Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

To all who visit this blog a Happy Thanksgiving.

Side note: Will be changing computers over the next couple of days, and as such, the email notifications that are sent out about blog changes might not be going out for awhile. so, check back periodically for updates until the emails begin again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Pipeline Problems

Well folks, it looks like the city blew another one regarding a gas pipeline relocation. Remember the problem with the Monticello Rd (south) project? Well, at least no construction was started on that one without the relocation of the pipeline.

Now, look at tomorrow’s city council agenda, item 20, by clicking here. Then, read the background in the packet by clicking here and then scrolling to page 265.

Looks like the Roberts Street roundabout was started without having certain portions of the pipeline rerouted. It also looks like the cost now to the city will be approximately $220K. And, a delay in the completion of the project.

But more importantly what about the safety issue? You don’t mess with construction around a high pressure gas pipeline until you have it properly secured and moved if necessary. These things can go bump in the night. Don’t believe me? Read what happened in Florida just a few weeks ago by clicking here.

IMHO, there are some questions that need to be answered. And the answers need to be straight forward with no Tijuana Two Stepping.

1. Why wasn't this done prior to the start of construction?
2. Could this have created a danger to the public? (re-read the info from Florida)
3. Who approved the construction to start without remediation of the pipeline?
4. Who is going to be held accountable for this?

With two problem instances concerning Southern Star, street construction and pipelines, it is time for the citizens of Shawnee to stand up and ask for accountability. It is time for the city council to do their job to protect the citizens and not allow, condone or perpetrate a whitewash.
And, IMHO the responsibility needs to fall on top level shoulders.

Kansas Open Meetings Act (Press ONE for English)

Another blogger's opinion of full minutes for council meetings:

Kansas Open Meeting Act (Press ONE for English)

Go here:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Police Response to Private Alarms

The below info was received in an email sent out by the city to all those who subscribe to the city's email update service. Based on the figures below the police department responded to over 3,200 false alarms. That is a terrible waste of time, manpower and money. Folks who have private alram systems need to be held accountable when those systems cause false alarms to be sent out.

Suggest folks attend the meeting listed in the email.

The City will host a meeting regarding police response to private alarms and to solicit input from the public. The meeting will be held on Monday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m. at the Justice Center in the Training Room, 5850 Renner Road.

The topic of the meeting will introduce possible changes to handling burglar alarms. In 2009, the Police Department responded to 3,291 alarms, 98% of which were false. Possible changes could involve procedure changes and/or fee increases to alarm holders. The proposed changes do not include responses to bank alarms, robbery alarms or medical alarms. For more information, contact Lieutenant Jodi Andrews at 742-6891.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Some Others Are Saying

Well, it looks like in the "Point of View" section of the Shawnee Dispatch that folks seem to think the cost of preserving council meetings with full minutes is well worth it.

There are other places that the council could save the $17,000 without taking government transparency away from the people.

How many transcripts (and the resulting governmental transparency) could have been covered by Dawn Kuhn's trip to Vegas this year?

Good starts with a city council that is not scared of transparency.

Thanks for the Verification

While entering the city council chambers last night I was confronted by member Dawn Kuhn. She advised me that she had had an opportunity to read my blog. She said she found it entertaining (not sure if that was honest or sarcastic) and wanted to let me know that she had not been referred to as a motormouth since third grade. She then walked off not giving me an opportunity to reply.

Thank you for verifying that that personality trait was even recognizable at a young and tender age.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Transparency - To Be Or Not To Be

Last Monday's council meeting was quite interesting with one of the major topics being an attempt to reduce the minutes of council proceedings from verbatim to summary.
The meeting was covered by the Shawnee Dispatch

and the KC Star

Basically those who wanted to change the minutes to summary form kept using the ridiculous reason of cutting costs. This is ridiculous, because, as pointed out the costs are negligible and there are transcription services (including local) that can provide full minutes at lower costs.

Then why do some want the minutes format changed from verbatim to summary? Could it be as Councilmember Mickey Sandifer once said because "they use them against us"? Could it be because Councilmember Dawn Kuhn does not want the public to see how she attempts to monopolize meetings? (Former Councilmember Kevin Straub stated his research showed that overall she was responsible for 38% of the dialog).

Full meeting minutes provide the public with complete info and transparency as to what the council does. They also provide info as to what members of the public might say at these meetings. Reducing the minutes to summary format takes all of that away. Thoughts regarding this had previously been strongly mentioned by Council Members Distler and Pflumm and alluded to by others (Sawyer, and Morris) and finally echoed by Vaught.

Additionally, it took yours truly to show that other cities are also making the results of the meetings available on the web in both audio and video format for extremely low costs, to include virtually free.

Ironically, after it was obvious that seven of the eight wanted to postpone any action (even Sandifer saw the handwriting on the wall), Dawn "Motormouth" Kuhn still tried to get the item pushed through. Methinks that maybe she not only does not want folks to see how much she rattles on, but also how she does not chair committee meetings in a fair manner. That's right.....go to a meeting that she chairs. Watch, and listen. If you agree with her you can speak all you want. Be in disagreement with her, and she'll cut you off. Her facial expressions are a dead giveaway. Also, in keeping with her motormouth know it all attitudes, she has to, most of the time, add her two cents in to everybody else’s comments.

Detailed minutes are very important and need to be maintained. The argument of cost is not valid. More info on this can be provided, but one out of town trip by the council members (like the upcoming one to Denver) would cover a year’s worth of minutes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

In 2000 I composed a poem for Veteran's Day and posted it on a Veteran's web site that I was the wbmaster of.

Decided to share it with you folks.

  • The GI in the foxhole
    The sailor out to sea
    The leatherneck standing guard
    The pilot flying free

  • These are the brave men
    And yes the women too
    Standing guard to protect us
    'Neath the old red, white and blue

  • They haven't asked for much
    To them it's not a chore
    Staying ready in peacetime
    Just in case they go to war

  • Proudly they do serve
    Like thousands gone before
    Duty, honor and country
    Be it peace or be it war

  • Our sons and our daughters
    It is them that we do love
    And proudly do they serve us
    With guidance from above

Dedicated, as before, to two special least to me.....Abraham Erlichman, USAAF, WWII and the grandson he never knew, Ashly Clayton Erlichman, 1/34 Armor, 1st Inf Div, SW Asia