Monday, October 28, 2019

Stephanie Meyer Throws City Staff Under the Bus

In my post just prior to this one it was mentioned how Stephanie Meyer was critical of those who spoke negatively about city staff.

Well apparently Meyer must have some strong muscles attached to her jawbone because she appears to be able to talk out of both sides of her mouth. Or are they ligaments or tendons?
At the Shawnee Mission Post forum for mayoral candidates prior to the August primary Meyer seemed to throw the blame on a city engineer as the reason why Menard's did not locate in Shawnee. I blogged about it at the time and you can read about that by following this link

But, if you don't believe me, or want additional verification you can hear it in her own words. That's right, you can see and hear her on video. The comments are at approximately the 42:05 mark of the video. You will need to go here, and then scroll down until you get to the video for the Shawnee Mayor's forum from July 9, 2019.

This individual will say whatever she needs to, to try and get elected. Hopefully, the rest of the city will see what the folks in her own ward saw when she took a whooping in her own ward in the primary. The results of the primary in Ward 3 were:
Distler 1004 51.38%
Meyer 639 32.70%
Tubbesing 277 14.18%
Sood 34 1.74%

Citywide, Meyer only got 26% while the incumbent Mayor, Michelle Distler got 57%.

What else will Meyer lie or be two faced about? Stay tuned as the election is just a little over a week away.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Stephanie Meyer - Enemy of Free Speech

In a recent post to the blog on her campaign web site, Stephanie Meyer had this to say:

"The incumbent has routinely allowed staff to be publicly attacked by extremists."
What Ms. Meyer fails to acknowledge is that it is not up to the mayor to allow or disallow comments, pro or con, by anyone. That would be censorship. And that would not only be in violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution but also to Section 3 of the Bill of rights of the Kansas State Constitution. I have posted that section here before, and brought it up at various council meetings. This is what it says (the underlining is by me)

§ 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.

So, if elected would Meyer attempt to censor free speech, or, faced with a constitutional dilemma (both federal and state) allow those comments? Thereby proving once again that she talks out of both sides of her mouth.

Stephanie Meyer would not be good for Shawnee and I would strongly urge the citizens of this city to reject her candidacy for mayor.

Friday, October 18, 2019

I Was Wrong on 10/11/19

Whoops, you won't see that headline too often.  Unlike some folks, I can admit it, even though it doesn't happen too often......LOL

OK, let's split this post into two parts:

Part 1:  My comments on 10/11/19 that the proposed Charter Ordinance 46 was a virtual blank check were wrong.  It was not.  And with some last minute verbiage adjustments by Council Member Jenkins and City Attorney Rainey the item became very acceptable to all concerned.

Part 2:  I still stand by my comments that it was abhorrent for a Charter Ordinance to be placed on an agenda for a city council meeting without first going through the committee process.  The item showed up late Thursday 10/10 for inclusion at the meeting of 10/14.  Let's get this straight, Shawnee and other cities in Kansas function on charter ordinances.  Other cities in other states function on charters and States function on constitutions.  A charter ordinance is the basic building block for other actions of the city.  It is not like an ordinance for how many pets you can have, property set backs or any of that stuff.  It is how the city is to be run and governed.  And, if folks can't see that then they are blind.  Charter ordinances, by their very nature need to go to committee first for a thorough hashing out and vetting.  Not, place on an agenda for action 4 days (two of which are the weekend) later.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Kris Durbin for Shawnee City Council - Ward 4

Kris Durbin would be the logical choice to represent the citizens of Ward 4 on the Shawnee City Council.

In these times when Shawnee is facing the potential of over $140 million in stormwater repairs, tens of millions of dollars in street repairs and other infrastructure work, Kris' background is sorely needed on the council.

He is employed in the design-build engineering and construction industry. The better part of his 18 year career in this industry has been as a Project Controls Manager. As such, Kris is responsible for combining the technical and commercial aspects of managing large multi-million dollar infrastructure projects, to enable project leadership and stakeholders to understand state of progress, the financial health, and the overall risks and opportunities of the initiative.

He has experience and exposure on projects valued up to $5.5 billion. His experience with contracts and projects with high amounts of risk and cost exposure will be a tremendous value to the governing body.

While his opponent appears to be a very nice and likeable individual she has avoided discussing the many financial issues affecting the city. Very candidly, since her experience has been mostly in the volunteer arena her comments tend to be fluffy feel good without getting down to the nitty gritty of what is facing Shawnee. We are also facing the potential loss of millions of dollars in property tax revenue based on current court rulings concerning big box retailers. Kris Durbin is well qualified to work towards positive solutions for these items.

On the personal side, he and his wife of 9 years Jacque are proud to call Shawnee their home where they are raising their daughter Makyla.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Kurt Knappen for Shawnee City Council Ward 3 (Full Term)

Kurt Knappen's business and community involvement background puts him head and shoulders, IMHO, above his opponent for the Shawnee City Council.

He has spent the past 21 years working for just two companies to get better care for individuals suffering from type 2 Diabetes.  For the past 15 years he has served as a District Business Manager for his company which involves managing, leading and coaching a team of 9-11 individuals.
This experience includes hiring, performance management, setting the tone and vision, inspiring, coaching, budgeting and HR issues related to the team.  Including salaries and expenditures, he effectively manage a budget well over $1.5 million annually.  Importantly, he manages his team remotely, spending approximately 2 days per month with each.  This is important as it will help him in his dealings working with City Staff in a remote manner (via phone and email to a large extent).  He successfully deals with conflict first hand, manages out low performers, routinely gains consensus among a broad group of individuals and leads with innovative ideas while addressing tough issues.
Additionally, he has previously served as Treasurer of the J.C. Republican Party and as an elected Republican Precinct Committeeman.  Finally, he was appointed to the Lenexa Parks and Rec Board and received 2 “keys to the city” for his work on behalf of the community.
In Shawnee, he has served as a youth boys  head football coach (6 seasons), both boys and girls soccer coach (20+ seasons) and wrestling coach (5 seasons) in addition to serving at Westside Family Church and in various other volunteer capacities.
Additionally Kurt makes it a point to pay his property taxes on time.  His opponent, on multiple occasions, had to play catch up on 2-3 years worth at one time.  Not good for someone who is going to have to make decisions on items which concern taxes in Shawnee.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Proposed Charter Ordinance 46 - A Virtual Blank Check

There is no other way to put this.  There is an item on Monday's (10/14) City Council Agenda to pass a Charter Ordinance 46 to replace Charter Ordinance 43.  This item if passed would give the council (and not just this one) a virtual blank check to issue general obligation bonds for just about anything they want.  Yes, they could even jam a community center down the city's throat even though 72% of our citizens said no to this.

It is imperative that the citizens of Shawnee rise up against this abuse of power by certain members of the council, and show up at the meeting on 10/14 and express their displeasure concerning this proposed charter ordinance.

Link to the agenda for 10/14/19.

Copy of the memo and the proposed new Charter Ordinance 46.

Briefly, the agenda says:

The proposed Charter Ordinance broadens the types of improvements set out in Charter Ordinance No. 43 that may be debt financed by general obligation bonds to include streetlights, and any other improvement or equipment, whether owned by the City, another government entity, or a private party, when the Governing Body finds that such improvement serves a public purpose

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Kevin Straub for Shawnee City Council Ward 3 (Unexpired term)

Kevin Straub would be my choice for the unexpired Ward 3 Shawnee City Council position. Kevin's background and positions makes him eminently qualified for the job.

After leaving the US Navy Kevin became a Realtor for the past 28 years and a Real Estate Broker for 24 years. He has been a past president of the Clear Creek Subdivision HOA. He assisted in the development of Town & Country Villas a one level living community in Shawnee. He is respected in the business world as a member of the Agent Leadership Council at Keller Williams Key Partners.

As a former member of the Shawnee city council he brought recycling containers to all of the Shawnee parks and consistently voted against tax increases in our city.
He feels that most members of the Shawnee City Council have proven they are out of touch with the real priorities of the people they are supposed to represent. This was proven in the case of the community center, where they ignored the results of their own survey which showed that even though folks wanted a new community center a majority said they did not want to pay an increase in property taxes to do it.

Then, just last month they decided to wade into divisive social issues which split our community in two and are still working their way through the courts around the country.  Yet, up until recently we couldn't get honest communication about projects like Nieman Now. He feels we still need a sensible policy regarding tax incentives that doesn't give the farm away for any developer with their hand out. We have many members of the council who say one thing (we need more commercial development) then give it all away so we don't get anything from it when it happens.

Kevin will put needs first (storm water, street improvements etc.) ahead of frills. We are facing the possibility of some heavy infrastructure problems that need to be taken care of. Kevin will stay focused on that.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Eric Jenkins for Shawnee City Council Ward 2

Eric Jenkins is, IMHO, deserving of being re-elected to the Shawnee City Council to represent Ward 2..

Eric has spent most of his adult life serving both his community and his countryj. On the community side he has been a Shawnee City Counci member and served 21 years on the Shawnee Planning Commission. He has been a member of the Shawnee Downtown Partnership Committee and the Shawnee Economic Development Council. He has served as the SMNW Advisor to the SM School Board .

He is a retired U. S. Army Colonel having served both on active duty and in the reserves. He is a veteran of the Iraq & Afghanistan War and a graduate of the very prestigious Army War College. Among his diverse military assignments. He served as commander of ODA-114 (Operational Detachment Alpha-more commonly known as Special Forces A-Team, and as Battalion Commander of the 159th Military Police Battalion. At Ft. Leavenworth he led highly skilled senior officer and civilians in lessons learned collections missions into Iraq and Afghanistan.

His history with FEMA as a senior manager provided him with the opportunity to be involved in many multi state functions to include being a Federal Coordinating Officer. That translates into being the individual responsible for making sure that entire communities were rebuilt after a major disaster hit.

As a council member he stood up for the taxpayers of the city. He was a vocal force against the splurging of $54 million for a community center. He has long advocated that the council has to look at needs not wants, like the fact that we are looking at the possibility of over $140 million in stormwater repairs. A strong proponent of citizen rights, he led the initiative to allow citizen groupds to give full presentations at council meetings, not just insiders. He has been a long time advocate of promoting small business and he is opposed to over use of corporate welfare in the form of incentives.

Eric knows how to battle for the citizens of Ward 2 and it is felt that they need to return him to office.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Citizens For A Better Shawnee

Remember the group that spearheaded the drive against the proposed community center?  The group that showed the truth about the costs!  The group that showed how much pertinent information was being held back! (the term for that is lying by omission).  The group that helped to point out high dollar needs that the city has facing it, as opposed to wants!

Well that group has now morphed into Citizens For A Better Shawnee.  It will be taking an active roll in getting more citizens involved with the process of running the city.

You can read more about it here:

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Tammy Thomas for Ward 1 Shawnee City Council

Tammy Thomas would be an excellent choice for Ward 1 Shawnee City Councilmember.

IMHO ward 1 has been under represented for many years by Jim Neighbor. Neighbor's favorite comment at meetings on various subjects has been "I'd like to echo what so and so said". It's time that Ward 1 had a councilmember who would truly get engaged in items of concern for the city.
Tammy would bring a background of exceptional service and knowledge to city government. First, she has been a member of the De Soto USD 232 school board. From 2012-2019 she served as a Statewide Long Tern Care Liaison within the The Department for Children and Families. She was able to work and bring together State Agencies such as  DCF, KDADS, KDHE, along with Long Term Care Facility Administrators to support elder Kansas families to work the maze of gaining needed support.  The maze of elder Medicaid was very difficult and  many life long Kansas citizens were struggling to navigate it. She brought the right agencies to the table to engage in open dialogue with Long Term Care providers....face to face.  

She then went on to be the Kansas City Regional Director for the The Department of Children and Families. In that capacity she was responsible for five counties with full service centers (Atchison, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson and Douglas).

She currently is serving with a non-profit organization, Safe Families for Children. 

She has shown to be a compassionate individual who is willing to speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves. This is a skill that is sorely needed in a Ward 1 councilmember.

It is sincerely hoped that the citizens of Ward 1 will elect Tammy Thomas to represent them on the Shawnee City Council.