Monday, May 31, 2010

Those Who Serve, To Protect and Defend

Today is Memorial Day, and all across the country many words were being spoken to honor those who gave their all in defense of our country.

Last week, the City of Shawnee and many of her friends and neighbors turned out to render honors for Firefighter John Glaser.

These two events make me wonder about one thing? Why can't we honor these folks while they are still alive? True, there are certain periods of the year that are designated for this.......but why not on a daily as it happens basis?

Ever go grocery shopping and see a couple of firefighters there also? Buying food to cook on their watch. Would it be so terrible just to say thank you as you walk past them? Or give them a thumbs up? Or an "ok" sign? How many of those meals have been left on the table to spoil because just as they sat down the bells rang?

What about that police officer that you just saw walking back to his/her car? A thank you for his/her efforts to protect us would be nice. Ever get a speeding ticket? Or stopped for running a redlight or a stop sign? Maybe you need to thank that officer then too. He/she may just have saved your life, or even stopped you from injuring or killing someone else.

And last but not least our military members. Sure, we have Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and Armed Forces Day (honoring those who have passed on, those who have served and those who are serving). But what about what happens when you pass one of these folks in the store, on the street, at the airport etc?

A simple thank you, a thumbs up or an "ok" sign would probably mean alot.

These individuals do not "sign up" for these jobs for the glory. They do it because of a desire to serve their fellow protect us, to defend us.

Say something to them to show your appreciation, and admiration, while they can still hear it. It will mean alot to them.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Condolences to the Glaser Family

Our condolences go out to the family of Firefighter John Glaser who died in the line of duty over the weekend.

Sometimes we forget the dangers that public safety personnel face while performing their duties. Then an incident like this becomes an unfortunate reminder.

More information, including funeral arrangements is available on the Shawnee Dispatch website at:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Survey Results - Ten Quivira Plaza

Not exactly scientific, but just as valid (maybe even more so) as the 3 person interviews that the Dispatch does.

Would you be in favor of a 1% sales tax for the stores in that plaza which would be used by the shopping center owner to rehab the shopping center?

Yes 8 33.3%

No 16 66.7%

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New State Texting Ban

OK, the legislature has banned texting, in the state, while driving.

Now it's up to the governor to sign the bill into law.

This is a step in the right direction. Personally, I am a little upset that the bill did not contain restrictions on talking on a cell phone also. It would seem to me that that one would be even easier to enforce. Actually, the easiest one to enforce would probably be the local ordinance in Honolulu, HI. Over there a person just has to be holding the device in their hand..............

Let's hope that the governor does sign the one just passed. We can always work on expanding it.

Still curious as to why there was no publicity or press release about Mayor Meyers' letters of support for this action to our state legislators back in January of this year.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Survey For the Sales Tax at Quivira Plaza

Since the Shawnee Dispatch did their "thing" about asking folks for their opinion, we thought we'd do the same.

Click here to take survey

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Additional Look at that CID

In an article today in the Shawnee Dispatch on line the following item was mentioned:

Council member Jeff Vaught showed some support for the district, saying most shoppers weren’t aware of sales tax rates in the various locations where they shopped. He noted The Legends in Kansas City, Kan., was one of the most successful shopping centers in the area but had one of the highest sales tax rates.

Well, let's look at it this way: The Legends ( Village West) may have one of the highest tax rates. But, that is exactly the type of location that the CID needs to be used for. A destination location, that will rely mostly on transient spending as opposed to a local neighborhood shopping center.........especially one with the major tenant being a grocery store. (See my blog post below with the reference to the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association)

I'm also concerned about this comment in the Dispatch:

Council members in support of the district said voting against it would be a step backwards in the city’s efforts to increase commercial development and send a negative message for developers.

What is the definition of commercial development? Is that office buildings, manufacturing facilities, even hotels or does that include neighborhood shopping centers?

Interesting how the two council reps (Kuhn & Vaught) who seemed to be in favor of this would have the least (if any) residents affected by a sales tax increase at Ten Quivira. And their ward (Ward 3) probably has the highest per capita income in the city, and the least number of retired and fixed income folks.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Council Vacancy & the Quivira Plaza CID

1. Well, at the special council meeting Jim Neighbor was appointed as the Ward 1 council person to fill the unexpired term of Cheryl Scott. My opinion on this is pretty well known via my previous posts. Certain members of the council, used, IMHO, some convoluted logic for giving it to him. A good guy, but, again IMHO not the best qualified. See the resumés at$FILE/84XQXB.pdf My opinion, James O'Connell was the best qualified.

The mayor denied that there was any predetermination as to who would get the position. He must be right, and that means I am just super clairvoyant since I've been saying that no matter what, Neighbor would get it.

2. The public hearing for the CID (with its accompanying 1% sales tax) had various members of the community speaking out against it. No action was taken last night as this was a public hearing only. Council could have killed it completely but they didn't. It's possible that city staff could work it out differently and bring it back.

Five members of the council were pretty specific in saying that they would not vote for it with the 1% sales tax. These were Michelle Distler, Dan Pflumm, Neal Sawyer, David Morris and Mickey Sandifer. If Sandifer doesn't pull a flip-flop that would be enough to stop it. Dawn Kuhn and Jeff Vaught seemed to be leaning towards wanting this. The newly appointed council rep, Jim Neighbor didn't voice any opinion.

Interesting to note that the store director for Price Chopper said that they had no opinion at this time since they had not been consulted and had not had time to review the item.

An article in the February issue of the Journal of the Kansas Bar indicates that these types of financing plans should be for areas that would attract mostly transient shoppers as opposed to local neighborhood centers. The three current CIDs in Kansas are along I-70. One includes a truck stop (Maple Hill) and the other includes a motel (Hays). Common sense says those would have a tendency to derive most of their sales (and the corresponding sales taxes) from transient customers. I am currently trying to determine what is in the third one, though it too is along I-70, in Junction City.


A resident, while voicing her opinion against the project was also critical of Dawn Kuhn's lengthy comments. After the resident took her seat, Kuhn then went on to explain how her constituents elected her to express those opinions and yada yada yada (ad infinitum). From her seat in the audience the lady said "be concise". Don't think the lady was saying that Kuhn shouldn't voice her opinions, it's just that Kuhn has a habit that if something can be said in 60 seconds she stretches it out to 5 minutes, 10 minutes etc etc. Is Dawn Kuhn a graduate of the old fashioned used car salesman school? You know, the one that goes, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with BS".

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quick Reminder For Tonight

Special Council Meeting 6:00PM to interview and possibly select an individual to fill the Ward I vacancy..

Regular Council Meeting to follow at 7:30PM............includes the CID for 10 Quivira Plaza which could include a sales tax increase.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sandifer's Travels

Remember a few months ago when former Councilmember Straub asked Councilmember Mickey Sandifer what Sandifer's trip was about? And then Sandifer's reply of "none of your business". I mentioned that here, and in a published letter to the Shawnee Dispatch. Sandifer never emailed me with an answer.

Anyway, a request under the open records act was made to the city for copies of Sandifer's expense reports from Jan 1, 2009 to present (as of 4/19/10).

Here is the info. Just keep these numbers in mind when you hear him talk about how concerned he is about certain budget items. Then decide for yourself what his sincerity level is.

March 2009.............................................$2,094.18
Reimbursed by NLC (634.75)
Net Expense to city 1,459.43

November 2009.....................................$2,397.63

March 2010............................................$3,184.55

Remember, on his most recent sojourn to Wash DC his expenses were the highest of any of the city's attendees and he was there the most number of days.

Just something to keep in mind.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010 - Be There

It's only three days away, Monday May 10, 2010.

The special city council session and the regular session. Each one has an important item on the agenda:

Special Session - 6:00PM

The applicants for the vacant Ward 1 council seat will be interviewed and probably selected. If you are in Ward 1 this is important to you. If you are not in Ward 1, the way this is handled is also important to you.

Regular Session - 7:30PM

The public hearing for the proposed Community Improvement District for 10 Quivira Plaza (Shawnee Mission Pkwy & Quivira Rd) is on the agenda. This would involve, among other things, a 1% sales tax increase just for the stores in that shopping center (Price Chopper being the largest one). That increase would be used for the rehab of the shopping center.

Be there and exercise your rights to voice your opinions.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

City Support For Statewide Texting Ban

After I gave my presentation on 4/20/10 (date edited on 5/16/10 because of typo it originally showed as 3/20/10) it was obvious that the city was still not going to consider a local ordinance regarding the use of cell phones. When I said that it would be good if the city would at least officially support state action I was informed that that had been done.

That came as a surprise since I did not remember any press release or other public notification of that action.

It turns out that back in January Mayor Meyers sent letters to each of the five state representatives that have portions of Shawnee in their district (Talia, Brown, Donohoe, Neighbor & Quigley) supporting state action on this topic. The city forwarded to me copies of the letters. The letter to Mr Talia is reproduced below, as the others are the same.
(Click on the image to see a larger version).

Personally, I think it is a step in the right direction. Again, why this support of the state legislation was not publicized is beyond me.
(Unless it was and I missed it)

Monday, May 03, 2010

O'Connell & Nachbar Top My List

Well, I have looked at the resumés for the five applicants for the Ward 1 seat First, let me say I would still like to see an election. That probably is not going to happen. So, what about the five who applied? All of the resumés look good, but to me, two of them stand out.

Those two are James J O'Connell and Gregory P Nachbar.

1. James J O'Connell.......a brief synopsis

  • 21 years combined as CEO of two major metro hospitals

  • Secretary, Dept of Health & Environment, State of Kansas

  • 30 years US Air Force (10 active 20 reserve) retired as a colonel

  • Major positions with various professional organizations

  • My comments: Individual has a history of being in positions that require decision making, fiscal responsibility and team building. My first choice.

2. Gregory P Nachbar.......a brief synopsis

  • Most recently, over 20 years with a major ($300m) corporation. His resumé would indicate a strong background in a senior management position responsible for various functions to include purchasing, HS&E, and meeting financial and operational targets

  • My comments: Strong corporate experience with responsibilities in many areas that require the ability to be a decision maker. One does not stay and advance with the company he works for by making wrong decisions.

You can view all of the resumés on line at:$FILE/84XQXB.pdf

My primary concern is and has been that there might be a predetermination for Jim Neighbor. See my posts below dated 4/17 (Did I Blow It?) and 4/25 (May 10, 2010 - Mark Your Calendars). Hope I'm wrong on that point.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Reminder - Community Improvement District

Just a remidner that the public hearing for the proposed Community Improvement District at 10 Quivira Plaza (SMP & Quivira Rd) is scheduled for the regular council meeting on Monday May 10, 2010. The regular meeting will follow the special meeting regarding the selection of a replacement to fill the Ward 1 council seat.

Remember, part of the CID is the establishment of a 1% additional sales tax for the shops in that center, to help fund the improvements.

It is amazing how two newspapers handled the reporting of the postponement of the public hearing from March 26th to May 10th.

The KC Star reported on the 1% sales tax (scroll down to other business on this link):

The Shawnee Dispatch somehow failed to mention the proposed sales tax increase (scroll down to other business on this link):

Methinks citizen input on this is important, and folks might want to try and show up to voice their opinions.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Info For Five Applicants For Ward 1 Council Seat

The resume info for the five applicants for the open Ward 1 council seat has been posted on line on the city's website at:$FILE/84XQXB.pdf

Remember the council meeting is Monday, May 10 at 6:00PM. If you are in Ward 1 this is a very important meeting for you to attend. If you don't live in Ward 1 it is also important so that you may view first hand how this process works............since it can occur in any ward.

Not sure which ward you live in? Go here:$FILE/WARDS&PRECINCTS_8_1-2X11.pdf?OpenElement

For the heck of it, I will probably post my suggestion in the next day or two.

My concern still remains that there is a predetermination of the outcome.
See my posts below dated 4/17 (Did I Blow It?) and 4/25 (May 10, 2010 - Mark Your Calendars)