Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wishes of the Season

Want to wish all those who read this blog the best of the season.  A Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.

It doesn't look like we will get one this year, but we can always dream

Friday, December 18, 2015

Shawnee Leads The Way at Police Academy Graduation

Last night the 116th Class of the Johnson County Regional Police Academy graduated and its members are now certified law enforcement officers in the State of Kansas.

What was really nice was that Shawnee really led the way, starting with our police department's honor guard presenting the Colors.  And Captain Ben Mendoza's daughter, Alyssa was the vocalist who performed the National Anthem.

Then our own Captain Mitch Brim was the keynote speaker.  Very inspirational.

And on top of that Officer Derek Miller, one of four Shawnee graduates of the academy last night, was chosen by his peers to be the class spokesperson.

The new officers will now undergo department specific training and then field training with veteran officers (FTOs).

Let's wish the new "rookies" the best in their careers.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Apartment Saga Brings Out the Worst in Some

The Vantage at Shawnee Apartments are still in limbo.  I have a few things I'd like to say about this past Monday's council meeting and it has nothing to do with whether or not the project is good for Shawnee.

It has to do with some of the side events that took place.  Any long term reader of this blog knows how I feel about citizen participation/input at these meetings.  It was my suggestion that got PS-7 modified to allow additional public input.  I feel that I had something to do with the city going back to full minutes of council meetings rather than the abbreviated ones we had for a short period.

I just feel that some, not all, but some of the folks that were against the project acted like a bunch of immature hood rats.  Tough analysis.  But, IMHO, true.  When they got up to speak they spoke.  When folks got up to speak in favor of the project they were met with heckling and other negative displays.  One immature idiot was seen to be mouthing obscenities at the mayor.  Threats of physical violence were voiced against proponents of the project, and against the mayor. 

Now there is a rumor going around that some of these folks want to show up at tomorrow's Third Thursday With the Mayor just to be disruptive.  Total lack of class.  They have spoken at a planning commission meeting, at a city council meeting, and when it comes back to the council am sure they will be there then.  The third Thursdays are not necessarily designed for that.  If they do show up, and are disruptive, they will be doing a disservice to their fellow citizens who are there for its intended purpose.

So some of these self righteous folks who have on occasion belittled the types of individuals who live in apartments are actually showing that they are pretty low life themselves.  Decent people can live in private residences and apartments.  The same goes for low life's.

One additional comment about Monday's meeting.  The hired gun (attorney) for the developer came across as an arrogant twit. During his monotonous ramblings it appeared that on at least four occasions he was getting ready to conclude his commentary.  Wow, was I fooled.  He was worse than the Energizer bunny. He reminded me of an old sales philosophy which I have never liked, "If ya can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with BS." Even if the developer's VP was not a polished speaker he might have come across as more human than the hired gun.

'Nuff said, for now.

The Dispatch take on the meeting.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Elect or Appoint Council Replacements?

At the upcoming Council Committee meeting (Tuesday 12/8/15) one of the topics up for discussion is whether to appoint or have an election when a council seat becomes vacant.

This discussion is prompted by various factors.  First Charter Ordinance 40 is going to have to be changed to comply with the new Kansas law regarding when local elections will be held.  Since 2012 we have had three council vacancies.  Two because of resignations and one because of a council member being elected as mayor. 

The appointment of Alan Willoughby (former mayor Jeff Meyers' uncle by marriage) to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of David Morris resulted in an investigation by JoCo DA Howe regarding possible violations of KOMA (Kansas Open Meetings Act).  In a blistering rebuke at the time, DA Howe found that there was an apparent violation of the spirit of the law.  With the two appointments that were subsequent to that one various members of the public and even some council members questioned the fairness of the appointment system currently being used. 

Some have now called for an election process to fill vacancies.  No decisions will be made Tuesday but input will be taken for consideration for when the charter ordinance has to be changed.

Personally I favor the election process.  In the recent citizen satisfaction survey this item was one of the questions, and a majority favored keeping the current appointment process.  I will attempt on Tuesday night to show, how, in my opinion, the question was asked in such a manner as to manipulate the answer.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Being Politically Correct Can be a Bunch of Garbage

Very seldom do I write anything on this blog that does not have anything to do with Shawnee, but today will be one of those times.

With some of the recent events that have been happening it is time to speak out.  There are folks who don't like the term Islamic terrorist.  Well, let's see, what would you call someone who is of that religion who uses terror to try and subvert others to their way of thinking?  Another no no is illegal aliens or illegal immigrants.  Golly gee, there are legal ways to enter the United States.  If ya don't do it legally then you have to be illegal.  Simple, isn't it?

Maybe the PC police would like us to change other terms:

1.  Illegal parking becomes improperly positioned motor vehicle
2.  Murderer becomes a life termination expeditor
3.  Wife/husband batterer becomes a spousal attitude adjustment specialist
4.  Thief becomes a wealth distribution specialist (synonymous also with Democratic presidents/presidential candidates)
5.  Drug dealer becomes amateur pharmaceutical distributor
6.  Drunk becomes limited alcohol tolerance
7.  Drunk driver becomes limited alcohol tolerance vehicle operator
8.  Arsonist becomes an uncontrolled pyrotechnic display artist

Friday, November 20, 2015

We Are Behind in Donations for the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund

We are running behind last year's donations:

As of today there is $11,484.99 collected.  Last year a total of  $21,683.58 was collected.  This is a very worthy cause and it is sincerely hoped that Shawnee will respond.

Time is rapidly coming to the end of when donations can be made for this year's Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund.  December 5th is the date that the funds will be given to this year's selected charity, Shawnee Community Services  This is a local community food pantry.

More information about the fund can be found here

What is nice is that donations can start at just $5 by clicking here and can go up to $2,500 by clicking here.

The people of Shawnee have always shown a willingness to help others in the community.  Please do so this time.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Examples of Stupidity

On 11/6/15 I posted "Stupidity Costs All of Us" (scroll down), concerning how we are all affected by what some folks do (or don't do) that causes vehicles to be stolen, or other crimes to be committed.

Going through the various cases posted on line here in Shawnee I could post dozens of examples of stupidity.  But, I have chosen just to post two of them (underlining mine).

CN1505215 11/16/2015 06:11 AM 24100 Block W 67 TERR AUTO THEFT Victim's unlocked vehicle was stolen from the driveway with keys taken from another unlocked vehicle in the driveway

CN1504892 10/27/2015 10:26 AM 13600 Block W 49 TERR RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY Open garage door entered, unsecured vehicles entered and items stolen from vehicle

Folks, ya gotta start using some common sense.  I personally have little or no sympathy for these "victims".  As previously posted, on top of all the problems, financial losses, potential insurance rate increases, etc., we are creating cases for our PD that are unnecessary and it could better use its resources for other crimes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tomorrow 11/19/15 - Third Thursday With the Mayor

Great way to get info and also to get involved and ask questions about YOUR city

From the city's web site:

The next Third Thursday will take place on November 19 at 9:00am at the Shawnee Civic Centre (13817 Johnson Drive). All residents of Shawnee are welcomed to attend

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kansas Bill of Rights - Sections 3, 2 & 20

At various times, when addressing the Shawnee city council I have had to remind some of their members of Section 3 of the Kansas Bill of Rights.  This has usually come up when some members who profess to support open government, actually try to suppress it (i.e. restrict input by citizens, not wanting full minutes of meetings etc.)

For those not familiar with Section 3, it is quoted below (highlights and underlining mine): 

§ 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.

Now I think it is time to remind certain members of the council about Section 2 of the Bill of Rights of the Kansas State Constitution.  Mainly because some on the council seem to think that they "are above the citizens" of the city and this might entitle them to certain privileges.

§ 2. Political power; privileges. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and are instituted for their equal protection and benefit. No special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted by the legislature, which may not be altered, revoked or repealed by the same body; and this power shall be exercised by no other tribunal or agency.

This is not to say that the council has attempted to grant any special privileges to themselves or any members, it is just to say that some members seem to think that they have special privileges.

There are 20 sections to the State's Bill of Rights.............I just love Section 20

§ 20. Powers retained by people. This enumeration of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people; and all powers not herein delegated remain with the people.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund 2015

Time is rapidly coming to the end of when donations can be made for this year's Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund.  December 5th is the date that the funds will be given to this year's selected charity, Shawnee Community Services  This is a local community food pantry.

More information about the fund can be found here

What is nice is that donations can start at just $5 by clicking here and can go up to $2,500 by clicking here.

The people of Shawnee have always shown a willingness to help others in the community.  Please do so this time.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Stupidity Costs All of Us

No, I am not going to be politically correct.  I will refer to some people as stupid, and if nothing else, some folks have a definite deficiency in common sense.

What am I referring to?  The inordinate increase in car thefts due to "player error".  I am not talking about vehicles that have their windows broken, doors jimmied and then the ignition hot wired.  I am talking about the fools that leave their vehicles in their driveways, unlocked and some with the keys in the vehicle..  Even worse, are  those who leave their cars warming up with the keys in the ignition.  In most jurisdictions this action is a traffic offense.  To the best of my knowledge the only cars that can be running are those that have been remote started as there are no keys in the ignition and the steering wheel will remain locked and the transmission cannot be put into gear. Some folks have been losing items from their vehicles for the same reason(s), not securing their vehicles.

How do these actions cost all of us?  A spike in these illegal activities could affect the insurance rating for a zip code.  So besides the "victim" others could be subject to higher insurance rates.  What other costs are involved?  What about the cost of law enforcement?  We are very fortunate in Shawnee in that we have a pretty darn good police department.  And yes, they take vehicle thefts seriously.  How many man hours (or woman hours) could they save by not having to investigate crimes that were the result of individuals being inattentive and putting their property in a vulnerable position?  How many other crimes could they bring to a speedier resolution if they weren't working on crimes that could have been avoided?  How many positive activities could they be involved in if they didn't have to be investigating crimes that could have been avoided?

So, if you are one of those that have lost property because of your own stupidity, and if you are offended by that characterization..............too bad.  I and others are tired of paying for your mistakes.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Part III - A Step To Insure Open Government

Scroll down if you'd like for Parts I & II

At this past Monday's meeting (10/26/15) the Shawnee City Council approved a slight modification to Policy Statement -7 which provides for additional input by members of the community at these meetings. Shawnee Dispatch article is here

The change was to allow for comment during that portion of the meeting known as "Miscellaneous Council Items". There have been occasions when council members have used that portion of the meeting to add additional comments to an item that was on the agenda earlier in the evening and even to comment about members of the community. These comments were made with presupposed impunity as it has not been routine for citizens to add their own comments to those made by council members. It was almost like the council members were being given a free pass to say whatever they wanted to.
Anyway, yours truly finally requested the council to consider the change at a previous council meeting and the action then started at a committee meeting on 10/6/15. That Dispatch article is here

At this past meeting the council was reminded of Section 3 of the Bill of Rights of the Kansas Constitution, which, among free speech allows for citizens to "instruct their representatives". Also, a copy of the city's organization chart was displayed and it clearly shows that at the top are the citizens of Shawnee.

Anyway, five of the council members voted to approve the change and it will now be part of PS-7. The five members of the council who voted to insure citizen rights were Dan Pflumm of Ward I, Eric Jenkins and Mike Kemmling both from Ward II, Stephanie Meyer Ward III and current council president and Brandon Kenig of Ward IV. All five of them voiced various positive reasons both at the council meeting and the previous committee meeting for input by the public.

Two council members voted against the action, Jim Neighbor of Ward I and Mickey Sandifer of Ward IV. One of Neighbor's reasons for voting against it was a provision in PS-7 that says that council members are not to engage in debate with members of the public. Where has he been the past couple of years? Whenever a member of the public comes to the podium, and if council members ask questions, and opinions are rendered isn't that a debate? What a lame excuse. He also said that members of the public could comment at a later meeting in business from the floor. He had to be reminded that by doing that it did not get the comments in in a contemporaneous manner and on the record (minutes) as such.

Sandifer used two of his favorite comments to justify being against public input. First, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" and then he questioned the cost of staff to prepare the change. Adding a half sentence to the policy statement? Well, it was broke, because there was no assurance that the public could comment at that time and based on his previous votes for costly items to complain about the cost for adding a half sentence to a document is a form of hypocrisy. I really question both his thought processes and his intelligence.
Jeff Vaught of Ward III was absent from the meeting and did not vote. But, at the previous committee meeting he had joined Neighbor and Sandifer in voting against bringing the matter to the council meeting. He was quoted in the earlier Dispatch article about that committee meeting as saying "I think we’re encouraging it to turn it into a conversation, which isn’t good because then we turn it into a conversation about something that’s not on the agenda," Vaught said. "I just don't want to make a comment and have somebody get up and turn it into a debate against me at the end of a meeting."

Excuse me! Vaught thinks his comments are exempt from rebuttal/challenge or questioning.  Another example of his arrogance, in his own words.

At the meeting this week yours truly mentioned that no member of the council is above the citizens of Shawnee. But I guess Vaught thinks he is on a higher plain. 


Monday, October 26, 2015

Vaught's Answers Just Raise More Questions

The Shawnee Dispatch today published an article concerning Jeff Vaught's use of dealer license plates.  Some of his comments seem to raise more questions, and some of them seem to be made in the manner that Hillary Clinton answers questions. The article can be read by clicking here

We are also quoting the article here, and interspersing in red, our comments/questions.

A member of the Shawnee City Council is explaining why some constituents have seen him driving a vehicle with special dealer plates that don’t require him to pay all the usual motor vehicle taxes that other residents are required to pay.
Shawnee City Council Member Jeff Vaught has been seen driving on dealer plates — which are speciality plates issued by the state to licensed car dealers — for more than a month. Dealer plates do not require a county registration fee, which is a significant source of income that the city of Shawnee uses to fund city operations.
Or has it been two to three months?
Kansas law states that dealer plates are “issued to dealers for demonstration purposes” and that “owners and their spouses can legally drive on dealer plates as long as the vehicle is in the dealership inventory for sale.” State statute also allows salespeople who work more than 20 hours per week to drive on dealer plates.
Vaught says that he is not an owner of the dealership, but his brother is and that he serves as an “officer of the corporation.” Vaught started the used car dealership Vaught Boys, 11711 Kaw Drive, in Kansas City, Kan., with his brother in 2000. Vaught is currently the secretary treasurer for the company and he says his role in the company justifies his use of the plates.
Is that what the law says or is that Vaught's interpretation?
Vaught says he regularly works with his brother to help sell cars, which he described it as “flipping” cars. He takes used cars, which he said remain in his brother’s inventory while he drives them, and does maintenance and upgrade work on them.
What maintenance and upgrades has he done to that Avalanche?  Does he put in 20 or more hours a week?  Even if the vehicle is in inventory for sale, if he is driving it around for his real estate business how can potential buyers know of its availability?
Vaught is a licensed car dealer and can legally purchase cars at auctions. He said that even though he works primarily in commercial real estate through his company, The Vaught Group, he has always remained active in his brother’s business and helped sell cars.
But is that 20 hours or more a week?
He said that their father and grandfather also sold cars and that selling cars has been a family business for generations.
And how does that comport with him complying with state law?
"I've always sold cars," Vaught said.
For 20 hours or more a week?  At which location?
Vaught explained that the Chevy Avalanche truck he has been driving is registered under his brother’s name, is for sale and will only be in his possession for a short period of time. Vaught also owns two cars that are registered and tagged through Johnson County on which he does pay property taxes.
Hmmm, is it supposed to be registered in his brother's name or the name of the dealership?  How long has it been in his possession so far?  If it is for sale, is it sitting on a lot during business hours or is Vaught driving it for his real estate business?
Vaught has not been cited for his use of the dealer plates.
Is that because what he is doing is legal, or because the proper authorities are/were not aware of it?


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Electric Charging Stations - Walmart

As a reference point you might want to read my previous posts about when some folks wanted to put electric car charging stations on city property (city hall and the justice center) and have the city (read that as taxpayers) pay for the owners to charge their cars up.

A review of some recent building permits indicates that Wal Mart will be putting in electric chargers at two locations (74th & Nieman and SMP & Maurer).  This is really very positive, as folks needing to charge their cars will be able to spend time shopping.  Totally different from sitting at city hall or the justice center with nothing to do while waiting for a charge up.  It is unknown at this point as to who will be paying for the use of the charging stations, the vehicle owner or the merchant(s).  If current trends are any indication it will probably be the merchants.  But, for them, that would be good public relations/advertising. 

Fortunately the city is not stuck with these items, on city property, and paying for their use with taxpayer funds.  Even though his royal arrogance Jeff Vaught aided and abetted by Jim Neighbor were pushing for that outcome.  BTW, that item will come back up in about another six months.  Will keep you folks posted about that so we can do what needs to be done to stop that travesty from happening.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Vaught Fails to Respond Re: Dealer Plates

If you scroll down you will see my post of 10/9/15 regarding the use of dealer license plates by Jeff Vaught.

An email was sent to him asking about the plates since with dealer plates there are no property taxes paid.  To date, Vaught has not responded.

There are three possibilities:
1.  Vaught is using the plates contrary to state law and needs to change them.
2.  Vaught (or his spouse) have become owners in a car dealership which makes the use of the plates legal, provided the vehicle is carried in inventory and is available for sale.
3.  Vaught is working 20 hours or more per week as a car salesman and is authorized the use of the plates, similar to 2 above.  Has he had to make a career change from commercial real estate?

So, which is it?  One would think that as a council member Vaught would respond, especially since it involves property taxes.  But then, his arrogance probably is coming to the forefront in that he doesn't feel he has to answer to citizen inquiries.  That arrogance probably was a contributing factor to his not advancing past the last mayoral primary election.

When will the local media start inquiring and demanding specific answers?

The original post can be viewed here.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Mayor Distler, A Class Act, To Meet With Hostile Group

Mayor Distler was invited and accepted an invitation to speak at the NW JoCo Republicans meeting on Monday, 10/19/15 at Minsky's I-435 & Midland on Renner. There is a self pay dinner at 5:30PM for those wishing to eat and the meeting starts at 6:00PM.

This is just additional proof that Mayor Distler is more than willing to meet with people who not only did not support her candidacy but were actually hostile towards it.

It is no secret that I blogged in favor of her candidacy.  The vitriol that I received about that from the senior leadership of NWJCR both in emails and verbally was outrageous.  Their hostility was obvious by the various adjectives used to describe Ms. Distler.  The icing on the cake was a call made by that same senior leadership on the night that the mayor was sworn in.  Outrageous!!!

IMHO, Mayor Distler is definitely a better person than the leadership of that group for being willing to walk into the lion's den to speak with a group whose leadership is openly hostile towards her.

She is, as they would say in Yiddish, a mensch.  Not familiar with that term?

A mensch is a someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being "a real mensch" is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous. (Rosten, Leo. 1968. The Joys of Yiddish. New York: Pocket Books. 237)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Third Thursday With The Mayor - 10/15/15

Reminder, tomorrow, Thursday Oct 15, 2015 is the next "Third Thursday With The Mayor"

Mayor Distler has started something that no other mayor has done and that is to have monthly, informal meetings so citizens of Shawnee can come in and exchange info, ideas and ask questions.  This is keeping with her campaign promise of promoting more open and transparent government.

Additional info on this event can be found by clicking here.

A Big Thank You to Our Out of Town Visitors

I'd like to take a minute to say thank you to those folks who do not live in Shawnee/KC Metro who visit and read this blog.

Over time we have had visitors from various cities in California, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Washington DC, many, many, others, and our favorite, those fine folks from Mansfield Mass.

We appreciate the visits and hope you find the blog interesting.

Again, thank you for visiting.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Part II - A Step to Insure Open Government

The Shawnee dispatch has posted an article concerning the council committee meeting from this past Tuesday.  It can be read by clicking here.  You can also scroll down in the blog and read my comments in my first post.

When reading the Dispatch article you might want to pay particular attention to this item concerning a statement of Jeff Vaiught's:

“I think we’re encouraging it to turn it into a conversation, which isn’t good because then we turn it into a conversation about something that’s not on the agenda,” Vaught said. “I just don't want to make a comment and have somebody get up and turn it into a debate against me at the end of a meeting."

As I have previously stated, it would appear over time Vaught has given lip service to open government but is not really a proponent.  He feels that as a councilmember he is above the people of the city.  His arrogant attitude towards using the miscellaneous items section of the meeting to be a bully pulpit becomes more evident every day.  This arrogance has to be one of the reasons why the citizens of Shawnee voted against him in the recent mayoral primary so he did not advance to the general election.

Methinks that councilmembers Sandifer and Neighbor need to rethink their position on this issue if they want to be looked at as truly supporting open government.

In the Dispatch article Council President Meyer, who voted in favor of the proposed change is quoted:

Meyer said she could see the value of allowing the change as well.
“I have seen instances where members of the council have sort of said something directed at someone who spoke earlier and then they don’t get an opportunity to respond to that,” Meyer said. 

She and the other four who voted to advance this item are to be commended for their open government stance.  That would be Meyer, Dan Pflumm, Eric Jenkins Mike Kemmling and Brandon Kenig.


Friday, October 09, 2015

Dealer Plates = No Property Taxes - Will Vaught Respond?

Below is a copy of an email that I sent to Councilmember Jeff Vaught earlier today.  It is interesting that a member of the council would drive a vehicle that has not had property tax paid on it, since part of that comes back to the city.

As stated in my email, there are basically two scenarios in which this is legally permissible.  See the State of Kansas info on page 12 on this web site.

I have asked Vaught if he qualifies under either of  the two legally permissible scenarios, and if so which one?  Past experience would indicate that Vaught will not respond to my email.

The email:

Good afternoon,

It has been noticed that for about two or more months you have been operating a motor vehicle that is displaying dealer plates.

When a vehicle displays dealer plates it is usually because it is for demonstration purposes.  Since it is not registered to an individual there are no personal property taxes being paid to the state and as such the corresponding percentage is not remitted to the city.  As a sitting city council member I am sure you are aware of that fact.

The State of Kansas on page 12 at this location provides the information as to when it is appropriate for individuals to use these types of plates:

“Dealer plates are issued to dealers for demonstration purposes. Owners and their spouses can legally drive on dealer plates as long as the vehicle is in the dealership inventory for sale. Licensed salespersons that work 20 hours or more a week are also authorized to drive on dealer plates. Newly licensed dealers are eligible for 3 plates per plate type to begin. Their business may require more dealer plates and can be requested if sales warrant additional plates to be issued. Dealers must have 5 sales per plate type to maintain or increase their plate quantity. We will automatically decrease plates at renewal time if reported sales do not equal plate allowance. The first auto/motorcycle plate is $275.50; each additional plate is $25.50. Manufactured Home and Trailer plates are $25.50 each. K.S.A. 8-136, K.S.A. 8-2406”

As you can see there are basically two scenarios that would allow a person to use dealer plates.  Do you qualify in either of those categories? If so, which one? These are two very simple questions.  Should you respond with the answers to these two questions I will be happy to post those answers on my blog.

Thank you


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

A Step to Insure Open Government

Last night at the council committee meeting there was an item on the agenda to insure open government.  The item was a proposed change to PS-7 which would clarify that citizens could comment on items brought forth by council members during the portion of council meetings known as "Miscellaneous Council Items"

Five council members voted to forward the item to a council meeting with a recommendation to approve the change.  These five were Dan Pflumm, Eric Jenkins, Mike Kemmling, Stephanie Meyer and Brandon Kenig.

Three of the council members voted against this item.  They were Jim Neighbor, Jeff Vaught and Mickey Sandifer.  As to be expected Vaught especially showed his true colors when it comes to open government and citizen participation.  Neighbor and Sandifer were not far behind him.  Naturally, Vaught, feeling he was immune from citizen feedback, has on numerous occasions used that portion of the meeting as his own personal bully pulpit to excoriate individuals and entities.

He did say last night that if I didn't like what was said I could always blog about it.  Well, I'll continue to do that too.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Shawnee PD Looking for Suspect in Shooting

Please read the article in the Shawnee Dispatch about a shooting that took place early this morning.

Shawnee PD are looking for an individual relative to this incident.  The individual's name and physical description are in the above article.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Fourth Fire Station? Yes, We Need It.

At the 9/8/15 council committee a list of projects was presented to the council members for prioritization.

One item that caught my eye was a new fire station (to be station 74) for western Shawnee, most likely in the northwest area.

Where the council puts it in the prioritization is yet to be determined.  Personally, I feel that this is an item that needs to be looked at sooner rather than later.  Growth in Shawnee has been phenomenal in that part of the city.

As a result, response times have become slower than what would be optimum. Minutes become important, both in saving property and in saving lives.  A fire spreads exponentially.  Basically it doubles every minute.  A fire that covers 100 sq. ft. becomes 200 sq. ft. one minute later, 400 sq. ft. the next minute etc.  With regards to individuals in need of medical care, I don't think we have to mention how important it is to get that care to them as quickly as possible. Especially for strokes, heart attacks and/or traumatic injuries, sooner is always better.

A side benefit could possibly be better ratings for home owners insurance.

Contact your council representatives.  Get more information on this item and urge them to bring it to fruition sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Reminder - Third Thursday With the Mayor 9/17/15

Tomorrow is the third Thursday of September (9/17/15) and folks can meet and interact with Mayor Michelle Distler.

No previous mayor has ever undertaken a program like this.  Citizen input with elected officials is very important.

More info can be found here

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Never Forget 9/11

Tomorrow is the 14th Anniversary since the carnage of 9/11.  It is a day that is now known as Patriot Day.

Please...............never forget.

Monday, September 07, 2015

New Action on Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

On this coming Wednesday, 9/9/15 the Planning Commission will hear proposals to place electric vehicle charging stations at two Wal-Mart locations.  One set at the facility near SMP and Maurer and the other set at the Neighborhood Market at Nieman and 74th Street.

Now these locations make sense, unlike the plan that was tabled back in May to place charging stations at city hall and the justice center.

Use of the charging stations at commercial locations means that people who have those types of vehicles can shop while their vehicles are being charged up.  A lot different than just sitting in the city hall parking lot, doing nothing, for possibly hours.

Whether the owners of the vehicles have to pay for the service or if Wal-Mart picks up the charges (as an advertising/customer relations activity) is immaterial.  This still makes more sense than the city (all taxpayers) paying for it at city hall/justice center as advocated by Jeff "The Arrogant One" Vaught.  The taxpayers of the city do not need to subsidize the "refueling" of these vehicles that in reality not everyone can even buy because of the costs. 

If a retailer and/or shopping center owner wants to absorb the costs, well, that is a business decision.  Just like when they put items in their stores on sale.  If Vaught and Neighbor (another advocate for the city to pick up costs) get smart they'll let the commercial/retail segment of the city take care of the placement of these items.

Anyway, I hope the two items on the Planning Commission agenda regarding Wal-Mart and the charging stations moves forward.

See my previous posts on this subject:



Friday, September 04, 2015

Support Your Local PD

The recent increase in physical attacks (including homicides) on police officers across the country bothers the heck out of me.

So I ask, have you ever said thank you to a member of law enforcement?  And not just when they have done something that affects you, but just for the heck of it.  If you happen to be around and see an officer pumping gas, grabbing a snack or a meal, just go up to them and say "thank you".  It takes two seconds but you'd be surprised at what those two little words will mean to them.

Here in Shawnee we are fortunate to have a pretty gosh darned good PD.  Let them know they are appreciated

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Down Town Coffee House

Ya gotta love this fairly new business in Shawnee located at 11101 Johnson Drive, in the same building as Dodge City Beef.

First, it is owned by an Army vet, Drew Thornton, who has served multiple tours over in the sand box.  Next, it is a neat place to grab a coffee, or a breakfast or a lunch.  They serve lunch every day, but Tuesdays and Thursdays are "Brats and Burgers" day.  Found that out last week when I went in for a cup of coffee, decaf Irish Cream.  Good brats.

Food was good, price is right and the atmosphere if ya decide to stay and eat there is relaxing.  They also deliver. 

Check out the wall he is setting up for locals who have served.

Monday, August 24, 2015

2d Shawnee CERT Class Completes Training

On Saturday, 8/22/15 the second Shawnee CERT Class completed its training.  The class was for 24 hours over three consecutive Saturdays.

For more information about CERT please click here.  Also, check back on the city's web site for information about future classes.

Shawnee Received Secretary of Defense Freedom Award

Fortunately I was able to watch the live video feed from DC on Friday 8/21/15 as Mayor Michelle Distler accepted the Secretary of Defense's Freedom Award on behalf of the City of Shawnee.

As quoted in an article in the Shawnee Dispatch "This prestigious award is the highest in a series of DoD employer awards that include the Patriot Award, the Above and Beyond Award and the Pro Patria Award."

Of over 3000 organizations nominated only 15 received this honor, three small businesses, eight large businesses and four from the public sector (governmental and educational organizations.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Council Chambers Remodel

I'm going to keep this short, maybe not so sweet.  The Dispatch has info on their website and you can read it by going here

The only part of the council chamber remodel that I can see as a needed item is the upgrade of the A/V system, for various reasons including future video streaming, and the ability for members of the public to be able to see documents better.  To me, the majority of the rest of the items are fluff.

Yours truly got up and mentioned that the bid by SKC for the A/V was based on a State of Kansas contract but that did not necessarily mean that it was the lowest possible price.  There are companies that can provide services/products to the state at prices lower than the contract prices and as such can get state business.  Ironically, a representative from SKC was there (and if I heard correctly he lives in Shawnee) and he even said that their portion could have probably been bid by others at 10%-15% less (you figure that out on approximately $63K).  But then he went on to say we could get hit with change orders...........hmmmm even if we keep to the philosophy of guaranteed maximum price.

Now, some council members wanted to be able to do an a la carte remodel.  Pick some items and eliminate others.  Here is the rub.  We would have had to get a new set of plans/drawings because the drawings/plans became proprietary to Turner even though we paid $23K for them.  This was because the contract was one of these "design/build" items.  Going forward rest assured I will voice opposition to any design/build projects unless we get ownership of the plans/drawings.  Our council needs to be able to select elements of projects without an all or nothing option as the only option.

The biggest voice (literally) for doing this project, so we can look nice was Jeff "The Arrogant One" Vaught.  The same arrogant, anti open government fool who has repeatedly spoken against elections to fill open council seats that occur in other than normal circumstances.  He doesn't want to spend money on letting the people choose their representatives, but he is willing to spend money on new chairs, carpeting and a ridiculous conference room that will cost a small fortune to finish (it is only going to be roughed in now),


Monday, August 03, 2015

Volunteer "Victims" Needed

Shawnee will be holding its 2d CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training over a period of three Saturdays, 8/8, 8/15 and 8/22.

Part of the training includes a simulated disaster situation on 8/22/15.  Volunteer 'victims" are needed.  Some individuals will have moulage applied.  That is the makeup that makes a person look like they have been injured.  Normally we get students from a drama class to play the victims, but they will be getting ready for a return to classes.

This could be an interesting and fun time for some folks who want to volunteer.  Individuals and groups can be used.

If interested please contact Terry Kegin at TKegin@CI.Shawnee.KS.US   or at (913)742-6139

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Shawnee Dispatch Comments on "Third Thursdays"

The Shawnee Dispatch has provided additional information regarding Mayor Distler's first "Third Thursday With the Mayor"

The article can be read here

I personally urge more citizens to get involved with future activities of this kind.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mayor's Third Thursday Very Positive

This past Thursday saw Mayor Michelle Distler have her first “Thursday With the Mayor” coffee.  It is my understanding that approximately 25 people attended this event.

When queried about this event because it was a daytime meeting (9:00AM) the mayor said it was set up that way to make it easier for senior citizens who don’t attend evening meetings to be able to attend.  She indicated that there will be other meetings set up at differing times so that others could fit them into their schedules.  This is something that no other mayor has done, and should prove helpful in opening up lines of communication between the citizenry and city hall.  It was also mentioned that the mayor has been meeting with other groups to obtain first hand feedback on various items of interest.  What is nice is that this is being done now, not four years from now when the next election will be coming around.  So I’d guess it is not “an election year gimmick”.  More info on the future plans for these events can be found at this article on the Shawnee Dispatch web site

 Many times on this blog, and when speaking to the city council I have said that we are fortunate in Shawnee to have a population with diverse backgrounds, in education, business and life in general.  We as a city can benefit from these types of meetings to get differing viewpoints plugged in.  I can see future benefits for the city as a whole.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How Not to Lose Matching Funds

Recently council member Eric Jenkins has come up with a unique idea so that the city does not lose matching funds.

A little background:  In the past the city has had to delay projects because it could not produce matching funds.  What are matching funds?  The county, state or feds will periodically propose funding for a project (usually a public works type such as storm water, street etc).  The other entity will provide funding if the city can match funding.  Usually the funding is not a one to one match.  In many cases the other entity will provide two, three or more dollars for every one put up by the city. 

Example would be if a storm water project is proposed for $600,000 and the county offers a 3:1 match, that means that the county will pay $450,000 if the city comes up with $150,000.  This provides a way for the city to get back monies paid in taxes to the other entities (county, state and fed).

What Eric Jenkins has proposed, and it makes sense, is to take unspent funds from other projects that are self funded and place them in a "matching fund" account and held for when these other matching fund projects come up.  An example of this would be if there is a street project that is budgeted for $900,000, and after all is done, the final cost comes in at $865,000.  Mr. Jenkins' proposal would place the unspent $35,000 in a matching fund hold account. That would potentially reduce the possibility of having to turn down matching funds from other entities.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Reminder - Third Thursday With The Mayor

A reminder that tomorrow, 7/16/15, will be the first "Third Thursday With The Mayor"

In keeping with her commitments to provide open and accessible government, Mayor Michelle Distler is beginning to set up meetings that make it convenient for citizens of Shawnee to be able to express their views and ask questions on a face to face basis.

Tomorrow's event will be at the Shawnee Civic Center at 13817 Johnson Drive at 9AM.  Stop by, speak with the mayor and have a cup of coffee.

Further information can be found here: 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ger Involved - CERT and CPA Classes Announced

Announcements have been posted on the city's web site regarding the next CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and CPA (Citizen's Police Academy) classes.

Two great programs that citizens who want to get involved with their city might want to consider signing up for.

For CERT info please click here

For CPA info please click here

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jenkins Gets It, Vaught and Sandifer Never Will

Apparently at this week's Council Committee meeting (7/7/15) there was some fur flying, again.

Some previously suggested budget changes/recommendations submitted by Eric Jenkins were reviewed.  And again, Jeff (The Arrogant One) Vaught accused Jenkins of micro managing the city manager and staff.  These sentiments were echoed by Mickey (The Parrot) Sandifer.

Apparently Vaught and Sandifer really don't understand what their jobs as council members are.  Providing suggestions and ideas to the city manager is part of the job.  Apparently both Vaught and Sandifer feel that the city manager should be left to her own devices and that the council should rubber stamp everything she does.  Wrong...............if that was the case we would have no need for a city council.

The last time I looked it appeared to me that the city manager was human.  As such, if she cut her wrists she would bleed blood not miniature spread sheets.  Nobody is 100% perfect.  As mentioned here many times in the past, we are fortunate to have in Shawnee individuals, both elected and members of the community with diverse backgrounds.  These individuals are highly capable of providing suggestions and recommendations for the city's operations.  Some will be good, some will not be good. But it shows people thinking.  I believe that is the message that our new mayor put out before the election about folks "thinking together", not thinking alike, but together, to come up with ideas.  Apparently Vaught and Sandifer want to abrogate their responsibilities and would give the city manager carte blanche to do anything she wants.  That is NOT what a city manager form of government is supposed to be.  Is it possible that Vaught's attitude is what caused him to not even advance past the primary in the last mayoral election?

It just becomes more obvious every week that Vaught, and Sandifer, have this need to perform osculatory functions upon the gluteus maximus of the city manager.

Sidebar:  It also appears that Vaught is taking over for former council member Dawn Kuhn as the motormouth of the council.  He just goes on and on and on.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Did Ya Miss Me?

Welllllllllllll, did ya?

LOL..............took a vacation......spent time with the kids and grandkids.............
Had a great time..........the upper peninsula of Michigan is beautiful at this time of the year.  Daytime highs were mid 70's to low 80's..............nighttime lows were high 40's low 50's.  Had to wear a long sleeve shirt and fleece hoody to watch the July 4th fireworks.

Anyway, I'm baaaaaaaaack and will have some comments about some of our council members.

Stay tuned...............

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Council to Reevaluate and Reconsider Budget Suggestions

At the last council committee meeting (6/16/15) council member Jenkins had some suggestions for the new budget.  If you read this blog on 6/19, 20, 22 & 23 you will remember that council members Vaught and Sandifer accused Jenkins of micro managing the staff and the city manager.  In reality, Jenkins was doing his job as a council member to suggest possible changes.  Vaught and Sandifer on the other hand just seem to want to rubber stamp anything the city manager does.  If we have a council that abrogates their responsibilities then we don't really need a council.

Anyway, staff has been requested by the council president/chairman of the council committee Stephanie Meyer to provide specific information regarding certain, not all, of the suggestions Jenkins made. Plus some other items, so that the council committee can reevaluate and reconsider them at the 7/7/15 meeting.  This is how a council is supposed to operate.  Not the way that Vaught and Sandifer would do it.  Maybe that is because they are incapable of independent thought?

Anyway, it's nice to see that the Shawnee Dispatch has finally (yesterday 6/29/15) covered what happened on 6/16 /15.  But I don't remember reading anything about the reevaluations being done on 7/7/15.  It only makes reference that the council will set budget limits at the next council meeting (which would be 7/13/15) and set a public hearing for 7/27/15.  Well, now those figures could change based on what happens on next Tuesday.  Methinks the Dispatch might want to inform the public of that.

The Dispatch makes reference to some comments of Mayor Distler's:
Mayor Michelle Distler said she would agree with Jenkins in that the council should be able to give the city ideas and suggestions for improvement. "I think anyone can always offer any suggestion," Distler said. "It all goes back to us thinking together, which is good for the city."  and then this Lastly, Jenkins suggested that the city re-evaluates how it presents its budget each year so it is more understandable to the public. This idea is already being explored by Distler and Gonzales, and Distler said she would continue that conversation as a way to make the city's government more user-friendly to the citizens of Shawnee.

Now that is what we need, leadership and guidance by the governing body.  Not an abrogation of responsibilities.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Third Thursdays With the Mayor

This is something new, and interesting.  According to the city's web site

Beginning in July, the City of Shawnee will launch a new program called Third Thursdays with the Mayor, which will give citizens another opportunity to engage with their City government. Join us for a free cup of coffee every Third Thursday of the month and hear from Mayor Michelle Distler as she updates citizens on the latest news regarding Shawnee and takes your questions and comments. The first Third Thursday will take place on July 16 at 9:00am at the Shawnee Civic Centre (13817 Johnson Drive). All residents of Shawnee are welcomed to attend.
“One of my goals as Mayor is to make sure that our City government is always open, friendly, and accessible to all citizens,” said Mayor Distler. “This will be a great opportunity for me to provide important information on City programs and projects directly to our residents while also listening to their concerns and finding out what issues and priorities are most important to them.”

Great folks a chance to interact with the mayor in a relaxed atmosphere.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

He Really Doesn't Get It - Part IV

This is the final installment of this series.  The previous items were posted 6/19, 6/20, and 6/22.

If you have read the previous items you will see that Jeff (The Arrogant One) Vaught was very wrong in accusing fellow council member Eric Jenkins of attempting to micro manage city staff.  And then Mickey Sandifer has to be the parrot.  All that Jenkins was doing, was his job, something which apparently Vaught is not fully cognizant of.  Obviously Vaught feels that council members need to rubber stamp anything and everything the city manager does.  That is not the function of a council member, even with a city manager form of government.

Anywhere, here are the last two items that Jenkins suggested:

4)      Storm Water Management:  I was very disturbed that we turned down substantial funding from the county to effect storm water improvement due to lack of funds.  I feel we should always be in a position to accept funding for important improvement projects in the city when our funding match is very favorable to us.  This item fits in with our highest stated priorities:  Public safety and infrastructure.  If we turn away funding for one of our highest priorities, it underscores our need to manage our budget and our staffing levels more effectively.  Our budget needs to adequately fund these projects in the future.  I propose that we budget a more realistic amount for storm water management projects in the 2016 budget and have a contingency plan available to enable the City to accept any additional funding which may become available.

5)      One last item of concern is the complexity of the display of our budget.  Departmental cost as reflected in Departmental budgets is not comprehensively presented.  There are too many separate budget systems for anyone other than those most familiar to the budget to comprehend without very serious study.  Public attending the budget hearings are overwhelmed by the way numbers are presented.  I believe the complexity of the budget discourages public comment or input.  I believe public input is important.  Transparency is important.  The way we present the budget achieves neither of those objectives.  If the city management team requires additional tracking mechanism, programmatic spreadsheets or other management tools, they could be maintained in-house.  However, the budget for presentation to the Governing Body and the public should be clear, understandable and of sufficient detail to allow formulation of a position.  I ask that the City Manager examine ways of simplifying the presentation of the budget to make it more user-friendly and more easily understandable to citizens of Shawnee and the Governing Body.  I believe we are too far along in our budget process to accomplish this task in this budget year, but it should be ready for the 2017 budget.

What is really interesting is Jenkins' last suggestion.  Golly gee, he would like to see the budget presented in a manner that is easily understood by both the governing body and the citizens of Shawnee.  Gee, he wants to use the KISS theory from what I can tell, when it appears that we've been given the old "if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle 'em with BS".  My take, not Jenkins. Citizens and governing body should not need MBAs in finance to understand the basics of the budget.

Sidebar:  Where was the Shawnee Dispatch on this?





Monday, June 22, 2015

He Really Doesn't Get It - Part III

Parts I & II were posted here on 6/19 & 6/20.  Please read them so you have continuity.

Basically what we are showing here is that Jeff (The Arrogant One) Vaught was totally off base when he accused fellow council member Eric Jenkins of attempting to micro manage city staff (the city manager in particular).  What Eric Jenkins was doing was his job, to wit, to recommend and suggest courses of action that could be in the beat interests of the city with regards to its budget.  Whether or not they are truly viable would have to be looked into.  Vaught, on the other hand seems to take a "she can do no wrong" approach to the city manager.  Basically, he, Vaught has abrogated his responsibility as a member of the council.  Jenkins on the other hand is doing what he is supposed to do.

Jenkins had five suggestions.  Yesterday we posted the first one.  Tonight we are posting numbers 2 & 3.  Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see that Jenkins is suggesting (like he is supposed to), and not micro managing.  Well, almost everyone.  Sandifer played "me too" with Vaught's comments. 

Here are numbers 2 & 3:

    Selected Moratorium on Projected Staff Hiring to Return to Pre-Recession Staffing Levels:   I am opposed to rehiring to previous staffing levels, excepting public safety staff, i.e., police and fire positions.  It may also be prudent to examine carefully the possible limited support of Public Works positions on a case-by-case basis.  Other than those potential hires, there should be a moratorium of one year on acceptance of the proposed staffing plan to more carefully examine the justification for additional hiring.  There are multiple reasons for this position.  (1)  During the economic downturn the City put in place staff reduction policies and has purchased various automation software and equipment to reduce dependency on staff.  These improvements should begin to bring a return in the investment by the City in real terms, such as the reduction of previously filled staff positions.  (2)  The economic turnaround of the economy is a far less optimistic picture than is being offered up by the current national administration.  One could easily argue that we experienced continued recession in recent fiscal quarters.  Although revenue appears to be on an upward trend, it may not be based on a sustained recovery.  (3)  By implementing a moratorium of one year on non-public safety staff, more time would be available to new council members to review the need for these additional positions and would provide the City Manager additional opportunity for better justifying the need for these positions.  Once new staff is hired, it would be very difficult to address overstaffing issues without significant harm to those who may be subsequently let go.

     Increase Contribution to Road and Street Maintenance from the General Fund:  It is somewhat disturbing to review the budget for maintenance of our city streets and see that although the taxpayers for this city have done their due diligence and paid their taxes, we are not spending their hard-earned dollars for one of the primary purposes for which they pay.  Stated priorities for this city are Public Safety and Infrastructure.  The small amount we are allocating from the General Fund to street and infrastructure maintenance is a very small portion of the City’s general revenue.  The argument has been made that the budget is being raised for this purpose. However, that argument does not withstand close scrutiny.  The budget for infrastructure is being increased on the backs of the taxpayers by the assessment of an additional 3/8 cent sales tax.  The taxpayer would like to see appropriate funding of street maintenance from the General Fund, supplemented by the increased revenues from the 3/8 cent sales tax in order that the city can accelerate the process of catch up on postponed and deferred maintenance which occurred during the recent years of reduced city revenue.  I therefore request the City Manager submit a revision to the currently proposed budget that places appropriate priority on the maintenance of city streets. I believe that a minimum of $2 million from the General Fund, in addition to the other funding streams currently indicated in the proposed budget would be a move in the right direction.

Read the suggestions and see for yourself.  Unfortunately we are stuck with Vaught for about two more years.  Let's just hope the voters in Ward III see the light and do not return him to the council.  The citizens of the city overall saw him for what he is by bouncing him out in the recent mayoral primary.

Sidebar:  Again, where is the Shawnee Dispatch on this?


Saturday, June 20, 2015

He Really Doesn't Get It - Part II

In yesterday's post (6/19/15) I attempted to explain why Jeff (The Arrogant One) Vaught was way out of line for accusing Eric Jenkins of micro managing city departments. Vaught is the one who just doesn't get it.

Jenkins was doing what he as a council person is supposed to do, make suggestions and attempt to give guidance. In no way did he attempt to micro manage city departments. On the other side of the coin, no matter how long a person has been in a position, and no matter how good they may be at it, everybody can always learn from other individuals' ideas and perspectives. Sometimes they will be good, sometimes not.

Anyway, Eric Jenkins had five suggestions. The first one is going to be displayed below. You can hear all of them by listening to the audio of the meeting, waiting for the minutes to read them, or keep coming back here as I will be presenting them here.

Here is his first suggestion:
Department Reorganization: In looking at staff organization, it does not seem a judicious use of taxpayer dollars to fund two departments, when they could be easily rolled into one department. I would propose the elimination of the Development Services Department by combining it with the Public Works Department. The timing is excellent for making this change because the Department lead for Public Works has retired, leaving a managerial vacancy. Instead of hiring a new Department lead for Public Works, it would make sense to move the Director of Development Services and supporting staff into the position of Director of the Public Works Department. As a minimum, this would eliminate the cost of one senior management position. This would amount to a significant savings. I did bring this up with the City Manager. She was not strong in her opposition to the concept. However, she preferred the idea of combining Public Works and Development Services with the Planning Department upon the retirement of the current planning director in a few years. I disagree. The timing for a change is excellent now, and secondly, I think Development Services and Planning are not a good pairing because it removes appropriate checks and balances currently in place with them being separate.

Now, I did a little research and came up with the following information regarding compensation for the two department directors from 2009 to 2014.
Development   Low  $118,836  High  $154,715
Public Works  Low  $129,553  High  $165,562
Also, what other admin overhead could be saved by combining the two?

Rather than being thankful that his fellow councilmember is thinking about ways to make the budget better, Vaught decides to belittle the individual. Methinks he (Vaught) should be more concerned about doing some thinking himself rather than being a rubber stamp for the city manager.

When the rest of the suggestions are posted, you, the reader will see that Jenkins was doing his job, by thinking and recommending, and putting time and effort into those thoughts.  Vaught on the other hand would prefer to denigrate, wrongfully, his fellow councilmembers for doing their job.  As I said yesterday, his hypocrisy is showing as in the past when councilmembers have suggested reducing the budget he would say "show us how". Now when somebody shows some potentially viable suggestions he  becomes a shill for the city manager, and, as such is abrogating his responsibility as a councilmember.

Sidebar:  Where was the Shawnee Dispatch on this?


Friday, June 19, 2015

He Really Doesn't Get It - Part I

We witnessed a heck of a donnybrook at this past Monday's (6/15/15) council committee meeting during budget discussions. Not sure why our local newspaper, the Shawnee Dispatch hasn't reported on it. Since it did involve the budget.

First, it is important to explain Jeff (The Arrogant One) Vaught's use of the term "I just don't get it". Anyone who has attended many meetings has seen and heard him use that expression as a subtle put down directed towards other members of the council and even occasionally the public. He uses it when someone says something contrary to his beliefs, and he uses it as if to say his thoughts are more correct and he can't understand why the other person doesn't agree with him.

OK, so what happened? Councilmember Eric Jenkins submitted some suggestions regarding the budget and the organization of the city. Vaught jumped on that accusing Jenkins of "micro managing" and harping on the fact that we have a city manager form of government.

Apparently what Vaught doesn't get is what his responsibility is as a member of the council That is to set the tone, make suggestions and give guidance to staff. Apparently Vaught is one of those who has abrogated his responsibilities as a council member and become a shill, a puppet, for the city manager. The council is not supposed to be a rubber stamp for the city manager. The city manager is human, and sometimes others may have ideas and suggestions that can be beneficial. And that is what Jenkins was doing, giving suggestions.

Vaught does not understand the term "micro manage". To micro manage is when somebody on top goes down the line to control the working element. Jenkins did no such thing. As a matter of fact, Vaught was really showing his hypocrisy, in that in previous years when other council members said the budget needed to be cut he would ask them, "how?" Now, when someone tries to show how, he claims "micro manager". I really shouldn't toss out epithets, but Vaught is an idiot. And he wouldn't really know what management is since he's never really had to manage any kind of an organization. Methinks the citizens of Shawnee are finally waking up to what kind of an incompetant he really is, as witnessed by his being bounced out in the recent mayoral primary.

Then, the other puppet, Mickey (I Love Trips the City Pays For) Sandifer, joins in also accusing Jenkins of micro managing. Unfortunately Sandifer is lacking the intelligence to recognize a suggestion and positive input.

Now, if you don't believe me, go to the city's web site and listen to the audio of them meeting.

I will have more info on this in Part II tomorrow.

Sidebar: Still can't believe the Dispatch reported on the council remodeling but not what took place regarding the rest of the meeting. And alot went down. Is the Dispatch getting into that old mode of not reporting things that "make the city look bad"? That's OK, keep the citizens in the dark.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Shawnee Youth Receives Award From KSRA

Daniel Smith, 13, of Shawnee, received the award naming him Outstanding Youth Shooter of the year from Kansas State Rifle Association President Patricia Stoneking at the group's annual meeting July 13 in Olathe. Daniel has been actively shooting competitively with the Johnson County 4-H Shooting Sports program since 2008. He currently shoots BB gun and air rifle, and he will enter the smallbore rifle program this summer and the air pistol program this fall. In addition to winning this year's Top Shot award at the Kansas State Rifle Association BB Gun Championship in February, he was also this year's BB Gun Top Shot at the Kansas 4-H Championship Match in April.  As president of his local 4-H club, the Johnson County Livestock Club, he also raises and shows lambs, pigs, chickens and dogs, as well as participating in cooking and other projects. Daniel was a member of Johnson County's first qualifying squad for the Daisy Nationals BB Gun Championship Match in 2012, and he will be representing the county and the state of Kansas again this year at the national championship match in Rogers, Ark.
Way to go Daniel.

Happy Birthday - US Army

Two hundred forty years ago marks the day of the establishment of the US Army.

For a brief history on this please click here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

BBQ for the PD

Members of the Shawnee Citizen's Police Academy Alumni Association hosted a BBQ for officers and staff of the Shawnee PD.  Additionally, Shawnee was the host for a class on Field Training Officers from around the area and those folks were invited to partake of the goodies.

Among the CPAAA participants was our own Mayor, Michelle Distler, a CPAAA member and a 2011 graduate of the citizen's academy.

Click on image to view larger

Monday, June 01, 2015

Vaught Again Proves He Is Lacking In Common Sense

Ya gotta love it.  At the council meeting last week that delayed any action on electric vehicle charging stations on city property Jeff Vaught again showed a lack of common sense.

This is what is appearing in the most recent article in the Shawnee Dispatch byJeff "The Arrogant One" Vaught:

Vaught was entirely in favor of installing the charging stations on city property because of the opportunities it opened up for the city to eventually purchase electric vehicles for staff.
"Do we want to be a froward-thinking city or the last ones on the block?" Vaught asked the council. "The reality is we could probably have electric vehicles in our fleet pretty quickly.
"Forward thinking starts right here, its starts with our government."

Electric vehicles in our fleet pretty quickly?  Who is he kidding?  Let's look at the department that uses the most sedans and small SUVs, the PD.  Do we want a fleet of vehicles in that department that only get 80 miles on a full charge?  That require eight hours to fully charge?  That would have to stop every couple of hours for an electric "top off", for what, an hour?  Now, with all of the electrical/electronic equipment in these vehicles (radar, computers, radios, etc) they would never last 80 miles on a full charge.  You are not going to see all electric vehicles in public works, parks or the FD anytime soon.  Those large vehicles would never make it. The only place that I can see electric vehicles would be maybe two or three for codes administration, and even then we would probably be better off with hybrids (let the gas part of the engine recharge the electrical system).  Then he has the temerity to put his fellow council members down for not being forward thinking.

In the same article, Stephanie Meyer is quoted as saying:

"If I have the option of charging while I go watch a movie or at City Hall, I know which one people would rather choose," said Council member Stephanie Meyer.

Now that is common sense.  Put the units in business areas so folks can shop and create dollar flow.
Maybe Vaught does need a lesson in economic development.

See my two previous posts on this subject: