Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us I would like to wish all who read this blog the best.

A Happy Hanukah, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shawnee's Poor Voter Turn Out

Well, it's poor for local elections, and OK for Presidential elections.  But, Presidents don't plow snow, respond to fires, protect the community, keep our parks functioning, set local property taxes, sales taxes etc.

We have another local election coming up in April 2013.

Look at these figures for the recent (November) Presidential election and the local city election this past April.

Presidential election Nov 2012

Registered voters (total city)  42,344
Total voted     30,718    72.54%

Ward 1   Registered   11,030      Voted   8,297  
Ward 2   Registered   10,256      Voted   7,022  
Ward 3   Registered   10,598      Voted   7,969  
Ward 4   Registered   10,460      Voted   7,430   

City election April 2012

Registered voters (total city)  40,105
Total voted               5,229     13.04%

Ward 1    Registered 10,553    Voted  1,634
Ward 2    Registered   9,713    Voted  1,337
Ward 3    Registered   9,977    Voted     978
Ward 4    Registered   9,862    Voted  1,280

The people of Shawnee ought to be ashamed of themselves, for their lack of voting at the last city election.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Public Hearing for Shawnee Parkway Plaza

There will be a public hearing on January 14, 2013 to consider incentives to revitalize the Shawnee Parkway Plaza.

There is a good article about this at the Shawnee Dispatch's website
http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/dec/12/city-council-sets-public-hearing-consider-retail-c/

That shopping center which sits just east of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Pflumm Road is a mess.

As much as I dislike various incentive programs, this just might be an appropriate use of them.

This would be a virtual total makeover.  Currently, there are problems not only with appearance, but with the integrity of the structures.  Revitalizing a shopping center at that location can be beneficial to the city in the future.  Couple that with some of the recent development that has occurred at the northwest section of that intersection and the whole area can become a magnet for increased financial gain for the city.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

How The "Good Ole Boy" Network Works

One indication of how the Good Ole Boy Network works is the election of the council president in Shawnee.

Now, why is that position important?  Because, if something happens to the mayor, the council president becomes mayor. Also, with the change from two split function council committees to one full member council committee the president of the council is chairman of that committee.

So, let's see who has been council president, and how long they have been on the council:

Sawyer (on council since 1/2002) president, 2005, 2006 and 2011
Sandifer (on council since 4/2004) president 2007 and 2010
Kuhn (on council since 4/2004) president 2008 and 2009
Vaught (on council since 4/2010) president, current, 2012

So, four folks have held that position in the past 8 years.  We haven't even mentioned those who served during those 8 years who no longer are on the council.

Interesting that Pflumm (4/2002) and Distler (4/2006) have never been president.  Wonder why?  Is it because they don't "toe the line?"

Willoughby, just appointed 7/2012 hasn't been here for a council president election, and Neighbor (appointed 5/2010 and elected 4/2012) also has not been president, but only eligible 2011 (Sawyer) and 2012 (Vaught).

Curious isn't it, that Vaught, in the second year of his first term became president.  Was this a payback for his electioneering from the council dais for the incumbents running for office?

How many of these folks have abrogated their responsibilites and have become subservient to the city manager, forgetting that the city manager works for them, not the other way around?  Think about former council member Morris' resignation and the reasons for it.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Bully, Cry Baby or Know it All?

Is it possible for one person to have all three of those traits?

Well, if your name is Jeff Vaught and you are a Ward III council rep in Shawnee, the answer is yes.

At a recent city council meeting Vaught appeared to be using his position to make bullying statements regarding some recent news articles.  Similar to the way he used bully tactics during the last election, from the council dais.

The comments were also a form of a cry baby attitude.  Seems Vaught really didn't like some of the articles and bemoaned the fact that positive articles were not written about Shawnee.  He proceeded to rattle off a litany of positive and supposed positive items (there might be some issues with some statistics he mentioned).  Well, apparently he doesn't read the local newspaper, the Shawnee Dispatch.  There has been a plethora of positive items in that paper. 

Now, back to the negative items.  If you don't like negative items appearing in the media, then take action to prevent them from happening.  Quit blaming the messenger(s) and start accepting responsibily for creating negative actions. One example has to do with the actions by Mr. Tony Lauer and his neighbors in the Crimson Ridge Subdivision.  Now, the mayor has been critical of some of Mr. Lauer's actions (persistent questions, and KORA requests).  Did the mayor ever think that if the original questions were answered, and completely, there may have been no need to push for more?  When a governmental body either fails to completely and/or honestly answer questions from its citizens, it raises more questions.  Such as what else is being hidden?

We won't even touch on the KOMA investigation regarding the appointment of Uncle Alan to the city council.  Or the partying by five council members and the mayor on election night April 2012.  A quorum of the council, and its presiding officer.  And, proof of this was posted by Jeff Vaught on his blog site.  Don't believe me, here it is:

 

Now, what about the "know it all" aspect?  Well, during a discussion at the last council meeting Council Member Neal Sawyer alluded to the fact that he was hesitant to make a certain point as he was probably going to be challenged by Vaught, and, according to Sawyer, Vaught knows it all. 

Vaught attempted to show his "know it all" attitude at another council meeting a few weeks ago.  Basically, a question came up about a department making a purchase using a vendor on state contract.  When some questioned the price, Vaught, in his know it all mode, said that if the purchase was made using the state contract, it was the best price.  Wrongo.  It was the lowest price that the state had on contract.  That part is true.  But there are many vendors that do not submit pricing for state contracts.  And these vendors have lower pricing than what is on state contract.  That is why state agencies do NOT have to buy on state contract, but can buy off contract if the same or comparable item can be purchased from another source, at the same or lower price. And that does occur. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

KC Star Editorial AND a New Article

Two interesting things showed up in the KC Star's "913" section.

One, is an editorial about some of the recent happenings in Shawnee. That editorial can be read at
http://joco913.com/news/shawnees-fights-are-often-public-demeaning/

The editorial makes some valid points.

The new article concerns Shawnee and other Johnson County cities and their participation the National League of Cities conference in Boston this weekend.  This is a subject that I covered on this blog recently.  The KC Star article can be read at:

http://joco913.com/news/needs-funding-help-area-cities-make-their-conference-call/



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Comments are Back

Regarding the KC Star article mentioned in the post below.

Apparently, in a transition from the Star's front page to the 913 section reader comments get lost.

Also, apparently there are two separate links to the article.  This link http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/18/3923019/shawnees-fractious-government.html#disqus_thread
shows the reader comments (as of this posting they are up to 24)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

KC Star's Take on Shawnee's Fractious Government

The Kansas City Star just ran an article which should be an eye opener to people who live in Shawnee.

After reading my few comments below, please go to the Star article and read it completely:
http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/17/3923019/shawnees-fractious-government.html

The attitude of some of our elected officials borders on arrogance and pomposity.  Such as: People asking questions are “just fishing to stir up some trouble,” Mayor Jeff Meyers says. 

Or, how about his comment as to why he did not allow public input at the council meeting that selected his wife's uncle to fill the position vacated by the resignation of David Morris:  Meyers said he did shut down discussion on the Willoughby appointment because, based on past experience, he thought the public comments were not in the best interest of the council making a decision.

Apparently the mayor has forgotten about Section 3 of the Bill of Rights of the Kansas Constitution, which he swore to uphold.  "3. Right of peaceable assembly; petition. The people have the right to assemble, in a peaceable manner, to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, for the redress of grievances."

Note the part about "instructing their representatives"


And then the article brings up how Cheryl Scott's replacement was also picked.  At the time of her resignation Scott said it would be better for the council to pick her replacement than to let the people do it.

As for arrogance, it is possible that Jeff Vaught of Ward III is the leader in that respect:

But Councilman Jeff Vaught said all the Shawnee antics are small and he’s tired of all the racket from critics.“We are getting hammered,” he said, even though Shawnee is one of the most open and fiscally responsible cities in Johnson County.“In Shawnee we are getting beat up over this crazy stuff. I don’t get it.” Vaught probably forgot that during the appointment process of Willoughby he was critical of Mike Kemmling for interrupting council member, and as such was not qualified to be appointed to the council.  Heck a review of the video of that meeting shows that both he and Kuhn interrupt folks all the time, more than Kemmling. And folks wonder why the DA is investigating the council for their actions. Read the Star's article...........it might just open some eyes.http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/17/3923019/shawnees-fractious-government.html  

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/17/3923019/shawnees-fractious-government.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/17/3923019/shawnees-fractious-government.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/17/3923019/shawnees-fractious-government.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/17/3923019/shawnees-fractious-government.html#storylink=cpy

Mayor Should Thank Kevin Straub

By now many folks have probably heard about  Mayor Jeff Meyers, parking illegally in a handicapped spot.  This occurred this past Tuesday in the city hall parking lot during a city council meeting.

The mayor received a warning  about this infraction, and subsequently chose to donate $135 to the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund. 

Kevin Straub, the former council member, reported the infraction to the authorities.  The mayor should have been thankful to Straub for doing this.  Why?  Because a donation like this one is tax deductible, whereas a traffic fine is not.  Instead the mayor is reported in the Shawnee Dispatch as being upset with Straub: Though Straub no longer resides in Shawnee, Meyers said, “he’s looking for anything and everything (to criticize the city for)." ttp://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/nov/15/mayor-not-ticketed-disabled-parking-violation/

Straub also questioned the mayor's explanation, as reported by KCTV 5:

In a statement, Meyers claimed that he knew "a full house was waiting on him because the parking lot was completely filled."
"The disabled spots were the only ones available and I made the decision that I would park there and accept whatever consequences occurred in order to get the meeting started. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best decision. It won't happen again," Meyers said in his statement posted on the city's website.
Hogwash, according to Straub.
He said he entered the U-shaped parking lot just ahead of Meyers. Straub said Meyers failed to circle around the entire parking lot so it's impossible for him to know that all the parking spots were taken.
"If you don't go all the way around, you don't know if it's full or not," he said. "But he was running late and grabbed the first spot that was available."
The mayor also has access to any number of doors at City Hall and could have parked in the back of the building where ample spaces were available, Straub said.
Straub said City Hall insiders have told him that Meyers actually forgot that the meeting had been moved to Tuesday night because of the Veterans Day holiday. Straub said someone called Meyer to ask where he was and the mayor had to dash to City Hall.  http://www.kctv5.com/story/20111562/tardy-shawnee-mayor-illegally-parks-in-handicapped-spot

Friday, November 16, 2012

Shawnee Citizen's Police Academy

On Wednesday night I felt honored to be one of 23 individuals who have completed the current Shawnee Citizen's Police Academy.

The academy was started again last year after being put on hiatus for many years.

 Before proceeding, allow me to make it clear that it does not qualify anybody to be a law enforcement official.

What it does do though is it makes the average citizen more aware of what the police department does. It also gives a microscopic view of what an individual has to go through to become an officer in Shawnee.

We learned that many officers wear multiple hats and are responsible for a variety of functions.  We also learned how officers are rotated through the various elements of the department to make them more efficient and better equipped to handle a variety of situations.

Watching the K9 officers put their four legged partners through their paces was very interesting.  And it was nice to know that they, along with our traffic accident investigations personnel have been called upon by neighboring cities to assist them where needed. That is indicative of the skill and training these individuals have.

Getting to drive a short course, with lights flashing was fun, and probably fulfilled a few dreams. 
Learning how various officers are always working to help to prevent crime and the various tools available to them for this purpose can be an eye opener for many.  And what type of class like this would be complete without some range time?

A ride along with an officer was also part of the course.  Allow me to say, that those interested can apply for a ride along without going through the academy.  The ride alongs themselves can be very enlightening, as compared to what is seen on TV.  I personally have been on ride alongs prior to the academy and have commented on them here on this blog.  The attitude and professionalism of the officers on patrol is extremely positive.

One of the interesting aspects of the class was the make up of the attendees.  Male, female, young, old, and a broad spectrum of job backgrounds. 

Going forward, the PD will be seeking volunteers from this group to assist in various areas, so as to allow officers and professional staff more time for their primary functions.  A small price, IMHO, to pay for what they give to the community.

Check the city's website for next year's class. I'm guessing that info for the 2013 class will probably be posted sometime in the late spring/early summer of 2013.          http://gsh.cityofshawnee.org/WEB/PoliceCMS.nsf/vwContent/CitizenAcademy?OpenDocument




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Congrats

Hearty congratulations to:


Mary Pilcher-Cook                     State Sen 10
Greg Smith                                  State Sen 21

Brett Hildabrand                         State Rep  17
John Rubin                                  State Rep  18
Kelly Meigs                                State Rep  23
Charles Macheers                       State Rep 39

Steve Roberts                             State Bd of Ed  2

Friday, November 02, 2012

Another Vet Day Celebration - Sprint


On Thursday, November 8, Sprint will be holding a Veterans Day Celebration at approximately 117 and Nall.  Public is welcome.

 

Veterans Day Celebration on campus

Thursday, Nov. 8

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Aircraft will land at approx. 11 a.m.

Paige Field on the Overland Park Campus

Military and civilian public service displays:

·   US Army helicopters: AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Blackhawk and CH-57 Chinook

·   Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon flyover during the National Anthem

·   US Army Reserve and National Guard ground equipment, Signal Corps, Military Police, Transportation Co.

·   Historical military vehicles - Military Vehicle Preservation Association

·   312th Army Band

·   Overland Park Police and Fire Departments – SWAT team, bomb squad and K9 demonstrations

·   Johnson County Sheriff’s Office – Crime Lab, weapons display, SWAT armored vehicle

·   Fraternal Military organizations, including the Marine Corps League and Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

·   Department of Veterans Affairs

·   Vietnam Veterans of America Huey display helicopter

·   Military life while deployed will be highlighted with military field gear on display

·   On-site military recruiters to answer questions and provide small mementos

·   Slugger, KC Wolf and KC Comets players

·   Fort Leavenworth, Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Riley and National WW1 Museum hands-on indoor display for visitors to use current and historical military gear in Building 6180 Employee Activity Center

·   Toys-for-Tots collection

·   Employee Resource Group information from Sprint and JPMorgan Chase

·   Lunch is available for purchase while supplies last: Roasterie Coffee, BBQ and chili stations
*Please note that due to last-minute missions, some military equipment or helicopters may be dispatched

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Veteran's Day - Sunday 11/11/12

The following is from the City's website: http://www.cityofshawnee.org/WEB/ShawneeCMS.nsf/vwContent/ShawneeSalutesOurVeterans?OpenDocument


Celebrate Veterans Day on Sunday, November 11th at the Shawnee Veterans’ Memorial Park, Johnson Drive and Pflumm at 4:00 p.m. The City of Shawnee, along with VFW Post 10552, American Legion #327, Knights of Columbus, Civil Air Patrol – Kansas City Composite Squadron #034 and the Sons of the American Revolution - Monticello Chapter invite you to join them in honoring all men and women who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces.
Richard Soetaert, VFW All State Commander, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Jim Allen, Johnson County Commissioner and former Shawnee Mayor will present the keynote address. This year’s ceremony will be dedicated to the men and women who served in the Vietnam War.

Refreshments will be served compliments of the Sweet Life and a reception will follow at Johnny’s Tavern following the ceremony. For more information call 631-5200.

I hope we have a good crowd.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vote Nov 6, 2012

My choices:

State Reps:

18  John Rubin
39  Charles Macheers
23  Kelly Meigs
17  Brett Hildabrand

State Senator:

10  Mary Pilcher-Cook
21  Greg Smith

State Board of Education:

2  Steve Roberts

Pres & VP:

Romney & Ryan

Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Media Updates on KOMA Investigation

As many may already be aware, the JoCo District Attorney, Steve Howe has been conducting an investigation into a possible KOMA (Kansas Open Meetings Act) violation by the City of Shawnee.

Additionally, his office recently conducted a class regarding KOMA.

Two recent articles, one from the Shawnee Dispatch and one from the Kansas City Star have much useful information.

Dispatch:  http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/oct/24/da-says-decision-shawnee-open-meetings-case-due-so/

Star:  http://joco913.com/news/getting-the-word-out-on-open-meetings/

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shawnee is Number 1

Contrary to popular belief, and the mindless comments of certain council members, I am thrilled when Shawnee does something that leads other local cities.

I know our city manger loves to compare Shawnee to other cities.  Well here is a comparison, that shows we are number 1..................in the number of folks going to Boston for the National League of Cities event 11/28-12/1/12 (see my post immediately below this one).

Shawnee     8

Lenexa       6  

Olathe       5

Overland Park    2

Merriam     2

Mission     1

Congratulations, for being willing to waste taxpayer's money.  Some of those going had voiced objections (money) to going back to detailed meeting minutes.  And yet, they can be willing to spend money on something like this.  And some, who finally voted to give us back our detailed minutes still made snotty comments about the city spending the money.

Based on previous expense reports that I obtained, I'm going to guesstimate that this little soirée will run between $16K-$18K.  I'm also going to guesstimate that Mickey "Traveling Man" Sandifer spends the most.

The two good things are that Councilmembers Pflumm and Distler are more concerned about saving the taxpayers' money and are not going.  But the others....................wellllllll..........party hearty.

Sidebar:  I wonder how many are going to hang around Boston after the convention for an extended vacation.  Kind of like how Kuhn stayed extra days in Vegas.................

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

From Shawnee to Boston

The National League of Cities is holding their Congress of Cities and Exposition Nov 28-Dec 1, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Long time readers of this blog know that I have in the past been critical when we sent large delegations to these meetings.  It has been my opinion that the most number of people we need to send to NLC conferences is four (Mayor, City Manager and 2 Council Members).

For awhile, that is what was happening.  The city reduced the number of participants to these NLC conferences to four.

Now, that is changing.  Even though Council is supposed to announce who is taking these trips in advance they very seldom do.  At least not without some prodding.

Last week I obtained the list of those who are planning on attending:

Mayor Jeff Meyers
Jim Neighbor Ward I
Alan Willoughby Ward II
Neal Sawyer Ward II
Dawn Kuhn Ward III
Jeff Vaught Ward III
Mickey Sandifer Ward IV
Carol Gonzales City Manager

The city manager did confirm that tentative travel and hotel arrangements have been made for those listed above.

Eight folks going!!!!!  Unbelievable.  The only two not going are Dan Pflumm, Ward I and Michelle Distler, Ward IV.  Happy to see that they care enough not to add to this waste.

Four people would be sufficient.  They could come back and educate the others, and the city.  As a matter of fact, there was an effort to have the attendees write a synopsis of these meetings, and publish them on the city's web site.  To the best of my memory, that was only done once.

Sidebar:  A cup of coffee says that Mickey Sandifer spends the most for this trip.  In the past, his schedule has usually shown him to arrive before the others and leave after them, resulting in more hotel nights and per diem expenses.

Monday, October 22, 2012

State Senate & Board of Education

Remember, election day is Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My preferences:

State Senate, Dist 10 Mary Pilcher-Cook
For State Board of Education, Dist 2:  Steve Roberts

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Can Coincidences Be Created?

To fully understand this, one must read the blog post "Sheddidng Light on Sunshine Review" from 9/14/12 http://www.shawneeray.blogspot.com/2012/09/shedding-light-on-sunshine-review.html#links

Basically we know that on 9/10/12 the city council was to vote on returning the method of recording meeting minutes back to full minutes. One of the arguments for this was that the "action minutes" which were being used were less than transparent. Fortunately the council voted to go back to the older detailed format.

Earlier that day the Sunshine Review gave the city an A+ rating for transparency. As mentioned in the blog post, the info from their web site indicates that their ratings are based on info on the city's web site.  Such as, are there links on the city's site to various sites? If yes, they consider that tranparency. In the case of the meeting minutes, they don't rate the transparency of the minutes style, rather just that they are there.

Something was strange, since the last review by that organization was on Friday, 9/7/12.

So I contacted Sunshine Review and apparently the city had requested the review.

A KORA request indicates that starting Tue, 9/4/12 there was a group of emails back and forth between the city and Sunshine Review. Information was exchanged as to what it would take to raise the city's previous rating from a B. On 9/6/12 the rating was changed to an A- and the Sunshine Review was prepared to issue a press release to that effect. They were asked to hold off while the city made some more adjustments to its website, and finally the city came up with the A+ rating.

After having a B rating for quite some time, it's just wonderful that the city put on a massive drive to raise the rating of the web site. And yes, it's just coincidence that all of this occurred within 6 days (4 if you eliminate Sat & Sun) before the action on the meeting minutes change.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Local Candidates for Nov 6 Election

As to be expected, most folks are focusing on the "top of the ticket", the Presidential election.

Remember though, that what happens in Topeka can have more of an effect on your life than what happens in DC.

With that in mind, I'd like to take the time to mention the following individuals as folks that I hope you will support by voting for them on Nov 6.

State Representative:

Dist  18    John Rubin
Dist  39    Charles Macheers
Dist  23    Kelly Meigs
Dist  17    Brett Hildabrand

State Senator:

Dist 10    Mary Pilcher-Cook

Friday, October 05, 2012

Shawnee Dispatch Poll

We all know that on line polls are not accurate.  But they can be interesting.

Anyway, the Shawnee Dispatch is running a poll on their website at http://www.shawneedispatch.com/ (click on the link to the left and then scroll down to the lower right side of their website)

Here is the question, with the three possible answers:

Note:  You must go to the Dispatch at http://www.shawneedispatch.com to take the poll.  You cannot take it here.

A few people have criticized The Dispatch recently for covering “negative” news regarding local government. What do you believe is the role of a community newspaper?

My opinion is that a local newspaper is supposed to write about "the good, the bad and the ugly".  Unfortunately the two previous local reporters seemed to be extensions of city hall's PR department, and shied away from anything bordering on the controversial.  It seemed like the paper may have at one time been a tool of certain senior officials of the city.


The people have a right to know what is happening.  Things aren't always rosey.  When someone sees some warts, instead of criticizing them for it, take the necessary action to treat the problem.

When certain individuals say that there are items that need not come to the public's attention because it makes the city look bad, I say balderdash (actaully I say something else but trying to keep this post family oriented).  They are not worried about how the city looks, they are worried about how they look.

When a city grows from small farming town to a component of a major metro area it needs to realize that local media has a responsibility to keep the citizens informed about all aspects of what is happening.  Then the citizens can praise the positives and work to reduce the negatives.

Go to the Dispatch and take the poll................what the heck...................

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Training for Kansas Open Meetings Act

Interesting article in the KC Star
http://joco913.com/news/officials-to-be-schooled-in-open-meetings-law/

Apparently, according to the article, the JoCo DA is going to hold a training class regarding the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

This has been prompted by an increase in complaints regarding possible violations of the act.  So far both Gardner and Mission have been found to have violated the act, and there is still an open investigation into whether or not Shawnee violated it.

This training session (Oct 18,  9- 11 AM) is also open to the public.

This is probably a step in the right direction.  The question on my mind is with the number of folks that have been invited to attend, and the training session open, how much can be accomplished in two hours?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

KC Cash Mob Coming to Shawnee

The KC Cash Mob is coming to Dodge City Beef in Shawnee on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 11:00AM.  This is at the corner of Nieman Rd & Johnson Dr in the historic Shawnee State Bank building.  The INDIOS CARBONSITOS food truck will be parked out front selling their cooked meat.

The concept of cash mobs was started to help promote local businesses.  Over 1000 people voted on Facebook for this week's selections and Dodge City Beef won.

Each "Mobber" is asked to bring $20 to spend at the chosen business and also encouraged to join in the "after mob" for celebratory Mob-tails and Mob-tini's after the successful mob.

I love it when local businesses get recognition. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Good Article About Tony Lauer in the Dispatch

Good article at http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/sep/26/whos-tony-lauer/

A couple of interesting items, one of which was his discovery of the over payments to JoCo Wastewater.  The city manager claims to have found out about that at the end of July, but council didn't even know about it until Tony wrote about it on his blog in September.  When was the city manager going to inform the council?  This kind of follows some of my comments on how some members of council have abrogated their responsibilities and we have role reversal as to who works for who.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why Can't Council Reps Answer Simple Questions?

Recently, a former city council member, David Morris derided elected officials when they revert to "government speak".  I have run into this when trying to get some council reps to answer some very basic, simple questions.  Instead of providing simple, direct answers, they do everything to avoid a direct answer.

Examples:

Jim Neighbor, Ward I:  Still hasn't answered the question as to why he did not acknowledge in a council meeting that he had received a $500 donation from a company that is interested in a CID in Shawnee.

Dawn Kuhn, Ward III:  Remember this one?  She gets her salary check as Dawn White (her maiden name) but her city expense checks as Dawn Kuhn.  Now, many women get paid under their maiden name.  But, how many get two different checks from the same employer, using both marriage and maiden names?  When asked why, she danced around it and still hasn't answered that question.

Jeff Vaught, Ward III:  Ahhh yes............the council member who expects people to answer his questions, but doesn't answer theirs.  When he originally ran for office he refused to comment to the Shawnee Dispatch what his education level was.  That was one of about 5 or 6 basic questions they asked.  You know, a resumé question.  But he probably doesn't know anything about resumés, since you don't need one when you work for daddy.  When I asked him, he, like Kuhn above, Tijuana Two Stepped around it.  But, in this case I think I figured it out.  Is it possible that he didn't want to admit that he and I share something in common?  What is that you ask?  Well, I freely admit that I'm a high school drop out.  Is that what he is also?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Shedding Light on "Sunshine Review"

It’s really nice when the City of Shawnee receives a high rating in an area that has an effect on how people perceive our city.


Such could be the case with the recent release that “Sunshine Review” gave Shawnee an A+ rating in transparency of government.

At this past Monday’s city council meeting, I felt it necessary to menttion a few things about that rating. Basically what it was based on, so that there would be no confusion.

Today, I’d like to go into more detail. Keep in mind that on Monday the issue about returning to detail minutes of meetings was on the agenda. An item that many thought would provide more transparency to city proceedings. There were some who thought that the system that has been around for about 1 ½ years now of “less than action minutes” was sufficient. Even though those minutes basically did not do anything about explaining to folks what happened at the meetings.

OK, let’s start with the item posted Monday morning on the city’s website:

“Sunshine Review applauds Shawnee, Kansas for improving their transparency score from a ‘B‘ to an ‘A+.’ By enhancing their website and increasing access to information, Shawnee is proactively championing government openness and transparency.

Taxpayers in Shawnee should be proud that their government learned from Sunshine Review’s transparency checklist and made rapid improvements to allow more light into their government. We urge all of Kansas’ city and county governments to put the necessary resources into increasing their transparency like Shawnee has done.

Sunshine Review is a nonprofit organization dedicated to state and local government transparency. Sunshine Review collaborates with individuals and organizations throughout America in the cause of an informed citizenry and a transparent government. Since its inception in 2008, Sunshine Review has analyzed the websites of all 50 states and more than 6,000 state and local entities. In 2012, Sunshine Review at rated more than 1,500 websites."

What all of that means, is that in that organization’s opinion Shawnee scored high because of its website. Breaking that down, it means that Shawnee provides links on its web site to various items of information (i.e.meeting minutes, checkbook info, access info for government officials, etc.). But, what it does not do is rate the quality/transparency of those items. So, it is saying that there is transparency because there is a link to the minutes, but how good (transparent) are those minutes? That they do not rate.

Now here is something that I found interesting. If you go to the Sunshine Review page about Shawnee at http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Shawnee,_Kansas you will see this comment: “This site was evaluated on Sept. 7, 2012.” That is really interesting, as that was the Friday before the Monday (Sept. 10, 2012) that the question of the way the minutes were being done was scheduled. Wasn’t that neat that the city got that rating at that most propitious time?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tragedy in Libya



Please take a minute to remember the loss of four Americans murdered in Libya.

Something is wrong when people are killed for perceived insults to religious thoughts.

City Might Need to Listen to Citizens More Often

There are still some comments being made about the potential cost of returning to detailed minutes of city council proceedings.

There appears to be a strong possibility that the city's estimates for the costs might actually be on the high side.

All one has to do is go to the blog http://blog.shawneefwiw.com/ and read the post "Bittersweet victory: Detailed minutes restored" posted 9/12/12.

Tony Lauer's research into costs for this procedure are coming in substantially lower than the city's.  Every day it becomes more evident that his research is complete and accurate.  Witness his discovery of the substantial overcharges to the city for sewer fees.

Maybe certain individuals who have this "we know better than the people" attitude need to rethink that attitude.  Maybe they need to stop acting like the "Father Knows Best" benevolent parent and start listening to their "children".  It would be a travesty for the city not to follow some of Mr. Lauer's guidelines/research with regards to the cost of transcription services.

Why were the city's estimates for transcription services so high?  Was it a move by certain individuals to inflate the potential costs so as to attempt to sabotage the return of the detailed minutes?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Minutes Are Back, The Minutes Are Back

Last night, the Shawnee City Council voted to bring back detailed minutes of council meetings.

This is a victory for transparency and democracy.  The city will also keep the audio feed of the meetings and the ability for people to listen to the audio after the meeting.

Now individuals will once again be able to search the minutes to basically find out what happened, when and who said what.  The current "action" minutes (mistakenly called summary minutes) were virtually useless for anyone wanting to find out what had transpired at any meeting.

The mayor indicated that in the past he had found the detailed minutes to be helpful in researching various items, and yours truly brought out statements made in November of 2010 by Jeff Vaught on how useful he had found the detailed minutes to be.  That was ironic, since on Feb 14, 2011 Vaught then became one of the council members who had voted to eliminate the detailed minutes.

Anyway, Ward I Council Member Dan Pflumm made the motion and Ward IV Council Member Michelle Distler seconded it and when the vote came to bring the detailed minutes back, it passed 6 to 1.  Jim Neighbor, Ward 1 Council Member apparently has problems with open government. (More on that in a separate post).  Ward III Council Member Dawn Kuhn was absent.  She was a strong proponent of not bringing back the detailed minutes.  She has in the past followed the guidelines of the League of Kansas Municipalites, which are not citizen friendly.  Based on previous council meetings, the one thing we were probably spared was probably 30-60 minutes of her ramblings.

I will contact the city manager to find out when the mechanism will be in place for the date the detailed minutes will resume.

Sidebar:  Ironically, earlier yesterday it was announced and reiterated by the mayor that Shawnee had received an A+ rating in transparency from the Sunshine Review.  It must be remembered that their ratings are based on city websites linking to specific areas (agendas, minutes, government officials etc).  The ratings don not reflect whether certain info (i.e minutes) are themselves transparent.  Action minutes are definitely not transparent.

Take A Minute To Remember

Today marks the 11th Anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11/2001.

Just take a minute to remember..............that's not hard to do.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Citizen feedback to article about DA's evaluation

Regarding the post below about the DA's evaluation that too often public items are kept private, there has been some citizen response.

Visit the article  at http://www.kansascity.com/2012/09/07/3803115/johnson-county-district-attorney.html and then scroll down to read the comments.

Keep in mind that Shawnee was not the only city mentioned in the article.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Why does the JoCO DA say public business is too often private?

A recent article in the KC Star entitled  "Johnson County district attorney says public business is too often private" is one indication of why folks need to get more involved in local government.

One item coming up locally is the Shawnee City Council meeting which is considering the reinstatement of full version minutes of its proceedings.  That is important at it will add to transparency and better information to the citizens as to what their local elected representatives are doing.  This meeting is scheduled for Monday, 9/10/12 at city hall at 7:30PM.  Show up and see, listen, and even contribute your comments and thoughts.

The above mentioned KC Star article can be viewed at http://www.kansascity.com/2012/09/07/3803115/johnson-county-district-attorney.html

There are some references in the article to recent happenings in Shawnee.

One needs to be aware that the comment that the League of Kansas Municipalities is a taxpayer funded organization means that cities become members, using taxpayer dollars to join, but it is governing bodies that choose to join, not taxpayers themselves.




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shawnee PD Pays Tribute to Noah Davis

The Shawnee PD has shown an extremely high level of compassion and humanity in its recent honors in memory of Noah Davis.

Rather than repeat the story here, please allow me to direct your attention to just two of the many local media items about this.

An article in the Shawnee Dispatch at

http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/aug/28/honorary-officer/
An article and video at WDAF-TV Fox 4 at
http://fox4kc.com/2012/08/27/child-gives-his-life-named-honorary-police-officer/
Thank you Chief Larimore for showing that Shawnee cares, and understands.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sandifer is Confusing - Even to Himself

If council member (Ward IV) Mickey Sandifer ever did or said anything that made sense, or didn't contradict himself, I'd say hallelujah.

OK, at the 8/13/12 council meeting when the topic of a company asking to do an analysis for a CID for the Shawnee Pakway Plaza (Bonner Springs Partners II) came up, Sandifer said he was against CIDs.

Huh, he was one of the folks that voted for the CID at Ten Quivira Plaza.  So, he votes for one, then says he is against them? 

So, I check a few things.  Now this is great.  In his most recent run for reelection (this April) he received in March a contribution from Tri Land (the company that runs Ten Quivira) for $500.  But, he did not receive any contributions from Bonner Springs Partners II (like Kuhn and Neighbor did).  Did he feel left out?  Were his feelings hurt?  Was he jealous?

Go figure.......................

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Important Info From Another Blog

As mentioned in a previous post, there is another local blog in town "Shawnee, Kansas FWIW"

It can be viewed at http://blog.shawneefwiw.com/

There are two very recent posts there that can shed some light on open government, or lack thereof, in the City of Shawnee.  One of these posts specifically covers the issue of detail minutes at city council meetings and the other post covers the issue of the trials and tribulations the author experienced in obtaining accurate and complete documents from city hall.

The post titles and dates of posting are as follows:

"Review of Minutes" Staff Report posted on 8/24/12

Then scroll down, skip a few others (unless you want to read them, as they are also interesting) and go to:

Crimson Ridge Rezoning Documents Requests April-June posted on 8/12/12

We have also created a permanent link to that blog in our list of links in the left margin

Friday, August 24, 2012

Answers to Questions

Apparently our mayor would rather attempt to take me down a notch as opposed to insuring that council responds in a truthful and forthcoming manner.  (See the post immediately preceding this one)

As such I have sent the following email to our mayor, Jeff Meyers:

Jeff,


May I direct your attention to my blog post last night concerning Council member Jim Neighbor.

Now you can say whatever you want to the Shawnee Dispatch about how I react when questions are not answered.

But, you cannot deny that we have a problem when council members cannot answer simple questions with direct simple answers. Mr. Neighbor is just the latest one to dance around a question as opposed to a direct answer.

I remember a couple of years ago when I was trying to pinpoint how some dinner funds were spent in Washington, DC by members of the council that you seemed to be in favor of getting direct, specific answers. Maybe that was because they were members of the council that you were not fond of?

When members of the council Tijuana Two Step around questions, and fail to provide direct answers I will continue to challenge them. Maybe you need to assert your influence and advise them that they have an obligation to be forthcoming when dealing with the public.

Ray

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is Council Member Neighbor Taking Lessons from Dawn Kuhn?

Background: In an article in the Shawnee Dispatch 8/8/12 Mayor Jeff Meyers had this to say about yours truly: Ray Erlichman, a resident who blogs about city affairs, “is another one who is going to try to make your life miserable if he doesn’t get the answer he wants,” Meyers said. He referred to Erlichman as “the season ticket holder who replaced Charlotte (Hargis),” a deceased former council member and leading critic of the governing body. Viewable at http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/aug/08/open-government-has-become-contentious-city-issue/

Moving forward - strange 1: At the city council meeting of 8/13/12 a development company wanted an analysis done to see if a CID was a viable way to proceed on a shopping center redevelopment. To do this, by ordinance, the developer needs to pay the city $20,000 for the study. No problem here. But the name on the check rang a bell, Bonner Springs Partners. So, I asked if any of the incumbents who ran for office this past April had received any contributions from them. It took a few seconds but Dawn Kuhn said she had but she couldn't remember if it was one of the principals individually or the company. I had to inform her it was the company, $500 maximum allowable. She indicated that she got so many contributions. OK, here's the "strange 1".......on the 3/26, 2/21, and 1/10 filings Kuhn ahd only received a total of 12 contributions...........and only two of them were for $500, the developer and Deffenbaugh. And, on the 3/26 filing which had the developer, Kuhn herself signed the report and appears to have also filled out the forms. But shee needed her memory jogged.

Moving forward - strange 2: I knew there was another one but couldn't remember, and no other council member came forward. So, when I got home I looked it back up. Lo and behold it was Jim Neighbor. Yet he didn't voluntarily admit to receiving the contribution.

So, I emailed Neighbor on 8/15/12:

Jim,

Curious, when I asked the question Monday night as to who of the

incumbents who ran for reelection had received donations from that

group Dawn Kuhn admitted it but I really don't remember you responding.

Would you care to answer as to why you didn't say anything Monday night?

Thank you

Ray

Neighbor replied on 8/16/12

OK. I'm going to try this on a different screen.  My treasurer keeps track of all the financials, is recovering from back surgery, and I'll contact her next week, for details and forward them to you.

Regards, Jim Neighbor

So, I had to reply this way, also on the 16th.

Thank you for the response.

Attached please find a copy of the 3/26/12 financial for you to review.

It is interesting to note that this filing was signed by you and not your treasurer.

Also, as an FYI, on the 2/20 and 3/26 filings you received a total of 12 contributions……………and only two of them are for $500 (one from Bonner Springs Partners and one from Deffenbaugh).

One would think that an individual would remember the two “big” ones they got.

That is why I was curious as to why you didn’t mention it the other night when I asked.

Looking forward to your response

Thank you

Ray



Note, it also appears that not only did he sign that financial, but it looks like he too filled it out himself.

So, yes Mr. Mayor, if I don't get a reasonable answer I will come back with a follow up question (Neighbor has not responded back yet). Why do these elected officials have to do their little Tijuana Two Step around simple questions and not give direct, honest answers? I believe former council member David Morris alluded to what he called government speak in giving answers to the public which can do nothing but cause problems.

When elected officials dance around simple questions one has to wonder....why?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another Former Council Member Voices His Opinion

The below appears in today's Shawnee Dispatch, and on line at:
http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/aug/22/doghouse-dwellers/

To the editor,

As a former Shawnee City Council member I would like to add some personal observations to the Dispatch article on open government.

I requested information from the city manager. Many times I received only partial information and at other times no information. Basically, I was being stonewalled.

It got to the point where I had to submit requests under the Kansas Open Records Act. Still, responses were not timely or forthcoming at all, and sometimes there would be fees. Council members should not have to endure that. City documents should be readily available for their review.

When I brought this up at various meetings, one of the other council members would say something to the effect of, “Well, I always get the information I request.”

Yes Ms. Kuhn, we can understand that, and why.

There is a definite good ol’ boy network on the council, coupled with a city manager run amok with power and forgetting her place as an employee of the council. I remember seeing this quote by another former council member, David Morris, discussing his resignation: “In the political arena, if you get put in the doghouse, answers don’t come particularly quickly, and sometimes phone calls don’t get returned particularly quickly.”

I was in the Shawnee City Council doghouse and did not get answers to questions or emails returned.

Kevin Straub

Friday, August 17, 2012

Detailed Minutes - Will They Come Back?

A very important item with regards to governmental transparency is up for discussion at the Council Committee meeting on Tuesday 8/21/12 at 7:00PM.

That item is to consider restoring detailed minutes of  city council, committee, and some other meetings.

Of the currently sitting council members the following voted for what we have now which denies the citizens a complete record of what has transpired:  Kuhn, Vaught, Sandifer, Neighbor and Sawyer.  These five basically voted against government transparency.

Only council members Pflumm and Distler voted to keep the detailed minutes, thus insuring more open government.

Be there Tuesday, and let's work to get those detailed minutes restored.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Who Did Tell Her???

With the DA’s office investigating the possibility of a KOMA violation leading to the appointment of Alan Willoughby (the mayor’s uncle by marriage) to the council, I feel some “gaps” in the info.


Dawn Kuhn challenged Michelle Distler for not supporting Mr. Willoughby.  Kuhn indicated that Distler was changing her attitude, in that Distler did not support Neighbor two years ago who had received lots of votes, but now wanted to support Dr. Mike Kemmling who also had received lots of votes.  That was when Distler remarked that she did not support Neighbor because of being told that his selection was predetermined and that she had been told the same thing about Willoughby.

Ms. Distler didn’t mention at the council meeting who told her, nor did she “out” that person when interviewed by the media.  But, did she inform the DA investigator of who that person was?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Former Councilmember Morris' Letter to the Editor

Former Shawnee city councilmember David Morris has written a letter to the Shawnee Dispatch that some might find interesting.

It can be read at this link http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/aug/14/letter-involved-citizens-vilified/

Or, to save you time you can read it below:

To the editor,


In the article “Open government has become contentious city issue,” city officials talked about how they encourage citizen involvement yet seem to verbally vilify the citizens who do get involved in the process.

As a community activist and former councilman, I have the unique ability to understand both sides. Sometimes the job of governing can be rewarding and positive. Other times it can be frustrating, exhausting and downright nasty. That’s all part of the job description.

Over the years I’ve seen a trend toward city leaders who make excuses why they can’t, like to play the role of victim and then blame others. Maybe a better approach than belittling and vilifying citizens that do get involved would be to take a more positive leadership approach and stop acting like whining victims. When leadership takes the approach as in this article, the public only hears “government speak” for “we’re always right and don’t care what you think.” Situations like this can be defused long before they get to this level of contention if one drops the “government speak” and is genuine and honest.

Last but not least, it was in very bad taste and disrespectful that an official would bring the deceased Charlotte Hargis into this public contention. The attempt to vilify the dead is inappropriate and beneath what citizens expect from their city leaders.

David Morris
Shawnee

The article Mr. Morris refers to is here:
http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/aug/08/open-government-has-become-contentious-city-issue/



Friday, August 10, 2012

Former Councilmember Straub Adds Comments

Former Shawnee City Councilmember Kevin Straub has added his comments to the article in the Shawnee Dispatch.

His comments are very telling and very interesting.  Maybe the DA's office should look into these comments too?

See the article and then scroll down to read Straub's comments:

http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/aug/08/open-government-has-become-contentious-city-issue/

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Short Lesson in Constitutional Guarantees

In a previous post I mentioned that I felt Mayor Jeff Meyers violated his oath of office to support the Constitutions of the US and Kansas by not permitting public comment at the council meeting that appointed his uncle (by marriage) to the city council.

Two items worth reading:

First Amendment to the US Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Section 3 of the Bill of Rights of the Kansas Constitution:

Right of peaceable assembly; petition. The people have the right to assemble, in a peaceable manner, to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, for the redress of grievances.
'Nuff said..............................

Tuesday's (8/7/12) Primary Election

Well Tuesday was an interesting day. 

Let's look at some of the races.

John Rubin defeated Neal Sawyer.  Acutally Sawyer got a spanking, 67% to 33%, and in reality lost two elections on Tuesday.  Tom Martin defeated Sawyer for precinct committeeman in their precinct.  One has to wonder if maybe Sawyer's abstaining from voting at the July 9th council meeting may have had something to do with that?  Maybe there were 650 folks in Ward II that were upset with him?  Happy to see Rubin come out on top.

Another person I was happy to see come out on top was Mary Pilcher-Cook.  She gave Tom Wertz a spanking, 64% to 36%.  Maybe folks took exception to some of Wertz's mailers?

Charles Macheers was another victorious candidate.  He defeated Stephanie Meyer 63% to 37%.  Nice job Charles.  Happy to see you were victorious.

Brett Hildabrand won out over Jason Leib 58% to 42%.  Happy to see that one, especially in view of some of Leib's comments about Hildabrand that were just below the belt.

Now, proving that below the belt mailers are wrong was Greg Smith's victory over Joe Beveridge.  Was definitely happy to see Smith take this one.  Congrats Greg.

Looking forward to the general election in November and those winners mentioned above being victorious at that time also.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Mayor Meyers Ignores His Oath of Office

Well, I guess Mayor Jeff Meyers does not care about his oath of office to support both the US and Kansas Constitutions.

The below comments are taken from an article in the Shawnee Dispatch, and are regarding open government and the meeting that saw the mayor's uncle (by marriage) appointed to fill a council vacancy.

The article can be read at http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/aug/08/open-government-has-become-contentious-city-issue/

Ray Erlichman, a resident who blogs about city affairs, “is another one who is going to try to make your life miserable if he doesn’t get the answer he wants,” Meyers said. He referred to Erlichman as “the season ticket holder who replaced Charlotte (Hargis),” a deceased former council member and leading critic of the governing body.


Following Willoughby’s appointment, Erlichman was critical of Meyers for not allowing public discussion during the July 9 meeting.

Meyers said he had heard that the pastor of a church attended by Distler and applicant Michael Kemmling had made an appeal from the pulpit for members to turn out in support of Kemmling. “So I decided before we started the process that, this time, I’m not going to get into the circus of people electioneering at the meeting,” Meyers said.

Kemmling said, “It’s odd that if (Meyers) suspects opinions are going to be contrary to his, he doesn’t want to hear them.”

Did Meyers ever think that maybe some of those folks that wanted to speak were some of the 650 who had voted for Kemmling?  You know, the ones that made it possible for him (Kemmling) to come within 11, that's right, 11 votes of defeating Neal Sawyer.  Did he ever think that maybe there were folks who wanted to speak that did not go to that church? 

Note to Jeff Meyers:  I'd rather be the season ticket holder to replace Charlotte Hargis than a mayor that does not uphold his oath of office and who has abrogated his responsibilities.

Sidebar:  The mayor has a short memory.  Doesn't he remember when council member Vaught electioneered from the dais? A no-no for elected officials. Of course not, because that was for the mayor's benefit.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

KMBZ Comments on KOMA Investigation

Link to their web site story

There is also a short audio clip you can click on and listen to.KMBZ Link

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Low Blow Mailer

A recent mailer sent out supporting Joe Beveridge over Greg Smith for State Senate has to be one of the lowest bottom feeder types of literature I have seen.  In brief, Greg is criticized for taking a salary for his work as President of the foundation that was set up in memory of his daughter.  And that foundation has done many things with an eye to protecting women from violence.  The amount that Greg gets, based on the time he puts in, wouldn't even qualify for minimum wage.  And he has a reply for that.

My question is:  do the elected officials who endorse Beveridge condone this kind of sleaze?  Folks like Mike Boehm, Ed Eilert and Carl Gerlach.  The complete list can be found at http://www.beveridgeforsenate.com  I bet I know one that condones this sleaze, Stephanie Sharp.  Heck her company, Sharp Connections a PR and consultancy company received $15,173.08 from the Beveridge campaign (as of 7/30 that was of a total expenditure listing of $16,760.86)

Anyway, the mailer is shown below followed by some screen captures from Facebook supporting Greg Smith and showing disgust with the mailer.

Note:  Please click on any of the images to enlarge so you can read them.  Thank you.





Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Hit and Run - No Fun

If you haven't heard about this hit and run please read the article in the Shawnee Dispatch,

http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/jul/31/police-ask-help-hit-and-run-case/

Somebody out there must know something.  Please contact the Shawnee PD

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"HOT" Complaint Filed with DA for Possible Violation of the KOMA

A complaint has been filed with the Johnson County DA's office of a possible violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act, as it pertains to the mayor and the city council.

For more info
http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/jul/31/das-office-investigating-alleged-open-meetings-vio/

New Blogger in Town

There's a new blog in town, "Shawnee, Kansas - FWIW"

http://blog.shawneefwiw.com/

Also, if you haven't seen the video of the Jeff Vaught hypocrisy, scroll down, it's right below this post.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Vaught's "Food for thought..." hypocrisy (video)

At the July 9th Special Council Meeting, Council member Jeff Vaught (Ward IV) advised Dr. Mike Kemmling that he couldn't vote for him, because he (Dr. Kemmling) interrupted Councilmember Kuhn and himself.  See the video below.  It might prove interesting.  Oh, the audio on the camera is a little weak, so Vaught's comment was:
“It is interesting and honestly I am just going to direct this at you Mr. Kemmling, I really tried to, in listening to the questions, I really tried to keep an open mind but even when Miss Kuhn was questioning you, 4 times you tried to interrupt her. You tried to interrupt me. And I’m thinking, I’m just trying to ask questions here, put it out there,  and that desire to talk over somebody is not good. If we all did that up here, trying to talk over each other, it would get really ugly real quick. The only reason, I really believe, people that run for city council is because you like to be heard and if all 8 of us tried to be heard at the same time, its going to explode. So, I’m struggling with that. I know you went out and campaigned. I just, I have a type A personality and I can be pretty aggressive, but I’ve also learned to sit and I’ve got to mentally know when I’ve had to just sit and listen and not voice my opinion. It can be difficult but that’s just part of the game. It’s a lot of listening and probably a lot less talking than listening and it’s hard to do. Just some food for thought.”



Methinks Mr. Vaught needs to munch on some of his own "food for thought", along with his ward mate Dawn Kuhn.  These are not the only instances of these two interrupting other people.  They do it at almost every meeting, be it a member of the public, staff, or other council members.  Did you notice Council member Sawyer asking to be allowed to finish after he was interrupted?

Friday, July 27, 2012

What Is On Sawyer's Mind?

OK, in April Neal Sawyer barely ekes out a reelection victory 661-650 in Shawnee's Ward II.

Then three months later he's running for state representative.  Doesn't he care about the commitment he made to the folks in Ward  II?

Anyway, here's the kicker.  If Sawyer were to get elected as a state rep he technically could keep his Ward II job.  Yep, according to Kansas law you can't hold multiple partisan elected positions, but since the city's elections are non-partisan he could do that.  Problem is, the state rep's position is virtually a 24/7 job when the legislature is in session.  Now, can he really handle both?  I don't think so.  According to the city's web site he still holds his non-governmental job.  Can he hold 3 spots?  I definitely don't think so.

So, my suggestion is let's make sure we don't have to suffer the consequences of finding out.  Make him fulfill his obligation to the the people in Ward II by not electing him to the state legislature.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sandifer Not Supporting Leib

Well, well, well.................Shawnee City Council Member Mickey Sandifer is no longer showing up as a supporter of Jason Leib for state rep:
http://jasonleib.com/about/

The qwuestion still remains, did Sandifer initially support Leib and then withdraw that after various items came out or did Leib use Sandifer's name without his permission?

What items?  Apparently Mr. Leib has a DUI history and a bunch of tweets which would indicate an extreme fondness for alcohol.  http://thekansascitian.blogspot.com/2012/07/exclusive-alcohol-plagued-past-casts.html  Also, Mr. Sandifer has expressed that he is a strong proponent of right to life, where Mr. Leib does not share those views.  This is/was a strange situation.