Sunday, May 31, 2020

Did Shawnee City Workers Lose Out on a COLA Increase?

A recent poster on the social media site Next Door had an item that City of Shawnee workers were recently denied a COLA (cost of living allowance) increase.  Some refer to it as a market adjustment.

If true, this is outrageous.  Most times a COLA increase (as opposed to a merit or step increase) is usually in the neighborhood of 1% to 3%.  A truly pithy amount compared to the 25% increase recently voted by certain members of the governing body for the city manager.

Would any of the five persons who voted for the unwarranted increase for the city manager care to email me about the COLA for the city employees?  If so, your email will be published here.

Those five are:

Matt Zimmerman -  Ward 1
Lisa Larson-Bunnell - Ward 3
Lindsey Constance - Ward 4
Jill Chalfie - Ward 4
Michelle Distler - Mayor

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

On Memorial Day I am always reminded of a quote by the man that I consider to be the greatest field commander in US history, Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

His quote: "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

Yes, let us thank God that so many men, and women, have given their all to safeguard our liberties. Please, do not take the liberties, freedoms, and God given rights that they died for, for granted.

Be thankful, and remember them, today and always.

From the Memorial Day Concert, Washington DC 2019



Sunday, May 24, 2020

Does City Manager Know What is Happening In His City?

One of the biggest events in the City of Shawnee has been the Tour de Shawnee bike ride.  This event has a history of over 30 years and is run to benefit the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund).

It is usually held on a Sunday near the end of August.  Having volunteered to help out in the past for about 6-7 years I decided to check on line to see if it was on for this year, or if it has been postponed, rescheduled or cancelled.

Wow, was I shocked at what I found on the city web site.  When you go to this web page they are still talking about the 2019 event.  If you click and go here you will get a registration form for the 2019 event.

What happened to the 2020 event?  Now, there will be some folks who will say that with Covid 19 and the stay at home thingies the site was not updated.  Horse nonsense.  Why wasn't the site updated after last year's date (which did get rained out)?  Why wasn't info about the 2020 event posted September, October, November, December, January, February etc?

I sincerely hope that the city manager (Nolan Sunderman) does not pass the blame downstream to the Parks Department.  Remember Harry Truman's desk sign, "The Buck Stops Here".

He was probably too busy planning on how he would eventually attempt to justify his 25% salary increase.

Sidebar:  A BK double whopper with cheese and bacon says that the two links above will probably disappear or get changed after this post appears.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Constance Replies About Park Board Nominee

Shawnee City Council Member Lindsey Constance responded to my blog post from yesterday.  You can scroll down to read it, or access it by clicking here.

Since she was kind enough to respond, I will post her email here, followed by my reply:

Constance email of 5/21/20: 


Hi Ray,

Regarding your question about my recommendation to appoint Mr. Waltman to the Parks Board, Elizabeth (our volunteer coordinator) doesn’t require the Parks Board applicants to re-do their applications, instead they may remain on file for future consideration.

Mr. Waltman’s application was from 2018, so I did reach out to him and had a conversation over the phone last week before making my selection. He is not planning to push forward the community center, as that didn’t pass the public vote. Mr. Waltman’s reference to that in his application was 2 years old prior to the election last spring.

Let me know if you have further questions. Thanks and enjoy your week.

Lindsey

My reply to that email:

Lindsey,


This is a perfect example as to why applications need to be updated.  The community center project was a very contentious issue.

A purported conversation between you and him that he would not pursue the item can best be described as hearsay.  You are not him.

My suggestion would be for Mr. Waltman to send a signed letter as an addendum to the application reiterating your purported conversation.  The letter needs to be added to the agenda packet.  If he is unwilling to do so then I would suggest that his nomination be withdrawn.

Stay well

Ray

Final thoughts:

Just because she says that he told her he would not pursue, I would love to see that in writing. From him, not her. Lindsey Constance has a habit of not necessarily being forthcoming.  Just look at how she didn't divulge important info about the comparisons when it came to her vote to give the city manager a raise. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Constance Does Not Listen to the People of Shawnee

At next Monday's council meeting Lindsey Constance's nominee to serve on the Parks 7 Rec advisory board is an indication of how she doesn't listen or care what the people of Shawnee think.

She has nominated and individual, who, according to his application was happy that he supported the community center project and is looking forward to supporting it again.

Huh???  Constance also supported it.  But, 72% of those casting ballots in the largest election of its kind told her and those pushing it to "faggedah bout it".  Constance, the mental midget who could not understand why the project would cost $54 million  not $38 million.  She did not want to concede the fact that the city (meaning taxpayers) would have to fork over $16 million in interest.  Now she wants to put another person on that board who is deaf to the desires and wishes of the people.

Maybe if I had lent her my hearing aids she could have heard  better what the folks had said.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

City Manager's Raise - Part 2

Let's dig a little deeper into Nolan Sunderman's, what is IMHO, recent exorbitant salary raise.  Wow, 25% at one shot.....almost $40K.

According to the demographics for the city, which are available by clicking here, the per capita income in Shawnee is.............$36,856.  Interesting.

The city council has to vote on the city manager's salary increase.  In this case, the council was split 4-4 and the mayor voted to break the tie.  It would be unfair to blame the entire council for this action.  But, the individuals who did vote for the salary increase can be held accountable should they run for reelection and/or another office.

Who were the ones that voted for this insult to the people of Shawnee:

Matt Zimmerman (Ward 1)
Lisa Larson-Bunnell (Ward 3)
Lindsey Constance (Ward 4) and announced for the upcoming state senate race
Jill Chalfie (Ward 4)
Michelle Distler (Mayor)

Long term readers of this blog may recall that over the years I have been a strong supporter of the mayor. Even though we had disagreed on some items I have never felt in the past that she had done anything to "stick it to" the people of Shawnee.  Good, bad or indifferent, I always thought that she had the best interests of Shawnee at heart.  This is no longer the case.  To give this inexperienced puppy this kind of raise and by some, to compare his background with those of surrounding cities' city managers is a travesty.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Constance & Chalfie Grossly Mislead Their Constituents

Shawnee City Council members Lindsey Constance & Jill Chalfie, both from Ward 4, have grossly mislead their constituents.  Let's look at their recent yes vote to give City Manager Nolan Sunderman a 25% salary raise (approx. $40K), which when coupled with his deferred compensation and car allowance will push him over $200K a year.

On their facebook pages they posted comments concerning their votes.  Note the similarity in the wording.

Constance:  -  The second main item on the agenda was voting on the City Manager's contract. Prior to last night's vote, the City Manager's salary was $50,000 lower than the lowest of comparable cities. I have been pleased with Shawnee's continued history of efficiency in management, especially compared with other neighboring cities. For example, Shawnee's staff to resident ratio is 1:205 compared with Lenexa at 1:127. The efficiency and focus on finding ways to save the city money, whether it be the streetlight LED conversion and purchase, or the Facility Conservation Improvement Plan, have continued to create savings opportunities.

Having quality and fairly compensated staff is important to keep our city running smoothly, so we can provide important services to our residents. I voted in support of the contract and it passed 5-4.

Chalfie: - Secondly, we approved a pay increase for our City Manager in order to bring this salary closer in line with the same job in neighboring cities (taking into account years of service). One of the biggest factors leading me to support this market increase was the efficiency in what Shawnee provides to residents with the number of full-time city staff that our City Manager oversees. As a comparison, Lenexa has one staff for every 128 people and Shawnee has 1 staff for every 205 people. This level of efficiency can only be managed by a strong leader. During this time of uncertainty, I believe it is more important than ever to value the position at the top of our organization as this person makes many day to day decisions that can affect how we come through this as a city.

Why do I say that they grossly mislead their constituents?  Here goes.  They both use the ratios of staff to residents, showing that Shawnee has fewer staff per resident population.  So now let's dissect their comments.

Yes, Shawnee has less staff per resident population.  But, Lenexa also has staff for areas that Shawnee contracts out, like facilities maintenance, janitorial services, even mowing.  Why don't they mention that?  What about the daytime population in Lenexa?  Lenexa has substantially more large businesses, industrial parks, office parks, etc.  Their commercial tax base is almost double that of Shawnee's.  Why don't they mention that?  That is one of the reasons why they have more police, firefighters/stations and other city facilities.  And guess what else they also have?  A higher mill levy.  Their citizens and businesses are paying for those needed services.

These ratios that Constance & Chalfie mention have been around since Gonzales was city manager and she too hid the true facts.  What Constance & Chalfie  are doing is trying to compare apples to oranges.

They also want to compare Mr. Sunderman's compensation to that of individuals in neighboring cities.  The Shawnee Mission Post just wrote about the vote and showed those figures for the neighboring cities.  You can read the article and see the numbers by clicking here

Now, let's look at those neighboring individuals:

Overland Park - Bill Ebel - City manager in OP since 2011 and prior to that was a department director.  In reality he has been in government service since 1975 when he entered the USMA at West Point and graduated in '79.  Translation:  he has been in government service for longer than Sunderman has been on this earth.

Olathe - J. Michael Wilkes - Has been City Manager since 1999 and started in government service in 1984.  Whoops, that means he has been in government service since Sunderman was a year old and still getting his nappies changed.

Lenexa - Two people were mentioned.  Current City Manager Beccy Yucham who has 20 years with the city and prior to that was Ass't. Gen. Counsel for the League of Kansas Municipalities. The previous City Manager Eric Wade, who retired after 15 years with Lenexa and before that he was with Jo Co government, Merriam, Blue Springs and KC MO.  Another individual who has more government service than Sunderman has time on this earth

To compare Sunderman to these folks is outrageous.  He's still a puppy in training and not ready to be compared to the big dogs.

Additionally, a 25% increase (approx. $40K) is, as I stated yesterday, IMHO,  an insult to those on the front line of city work.  As a percentage of the city budget the dollar number is a dot, but it sends a bad message to the residents of our city who are suffering from the current pandemic situation.  That includes the owners of the many small businesses who employ lots of folks that might not be going back to work. Add to that the city, which relies heavily on sales tax revenue will see a decline in that revenue.  The five people who voted for that raise created an odor that is worse than the Deffenbaugh landfill, and again I will call them out:  Matt Zimmerman (W1), Lisa Larson-Bunnell (W3), Lindsey Constance (W4), Jill Chalfie (W4), and the tie breaking vote by Michelle Distler (Mayor).

Suggestion for Constance and Chalfie.  Don't mislead your constituents.  And for Chalfie specifically, being a lap dog for a state senator wannabe is going to cause you problems.  You will be challenged when you mislead folks. Constance did that during the Community Center referendum (so did Zimmerman and Larson-Bunnell), and now on this issue.




Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Is Transparency Dead in Shawnee?

I'll keep this simple.  Please see the two images below.  Click on them to view a larger version which will be easier to read.



Look at motion 6.  There are many people who are not familiar with the make up of the council.  The vote total is correct.  The motion passed 5-4.  But again, some folks are not familiar with how the council works.  what the summary should have said was "Motion carried 5-4 with the mayor breaking a 4-4 tie".  Let's make it simple and easy for folks to understand.

Sunderman Gets 25% Increase

Yepper, you read that headline correctly.  Last night, after an executive session the council came in to vote on giving Nolan Sunderman, our not so illustrious city manager (IMHO) a 25% salary increase.

The council was actually split 4-4, with Zimmerman, Constance, Larson-Bunnell and Chalfie in favor of it and Jenkins, Kemmling, Thomas and Knappen opposed.  So, how did it get approved?  Easy, our mayor, Michelle Distler voted to break the tie and give Sunderman that raise which should take him a step or two north of $180K per year.

What a travesty.  What about the folks on the city payroll who really do the hard day to day work?  You know, the folks that toil in all kinds of weather to keep your streets functional, your parks usable, your neighborhoods safe from crime, risking their own well being on fire calls, providing emergency medical treatment to you or a loved one?  I could go on and on about that.  Will the not so fabulous four and the mayor vote to give ALL employees an across the board 25% raise?  What kind of message did they send to city employees with that vote?

Let's look at the four council members who voted to give the city manager that outrageous increase:

Matt Zimmerman -Ward 1-Was also strongly in favor of taxing the citizens for the community center.  Does he really care about the people in Shawnee?
Lisa Larson-Bunnell -Ward 3-Another council member who pushed for the community center and the disgusting burden it would have placed on the folks that make Shawnee home.
Lindsey Constance -Ward 4- And yet another council member who tried to push for the community center. Ya had to be at some of the community meetings to hear the misinformation she was putting out there.  And she wants to represent Shawnee in the state senate!! 
Jill Chalfie -Ward 4- Watch her at council meetings as she looks up at Constance with puppy dog eyes as if to ask "What do I do?"

And then the person that broke the tie, Mayor Distler.  Like Brutus to Caesar, she plunged a knife into the backs of the people of Shawnee. 

Side note:  Zimmerman, Larson-Bunnell, and Constance are up for reelection in 2021. Remember that if they choose to run again.  And Constance is up for the State Senate seat this year.

A big thank you to Jenkins, Thomas, Kemmling and Knappen for trying to do the right thing.  Sorry that you folks got shot down by uncaring fools.



Saturday, April 18, 2020

Shawnee Town 1929, A Sacred Cow

Be Careful What You Say About A Sacred Cow, Shawnee Town 1929.  I'm sure I will anger some folks.  Too bad!!

Let's start with what happened at the most recent city council meeting, 4/13/20.  Stuck (hidden) in the consent agenda was an item to not accept the bid to move an old house from Leawood to Shawnee Town 1929.  This was to be known as the "Dr. Sullivan House".  Instead the city, thru its parks department is going to go forward with replicating the house.

What is disturbing about this is that when the item came up initially for discussion there was talk about doing exactly that.  Not accepting the "free" house and instead building a replica was voiced by some folks, most notably a member of the community, Tracy Thomas (not to be confused with Councilmember Tammy Thomas).  Ms. Thomas was soundly ridiculed for her comments, with the claim being that it would be cheaper to move the Leawood house.  One of the arguments given for moving the Leawood house, was IMHO plain out stupid.  That period fixtures (water faucets, etc) would be hard to find.  Horse patootie.  How many local businesses deal in antique fixtures, and some even rent/sell them to movie and theater productions for those activities.  Anyway it has now been determined that the cost of moving the house is above initial projections and action will be taken to replicate the old Dr. Sullivan house.

I firmly believe that both the city manager and the parks department director owe Tracy Thomas an apology.  BTW, if it wasn't for Councilmember Tammy Thomas the consent item would have just floated thru without any discussion.

Now, let's go to the next part of what I would like to say today about the sacred cow.  First, another member of the community took a drive from both I-435 east and I-35 west.  Apparently there was very limited or almost non-existant signage pointing folks to this destination.

But, more importantly, how many folks actually visit this destination in any given year even after the city has put millions of dollars into it?  We do not know the answer to that question.  There is not an accounting of visitors kept.  We do know that during Old Shawnee Days the place is packed with folks going to the carnival, visiting the vendor booths viewing the old structures and attending the nightly shows/concerts.

What we don't have is:  a) a sign in book at the visitor center, b) a clicker counter at the visitor center, c)a volunteer at the entrances with a clicker counter, d) a turnstile, no fee, but it counts the number of entrances.  If that is installed, employees and/or volunteers would have to bypass it.

What it boils down to is, have we been sinking money into this sacred cow just for one extended weekend a year? Or does it generate a sufficient quantity of tourists/guests (and income) to make it what everyone would like it to be?  Naturally, any figure for visitors would need to be separate from groups that rent out the town hall for events.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Speaker Pelosi, The WHO and Congressperson Davids

What I just read on a news feed makes me want to puke.  Apparently House Speaker Pelosi wants to block President Trump's decision to withhold funds from WHO (World Health Organization).  We are talking about almost $900 million. 

WHO was totally remiss in the way they bowed down to China and allowed misinformation to be disseminated.  Our country is the largest contributor to WHO, and we give literally 10x more to that organization than China.  Apparently though the hierarchy at WHO feels an obligation to let China control what they do.

That $900 million can be better used here to help our people towards a speedy health and economic recovery.  Not given to an organization that panders to BS and lies.

Now, will our illustrious Congressperson, Sharice Davids get smart, show some concerns for our country and its people, or will she firmly plant her lips on the derriere of Speaker Pelosi?  If I was a betting man I'd bet she'd do the latter.  That is why, IMHO, Davids has got to go.  And the $$$ have to be held back from the WHO.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Religious Freedom and the COVID-19 Pandemic

All across the country there are now disputes about religious freedom and the various social distancing orders because of COVID-19.

Here in Kansas Gov. Kelly attempted to remove the exemption for religious institutions which was quickly stifled by the legislative panel entrusted with reviewing her executive orders.

Actions taken by her, other governors and some mayors have become national news especially in view of the importance that this weekend has for multiple religions.  This weekend falls right in the middle of the Jewish holiday of Passover and the Christian holiday of Easter. 

Here is my take on the situation.  It comes in two parts.

First:  Any action by any elected official to shut down religious services at this or any time is a clear and obvious violation of our constitution.  The provision in the first amendment could not be any clearer.  These actions by elected officials need to be shot down by the courts as they happen.

Second:  Any individual or religious congregation that is desirous of holding services in an enclosed environment involving dozens or hundreds of their faithful is downright foolish.  Nope, I'll change that to stupid.

In this day and age of advanced technology we all have the opportunity to "gather together" in other forms to express our beliefs for these holidays.  Including a good old fashioned parking lot drive in.

Most religious institutions have taken appropriate action to hold non-contact services.  I applaud them.  On line chat rooms, webinar based services, video conferencing.....wow the possibilities are enormous. 

For the few organizations that are conducting in person services, I hope and yes, pray, that your flocks do not become infected.  Common sense must prevail.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo........Hypocritical Piece of Garbage

BROKEN LINKS BELOW HAVE BEEN FIXED---SORRY

For those that may not be aware of it I was born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx.  Even though I left NYC 45 years ago there is still something in me that has an attachment for the "City That Never Sleeps".

It is for that reason that some of the things that Gov. Cuomo has and has not done under the current pandemic situation I find to be abhorrent.  Yet this piece of trash is trying to blame POTUS for items that he could and should have handled.

First, in 2015 the NYS Department of Health advised that the state would be short over 15,000 ventilators in the event of an influenza pandemic.  Where did Cuomo spend the money that could have gone for those items to be held in reserve?  Would you like to know?  Including access to the 2015 report?  All you have to do is click here

The next one is very disconcerting and it involves the drug hydroxychloroquinine.  It seems that Cuomo signed an executive order that any new prescriptions for this item cannot, that's right, cannot be filled by the local neighborhood pharmacies.  Patients whose doctors are prescribing this can only get the item thru the NYC hospital system.  Huh???  Send these folks down to the already over burdened and over taxed hospitals for something that they can get from their local pharmacy??  Unreal!!!!  If ya wanna read about it just go here

Anyway, it seems like we here in Kansas are living in an area that besides science is also relying on good old fashioned common sense.  Except when it comes to toilet paper and bottled water.

For those who find they need or want a cloth face mask but do not sew, Colin Hanks, Tom Hanks' son has posted a video on Instagram that shows how to do it with a handkerchief and either two hair ties or rubber bands.  Simple, easy and it works.  I tried it.  Take a look here




Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hypocritical MSM Getting It Shoved Where the Moon Don't Shine

Well, looks like the MSM, (CNN, MSNBC etc) and their Democratic Party puppet masters are getting it stuck to them.  They had been complaining about POTUS not providing enough press briefings.  Now that he is doing it, and gaining support from America they want him to stop.  Or, they want the broadcast stations not to carry them live.  What a bunch of flaming hypocrites. 

How about Hillary (the witch of Benghazi)  Clinton trying to take a shot at and denigrate POTUS.  What a witch.

Anyway, regarding the basic topic of this post, ya might wanna check this out  by clicking here.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Social Distancing, Quarantines, Shelter In Place & Etc.

Been reading about people and their reactions to the current situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No doubt it will have a horrendous impact financially on many people.  But what can we do?  Should everybody go back to normal work now and just let this thing spread further?  In the long run we will recover.  We have in the past and we will now and we will in the future.

There are certain complaints I hear though that truly upset me.  These are the folks who complain about not being able to dine in at restaurants, go to the movies, visit their favorite sports bar, etc etc etc.

If ya wanna talk about having it rough ask one of the few living vets from WWII what restrictions they had in Europe, and/or the Pacific?  What part of a normal life did they have?  Add to that those that served in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq etc.  Toilet paper shortage?  They were lucky if they had functioning toilets.  Most often a slit trench latrine. Then take it a step further.  What about the POWs in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam?  And what about the folks that were held hostage by Iran for 444 days.  Talk about quarantine.  Talk about isolation.  Talk about not being able to do what you want.  The Iran hostage event was in 1979.  Probably 1/2 of America wasn't even born yet.

Soooo, suck it up snowflakes.  We WILL persevere.  And, we still can do more than what most of those I mentioned could do in their circumstances.  Bet that the "residents" of the Hanoi Hilton would have loved to call up a restaurant and drive over for curbside service.  Or spend more time with their families.  Or, go out and walk/jog a trail, ride a bike or just take a short drive.  Even still being able to go to the grocery store and the aforementioned curbside service.

Now, let's look at another aspect of the situation.  These irresponsible idiots who are doing anything and everything to blame Trump for the situation.  He is doing a great job.  You can't have a vaccine for something until you know what it's make up is.  You can't have a vaccine until you know the cure won't be worse than the disease.  Just like a computer virus.  Folks go bananas when they get one and blame Norton, McAfee et al.  When a new one comes out these companies need to analyze it so they can develop the cure.  The difference is that a biological cure can take quite awhile as opposed to a computer logic one.  So, for all the idiots who are trying to make Trump look bad, you've been doing that for 3-1/2 years and just making yourselves look foolish.

As for Nancy Pelosi, what is with the BS of tacking on items to the recovery bill for stuff that has nothing to do with the COVID problem?  This sicko has to go bye bye.  A republican majority after the next election will cut her off as she won't be speaker anymore.  She is doing almost as much damage to Americans as the COVID virus itself.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Kansas Attorney General Speaks out on Public Meetings During Health Crisis

In a recent article in the Lawrence Journal World, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has some comments regarding government meetings during the current Covid-19 situation.  Rather than link to the article, I will copy|paste it here.  If you want, you can view it on the Journal World site by going to this link https://www2.ljworld.com/announcements/2020/mar/23/kansas-attorney-general-transparency-meetings

Note:  Within the article are two links.  One is for the AG's press release and the other is for a proposed administrative regulation.

****************************

As many official meetings move online due to help stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, the Kansas attorney general’s office has proposed formal rules for state and local governments to ensure their meetings remain open to the public.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a recent news release that following the Kansas Open Meetings Act during a declared emergency, when many people are apprehensive and rumors can run rampant, is of even greater important than usual to ensure openness and transparency in the government decision-making process.
“An important way for public bodies to provide reassurance is to go the extra mile to ensure their actions are transparent during the time of emergency,” Schmidt said in the release. “This new guidance will help state and local government bodies throughout Kansas operate transparently even when the public cannot gather in person for meetings.”
The release states whether a public body is meeting by telephone or videoconference or in person but without public access due to emergency limitations, members of the public must be able to observe. Specifically, if the meeting if being done remotely, then members of the public must be able to join in the electronic conferencing. If the meeting is in person, then the public body must take steps to allow members of the public to listen to or observe the meeting by telephone, videoconferencing, television broadcast or similar method. There must be no cost for the public to participate.
When the public is participating in a public meeting remotely, members of the body must take steps to help the public understand the proceedings despite not being physically present. For example, each speaker in the meeting should identify himself or herself by name before speaking or voting so remote listeners or observers can more readily know who is speaking. Likewise, each motion should be clearly stated and each vote tally clearly announced.
In addition, there must be a method for distributing any agenda or other written materials that ordinarily could be picked up in person by members of the public attending the meeting. Those procedures must be explained to the public before the meeting begins. The procedure for any executive session must also be clearly explained at the outset of a meeting.
Schmidt advised public bodies and agencies to immediately begin following the new guidance, although the regulation will not be legally binding until approved by the State Rules and Regulation Board and filed with the Secretary of State. The release states that the proposed regulation was submitted Friday for approval as a temporary regulation and will become legally binding once that approval process is completed.
In addition to the legally binding regulations, Schmidt also provided additional actions that are strongly recommended, such as widely disseminating information about changes to meeting procedures before they occur and posting recordings of meetings on the public body’s website. A copy of the proposed regulation, K.A.R. 16-20-1, and the best practices document are available on the attorney general’s website, ag.ks.gov/open-government.

Was the Core 4 Meeting Legal?

At what point can government entities hold meetings without proper notification to the public?

KCTV5 is trying to find out in view of the recent "Core 4" meeting and subsequent closure order.

For full info please read the KCTV5 letter at this site https://www.kctv5.com/news/local_news/kctv-news-investigating-legality-of-core-meetings-shutting-down-kc/article_07688952-68ab-11ea-a1f6-ef0da3a5e5ff.html


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Is The Bellmont Promenade Project Being Honest With the City?

It's come up again.  About Hobby Lobby and Dick's Sporting Goods.  Based on my blog post of 2/15/2018 and a previous article in the Shawnee Mission Post I would definitely think the council should ask to see letters of intent.

So folks don't have to look up the item from 2018, it is copied below:
***************************************************************

Bellmont Promenade - WOW or WHOOPS

Did Legacy Development snow the City with their proposal for the Bellmont Promenade project at Maurer and SMP?

A recent article in the Shawnee Mission Post https://shawneemissionpost.com/2018/02/12/hobby-lobby-dicks-sporting-goods-proposed-anchors-bellmont-promenande-shawnee-69711 indicates that two of the proposed anchors are Hobby Lobby and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Huh?  We had a Hobby Lobby in Shawnee at Pflumm and SMP about a mile or so from the Bellmont Promenade project.  It was closed, because Hobby Lobby consolidated some of their stores into a new location near Ikea on Johnson Drive.  Is Hobby Lobby really going to come back to Shawnee?  I'd question that.  Would Dick's Sporting Goods really put a store in Shawnee with one in the Merriam Town Center across the road from the Ikea location.

Look at the list of the other proposed tenants.  Where is the WOW that the developer said we would get?  Where are the truly unique destination businesses that would draw shoppers from outside of Shawnee?

Was the city given a snow job?  I remember all of the HS students that spoke in favor of the project.  They said they wanted to have jobs closer to home (understandable) as opposed to working at  the Legends at Village West.  But seriously, what kind of jobs would HS students be qualified for?  Would they be jobs in upscale WOW type of destination retailers.

IMHO, this project is not a WOW.  It is a WHOOPS. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Hot Dog - The Signs Are Gone

See my post below.  Did somebody finally get the message?  LOL

The deceptive signs are now gone.  Wheeeeeeee.  Whose chimes got rung on that one?

Now all we need is for the developer to come thru with quality food and retail that they were beating their chests about in 2017.  Ain't a gonna happen!!!!!!

Oh well, at least now folks won't get a false preview of what is/is not going in there.

And The Deception Continues

On January 12th I posted an item about the deception of the developer for the Westbrooke Green project.  In that post was an image of the sign placed at the entrance to the development (there are two of these signs).  It was noted that the developer is still using an image from the December 2017 plans for the development and not from the scaled back version of December 2019. 

To me, showing an image of a project that will not be done is deceptive.  There is a big difference from what the city was told in 2017 to what has been chopped up in 2019. 

I also was critical of Council Member Larson-Bunnell for voting for the current project.  In one of her replies to me she indicated that she had not been on the council in 2017.  Duhhhhhh, she could have researched the info to see the big differences.  Oh well, so much for common sense, or lack thereof.

Now, let's talk about certain council members.  The aforementioned Larson-Bunnell, Zimmerman and Constance.  These three are what is left of the group that voted for the severely reduced project.  This project stinks.  The developer is getting a load of incentives to include the fact that the city is giving up its 1% sales tax at that location.  When will the city ever see any financial benefits from this project?   What will it cost the city in services because of this project?

These three council members are all up for reelection in 2021.  Actually about 1-1/2 years from now if there are any primaries.  These three were also supporters of the boondoggle known as the community center.  You know the one.  The one where they thought it was a good idea to blow $54 million on a project and have the citizens of Shawnee foot the bill in higher property taxes and user fees.  Amazing isn't it?  Hit the citizens up for money for a boondoggle and then have no qualms about giving up incentives to a developer who has deceived the city.

These three need to be defeated at the next election should they be dumb enough to run.  As for Constance, she wants to be a state senator and has filed for the election this year which is only nine months away.  Her actions on the city council indicate that she could care less about Shawnee and its citizens.  She would be a disaster as this city's representative in the state senate.


Sunday, February 23, 2020

I Got My Hand Slapped

Yepper, I got my hand slapped, by the mayor at the city council meeting of Jan 27, 2020.

Mickey Sandifer was being appointed to the Visit Shawnee committee.  I spoke in opposition to that appointment.  Why, because Sandifer had deliberately gone to a National League of Cities meeting at the end of November knowing full well that he would not be serving on the council anymore.  Former coucnilmember Stephanie Meyer did the same thing.  Sandifer's expense for that meeting were approximately $2,500.  He has a history of atending every NLC meeting every year.  There are two of them a year.  And, his expenses were usually the highest of all the Shawnee attendees.

Anyway I objected to his appointment.  Immediately after taking my seat the mayor had this to say (copied from the minutes of the meeting):

MAYOR DISTLER: If a Councilmember chooses to do that I would certainly honor it, but I would like to give my reasoning as to why I am appointing Mr. Sandifer personally because this man has given more time to this City before he was ever a Councilmember, during the entire time he was a Councilmember, and wants to continue to give his time to this City after he’s a Councilmember. And of anybody that understands the value that volunteers bring and what we save in money, I think it would be someone who is an active volunteer with our City. And he has put in more hours than that $2,500 will ever, ever be paid in this [inaudible], ever. Just Old Shawnee Days, he is there from before opening until after close for four days in a row and every single event that this City puts on. So, that $2,500 that does not repay his service to the City.

So, I guess wasting $2,500 of the city's money is OK because of his volunteer work? Hope he had a nice time in San Antonio.  Wonder how many seminars he attended, or did he take one of his grandkids and go sightseeing instead?

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Kansas State Constitution

At the Jan 13, 2020 council meeting one item I brought up from the floor was a "homework" assignment for the newly sworn in members of the city council.  The assignment was a simple one:  to read Section 3 of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the State of Kansas.  Remember, all council members took oaths to support and defend that document and the Constitution of the United States.

Every once in awhile some existing council members also need to be reminded of the contents of that item. It seems that occasionally we get a member of the council who thinks they are better than everybody or that they know everything.  They fall into the category of extreme arrogance.

Anyway for the newbies, and those that may have forgotten it, here is that section of the document, with certain items highlighted by yours truly.

§ 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.

For the record, the Bill of Rights comes before the other sections of the constitution.  There was a reason for that!!!!!!  Oh, and that section has been in effect since 1859.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Is Lisa Larson-Bunnell the "Mystery" Councilwoman?

Please see my blog post right before this one.

Is Lisa Larson-Bunnell the "mystery" councilwoman mentioned in the lawsuit filed by Austin Homes?  Even though she denied it to a member of the community just prior to the council meeting of 1/27/20?

Remember this info from the lawsuit: 

"(b) The prejudgment of the matter by another councilmember, who wrongfully and inappropriately (i)offered to assist the owners of neighboring properties in preparing the protest petition before the Application had been heard by the Planning Commission; (ii) attend the Planning Commission to publicly show her support of those in opposition; (iii) made statements in social media about her position on the development before it reached the City Council for hearing, and (iv) read from a script at the December 9, 2019 City Council meeting, prepared before the evidence and testimony had been received."

OK, this is from the minutes of the 12/9/19 city council meeting: 

"COUNCILMEMBER LARSON-BUNNELL: All right. Thank you. I did create some prepared comments for this evening."

She then proceeded to read her prepared commentary.  Basically in line with item iv above.  We know she was at the planning commission meeting..............her social media site had numerous comments about the project, including the fact that she did attend the planning commission meeting. 

 Did she assist the citizens in the preparation of the protest petition?  Basically, is she the unnamed councilmember, "her" listed in the lawsuit?  Was she truthful with the citizen who inquired prior to the 1/27/20 meeting as to whether or not it was her?

Time will tell.  I will be very interested in reading any pre trial depositions that become part of the record of the lawsuit.

This will get interesting.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Who Is The "Mystery" Councilwoman?

In a recent article in the Shawnee Mission Post it has been mentioned that Austin Homes and its owner Greg Prieb have filed a lawsuit against Shawnee.  The suit alleges that the city wrongfully turned down their application for their Woodsonia project.

The action is filed in JoCo District Court under case number 20CV00246 and that is public information.

In support of their allegations they mention many items.  Naturally it will be up to the court to decide if the allegations have merit.  Among these allegations are the following:

"(b)  The prejudgment of the matter by another councilmember, who wrongfully and inappropriately (i)offered to assist the owners of neighboring properties in preparing the protest petition before the Application had been heard by the Planning Commission; (ii) attend the Planning Commission to publicly show her support of those in opposition; (iii) made statements in social media about her position on the development before it reached the City Council for hearing, and (iv) read from a script at the December 9, 2019 City Council meeting, prepared before the evidence and testimony had been received."

At the time all this was happening there were three female members of the council:  Stephanie Meyer, Lisa Larson-Bunnell and Lindsey Constance.  So, which one of these three ladies is the "her" mentioned in the lawsuit?  Prior to the 1/27/20 council meeting a member of the public asked Larson-Bunnell if it was her.  Apparently she said no, because that member of the public so stated it from the podium.  That leaves just Meyer and Constance.  Here is my take.  Constance is a rep from Ward IV and I seriously doubt that she would get that involved in a Ward III project.  Meyer was a Ward III rep but if one looks at her list of campaign contributors in her failed mayoral election there is some major representation by folks/companies in the construction/development arena.  And, she has by virtue of her employment over the years been closely associated with folks in that industry.  Would she really take that public of a stand against one of them?  And the election was already over.   Larson-Bunnell is a lawyer  and capable of preparing a protest petition.  But she has denied that it was her.  Anybody want to read the 12/9/19 minutes of the council to see which member said they were going to read comments that they had prepared before the meeting?

Anyway, two things will come to the surface:  1) pre-trial depositions will reveal the "mystery" councilwoman and 2) the court will decide if there was any wrongdoing, not me.

Wonder what it will cost the city to defend this one?

Sidebar:  The attorney representing the petitioner, Austin Homes, is the same attorney who handed the city a big loss in its recent eminent domain action on Johnson Drive

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Council Presidency Still Not Decided - New Procedures to be Discussed

At this past council meeting on 1/27/20 the issue of a new council president and a vice-chair of the council committee had still not been decided.

Leah Wankum of the Shawnee Mission Post has a nice article about what happened and it can be read by clicking here.

I would like to point out a few things that took place.  When the item came up Councilmember Eric Jenkins brought forth info about how the current procedures did not cover what had happened previously.  At the previous meeting, the votes for both procedures were tied and in both cases the mayor did not vote to break the tie.  As such, no council president, no committee vice-chair.  Jenkins thought it was time to fix the system before proceeding further.  Makes sense. 

During that discussion Councilmember Lindsey Constance snuck in a motion to elect Matt Zimmerman as Council President and Dr. Mike Kemmling as Committee Vice-chair.  Seconded by Zimmerman.  Now the discussion continued with more councilmembers seeming to want to fix the system.  But, the only way to proceed was if Constance withdrew her motion.  She refused.  Uh oh.  Trouble in River City, because the seconding of the motion was withdrawn.  This should have been an eye opener for Constance.  It wasn't.

Moving down the road a motion was made by Jenkins to bring the matter to the committee for a revision of Policy Statement 7 and Charter Ordinance 45.  Again, it makes sense, let's clean up procedures.  While the clean up is taking place Dr. Kemmling as the senior council member by length of service would act as interim President and Chair of the Council Committee.

Follow this:  When the vote was taken to move it to committee new councilmember Tammy Thomas who had spoken eloquently on the situation voted yes, followed by Zimmerman, Jenkins and Kemmling.  Hmmmmm, 4 votes to take it to committee for a review and revision of procedures.  Now it comes to Lisa Larson-Bunnell who voted no (apparently she was upset that she hadn't won the election for council president and didn't care to fix the system).  Knappen was absent. Then Constance voted no.  In a way that was a dumb move, considering the person she nominated voted to fix the system.  Duhhhhhh!!!!! Then the other new councilmember Jill Chalfie (who had remained silent) looked at Constance with a deer in the headlights look and also voted no. 

So, the item will move to the council committee to work on revisions to the governing documents so as to make the system more defined.  It's a shame that Larson-Bunnell, Constance and Chalfie could not see the advantages to fixing a system that needed fixing.

Let's see what happens at next week's committee meeting, Tuesday 2/4/20 at city hall at 7PM

Friday, January 17, 2020

A Council Meeting With Gross Procedural Errors 1/13/20

This past Monday's meeting (1/13/20) of the city council was an abomination. Soooo many things were off base that I had to wait a few days before blogging about it. Had to calm down, gather my thoughts so that I could post coherently.

First, there was a tie in the vote for President of the Council. The choice should have been a no brainer. Keep in mind that one of the functions is to be able to assume the mayor's position should the mayor become unable to perform. So, let's look at the two individuals who were up for the election to this position.

Lisa Larson-Bunnell: Just finished one year on the council after having been appointed to replace now convicted felon Justin Adrian. Recently she did win an election to be the councilmember for the remaining two years of that term.

Eric Jenkins: Is an elected four year member of the council and just reelected for another four years. He also served for twenty-one years on the Shawnee Planning Commission. He has  been a member of the Shawnee Downtown Partnership Committee and the Shawnee Economic Development Council. Additionally he served as the SMNW Advisor to the SM School Board. As a senior manager with FEMA he performed in various capacities to include that of Federal Coordinating Officer. That is the FEMA individual who is responsible for approving/authorizing activities to rebuild communities devastated by disasters.

The mayor exercised her option not to break the tie. This IMHO was a bad move. The choice should have been obvious. Duhhhhhh!

So what happened next? The city manager whispered something into the mayor's ear and the next thing we hear is that the item is being tabled until a future meeting. The same thing happened with the election for the Vice-Chairman of the Council Committee (Kemmling vs Constance).

What? A unilateral decision to table an agenda item? Despite the city attorney's subsequent comments about the mayor ruling on points of order, he skirted the issue of the tabling of the item. Check Robert's Rules of Order. A motion would have needed to be made, seconded, and then affirmed by a majority vote to table the item. Bad advice to the mayor if that is what the city manager whispered. There was still time to revisit the issue and either continue the voting process or table the item properly. That would have been something that the city attorney needed to jump in and advise.  Very unhappy that the city attorney did not step in on this one.

Now this brings up another contentious item. The fact that the city manager and the city attorney sit on the dais with the governing body. This has been brought up before. Shawnee is the only city in JoCo where this happens. These two staff members need to either be seated with the rest of the staff in the gallery or at another table in the well. This would also eliminate whispered comments by either person to the mayor or any member of the governing body. Any comments they make need to be on open mic and thus recorded in the minutes. These are open meetings. Going forward any whispered comments will be reported as violations of KOMA. Not a threat......a promise. Get them off the dais to take away that temptation.

Sidebar: Not too long ago I mentioned that Councilmember Lindsey Constance, based on some of her comments, would probably be taking over for Mickey Sandifer as making the dumbest comments on the council. She proved me right this past Monday. Even after the explanations of how the mayor does not have to vote to break a tie she inquired if there was any way to make the mayor vote to break a tie. Duhhhhhh! Hey "teach" (said with a strong NYC accent) ya needs ta read Charter Ordinance 45 and Policy Statement 7. Let me know when ya finished yer homework assignment cuz I got a 20 question test fer youse. Ya wanna be a state senator and ya don't even know the basics of these two documents for the city. IMHO she probably only wanted to be committee vice-chair so as to beef up her political resumé. Useless...............

Sidebar 2: Without a council president, if something happened to the mayor, the next person in line would be the senior council member by tenure and that would be Dr. Kemmling. Even if we had a vice-chairman of the council committee that person is not in the line of succession.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Larson-Bunnell and the Westbrooke Green Deception

On December 15, 2019 I blogged about the 6 council members who condoned the deception and lies by the developer for the Westbrooke Green project.  You can scroll down to read it or click here to go directly to it.

Of the six council members who voted for it, I was most surprised by Lisa Larson-Bunnell.  Since she is a lawyer I just could not understand how she could condone the deception by the developer.  so, I wrote her an email.  Here is what I said on 1/8/20:

*********************************************************************

Mornin’

Happy New Year………………………..

Ever since the vote for this project on 12/9 I have debated whether or not to send you this email.

Finally decided to do so.  Of the six councilmembers who voted for this project I was most surprised by you.

Why?  Because you are an attorney.

The developer has lied and deceived the governing body, city staff and the people of the city.  Heck, once the agenda packet indicated that I had downloaded items from their web site, they finally took it down.  For two years their web site was showing a project that they knew would never be completed as shown. Their billboards on the property showed a project that was not going to come to fruition They knew that they could not move Pizza Street (and likewise Mi Pueblito), even though that was in the “plans”.  They knew they would not get fine dining.  PJ’s comment at the community meeting that upscale restaurants need drive ups for the delivery services was horse manure.

I could go on and on with the various lies and deceit but will stop there.  Now, to explain how that relates to your profession.  Basically, if this had been a court of law they committed perjury.  Would you not challenge somebody who lied on the witness stand?  Would you not challenge somebody who lied at a deposition?  Yet you, by your vote in favor of this project accepted the developer’s lies and deceit.  And to add insult to injury they are getting an outrageous incentive package, to include the fact that we are giving up our 1% sales tax.  How does this bring funds to the city? 

Anyway, I have rattled on long enough.  Suffice it to say that I am thoroughly disgusted that you voted for this project which was an affirmation, IMHO of the lies that the developer tossed out.  I pull no punches.  I am not politically correct.  Rest assured, that should you decide to run for a full term for your council position in two years that I will do everything that is allowed by law to work against your reelection.

Ray


*********************************************************************
And, the deception continues.  Here is a picture of one of the two billboard signs, taken 3 days ago.  They are both the same.  Note, the image is from the plans of December 2017 which have not been valid for a long, long, time.  Click on the image to see a larger version.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Meyer & Sandifer Waste $4,700 of Your Money

Back on 11/13/19 I posted an item about the November National League of Cities Meeting that would be held in San Antonio at the end of that month.  You can read it by clicking here

Thanks to a KORA request I have received copies of the expense reports for the four individuals that attended that meeting.  The part that is upsetting is that both Stephanie Meyer (failed candidate for mayor) and Mickey Sandifer (who did not file for reelection) both knew that they would not be returning as members of the governing body approximately two months after the conference.  These two really stuck it to the city.  Hope folks remember this in case Meyer ever decides to run for another public office in the area.  Sandifer is probably out of any future political endeavors.

Anyway, here is the breakdown of who spent what.  It is interesting to note that as in the past Sandifer usually has the highest expense report.  Also, remember that there are 2 NLC conferences during the year and he almost always attended both.  And there are other conferences by various organizations.

Mickey Sandifer.......................................$2,518.62
Lisa Larson-Bunnell....................................2,418.80
Stephanie Meyer........................................2,178.81
Nolan Sunderman........................................2,055.80

Keep in mind that Council Member Larson-Bunnell will be around for another two years and Nolan Sunderman as city manager for at least another year (until contract renewal time).  They may have gotten something out of this conference.  But what did Meyer and Sandifer get out of it that would be beneficial to the city?  A paid "vacation"??????  Did they bring guests with them???  (Sandifer has been known to bring a grandchild with him in the past).  Maybe go sightseeing instead of attending seminars???  San Antonio has lots of interesting sites, including the Alamo, that are open during the day.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Justin Adrian Sentenced in Court Today

Justin Adrian, former HS teacher and Shawnee City Council Member was sentenced today in JoCo District Court. 

Today, Johnson County District Court Judge Sara Welch sentenced Justin Adrian to a 32 month underlying sentence. Adrian will be required to serve 60 days of shock time and then will be placed on probation for 36 months. He will have to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

On October 17, 2019 Adrian pleaded guilty to Aggravated Battery and Sexual Battery

To view the official press release click here

Friday, January 03, 2020

Mary Pilcher-Cook's Resignation and Mike Thompson's Entry

I come back to Shawnee and all kinds of things are going on.  First, after many years of dedicated service to the people of Shawnee Mary Pilcher-Cook (R) has decided it was time to step down.  Her voice will be missed in the state senate.

Mike Thompson (R) has entered the race to fill out the remainder of her term and has indicated that he would be running later in the year for the full term.  State Rep Tom Cox (R) has indicated that he would not be pursuing the remainder of Mary's term, but would still be entering the contest for the full term.

As time goes on I will get into this situation in more depth.  Suffice it to say that IMHO Mike Thompson would be an excellent choice to represent the people of Shawnee in the Kansas State Senate.  A true social and fiscal conservative he would be a strong voice for us in the state senate.

On the other side of the aisle Lindsey Constance (D) has declared that she would be entering the race for that senate seat.  What a joke.  Right now I'll mention two of the many things that IMHO would disqualify her from representing us in the state senate.  First, she was a proponent of the proposed community center and when confronted would never admit that the cost was really $54 million not $38 million.  She wanted to ignore the interest payments on the bonds.  Dummy.  Next, she condoned the deception of the developer by approving the new Westbrooke Green project plan on 12/9/19.  Someone who condones deception, lies, bait and switch does not deserve to be rewarded with advancement to higher elected office. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year (And Surviving Holiday Travel)

First, let me wish everyone a happy and healthy new year.  Lots of things will be going on, and we plan on being involved.

Now that my travels for the holiday season are over, let me regale you with my version of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

First it is important to know that I visited Sault Ste-Marie, MI for the holidays.  All the way up on the upper peninsula of Michigan approximately 1-1/2 miles from Sault Ste-Marie, Ontario, Canada.

Further clarification also needs to be made about air travel to that mecca of the far north.  Flights to "The Soo" are limited. Daily there is  one flight each way between Minneapolis/St Paul and one flight each way between Detroit.

So, on 12/23 I left KCI and arrived in Detroit (DTW) with 30 minutes to catch the connecting flight.  Virtually an impossibility when going from concourse A to concourse C (long walk, under the runways).  Because at my age I am not as spry as I once was and have difficulty walking extended distances, I booked a wheel chair.  We got to the gate just as the plane was pulling away.  There goes the only connection from Detroit to "The Soo" for that day. 

The only other connection to the Soo is out of Minneapolis substantially later that day.  But, ya gotta get to Minneapolis.  Well, the folks at Delta rebooked me to MSP and from there to CIU (Chippewa County International-"The Soo").  Well, turns out the flight into DTW that was supposed to go to MSP was a little over 2 hours late arriving.  We were supposed to wait for an approximate 30 minute turn around and then on to The Soo.  Well, that turned into an approximate 1-1/2 hour turn around.  By the time I landed at MSP I had one hour to get to the gate for the flight to CIU.  The airport at MSP is much bigger than DTW and I was having to go to gate A4 from G14.  Suffice it to say, with the wheelchair I made it with about 15 minutes to spare.  That flight took off on time, original ETA 11:30PM.  We had a good tail wind, no bad weather then, and actually got in about 25 minutes early.  Because of miscommunication between my two sons, the one that wound up picking me up was about 15 minutes later than the original ETA, meaning I sat in this itty bitty airport for about 45 minutes.  No, there is no public transportation there.

How about the return on 12/30?  Now we have weather problems.  Plane out of The Soo needed to be deiced multiple times.  Short story: four hours late for take off.  Needless to say, the flight from MSP to KC was long gone.  Got rebooked and had one hour to make the gate change.  This time, at MSP, was a little closer, from B concourse (which in reality is actually further away than A) to D concourse.  Made it with 30 minutes to spare (thank you wheelchair).

Sidebar:  The weather in The Soo was so bad the day I left that my one grandson who had what would have been a 4 hour drive home made it in over 8 hours.