Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gotta Love Vegas

Well, ya gotta love it.

On 5/22/11 (see below) I commented on the Global Retail Real Estate Convention. It was indicated that four people were going to represent the city: the executive director of the SEDC, the city's development director, the city manager and one city council person.

It was mentioned that in my opinion we only needed to send the first two individuals and the other two could have stayed home.

So let's see what the impact was for sending City Manager Gonzales and Council Member Kuhn.

Gonzales expense report: $1,816.34
Kuhn expense report: $1,637.64

Total $3,453.98

And since they both went, why couldn't they "double up" in their hotel room? Most private businesses are requiring that now.

And last, but not least. Apparently Dawn Kuhn uses the travel to Vegas (just like last year) to extend her stay (this year an extra 4 days) past the convention's end. Apparently vacation time is needed. Granted, this is at no additional cost to the city, but because it is tied into the convention she doesn't have the associated transportation costs. I'm curious. She did this last year I wonder..............has she done this before then also? Maybe we need to look and see how many times she was the "chosen" one to go to Vegas.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Whose Money Is It?

OK............we'll keep this one simple.

At last night's council meeting the use of the "Impact Fee" that Deffenbaugh will be paying was discussed.

When it was brought up that council needed to be dilligent in how this "taxpayer money" was used, Jeff Vaught went on a Dawn Kuhn style diatribe.

The problem here is that Vaught kept saying that the money was not the taxpayer's but was an impact fee.

OK, we already know that Vaught had a problem with a 4th grade vocabulary word, and for a self professed commercial real estate expert had no knowledge of the International Building Code. (working in a field does not necessarily make one an expert) Now let's add to that the fact that he apparently does not understand what funds are "taxpayer funds".

Try this Jeff: The city receives funds.............regardless of the source, these monies become "taxpayer funds" because the monies are "owned" by the city, and the city is "owned" by its citizens (where local taxpayer and citizen in this case can be synonomous). Other than grants from other entities which are provided for specific purposes (and relieve the city of using some of its monies for these purposes) these are "taxpayer monies". Ergo, it is the council's responsibility to ensure that these monies are diligently used.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Short Letter to the Star

Had a short one in the KC Star on Sunday, 6/26......and it's on line

Or, if you'd rather read it now:

Gel fuels create hazard

I have one question in reference to the June 16 front-page article, “Gel fuels raising concerns on safety,” about the dangers of the sticky flammable materials used in some firepots, tiki torches and other outdoor fire products:

Has anybody ever heard of napalm and how it functions?

Ray Erlichman

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thoughts About the 2012 Budget

At last night's Public Works and Safety Committee meeting more items regarding the upcoming budget were reviewed.

One item of interest was Jeff Vaught's comments about not giving Wonderscope Children's Museum $10,000. Gee Jeff, are you finally listening to me?

Last year, and for a couple of years prior to that I have spoken out at council (it's on the record) that we should eliminate the city's contribution to that organization. There were times when I even produced copies of Wonderscope's IRS Form 990. As a tax exempt organization their IRS filings are available for public scrutiny. One year, they gave a former executive director a 15% salary increase, while we were freezing employee salaries. Hopefully the item can be struck from the 2012 budget.

Interesting side note is that Dawn Kuhn was silent on this last night when in the past she has jumped to the defense of Wonderscope. Wonder why? Does her silence mean that she does not support giving them the money?

Let's move on to the topic of economic development.

SEDC executive director Andrew Nave gave a presentation. I'm not going to go through it item by item but suffice it to say it is my opinion that some things were lacking.

There was talk about attracting various businesses, but, that we did not necessarily have the buildings of sufficient size for them. The city manager mentioned that some companies were expressing an interest in the riverfront project/area.

At no time do I remember hearing any mention of a strong emphasis to attract destination type businesses/developments that could feed off of KCK's Village West along the I-435 corridor. Duhhhhhhhhhhhh.........................

When the presentation brought up info about new businesses and their potential payrolls, Council Rep Neal Sawyer asked a very important question: How much of those projected payrolls would stay in Shawnee? Very valid.

Side note: A few years back I proposed that any incentives given to businesses should have a tie in to the payrolls remaining in Shawnee. Think about that. How beneficial is a business that employs let's say 25 people, with a yearly payroll of $1,000,000 if let's say $800,000 of that belongs to folks who live (buy/rent) and shop in other cities. Will some of that be spent here? Yepper. Would more of it stay here if these businesses brought folks to Shawnee from other cities? Yepper.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Family Squabble?? Part 2

Well, I finally listened to the audio version of the 6/7/11 Finance and Administration Committee meeting (see the earlier post below).

I'll keep it simple. Based on what I heard, Council Rep Dawn Kuhn was way out of line in her rant against Council Rep Neil Sawyer.

The post below links to an item in the Shawnee Dispatch in which it is noted that Council Rep Vaught even saw nothing wrong with Mr. Sawyer's question, indicating that if council didn't question items that we might as well have eight rubber stamps up there.

Mr Sawyer did not berate or beat up on staff as Motormouth Kuhn suggested. If anybody was insolent or antagonistic or rude it was Kuhn in her comments directed to Mr Sawyer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Family" Squabble??

Was there a "family" squabble during last Tuesday's Finance and Administration Committee meeting?

I left early...........missed it....but heard about it at

Will be listening to the audio version of the situation before voicing my opinion.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Educated Idiots

Who am I referring to? The majority of the registered voters in Shawnee. Ooooops, you're not supposed to insult folks. Too bad. Read on and you'll see why.

Back in April I thanked the mayor for his comments in the city's newsletter

I also jokingly told him in the parking lot one night that I was thinking of suing him for plagiarism. The mayor basically brought out how important it is for the people of Shawnee to get involved with what happens in the city, especially with city government. Again, this is something I've been preaching about for quite some time.

It seems that when a "big" election rolls around (presidential especially, then gubernatorial) the folks in Shawnee show up to the polls in droves. Sometimes in a presidential election maybe as many as 80% of the registered voters.

But what happens in the local elections (mayor, city council)? We are lucky to see 10% of the registered voters show up.

Well folks let me explain something to the feeble minded: It is the council that is responsible for street repairs, sales taxes, mill levies, snow removal, police protection, fire protection, emergency services, maintenance of parks, swimming pools ad infinitum. Neither the occupant of the White House or the Governor's mansion has as much of an effect on your daily lives. Yet what do the feeble minded (educated idiots) of Shawnee do? They sit home and don't show up to vote.

The worst part of it is that here in Johnson County we have an elections department that goes out of its way to provide easy access to voting. There is the basic in person at the polls on election day. Then there is advance voting at the election office and various remote locations. There is also advanced mail voting (and you don't have to be stuck at home ill to take advantage of that).

So now why do I refer to (and insult) the folks in Shawnee? That's easy. Shawnee has a very high percentage of college educated folks living in the city. But they allow less than 10% of the registered voters to control what happens in the city. Actually less than 5%.............because if less than 10% show up in a ward, then approximately 1/2 of that amount will determine the winner.............and if it's a close race, maybe in reality only 50 people or so will determine the winner. That is disgusting.

Next April four council positions and the mayor's position will be up for election. There are two council members, who, if they choose to run again, need to be unseated. More on this later.

So, unless the educated idiots get off their collective posteriors and vote they should be prepared to accept whatever happens in the city.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

More Watching

This past weekend was apparently a real hot one up at the Kansas Speedway with the race.

No long drawn out comments today.........................did we get any bleed off from the massive crowds?

Rumor has it that the two Shawnee motels were booked (217 rooms I believe) and that the restaurants at Midland Dr and I-435 did a nice business.

But, that's chicken feed compared to what we could have if we had destination development along that I-435 corridor. Even that 3d motel that was approved years ago would be nice.

Alas, as the Speedway, Village West etc have been growing for 10 years our I-435 corridor has remained void of any major attractions.