy of the minutes show that comment? Or will one have to listen to the CD?

Check out the forum

Don't forget to check out the on-line forum. You can respond to items already posted, or you can start a thread of your own on a topic that you choose.

This is one way to get people to interact, and to let others know where they stand on issues.
It can be reached by going to

Side note to city staff

Setting up your own forum could be one way to get the citizen feedback about the trash issue, other issues, and even be used as a Q & A area for other services. Comments were made at council meetings that the staff was trying to figure out a way to get that input. Many companies use that format for that purpose. Computer software companies especially. They use it as on line "help". Naturally, a software package, integrated into the city's web site would probably be preferablt to the one I set up

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Trashy Trash Talk

Ahhhh yes............the trash hauling issue.

Are we having fun yet?

Anyway, I have started a thread on the new forum about this. The idea being to get citizen input and commentary.

To view this please go here: then click on Shawnee and then the actual thread.

Anybody can go to the forum and read any of the posts. You do have to register though to post a comment. If used properly a forum like this can be a great way for people to get involved and state how they feel. Oh, that includes local elected officials. Feel free to sign up and post your commentary too.

Also, anybody who registers for the forum can also start their own converstations (threads).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Forum

A few people have asked me about feedback on the blog.

Basically, this blog was set up so that I could post my thoughts. There have been times when items sent to me by others have been posted here.

In an attempt to create interaction among Shawnee residents I have set up a separate forum.

It can be found by going here:

If used properly we could probably get some interesting debates/conversations going.
Debates can get emotional. People can feel very strongly about their ideas. The one basic request is that the debates be conducted in a civil manner

The Irony of Hypocrisy

This past Tuesday the city council's finance and administration committee reviewed the info concerning possible changes in trash hauling and recycling.

A brief description of additional info that the committee and the public asked about can be seen at

The staff had recommended Model 4 out of 5 models reviewed. Info on that can be found at

Now, on to the subject matter. Third ward council rep Dawn Kuhn made it clear that she was in favor of the city setting up some type of vehicle for the community to be able to voice their opinions. Cool. Something needs to be done along those lines.

But here's the big bite..........when her wardmate set up a site on line she was one of the more vocal critics of his action.

Granted, his site was focused to try and find out how many people would prefer choice of hauler over a city designated single source. But, it still provided a place for individuals to voice their opinion. Did the fact that over 600 people have already posted on Straub's site have anything to do with her embracing the idea of getting comments from the public?

Oh well, such is life.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Was It Political?

Yepper, we're still going to be talking about that 5% franchise fee. Probably for quite some time.

Here is an interesting item. It is from an article in the Shawnee Dispatch. The full article can be read here:

"Meyers and some other Council members also insisted they weren’t making the decision for political reasons but for the best interest of the city. The terms of the four Council members who voted in opposition end in April next year."

Was that a little editorializing or side taking instead of reporting? Decide for yourself. Was that an insinuation that the four council reps who voted against the franchise fee did so because they are up for reelection next year? Check their records.

Maybe the reverse is true. Maybe those who voted for it would hope that the citizens of Shawnee would forget about it by the time they came up for reelection (2012). Maybe, they thought that folks would start blaming the utilities for the increased amounts and not the city council. Remember, as previously pointed out, how council rep Kuhn already indicated that folks when looking at relocating would be more likely to compare mill levies rather than franchise fees.

Welllllllll, I'll make a political statement. Three years from now when utility costs have skyrocketed and the 5% franchise fee far exceeds anything that a modest mill levy increase would have cost the citizens, remember who voted for it. Also, remember which council member came up with scare tactics to justify the franchise fee. I know I will.

Solid Waste - Trash Hauling

OK we go again.

Tuesday, Sep 8, 2009 the Finance & Administration Committee will be discussing this item.

Eventhough certain council reps give lip service to listening to the public, it is obvious that some of them do not.

Eventhough no final decisions are made at these committee meetings it is important for folks to turn out to let the council committee know how they feel.

Basically, do you want a single hauler, chosen by the city or do you want the opportunity to choose who hauls your trash?

The following two items of information are available on line:

Solid Waste Report

Staff Report and Recommendation

Folks who read this, may want to pass the info on to those of their friends, family and neighbors who might not be aware of this meeting.

Show up, be heard.

Curious, which council reps will eventually use bovine scatological scare tactics to get people to see things their way?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Local Interactions

A couple of folks and I were discussing the interactions between members of governing bodies and the population, specifically in small cities like Shawnee.

Sometimes, there can be conflicts of interest or perceived conflicts of interest. When that happens the member of the governing body that might have that conflict usually recuses themself from involvement.

I remember one incident where council rep Straub excused himself from the discussion and vote on an item concerning Town & Country Villas. He actually exited the council chambers, and returned when the next item came up. He did the right thing.

When a member of the governing body has a direct interest in an item, or a member of their family does, then the actions like what Straub did are the acceptable way of handling it.

Next, the folks I was talking to were kicking around the idea of what if someone came before the council needing something (special use permit, zoning variance, abatement etc). And what if that person and a member of the council were not related, the council person had no financial interest in the item, but they had a strong personal relationship (weekly golfing partners, bowling partners, a business relationship separate from the item like doctor/patient or insurance agent/insured party, work supervisor/subordinate, romantic involvement, etc).

Anyway, we couldn't come to a consensus as to what would be the right way for the situation to be handled.

So, here's the challenge to the readers of this blog. If you have thoughts on this, please click here and email me with your thoughts. The responses might be posted here. Please keep the responses to 50 words or less.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

City Responds to State Rep Donohoe

The city responded to State Rep Donohoe's comments about the money that he claimed was available.

I am unable to post pdf documents here, so I had to do an image capture of the letter. As such there are actually two photos below that make up the letter. If you place your cursor over either section and click, that portion of the letter will open in another window, and larger, so it is easier to read: