Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why I've Been Quiet................

On February 28 the city council made a decision to extend the life of the Johnson County Landfill an additional 16 years until 2043. Once that was approved, the council then confirmed a new agreement with Lord Deffenbaugh regarding how much that entity would pay the city.

So why didn’t I say something at that council meeting? I wanted to. I was going to. Then I looked around and realized only one other person was going to say anything. And they didn’t (and later I found out why). Because on an issue of this magnitude the citizens of Shawnee reverted to their normal, lackluster, apathetic attitude. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with this decision by the council, the fact that the citizens of Shawnee fail to participate in local government never ceases to amaze me. One lady showed up as folks were leaving, surprised that it was all over. Unbelievable.

I have written about this before. Almost everybody (over 80%) turns out for Presidential elections, but less than 10% turn out for local elections. And, very few, if any, ever show up at city hall to see firsthand what local government is doing. Guess the intelligent folks of Shawnee feel that the President is responsible for 90% of what affects their daily lives, not the city council.

Now let’s go back and look at the world famous Shawnee dump…….oooops, I mean landfill. The largest in the Midwest. Some folks have claimed we need more commercial development in Shawnee. The city paid a fortune for a study of the I-435 corridor. OK, who is going to build there? Who wants to build there? What kind of building do they want? The council recently approved a TIF district for a substantial amount of acreage just south of the landfill. Is anything ever going to happen there? Well, the owners of that land don’t have to tell us until they submit plans, if ever.

The Village West property in KCK is growing. A new professional soccer stadium, a casino, a major corporate complex, these are some of the things that are hapopening. Not to forget possible expansion of the speedway. The I-435 corridor would be a perfect “right down the road” area to gain some benefits from what is happening up there. Will it happen? I doubt it.

This past week, Mike Hendricks of the KC Star wrote an article about the problems surrounding the development of the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.

The article can be accessed here,

What is telling, is the cross reference to the Shawnee landfill, via these comments:
“But then there was a big sticking point: The site first had to be cleansed of the toxins and explosives residues that once had the EPA contemplating putting it on its Superfund list. The soil was heavily contaminated with arsenic, lead and mercury, among other poisons.”

“All that dirt and material in dump sites had to be scooped up and hauled off.
But then another big problem arose: According to Kise Randall, who oversees the cleanup effort for Sunflower, the original estimate put the amount of soil to be removed at 612,621 tons. That’s equal to 26,621 truckloads, with most of it going to the Johnson County Landfill.”

Oh well……….guess we can forget about commercial development in Shawnee and just continue with residential development. That is, unless the lazy apathetic citizenry of Shawnee gets off their collective butts and starts getting involved.