Sunday, December 08, 2013

Vaught Pushes to Waste $100,000 of City Funds

Wow, the headline is a strong statement.  But, it is a fact.

At last Tuesday's (12/3/13) Council Committee meeting an item came up to put the issue of continuing two sales taxes (collectively known as Parks & Pipes) and a new one for pavements, on a ballot for the citizens of Shawnee to vote on.  The merits of the taxes will not be discussed in this post.

Now that is the way it should be.  The citizens have a right to vote on these items.  Here's the problem:  City Manager Gonzales proposed a time line that would create a mail in ballot in the spring of 2014.  That would cost $100,000.  The city could put it on the ballot for the November general election at no cost.  The November election is a county wide election and cities can piggy back for zero dollars in election costs.  Various council members expressed concern about spending the $100,000 when the item could be put before the voters at no charge.

Councilmember Vaught appeared to be the primary proponent for doing it in the spring.  In his rants he even went so far as to accuse another council member of having "blinders on" because that council member had the temerity to disagree with His Royal Arrogance.  So much for civility, which Vaught has always claimed we need more of on the council, but is the first to be uncivil.  Vaught's concern stemmed from the concept that a tax question, on the bottom of a ballot during a partisan election would automatically be voted down.  Not so Mr. Know it All.  If the public is educated, regarding the pros and cons of the issues, then the citizens of Shawnee can make informed, intelligent decisions.  He even indicated that with a mail in ballot, the folks that had responded to the most recent citizen satisfaction survey (by mail) would be the ones to return them and then the items would be approved.
Looking around the metro there have been many tax items put on the ballot that have been approved, and yes, some have been turned down, but a larger turn out let's you know how the people feel.  This is something that if you listen closely to his comments, he is not in favor the people feel.

Ironically, Council member Dan Pflumm challenged Vaught to the extent that Vaught was against spending $30,000 for a special election to fill the recent open Ward III seat, but now is willing to spend $100,000 instead of getting a freebie election.  Vaught's response was that there was a procedure for the council appointment set up.  He's right.  There is.  And it states that if the council does not fill the vacancy then it goes to a special election.  Naturally Vaught did not want that, even though 3 of the 4 interviewed for the position said it should.  Ironic, eh?

Anyway, back to the election for the sales taxes.  This matter will be coming back before the committee.  It is not over.  The people of Shawnee need to address this matter at a general election in November for two reasons:

1.  November elections get larger turnouts and more citizens of Shawnee could express their view, pro or con.
2.  A November ballot question would be at no charge to the city as opposed to $100,000 for a spring mail ballot.

If you don't believe me about Vaught's attitude and comments, then please listen to the audio of the meeting.  You can hear how he puts himself above all others, including the citizens of Shawnee.  The audio is available here:

Go to the 12/3/13 committee meeting and click on "Listen to Audio of Meeting"
To save time you can scroll forward to approximately the 1 hr 25 min mark of the meeting to hear this subject matter, bypassing the other two items on that agenda.

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