Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A Counterpoint to Councilmember Stephanie Meyer's Self Serving Diatribe

Yesterday I posted an item about how Stephanie Meyer's article in the KC Star was commented on in the vote Yes FB page.  The poster had their comment deleted and was banned. I also provided a link to her article. Well here it is, with my comments interleaved in red.

Her article:

In the early part of May, residents of Shawnee will have the opportunity to voice their support of a proposed community center. This project, which is more than a decade in the making, will certainly be a turning point for our city in terms of recreational amenities, but I believe it will also be an important next step in continuing our forward momentum.

​I'm confused. Always thought a vote was to express a person's views. Remember, folks will also have the opportunity to voice their opposition to this boondoggle.

I didn’t grow up with a community center, or really anything resembling it.

My single, working class mother was certainly more concerned with making ends meet every month than she was whether we had the opportunity to go swimming or how often she got to work out.

Many folks did not grow up with a community center. And many came from homes with working class single parents. Guess what? We still have those same folks even today in Shawnee. They can't afford the increased taxes or the membership fees. But naturally, just stick it to them since you are now past that.

But my family wanted better. And so did I. After finishing college, when my husband and I were looking for our first home, Shawnee was a natural choice. With all of the assets of a large metro, and more character than you’ll find nearly anywhere, I knew this was where I would lay down roots and raise a family. I’ve met countless residents of our city who feel the same way.

Lots of folks want to better themselves. Sometimes it is not possible. And for others, while they are in the process of doing that the last thing they need is the burden of a community center that is beyond their reach. But then, now that you have "arrived" among the elite you have forgotten about them. Shame on you.  Also, seriously, what do you know about raising a family? 

They came to Shawnee because they wanted the opportunities and activities of the broader Kansas City region, with the small-town feel we all love.

Do you really feel like you have been trying to maintain Shawnee's small town feel. don't make me laugh.

But just as businesses must evolve and change to meet modern demands, so must cities.

In the more than five years I’ve been honored to serve on our city council, the potential community center has been the number one issue I’ve heard from my constituents. And while many have been frustrated by the delay in getting to this ballot, I appreciate it because it gave us the opportunity to weather the recession without raises raising taxes.

And in the years since, we’ve made important investments in our police, fire and public safety. I’m proud of the work we’ve done, all while maintaining a stellar credit rating and a rainy-day fund well above the national standard.

Whoa lady. Without raising taxes? What would you call the increase in storm water fees? Important investments in police, fire and public safety? Yes we did. Without your help, Since you have voted against the funding for those items. Which side of your mouth do you want to talk out of tomorrow?.

The proposed community center is a natural extension of this investment.

Located very near the geographical center of Shawnee and no more than 13 minutes from any home in town, it is ideally situated along our existing trails system, with access to Mid-America Ball Fields, the Ice Center, sand volleyball and Stump Park soccer fields.

Why are the folks in the western section of Shawnee entitled to this? Are you one of the folks that Dawn Tubbesing recently referred to as creating an east/west battle?

A welcome addition to this "Valley of Champions," it will boast a state-of-the-art aquatic center with recreational pool, lap pool, splash pad, walking/jogging track, two court multi-activity gym, fitness center, group fitness studios, indoor playground, party rooms, indoor turf for soccer and cycle cross track, as well as additional outdoor amenities that are available to non-members.

Naturally you apparently don't give a hoot or a holler about existing businesses that this project would compete with. Double talk, double talk, double talk.

So many of our residents who are now forced to use centers in other cities are ready to bring those dollars home to Shawnee. They are ready to make an additional investment in the city they love, as am I. When the ballot arrives in your mailbox this May, I hope you’ll join us in voting yes to continue to move our city forward.

Are you sure?  Would fees possibly be less for some of them in other venues and without an increase in taxes?

Stephanie Meyer is the president of the Shawnee City Council.  Whoopeee, not impressed

Monday, April 29, 2019

A Challenge to Councilmembers Stephanie Meyer & Lisa Larson-Bunnell

What is prompting the challenge to Stephanie Meyer and Lisa Larson-Bunnell?:

An article that Ms. Meyer is quoted in, in the KC Star.  You can read it here if you'd like by clicking here.  Some may find it a little self serving and reeking of an "I'm entitled to it" attitude. 

Regardless, the folks that are behind the Vote Yes Shawnee FB page for the proposed community center posted the link on their FB page.

A reader of that site, Charles Hansen posted his comments about it.  And, like he predicted, his comment was deleted, and he was actually banned from further posts.  Fortunately, there is a screen shot of the items.  You will note that he does not use any vulgarities in his post.  That screen shot is below, and you can click on it to see a larger version.

Mr. Hansen's comment is not the only one that that group has deleted.  Various comments all over the page have been removed and the individuals posting them have been banned.

What is the challenge to the two councilmembers mentioned above:

That is easy.   Granted, they obviously have nothing to do with the operation of that page. As councilmembers though one would think that they would promote open dialog on items of concern for the city. 

So ladies, here is the challenge.  A simple question requiring a simple answer.  Will you publicly condemn or condone the actions of the operators of that FB page? 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Most Beautiful Sign in the City

Yepper, here it is.  The most beautiful sign in the city.  And, the message it contains is very important.  Would you like one?  Just go to betterwayshawnee.com and click on the "Get Involved" tab to order one.

Click on the above to view a larger version

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Jeff Vaught - "The Arrogant One" Makes an Appearance

Last night there was a Conversation with Councilmembers hosted by Stephanie Meyer and Lisa Larson-Bunnell at the Monticello Library.  Naturally most of the conversation centered around the proposed community center. 

First, a few interesting things.  The city manager, Nolan Sunderman who was noticeably MIA from last week's large turn out at the civic centre was there.  Next, Parks Director Neil Holman who sat like a bump on a log at the same event last week (relying on his very capable deputy to give the presentation, and take the heat) actually gave part of last night's presentation.  And last but not least, an announcement was made that next week's informational meeting would have a 30 minute Q&A session instead of only 15 like last week's.  Hmmmm, maybe they do read this blog at city hall.

Now let's talk about former councilmember Jeff Vaught and last night.  First, he had some postings on Facebook (click on them to see a larger version):

Apparently, he is not as influential as he'd like to think he is.  About half of the folks in attendance were obviously not in favor of this project. After not clearing the mayoral primary in 2015 and the Ward 3 council primary in 2017 one would think that maybe he'd get the message:  Folks don't really care what he says.

One citizen in attendance brought up the fact that based on a presentation at city hall at a council committee meeting by our PW Director the city could be looking at $140 million in storm water repairs over the next ten years.  Vaught disputed that info and said even if true, the recent increase in storm water fees would cover it.  Well, now he knows better than the PW Director......yeah.....he thinks he does.  If he could perform certain basic mathematical calculations he'd realize that the increased fees will not even come close.  Oh well, we thought that the "Arrogant One" had learned his lesson to keep his mouth shut.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Vote YES FB Page - Liars of the Highest Level

If one goes thru the Vote YES FB page there are comments that some posts seem to have disappeared.

Naturally the admins of that page have repeatedly said that no posts have  been deleted.  They are liars.  I can prove it.  After they announced that former mayor Jeff Meyers had endorsed the new community center I decided to remind the public of some of the shenanigans that Mr. Meyers had been involved in.  Shenanigans that the JoCo DA wrote a scathing letter of rebuke.  This was a post hat has verifiable historical documentation available.

Unfortunately, the arrogant jerks who are running that FB page saw fit to delete my post.  And, I am now no longer able to post there.  Guess they can't handle the truth.

What did I post?  Didn't take a screen shot, but did do a copy paste.  Here it is below.  There is a name (actual a couple of them) for people who try to stifle opposite opinions.


Ray Erlichman History lesson time. Facts, not opinions. When David Morris resigned from the city council a vacancy was created. Alan (Mayor Meyers' uncle by marriage) Willoughby was one of those who applied. He was appointed to fill the position. The JoCo DA was highly critical,, after an investigation by his office,of Mayor Meyers and certain council members for the manner in which the appointment was made..An obvious violation of the spirit of the Kansas Open Meeting Act (KOMA). Copies of the DA's letter and findings are available. Then when Uncle Alan ran for the office he was defeated. At the same time a vacnacy came up on the city planning commission. Mayor Meyers nominated Uncle Alan for the position. The council voted. It was a 4-4 tie. Mayor Meyers voted to break the tie and put Uncle Alan on the planning commission. Personally, I wouldn't publicize Meyers endorsement of anything..

Friday, April 12, 2019

Community Meeting Monday 4/15/19

OK, here is the info for Monday's Community Conversation.  Remember, just because Ward 3 reps are hosting it, you don't have to live in Ward 3 to attend.  Remember the acronym I created years ago.......COW........Councilmembers from Other Wards.  When the council sits as a legislative body they vote on items that affect the whole city not just their wards.  As such, citizens of Shawnee have every right to let any and all council members know how they feel about items that are out there.

So c'mon out to the Monticello library Monday night and let these two council members know how you feel about items that affect this city and you as a citizen of the city.

Community Conversation (Ward 3 Councilmembers Stephanie Meyer and Lisa Larson-Bunnell)  Export EventExport Event

Thursday, April 11, 2019

City Info Meeting - Rude Staff - City Manager MIA

Well, last night the city held its informational meeting at the Shawnee Civic Centre.  Approximately 100 people attended.  My first gripe has to do with the fact that the meeting was planned to have 45 minutes of info and only 15 minutes of Q & A (for 100 people???)

Now, I am going to make some statements here about the meeting itself.  You don't have to take my word for it.  The Shawnee Mission Post ran an article about it, and, they had a video recording

So, what are my first comments?  Both groups (for and against) were pretty well represented.  The city did their usual dog and pony show with some twisted info.  Let's leave it at that.

If you go to the video and at about the 45 or 46 minute mark is where the Q & A started.  At around 52 minutes is where I started.  The attitude of Asst. City Manager Caitlin Gard was totally out of order.  Extremely rude and unprofessional.  Don't take my word for it.  Watch the video.  Others approached me after the meeting and were stunned.  This young lady needs to learn how to interact with her employers (the citizens of Shawnee).  I believe she started to approach the microphone to say something to the individual who followed me but was stopped by the Asst Parks Director, Tonya Lecuru, probably the only staff member there last night who acted in a civil, appropriate manner.  What about Tonya's boss?  Parks Director Neil Holman, who sat there the whole night like a king on a throne overseeing what his subordinate was doing.  If he didn't want to get involved he needed to stay home.

Now, let's talk about our MIA City Manager, Nolan Sunderman.  Where was he last night?  This is one of three major projects going on, Belmont Promenade and Westbrooke Green. He was down the hall giving a Shawnee 101 class to three, yes three people.  Shawnee 101 is a quick citizen's guide to how the city functions.  This "class" can be given by any number of people (maybe Asst City Mgr Gard should have been there).  Heck, the finance director probably has a thorough working knowledge of the city.  What are we paying Sunderman?  Believe it is somewhere in the neighborhood of $140K plus benefits and allowances.  Did the city get its money's worth from him last night?  No way.  He needed to be in that room with 100 citizens.  Oh, this Shawnee 101 class was only advertised about 3 days ahead of time.  Makes one wonder if it was done so he could have an excuse not to be at the more important community meeting.

I feel that the city council really needs to look hard and long at whether this is the right person for the job.  He is coming up on his first anniversary.  Maybe admit that a mistake was made  and cut the city's losses.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Community Center Info Meeting Tonight 4/10/19

City staff will be giving a presentation at the Civic Centre 13817 Johnson Drive tonight 4/10/19.  It is scheduled for 6:00PM - 7:30PM with the presentation scheduled to start at 6:30PM.

Staff is supposed to also be there to answer questions.  Members of the Vote NO - There's A Better Way Shawnee Committee will be there to ask some really tough questions.  This will give folks the opportunity to get info on items that the city staff has ignored or buried regarding this project.

https://www.betterwayshawnee.com/    web site

https://www.facebook.com/BetterShawneeKS   facebook

https://twitter.com/BetterShawneeKS  twitter

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Larson-Bunnell Dances Around the Issue of Storm Water Pipe Repairs

If you scroll down to my post of 4/6/19 you will see my email to Councilmember Lisa Larson-Bunnell.  I was upset that she had failed to notify her constituents of the pending potential $140 million in storm water pipes over the next 10 years.  She just glossed over the item. 

She did reply to me and also she posted that to her FB page.  What she failed to do was to post my original email in its entirety.  Of course she didn't.  Why, because obviously she wanted to hide the projected $140 million in potential repairs.

Anyway, my policy has been to publish the replies I receive.  Her reply is posted below, and following that is my reply to that.  She was appointed as a placeholder to temporarily fill an open seat.  I hope that the voters in Ward 3 have the common sense not to elect her at the special election.  I know that I would not want a council member hiding very pertinent info from me.  But then, she apparently is a proponent of the proposed new community center and maybe she is afraid that if the storm water pipe repairs came out folks might have second thought about wasting $54 million on that project.

Her reply to my original email:

Good Morning Ray,

Sorry for the delay.  I read your e-mail late last night and wanted to reflect on my post and the meeting before responding.

First, I want to thank you for reaching out.  I also want to thank you for reading my council meeting updates.  As per our previous conversations, it is important to me that I consider all constituent feedback.  As a result of your e-mail, I took the time to listen to the meeting recording this morning and  read the staff memo again.  I wanted to be sure that I did not misunderstand any of the meeting materials.

When I listened to the presentation during the Council Committee meeting, I left with the understanding that we have a long road ahead of us to deal with the corrugated metal pipe system that supports a lot of our storm water traffic.  Simply put, when storm water management comes up in future budget deliberations, this is not the place to try to cut funding.    You are correct that there are many repairs that will need to take place in the future.  These repairs will have a substantial cost.  But, just like any other infrastructure need, those costs will be divided over several budget years.  There was no indication that we will not have the funds in the long term to appropriately deal with the issue.  There was also not a request for emergency funding to address unmet needs.

Based on my previous impression from the meeting, as well as my fresh look at the materials, I stand by my original post.

Thank you again for your feedback.  I am not perfect, and I will readily admit when I have made a mistake and take steps to remedy it.

Have a great weekend.


My reply to her reply:


I agonized over the weekend on how to respond to you. 

The only answer I came up with was to be direct.  Your reply was, IMHO, a typical lawyerly Tijuana Two Step.  You said a lot, but said nothing.

Not telling the residents of the ward what the projected repair amounts is, IMHO bordering on ineptness on your part and a form of deception.  What’s the legal term?  Lying by omission?

Tonight it may be a “small” amount but the council will be voting on paying an additional $200K+ on an existing project.


Sunday, April 07, 2019

Is The City of Shawnee Playing Games to Confuse?

If one goes to the Vote Yes FB page https://www.facebook.com/VoteYESShawneeCommunityCenter/ you will see that they are now pushing for a "Shawnee 101" event at the civic centre, the same day and time as what the proposed community center info meeting is scheduled for.  The Shawnee 101 is a program that explains to folks how the city works.  Are there going to be two meetings that night?  Ironically the "Shawnee 101" meeting does not and has not appeared on the city's calendar as recently as about 30 minutes ago.  Is the city getting scared about folks speaking out about the proposed community center?  Are they deliberately trying to confuse folks, or even change the reason for the meeting at the last minute?

First two pix below are screen shots of the Yes FB page.  Third pic is the city's calendar.
Click on the images to see larger views.

Vote NO! Flyers On The Way

Vote NO! on the proposed new community center flyers are on the way.

Below are copies.  Click on the images to see a larger view.  And remember:

1.  Show up at the Shawnee Civic Centre 13817 Johnson Drive (Johnson just west of  Pflumm) 6:00-7:30 presentation starts at 6:30
2.  Be prepared to voice your opinion as a citizen of Shawnee
3.  Do not let city staff attempt to intimidate you to not speaking your mind.  Recently at another meeting Councilmembers Sandifer and Constance tried that.  They were not successful, because they were wrong. Citizens have a right to speak and hear the truth on this issue.  Reference is made to Section 3 of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the State of Kansas and the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.  Interference with those rights can be construed as civil rights violations, subject to both civil and/or criminal penalties

Website:   https://www.betterwayshawnee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BetterShawneeKS
Twitter:     https://twitter.com/BetterShawneeKS

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Lisa Larson-Bunnell Hides Info From Ward 3 Constituents

Below you will find a copy of an email I sent to the Ward 3 Councilmember Lisa Larson-Bunnell.
Below that, you will see a copy of the info as presented by the Public Works Director.  Simply stated her Facebook entry basically ignored the future potential costs to the city for storm water pipe repairs.  what is she going to do when the figures come out about street repairs? 

Why was she not more open about this item?  Is she afraid that if folks in her ward knew about these costs they would really be hesitant in supporting the $38 million bond issue (true cost $54 million) to build the proposed community center?  Is she afraid that if her ward residents knew about these costs that it would hurt her election chances in November?  Remember, she was appointed as a place holder for Justin Adrian who is facing criminal charges.  The November special election would be to serve the remaining two years of that term.  Or is she concerned or worried about incurring the wrath of her fellow Ward 3 rep, Stephanie Meyer? 

Anyway, here we go:

Good afternoon....................

I just read your FB post for the third time, since I could not believe what you posted.  This is what I am talking about:

First, we heard a summary of the planned changes from Johnson County for storm water management. That was immediately followed by an update from our Public Works department about our storm water management needs in Shawnee. The take away from that session is that we have significant storm water management work that needs to be done to replace old corrugated metal pipes. The good news is that there is a plan to replace those pipes over time using a reasonable schedule

 Attached to this email is a copy of the slide that the PW director included in his presentation which clearly shows the financial burden the city is facing in the next 10 years because of the poor condition of the storm water pipes.  A condition that is so bad, it is projected that the city will need to spend  $99-$140 million over the next 10 years. Your job is to inform your constituents of this fact, not gloss over it with comments like an “interesting presentation”  Or is it that you are so hung up on pushing for the new community center that you do not want this type of information to be out there?  Remember, not very many people attend these meetings and probably few access the info on line.  It is your job to be up front with your constituents.  IMHO, you have failed miserably in this case.  What was it you said about being open when you were appointed to the council? 
What are you going to do when the new figures for the condition and repair costs come in for our streets?  Are you going to be deceptive about those costs also?


Click on the above image to view it in a larger format.  Also, because of a glitch, the file was not included in the original email to the council member but was sent separately within minutes

Friday, April 05, 2019

Informational Meeting Proposed Community Center Wed 4/10/19

City staff will be having an informational meeting about the proposed new community center.

Date:  Wednesday April 10, 2019
Location:  Shawnee Civic Centre 13817 Johnson Drive (just west of Pflumm)
Time:  6:00PM to 7:30 PM (presentation will be at 6:30 PM)

It is very important that as many individuals as possible attend this presentation.  The city has not been totally open about various issues that pertain to this project.  These items need to be brought out to the public. 

It is sincerely hoped that city staff does not attempt to stifle citizen input, like Councilmembers Sandifer and Constance attempted but fortunately failed to do at their "cookies and conversation".

The people have a right to be heard, and they will be heard.   And anyway, why not?  Are there those who are afraid of the truth?

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Vote NO - Web Site and Facebook Info

OK, looks like there is a grassroots effort to get the truth out about the proposed new community center and to really educate folks about voting NO to stop it.

The website is https://www.betterwayshawnee.com/

The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/BetterShawneeKS

If you would like to help stop this boondoggle please visit the above.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Updates: Community Center & Council Members Sandifer and Constance

Here are some updates.

Update #1:  The city has updated its web site to show that the actual cost of the Community Center is $54 million (20 years x $2.7 million to pay back the bonds) and they are also showing the info about the first five years of shortfalls (totaling approximately $1.5 million).  The first item was actually never spelled out and the second item was buried.  They are still buried, but not as bad.  Do you think that maybe the fact that yours truly wrote the city manager and advised that IMHO the city was advocating and not educating and threatening to file a complaint with the DA  had anything to do with the info being posted as it is now?  He answered one email but not the second.  Unfortunately the Quick Reference Guide and the mailer the city is planning on sending have not been changed.  Looks like we might still have to file that complaint with the DA.

Update #2:  Please see the two previous posts about how the councilmembers mentioned above tried to shut down citizen comments.  Constance kept trying to put it off until "the end".  Sure, she wanted to limit the time of input.  Didn't work.  Did either of these two stalwarts of the community read the info that was posted on the city's web site (calendar)?  The notice of their "cookies and conversation" reads as follows (highlights mine, maybe they both need remedial classes in reading for comprehension):