Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vaught Answers But...May Need an English Lesson

I'm happy to see that Jeff Vaught finally answered my question, with a letter to the editor of the Shawnee Dispatch. The letter is shown below. Eventhough he didn't respond to me directly I thought in all fairness his response should appear here also.

But, before you read it, keep in mind that Mr Vaught may need an English lesson. Read what he says about the words "witness" and "seen" then read one of the definitions for "witness" from Webster's on line.

From Webster's:
to have personal or direct cognizance of : see for oneself

Now, here's Vaught's letter to the editor. Now, even after seeing that, he still wasn't concerned about safety? Oh well:

To the editor,

Shawnee resident Ray Erlichman recently asked me at a city council meeting “have you ever ‘SEEN’ a gas explosion.” My answer was simply “yes.”

A few days later Mr. Erlichman sent me an e-mail with the following line: “…I asked you if you had ever ‘WITNESSED’ a gas ‘PIPELINE’ explosion.” He then went on to ask me when and where that was in an attempt to imply that I was lying, and is now trying really hard to make an issue of it.

Adding a word and switching a word totally changes the question. There is a vast difference between the word ‘witness’ and ‘seen.’

I think Mr. Erlichman needs to review the recording. I would be more than happy to send it to him.

And by the way, I have witnessed a gas explosion, the Gates City Glass Company explosion, July 2, 1990, at 126 W. 5th St. in Kansas City, Mo. I was in my loft across a parking lot less than 300 feet away. I have not witnessed a gas pipeline explosion though, but I have seen one or two.

Jeff Vaught

Member, Shawnee City Council – Ward III

Link is

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vaught Avoiding Verification

Well it looks like councilmember Jeff Vaught has not responded with verification of which gas line explosion he has witnessed.

At the November 22d council meeting when he and I got into it over dollars versus safety he was asked if he had ever witnessed a gas line explosion and he responded that he had.

In my blog post of 12/5 I asked for verification of that. Thinking maybe he didn't read that blog post, I sent him a personal email on 12/15 asking for that info and also posted a copy of that email to this blog. Still no response.

When a member of the council makes a statement about an event they need to be able to back it up.

So, why hasn't Jeff Vaught responded with verification of when and where he witnessed a gas line explosion? I can think of a couple of reasons:

1. He doesn't feel he has to respond to anybody that doesn't live in Ward 3 (not a valid reason)
2. He doesn't like me (still not a valid reason)

For both of the above he needs a refresher course in Civics 101. He is responsible to the citizens, it is not the other way around. OK, let's continue:

3. He didn't read the personal email I sent him. (Possible, but not too smart on his part, and highly unlikely. Go back to 1 or 2 above)

4. Or maybe he can't answer the question because he never did witness a gas explosion and is lacking the intestinal fortitude to admit that he misspoke (polite way of saying he lied). If that is the case, the people of Shawnee have a problem. A city councilmember who can't back up his statements of supposed factual situations is basically misleading the public. Or maybe this arrogant self absorbed person thinks we should just take whatever he says at face value without question? Wrong............that ain't gonna happen..................

I heard from a Ward 3 resident that he bumped into Vaught at a coffee shop this morning and asked him the same question. According to that resident the response that he received was to the effect that Vaught was there to buy coffee not answer questions.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Request to Jeff Vaught for Info

A copy of today's email to Councilmember Jeff Vaught:

"Mr Vaught,

At the 11/22/10 council meeting when you indicated that you were not concerned about safety I asked you if you had ever witnessed a gas pipeline explosion. You responded in the affirmative.
I again asked..."You have?" and again you responded in the affirmative, as you leaned back in your chair and nodded your head also in an affirmative motion.

Anyway, there are two very simple pieces of information that I would ask you to provide.

What was the location of the explosion and when did it happen?

Thank you,

Ray Erlichman"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Southern Star Was MIA

Remember my posting aboutg the 11/22 council meeting? And how it was mentioned that some members of the council were interested in finding out if a representative from Southern Star was there to answer questions?

Well, I submitted a KORA request (Kansas Open Records Act) and the documentation I received back definitely indicated that Southern Star was notified about the item being on the agenda for that night. They could have had a rep there and for public relations value they should have.

Now, if they had had a representative there would that have really made any difference? Not really, because the city was obligated to perform as indicated in the final agreement. Posturing on the part of some of the council looks good........but that's all it could have been......posturing.

Sidebar: Jeff Vaught has not provided me with the date and location of the gas pipeline explosion that he said he witnessed. Well, maybe he didn't read my blog. Guess I'll just have to email him to try and get an answer.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

False Alarms

At tonight's F&A Committee meeting the police department will be giving a presentation regarding false alarm responses.

Last week they had a community meeting on this topic.

The amount of money being expended and the loss of manpower because of false alarms is very disturbing.

The PD has some suggestions on how to reduce the losses. Methinks the council needs to listen to them.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Boom or Bucks

Well, at the Nov 22d council meeting the item mentioned below about the Southern Star pipeline relocation came up.

Needless to say, many on the council were upset about the cost, feeling that Southern Star was taking advantage of the situation.

When I brought up the safety issue things got quite contentious between council member Jeff Vaught and me. First, when I gave my address, Vaught got real picky. Wanted me to give my complete address. Guess he doesn't like people who live in apartments addressing the council. Also, when I mentioned the safety issue he thought I should be more concerned about the money. When asked if he was concerned about the safety issue regarding the construction beginning before all easement and pipeline movements were handled he indicated that he was not concerned about the safety issue. Also, he lived in the area and I didn't.

His reasoning for not being concerned about the safety issue was, he said, because the contractor was a professional company. Well, professional companies can and have had accidents. That is why they are called accidents and not "on purposes".

I asked Vaught if he had ever witnessed a gas line explosion, and he replied in the affirmative. Now, if he reads this blog, I will ask him here and now to provide us with the info as to when and where he witnessed a gas line explosion. That should prove interesting. If I don't get a reply from him about that I guess I'll have to email him for an answer.

Ya don't mess around an 8" high pressure gas pipeline until ya get all the easements and any necessary relocations done first.

A couple of council members (Vaught included) expressed concern that nobody from Southern Star was at the meeting to answer any questions. Valid point. Question: Since their headquarters is in Kentucky were they notified that the item was going to be on the agenda and that the council might have questions for a representative of theirs?

A side note: If Vaught is so concerned about costs why did he join five (5) others on the recent National League of Cities conference in Denver from 11/30-12/4? Our council does like to compare us to other cities. So, how did other cities handle that conference? I sent inquiries to six, and received replies from three:
Unified Government Wy Co and KCK sent.........................0
Topeka, our state capital, sent..............................................0
Overland Park, sent................................................................1

Comedy line of the night at that council meeting; Kuhn stating that others were being flippant.