Friday, May 31, 2013

Perseverance Pays Off For Shawnee PD, And the Community

On Tuesday night I just had to address the city council and get it on the record what a tremendous job the PD has done in the Gerry Grovenburg murder case.

Tenacity and perseverance pays off.  One individual is now incarcerated pending trial and the info is out there on his accomplice.

Most people are under false impressions of how police departments solve crimes.  We see on TV that a detective gets some evidence with his/her morning coffee and then by his/her lunch has the lab, DNA, ballistics, medical examiner's, toxicology reports etc. all finalized.

It doesn't work that way.  Those reports take time It takes hard work, and an ability to connect the dots.  Leads must be continuously followed up and double checked.  When the PD presents the info to the DA for prosecution they have to be able to back up their conclusions.

Some cases are harder to solve than others.  This was one of them. But, the men and women of our PD never gave up.  We have a great department.

The next time you see one of our local cops, give 'em a thumbs up.  Let 'em know you appreciate them.

For more info on what happened go to

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day - 2013

Memorial Day 2013

The Star Spangled Banner without a rock diva, Super Bowl XXXIX

And yes, I'm proud to be an American, and I won't apologize for it,

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Open Government??? Yeah, right!!!!

Ya gotta love it.

How did we find out that the proposed Public Information position would cost approximately $70K?

Was that info listed on line in the agenda packet before the committee meeting?  Noper.

Was it available in the packet that was given out at the meeting to the public?  Noper.

The info became known because Mr. Sawyer asked about that cost as that is how it was listed in the documents he received.

So, is it a big show to have these budget meetings open to the public with INCOMPLETE info?

Ahhh yes, now these comments of mine today are probably going to be considered bad information which is supposedly one of the justifications for creating this position.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Shawnee Strongly Supports Our Guard & Reserve

The City of Shawnee is one of 30 finalists for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

Since 2,899 employers were nominated this is quite a feat to be in the final selection group of 30.

Fifteen of the 30 will be selected for the award, which will take place this summer.

As a veteran, I am very happy to hear this about Shawnee.

More information is available at

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ooops, Did I Make A Mistake?

Regarding the possibility of the city establishing a public information officer position I posted an item on 5/1/13.  (You can scroll down to read the whole post)

Part of that post contained the statement:

The city staff has a city manager, a deputy city manager (recently promoted from assistant city manager) and an assistant to the city manager.  Heck, which one of them has been putting the publicity stuff up on the city's web site?  And what about the emails that go out to the listserv addresses?  And the facebook and twitter stuff already?  And can't one of them handle verbal and or written communications with the local media?

Well, what was the mistake?  The city no longer has an assistant to the city manager.  That person is now an Assistant City Manager.  Promotion time.  This came out last night when part of the budget was being reviewed.

Also last night, Councilmember Sawyer questioned the projected remuneration for that position.  Apparently the document he was looking at showed $70,000.  The city manager said that it could be less depending on the person who was hired.  Mr. Sawyer wanted to know if that $70K was salary or if it included salary plus approximately an additional 25% in benefits.  If that figure sticks, then the position would pay approximately $55K in salary and approximately $15K in benefits.

So, now we know that a City Manager, a Deputy City Manager and an Assistant City Manager are not equipped to answer questions from the media/public and/or issue press releases concerning the city.  If they were equipped and capable, then the city manager would not be asking for the additional position.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Letters, They Get Letters (and don't respond)

A copy of a letter I sent to the governing body on 4/9/13

Please pay attention to the part where I ask for verification of Dawn Kuhn's statement.  To date, I have not received any such verification.  Nobody has produced any verification that I had been given that answer for "six years".  Well, that leads me to believe that:
a.  Kuhn is so arrogant that she feels she doesn't need to respond
b.  No such documentation exists which means Kuhn was telling a fairy tale (lying)

Also, she said that 3 lawyers told her it could be a HIPPA violation.  Geeee, I spoke to lawyers also, and they say only med professionals who release info without authorization are guilty of HIPPA violations.  Only problem is that Kuhn's comments are on the record.

What else has she not been forthcoming about?  Gee, she has never explained why she gets her city pay check as "White" and her city expense checks as "Kuhn".  Strange.

I even wonder if her current address is valid.  After her divorce she relocated to another address in Ward 3.  Or did she?  Is it possible that she is pulling a Phill Kline?  Is that address just a "mail drop" (which unfortunately would still be legal) but that she is domiciled elsewhere?  Outside of Ward 3?

Governing Body

As you may recall approximately two weeks ago I addressed council and inquired to have Mr Willoughby provide the law that said sharing rooms was illegal.

At that point Ms Kuhn immediately started one of her excessively verbose commentaries with regards to HIPPA, potential lawsuits, etc.  What I found intriguing was that Ms Kuhn stated that was the same answer that had been provided to me every year for six years when I brought up the subject

Can Ms Kuhn or anyone produce documentation (city minutes or audio) that what she says is accurate? That I had been given that answer in the past?  The usual response has been a  perfunctory “thank you for coming up”.  I sincerely question the veracity of her statement.  It is interesting to note that Mr Willoughby admitted he should not have used the term illegal.

That now brings up another item.  Ms Kuhn’s attempt to have me cut off after her speech.  Because I appeared to be asking a question?

 First, when a member of the public comes up to speak they are going to either make a statement or ask a question.  Granted, the answer may not be readily available, and may take some time to gather, but a question from the public is normal.  Second, when a member of the council engages in a long winded commentary doesn’t a member of the community have the right to respond?  Or are we attempting to cut off the public?

A few weeks ago during a meeting one individual got up and after five minutes Ms Kuhn mentioned to the mayor the time limit.  Ironically the next speaker (Mr. Chipman) spoke for over 20 minutes and at no time did Ms Kuhn attempt to advise the mayor of the time limit.  Selective permissions?

Does Shawnee really want to have its openness challenged?  And that can be done very easily.  Ms Kuhn was concerned about lawsuits regarding HIPPA.  What about actions regarding the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution and Section 3 of the Bill of Rights of the Kansas Constitution?

The mayor has publicly stated that some people ask too many questions.  Maybe the problem is that not enough citizens ask more questions

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Rob Roberts to Leave the Shawnee Dispatch

Rob Roberts will be leaving the Shawnee Dispatch to take a position with the Kansas City Business Journal.  We would like to wish Rob the best as he joins the staff of one of the more prestigious niche periodicals in the metro area.

Rob's tenure with the Dispatch was a welcome change from that of some of his predecessors.  As a skilled, long term journalist he realized that he had a responsibility to tell it like it is. As such, he reported the good, the bad and the ugly, which did not necessarily endear him to certain folks at city hall.  There are some who feel that a local paper should only be a cheerleader for the city.  That is wrong.  Maybe that is one of the reasons why the city now wants a PIO, because they could not have control over the local media, like they had in the past.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how Rob's replacement handles things.  Will he be realistic and objective, reporting all aspects of what happens?  Or will he, like some others become a puppet for city hall?

Another thing that time will tell.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Google This

Last night, at a hastily called special City Council meeting the city approved an agreement to get the ball rolling on bringing Google Fiber to Shawnee.

Super high speed internet (and TV) will be very good for Shawnee's residents and eventually businesses.  Another benefit will be that the city offices will be connected through the fiber network and WiFi at no charge.  Sounds like a savings of taxpayer money to me.  Believe the agreement is for a ten year period.

My only question is why did the mayor have to call a special meeting (less than 8 hours before the meeting time)?  Why couldn't this have been handled at the next regular council meeting?  That would also have allowed folks to read and absorb the info, and if needed, to be able to ask questions.

No time frame is available yet.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Fireworks or Spinworks

The more I think about the city manager wanting to hire a full time public information officer, the more I wonder why.

Shawnee is a city of approximately 62,000 folks.  The city staff has a city manager, a deputy city manager (recently promoted from assistant city manager) and an assistant to the city manager.  Heck, which one of them has been putting the publicity stuff up on the city's web site?  And what about the emails that go out to the listserv addresses?  And the facebook and twitter stuff already?  And can't one of them handle verbal and or written communications with the local media?

Now, if the city has that kind of money, and who knows what the position is going to pay (plus benefits), I'd like to see us get our July 4th fireworks in Shawnee Mission Park back.

So, if you agree with me, email the council and the mayor by sending an email to   When you send an email there it goes to all 8 council members and the mayor.  Let them know that you'd rather have fireworks instead of spinworks.

Also, if you know of anybody else who might also like that idea, please pass this on to them.