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Letters to the Editor 2007

Flirting with disaster


Merry Christmas! Yes, I am politically incorrect and follow the philosophy of Walter (comedian Jeff Dunham's alter ego) on such matters. And thank you for a wonderful hometown newspaper and remaining true to what journalism should be. It seems it is only in the smaller hometown newspapers that this journalistic credo to reporting fact is still evident. Perhaps if the larger newspapers, like the Kansas City Red Star, were to follow this lead, they might not be in the dire straits they are facing. But you know how it goes, there is no Izvestia in Pravda and no Pravda in Izvestia.

I do appreciate how all your columnists spare and cover the details, pro and con in their discussions with us. Though I am worried a bit about Russ Purvis. His last two columns have seemed almost . . . Republican. None the less, I do appreciate everyone telling it like it is. It is refreshing.

And I do appreciate the coverage given to our nation as our governmental leaders flirt with this thing called Social Democracy. I would liken this flirtation to Molly Hatchet's song, "Flirting with Disaster." If anyone wants to know what socialized medicine is all about, they need only ask a military veteran. We will tell you up front that you don't want any part of it. It's okay for your average, run of the mill illnesses and conditions. But the minute it gets a bit complicated, things change quickly. You have to wait and you take what they give you because there isn't anything else. It is also not very responsive to changing needs, as evidenced by the needs of our wounded military coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I've experienced living in a Social Democracy. Again if people want to know what that was like, ask a Vet. They will tell you some interesting things about social democracy. Overall, it is not bad if you are willing to accept some conditions up front. If you are willing to bear a tax burden upwards of 50% of your income, then you won't have a problem with a social democracy. If you are willing for the government to determine your future at an early age and then lock you into that social class with little opportunity to get out of it, then you won't have a problem with a social democracy.

My example was living in Germany where the children are tested at an early age. That testing determines who goes to general education (you are going to be a laborer for the rest of your days), vocational technical school (you will be in a trade or a technician somewhere), or to the gymnasium (university preparation and grooming for a professional career in upper class society making the decisions). If you are willing to take what the government gives you for telecommunications, transportation, education, healthcare, information, etc. then you will be happy with a social democracy. It's not like you aren't getting something for your tax dollar and as long as the social democracy is benevolent, then living can be pretty good as many of your worries are really diminished.

The government has standardized laws to cover just about anything. But if you want more out of life and seek to make your own judgments as to what is best for you, then you will find a social democracy to be chaffing. Equally, we have a body of work available to us to help us chart this path. Social Democracies seem to work best in small regional areas where centralized control and common practice can be easily exercised, like the European nations. Social Democracies do not seem to work well in governing large regional areas, like the Soviet Union. They collapsed under their own weight and an inability to exercise effective and efficient centralized control, which is a hallmark of socialism. The EU experiment isn't working by the way. Too much diversity over an extended region making it difficult to enact a common law. The US is such a large area, with different geographical regions and great diversity.

Attempting to apply centralized common law and social democratic principles is flirting with disaster. What works in one place does not work in another. I think we have already proven this on numerous occasion. But such is life and our continued experiment with government.

Again, thank you for a wonderful hometown newspaper and I will continue to look forward to reading it each and every week.

--R. Hollis
Platte County

What can green do for you?


What can green do for you?

When Democrats were out of power, expedience demanded they concentrate on issues they agreed on and work together to win the next election. Being in power, however, is already a different story.

Take the radical environmentalists, for example. They assumed, with their candidate in office, that the Democrats would continue to be the "clean, green party" but underestimated the economic crisis facing the new president-elect. With the massive stimulus plan and the $1 trillion infrastructure program, the Green lobby is beginning to fuss.

Colin Peppard of Friends of the Earth [Washington Times 12/17/08] said, "More roads mean more pollution and more dependence on oil, hurting our economy, security and climate.”

Democrat discord certainly makes the news worth watching again.

--Susan Phillips
Kansas City in
Platte County

Be careful with ag restrictions


This week a circuit court judge issued an amended ruling that prohibits a farm family from expanding its hog operation at a new site within two miles of the Village of Arrow Rock. The ruling cites allegations made by plaintiffs as findings of fact showing that “factory farms” pose a threat to the state park and historic sites at Arrow Rock, the effects of the proposed hog operation on “air and water quality will be detrimental” to the town, and “airborne pollutants” generated by the farm “will destroy and decimate” Arrow Rock and surrounding historic sites.

The original ruling prohibited the construction of any new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) within fifteen miles of Arrow Rock. Furthermore, the ruling was interpreted by the plaintiffs to apply to state parks statewide.

While the scope of the amended ruling is much narrower than the original, it is still very disconcerting. A fourth-generation farmer who saw the future for his family in increasing his hog production, and invested his time and money with this goal in mind, including obtaining the required permits, became the subject of a lawsuit. But because the lawsuit named the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as the sole defendant, he was never heard in court. Furthermore, because the department failed to respond with counter arguments to the plaintiffs’ allegations in a timely manner, all of the plaintiffs’ allegations were accepted as fact by the court.

Missouri is among the top ten states in producing hogs, beef cattle, and turkeys as well as in numbers of dairy and sheep operations. Livestock production is a major source of economic activity in many rural communities, especially for dozens that have lost other employers. More than half of the $5.6 billion generated by Missouri agriculture comes from livestock production.

Terms like “factory farms” are intended to demonize livestock confinement operations that are large enough to qualify as CAFOs. But the family targeted by this lawsuit is typical of the vast majority of livestock confinement operations in Missouri. These farms utilize modern production technology and animal husbandry practices that better allow for the handling of animal waste environmentally and yield more production at a lower cost for many farmers. Unfortunately, critics with motives ranging from opposition to meat consumption to differences in marketing philosophy to environmental concerns are waging an aggressive misinformation campaign.

This family had an opportunity to improve the viability of their farm, but it was taken away from them. Through no fault of their own and without their side being heard, they lost their initial investment and are subject to court-imposed restrictions based on a legal technicality and not facts or science. The danger, though, is that the very family farms everyone wants to protect are stifled by arbitrary restrictions to the point that domestic meat production no longer meets our nation’s demand. Let’s not make the mistake of thinking it can’t happen.

--Charles E. Kruse
Mo. Farm Bureau

Obama's house meetings


On Dec.13th and 14th, 2008 the Obama presidential campaign staff headed by David Plouffe, campaign manager, has organized house meetings across the country to set in motion a program to promote change in the U.S.

The house hosts are supposed to invite about 50 people to the event; discuss issues; lay plans to reach out to the community, including government officials and the media; and start bringing change right away. All invitees have to fill out sign-in sheets, which will be submitted to Obama headquarters in Chicago, IL.

Why do we need thousands of people across the country working from house cells on a continuous campaign to implement something called change? Who are these people? What is their charter? Who controls them? Will they operate within our democratic system?

Why do we elect officials all over our country to run our government if we are going to have a shadow government in operation?

Is this effort the start of a possible “fifth column” movement in the U.S.?

--Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

Who considers taxpayers?


I just arrived home from a Platte County Regional Sewer District board meeting.
Our neighbors have been threatened with loss of land and financial hardship because someone decided back in 1995 (after we all purchased our properties, some as much as 30 years ago) that our back yards would be a great place to run sewers some day (that none of us needs). This sewer is proposed to support "future development" which, by the way, the Platte County Planning and Zoning office confirmed is probably not as likely in this area as once thought, since it would seem folks are preferring the area North of 152 and East of KCI.

One board member commented, in reaction to the master plan (currently being reconsidered), "This board is all about development.”

That much is obvious. But who considers the taxpayers? What of the residents who were permitted to pay for their property and pay taxes on said property, only to have it threatened by a sewer district intent on helping developers at our expense? This is the worst kind of socialism because it does not advance the cause of the poor by redistributing wealth, it simply forces the struggling homeowner to foot the bill for expenses that developers will later reap the benefit from.

And to frost a bitter cake, when the topic came up regarding having a meeting to discuss the latest proposed changes to the master sewer plan, plans that could force many unsuspecting landowners to forfeit their property (via eminent domain), one board member wanted to know, "Do we have to invite the public?"

How do you like that???

Thank God for Sunshine laws! But from reading other articles in The Landmark, I have to ask, "Do we have any board members on any board anywhere in Platte County that understands why these laws are in place?"

The government "of the people, by the people" ceased being “for the people" a long time ago. It is up to the citizens to keep that in check.

I urge everyone to show up at the meeting, currently planned for Wednesday, Feb. 4th at 5:30 p.m. at the sewer district in Tracy. It may be your only chance to protect that which is rightfully yours.

--Sue Lange

We need a united America


I have never cared much for the music of Bob Dylan, but lately his song “The Times they are A-Changin'” has been beating through my head. In a month, the United States will swear in a new President. After eight years of a Bush Presidency, the American majority has chosen to put Barack Obama into the West Wing of the White House.

First and foremost, I did not want Obama to win. I spent many tireless hours trying to convince my friends that a McCain/Palin presidency would be much more Progressive than letting the Liberals run Washington, but to no avail. On election night I, like many Republicans and Conservatives across America, watched as McCain seceded and Obama accepted victory, and I feel safe to say that I probably wasn't the only one who had a few tears of sadness in my eyes.

But these times, they are a-changin'.

We conservatives can do one of two things: we can do as the Liberals did all eight years of the Bush Presidency and we can bitch and moan about how awful Obama is, or we can bite the bullet, wish the man luck and try again next time. Whether we voted for him or not, Obama will be the President of the United States and our Commander-in-Chief.

The reason that I even sat down to write this article is that the other day I was talking to a fellow conservative, and he was expressing to me how Obama is the anti-christ, how he's not an American citizen, how he's a Muslim spy, and how Obama won't be HIS President. While he is free to think what he wants, I hope that America will not take this harsh, simple-minded approach to our new President and the next four years of our country. I write this because my country is more important to me than whether or not the person who won was the person I voted for. Yes, I would have loved to have seen a different outcome, but the past is the past. It scares me to think that there are others out there like this fellow conservative who are willing to see our Country be a separate nation of Republicans vs. Democrats. Right now, more than ever, we need an America that is united. When Obama takes office, he's immediately going to be handed over two foreign wars, an economy that is far from thriving, potential threats from an unstable Iran, a Russian nation that poses threats to our allies overseas, and the list goes on. Whether we voted for him or not, we cannot afford to see him fail as our nation's leader.

Now, I am not saying that we have to jump on the bandwagon and agree with everything he's saying. There are many policies of his that I disagree with, and when it comes time to vote, I will continue to vote for what I feel is best for the nation, and in four years, if Obama carries out these policies I don't like, then you can bet the farm that I'll be out campaigning for someone who will stand up for my beliefs. But my fellow Conservatives and Republicans alike, that is then and this is now. We let our voice be heard on November 7th, 2008, but the voice of the opposition was stronger, and that is our Democracy at work. The sun will rise again tomorrow, and the day after Obama is sworn in, and probably the day after that. I will continue to fight for my conservative values and beliefs, as I hope you will too. But before I am a Republican or some of you are Democrats, we are all Americans, so let's fight for our country and all of Her Greatness, and let's leave behind the petty attacks on our fellow men and women, for divided as a nation, we will fail.

As these times a-change, we can be left in the dust of our past, or we can look forward to building the future of this land we call our home.

--Ryan Haggard
Platte City

More on hunting, fishing


I recently read in The Landmark State Rep. Jason Brown’s concern for hunting and fishing permit price increases and felt obligated to point out a few details in this complex issue.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has not had a price adjustment in five years despite increases in the cost associated with fish and wildlife management. What other forms of entertainment have not gone up in that time frame?

The Conservation Department’s budget represents less than 1% of the entire state budget, and no state general revenue is received. Most of its’ funding comes from: Conservation Sales Tax (60 percent) permit sales (18 percent), and federal-aid reimbursements (11 percent). These funding sources have been hurt by the reduction of hunters and fishermen as well as the present economy.

Another important point is that for every fishing permit sold in Missouri, The department gets $11.00 in Federal aid plus the cost of the permit. For every hunting permit sold, the Conservation Department receives $17 in federal aid plus the cost of the permit. Free hunting and fishing privileges cost the department much more than it would appear on the surface.

I respect Rep. Brown’s concern for landowners in Northwest Missouri, but those who own 80 or more acres (including immediate household members) will continue to receive no-cost deer and turkey hunting permits as well as free small game hunting permits for landowners of five or more acres hunting on their own land.

Land ownership patterns continue to change, with ownerships becoming increasingly smaller. The increased number of smaller landowners has resulted in a growing number of no-cost deer and turkey permits being issued.

Besides this loss of income, Missouri is also losing federal aid. The new minimum of 80 contiguous acres better conforms with the original intent of acknowledging landowners who derive significant income from agricultural activities on their property, while also recognizing recreational landowners who contribute to wildlife habitat.

--Steve Nichols
Mo. Dept. of

Focus on Main Street


While Nancy Pelosi and the leadership in Congress are focusing on billion dollar bailouts of failing corporations, Missouri's families and small businesses are suffering the pain of an economic recession.

Instead of giving blank checks to the folks who are responsible for creating this economic mess, we need to return our focus to the families and small businesses that played by the rules and have been caught up in the bad economy through no fault of their own.

To get our economy growing again, Congress needs to focus on Main Street. They need to help families make ends meet, by letting them keep more of what they earn. The number one thing we can do for these families is make the middle class tax cuts permanent. If the middle class tax cuts are allowed to expire, a family of four with two children that currently earns $50,000 a year would see a 191 percent increase in their tax bill. Without permanent tax relief, the average Missouri family will be hit with a tax increase of $2,825 per year.

Congress also needs to help the small businesses who create 7 out of every 10 new jobs in America. We need to make it easier for them to do business by keeping our tax rate low. American small businesses already produce the best products in the world, by reducing the burden of excessive taxation we can ensure that they win in the global market and create jobs here at home.

By focusing on Main Street and keeping taxes low, Congress can help the families and small businesses that will turn our economy around.

--Sam Graves
Sixth District

Governor's mansion repairs


The Missouri Governor’s Mansion is unlike any other landmark in our state, acting as both a residence and a historic resource. This historic home is an active and vibrant time capsule of our state’s history and it is only right that it be preserved and protected for future Missourians to enjoy.

The Missouri Governor’s Mansion was constructed in 1871 and has since served as a residence for 33 Missouri governors and their families. It is a Renaissance Revival-style home, designed by St. Louis architect, George Ingham Barnett. As one of the oldest homes in the country built for and still the home of a standing governor, it has been listed on the U.S. National Register of History Places since 1969.

I was pleased to sign an appropriation this year to provide critical funding for long-overdue improvements and repairs at the Missouri Governor’s Mansion. This funding will help ensure that this historic home is in good repair for generations to come.

The much-needed repairs to the historic Missouri Governor’s Mansion have been a top priority for Melanie, Missouri’s First Lady, who sought support for these critically needed repairs and restoration work. To pay for structural repairs, including the roof, she successfully advocated for the General Assembly to provide $3 million in state funds and personally oversaw project details to ensure restoration remained true to the home’s historic design. The $3 million covered important mansion repairs, including:

•$780,000 to repair the mansard slate roof and replacement of flat, membrane-type roofs. The life of the Mansion’s roof is 40 years and the last significant repair and installation of the roof was in 1965.

•$1.1 million to restore and repaint all windows, repair exterior masonry, and repair and paint all windows, trim, cornices, and columns. The window frames and sashes showed splintered and rotted wood which could not adequately support large glass panes.

•$1.2 million for the partial replacement of the 23-year-old heating and cooling system that was malfunctioning and was well-beyond its life capacity, replacement of first floor kitchen needed for health, safety and efficiency, interior flooring and plaster repairs and other minor interior repairs and painting.

The preservation of the Governor’s Mansion would not have been possible without the efforts and commitment of Missouri’s First Lady, and I am especially proud of Melanie and the leadership she has provided for this important effort. Melanie encouraged the General Assembly to appropriate the funding needed for structural repairs and met weekly regarding the restoration with the general contractor, project manager, the State Historic Preservation Office, Missouri Mansion Preservation and others. She is deeply committed to ensuring the preservation of the people’s house.

One of my goals has been to leave Missouri government in better shape than when I started and Missourians have benefitted as a result. Melanie and I have taken that same approach to preserving the Governor’s Mansion, which is actually a bit of a misnomer. It is called the Governor’s Mansion, but it is really the people’s mansion.

--Matt Blunt

The rights of all, not just a few


I continue to be amazed at the positions taken in support of the proposed Parkville smoking ban.

A flag should always go up when adults use the children of others as a basis for promoting their views.

Wouldn’t the PTA be better served to advocate making responsible choices? Does the PTA suggest we teach children that certain citizens have rights superior to others or that businesses have no rights? Let the record show that Alderman Gia McFarlane, the chair of the smoking ordinance committee, is an executive board member of the English Landing PTA.

As to Park University, I am puzzled as to why a private university wouldn’t take its own action to ban smoking. If private businesses have already taken action, why does a private university require a city ordinance? I was advised that the university allows smoking on campus.

And what effect is a restaurant smoking ban going to have on smoking cessation? Instead of taking away the rights of others, a better alternative would be to lobby for changes that matter over the long term, perhaps on insurance limits or publicly funded health care. Better yet, just outlaw the industry.

But then don’t forget about all the taxes paid by smokers. If tobacco taxes disappear, politicians will need to find other revenue sources to support their addictive spending habits. According to recent information, Missouri receives more than $200 million per year in tobacco settlement funds and spends less than $3 million of that on smoking cessation efforts.

The state recently climbed to No. 49 from No. 50 in the U.S. and Washington D.C. in monies spent on cessation programs. Do we really need more evidence for how politicians operate?

As to the veterans, I have become a student of WWII over the past few years and can only admire the courage and selflessness of that generation. All veterans as well as their families deserve nothing less than our total respect and humble gratitude. The supporters of this ban now want to tell the vets they have to step outside or go elsewhere if they wish to smoke. It is ironic that we witness a movement by those who were protected to impose restrictions on liberty on those who fought to protect individual liberties.

I don’t smoke and never have. And I have no military experience. But I have three brothers, a father, uncles, and many hometown locals who fought and/or served. If the vets want to smoke, I will step outside. If the people of Parkville have any degree of respect, they will do the same.

And if the City of Parkville wants to proclaim its leadership, maybe it should take a harder look at how it is addressing the individual rights of all citizens, not just a chosen few, and what that says to the children.

--Gordon Cook

Hunters should take notice


On Sept. 26, 2008, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved several changes to regulations impacting landowner tags and permit rates for hunting, fishing and trapping.

These proposed changes are currently going through the Missouri Rules process. They were published in the Nov. 17, 2008, edition of the Missouri Register. At that time, a 30-day public comment period began. After the 30-day public comment period, all comments will be reviewed, compiled and presented to the Conservation Commission for their information and consideration.

At that time, the commission may decide to rescind, alter or continue with the changes as previously approved. Unless the commission decides to rescind or alter the changes, they will go into effect on July 1, 2009.

There are several issues being considered. I am especially concerned with the change that would require more Missourians who hunt or fish on their own land to have to buy a permit. The commission approved increasing the acreage from 5 to 80 contiguous acres necessary to receive no-cost deer and turkey permits. The commission has also approved increasing the majority of hunting and fishing permits by two to three dollars.
Details of all of the proposed changes, as well as a link to submit your comments, can be found on the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website at If you would prefer to submit your comments by mail, you should send them to: David Erickson, Assistant Director, Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

These proposed rules will affect all rural Missourians and every voice should be heard. I strongly encourage each one of you to visit the website listed above and take the opportunity to express your thoughts and concerns to the Conservation Department. If you have any questions regarding these issues or need further information, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (573) 751-6593 or you may email me at

--State Rep. Jason Brown
Platte City

A time for cooperation


After watching “Boogyman, The Lee Atwater Story” on PBS there is no questions in my mind why, how and who is responsible for the divisive, win-at-all-cost tactics that permeate our election process today.

Atwater’s despicable acts, which were carefully studied and copied by his young protege, Karl Rove, has resulted in an electorate that has been subliminally brainwashed into an “us vs. them” mentality that has rendered too many of us either unwilling or unable to accept the fact that others may have opinions that are just as viable and valuable to America’s well-being.

If ever there was a time for us to come together in the spirit of cooperation, it is now.

--Eddie L. Clay

Give thanks to ag producers


The aromas of freshly baked turkey, pumpkin pies, sweet potatoes, and rolls waft through the air as ten guests arrive for a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal! Today’s menu reflects that of many households on this holiday…turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, peas, carrot and celery sticks, cranberries, rolls, and butter. Be sure and save room for dessert of pumpkin pie and whipped cream! Beverages accompanying the meal are whole milk and coffee.

The items contained in the 2009 Thanksgiving Day meal for 10 will cost Missouri shoppers $44.50, or a per-person cost of $4.45. Although a reasonable cost, last year’s total price rang in at $38.44 or $6.06 less. Figure in the leftovers and the cost is significantly less. After all, it could be a challenge for 10 diners to consume a 16 lb. turkey, two pumpkin pies, and a gallon of whole milk in one sitting.

Farm Bureau shoppers from across Missouri headed to local grocery stores between October 29 and November 4 to collect these prices. Gathering the data before the onslaught of holiday shoppers provides a realistic view of prices before the frenzy and hype of specials kick-in.

With the exception of a gallon of whole milk which dropped $0.09, the other items on the list increased, even if only one cent. A 16-pound tom turkey averaged $1.15 per pound this year compared to $0.97 last year for a net gain of $0.18 per pound. Other items with price increases included stuffing mix, pumpkin pie mix, pie shells, sweet potatoes, brown and serve rolls, peas, carrots, celery, cranberries, and whipping cream.

Many of us enjoy our own recipes for stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pies. However, as a point of comparison year after year, shoppers gather prices for prepared items like stuffing mix, pumpkin pie mix, ready-to-bake pie shells, and brown and serve rolls. It is not unusual for these items to cost more due to processing, handling, and transportation.

Yes, the price for this year’s meal has increased over last year! However, feeding 10 people a wholesome meal for $44.50, knowing there will be some left for additional meals, is a bargain.

As we enjoy the Thanksgiving season, let us pause and give thanks for the many things we enjoy but often take for granted. My list includes the agricultural producer who works daily throughout the year to provide a safe, abundant, and affordable food supply.

--Diane Olson
Promotions director
Missouri Farm Bureau

The control freaks are coming


The vision of the First Amendment cannot be reconciled with the vision of the “Fairness Doctrine,” which is a vision of a government-managing of the lively wide-ranging discussion on talk-radio.

How can the First Amendment be about that? A government micromanaging of our discussion, instead of leaving that discussion to its own dynamics and movements?

I implore you, Landmark Newspaper, to make a stand against the “Fairness Doctrine,” since the same totalitarian control freaks will be coming after your freedom of the press after destroying talk-radio.

--Dave McAninch
Kansas City

Paying attention?


If you are interested in applying for a job with the new Obama administration, you must answer this in the questionnaire: "VIII (59) Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage."

Are we paying attention?

--Susan Phillips
Kansas City in
Platte County

McCain abandons Palin


Like a man picking up a woman at a bar, using her for the night and then treating her as “disposable” shortly afterward, is John McCain’s failure to defend Sarah Palin as the smear campaign against her goes on.

After she did her best for him, he abandons her, and that is no less predatory on his part than the above allusion.

I voted for McCain and now his phony, posturing “nice guy” schtick is more intolerable than ever.

To McCain, Sarah Palin is “disposable.” This is a nice guy?
Excuse me.

–Dave McAninch
Kansas City

Questions after election


These are some questions after this election.

Why not use the huge amount of money raised for the election by both parties for people who are losing their jobs, losing their homes, for hungry people, etc?

Why not shorten the time to run for election?

Why not in the future have one person and one vote instead of the Electoral College so people feel their vote counted?

Why not have a newspaper just give us the news and let us make our own decisions instead of all the editorials?

Why did the media, the TV stations, the newspapers (including the KC Star), reporters, etc., give more attention to the Democrats instead of the Republicans?

Did all the people who voted for Obama agree with him on abortion to end the life of the unborn child?

--F. Schlueter

Can you say dumb and dumber?


Silly signs asking voters to vote for Prop A because it was “for the children” deceived the voters of Missouri.

It was never totally about money for schools so when you begin to see this revenue go in the front door of the treasury and out the back, according to whomever is in charge at the moment, don’t let us hear you whining. The casino industry found a clever way around the Missouri Legislature to do what they’ve attempted to do for years and repeal the loss limit.

Patent leather shoes and slicked-back hair have again impressed those with their hand out for dollars.

Can you say dumb and dumber?

--Susan Phillips
Kansas City
In Platte County

Too much of a gentleman


This morning we have a new President-elect. I am not sure that the country got what they expected.

McCain lost the election by being too much of a gentleman, in my opinion.

McCain remained a gentleman in his speech announcing his loss.

--J.R. Hopkins
Diamondhead, Miss.,
Formerly of
Platte County

Who's shoveling the fertilizer


I am writing regarding the Oct. 8 column in The Landmark by Russ Purvis titled: “Graves Helped Fertilize the Root of the Problem.” Mr. Purvis must know a lot about fertilizer, because he sure can shovel it.

In 2004,the Bush Administration warned about the dangers that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac posed to the economy and sent to Congress a proposal to create a stronger regulator for the two companies.

That same year, it was discovered that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were following the lead of Enron and WorldCom by cooking their books to make themselves look more profitable so their CEO’s, who served in the Clinton Administration, could claim tens of millions of dollars in bonuses.

In 2005, Republicans in the House and Senate responded to these accounting abuses and the threat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac posed to the economy by considering the Federal Home Finance Reform Act. These bills would have created a new regulator with the necessary power and resources needed to prevent the very catastrophe our economy now faces. Sam Graves voted for this bill.

Democrats responded differently. They took to attacking the regulator that uncovered the accounting abuses while insisting that there was nothing wrong at Fannie and Freddie. Current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and current Chairman of the House Banking Committee Barney Frank, voted against the bill.

Republicans were less successful in the Senate where the bill cosponsored by Senator John McCain passed the Committee on a party line vote. Every Democrat on the committee, including current Chairman Chris Dodd, opposed the bill and signaled it would be filibustered from further consideration. Perhaps the sweetheart below-market interest rate mortgage loan Senator Dodd received during this time had something to do with his opposition?

And let’s not forget that the only reason Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac grew so large and got into the business of sub prime loans in the first place was because the Clinton Administration first encouraged, and then forced them to do it. In 1999, Raines and the nation’s largest sub-prime lender, Countrywide, entered into an agreement where Fannie Mae would directly purchase billions of sub-prime loans from Countrywide. Did I also mention that Countrywide gave Senator Dodd a sweetheart loan?

All of this has been well documented and is not subject to interpretation, no matter how fanciful. Mr. Purvis is right--the government failed to stop this tragedy when it still had time; unfortunately it is his own party that stood in the way.

--Rebecca Rooney

Less cinnamon, please


I have taken the liberty of writing this note for all 17 of my sisters, brothers, and cousins. We are all nieces and nephews of our Aunt Mary Anne Baier, candidate for State Representative District 30.

Aunt Mary is the best type of leader; the type who appears from the elbow grease of community/volunteer work, after retiring from professional careers with both General Electric and TWA. She is the type of leader who is pushed forward, almost reluctantly, by the community. Pushed forward, not self-anointed, to put voice to that same community’s concerns and dreams.

For over 50 years I have witnessed, and hopefully absorbed, Aunt Mary’s character traits; uncommon common sense, empathy, thrift, drive, a willingness to try new things, focus, wit, well thought-out opinions free of clichés, persistence, and respect for others. Lest you think she’s perfect, her fudge brownies, regretfully, could use a bit less cinnamon.

--Bill Nicks, Jr.
Lenexa, Ks

A shadow of a candidate


John McCain worked hard to construct the personal history of a man who will look you in the eye and tell you how it is. During his long Senate career, he garnered the praise of the media for his accessibility and candor. More recently, we see a man guilty of ignoring the facts and promoting his political agenda regardless of the truthfulness of his assertions.

One of McCain's milder forms of dishonesty is a denial of past gaffes. His dishonesty also takes the form of bending objective facts or modified them for political advantage.

However, he has taken his duplicity a step farther; he has gone over the line of excusable dishonesty. The McCain campaign is engaging in overt lies regarding verifiable concrete facts in the hopes that in repeating the lie enough, it will stick. One bold face lie claims Barack Obama was personally responsible for the meteoric rise in gas prices. Another says Sarah Palin never accepted earmarks as Governor of Alaska. Yet another says Obama's tax plan will increase taxes on 50% of small businesses, when the overwhelming majority will actually see a decrease.

Given the sheer number of falsehoods McCain has embraced during this campaign, his reputation as a straight talker must be re-examined. Honor isn't a permanent commodity that once earned can never be questioned. Integrity isn't a characteristic that once recognized never fades. McCain may have been an honorable man, but in his efforts to attain the highest office in the land, he has been shamelessly deficient in character.

He is a shadow of the candidate he once was, and in choosing to abandon his principles for the direction of unscrupulous advisors, he has become a shadow of a man.

--Rami Saffarini
Platte City

Obama's background unknown


Barack Obama represents a serious threat to the way of life we cherish in America. Recently, some tapes of his comments on a local radio show in 2001 have been aired. In these comments, he says the Warren Court did not go far enough and was not radical by his standards. He refers to our Constitution as a charter of negative liberties which only addresses what the government cannot do to you, not what it MUST do in your behalf. According to Obama we are constrained by our Constitution in what we can do to solve our socio-economic inequalities. Our founders reflected this same 'enormous blindspot'.

If these are the ideas Obama espouses regarding our Constitution, his careful rhetoric during the campaign has purposely not disclosed his true beliefs. Occasionally, he has slipped, as in the case of 'Joe the Plumber' and he has revealed his true socialist agenda.

A friend of mine who immigrated from Cuba as a child said that, prior to coming to power fifty years ago, Castro emphasized 'hope' and 'change'. Does America want as Commander-in-chief a man whose background is largely unknown and who is so critical of our country's Constitution?

--Alice Montgomery
Platte City

Are we better off?


Thank God, we are finally in the "home-stretch" before the elections next Tuesday.

As each of us enters the voting booth in Northwest Missouri next Tuesday, we should ask ourselves one question --- are we better off than we were 8 years ago?

If you feel that we have a good economy, an effective energy policy, and sufficient access to healthcare for our kids and ourselves --- then you should vote for "more-of-the-same" --- and vote for Sam Graves for Congress and John McCain for President.

If you feel that we need a better economy, a more effective energy policy, and greater access to healthcare for our kids and ourselves --- then you should vote for a "new direction" --- and vote for Kay Barnes for Congress and Barack Obama for President.

God help us. We need Kay Barnes in Congress and Barack Obama in the White House

--David Raffel

Checks and balances


The Founding Fathers of our Republic gave us a system of government with three co-equal branches intended to provide checks and balances between them. It’s worked amazingly well for more than two centuries but if the forthcoming election goes as appears likely, we’ll be in a situation rare in American history--that is all three branches in total control of people with a common ideology.

There’s little doubt that both houses of Congress will have a filibuster-proof Democrat majority. Two Supreme Court seats will surely be filled within four years. That will leave a President Obama, Senator Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in charge of writing, signing and administering laws with a Supreme Court likely to add its stamp of approval.

An administration headed by a well-known politician with an established track record, even if that record is outside the mainstream, is no problem if it’s operating within a government with a reasonably balanced Congress and impartial Supreme Court. On the other hand, an administration headed by a young, inexperienced politician with virtually no track record and with roots in the likes of ACORN and extensive associations with several unsavory characters from south Chicago--that administration operating with an approving Congress and Supreme Court is absolutely scary. We all need to think about it.

--Jack Ryan
Jefferson City

Why the extra perks?


The market is down and the Democrats passed a $700 billion bill to bail them out of the mess that was created by the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac situation. But wait, they passed an $800 billion bailout with $100 billion of perks, including money for bicycle manufacturers, rum makers in Somoa, bow and arrow manufacturers, and also race car tracks. Boy, we sure needed that extra debt. That is why so many Republicans would not vote for the bill. Bush signed it, because of the urgency in the stock market.

The stock market will remain messed up until after the election, because Obama said that he was going to raise the capital gains taxes. President Clinton and the gentleman who always announced the lowering of the interest rates are responsible for a gambling effect on the market. People gambled on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages on which ones would fail and which would succeed. According to the TV over the weekend, some people made millions this way.

In last week’s Landmark, Eddie L. Clay was complaining about Gov. Palin’s speech somewhere. If he had just listened to the news, the FBI agents that were there said it never happened. Just another one of Obama’s lies.

As for Sally A. Radmacher, she is really not well-informed. Every word that I wrote is the truth about Obama. Actually, the governor of Hawaii now holds a copy of Obama’s birth certificate. He was actually born in a fishing village in Kenya. Read the Constitution. By the way, Sally, aren’t you the person who refused to let a farmer raise hogs on his farm and led the charge against him? Shame on you. You moved away after stopping him.

--Bertha Mae Gates
Platte City

Informed electorate critical


There was not one allegation in Bertha Mae Gates’ tirade against Barack Obama that was correct (10/16). She simply repeated and elaborated on the vicious smears circulating on the web, the radio, and the innuendos by the talking heads on television. Before spreading this malicious gossip, she should have looked at, or the other fact checkers that are available. It is time for reason and some common sense.

Does anyone think that Warren Buffett and Colin Powell would endorse a person who is not an American citizen, lies about his religious faith, consorts with terrorists and illegally receives money from foreign sources? These respected Americans endorsed him because they know him and believe he has the intelligence, knowledge, judgment and temperament to manage our economy, foreign policy and be Commander in Chief.

I hope that the people who are creating and spreading these rumors will stop and think about what they are doing and why they are doing it. We are living in perilous times and never has an informed electorate been more critical. Our country cannot afford to continue the hateful dialogue and division that has dominated the political scene for the past several years.

--Sally A. Radmacher
Kansas City in
Platte County

Freedoms will be in jeopardy


The most important vote you will cast is for your Representative and Senator. If the Democrats get a filibuster proof senate, 60 senators, then it won't matter who is in the White House. The country will be run by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, who currently enjoy a 9% approval rating.

If this happens, look out; the freedoms you enjoy today will be in jeopardy.

I am your Paul Revere, the socialists are at the door step and the only way to check their power is to. . . Vote Republican.

--Jackie Cox
Kansas City in
Platte County

The right decision made


I want to thank our county planning and zoning office along with the zoning commission and our elected commissioners for turning down the Tomahawke Ridge development.

It was the right decision, at the right time, for the right reasons. For too long previous administrations have allowed meaningless traffic studies and other dubious information to rule the day, and that has led to some poor choices. There have been too many lives lost to traffic accidents from over-development in places where infrastructure could not support it. The safety of the public has to be the main concern at all times.

I only hope our next commission will be concerned about protecting individual investments in neighborhoods and communities, and not just more development. Many of us sought out Platte County, high taxes and all, because we rightly perceived it to be a refuge from the city and all it imposes. Most of the time, living here is a privilege and this is one of those times.

Way to go, Platte County, for a decision well made.

--Sue Lange

Hate-filled remarks dangerous


As Sarah Palin stands back and admires her handiwork of whipping her crowds into a frenzy with distorted facts, half-truths and character assassinations regarding Barack Obama. She needs to be very careful of how her message is being perceived by her audience.

While most may see it as a campaign rally to encourage her supporters, others may view her vicious smears as a license to yell incendiary racial obscenities and even death threats.

Palin’s silence while these hate-filled and threatening remarks are made, may be taken by some who have infiltrated her crowds with their own agendas, as tacit approval to spew their poisonous venom without fear of retaliation.

I’m sure Sarah Palin doesn’t want to be held responsible for another’s possible crime based on what was perceived or implied at her rally, so she needs to tone down the rhetoric before her crowds turn into angry mobs.

--Eddie L. Clay

A socialist welfare state


Welcome to what used to be a free country. We have become what the Democrats have long made an effort to make us into--a socialist welfare state where the government owns or controls every facet of your life, property and wealth.

In the mid-to-late 90s, the Clintons with the willing help of the Congress and Senate pressured banks and realtors to finance homes for groups of people who did not qualify for home loans. That is what started the sub prime mortgage fiasco. They were encouraged or even coerced, into these loans. People bought homes they could not pay for and had no intention of making the payments for any length of time, only long enough to resell and refinance for another home. The premise being, that the valve would continue to climb. Well, guess what, it didn’t.

Everyone deserves a good home, if they can afford it. If they can’t, then the rest of society should not be forced to pay their bills. There is now a congressional inquiry into the management and practices of some of the home mortgage loan giants, all except Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two who are responsible for a big percent of the problem.

Is it possible the reason for this is the fact that the CEO of these two loan giants are now the key members of Obama’s campaign committee. If you think that is incidental, go look in the mirror and see how stupid you look.

If he is elected, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” If Obama gets in the White House his Supreme Court appointments will make Congress irrelevant. The laws will be made by liberal judges, legislating from the bench.

The race for the Sixth District is getting nasty. Kay Barnes is accusing Graves of lying about her. Of course she is the one who lies, like all Democrats they are doing what they accuse the Republicans of doing.

It is hard to figure out if all liberals are liars or if all liars are liberals. Stick with Sam Graves. He has done a good job.

Kay Barnes will spend all the tax dollars she can get and leave you in debt.

--George Fee

On the issues that matter


I'm concerned that my representative Sam Graves was AWOL in the debate on public television against Kay Barnes.

But you know what? He's been AWOL in Washington too.

On the issues that matter to me, Graves has failed. He hasn't kept Wall Street from gambling with our money and he hasn't protected the environment.

When it comes time to vote, I won't be AWOL.

--Joyce Berg

Grill should admit mistake


I cannot believe that Jason Grill would respond to my letter (see last week’s Landmark) by lying to the people he represents. He should apologize first to the people of his district and once he has done so in a manner fitting a state representative, he should then take a moment and speak with my wife and me.

Why is it politicians find it so hard to admit their mistakes and apologize to the people they represent? I guess they do not feel that the people are smart enough. Since when does the fact that “this was a major college football environment” give anyone the right to act in a manner that makes everyone around them uncomfortable?

I am sorry, but our state and country need representatives that work for the people, not against it. My “strong Republican political connections and affinity for Husker football” have nothing to do with the nature, tone or reason for my response. Mr. Grill is well aware of this based on the bipartisan group of state leaders who have and will be speaking with him between now and January regarding this incident. I can, and will make sure, my integrity and intentions are not made to look vindictive by Mr. Grill’s political rhetoric. I can assure you and he both that there are as many Democrats as Republicans that feel this is not a one time incident, but a pattern of behavior.

Take a good look inside of yourself, Mr. Grill. I believe there is a smart, good, likeable young man in there. A young man who owes it to his parents to change and act every day in the way he was raised to do so. You need to get to know the man inside and make sure that you let him lead you in the future.

“It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong.” --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

“A politician would do well to remember that he has to live with his conscience longer than he does with his constituents.” — Melvin R. Laird, 20th-century American secretary of defense

--Michael G. Burcham, Sr., MBA
President & CEO
Poplar Bluff Medical Partners, LLC
Poplar Bluff, Missouri

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Grill’s response this week:
First, I have commented on Mr. Burcham's previous letter to the editor. In addition, I have tried to apologize by phone on two separate occasions to Mr. Burcham and his wife if they found or believed anything said by myself, my group, or any Missouri fans in the crowd to be offensive. It is unfortunate that Mr. Burcham feels the way that he does, but I cannot change his opinion on this matter. What I can and will do is to continue to work as hard as I can to fight for what is in the best interests of all the people in the 32nd District and Platte County.
--State Rep. Jason Grill

The integrity of the position


Here are my thoughts on the letter in last week’s Landmark from the gentleman from Poplar Bluff (Michael G. Burcham) concerned about the behavior of State Rep. Jason Grill at an MU football game.

Although I can’t apologize for Jason Grill’s behavior, I can only say I didn’t try hard enough to stop him from being my “state representative.” I do apologize for that.

So I must do what my “state representative” could not effectually do, and that is to apologize to Mr. Burcham that Mr. Grill is my district’s representative by process of election. Having taken my family to concerts, Royals games, and other events, I understand Mr. Burcham’s position.

The sad fact is that Mr. Burcham didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I don’t apologize for Jason’s behavior; I have not the authority to do that, but I do apologize that he represents me, because I could have worked harder to keep him from being elected. That may be my fault.

To me, Mr. Grill’s response was totally out of touch. An “offer of apology” doesn’t make it right. As a representative of the district, you should be aware of your position and maintain the integrity of that position. I’m not saying that I haven’t been there and done that. But at the time I was there and did it I wasn’t representing the 32nd District. There should be no need to apologize for your behavior while receiving a paycheck signed by the taxpayers of the 32nd district.

Jason: Do you want to party? Or do you want to represent the district? Pick one or the other. Personally, I say go with the former and leave representing the district to a person that can handle the responsibility. You can continue with your partying and mayhem. After all, if something works, stick with it. You’re obviously good at it.

--Timothy J. Thompson
Attorney At Law
Platte County Republican
Central Committeeman

Obama is nuts about ACORN


Hearing Claire McCaskill on the radio saying Senator Obama has no involvement with ACORN shows how insulated she is in her ivory tower.

ACORN has actually endorsed Obama (Investors Business Daily 10/8/08). Further, Obama paid ACORN $800,000 to register new voters (FEC disclosure shows "Citizen Services, Inc.") and was executive director of ACORN's Project Vote in 1992.

Michelle Obama's old law firm is representing ACORN in a $1 million embezzlement cover-up. If Obama wins this election, we must demand and expect a challenge to the results because of alleged fraud in Ohio, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado and Illinois.

Will Obama and the Democrats do anything to win? Does the bear sleep in the woods?

--Susan Phillips
Kansas City in
Platte County

Grill's behavior questioned


I had the pleasure of tailgating and attending the Missouri Nebraska game this past weekend in Lincoln. I was born and raised in Lincoln and relocated to Missouri in 1987 where I have been a resident for the past 21 years, residing in Poplar Bluff. I attended the game as an avid Husker fan that enjoys college football.

I work as a healthcare CEO in Poplar Bluff and have worked diligently this past year meeting and lobbying with some of Missouri’s finest legislators on issues relating to healthcare, insurance and certificate of need. I had the pleasure of developing a good relationship with Sam Page, Peter Kinder, Gayle Kingery and others in this bipartisan quest to better healthcare for Missourians.

Saturday night at the football game I had the displeasure of meeting State Representative Jason Grill. The meeting was predicated after Mr. Grill used offensive and vulgar language in the presence of a father and his son seated in the stadium. His demeanor was offensive to all of us except his friends who surrounded him. He was obnoxious, condescending and refused to refrain from using the vulgar language. He proceeded to sit behind my wife and I, where he held a discussion with a young couple regarding his job as state representative, ex-girlfriends, etc. The conversation included all of the same vulgar language, demeaning and reprehensible comments about women as well as comments about his constituency and poor pay. It was not until after we listened to this for half an hour that we learned he was in fact a state representative from Parkville, MO.

I was furious that anyone, much less a ‘public servant” of my state, would act in this manner around women and children, but held my tongue until Mr. Grill proceeded to dump his drink down the back of my shirt and shorts. I turned and told Mr. Grill how embarrassed and disgusted I was to find out he represented the State of Missouri. He proceeded to tell me to “stay in Nebraska if you don’t like it.” When I refused to accept his apology, he ranted about how typical it was for a Republican not to be willing to accept such an apology. He then turned his friends against me and my wife, leading to further vulgar comments to the point where we finally left the football game.
The people of Mr. Grill’s district need to know that he is offensive, demeaning, arrogant, vulgar and not afraid to act this way in public.

I cannot believe that anyone who is as reprehensible as this sits in a position of power working for the same people he so poorly thinks of or cares for. The people must not be aware of the real Jason Grill. My wife and I are – we met him Saturday night, section 20, row 91 in Memorial Stadium.

--Michael G. Burcham, Sr.,
President & CEO
Poplar Bluff Medical
Partners, LLC
Poplar Bluff, Mo.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: We contacted Grill for his response and he furnished the following written statement:

“In response to Mr. Burcham's comments in his letter to the editor I have offered two apologies and will offer another apology if he believed anything myself, my friends, or any Missouri fan said to him, or if anything he overheard was offensive, while he was sitting in the middle of the Missouri section, as an avid Nebraska fan, during Missouri's historic football victory over Nebraska on Saturday night in Lincoln. I believe there are many misinterpretations, misrepresentations, unfounded statements, and issues that were taken out of context by Mr. Burcham in this situation and in the context of a major college football game atmosphere. Lastly, I believe some of his strong Republican political connections and his lifelong affinity for the Nebraska football program strongly influenced his vindictive nature and attitude with regards to his actions and statements in this letter to the editor. I will continue to represent the great people of the 32nd District and Platte County in a bipartisan matter in the Missouri Legislature and will work as hard as I can to move Missouri forward in the years to come.”

--Rep. Jason Grill

Don't elect the wrong candidate


It is devoid of understanding when some in the media positively paint Obama's push for more taxes and more entitlements on the same day the House passes a $700 Billion bailout. And to believe that his friends Franklin Raines, Tim Howard and Jim Johnson - all former Fannie Mae executives - will be charged with getting us out of this mess is just plain stupid.

We may cripple our children and future generations in more ways than one if we elect the wrong person to the White House.

Think, people...think!

--Susan Phillips
Kansas City in
Platte County

Issues of stewardship


Having been further challenged on certain statements, I have continued my investigation of Parkville matters, which continues to be revealing in regard to Kathy Dusenbery's stewardship.

I have further validated details regarding Parkville's levy, including confirmation with the Missouri Auditor's office. For 2004, Parkville had three levy components:

·The general operating levy. It decreased from .4900 in 2004 to .4734 in 2007 due solely to Hancock (i.e., valuation increases). This levy has been the maximum allowable since 2003.

·The old city hall debt levy. At .0832 in 2004, it expired in 2006 upon retirement of that debt.

·The 2004 temporary levy. It increased from .0827 in 2004 to .1250 in 2007 to cover the 2004 portion of the total debt payments.

Also of interest, City Ordinances Chapter 143, Audit Committee, requires members to be familiar with basic accounting principles and to annually report to the board. The mayor is a member of that committee. The board minutes relating to the 2006 audit provide no indication of an Audit Committee. As noted previously, the six material internal control weaknesses from the 2006 audit received no board discussion.

Lastly, Parkville voters I talk to don't exactly recall what was approved in 2004. It wasn't a bond issue. Missouri requires 4/7ths voter approval for a bond issue and a simple majority for a levy increase. Approved was a 21 year temporary levy of $.1900 for the $2,750,000 debt. That debt was issued in the form of “Certificates of Participation” and a “Lease Purchase Agreement Subject to Annual Appropriation,” the same financing structure used to fund the new city hall in 2006 (debt of $6,405,000).

Regarding “certificates of participation”, one website notes: “Although the documentation is significantly different than for bonds, the sale of the securities …….. is essentially the same.” And, “The primary advantage is that it provides a viable source of tax-exempt financing ……… when voter approval is unlikely.”

The city hired Michael Short as financial advisor on November 15, 2005 without any indication of a competing proposal. According to minutes, he was to provide “an independent eye…….in securing the best interest of the city.” The city followed the advice of its 2004 advisor to not purchase bond insurance. In the 2006 bond issue completed by Mr. Short, the city paid $149,625 for bond insurance, yet the lease requires the city “to pay or reimburse Assured Guaranty for all amounts paid by Assured Guaranty under the terms of the Policy.”

Was insurance required because this debt wasn't covered by a voter approved levy? Who was the “confidential group” offering the “creative financing” referred to in the April 19, 2005 and May 3, 2005 minutes?

Readers should not overcomplicate the obvious:

·The credit for the levy reduction belongs to taxpayers and Hancock.

·An important oversight function, the Audit Committee, appears to have been ignored.
·Protecting confidential groups and the use of creative financing took priority over taxpayers, transparency, and public disclosure.

Perhaps Ms. Dusenbery would like to revise some of her campaign statements.

--Gordon Cook

He knows the real Sam Graves


Kay Barnes says, "A dismal record, a disgraceful campaign" or something to that effect in reference to Congressman Sam Graves. I know Sam Graves personally, and that's not the Sam Graves I know. For instance, I know Sam Graves as an Eagle Scout, as someone who has played "TAPS" at many returning veterans' funerals returning from overseas, and as a Congressman who helped me get my medals for serving my country in the military for 25 years. I am part Native American, a born-again Christian, a Boy Scout and leader since 1962, and I believe that Sam Graves is the best candidate for the 6th Congressional District.

In closing, I believe in our nation as a country with a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people," and a country blessed by God.

God promises that "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

--Lloyd Lapore, Jr.
Kansas City in
Platte County

Parking issues at Applefest


Sunday afternoon the two of us decided to enjoy a pleasant afternoon at the Applefest in Weston. After finding a parking place at the corner of Washington and Thomas, we looked for no parking signs, yellow lines on the curb, anything saying we could not park there. Finding none, we parked our car. Others were parking there as well.

We enjoyed eating lunch ad making a few purchases. Upon returning to the corner of Washington and Thomas, our car was not there. We were told by someone wearing a green police vest to go to the police van a couple of blocks away and they would tell us where our car was. They informed us they had called the tow service in Platte City to tow it away. The police gave us the phone number for the tow service and we were rudely informed by the lady that answered the phone that we could not get our car until Monday. We asked the police how we are going to get home and he said, “I guess call a taxi.”

One of us had an appointment early Monday morning for tests at the Atchison Hospital and all of the paperwork was in her purse in the car. One of us also had left our glasses in the car. The police told us to call the tow company back and see if we could get the purse if we drove to Platte City. We were able to get someone to drive from Atchison to pick us up and then she had to drive 20 more miles round trip to get the purse.

While we were waiting 45 minutes for a ride to Platte City, we noticed three cars in the next block. We walked up to see what the sign said. Tow Away Zone, no parking was the sign, along with orange cones the entire block. The three cars were parked between orange cones and had a red sticker on the window that said: Warning. Weston Police Department. I didn’t read the fine print but I asked the green-vested policeman why they were not towed and he said: “This is a special circumstance.”

Driving back to Platte City from Atchison to get our car is not a big deal. Gas is only about $3.30 per gallon.

The neighbor lady of the tow company was very kind and helped us get the purse. I just had my car cleaned and waxed and found it sitting outside.

We will not be attending the Applefest again, so don’t worry about us taking up a parking space. We will not be attending anything in Weston again.

What a way to treat tourists that come to your festival.

Signed, two senior citizens.

--Janie Smart
Phyllis Walton
Atchison, Ks.

A global warming argument


Joe Biden stated in the debate that “global warming is man made.” Wow, what a statement. Based on what? Here is a piece of data for you: “Like giant bulldozers, ancient glaciers plowed across northern Missouri, dramatically altering the landscape as part of a relentless, natural renovation project that occurred nearly 500,000 years ago.” That comes straight from the of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s web page at

Now, does Senator Biden think that the melting of the glaciers in northern Missouri was man made? Talk about global warming! That was major global warming.

Sarah Palin got it right! There’s a natural cycle of global warming and cooling. Out of over four billion years of Earth’s existence who are we to say what is the most optimal climate? Furthermore, who are we to think that we could change the climate even if we wanted to? A solar “burp” or a major volcano eruption changes our climate in heartbeat. Yellowstone, which is a mega-volcano waiting to erupt will change our climate in mere seconds; not to mention the death and destruction it will bring. There is nothing we can do to stop it. It’s not a question of if; it is a question of when Yellowstone will erupt? It’s happened before, and will happen again.

Five million years ago Kansas, like most of the Midwest was under water. Check out this book, “Oceans of Kansas”, by Michael J. Everhart. That’s why there are salt mines in Kansas; it’s left over from the seas of millions of years ago. Who is to say that that is not the most optimal climate in this globes history?

I know we have folks saying that we are killing the planet, but according to the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, “the number of species extinctions in the history of life is almost the same as the number of originations; present-day biodiversity is the result of a trivial surplus of originations, cumulated over millions of years. For an evolutionary biologist to ignore extinction is probably as foolhardy as for a demographer to ignore mortality.” Species come and species go, let’s enjoy it while it lasts!

The article further stated, “The largest mass extinctions produce major restructuring of the biosphere wherein some successful groups are eliminated, allowing previously minor groups to expand and diversify.” If you do your research you’ll find that humans were at one time one of those “minor groups.” Anyone seen a dinosaur lately?

I don’t claim to be a scientist, but there is just some basic science that we should not ignore. History should be taught in our class rooms. We need to put history, science, math, and economics back in our classrooms.

The argument that global warming is man made is so short sighted and woodenheaded that it would be laughable but for the fact it is being used as a social-economic force to try to restructure our nation’s economy into a Marxist style government.

—Timothy J. Thompson
Kansas City in
Platte County

Saying 'no' to Washington


In last week’s letters to the editor, your newspaper printed a letter from a Parkville resident who mistakenly claimed that U.S. Rep. Sam Graves voted against a bill that would increase the availability of oil for Americans.

The writer suggested that if Rep. Graves was for the American people, and especially the people in the Sixth District, he would have supported a recent bill that was presented by the leadership of the House of Representatives. What is interesting is that the bill in question actually reduced the amount of oil exploration options available to America.

I did some research into the provisions in this bill and it turns out that instead of opening up drilling off shore, it was written to essentially restrict drilling to 50 miles off shore. That would mean that 90% of the available reserves that are within 50 miles would not be available. Also – if a state did approve of drilling off its shores (which I think each state should have a say in what goes on off its shores) it could not share in the revenue generated by that drilling. Currently, if an oil well is approved in the State of Missouri, or Kansas or anywhere on land, the state in which it is located can share 50/50 with the federal government in any tax or fee revenue generated by that production. So – this bill would make it so that no reasonable state would approve of any drilling off their shores.

In addition, under our current plan, the restrictions for drilling off shore are reviewed by the congress each year. This bill would have made the review go away, so there would not be a chance to look at this issue again.

If ever we needed some wisdom in Washington, it is now. The wisdom I think we need is someone who will say no when being asked something that appears to be helpful but in reality is not. In this case, Rep. Sam Graves said no at just the right time. We need to say no to Washington when they are proposing legislation that will actually hurt the Heartland. For me, I’m glad we have that in Sam Graves.

Good job, Rep. Graves, for saying no to Washington on behalf of this Platte County family!

--Norm Rasmussen
Platte City

Herm will win a Super Bowl


In response to your Sept. 24th Between the Lines issue on the Chiefs, what Herm Edwards is accomplishing this season is rebuilding the Chiefs into a high caliber team that will be good for many years.

Herm is a players coach. His years in the NFL as a defensive back allowed him to see firsthand what it takes to build a winning franchise. In his day, the Steelers were one of the most dominant teams having built their team through the draft. Most of those players were “homegrown” if you will, meaning they never played for another team.

They were not free agent veterans like the Dick Vermeil era. Granted, the days of a high-flying offense was exciting and provided us a few winning seasons, it was short lived due primarily to the fact it was an aging team. Herm has had the hard task of dismantling such an out-dated roster.

Herm has been executing this plan of rebuilding through the draft for many years, with teams such as the Jets and the Buccaneers. Both of these teams were of playoff caliber and even birthed a Buccaneer Super Bowl victory.

Carl and Herm are in no way disrespecting the fans or the NFL. If anything, Herm's vision and dedication to this process has opened up the eyes of Carl Peterson. The pre-Herm years were full of draft busts and expensive free agents. As of today, the Chiefs have not wasted money on big free agent signings and without a doubt some of the best draft classes in Chiefs history has put this team on the right track.

We as fans have to accept these growing pains and support our young squad. The Chiefs suffered a substantial blow to the quarterback position due to injury the first few games. The faith this team has in Brodie Croyle has yet to be proven to the fans. However, the young talent this team has, such as this year's draft class, is by far exceeding expectations.

Since your Sept. 24th issue, the 0-3 Chiefs dominated the 3-0 Broncos in what was supposed to be an easy win for Denver. In this game, the Chiefs started two rookie cornerbacks who faced one of the most potent offenses in the league. Against an opposing team stacked with top notch receivers, and a strong armed quarterback, the KC rookies shined. Also our young defensive line led by first-round draft pick Glen Dorsey, pressured Jay Cutler all day. This allowed the young defensive backs to make big plays. The offensive line also stepped up and paved the way for Larry Johnson to reach almost 200 yards rushing. Huard managed the game with a veteran finesse, allowing our young receiving corps to make plays as well. Huard's experience and leadership will help this young team achieve more victories throughout this season, much like Brad Johnson did when the Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII. On the other hand, that is a decision for the organization to make once Croyle returns.

This huge victory is something this young team will build on. Herm will definitely be here for more than a year or two. I believe the Chiefs' nation will finally experience a second Super Bowl Championship under Edward's leadership.

--Eric Lewis
Morristown, TN

Civilized discussion


I believe congratulations are in order for columnist Russ Purvis.

For the first time ever, he managed to pen an entire piece (The Pinball Wizard, Sept. 17 issue) without calling anybody a name. I’m proud of him.

Welcome, albeit temporarily I’m sure, to the civilized world, Russ.

--Bob Bennett
Kansas City

Footing the bailout bill?


As I recall, it was Bush, his cronies in Congress, and their bedfellows in big business who were responsible for changing the bankruptcy laws in order to make it practically impossible for us working stiffs to get bailed out of our own dire financial straits. Now they want us to bail them out with a whopping $700 billion windfall? I don’t think so.

Why should taxpayers have to foot the bill for those whose greed and lust for power got us into this mess in the first place?

To quote a phrase Republicans like to use when referring to the plight of the needy, I say to big business “pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps.”

--Bonnie Clay

Wake up, America


Wake up, America. Demand a federal grand jury. Barack Obama is square in the middle of this mess. President Bush tried in ‘02 to get regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and with the Congress he was unable to do so.

Carter started this mess and Clinton continued this mess. They are trying to make this a Socialist country.

Sen. McCain tried again in ‘05 to pass controls but was unsuccessful. Bush and McCain were called racists when they tried to put some controls on Fannie and Freddie. Now look, who is going to pay for this mess?

--Betsy Gates
Platte City

Quitmeier has integrity


I have always felt the best way to know someone is to work for him or her. Obviously that's not always possible, so the next best thing is to talk to someone who has worked for the person you'd like to know more about.

I worked for Bill Quitmeier, presently running for office for Platte County Commissioner, for many years when he was mayor of Parkville, and I'd like to tell you why I'm endorsing him for the county position.

1. He' s more than competent. He is VERY smart and VERY hard-working, and when the voters voted for a riverboat in Parkville, he neglected his own business to take care of the many small and large details of this new venture. (If you never knew why we didn't get the boat, the State decided they wanted larger boats than the Sahara planned to bring here.)

2. His profession is the law, and he knows it well, but he often said he wasn't and would not be Parkville's city attorney, as we already had a very good one. From my observation the really helpful aspect of his knowledge of legal issues was knowing when to call on the city attorney, and never to leave him in the dark on city activities just to save a few bucks on legal fees.

3. He has great integrity and lives by the words of the Constitution of the United States. Many are the board meetings in which I heard him ask a prospective police officer 'THE QUESTION,’ i.e., "During an arrest, if you found it would be to your benefit to violate a suspect's civil rights without any danger of getting caught, would you do it?" The answer was always no, of course, but this brief Q and A session firmly fixed the ground rule in the mind of the new employee.

4. He treats his staff members like colleagues rather than servants, and doesn't under-estimate their abilities. The Missouri Municipal League once asked him for an article about the city, and Bill got together with then City Administrator Pat Hawver and myself, and the three of us co-wrote it.

I've been asked if we ever disagreed, and the answer was yes, we did, and I told him so. And the next question was "Weren't you worried about losing your job?" And the answer was "No, never."

5. He has no bias, not in gender, race, rank, or age. The latter was important to me, as Bill is the same age as my son, but it made no difference. Age was never a factor. Bill has no "attitude" in working with others, which fosters mutual respect in all his dealings.

6. He's very appreciative of what others do for the city, and for him and others. He initiated an annual awards banquet to let people know that. The first thing he said when we started taking reservations was "no head table," and there never was. Sometimes when new residents would ask "Who am I sitting with?," they were surprised when I told them "the mayor and his wife.'

7. He's considerate. One cold dark night we left the Board of Aldermen meeting at the same time. Bill waited until I was safely in my car and starting up the road, and then he fell in behind me. It was slightly hazy, and I couldn't see the stripe in the middle of the road. (This was when we were in the old City Hall on Highway 9.) I found I was driving erratically because I couldn't find the middle of the road. I couldn't pull over and stop, as there wasn't then and isn't now any space to do that. If I'd moved over to the right to make sure I wasn't in the wrong lane, I could have just gone over the edge.

So I just kept going very, very slowly. I noted that Bill did not make the left turn to his home when we got to the intersection, but instead followed me all the way home. Being able to see his headlights in my rear-view mirror was reassuring, and they stayed there until I turned into my driveway, when he turned around and went home. He called me when he got home to make sure I was all right, and the next morning he called MoDOT to get the highway restriped. And I called my eye doctor, who discovered previously undiscovered cataracts. Until I could get them fixed, officials, staff, and my family generously taxied me to night meetings. People are great, especially here in Platte County.

So that's who Bill Quitmeier is, at least through the eyes of someone who worked for him for many years and enjoyed them all. And that's why I would endorse him for this new job.

--Barbara Lance

Does he favor drilling?


I am very disappointed in Sam Graves, who voted against the most recent off-short drilling bill (Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act passed on 9.17.2008 by vote of 236-189). Thankfully, this bill passed in spite of Sam Graves opposition towards America becoming more energy independent.

Sam Graves apparently does not support domestic drilling, like he has said he does. If he did, wouldn’t he have voted for this bill, and not against?

Kay Barnes on the other hand has made energy independence one of her strong stances. She is for both increasing the supply of our energy here at home and expanding on renewable energy sources. I wonder how Kay would’ve voted on this bill?

We here in the 6th District deserve better than Sam Graves. We deserve someone who wants to help fix our energy problem, and not slow it down by voting against crucial off-shore drilling bills. This is one of the many reasons I will be voting for Ms. Kay Barnes.

--Jon Raffel

A strange election


This is certainly a strange election. Some voters may be voting for or against a black man simply because of his color. On the other hand, there are voters who will support a woman only due to her gender. Then there are some who will use their votes as vengeance by switching parties and supporting those whose views are totally opposite from their own, simply because their candidate lost and was not chosen as vice president.

These people who use and abuse their precious votes are not only showing a lack of respect for our political process, but also are insulting the memory of those who fought and died for the rights that these people now so callously take for granted.

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that voting is a privilege and an honor to be taken very seriously. It's one thing to support ones candidate because their views are in sync with our own. It's quite another to vote for or against a candidate for purely superficial reasons.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview MO

About Barnes and Obama


After watching the television political ads for some time, I have decided what Kay Barnes says about Sam Graves is either twisting the truth or outright lies, which is typical for Democrats.

They always do exactly what they accuse the Republicans of doing.

Kay Barnes is not what the Sixth District nee, even though she tries to portray herself as a small town rural girl. I don’t believe it. She is a big city politician who likes to spend tax money for her own projects.

On the national scene, there is something about Hussein Obama that does not sound like a U.S. President. Like most Democrats, he has no new ideas, only to raise taxes and stick it to the rich. Who decides who is rich? If the tax cuts are repealed all taxpayers get hurt. I guess he thinks all taxpayers are “rich.”

The problem in the financial markets is a direct result of easy crdit, people buying what they could not pay for and also the people in charge of trading firms who are former Clinton cronies or cabinet holders. Good examples are Frank Raines and Jim Johnson. Now they are both helping run Obama’s campaign.

By the way, what is a “community organizer?” Were Al Capone, Tom Pendergrast and Adolph Hitler community organizers?

--George Fee

Dougherty's comments
'offend sensible people'


In response to the letter from Tim Dougherty published last week about how uninformed a letter was from one of the previous weeks about Lake at Tomahawke Ridge.

Enough with “the gate is locked” comments. A half page letter and that's the main thing you can talk about? How stupid do you think the people of Platte County paying attention to this subdivision are? You call the Glaesers “mean spirited, condescending, inconsiderate” yet you do your best to try get everyone in the county who works at any occupation ( I think you only left out real estate agents, circus performers and boy band members) to join your dislike of the Glaesers and join your quest and “passion” to bring middle income housing to Platte County.

Anybody with a brain could read the Glaesers’ letter and know they were talking about large subdivisions when they mentioned “anthill communities”…. you know lots of people in one location. Your feeble jabs at trying to put the Glaesers in their place and your taking what they said out of context to try and build up some support for your subdivision will probably backfire and just offend the sensible people of Platte County as it did me. Or should we even be allowed to voice our opinion since we are all “relative new comers” to your county?

Unincorporated Platte County currently has over 2600 undeveloped lots for sale, that's right two six zero zero and many are in the Platte City area. That's the unincorporated portion only, that does not include pretty much everything from 92 Hwy. south to downtown and 435 east to Clay County which leaves out hundreds of other lots. Oh wait, did Tim Dougherty not mention that in his letter to the editor last week? You would think he could find a realtor who would know these things.

Or the fact that if you go to the REMAX website you will find 31 homes in the 64079 zip code for sale with 3 + bedrooms 2+ baths. All of which are $125,000 to $200,000 and several look almost new to me. So if you want to build a home in the Platte City area come on in, just pick a lot we have more than several to choose from. From Seven Bridges with 1600 lots to Copper Ridge with 114 empty lots, 16 subdivisions in unincorporated Platte County to pick from with homes from the upper $100's to the 600's. Hills of Oakmont which he mentioned still shows 46 lots available. Or pick a home that is already built but I suggest you might want to find a realtor that knows they are here. Show up at the Oct 2 county commission meeting and I will tell you how this compares to other surrounding counties.

I moved to Interurban Road when the immediate area North of 92 Hwy had one house, mine. That was 14 years ago. Not many years after Hal Swaney bought the agricultural property (ag taxes paid, not residential) behind our house where they are proposing this high density 655 home subdivision. In 14 years almost every lot has built around us, with homes in every price range and size. We must have left the “gate open” by accident. Guys, you need to find something else to talk about while you ignore all of the facts. This is not a political campaign. Give the “gate” phrase a rest, no one is falling for it.

I checked with Fort Leavenworth. There is no housing shortage there. The Director of Off Post Housing actually chuckled when I mentioned it. You know they have a whole department there devoted to off site housing? So for those of you who called and signed the developers petition due to the need for housing for our soldiers, sorry. I know only a couple of you that signed live in the area of the subdivision but I thought you might want to know.

My family and I love our “match stick” home and what makes it really neat to us is we followed the rules like most everyone else in our area and built on several acres. If someone wants to live in a “match stick” home like ours in a higher density neighborhood, great. They have that option in Platte County but it will probably be closer to town and maybe with restrictions. The area we live in is in the area described by the County Land Use Plan as needing acreage for a home due to the layout of the county, roads and infrastructure. This plan applies to the area where they are trying to put this subdivision, Oh wait he did not mention that either. Different affordable areas to build and live are one of the things so attractive about Platte County. Unlike other area counties we have lots of choices for homes and what's around them.

For those of you who live in other counties and showed up at the Planning and Zoning meeting to show your support for the project due to the perception of more jobs or feeling you need to because of who owns the land. I did not come to your county and try to get a packing plant put in so please don't try to push something in our county when you will not have to deal with its problems when you are done building or selling the homes . I am sorry the housing market sucks but putting more housing lots in will not increase the amount of homes being built or sold at this time. Lots of things need to change for that to happen and Tomahawke is not one of them. Tomahawke would be one of, if not the, most isolated subdivision in the nation if it went in and there is a good chance it would not make it in any economy especially the one we are looking at for the next few years. We could just end up with a partially done subdivision between Platte City and Smithville for a lot longer than 20 years.

Mr. Dougherty mentioned the fact that the Swaney family has owned the land for 50 years and should be allowed to use it however they want since it is zoned RMD. RMD I believe is Residential Multi-unit Development. So maybe the Swaneys knew they were going to put houses on it someday when they zoned it for a “Golf course, Retail area and Townhomes”. Funny, I don't see a golf course in the plans… there is a kiddy pool. Maybe they knew the Kansas City Aviation Department would speak out against it 38 years ago if they said “we want to zone the area at the end of runway #2 for a large High Density 600 home subdivision.” Oh, and Mr. Dougherty did not mention that as of last month the Aviation Dept is still saying this area is not intended for a subdivision as it is directly in line with one of the runways.

I bet if you asked them about a golf course they would say OK just like when it was originally zoned for a golf course in 1970. Lets see, we know traffic and safety on the roads are an issue with this subdivision and now we have the aviation department chiming in. What exactly are you trying to do to our workforce Mr. Dougherty? Sounds like your “passion” would be safer for all of us somewhere else. Not at the end of a runway or on a road designed for less than 7500 cars per day you want to put close to 9000 on.

And once again, Mr. Dougherty, you must be corrected, your development has proposed no road improvement to 92 Hwy west of your turn lanes and no pavement or width improvements to Winan Road. Winan only has sight line improvements.

You continue to try and mislead everyone that you will be making 92 safer everywhere not just in front of your subdivision. “How can you be so uninformed on the specifics after all the scrutiny this subdivision has been through?” But there we go again trying to scare people with those darned old statistics and facts. Who needs facts when you've got that “the gate is locked” phrase to work off?

If anyone has seen the news you will know MoDOT is so far under funded it is silly. As of last week when speaking with one of their managers they have absolutely no idea how they will ever do any widening of 92 Hwy. They can't afford to fix the bridges and they have actually had to loosen their standards to accommodate many roads now that are above what they feel is a safe capacity. Do we want 92 Hwy to be one of these over capacity roads when it does not have to be when there are over 2600 lots to build on in other areas? Apparently the developers don't care about the safety of the current residents in the area, they just want us to let them put it in and hope the infrastructure will follow over the next 20 years even when we are being told differently by MoDOT. I believe this is how our financial state in America got to where it currently is, a lot of corporations took the quick buck and are now letting the American people take up the slack because they did not think long term. They just hoped it would work out but if it doesn't someone else can pick up the pieces and the CEO's walk with millions.

I could go on but the fact is land is for sale on 92 Hwy closer to Platte City that would not create the problems with the Land use Plan, Roads Master Plan, Traffic or Leap frog zoning like Tomahawke does. But the land closer to town costs more and instead of using land (for example) you purchased for a$1,000 an acre and splitting it up into two or three lots for $40,000 each ($26 million profit total before expenses) you might have to pay more up front for the land which puts a whole lot fewer millions in your pocket. This seems to be the reason for all of the fuss because if the developers really just want to be nice guys and supply all of the “working force” people of Platte County with a new affordable home they could do it a lot closer to town, where it would be a lot safer at this time or they could put in fewer homes and follow the Land Use Plan, the developers would just not make as much money. The land at 92 and Winan will be available some day for development. It will just have to wait until MoDOT and Kansas City catch up and if the commissioners choose that the county grows in that direction.

The letter to the editor from two weeks ago written by Mr. Swaney the land owner seems to insinuate that if you pay taxes and don't complain about what anyone else does you should be allowed to do whatever you want on your land and we should just all be glad we get to live in the county with you. Last time I checked we all have rules we have to follow no matter how many business owners, trade associations, employees, corporations and banks you have throwing their weight your way. Planning and zoning rules are what protects people like us in the Hoover area from developers who wish to throw all those rules out the window to get what they want for large monetary gain at our expense and safety, all done in the name of cheap housing for the “work force” families.

This is only a short list of a multitude of reasons and facts as to why this subdivision makes no sense at this time and some of these reasons I believe are why our Planning and Zoning Staff has recommended denial….twice….did he mention that in the letter?

A phrase was used a lot last week which makes me think of Tomahawke and how they have been trying to get it pushed through even with all of the problems they choose to ignore. “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig” ( A very high dollar pig!).

I would like to sign this letter as a property tax paying, school bond voting, water district using, RV and dump truck following, blacktop driving, “short term” rural resident of Platte County.

--Kirby Holden
Rural Platte County

Farm Bureau likes Tomahawke


Whereas, individual property rights are fundamental to the freedoms we hold dear in America and are protected by the United States and Missouri Constitutions;

Whereas, economic development is important to Platte County and its communities and provides a growing tax base for our schools, emergency services and utility providers;

Whereas, the proposed Lake at Tomahawke Ridge development is designed to not only comply with buy exceed many of the local planning and zoning requirements;

Whereas, this development will bring almost $200 million in economic development to the area and around $28 million in new tax revenues;

Whereas, private funds will be provided for $2 or $3 million in improvements to water, sewer, roads and bridges in the area;

Whereas, the development will include over 100 acres of green space, five times more than required, and will include 2 to 3 miles of walking trails, a 10 acre lake, 2 playground areas and a swimming pool with attached kiddy pool;

Whereas, the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge development will provide quality housing in a modern and pleasant environment for many families and workers in Platte County;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Platte County Farm Bureau go on record supporting the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge development and commending the owners and designers for proposing such a project that will benefit our county, communities, businesses and citizens.

Adopted by the Platte County Farm Bureau Board of Directors on the 15th day of September, 2008.

--Kevin Rawlings
Platte County Farm

EDITOR’S NOTE: Other members of the Platte County Farm Bureau Board of Directors include:

Hal Swaney (one of the landowners/proposed developers of Tomahawke), Jim Baber, Darren Furbeck, Mark Wittmeyer, Steve Folck, David Miller, Jason Roper, Jeff Gaskill, Dennis Fulk, Gary Oberdiek, and Colleen Gerke.

Sam is the man


Congressman Sam Graves understands that our servicemen and women should never have to choose between home and health care. Congressman Graves drove this point home with his vote to support the Rural Veterans Access to Care Act. The bill would increase health care coverage for Veterans who live in rural communities where health care is not readily available as it is in more urban areas. The Congressman's commitment to our troops alone is enough to earn our continued support, which is why I encourage this community to vote to re-elect Congressman Sam Graves in November.

--Ed Smith
Platte City

Just follow the guidelines


I am writing in response to Hal Swaney’s letter in the Sept. 10 issue of The Landmark.

I think Mr. Swaney misunderstood my letter. It was based on his name calling and accusations made at the last planning and zoning meeting. Instead of addressing the issues at hand he chose to call the neighbors that are in opposition to Lakes at Tomahawke Ridge “activists,” he went on to tout us as closed-minded individuals that want to “close the gates” to Platte County. We are none of those things.

We are intelligent individuals who only want this development to follow guidelines of the Land Use Plan just as many before him have had to do.

In his letter to the editor, Mr. Swaney pats himself on the back for “allowing” such developments as Red Rock, Hoover Heights, Basswood, and the asphalt plant. I am fairly certain that if he was opposed to these developments he had the legal right and process before him to fight them, however, at the time of their inception he chose not to. He also takes credit for “granting” a water easement across his farm, utilities are considered progress and the landowner, in this case Mr. Swaney, is paid handsomely for the use of their land. I imagine as he was cashing his check he was not opposed.

Mr. Swaney writes of all the good deeds he has done for Platte County, and I am sure some are worth writing about, but he did not at the planning and zoning meeting nor in his letter address the true issues. The issues of the traffic study, or the issue of the over crowding of schools this development will create, or the issue of higher taxes that will be a result of this development to cover the fire district, or the ambulance service or the school district. This development will create all these things.

I have read the letter that was placed at the chair of the members of the Chamber of Commerce. Those numbers presented are an exaggeration at best. I wonder over how many years it will take to create those types of deposits or sales in Platte County? I would also like to note that letter was placed at those chairs because of the “good ol’ boy” system, and not being one of the “good ol’ boys” I was denied by the Chamber the same opportunity.

Mr. Swaney states that he believes that a landowner should be able to do with their land as they want as long as they following the zoning laws. I have to ask him then. . .that land has been zoned residential since the 1970s and he has used the land as agriculture since owning it. Which is it, Mr. Swaney? You pay taxes on it at the lower agriculture base, if this is residential as you state then don’t you owe the county many years of back taxes?

On a final note: almost every county if not every county across this nation has a planning and zoning board and many probably have Land Use Plans. These boards and plans are in place because what an individual landowner does with their property does effect the surrounding neighbors. If these safeguards were not in place there would be hog farms or junk yards or high density subdivisions where they are not appropriate.

Develop your land, Mr. Swaney, but do it according to the guidelines of the Land Use Plan just as many before you have done. And for the record, it doesn’t require “300” acres to build a single home on.

--Renae Payne
Platte County

Unbelievable claims being made


No one is surprised to see that Sam Graves, a known prevaricator, is making unbelievable claims about Kay Barnes on TV.

What about the economy, or health care, or gas prices? Graves is silent on these.
Kay Barnes will be for us. This Clay County voter is telling everyone she knows to send Barnes to Washington.

--Evelyn Childers
Kansas City

Breaking the glass ceiling


Charlie Gibson made ABC proud as he looked over his glasses and down his nose at Sarah Palin during the “20/20” interview.

Is the left so anesthetized by their own air that they cannot see women seething everywhere! And even if you’re not a conservative, gun-toting, pro-life, traditional values woman, you’ve got to rejoice that history has been made and we have broken through the cracks in the glass ceiling.

I laugh each time I see the old political yard sign on display in the women’s political section of the Smithsonian History Museum…“Politics is just housekeeping on a grand scale!” What more can we women say?

--Susan Phillips
Kansas City

It's all taxpayer money


Kathy Dusenbery asserts that I misstated certain facts in my recent letter. Unfortunately, the answer to a question was ignored, but the presumption was clarified. I would expect that after four years of being the chief executive of Parkville, she could give taxpayers an answer as to where the $165,000 train horn money is.

Further to the train horns, I will accept Ms. Dusenbery’s letter as confirmation that the board included the $165,000 in the 2004 CIP without completing proper due diligence (see my July 24th Landmark letter). If the board doesn’t want horn noise, they should never have proposed the Wayside option.

Anyone wanting to understand the technology can read it themselves at

As to the tax levy:

• She has the same data I have but chooses comparisons that are more convenient.

• Using her dates, the valuation base increased 34%, taxes increased 22% and households increased 6%.

• She appears to place responsibility for the higher 2004 levy on voters, even though she as an alderman aggressively solicited voter approval for the debt (and as mayor had primary responsibility for oversight on spending).

• Missouri statutes require adjusting of tax levies based on equalization, thus limiting tax increases solely from valuation increases. The levy is just one factor within a set of multiple factors determining total taxes.

Ms. Dusenbery and the board could have made a real impact on taxes by not building a new $4 million city hall and financing it with $3,655,000 of new debt (without voter approval). She has stated that she built the new city without raising taxes; her successor may have to do that as the full impact of payments began in 2008. The annual financing cost approximates $210,000 for the next 20 years, equivalent to an annual levy in excess of $.12 and 21% of the current levy.

The board failed to remember what they asked of voters in 2004. And they failed to remember one other fact: it’s all taxpayer money.

--Gordon Cook

Comments for Park HIll School Board


To all Park Hill School Board members:

We are requesting that each of you become more familiar with this (Union Chapel Elementary School) sewer project and how it will affect the landowners involved. It seems that the current plan is only concerned with how the school is impacted, with no thought given to the residents along the path. Many points need to be considered:

The main reason is that you do not need sewers! We were informed by the DNR that no citations have been issued and that an updated septic system would suffice. We are also under the impression that the DNR does not have a time frame for this to happen. At the May meeting we were led to believe otherwise. Is the person responsible for keeping up your septic system trained for that responsibility? As anyone with this system knows, there are certain do's & don'ts that apply. When questioned at the meeting, we were given crazy answers to our questions as to the bathroom habits of students. This shouldn't make any difference. A newer, updated, top-of-line system would work just fine without disrupting the neighborhood or putting undo hardship on the people of this area.

The cost of the project is going to soar above your various stated estimates which range from under a million to 1.25 million. Along with others in this neighborhood, we are familiar with construction projects, the bidding procedures, etc. In our business before retirement, that is what we did. How can you explain this enormous spending on one school when the alternative is much cheaper? You could install the best septic system available this year and hook up to sewers that someone else has installed next year and still come out a whole lot cheaper. We have talked to a couple of experts and the answer we are getting is that this project can no way be completed at this price. What are your plans for the cost override? Who, in fact, is going to pay for this? Has this project been put up for bid and, if so, who is it? This is a question that the taxpayers deserve an answer to.

The reason we keep getting from you is that septic would be a temporary solution. With your permanent solution, you will also be causing a permanent problem for those that are required to hook up. We will have future sewer line problems for as long as we live here with the numerous tree roots. Our land is not suited for sewers. We live on almost five acres of sloping ground surrounded by trees on all sides. Maintenance issues will be a nightmare with an almost 400' line. Would you want to deal with this?

We are living in bad economic times. How can you justify causing such a hardship on the taxpayers of this area? We have just received an "off the top of his head" estimate of $140,000 plus a "rock clause" for this hook-up project. Another neighbor's price is $80,000. There will also be the cost of destroying the septic tank and filling the hole and paying the hook-up fees to the sewer district and the school district as stated at the initial May meeting. After that, according to the sewer district, there will be a minimum monthly sewer fee of $40 plus whatever the homeowners' share of any collector lines that have to be run. At your May meeting, Mr. Rich stated that the school was taking a "gamble" in doing this project, but, they might just make money on it. These may not be the exact words, but this is definitely the impression that the neighborhood got. How can you justify doing this when an updated septic system is all that is needed.

There are environmental issues that need to be considered. We are trying to teach our children to be aware of our land, conserving our energy and saving the environment and here we have a school district that is destroying it. Thousands of trees will be cut down and the habitat for the wildlife here will be lost. What are we teaching our children? You have to take this into consideration when you vote on such projects. Our land is valuable to us and the future of our children. This is a rural neighborhood and we do not need or want sewers much less the destruction of our property to have them. The plumber told us that our property would be destroyed if we were forced to hook up. Our frontage is only 60' wide and a track hoe would destroy the landscaping in the front yard besides the destruction of the many trees on the south of the house. Not only that, we were told that when the line reaches the 20' rock ledge over the creek in the back, it would create another environmental issue. He commented that this ledge that runs along the back of our property is holding up the ground above. What do you suppose will happen if any of this ledge is damaged by this construction project? We plan on taking pictures of our house, inside and out, to show that we have a solid home with no cracks or problems and will file them with our insurance agent for future use. We may even consult a structural engineer regarding the foundation. These are more expenses that we will incur because of this. A few families along here actually felt the earthquake that happened earlier this year. Some serious thought needs to be given to the damage that you will be causing.

You need to be aware of the concerns of this neighborhood. When we found out about the project, we called the school district and were told that the sewer line was for the school only and no one else would be allowed to hook up. Later on, when the surveyors appeared in our back yard, we questioned them as to what was going on. They told us that it was for sewers for the school and that a developer was working with the school to install them. We then called two people from the school district, sewer district and the engineering firm. We were told by two other people that a developer was working with the school on this project. This, of course, was denied later on. We were not the only people that were told this either. Even though you deny it now, it did happen. Therefore, you can understand the concern that we have. This is not a made-up story. We were told this and will testify to it under oath. You have created doubt in peoples' minds about the true reason for this project.

The contact that you have had with the landowners is not acceptable. The initial May meeting was a disaster. It was held in the school with no seating. There were maps with confusing data. The sewer and school representatives' answers consisted of "I don't know." When confronted with the concerns of the cost and destruction of land by the homeowners present, these representatives seemed to be uncaring. Then there were the individual meetings. At our meeting we were cordial and polite. We did not show how upset we were because that is not the proper way to conduct business. Therefore, you have construed our actions to be complacent. Please be aware that we are as upset as most everyone else in this neighborhood. We are a close-knit group and always look out for each other. When you live in a rural neighborhood, you have to be aware of all those around you. This leads us to the information that you are supplying at these meetings. We were told by the engineer that there would be "no blasting" just "jack hammers." Yet at our neighbors' meeting, they were told right off the bat that there was a plan for the blasting. We were also given the impression that the sewer district was encouraging this project as it has been "on the books" since '95. We attended the September meeting of the sewer district and discovered that you approached them with your plans. They were only approved as they met their criteria. Nothing else! We were also told that variances could only be granted after the sewers were run. At our individual meeting, we were given the impression that the engineer or school official could bargain that. Not true! Only we can do that. Mr. Reineke was also asked to inform the school board to be more helpful to the landowners in understanding the process. It is obvious that maybe the school is in over its head on this project.

We are asking for a public meeting with the entire school board and sewer representatives available with the correct answers. The question here is whether you will be truthful. Unfortunately, there is no law that we know of covering honesty and ethics. After all the misinformation we have been getting from PHSD and PCRSD, this is a fair question to ask.

--Judy & Ernie Myszka
Platte County

Stating Tomahawke's case


Terry and Adrienne Glaeser, I understand that you and some members of the opposition wish to “Lock the gate" now that they have their homes, but I feel compelled to respond to your letter to the editor in The Landmark on Sept. 3.

In over 35 years of working with the public, I have never seen such a mean spirited, condescending, inconsiderate letter sent to the public. The “matchstick houses and anthill communities” are the homes of teachers, firemen, policemen, preachers, bank workers, YMCA workers, small business owners, plumbers, American Airline employees, retired people, stay-at-home moms, and many other workforce people. Last but not least, many active and retired military people live in these matchstick houses and anthill communities as apparently you and your husband Terry perceive these homes to be. I don't know how you can be so uninformed on the specifics after all the scrutiny that the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge has been through. I would like to respond to some quotes from you and your husband Terry's letter to try to clarify some things.


"Matchstick house, anthills in our neighborhood"


The Lake at Tomahawke Ridge homes will be similar to the Hills of Oakmont and the lower third price range of the Lakes at Oakmont communities and probably will have a higher value than most of the homes in the general area surrounding the proposed community.


"A whole 19 acres of green space.”


I have no idea how you could be so misinformed on this. The 19 acres is approximately what is required. We actually have over 100 acres of green space for our residents to enjoy. Along with the 100 acres of green space comes a swimming pool with adjacent kiddy pool, 2 playground areas, and approximately 3 miles of walking trails for our residents to enjoy.


"The hundreds of acres of really green space that is in this location now.”


Adrienne and Terry Glaeser, that land is owned by Hal and Peggy Swaney who along with their family members have farmed that land for over 50 years. I realize that you are relative newcomers to our community, but the Swaneys don't just drive by this land, they bought it and have farmed it for years. The Swaneys have held this land knowing that it would someday be used for a higher and better use, especially with the RMD zoning. The Swaneys now wish to sell their land to be used with a product that is allowed by the RMD zoning. This is America and the Swaneys have the right to reap the rewards of ownership. They purchased the land, have farmed it and are now ready to sell it. They should not be penalized because a few members of the opposition want to "lock the gate" behind them. If you like looking at the green space, then you are free to buy it.


"The last speaker at the hearing, Mark Wittmeyer said that we should consider the acreage as urban"


Again, as relative newcomers to our community you might not know that the Wittmeyer family has farmed Platte County land for well over 50 years. Mark's Dad was a county commissioner and has seen the wonderful top to bottom growth Platte City and northern Platte County has had in the last decade or two. He knows that in order to keep our community vital we need housing. Yes, Terry and Adrienne Glaeser, even the matchstick anthill homes that our workforce lives in.


"This subdivision would absolutely guarantee major sewage overburden"


Again, you need to check your facts. Kansas City has assured us they have plenty of excess capacity and will have no problem supplying sewer services to the community.


"Cramming of classes to the breaking point."


Again as relative newcomers to our community you must not be aware of how we got such a wonderful school system. This did not come by accident, but by our organized growth over the last 20 years or so. The increase in our tax base that came with that growth allowed us to build state of the art facilities and hire wonderful teachers and administrators. Terry and Adrienne, you might be surprised that some of the teachers and administrators even lived and continue to live in matchstick houses and anthill communities.


"Please go away"


Sorry, we are not going away. I believe with passion that we need to have housing for our teachers, firemen, policemen, retired and active military, and other workforce families. Terry and Adrienne, you might think of their houses as matchstick and their communities as anthills, but I don't. We must have a full range of housing available, this is what has fueled our wonderful school facilities and the commercial choices we now have in Platte City. Again, Hal and Peggy Swaney own the property and have the right to use it as the RMD zoning allows.


"Characterizing Tomahawke as an "Economic Engine."


The Lake at Tomahawke Ridge would indeed allow for the continuing of top to bottom growth in the Platte City area. We don't want a community of only housing above $300,000. The teachers and other workforce families just can not afford that. We must have housing available for them or our economic future will suffer. Imagine what an affect it would be on Platte City if we did not have The Lakes at Oakmont, Hills of Oakmont, Summit Way, Running Horse, or Timber Park. This workforce housing is indeed the "economic engine" that has given us the amenities of Platte Valley Plaza, the YMCA, and our great schools.


"This must be done slowly, responsibly as revenues become available.”


It hasn't been all that long ago that 92 Highway and Winan Road were gravel roads. As the need arose with that need came improvements. The same will happen as the need arises in the future, improvements will follow. The Lake at Tomahawke Ridge is a very long term community and only a small number of homes will be added each year. I know the opposition is trying to scare people with statistics, but it will probably take between 15 and 20 years to build out. Just as 92 Highway has come from a gravel road, it will continue to be improved as needed over the next 15 to 20 years. The Lake at Tomahawke Ridge has committed to making significant improvements on 92 Highway, Winan Road and Interurban Road from the very beginning and will continue contributing to improvements over the course of the build-out of the community.

In conclusion, Terry and Adrienne Glaeser, we realize the desire to "Lock the gate" is normal after one gets what they want, but please let's be civil in our discussions. Referring to other's homes as matchstick houses and anthill communities gets us nowhere. We must include teachers, policemen, firemen, retired and active military and other workforce families in our communities and that is the desire of Hal and Peggy Swaney, myself, and The Lake at Tomahawke Ridge

—Tim Dougherty
Platte City

Hwy. 92 can't handle traffic


I have been reading about the proposed development on Highway 92 with the proposed name of Tomahawke Ridge.

I read the letter to the editor from Hal Swaney, owner of the land that the proposed development would be on, and was not impressed.

Having served several terms on planning and zoning commissions in Missouri in the past and reviewing the proposed development, I do not see where the developer would get his money back in the foreseeable future. I can show you a number of developments that are similar to this development that are more than 30 years old and less than half of the lots have been sold. The developer would be smart to reduce the number of lots to about 150 and give the people more room to live on.

I know the area well, as my grandparents use to own part of the land of the proposed development. They lived on a hill of the farm just to the west and did have a good view of the valley that the proposed development is in. My parents lived for a few years on the farm on Hwy. 92 to the west of the proposed development.

I can remember when they built Hwy. 92 in the early 1930s. At that time it was a state-of-the-art road. It was the only gravel road in the local area. The problem with it is that very little has been done to it since, except to pave it. It is not designed for the amount of traffic that it gets today or the speed that cars travel today. It may be several years before Hwy. 92 is improved to handle the traffic of today.

One bit of historical information is the body of Hugh S. Chance was found in a well in this proposed development in 1926. Hugh S. Chance had disappeared in 1922. His murder was never solved. Hugh was the grandson of James Swaney, the Swaney that built the Swaney brick home in Platte County.

—J. R. Hopkins
Diamondhead, Miss.

They just keep doing it


Just a brief word to let you know that I read last week's column on the Park Hill School District board meetings, especially the board members’ understanding of the Sunshine Law. I want to assure you that this phenomenon is not limited to Platte County.

I live in the Phoenix area. I have watched and read frequently about school boards and city councils that often receive training related to the Open Meetings laws, then proceed to violate them. When asked about their activities, they always have the same answer. They say "The law is open to interpretation."

This explanation has worked every time, except when the state attorney general has taken a board or city council to court. Then the result has been the same every time--they are found to be in violation of the statute. But, what is the result? They keep doing the same thing over and over.

--Ken Martin
Litchfield Park, AZ
Park Hill Graduate

The question of being 'ashamed'


Should I be ashamed, as stated by Renae Payne in a letter to the editor in The Landmark August 22, 2008, for doing a development that allows hard working young families the opportunity to live in a community with open green spaces, a lake, swimming pool and walking trails? Should I be ashamed for doing a development that meets and exceeds all zoning requirements?

Then I should be ashamed for not protesting when my parents and other farmers bought water meters they never hooked up so that others could be served by a developing water district. I should be ashamed for not blocking every new home that was built on less then 300 acres that has a driveway entrance on 92 Highway and demanding that an extra 100 ft right of way be granted to the state for future widening of 92 Hwy. as we are doing with Lake at Tomahawke Ridge.

I should be ashamed for not fighting my friends, the Stampers, when they added an asphalt plant that put more trucks on the road every day, which is truly an inconvenience. I should be ashamed for allowing Red Rock and Hoover Heights to “Leap Frog” to undeveloped areas of Platte County. I should be ashamed for voting for school bonds which benefitted others. I should be ashamed for allowing Basswood RV Park to be developed. No one wants to follow RV's. I should be ashamed for not voting against the expansion of Platte City Special Road District when they did not blacktop our road. My neighborhood was financially responsible for installing the black top on our road with out any of the funds the additional taxes provided. I should be ashamed for granting a water main easement across my farm so the citizens of Dearborn could have ample water to grow their community.

I did not fight or complain as others moved to the area; knowing that the presence of others would make my farm life more difficult. Who am I to block what others want to do with their land when they follow the zoning laws of the county just like we are doing with Tomahawke Ridge?

Would the “No to 500 Homes” organization say shame on me for what I have done or thank you?

--Hal Swaney
Rural Platte County

Palin is a conservative first


I just do not get the enthusiasm over the fact that Sarah Palin is a woman. I’m still looking into the content of her charter and not her anatomical features.

Maybe I’m an anomaly because when I started my career with AT&T in 1987, my boss was a woman. Actually, back in 1967, the person that gave birth to me was a woman; so I guess it really started from there. But anyway, during my seven year career at AT&T I eventually became a member of a training team that had thirteen people in it. Twelve of those thirteen people were women. One was my boss; another was her boss. That group of twelve women was diverse; I’m not going to place some politically correct label on them because I didn’t label or prejudge them when I worked with them. When I worked with them I looked at some of them as friends, some of them as hard workers, and some of them as slackers. I didn’t make comments on their hair, clothes, or jewelry, what concerned me was getting the job done and the job done right and the ones that shared my philosophy did it and did it right and we were a darn good team. I wish I was still working with some of them today.

I’m excited about Sarah Palin! I asked my wife “What’s the big deal about her being a woman? She’s a conservative, she’s against the good ole boy network, she can shoot, what differences does it make that she’s a woman?” She said “You’re not woman you wouldn’t understand.” I said “Well, you’re right for sure on at least half of that.”

My wife can shoot. In fact, our personal firearms instructor told me she could shoot better than I can. Our 11 year old daughter has sent a few rounds down the barrel of an AR-15. I consider that preparation for dating in the far far future.

My wife and I are both licensed professionals. Why would I marry anyone who I couldn’t sit down with at the dinner table and talk to on a professional level? It just wouldn’t make sense. So why not expect Sarah Palin to be a great candidate? To me pointing out the fact that she is a woman is an attempt to qualify the fact that she is a great candidate.

I do admit it brings out the true colors of the so called “feminist movement” by allowing them to show that they are not for the advancement of “women,” they are only for the advancement of “liberal women” or “water carriers” which defeats the purpose of having an organization for advancement if you have to be a slave to the organization.

By the way, has anyone noticed John McCain’s 96 year old mother? I think she is a total icon. I wish I had that lady’s energy and she’s 56 years older than me.

I guess I’ll never “get it,” but I support Sarah Palin.

--Timothy J. Thompson
KC in Platte County

Proud of her time as mayor


I see there is another letter from Gordon Cook taking issue with the City of Parkville. Mr. Cook simply does not have his facts straight.

The money to purchase office furniture for the new city hall was taken out of proceeds of the sale of the former city hall to the Platte County Health Department. Regarding train horns in downtown Parkville, there are a lot of issues with the direct train horns and one of the main ones is whether or not it would be good to have a direct train horn blaring directly into the city's downtown retail area. Establishing a quiet zone was an issue the board of aldermen was discussing when I left office. Aldermen Brooks also presented much discussion about this issue during one of his several public workshops which included an official from the City of Olathe, Kansas who provided a great deal of information concerning this issue. I am confident that the current board will resolve this issue in the best interests of the citizens of Parkville.

His argument about the city tax levy is likewise off the mark. When you compare the 2004 property tax levy following the voters approval of a capital improvements funding plan, which was my first year as mayor, with the 2007 levy, my last year as mayor, the difference is a reduction of nearly 9%. There were four levies, the four years I was in office, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007. Subtract the 2007 levy from the 2004 levy and that is how you arrive at the nearly 9%. The total property tax levy my first year as mayor was .6559 cents. In my last year as mayor that had been reduced to .5984 cents, a reduction of nearly 9%". Subtract .5984 [2007 levy] from .6559 [2004 levy] resulting in .0575. That difference divided by .6559 results in 8.77% or nearly 9%.)

I'm proud that during my time as mayor we were able to meet an ever increasing demand for services from a growing population, maintain and improve old outdated infrastructure and still reduce the overall property tax levy.

--Kathy Dusenbery

Of train horns and tax increases


Parkville residents wondering what happened to the quiet zone train horns approved by voters as part of the 2004 capital improvements debt need only look again at the performance of the Dusenbery administration. This matter was discussed at various board meetings in 2004, and on August 3, 2004 then Mayor Dusenbery said there would be more hearings. The board minutes of September 19, 2006 suggested a decision in 30 to 60 days. Parkville is still waiting.

This past week, I had a 34 minute conversation with the vendor that proposed this system. In that conversation, we framed the issues regarding installation options and costs, annual maintenance costs, life of ownership costs, and risks.

The February 3, 2004 board minutes state, “The cost will be $150,000 for “three of them”, referring to Wayside Horns. Wayside Horns cost $100,000 per installation (the costs have not changed materially), which leaves a gap of $135,000 relative to the $165,000 in the 2004 CIP budget. Annual costs for insurance and maintenance range from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on insurance limits purchased.

The first generation Wayside technology was installed in 1994 and the current technology has been installed since 2000. The company currently has over 100 installations and expects growth of 15-20% per year. While there is risk of failure, the company noted no failures and no accidents resulting from either the equipment or the railroads.

Two prerequisites to implementation are a railroad liability insurance endorsement and a contract with the railroad. Since Parkville participates in a self-insurance pool, the city may have to purchase a separate insurance policy, in which case the annual costs noted above could triple. Prudence suggests the city not be short sighted on this matter.

While Wayside Horns may provide some relief for certain residents, I question whether the proposed solution will provide the benefits promoted by aldermen in 2004. The decibel level of Wayside horns approximates that of trains while not carrying the same distance. Accordingly, this proposal should be reevaluated and include sufficient voter representation to ensure that the issues are vetted, the proposed solution addresses the objectives and that the benefits are worth the long term cost of ownership.

So according to board minutes, not only were the key issues not addressed at the time this issue was submitted to voters in 2004, none had been addressed when Ms. Dusenbery vacated the mayor position in April 2008. This is the mindset that we as voters are supposed to believe represents fiduciary responsibility and sound fiscal management.

And where is the money? Likely it was spent on the new city hall building, including equipping it with $165,439 of new furniture. This, in my view, is indicative of disrespect for taxpayers.

Separately, Ms. Dusenbery stated in a July 25, 2008 mailer that she “concentrated on sound fiscal management” and that she reduced the tax levy by nearly 9%. My data, all provided by City officials, shows that Ms. Dusenbery inherited a levy of $.5782 and left her successor with a levy of $.5984, an increase of 3.5%. During the same four year period, the valuation base increased 40%. The combined effect was a 45% increase in total tax dollars received by the City. This compares to an increase in household and business units over the same four year period of less than 9%. If this comparison requires an explanation, it is that Ms. Dusenbery doesn't understand what sound fiscal management really is.

--Gordon Cook

Tomahawke needs to go away


After attending the lengthy meeting/hearing with the Planning and Zoning Board concerning the proposed Tomahawke Ridge nightmare, we now are the recipients of a copy of a letter to the members of the Chamber of Commerce from Tim Dougherty. We are enclosing a copy herewith.

If his object was to bring us all to the boil again, he succeeded. We ask Mr. Dougherty and the few people trying to sell this nightmare, What is it going to take for you greedy folks to pack up and go away?

We, the people who live in this rural community, do not want your matchstick house anthill in our neighborhood. This is not a matter of closing any gate. We would welcome folks who would do as we all have done which is to purchase some acreage and build a nice residence for their family. At the hearing, the builder stated that this subdivision would be so nice with a whole 19 acres of green space, a small lake (pond) and trails. Well sir, we do not see how 19 acres of green space could possibly be an improvement over the hundreds of acres of really green space that is in this location now.

The last speaker at the hearing, Mark Wittmeyer, said that we should consider this acreage as urban since he could stand on a hill on his property close to the proposed site and see the airport tower. Following his reasoning, it would seem that Mt. Fuji, Japan should be considered as a good location for a subdivision since one can see Tokyo from there.

Lets get real here. What all of this boils down to is this: a few people have been bitten by the greed bug and do not care at all about what this anthill cramming of residences will do to the quality of life and the safety of travel on our roads. Additionally, so what if the building of this subdivision would absolutely guarantee major sewage overburden and stench from the huge increase in demand at the Todd Creek processing plant? The developer and friends do not care because they will not be close enough to suffer this pollution.

Another major concern of ours is the cramming of classes to the breaking point in our schools, that are now known all over the state for the fine students they produce. This is worse than the 19 acres vs. 300 because it involves our children's future. Reasonable ratios of students to teachers must be protected.

Mr Dougherty, regarding your letter, all of us who cherish our rural community say please go away and sell your anthills to others who do not love their community as we do. This area is a jewel and there is room for other folks to come and share our great quality of life, our wonderful town and schools, but not by the thousands. We feel a real responsibility to do everything possible to preserve this lovely peaceful area.

You have presented arguments of revenues, characterizing Tomahawke as an "economic engine" with so many millions spent on food and drink, groceries and gasoline, etc.. The reality of this "engine" would be unbelievable traffic problems with most of the engine residents going south to shop. The City of Kansas City, Missouri and the Platte Special Road District groups have no plans for road improvements. This must be done slowly, responsibly as revenues become available. To state that Tomahawke would force such improvements is a farse; it would not. The reality of this is that hundreds more would be having the breath- taking misses with gravel trucks, uncontrolled slides down Winan Road south of 92 Highway in winter, and many, many more accidents.

Platte Special Road does a great job for us now and is sized for the task at hand. Our taxes are adequate for their always good service, but the City of Kansas City does not now and will not in the forseeable future do diddly for their roads.

We take issue with your comment concerning "not letting a few upset neighbors stifle the economic future of the Platte City area." We are not so few. Many people in this area can see that the damaging effects of this nightmare would impact everyone within a 10 mile radius in a very direct and negative manner. Please go away and allow our community to grow in a responsible manner.

We ask our neighbors and all concerned people to stand up and put this proposal where it belongs, in the trash.

We thank the planning and zoning folks for the denial and hope you all know in what high regard we hold you.

--Terry and Adrienne Glaeser
Rural Platte County

Lincoln lacked experience


When criticizing Barak Obama's "lack of experience", Republicans should be reminded about the "lack of experience" of one of the greatest presidents in United States history.

This president from the Republican Party possessed a mere 8 years of state legislative experience, 1 term in the US Congress, and a failed bid for the US Senate.
That president was Abraham Lincoln.

I would say that Lincoln did a fairly decent job with limited "experience".
Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama seem to have much in common.

--David Raffel

Veterans support Graves


Since retiring after almost twenty-five years of active duty military service, including combat, and as a life member of the VFW in the 6th District, I have spoken with many of our veterans. The veterans of the 6th District are supporting Sam Graves in his campaign for Congress, because of his record of standing up for veterans.

We have seen over the years how Sam has faithfully stood by us. From supporting the individual cases of our veterans and their surviving spouses and children, to co-sponsoring Wounded Warriors legislation ensuring our veterans receive the care they richly deserve, Sam has stood by our veterans and our country's soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines now serving here, and over there.

Sam Graves has always stood by our veterans. We need to stand by Sam Graves.

- -Bill Flynt
Kansas City

Not a safe feeling


“Don’t make me come in there” seems to be Bush and McCain’s typical response to any perceived threats around the world.

Bush and McCain seem determined to continue to go to war until there are either no wars left to fight or no fighters left to fight them.

This type of doomsday mentality doesn’t make me feel safe, as Republicans like to brag. On the contrary, it scares the daylights out of me.

--Eddie Clay

More drilling needed


With the election drawing near, we have been hearing radio ads from both Sam Graves and Kay Barnes. In the Barnes’ ad, she says that she will lower gas prices by going after speculators in the futures market.

The whole premise of this theory is absurd. Sure some speculators make money when the price of commodities goes up, some also lose money. The reason many of these speculators are bidding the price up is because they think that the current restrictions on the oil company's production of crude are going to remain; hence keeping the supply lower than the demand, which will drive prices in the future higher.

Sam Graves’ ad advocates a more common sense solution, to lift the ban on the use of our own oil and reduce prices by means of allowing more production.

Ask yourself which is more likely to help; more regulations, or more oil.

--Marcus McIntire
Kansas City

Watching Park Hill tax levy


On Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. Park Hill School District will be having a public hearing regarding whether or not to raise its tax levy.

How would PHSD justify asking for more money when at the same time they are contemplating spending an estimated $1.25 million to fund public sewers that no one voted on and no one in the area needs? At a time when many families struggle to pay for gas, groceries, medical expenses and basic necessities, taking additional money from their pockets to subsidize developers is both an insult and a perversion of stewardship.

How dare they ask for more, for any reason, when they intend to waste it in this fashion? Everyone who reads this and pays taxes to PHSD should storm that meeting and be heard.

--Sue Lange

A 'lie' different from a 'mistake'


Being an attorney, a person who notes facts and weighs opinions, there is a trend in the language of today that really crosses me. Now, given that I grew up at a time when the “fav” sayings were “gag me with me a spoon,” “no duh,” and “well yeah,” the fact that I’m concerned about a trend in language might be of special concern to society today.

The trend I’m concerned about it the trend to say “I lied” when the person actually was “mistaken.”

I have had members of my support staff come up to me and say “Oh I lied it was ‘y’ not ‘x.’” Needless to say the person clarified her position when I turned and looked her in the eye and said “Did you lie to me or were you mistaken?” When you have a professional license on the line, there is a big difference.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know that she was “mistaken” and didn’t “lie” to me. It was that there is a difference between a “lie” and “mistake” and there is going to be different consequences and she knew that and knew better than to tell me that she lied to me when she was mistaken.

A “lie” is an intentional deception usually for purpose of personal gain particularly against the person upon whom the lie was propounded. A mistake is . . . well it’s a mistake, the wrong analysis of facts, a misperception, and most importantly, NOT an intentional deception.

The two should never be confused. To confuse the two is to dilute the impact of a “lie.” I take a “lie” very serious. I can’t prevent people from lying to me. I can only prevent myself from associating with liars.

A mistake, on the other hand, I try to resolve, figure out why it happened and try to prevent it from happing again. We can all learn from mistakes, it’s called life.

I have to ask; at what point have we reached in society where we even proffer the idea that a “lie” even resembles a “mistake?” In other words, an intentional deception is the same as a miscalculation or unintentional misstatement of facts.

I’m not going to accept that! A lie is a lie and a mistake will happen. If you make a mistake say “I was mistaken,” don’t say “I lied.” Know the difference!

Mean what you say and say what you mean.

--Timothy J. Thompson
Kansas City in
Platte County

Change needed in Washington


It seems ironic that Congressman Sam Graves is now clamoring for Democrats to reconvene an emergency session of Congress. Graves’ only solution for the current oil crisis is to drill, drill, and drill again.

The flailing solution that Graves offers is to obtain more of the same "drug" to satisfy an insatiable "drug habit" --- just like a drug addict.

Where was Graves from 2001 until 2007 when Republicans were in control of both the White House and Congress? They could have approved this drilling for more oil then.

We need a long-term, comprehensive solution to the oil crisis, which has been festering for decades --- not political rhetoric.

Graves is part of the problem in Washington, not the solution. His lack of leadership and vision for the future allows oil giants like Exxon/Mobil to rack up billions of profits, while ordinary folks get hammered at the gas pumps.

We need a change of direction in Washington --- not more of the same rhetoric from Sam Graves.

--David Raffel

Graves fights



Sam Graves understands the hard earned money of the people in the sixth district should not be taken by increased taxes. He has fought against Washington's out of control spending, and this year voted against Nancy Pelosi's $683 million tax increase. The middle class is being pounded with taxes, which is only hurting the economy. We should be able to spend our money the way we choose, instead of passing it along to the government who just spends our money like drunken sailors. We need Sam Graves fighting for us in Washington so we can keep more of our money in our own pockets.

--Michele Chambers
Kansas City in
Platte County

Drilling is key


It should be no surprise that the same radical environmental groups that have prevented us from drilling for the billions of barrels of oil we know are located in Alaska and off our Coasts are going to spend thousands of dollars targeting Sam Graves.

Sam knows that drilling for oil, in addition to investing in alternative and renewable fuels, is necessary to help achieve energy independence so we can break the strangle hold OPEC has on our economy.

In Kay Barnes these radical environmental groups have found their perfect partner: a liberal big-city mayor who not only opposes new oil drilling, but also supports higher taxes on gasoline.

--Dale Edwards
Blue Springs

Bridge at Farley dangerous


I am writing this letter with deep concerns on the above subject. This bridge is over 75 years old and is not up to the standards of other bridges in Platte County or in the State of Missouri. Over 5,600 vehicles travel across this bridge every day.

The bridge has a 45-ton capacity but is so narrow that some area farmers with large trucks will not cross the bridge at the same time another large truck is coming from the opposite direction because of fear that the trucks will side-swipe each other.

Two weeks ago, MoDOT patched this bridge surface, and on Aug. 13, 2008, I drove over the bridge and a sign was up that said “steel plate on roadway.” Is this what the taxpayers of Platte County have to accept?

On Saturday, Aug. 9, TV channel 4 presented information on the bridge that has caused great concern to the people who use this bridge and live in Platte County. This bridge must be replaced soon or we will have deaths like in the Minnesota bridge collapse.

--F. E. Schlueter

Doing what's best for area


Thank you to Daniel Erickson and the staff for their diligence and hard work presenting all the facts regarding the planned subdivision of Tomahawke Ridge.

I hope the neighbors keep in mind that we may have won a battle Tuesday night but probably have not won the war yet. And thank you to the commissioners of planning and zoning for voting for what is best for the entire community and not participating in the old fashioned way of running a county government where “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours.”

And shame on you, Mr. Swaney. The community of neighbors that oppose this subdivision are not activists that are looking to keep all the land as “green space” for our “viewing pleasure.” We are a community of people that have no problem with development. There have been several homes built on Winan Road, Interurban Road, Farmers Lane, etc., since I have lived there for the last nine years.

The difference is these homes were built on small acreages, keeping with the integrity and desires of the rural community. And note that none of these builds were faced with opposition. We are not opposed to development; we are however opposed to the high density development you are proposing. We are not trying to “close the gates to Platte County,” we are only asking that you develop this land in a manner that is conducive to the surrounding properties and homes.

I hope that planning and zoning and the Platte County Commissioners will stay diligent and continue to follow the land use plan guidelines and the Platte County profile results when making any further decisions concerning this proposed sub-division.

--Renae Payne
Rural Platte County

Obama's energy plan lacking


Senator Obama's energy policy consists of trying to reign in speculation of oil in the markets, promoting alternative energy sources and increasing the mileage standards of automobiles.

First, the automobile manufacturers have been increasing mileage standards for years, and they are currently producing smaller, fuel efficient cars which get 35 to 45 miles per gallon.

Second, alternative energy sources, e.g. wind, solar, thermal, hydro, tides can only provide a very small portion, maybe 10% to 15%, of our energy requirements.

Third, the supposed speculation of oil in the markets has its root cause in the classic economic conditions associated with supply and demand. Since the demand for oil is approximately equal to the available supply, prices are high, and any perturbations in the supply of oil puts upward pressure on prices. Supply is controlled by OPEC and other countries, our own oil production, and U.S. oil companies, so to increase supply we have to increase domestic oil production and build refineries. On the demand side, gasoline consumption has been steadily decreasing in the U.S. due to less travel, a switch to smaller cars, car pooling and the increased use of mass transit systems.

Once again Senator Obama comes up with an untenable program, because he does not have the experience and good judgment to make sound decisions.

John McCain will increase domestic oil production, build nuclear power plants and promote alternative energy sources.

--Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

District can't afford Barnes


As a small businessman I cannot afford Kay Barnes. I know the constituents of the Sixth District cannot either. Kay Barnes is a big city, tax-and-spend mayor. If elected to Congress she will continue to do the same with the hard-earned dollars of the people of the Sixth District.

I am tired of hearing the lies saying that Sam Graves sides with big oil. He understands that increasing taxes on oil companies will only be passed onto the consumer. I don't think that means he is the oil companies' best friend-I think that means he is putting the best interests of the people first. He favors drilling off the coastal shelf and in ANWR. He realizes we Americans should be able to drill for American Oil. Since the Democrats took control of Congress, gas has raised approximately $2.00. We cannot let this go any farther.

Kay Barnes says that Sam Graves does not understand how people in the Sixth District feel about the weakened economy. How would Kay know how we feel?
She is an extremely wealthy person who lives a life of luxury in her fancy neighborhood.

When I visit any of Graves' offices, whether in Washington, D.C. or a district office, I am treated with respect. Sam and I may not always agree on every subject, because he represents the entire sixth district, not just me. He will take the time to explain what is best for all members of the district.

I have access to my Congressman and know he is working hard for all people of the sixth district. I vote for the person, not the party, and Sam Graves is the best person to represent the Sixth District in Washington.

--Denver Harris

Didn't ask city to pay


In the issue of August 6, 2008 in the article “Flash Flood Damage to by Fixed by City,” concerning the flash flood in Parkville, there were some misunderstandings.

In my opinion, the creek which flooded does not originate in Parkville Commons, the trees on my property did not fall into the creek, and they really couldn't be called “old.” They were both green and healthy.

The article stated “Ground asked for the city to pay for the clean up of the trees in the creek and the other debris washed down by the flash flood.” I did not ask the City of Parkville to pay for cleaning up my property. I showed the mayor and board of aldermen my receipt. I paid $1,500 to have the property cleaned up.

--Virginia Ground

Matt Blunt did a great job


Voters beware: Before you go to the polls in November, take a close look at the last four years in the Missouri governor’s position.

We had Mel Carnahan, the tax crazy spender. Taxes for road and bridge repair , the money is gone and roads and bridges did not benefit but very little.

Then we had four years of Bob Holden, more of the same only worse.

Matt Blunt took office four years ago and what a difference, he actually did what he said he would do when he campaigned for the job. He inherited a billion dollar deficit and turned it into a surplus in four years. The only ones complaining are the liberals and the ones who want a free ride at the taxpayers’ expense. Those people who were taken off Medicaid should never have been there.

Put a liberal Democrat in as governor and all they will do is destroy all Matt Blunt accomplished. Like it or not, he did a great job. We are better off for his four years in office.

Also, be wary of Kay Barnes. She left her job as Kansas City mayor millions of dollars in the red and left it for her successor to deal with.

Sam Graves has done a good job and we need to keep him in Congress. We do not need another (high tax) Democrat to spend our tax money.

--George Fee

She'll be voting for Obama


From my public school education during the 1950's and 60's in Owensville, MO, a small town in Gasconade County, I came to revere our founding fathers and subsequently our great Constitution.

These men, including Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton and Washington, having little experience with self-government, took a huge leap in breaking from Britain and forming a new nation where the people are sovereign. The whole concept of government for, of, and by the people, ranks up there with the printing press as among the most profound innovations of human history.

The idea that we, the people, have a say in determining our destinies is so worthy of continuing reverence and it is for this reason that I am voting for Senator Barack Obama for president. He passes my “founding fathers test.”

I believe Senator Obama will lead us in fostering a government based on open debate and civil discourse and not just back room deal-making, quid pro quo, and shallow sound bites; where all sides of an issue are given due respect and consideration, and laws and policies are formulated to the most benefit of the people of this country. I see the election of Senator Obama to the presidency as an opportunity of sorts, to “re-found” our nation by getting back to those principles of democracy envisioned by our founding fathers.

I sincerely believe our founding fathers would support Senator Obama precisely because he understands and represents the ideals of liberty that they expressed when they embarked on this great experiment in self-government more than 200 years ago. We must get back to these fundamental principles of democracy because this is what unites us as a country and this in turn will enable us to solve the problems and resolve the issues we face.

Therefore, I would like to ask the good people of Missouri to go back and carefully read those words in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution and then, please, don't miss this wonderful opportunity to vote for America by voting for Senator Obama in November.

--Cynthia L. Murray Olson
Webster Groves, Mo.

Opposed to Tomahawke


I continue to have a deep concern about the proposed subdivision for 92 Highway and N. Winan Road. My home is located on Interurban Road, not far from Muddy Branch, which drains the entire area to be developed.

According to a recent newspaper article, the developer has decreased the amount of houses by 31. Even with the new number of proposed houses, my perception is that there is no plan to address the large amount of storm water runoff from hard surfaces; hence, no concern about existing homes. I fully expect my home to be flooded in the future. As I wrote in a previous letter, my home has been flooded in the past, even with the land’s current use as agriculture – some of it terraced and some pasture, which soaks up or slows down the runoff.

The old Interurban Railroad arch concrete culvert beneath Interurban Road is not large enough to handle the volume of storm water runoff. The road then acts like a dam, and my home will be sitting in a large pond of water until it drains through the culvert.

I am firmly against the proposed development upstream from my home without a solid flood control plan.

--Charles Rhodes
Rural Platte County

Impact would be negative


This letter is in reference to the proposed subdivision The Lake at Tomahawke Ridge.

This subdivision, as proposed, would add approximately 655 homes to the Platte City area. Using an average of 4 residents per household means it would add about 2,620 new residents to the area.Those who think only the residents who live in the immediate vicinity of this proposed subdivision will be impacted should consider the following:

An estimated average of 4 residents per household would mean an additional 2,620 residents in the Platte City area. Estimating that 2 of those residents are children would lead to 1,310 additional children in the Platte County school system. I know it is difficult getting in and out of the schools now to drop off and pick up our children, I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be with the additional students this subdivision would bring.

An estimate of 10 automobile trips per day per household would lead to an additional 6,550 cars on our roads every day. It has been estimated that 40% of this traffic will travel into Platte City. This comes to an additional 2,620 cars traveling the roads in Platte City every day. Anyone who enters and exits the fast food restaurants and convenience stores in Platte City knows how congested that area can become with the amount of traffic that frequents that area now. The additional traffic that would be associated with this proposed development would only make it worse.

An excerpt from the Community and Environmental Services book “How to Win Land Development Issues: A Citizens Guide to Preserving and Enhancing Quality of Life in Developing Areas” states: “An increase in new home construction can cause property taxes to increase for several reasons. When people migrate from cities and suburbs to rural areas they frequently bring with them an expectation of receiving the same level of public services to which they are accustomed. The new residents begin lobbying local government to increase emergency services response time, expand libraries and so forth. To meet this demand local government may be forced to raise property tax rates.”

The book also states “ A review of 70 cost of government services studies showed that for each dollar of tax revenue generated the three land use categories consumed the following amounts in government services: residential $1.15, commercial/industrial $0.29, and farm/forest/open space $0.37.

This subdivision will impact everyone who lives in the Platte City area, and in fact in all of Platte County. The proposal is scheduled to go before the Platte County Planning and Zoning Board for possible approval on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. I would encourage anyone to attend that hearing who is concerned about:

·The safety and education of our children in the Platte County school system

·The safety, congestion and maintenance concerns this amount of additional traffic would bring to our roads

·The possible impact to property values and taxes in our area

--Joe Morris
Platte City

These ladies need our prayers


As I read Brian Kubicki’s article in last week’s Landmark about Sherri Shepherd telling, almost like bragging, about her many abortions I was horified. Then when she said some woman told her she’d see all her babies in heaven I was dumbfounded. Unless she repents and accepts Jesus Christ, is baptized and lives a Godly life, she will never see heaven.

I can hear some screaming “judgmental” among other vicious words, but I cannot judge anyone as the Bible says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23, and I am one of the all.

God’s Holy Word says “Thou shalt not kill,” Deut. 5:17. How much plainer can it be said?

These women, both of them, need our prayers.

--Bernice Fee

Are you better off today?


Ronald Reagan asked in a 1984 presidential debate: "Is America better off (today) than it was 4 years ago?"

That same question should be asked now in Northwest Missouri.

Ask yourselves --- are you better off today than you were eight years ago in issues like --- home values, health care, gasoline prices, food costs, jobs, Medicare, Social Security, and education.

If you think the answer is "yes", then by all means, vote for more-of-the-same with Sam Graves again in November.

But, if you think the answer is "no,” then vote for a change with Kay Barnes in November.

Much like Nero fiddled while Rome burned, so, too Sam Graves is ignoring the burning crises here in Northwest Missouri.

In November, we need to elect a person who has proven she can stimulate new ideas and provide proven leadership. We need to elect Kay Barnes for a better future.

--David Raffel

Dusenbery is dedicated


I want the citizens of southern Platte County to know what an important opportunity they have to elect a dedicated and visionary leader to the Platte County Commission.

Kathy Dusenbery fits that description exactly. I have lived in Parkville for 43 years, my late husband, Bill Latta, was mayor of Parkville in the early 1980’s.

Having experienced those years, I realize the benefits that a community receives when their leaders give wholeheartedly of their time, efforts and ideas. To me, this could be Kathy’s trademark. She brings a passion and genuine concern for people which was reflected in the way she handled her position as mayor.

We need a full time county commissioner in Platte County representing southern Platte County. I urge everyone to support Kathy Dusenbery in the election on Aug. 5.

--Pauline Latta

Dusenbery disappoints


I have recently noticed that Kathy Dusenbery answered my no sign challenge in the Platte County Commissioners race for the First District by placing yard signs throughout southern Platte County, while the rest of us are following the pledge not to use yard signs at least during the primary campaign.

While Kathy certainly has her First Amendment right to use yard signs, we do not know why Kathy was the only candidate in this race who refused to agree to the no sign challenge the other three of us signed. I strongly believe in open government and communication with the voters.

The ironic part of this whole situation is that most of us have to look at these signs day after day. Kathy does have to look at signs from her front porch. Riss Lake (where Kathy lives) does not allow yard signs for many of the very reasons that I suggested the pledge in the first place.

Please wave and honk to me as I spend some time around the county waving at various intersections over the next few weeks. If you get a chance please let other politicians know what you think of signs in our yards that only visually pollute our wonderful county.

--William “Bill” Quitmeier
Candidate First District Commissioner

There's more than one waffler


I write in response to Brian Kubicki’s column in The Landmark issue of July 9, where he says Obama is already waffling.

Very few people realize, however, how much McCain has waffled. McCain has flip-flopped on torture, immigration, and tax cuts for the rich. The man who claims to be in favor of campaign finance reform has a campaign run almost completely by lobbyists. To watch him in action, go to Youtube for “McCain FlipFlops on Gay Marriage.” Actually, at Youtube one can find numerous instances of McCain flip-flopping.

As if that weren’t bad enough, McCain is so cozy with the media, that he is rarely called out on his waffling. McCain has actually hosted cookouts at his own home for media, who unfortunately compromise their ethics and partake at these gatherings. This rapport with them has led to soft media coverage, and a false label such as “maverick.”

This man is no maverick. He’s as much a part of the current Republican party, who are failing us, as anyone else.

--John Heller

Graves doesn't represent her


Congressman Sam Graves' scare tactics have gone so far that he is telling lies. He has claimed that China and Cuba are drilling for oil off the U.S. coast even after Vice President Cheney and others have said this is false.

I have read this in the newspaper and even watched video of it on the internet.
I don't expect Graves to focus on the facts anytime soon, because the facts are against him.

Did you know Graves has gotten more money from Big Oil than almost any other member of Congress? Did you know he has voted against the Production Tax Credit for wind multiple times? Did you know he has voted against taking tax breaks from Big Oil and giving them to renewable energy?

Yep, that's our Congressman.

It's bad enough that Graves doesn't represent my interests in Congress.

But he's not even honest about it.

--Kathy Bray
Kansas City
In Platte County

Risks come with Dusenbery


The letter from Mr. Jeff Jones in the July 9 issue of The Landmark entitled “Secrecy and mismanagement?” in regard to former Parkville Mayor Kathy Dusenbery caught my interest.

I believe there is reason to not vote for Ms. Dusenbery as her record in governing Parkville reflects poor fiscal management, financial decisions that increase costs and risk, and a general lack of understanding regarding board and management responsibility. I have done substantial research on the city's financial matters over the period from early 2006 through May 2008.

Ms. Dusenbery has served Parkville as either alderman or mayor since 2002. Accordingly, she has had ample opportunity to have an impact on Parkville. Following are my summarized findings on how Parkville has fared under the stewardship of Ms. Dusenbery.

1.The city's debt load increased from $5.7 million to $19 million from December 2003 to December 2007. During this same period:

a. The ratio of debt to revenue increased from 1.7 to 4.4.

b. The ratio of debt to liquid assets (cash and equivalents) increased from 4.5 to 15.0.

c. $9.7 million of the total debt at December 2007 is not on the city's books.

2. Accounting reports of the city are incomplete and inaccurate.

a. Certain long term debt has not been recorded on the books as noted above. Both the 2004 and 2006 debt issues were recorded in the city's books as revenue in violation of governmental accounting standards.

b. I counted 35 different funds in the city's general ledger reports. The board receives reports on only two of these, the General and the Sewer funds. In addition, the board does not receive a balance sheet, income statement, surplus statement or cash flow statement, all basic financial statement elements. This is a material internal control weakness not mentioned by the city's auditors.

c. The city's books do not include depreciation expense or normal interest expense, two of the more significant costs when considering the amount of assets and debt.

3. Ineffective and inadequate due diligence on both the old city hall building and the quiet zone train horns.

a. Less than one year after receiving voter approval for rehabbing the old city hall, the board was proceeding with a new city hall building. Wouldn't an effective due diligence effort have identified the supposed problems of the old building prior to asking voters to approve $1.0 million in debt?

b. Voters approved $165,000 in 2004 for quiet zone train horns. Newly elected Mayor Richardson told The Landmark after the April election that the city was “to test the technology to see if it would work”. Did Ms. Dusenbery believe it was prudent to spend over 4% of the annual budget to test technology?

4.Material internal control weaknesses: The city received a six page report from the auditors in January 2008 noting material weaknesses in virtually every primary accounting area. Such reports are one page in length when there are no material weaknesses.

a. Based on information supplied by city officials, the auditors did not make a presentation to the board (I asked twice). In my view, this type of report should have resulted in the auditors being face to face with the board.

b. In its response to certain of the auditor's findings, city management admits that it does not have appropriate personnel, that they “expected” guidance from auditors in determining the accuracy of certain entries, and that they expected the year-end accounts payable adjusting entry to be prepared by the auditor.

c. In its response on the Municipal Court weakness, city management stated it does not deem it necessary to record Court cash balances. Note that $125,000 went missing due to theft in 2004 (2004 audit report, Note 3c, Missing Court Funds).

5. New city hall “lease:” In a meeting on August 24, 2007 with Ms. Dusenbery, former City Administrator Joe Turner and a current alderman, I was told that the building was leased, that the city had termination options, and the city could in essence “walk away” at specific dates. Various emails received in 2008 reaffirmed this view. I obtained the documents in May 2008.

a. This is a purchase agreement that requires 20 years of principal and interest payments.

b. Upon completion of all scheduled payments, the city is granted ownership. The city can pay the principal in full in 2016 or anytime thereafter.

c. The $6,405,000 principal includes refinancing of the 2004 CIP debt ($2,750,000). The land and building value is less than $4.0 million.

d. The old city hall was sold for $1,125,000. $310,000 of this was applied to cost overruns on the new city hall and $228,000 was applied to the grinder pump fund deficit. None of it was applied to the cost of the new city hall.

6. Grinder pump system: Ms. Dusenbery was the recognized champion of the Riss Lake grinder pump system, at least according to city staff comments made during my 2006 meetings.

a. The city began paying for basement repairs in the late 1990's. I was provided with no documentation indicating that city officials or the board ever questioned whether sewer funds could or should be used for private property repairs. Ms. Dusenbery was one of those who had her basement repaired.

b. City staff had no records regarding equipment, equipment age, repair history, or any record of homes that had received funds for basement restoration.

c. City management provided no evidence of a rate making process that included expected future costs and provided no support for projecting future costs.

d. Missouri statute 249.1000, effective July 1, 1997, allowed cities to forgo obligation to provide service for grinder pumps. The city did not become aware of this statute until November 2006.

In private industry, this type of performance would not be rewarded with more authority. I have learned in business to separate the person from the performance, so while I personally don't have anything against Ms. Dusenbery, I do have great concerns about her fiscal disciplines and have no reason to believe that she will operate differently in the future. I commend her willingness to serve, and believe there are other places where she can contribute more effectively.

Ms. Dusenbery was quoted in the February 27, 2007 Landmark: “All I'm trying to do is take what I've learned from Parkville and bring that to the county level.” Giving Ms. Dusenbery the opportunity to allocate Platte County's resources may not be in our best interest. If historical performance is the best indicator of future performance, then Platte County residents who support her should expect to be beneficiaries of the higher taxes and elevated financial risks that accompany her decisions.

--Gordon Cook

Bonnie and Clyde info


I read in the June 25 Landmark that they are planning a big party and grand tour of the July 19, 1933 shootout at the Red Crown cabins at the old junction of Highway 71 and 71 bypass.

When the gang escaped they drove west about three quarters of a mile to a dirt road that connected to Highway 71, in those days known as Cockrill's Lane. They drove north on it past Walter Anderson's home, the Cockrill farm and Bud Harrington's home.

Bud's daughter, Roselee, was my teacher that fall and told the story that her father was sitting on the porch when they went by. Cockrill's lane is now known as North Winan Road. The gang stopped on the northwest corner of North Winan Road and Highway 92 on what was then known as the McEown Farm and left some blood on the ground.

They then proceeded north to the Swaney Brick where Cleve Burrell lived and apparently dressed their wounds as they left a lot of bloody rags near Cleve's home. From what I was told they went east and wound up in Iowa.

Bonnie and Clyde were killed in 1934 in Louisana.

All others parts of the story published in The Landmark some time ago are correct.

--J.R. Hopkins
Diamondhead, Miss.

Sign, sign everywhere a sign


I wrote a letter early in this campaign to each of the First District County Commissioner candidates regarding the use of political yard signs in this year's election.

Since then, I have heard from two of my opponents and am happy to report they have signed the “No Sign” challenge and have agreed to not use signs in the ground during this election year, if all candidates agree and comply.

I am disappointed that I have not heard from Kathy Dusenbery yet. She has not acknowledged if she wishes to join in this ban. She was quoted in the paper saying she “did a similar pledge when she was running for mayor,” so I can see no reason why she would not participate in this ground breaking endeavor.

Signs, especially yard signs have a tendency to pit neighbor against neighbor. They create unwarranted friction in our neighborhoods instead of unifying us all in an effort to improve our county. These signs are an eyesore and an environmental waste of our valuable resources.

I wish Kathy would please let us know if she is going to participate in this pledge or not.

It is time for all of us to open up to the voters and let them know where we stand on the important issues facing Platte County.

Our campaign’s “Pledge for Platte County” clearly outlines my vision for the future of our county. Deep within these pledges is being environmentally responsible when it comes to our government. I have talked the talk, now I pledge to walk the walk. Let's start by removing divisive signs that are unsightly and environmentally harmful.

--William “Bill” Quitmeier
First District Commissioner

Ethanol hasn't reduced gas prices


Corn prices have risen dramatically since the ethanol mandate was passed in January 2008 by Missouri’s state government. So have food prices and farmers’ feed prices.

The cost of gas is higher now than before the ethanol mandate. If ethanol was supposed to reduce gas prices, it has failed its job.

I believe in reducing gas prices and in reducing our reliance on foreign oil. I ask myself, and I’ve asked many Missourians, how do we get that job done?

The world has learned that when government chooses one idea, government pushes out other ideas. The Soviet Union collapsed because government controlled all of the options. The more government controls, the more people and their good ideas are choked out, and the economy sputters. We don’t need any more of that.

Taxpayers expect their tax dollars to be used wisely. Government policy can create short-term competitive incentives in a way similar to what we might do in our own households. A policy that gives all energy ideas equal access to the market will produce better energy ideas – and lower prices -- than a mandate.

Government can be an influence for the better. My tax credit proposals will support consumers’ choices. We decide the kind of fuel that is cheapest. All of the innovators – and all of us – get the benefit.

If the ethanol mandate doesn’t make any sense, and it clearly doesn’t, how did it get passed in the first place?

The supporters of the ethanol mandate claim that the mandate is good for gas prices. History shows us that competition, not mandates, lowers prices. Some special interests have studies that say otherwise, but I say studies are about the past. We can’t look in a rear-view mirror on energy policy. This situation requires a strong look at the future, a vision for more and different fuel resources.

There’s another reason the ethanol mandate passed: Many of the Missouri lawmakers who voted for the ethanol mandate have a financial interest in an ethanol plant or they receive farm subsidies for corn. They got more money from their investments after the mandate passed than before the mandates passed. I don’t think this is right. In fact, I’ve issued an ethics reform proposal to make sure this can never happen again in Missouri.

Some people might truly think that ethanol reduces gas prices, and if the mandate is repealed gas prices will go up. I don’t think there is any risk of gas going up when the mandate is repealed. If corn-based ethanol can be produced as cheaply as gasoline and performs as well as gas, there will be a market for the product.

In this country, we know market competition is a better and fairer way of sorting out the facts. It’s a lot better than politicians and their mandates.

I support repealing the ethanol mandate. I think it’s the right thing for Missouri. I believe the energy policy I’ve proposed will do a better job. I hope you agree.

--Sarah Steelman
Candidate for

Smoking issue is about choice


I was unable to attend the public session last week, but in reading The Landmark’s account and that four of seven committee members moved to support a total ban, I am left wondering whether public input really mattered and whether we are supposed to believe there is a legitimate political process at work.

Here we have a committee of seven, with input from some part of “more than a dozen,” who in the aggregate may constitute 1.0% of Parkville’s adult population, ready to recommend an ordinance that will have significant impact on certain local business owners after a single public hearing. I find it interesting that this group is so willing to put current business owners’ capital at risk for a matter that is really about personal choice.

Before this group takes its next step of drafting an ordinance, perhaps they should more carefully evaluate the economic impact of this proposed ordinance, not only on current business owners, but on prospective businesses and future economic development. A business evaluating Parkville’s governance processes and business climate will now have to take into consideration the desire and ability of this fourth class city to change the rules at will. And given Rancho Grande’s increased revenue resulting from Kansas City’s decision, has the committee evaluated the risk of declining sales tax receipts?

Here is another suggestion for the committee members and aldermen who support this measure: put your own capital at risk and open a restaurant in one of the many empty buildings in Parkville Commons. If you are right, there will be no shortage of customers, assuming you can execute on all the business issues required in an industry where the failure rate is well in excess of 50%.

Absent a willingness to risk their own capital, I suggest the board act as responsible public officials and urge businesses to post a sign regarding their smoking preferences. I believe the other 99.0% of Parkville’s residents who make dining decisions are quite capable and would prefer not to be treated as unsophisticated “innocents.”

As it stands, this situation has the appearance of arrogance.

--Gordon Cook

Secrecy and mismanagement?


I am writing to let all of the voters in Platte County know what I found out debating Kathy Dusenbery last week. She is a rude person who does not respect other people, I believe she is unethical in her public actions and she does not listen to the wishes of voters. I am running for county commissioner against Kathy to ensure that she never is elected to public office again.

I do not want the county to endure what she did to Parkville in her tenure as mayor. She left a legacy of immense debt, ethics violations and broken promises. Platte County deserves a more effective, empathetic and considerate county commissioner. She is not that person.

Let us examine her real record. First of all, to quote Ms. Dusenbery in a recent newspaper article regarding her pending ethics violations (The State Ethics Board has not yet ruled on her violation of Parkville's Ethic Ordinance):

“I did not champion any legislation during my tenure as mayor.”

How can we support this self-proclaimed “do-nothing” mayor for an even higher office? I believe she has had two ethics situations. First of all, she accepted campaign funds from some contributors over the allowable limit. The state cited her in a letter and she had to return the funds.

Secondly, she was found guilty of violating her own ethics ordinance in Parkville by a committee she appointed. I find it ironic that two of these members reportedly served as hosts for one of her fundraisers. This may explain why even though they found that she violated the law and was guilty, they recommended no punishment. Too bad we all can't have our judge and jury appointed by us.

Another example of her unethical behavior is when she decided to waive park fees for her friends and supporters. Her illegal mayor's memorandum had to be publicly revoked by her board on the advice of their attorney. How many of these groups listed on her exclusion list did not pay park fees? In my opinion, this is unethical behavior and is yet another in the pattern of Kathy’s leadership style.

Parkville now has a $4 million (at least) City Hall that has saddled residents with a 20 year “lease” without voter approval. This building may never be owned by Parkville since the terms of the lease were negotiated in secret. I find it hard to take that the one million dollars approved to remodel the previous City Hall would have been plenty since the Health Department just accomplished this remodel for around $800,000.00. Again, she deceived the taxpayers by saying this couldn't be done.

This secret lease agreement is only one example of the covert nature that shrouded her tenure as mayor. I have been told that she held over 150 secret meetings in some five years. A recent newspaper account said that “Parkville had more secret meetings than any other town that (the reporter) had covered.” I, unlike my opponent, believe that government should be open and crystal clear. I think citizens are smart enough to recognize when true debate on the issues occurs.

My opponent has left Parkville with an enormous debt. Although, because of her secretive and poor accounting practices, we do not know exactly how much in debt she left our city.

Because of Kathy's politics and support of high taxes, downtown Parkville now has the highest sales tax rate in the Kansas City area (8.1%). This is just another example of her fiscal policy being out of touch with sound government.

During her tenure Parkville residents and businesses saw their sewer and water taxes increase over 250%. This is despite paying thousands of dollars to consultants to try and stop the increases, further highlighting an incompetence to manage our money.

Kathy's mayoral accomplishments include supporting an ambulance tax that has led to one of the highest property tax rates in our area. And by the way, before she interfered in this, Parkville received ambulance coverage for free.

She spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorneys, consultants and other outside advisors recklessly and imprudently. Many times these dollars were spent without any disclosure to the citizens of Parkville. Examples of this reckless spending include the “Hammond' report. The real crime here is that the consultant’s report and its cost was never made public and is still a secret to this day. Kathy, let us know what you spent our money on.

Further, the negotiations for a second railroad track cost the good citizens of Parkville some $100,000 for two law firms and a consultant. What did the good people of Parkville get for their hard earned tax dollars? Absolutely nothing, except maybe a fence by the park that would have been built anyway, according to Burlington officials. The real problem here is that no records exist of the negotiations because of the secret nature of Kathy's tenure. And even more ironic is the current news that BNSF is not planning to expand anytime soon. This was a real waste of taxpayers’ dollars due to secrecy and mismanagement.

Please do not let Kathy do to the county what she has done to Parkville.

--Jeff Jones
Candidate First District County Commissioner

The brochure slamming Sam


I noticed that the vitriol of the 2008 election is ramping up to full swing, I received my first brochure (of many to come I suspect) delivered to me via the mail.

Tonight I received a brochure slamming Sam Graves. The brochure did nothing less than attempt to link Mr. Graves with all the problems in Washington over the past 8 years. Let’s be honest, the problems of “business as usual” politics have been around much longer than the past 8 years.

Here’s a few highlight’s of the brochure (and I paraphrase):

1) “..funded a $4 million pool…”? – Was that pool some CA pork attached to another bill? Did Graves even vote for it? I suppose we’ll never know since the brochure didn’t elaborate any specifics. Who else voted for the same bill? What did Cleaver do? What about Dennis Moore from Kansas?

2) “…turning a $217 billion surplus into a $163 billion deficit….” – Let’s be honest, the stock market was booming in the late 90s and in early 2000. Weren’t the federal tax revenues exceptional during that time because of that? Times were good and gas was cheap, then Sept 11, 2001 happened and all heck broke loose. Everything changed after 9/11. We created the Department of Homeland Defense, the war in Afghanistan, and then Iraq in 2003. That’s not cheap and it’s nothing the previous administrations had to face. I’m in no way defending deficit spending, and I believe the national debt will someday be the undoing of our country, but comparing the 1990s to post 9/11 is apples to oranges.

3) “..$31 Billion in tax breaks to oil companies..” – Tax breaks to oil companies are nothing new and the current oil situation is the result of many years of energy policy that both parties need to share in. The brochure states that Exxon made $40 billion in profit but got $31 billion in tax breaks. Is the answer to give that $31 billion to the government? Yeah, they’ll spend it wisely. For those of you with a 401k or a pension plan, make sure you watch what you ask for because it’s very likely your portfolio is invested in the energy sector (ie, oil companies). Those extra taxes on the infamous “windfall profits” will likely reduce dividends and affect the return on your account. You’ll still pay $4/gal but more of that will go to Uncle Sam. I have a hard time believing the government is the smartest place to send our money.

All levels of government need to be fiscally responsible and should be held accountable. Does Graves have faults? Sure he does but doesn't everyone in public office have faults? This brochure is a spin that attempts to link Sam Graves to all bad things in the Congress. Support him or not, is that fair? Would it be better if the same brochure came from the Republican side? I don’t believe so. The only thing missing was “vote of Kay Barnes.” Expect more of this from both sides before it's over with.

--Doug Schulte
Platte City

For Graves, against Barnes


Just a few reasons why I’m supporting Rep. Sam Graves for reelection.

1. He's for national security, securing our borders, against terrorists and illegals. With Hezbollah, and with Iran wanting to help Nicaragua build deep water ports on both sides, Caribbean and Pacific Ocean, we need to secure all of our borders against drugs and terrorists.

2. For national security, drilling for oil and still working on renewable energy. Stop spending money in the Middle East for those that dislike our way of life.

3. He supports lower taxes on Missourians.
4. He co-sponsored legislation called SAVE Act 2007 (Securing America through Verification and Enforcement).

5. He supports the right of marriage between a man and woman, not man and man, woman and woman. We Missourians passed an amendment to our Constitution that marriage is defined between man and woman and not same sex marriage.

Now where does Kay Barnes stand?

Did she not go to San Francisco with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for a fundraiser?

Does she support open borders?

As mayor of Kansas City, did she allow the city to become a sanctuary city?

Does she support drilling for oil while still working on renewable fuel? With the floods this year that means corn and soybean yields will be low.

Does she support the Democrat platform to spend more and raise taxes?

These are just a few pro and con, for Graves and against Barnes.

--Dale Edwards
Blue Springs

Disappointed in Graves


Congressman Graves has been a major disappointment to this Viet-nam vet. I tried to get him to work with me on a complaint about a government contractor here.
Congressman Graves’ office wouldn’t even make a phone call on my behalf. This non-action has cost me a load of money.

Now with soaring prices, my wife and I stand to lose all we have worked for.

I left his office feeling like I just came home from Vietnam, feeling lost and alone. My only guess is there wasn't any news media around. This is not what I expect from an elected member of Congress to handle a vet’s complaint.

God save our recent vets from what myself and my fellow Vietnam vets went through when we come home.

--Cleveland Woods
Kansas City

Issues haven't been addressed


I am responding to Faye McHenry's letter in last week’s Landmark titled, "Does Barnes condone gay marriage?”

I have met Mrs. Barnes. She is a warm and competent person who is well suited to represent the Sixth Congressional District. Her views on gay marriage? Who cares? Right wing Republicans, that's who! These people have responded to TV ads that show San Francisco gay people marching (usually). They were scammed. This is a false issue, the Missouri Constitution forbids gay marriage, remember?

Our Republican Congressman Sam Graves has already aired a homosexual-themed ad against Mrs. Barnes. It wasn't well received. Voters want to know about issues. Throughout his terms, Sam Graves has not addressed issues that are important to Sixth Congressional District Missourians. Issues that urgently need attention are the Iraq war, economy, crime (and all that goes with it), health care, immigration, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, jobs and farmers' plight (there are more).

As of January, Congressman Graves' pay was $169,300. Have we of the Sixth District gotten our money's worth from Sam Graves? Resoundingly, the answer must be no.

The McHenry letter listed 'taxes' as needing to be planned for. This is another Republican party bugaboo invention that says 'Democrats in office means more taxes.' This is false. The real facts on taxes are this: Governments don't earn money. The source of funds for government programs is money from taxpayers. That's right, taxes. If the American people want to continue their present way of life and provide an improved life for their kids and grandkids, taxes must be raised or benefits lowered. This is not a political thought, its a fact.

A current AP-Ipsos poll shows that the number of Americans who believe the country is moving in the wrong direction has risen sharply, to 80%, with rising food and gas prices, decreasing home values and unending war.

Lastly, both presidential candidates promise universal health care. I hope that during a debate between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, that someone asks 'under your plan for universal health care, how will health care be paid for?'

The government is struggling now with paying for entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Americans deserve to know how this program would be financed.

--Robert M. Shettles

The spending frenzy


Sam Graves has been involved in a spending frenzy during the past eight years, without covering the costs of that spending. This is known as "deficit spending.”

The budget has ballooned from $1.8 trillion in 2000, to a projected $3 trillion for 2008. In 2000 there was a budget surplus of $230 billion, compared to a projected budget deficit in 2008 of $410 billion. The national debt has now risen to an incredible $10 trillion.

Congressman Sam Graves supports deficit-spending.

Add to this dismal lack of fiscal responsibility --- the dramatic rise in oil and gasoline prices, the crash in sub-prime mortgages, the bank credit debacle, and the deflation in home values. We cannot afford another two years of "Gravenomics"!

Kay Barnes has a record of economic growth as mayor of Kansas City. Kay Barnes has an ability to work with a diversity of viewpoints to achieve economic success.

--David Raffel

Brochure is misleading


I recently received a brochure from the Missouri Democrat Committee accusing Representative Sam Graves of being a "do nothing" politician on illegal immigration.

I know for a fact that Rep. Graves was a sponsor of HR4088, the SAVE Act that includes a program to help small business owners to know if the person whom they are hiring is legal or illegal. The brochure accused Rep. Graves of not caring for small business owners. Wrong.

Rep. Graves does not support amnesty for illegals and neither do I.

Rep. Graves wants the immigration laws fixed to halt illegals and help legals.

If the Democrats have to lie to get elected, they just lost this voter.

--Doris Lewis
Kansas City

Does Barnes condone gay marriage?


It has become worrisome to read the last few articles of “The Convenient Truth” by Russ Purvis, especially his article in the June 4 issue in The Landmark. First his crass, ugly remarks concerning Sam Graves are unnecessary whether they concern Sam or whomever.

Obviously Russ Purvis is a Democrat. He feels that it is okay to accept money from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, an 8th District Representative from San Francisco, Calif. who is contributing money to the Barnes campaign.

San Francisco is noted as the “Gay Capital” of the world. Two weeks ago I saw a clip on CNN News that was showing two men as well as two women gay couples getting married in San Francisco. Our country has sunk to deplorable low behavior in public.
So, does Kay Barnes condone gay marriage? If not, why is she accepting money for her campaign?

Mr. Purvis, please tell us voters in the 6th District what Kay Barnes’ agenda will be if she were to be elected to go to Washington, D.C. to represent this area. What does she plan to do about our economy, taxes, crime, health care, immigration, Medicare in shambles, etc. Jobs, and farm bills, as much of the 6th District up by the Iowa line consists of farms.

So far all I have read about her, she is blaming Sam Graves for all of our ills.
Frankly, I think at age 72 she should retire from politics.

--Faye McHenry

There's a need for poll workers


Before we know it, summer will start changing into fall and Missourians will start to focus more on the choices to be made in this year’s elections. Missourians turned out in record numbers to participate in the February Presidential Primary, and I expect to see another record turnout in this year’s General Election.

In 2006, my office launched Missouri's first statewide poll worker recruitment program that has signed up nearly 2,500 potential poll workers to help on Election Day. It's Your Turn. Be a Poll Worker is an ongoing partnership between my office and Missouri businesses, universities and civic and labor organizations. The program encourages voters from across the state to serve as poll workers.

As we look toward the August Primary Election and the November General Election, it is more important than ever to have enough knowledgeable, well-trained poll workers to assist Missourians in casting their ballots. In fact, smooth election days on August 5th and November 4th won’t just happen automatically. They’ll happen because civic-minded people from all across Missouri pitch in and serve their communities in a unique way.

You may not hear a lot about poll workers, but they are an essential part of running elections and making our democracy work. I always say that poll workers are “where the rubber meets the road” on Election Day. Poll workers are the people who make it all happen inside our polling places. They check in voters, manage the voter registration rolls, answer questions, solve problems and ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can cast a ballot.

Poll workers are paid for their effort and for taking time out of their busy lives to help make our elections run smoothly. And after putting in a long day, most poll workers return home with wonderful stories and a renewed sense of optimism about our country.

“I loved working the polls. I would do it again,” said one poll worker. “We had 433 voters. It was great. Thanks for letting me be part of it.”

Becoming a poll worker is an important way to give back to your community, your state, and the nation. It's your turn to join the front lines of democracy. I hope you’ll consider signing up to become a poll worker yourself or help someone else sign up. It couldn't be easier. Simply go to our website at or call 1-800-NOW-VOTE.

Take time this fall to help make history happen. And remember, It's your turn. Be a poll worker!

--Robin Carnahan
Secretary of State

Make it about quality not greed


My husband and I bought a home on acreage last August. The hope was to find an area with schools that our two boys would not get lost in the shuffle and to have quiet around us. The proposed development known as Tomahawke Ridge is threatening that.

The chance of taxes increasing due to needs for school, and lessening our sports programs is another possibility that will happen with the increase of students that will occur due to this subdivision. This is only the beginning of problems to arise.

The increase of traffic on the roads, let alone the increase on the funding for schools will greatly increase. The one thing that sold us on this school district was the quality of the school as well as student teacher ratio. It is evident in most schools around the country, the quality of the teacher is directly related to the budget. When you can offer a better pay structure for the school teacher the teacher is more apt to stay for the longevity as well as being more conscientious of their job, henceforth creating a higher performing student.

I believe that with age we realized we need to look at the quality of life and not the quantity. This also reflects that we need to revisit quantity versus making a decision that will affect quality.

I hope that the Planning & Zoning Board will listen to the concerns of the citizens of this county for their future development and growth to be of quality and not greed.

--Ashley Allen
Platte City

Neighbors must remain vigilant


We understand that the application for the multi-home subdivision to be located at 92 Hwy. and Winan Road has been withdrawn. We are so relieved and grateful to all of the folks who worked very hard to get this nightmare halted. That is the purpose of this letter, to thank all of our neighbors who formed the concerned citizens group and all of the helpers, including The Landmark Newspaper, who spread the word and kept all of us informed.

We appreciate all of you and all that you did on behalf of our rural neighborhood.
We hope everyone will remain ever vigilant and shout should this “ant hill” proposal be forwarded again. One very good thing this issue did was to make us even more aware of how much we value our community; it is priceless.

--Terry and Adrienne Glaeser
Platte City

Park Hill needs to give some answers


Recently a letter from the Park Hill School District (PHSD) was sent to residents in and around homes near K and 45 Highways. This letter invited residents to an 'informational' meeting held on May 28th regarding proposed sewers, but the team on hand, made up of Jim Rich from PHSD, Chuck Reineke and Jackie Stewart of the Platte County Regional Sewer District, and Robert Sunta of Lutjen Engineering, answered nearly every question put to them with “We don't know.”

We could see from the drawing that the plan called for clearing a 50' path of decades old trees from 11 people's property running at a diagonal from Crooked Road and K Highway down to Crooked Road and 45. In place of the trees the property owners would receive “grass.”

Beyond that, they could not tell us which houses would be forced to hook up. They could not tell us how much it would cost for those who would be forced to hook up. They did state that for some houses “this plan might not be the most feasible way to hook up.” They were not sure “exactly” where the houses were located on the aerial map. They could not tell us if any blasting would be required. Keep in mind they called the meeting. But it was clear they were displeased with our probing questions.

Without knowing most of the implementation details, they were sure that this would be the 'best' plan. It was asked if DNR mandated sewers or if other options, including an updated septic system, might be alternatives. They stated that anything other than this particular plan would be “temporary, hence a waste of public tax dollars.”

They based that on several premises: 1) that gravity-fed sewers cost less and this path runs down hill, 2) that easements using another path might cost them more, 3) that future development in the area would give them enough of a 'pay back' to cover the cost of putting in sewers (rather than installing a less expensive self-contained treatment plant), and 4) that if sewers were eventually put in, they would be forced to abandon their new plan and hook up anyway.

Those are all assumptions. First, blasting will most surely be required given the depth of the rock in this area, and that is very costly. Second, if they instead were to run along K and 45 Highways, there are already setbacks available for public utility use. Easements for that path should cost less. Third, there's no guarantee of future development, particularly in light of the recent Platte County survey in which respondents overwhelming stated they don't want so much development. That means PHSD is gambling with taxpayer dollars, spending far more than necessary to solve their immediate problem. Finally, you can't convince me that the sewer district wouldn't grant a variance to the school system, allowing them to hook up to sewer only after they'd gotten the full lifetime's use out of a new plant.

When did the school district get into the business of selling sewer hookups? Both the sewer district and the school district will assess fees for hookup. But the initial funding is coming from a bond issue approved by voters in April of 2006. This means the school is collecting twice the revenue that the bond issue approved. They get the bond money, buy a sewer system with it, and then charge enough money for hookups to get back some or all of the money. Meanwhile certain unfortunate homeowners are being double charged, once for the taxes they pay and once for the sewer hookup that they don't want and don't need since they all have working septic systems.

The voters approved money for the school to fix the problem at Union Chapel. They did not vote for funding for public sewers. At the meeting we were told these were not public sewers. Still, it was explained how housing developments west of the school could hook in, along with those houses in our area which would be forced to hook up. We were told the cost of hook up would be based on the number of potential “patrons.” How is that not public? And how does a non-profit educational entity end up selling sewer hookups?

There are other conflicts as well. In a time of global warming concerns, how can this plan, which will clear so many earth-cooling trees, be considered feasible? How does our educational system justify filling our nation’s young minds with alarming information about environmental issues, and then contradict itself publicly by choosing the most environmentally destructive path possible when other alternatives exist?

When asked, the team could not tell homeowners how long this would take or even when the work would start. One homeowner was told it could be several years. But the letter started the second paragraph with: “In order to stop raw sewage from infiltrating neighboring properties…” If there is raw sewage flowing, PHSD can't justify waiting two years for a public sewer system. If there is not raw sewage leaking, then the PHSD needs to explain its use of this tactic.

Clearly, we need answers. “We don't know” is not an acceptable answer. In this meeting, Mr. Rich said he wanted to meet individually with homeowners. But he has not only cancelled meetings that were set up, he's also refused any additional meetings “until after the contract between PHSD and the sewer district was complete.”

Obviously homeowners have good reason to be very afraid of PHSD. I've heard our schools are cracking down on bullying. I guess that depends on who the victim is.

--Sue Lange

Star has bias in war coverage


Media bias is not something that I want to believe, but is hard to avoid seeing.

The story in the Kansas City Star on Saturday, May 31, titled 'Terror Group Near Defeat.' was about the CIA's latest assessment that al Qaida is essentially defeated in Iraq and Saui Arabia, and is on the defensive in much of the rest of the world. That's major news, except the story was burried on page A16. The cover story? The rising price of fireworks.

The following day, Sunday's paper had news that read "U.S. military deaths plunged in May to the lowest monthly level in more than four years and civilian casualties were down sharply, too, as Iraqi forces assumed the lead in offensives in three cities and a truce with Shite extremists took hold." This is also good news that we need and want to hear, except the entire story is what you just read -- nothing more than a blurb, and back on page A17. And even that good news was diminished by the headline: 'Iraq Deaths Down, But For How Long?'

The Star didn't stop with the brevity or the headline or the page that it was on. The blurb ended with this - "More on Iraq, A15", which was a story about a suicide bomber that killed 10 people. And the cover story for the Sunday paper? About boxing.

Al Qaida took this country to our knees and the Iraq war has been a huge emotional and financial strain. Vast improvements in these areas are the kind of good news that we should all hear, and they are major stories. But the Star has chosen to bury them. These most recent examples are just two of many.

As a long-time magazine publisher I don't want to believe this, but all we can assume is that good news works against the Star's agenda in an election year. Many people get their bearings from the press. That makes media bias the worst kind of dishonesty and is an injustice to readers.

--E. Mark Young

Barnes' values are instilled


I was displeased when I learned Sam Graves attacked candidate for Congress Kay Barnes’ values. When I was down on myself, former Mayor Barnes took a little time to make a big difference. She took time to instill confidence in me, by offering encouragement when others did not care. She told me if I wanted my life to get better then I should always try to help improve somebody else's life. She emphasized to me that I should always help somebody else become successful, because God will make sure that you are successful.

She gave me an assignment, by telling me everywhere I go I should be encouraging people by building them up, challenging them to reach for new heights, take time to make a difference. She said there's no greater investment in life than helping improve other peoples lives. And, relationships are more important that our accomplishments. She emphasized that God is counting on us to bring out the best in our spouse, in our children, in our friends and our families. She said that's one of the reasons she is here.
So, candidate for Congress Kay Barnes’ values are deeply instilled. She does not simply exist for herself, she believes in people and she feels everyone can become something. She helped me to believe in myself.

Many people need simply somebody to spark a bit of hope. She was concerned and she did not write me off. She saw my potential.

She said material accomplishments will soon be forgotten. The only thing that lasts is the investment we make in other people's lives. She said this is the same way she did it the past, now, and will do it the same in the future, by making people better off than they were before.

And she will take those values with her to to Washington, D. C., and this is why I support Kay for Congress.

--Gloria Abercrombie
Kansas City

Soldier thankful


I am a Sergeant First Class in the US Army, currently serving in Iraq on my 3rd tour with the 1st Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Riley, KS. My unit has been sponsored by the great people of Platte County and I wanted to express my thanks for all that your city and it's people have done for our unit.

My wife and two daughters that I left behind in Kansas have had nothing but great support thanks to people with kind and generous hearts like yourselves right there in the great "Show Me.” Both of my daughters truly enjoyed the Christmas care packages that were sent and I know are very thankful to all of "Santa's helpers" that were involved with the program. In addition, the diaper drive for other family members as well as the many care packages and letters that have been sent forward to us here at Camp Taji have been causes for many a smiles on our Unit members faces. Thank you for all you do.

--Michael L. DeWitt
SFC, 62B40
Maintenance Fleet Manager-
HHC, 1st Sustainment Brigade

Why Tracy should be audited


As being the chief accounting agent for the City of Tracy from April 2002 thru April 2008, every citizen has the right to have a clean accounting of the cities funds. My reason for requesting a state audit of the City of Tracy's accounting system is that the Board of Aldermen during my six year tenure refused to comply with the contract for the sewer project, which requires an annual audit until such time the contract payments have all been satisfied.

Mayor Rita Rhoads, as a city alderman, in June of 2007 called the auditors (this auditor who had been auditing the city for several years) office upsetting his staff which led to his refusal to do the 2005 and 2006 audits. The hiring of the current auditor was delayed until November with the understanding that due to the fact it was in the middle of tax season and his firm was busy no final date was established for completion of the audit, a contract was signed.

In April 2008, the board voted not to pay the current invoice because they had not received an audit. This was when I requested a state audit as I felt the audit was going down the drain.

QUESTION: Why does the city not want an audit?

In a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, citizens were informed how to have their name removed from the audit petition. The letter stated that sewer and water rates would have to be increased to pay for the audit and that the street repairs would have to be put on hold in order to pay for the audit. This is attempted intimidation of the City residents. To use the above-mentioned funds to pay for the audit, in my view, can be misappropriation of funds.

For five years, I tried to get the city treasurer to account for funds in accordance with the “Government Accounting System Board” program, mandated by the federal government following the Enron catastrophe. The Board of aldermen told her she did not have to follow my instructions regarding the city accounting practices as required by the state. The failure to do so could deter the city to continue to receive state and federal project funding for Tracy. This accounting system is one used by accountants.

In talking with our current auditor over the past few months of his doing our audit, he has expressed difficulty in being able to segregate incomes and expenditures with the records given to him, and requested additional data. The audit payment is from the administration account. The city uses one account to pay all accounts by transferring funds from the one fund to all other funded obligations. That is why I have requested the state to perform an audit so that perhaps the board will understand what I have been trying to get them do. Each fund must stand-alone and carry its own obligations.

This audit is to give the current administration a clear accounting procedure by using the above-mentioned government accounting system of funds from which to go forward and not have to be concerned with the prior administrations accounting period. We cannot continue to operate under the Peter to Paul principle. This is the policy our federal government uses, thus causing citizens fear for continued social security income.

The city is growing and, modernization of the accounting system is a must.

--Brenda Ferguson
Former Tracy mayor

Tax cuts needed


George Bush's economic stimulus package will give individuals who have an income between $3,000 and $75,000 check amounts of $300 to $600, according to Married taxpayers who earn up to $150,000 will receive $1,200. Included in this package is also a $300-per-child tax credit.

According to, "The package also includes tax breaks for equipment purchases by businesses, as well as payments to disabled veterans and some senior citizens.”

Critics of the measure included congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. In his weekly column, Paul stated: "I am in favor of taxpayers getting some of their money back, however temporary tax cuts and one-time rebates will not 'fix' the economy. What we desperately need right now is real deep significant tax cuts that are enabled by big spending cuts and reduction of government waste that is so rampant. Unfortunately, too many in Washington still believe we can spend our way into prosperity, which does not work and never has.”

I agree. The government is merely returning money that was ours to start with. Instead Congress should abolish the Marxist Progressive Income Tax by repealing the Sixteenth Amendment and return us to the freedom to invest in unregulated production for prosperity.

--Frank M. Pelteson
Las Vegas, NV

Gas prices the fault of liberals


While the liberal-led congress appears to be dragging the U.S. oil companies over the coals because of the rising cost of fuel and a supposed desire for “energy independence,” the truth is the only way these liberal legislators could be happier is if the price goes higher. The high cost of fuel is a goal that liberals, especially the environmental extremist, have been working toward for years.

The hard fact is the only thing the liberal politicians are concerned about is making sure that they are able to deflect the animosity caused by the high price of fuel. If these “government knows best” proponents can place this animosity on the free market then that’s called “killing two birds with one stone.”

Hence, we see the old trick that congress pulls when it wants to show that it “feels your pain” yet really doesn’t want to do anything about the “problem” that you think exists; congressional hearings. Oh, so impressive. Not!

While Fox anchor Neil Cavuto spent this last week trying to get Democrat Senators to admit we need to open up oil drilling in our country, especially since China is taking oil just a few miles off our coasts, the Senators skillfully dodged the reality that we could increase supply, and thereby lower cost, by stating “we need to explore alternative fuels.” “Alternative fuels,” what a beautiful buzz phrase.

The Washington Post in its March 25, 2007 article “Corn Can’t Solve Our Problem” stated, “If every one of the 70 million acres on which corn was grown in 2006 was used for ethanol, the amount produced would displace only 12 percent of the U.S. gasoline market. Moreover, the "new" (non-fossil) energy gained would be very small -- just 2.4 percent of the market.”

How about independence through nuclear energy? Do your homework, the U.S. imports most of its nuclear fuel as well.

The article that best predicted our position today is the June 2004 article of David Ignatius in the Washington Post titled, “Why Gas Prices Are Too Low.” Ignatius compares the $2.24 a gallon price in the U.S. to the European price of over five dollars a gallon and complains that these low U.S. prices encourage higher consumption vehicles (the infamous S.U.V.) and states the best way to stop this would be a fifty cent per gallon tax increase and even toys with a two dollar per gallon tax increase. While Ignatius admits that such an upfront tax increase would be politically impossible, we now see that the liberals have found a backside tax increase, as they always do, that accomplishes the same goal by prohibiting the recovery of oil in our nation thereby limiting supply and driving up the price.

Yes, liberals do believe in the free market, especially when they have the power to manipulate and control it. What better avenue could liberals have in accomplishing their goals than to use the market system? Never underestimate a liberal’s determination to inflict its desires upon you.

--Timothy J. Thompson
Kansas City in
Platte County

Ad caused change of heart


I was all set to support Sam Graves for re-election, only because I don't see Kay Barnes as a viable representative. While she was busy as mayor handing out huge TIF grants to outside developers, the basic civic needs of Kansas Citians went largely ignored. Therefore, I was ready to vote for Sam Graves...until I saw his crass and tasteless "San Franciso Values" attack ad.

Naturally, her campaign struck back with accusations of their own, but it’s' too late now. Rep. Graves struck the first low blow.

However, I support a woman's right to choose. I also support marriage for any consenting adult. But I can’t support someone who doesn't speak for me or many of my fellow citizens. I can't support Sam Graves for Congress.

--Evan Parris
Kansas City

Assaulted by own radio


Last week I was verbally assaulted by my own radio. It was no other than our (Honorable?) Sam Graves.

First I cannot believe any radio station would play a spot that could be considered bordering liable.It is beyond my imagination that the representative supposed to be caring for our state in Washington would say he approved this message. He either thinks his constituents are so simple minded that we cannot see past this nonsense or he must be the simple minded one. In one 15 second spot he lost my vote.

Please join me and go to his website: and tell him this kind of campaigning will not be tolerated in our great state.

We will not allow him to flush this election down the septic tank. We will walk the high road without him.

Kay Barnes has changed the path of downtown Kansas City and if you haven’t seen the revitalization, it is worth the trip. That is the kind of leadership we need to represent our district of Missouri.

---Diann Graham Godbey
Camden Point

We can't afford Kay Barnes


After reading the typical hogwash put our by Russ Purvis (The Convenient Truth column, May 7 issue of The Landmark), I have to respond.

When you go to the polls in November, remember the mess left by Kay Barnes in Kansas City. You should remember 78 million reasons to vote for Sam Graves.

Kay Barnes left Kansas City with a $78 million budget shortfall for her successor to try and rectify. Typical for a Democrat, Purvis cannot get his facts straight or quotes his version of facts, which are not true. Do not believe this BS, we cannot afford Kay Barnes.

She left the mayor’s job in KC with the city in a financial mess and would do the same as a congressman. The taxpayers in KC will be paying for Kay Barnes for the next 50 years or longer.

The KC downtown she is so proud of will be a home for the criminal element in a short time and will be a place most people will stay away from after a short period of time.

Sam Graves has done a very good job and should be kept in office.

If you, as voters, elect Barnes you are asking for trouble.

Put Graves back in Congress. He has earned your trust and respect.

--George Fee

Barnes not good for district


I want to say kudos to James Thomas for his opinion (The Right Stuff, May 14 issue of The Landmark) which was, and I quote: “Barnes not a good candidate for Sixth District.”

Immediately after Barnes had to leave the office of mayor of Kansas City, Mo. After eight years, I was shocked to see her on an afternoon TV broadcast announcing her candidacy to run for Sixth District representative against Sam Graves. She was 71 years old at that time and had gone to her elderly mother’s home in St. Joseph. They were out in the yard where she had a short speech in which she mentioned Walter Cronkite as her cousin. Was this intended to help her get elected?

No one in Kansas City’s Fifth District can vote for Kay Barnes and as James Thomas so aptly stated, the Sixth District includes all of Platte and Clay Counties from the Missouri River to the Iowa line and halfway across the state. I have a daughter and her husband who are farmers in Harrison County in Sixth District. Sam Graves easily won the last election over his opponent.

Sam Graves secured a grant for Maryville State Teachers College where many young people in Platte and Clay County attend college. I know of other things too numerous to mention.

After Kay Barnes left the mayor’s office, the KC Star reported she left the fire and ambulance departments short on funds, which are the two most important entities in any city or town.

So what does Kay Barnes know about farming?

I will be voting for Sam Graves.

--Faye McHenry

Graves should be positive


Dear God --- it's started already!

Congressman Sam Graves has started the mud-slinging, and the November election is still over five months away. Last week he ran TV and radio advertisements in parts of the 6th congressional district criticizing his opponent --- Kay Barnes.

It's hard to believe that an incumbent would feel that he needs to enlist such nastiness this early in an election year. This negativity should be a clue to those of us, who are not 24/7 political fanatics, that he must be feeling pretty desperate already --- and maybe for good reason.

Why does Sam Graves have to start negative campaign advertising so soon?

Why can't he talk about "good things" that he's accomplished during his time in office?

Well, maybe it's because he really doesn't have much positive to say about what he's been doing in Washington the past seven years.

--David Raffel

The voter ID law


Let me see if I get this right regarding the Voter ID law recently passed by the Supreme Court.

Even though voter fraud is rarely committed, literally thousands of would-be voters are now forced to jump through all sorts of hoops in order to cast their vote in the upcoming election.

Accentuating the negatives committed by a small minority at the expense of the vast majority only serves as fodder for those all too eager to “throw the baby out with the bath water”once a flaw has been exposed.

--Eddie L. Clay

Eye opening


My Republican brother Jefferson Lewis who sells for a Wall Street firm surprised me over a year ago saying he supported the new man in American politics -- Illinois Democrat Barak Obama.

Jeff's selling point was this nation is nine trillion dollars in debt, and will be trillions in debt for decades to come. He said we will need in the White House a smooth-talking Harvard-educated, 47-year-old black man to negotiate with the countries that hold our I.O.U.s. Barak's middle name "Hussein" will be an asset in the third world. My Republican brother recognizes a good salesman in Barak Obama. At that time I was favoring the populist John Edwards, and I feared a name like Barak Hussein Obama would not sell here in Missouri. I remembered the bewilderment I felt in 1964 when Cassius Clay re-named himself Muhammad Ali.

Obama actually did squeak by in the February Missouri primary. I have questions about that 65% anti-Obama vote in West Virginia. My clue came recently via the Internet from a Democratic acquaintance ( a Hillary supporter?) here in Platte County.

Her mystery e-mail was titled "Eye Opening." I thought it would be another appeal for money from African missionaries I'd never heard of. I opened it and found to my surprise the original "Obama is a Muslim" e-mail which is a shocking expose of The Obama Tribe.

Christians here could take this breathless stuff from the Celeste Davis Ministry just as seriously as West Virginians, and why not? It is a compelling read, and even offers a web-site. But I have a fancy web-site myself.

My idea is simple: "Google" Barak Hussein Obama and learn what's what. This so-called "tribe" the Davis Ministry is warning the World about were goat-herders, the long dead Obama grandfather was the only Muslim, Shia or Sunni, I don't know. His white mother divorced twice.

I've learned already all I will ever need to know about Chicago's Barak and Michelle Obama from the Oprah Winfrey Show, not Bill O'Reilly. There will be more of this "eye-opening" trash in unending robo-phone calls before the November vote. If the Internet can shock us with this stuff, why not use the computer as a tool for truth, justice and the American way? How do you think I knew the year--1964--Cassius Clay became Ali? I "Googled" it.

--Ed Gentry
St. Joseph

He's gonna do what?


I was incensed after reading Brian Kubicki's thoughts on the old cemetery at KCI (Parallax Look, May 7 issue). What is a publisher thinking that would print trash like this?

A grave is supposed to be an eternal resting place, not something to be desecrated at a developer's whim. Brian obviously has no ethics or morals of any kind. I seriously hope I never run into him in person or I may be tempted to re-arrange his face, and if God willing I out live him I will urinate on his grave.

--Mike Douglas

Sand plant presents danger


I feel compelled to respond to a recent article in the April 30 edition of The Landmark regarding the proposed sand and gravel strip-mining project near Waldron.

First of all --- it is my understanding that the developer of this project, who is from Lawrence, Kansas, is pursuing a “special use permit” for this project from the Platte County Planning & Zoning Board --- not a change in zoning.

That being said --- in my opinion --- this project poses a potential danger to, not only the Waldron community, but to many of the surrounding communities as well. Ultimately, this project would not only affect Waldron, but also the neighboring communities of Farley, Weston, Platte City, Leavenworth, and even Parkville.

In the article Mr. Penny indicated that he is focusing primarily on getting the pit on the east side of Kansas City up-and-running before he focuses on the Waldron project.

I would hope that the Platte County Planning & Zoning Board members would recognize that the Waldron area is not like the area near 210 and 291 highways on the other side of Kansas City. That area is mostly agricultural and industrial. There is hardly anyone actually living in that area.

The Waldron area is a thriving community of dozens of homes and land-owners. This area is filled with a rich history of ancient Native-American culture, and early Platte County, Missouri history. There are school children who live here. They breathe the air here, they drink the water here, and they ride school buses on 45 Highway.

At an informational meeting held back in November at the Platte County Administrative Building, Mr. Penny and his attorney Mr. Dave Baker indicated the following:

•This would be a 30-50 year project.

•There would be approximately 150-175 dump trucks picking up loads of sand at the strip-mine per-day between the hours of 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

•These trucks would be independent truckers, and not under the control of the project itself.

•There could be a pile of sand at the site that would be 70 feet high, and over 600 feet across.

•Any residual “parks” (i.e. lakes, ball fields, etc.) would be “privately” run.

Translating the above information:

•We should expect 300-350 truck-trips along 45 Highway between Farley and Interstate 435, and possibly other local roads, by independent truckers not controlled to utilize any particular roads, for a period of 30-50 years.

•Much of this additional truck traffic will utilize the interchange at 45 Highway and Interstate 435 --- impacting our neighbors living on the east-side of Interstate 435.

•This additional truck traffic will be on our roads during the critical pick-up and drop-off times for school buses along 45 Highway and other local roads.

•We should also expect increased noise and air pollution from the strip-mining site itself, as well as from the additional truck traffic on our roads.

•After the project is finished in 2038 to 2058, then there will be a “privately” run park-area that future generations can pay to use.

We all understand, and agree, that sand is needed for various construction projects around the Kansas City area. However, the choice for a site near Waldron is dangerous to those of us who call this area our home.

I would hope that when this project comes up for consideration of a “special use permit” that our fellow neighbors on the Platte County Planning & Zoning Board will reject this proposal. All they need to do is ask themselves --- would they want this project near their own homes.

--David A. Raffel

Plunkett earns green jacket


The Platte County Commission unanimously voted to adopt the Platte County Green Build Ordinance last week.

This is an incentive based program to promote energy efficient home building. A committee made up of home builders, utilities, lenders, citizens and others developed recommendations and county staff finalized the program.

Platte County, as one of the first in the metro area to adopt such an ordinance, is way out in front on issues of sustainability. In addition, promoting energy efficiency will make Platte County attractive to homebuyers concerned with rising energy costs. The same day of the adoption, KCP&L announced that electric rates will increase by a minimum of 27% in the next few years.

We hope the municipalities within the county will also adopt this model ordinance. We would like to thank Commissioner Jim Plunkett for his leadership on this issue. Green Build would not have happened without his persistence.

--Susan Brown

A job well done


As a citizen of Platte City, I would like to thank Leonard Hendricks and his crews for doing a great job on the CIP project this year.

They resurfaced many miles of streets in a very short time. There was very little interruption for traffic. They saved the city many dollars by doing a very large part of the projects with the city employees.

I would like to list all of the names of the employees and congratulate them on their hard work and dedication to doing a very good job, but I do not have that list.
Anyway, my hat is off to Leonard and his crews-outstanding.

Thanks so much.

--Gary W. Brown
Platte City

Complaint politically motivated


I am writing to give perspective to the recent ethics commission complaint filed against Kathy Dusenbery, former Parkville Mayor and candidate for Platte County Commissioner (Ethics Complaint Advances, April 30 issue of The Landmark).

This complaint is a political maneuver to attempt to discredit one of our community’s finest public servants. All that Kathy did was forward an e-mail from her personal computer, from her personal e-mail account, that included a statement from one of the Parkville mayoral candidates. She merely forwarded the email, like we all do from our personal computers, and didn’t stop to consider that her signature as mayor was at the bottom. Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue in any other city in the nation, Parkville is the only place where a mayor can’t endorse a candidate.

We need to look at the real motives here – the loser of the mayoral race and his cronies who are now trying to discredit our former mayor in the hopes of defeating her in her bid for the Platte County Commission. It’s telling that David Williams, the complaint filer, has been a long-time business associate and has financial investments with the defeated candidate Tom Hutsler.

Mr. Hutsler lost by a wide margin – you lost, now stop the personal attacks and move on so that we can all work together to make Parkville an even better place. There is much work to be done and the new mayor and council need to be focusing their efforts on continuing to move our city forward instead of dealing with this political nonsense. There is enough of that going on at the national scale.

--Mark Young

Sand and gravel pit concerns


As a resident of a neighborhood in close proximity to the proposed Waldron sand and gravel excavating site, I am anxious to see the final proposal from Dave Penny’s company (last week’s Landmark front page).

I remain skeptical of the value to our community, and concerned about the impact on southern Platte County. The traffic study that was originally filed indicated as many as 170 trucks per day would use 45 highway between the proposed site and I-435. That would make an already busy and dangerous rural highway even more treacherous.

I am also concerned about the impact on our levee system, and unlike Mr. Penny, I am glad that Platte County requires such studies be completed before zoning changes are considered.

A zoning change to allow this sort of industrial use of land in our rural community is something that concerns all residents of Southern Platte County, and we should all closely study the total impact to our environment before allowing this development to occur.

--Ron Peterson
Platte County

Lawsuit abuse needs addressed


As the voice of small business in Missouri, the National Federation of Independent Business is committed to serving the needs of its members across the state. One of our key priorities is curbing frivolous lawsuits that create a climate of fear for America's small businesses. Some claims are legitimate, but many are without merit.

Because lawsuit abuse is such a concern for NFIB members, we have joined with more than 20 other Missouri businesses and associations to support commonsense legal reform that is currently stuck in the House. We call ourselves the Missouri Justice Alliance, and we support House Bill 2241.

There is a terrible misconception that small business owners are rich, but I can assure you that is not the case. There's no stash of cash hidden in the closet to bail out a family business in the event of a costly lawsuit. Often, the thought of attorney fees alone are overwhelming for a small business.

Roughly 90 percent of employers in Missouri have fewer than 25 employees, meaning the vast majority of businesses in this state are small. In the blink of an eye, any of these businesses could become the subject of a crippling lawsuit unless we have the good sense to reform the laws before it's too late.

This isn't just a problem for business owners. Small business accounts for 98 percent of all employer firms in the state of Missouri and employs about half of the state's workforce. When Missouri's small businesses are hurt, so are Missouri's working families.

The Missouri House has the chance to make sure no small business owner has to fear losing everything he or she has worked for due to a frivolous lawsuit. We're asking everyone to please support the state's small businesses by calling or writing their legislators before the House adjourns on May 16 and asking them to pass HB 2241.

--Brad Jones
State Director
National Federation of
Independent Business
Jefferson City, Mo.

Economy not right for this


I read an article, posted the 24th of April, from the Commerce Department. The article reported the sale of new homes had plunged in March to the lowest level in 16 ½ years. It also went on to say that the median price of a new home in March compared to a year ago had fallen by the largest amount in four decades.

While reading this article I began to wonder ….. Wouldn’t a developer that has a wife in the real estate business be aware of this current state of affairs concerning new home sales and prices ? Our economy has been on the decline long before the beginning of this development. A good business person and even some really bad business owners are at least aware of the market up-swings or in this case down-swing in their particular line of work.

So I began to wonder if the master plan for 680 “homes” that has been proposed is really the “master plan” for this particular project. I find it hard to believe that even a truly bad businessman would spend money to try and develop a subdivision in an economy that has hit a 16½ year low… and considering that the median price of a new home has fallen the largest amount in 40 years… does this mean that they are going to re-evaluate the selling price of these homes?

Given the current economy, the current condition of new home sales and falling values, and the current number of foreclosures wouldn’t it be reasonable to be asking ourselves and the powers to be “ is this the right time for such a development ?”

The planning and zoning board and commissioners truly need to step up here and do what it right for our community.

The current economy is not right for this type of development. There would be no shame in voting according to the land use plan that is currently in place. Residents of small communities are strapped financially as it is. Don’t make the million dollar dreams of a few the financial burden of many.

--Renae Payne
Platte County

Careful planning is the key


I am writing in response to Barry Turner’s letter (April 16 edition of The Landmark) in objection to the Tomahawke Ridge subdivision and the emergency services’ ability to service the subdivision and existing communities.

In Barry’s letter he stated his opinions, as is his right. It does not represent the opinion of the board members or the fellow officers of the Camden Point Fire Protection District. Platte County has experienced tremendous growth in the last 20 years. Our commissioners, zoning, public works, fire districts and ambulance district have worked hard to stay ahead of the increase for services that this requires.

There have already been projects of this size built south of Platte City, in NRAD and Central Platte’s district, and service has been continuing to improve. This is due to continued work by both of the mentioned districts in planning and growth for the future. This was made possible by the increase in the tax base from these commercial and residential projects. As with all growth, planning must be done carefully and with direction from strong leaders and community participation.

We believe this is happening and all communities are benefitting from it. As for the Camden Point Fire Protection District, we will continue to support our brother departments and NRAD as they continue to support us.

-- Chief Walt Stubbs
Camden Point
Fire District

Likes the new feature


Thank you for the new section to The Landmark: The Parkville News.

A terrific way to open the Railroad Museum, on the front page, Volume1, Number 1.

A great surprise for a great city. I look forward to the next edition.

--Pauli Kendrick
Weatherby Lake

EDITOR’S NOTE: The next edition of The Parkville News will be inserted in next week’s Landmark. Thanks for the kind words.

Support--don't kill--food production


Public Broadcasting is more than Antique Road show, the McNeil-Leir News Hour and Kermit the Frog. My letter addresses the two main points of a recent (4/11) Friday night Bill Moyers Journal on PBS.

We in northwest Missouri should know a thing or two about farming and politics, that is, agribusiness and its grip on your tax dollar.

The best interview in the Moyers’ program I'm referring to was with a preacher trying to get the government to spend less money on empty farm lands, and open up the federal gravy train for more money for poor people's Food Stamps. His real message I got was support food production, not kill it.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Navada told the preacher "Good Luck"---the two biggest lobby groups in Washington D.C. today, year 2008, are commodities and insurance companies. I'm sure readers have their own horror stories about insurance companies, I'm writing about food.

How much money did you pay for a can of tuna the last time you went grocery shopping?

Billions of our tax dollars are going to "agribusiness," for not even producing food, and this led the preacher's hunger organization to team with a known, right wing Libertarian group I've scorned ---The Cato Institute.

Ron Paul supporters, I've been wrong --The Cato Institute is not completely bad...close, for their campaign to destroy Social Security, but certainly no cigar this time.

Ask yourself, what's the name of the lobbyist organization most outspoken in its support for our 6th District Missouri Congressman? Why, it’s the Farm Bureau.

Make it clear I'm an independent supporter of Congressional candidate Kay Barnes, but aren't you also tired of business-as- usual in Washington, DC?

Taxpayers I'll spell it out one more time: insurance companies and agribusiness--the biggest hogs at the feed lot.

--Ed Gentry
St. Joseph

Planet Earth is doing just fine


With all the reminders to recycle, shrink our carbon footprint, and reduce our consumption of goods, just about everyone feels guilty on Earth Day.

Indeed, if you listen to the three presidential candidates, you couldn't be faulted for thinking that a cabal of greedy oil executives was bent on putting the future of our planet at risk.

But planet Earth is doing just fine. And it's the world's richest countries -- led by the United States -- that are doing the most to preserve and protect the environment.

Take this: Over the last 30 years, air pollution emissions from American manufacturers have fallen by about 60 percent, even as real manufacturing output has increased by 70 percent, according to a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Data from the Environmental Protection Agency show that there's been a 60-percent reduction in levels of sulfur dioxide, the chemical that causes acid rain, in the eastern United States since 2000. And there's been a 50-percent drop in emissions of nitrogen oxide, a prime contributor to respiratory illness.

In Los Angeles, air-quality regulators have noted a significant decline in health risk from air pollution. In the 1970s, Los Angeles residents went through nearly 200 high-risk pollution days each year. These days, the city has fewer than 25 annually.

There's good news on the ground, too. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently reported that the United States has been gaining wetlands at a rate of about 32,000 acres per year over the last decade.

American water resources have enjoyed a resurgence as well. Rare fish species have returned to the Detroit River for the first time in nearly a century.

But what about global warming? Isn't the United States single-handedly turning Greenland into a tropical paradise?

Not really. Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" looks to have been little more than "convenient fiction." U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions actually fell by 1.5 percent in 2006 -- a first for a non-recessionary year.

Meanwhile, Europe's finger-wagging on climate change hasn't matched its actions. Between 1997 and 2004, the last year for which relevant data are available, GHG emissions from Kyoto Protocol signatories increased 21.1 percent. Emissions from non-Kyoto nations, by contrast, increased only 10 percent.

And from the United States? Just a 6.6-percent increase.

Unfortunately, the public dialogue on this issue is dominated by environmental doomsayers who ignore these facts. And they're spearheading all sorts of dangerous regulatory efforts. All three presidential candidates have promised to push for restrictive anti-global-warming measures if elected.

Case in point: the increasingly popular goal of reducing worldwide GHG emissions by 80 percent by 2050. At least a dozen U.S. states -- including New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts -- have signed onto the program, either through an executive order or non-binding resolution.

Al Gore supports this proposal. And he may have the opportunity to implement it nationwide, as Barack Obama has expressed interest in adding Gore to his cabinet, if elected. But Obama and Gore fail to realize that mandating a drop in emissions of that magnitude by 2050 would wreak havoc on the economy.

The rush to rein in GHG emissions is all the more backwards when you consider that America's environment has improved precisely because of the nation's economic growth.

Growing economies allocate resources more efficiently and produce new technologies that strengthen their ability to control pollution. Hard-and-fast caps on emissions amount to hard-and-fast caps on growth, making everyone poorer and handicapping one of the best ways to improve the environment.

So as you celebrate this Earth Day, remember that the sky isn't falling. The reality is that America is making great strides in its quest to improve the environment.

--Sally C. Pipes
CEO of the Pacific Research Institute

R-3's fight is ludicrous


I have been paying taxes and living here in Platte City since 2000. I think the current fight our school officials are having with our state representative about development at KCI is ludicrous. R-3 is not receiving any tax revenue from this property now, so how can they lose what they don't have?

With our assessed valuations at an all time high, how can anyone actually argue that our schools don't have enough money or they would be hurt by new jobs coming to Platte County?

I hope those getting the new jobs will buy some of the vacant houses here in our area and help ease the tax burden for the rest of us who keep paying more and more each year. Unfortunately though, I have a feeling that our taxes will continue to rise until we the tax- payers quit authorizing numerous government entities to spend more of our money by finally holding them accountable and saying enough is enough.

I for one would hate to be one of those Sprint employees that are getting the axe and then hear from those in charge of our schools that we don't need any new jobs. What will happen to the children of those parents?

I want to thank State Representative Brown for fighting for increased funding of our schools in the past and for fighting for new jobs now.

--Rachel Paolillo
Platte City

Resources would be strained


I am writing this letter on behalf of many of the residents of Camden Point and the surrounding areas. We wish to express our objection to the proposed Tomhawke Ridge housing development at Winan Road and 92 Hwy.

This proposal goes against the county's stated land use plan and would open the door for future developments to used as an argument to allow their own plans to proceed. The residents of the area are not opposed to development but are greatly concerned at the proposed number of homes to be built. Additionally, we are in agreement that the proposed cost of the homes cannot be considered as starter homes as stated by the developer. We are further concerned with the estimated increase in traffic in the area. As many of the residents in this area use Interurban Rd. and Winan Rd. to access 92 Hwy, the potential for accidents would be greatly increased.

While I write this letter as a concerned citizen and not as a spokesperson for Camden Point Fire Protection District or for the Northland Regional Ambulance District (NRAD), my knowledge and experience gained through my continuing participation in both of these organizations allows me to express the following concerns. As a member of the Camden Point Fire Protection District in which I serve as the captain on the department, I would strongly recommend that the additional burden placed on the Central Platte Fire Protection District and their subsequent mutual-aid partners in fire protection be considered as an undue strain upon the existing resources.

Due to the proposed close proximity of the homes to one another and the limited water sources available in the area, Central Platte Fire would have to utilize the surrounding fire departments for water supply and surrounding structure protection. Also since Central Platte Fire, as well as their surrounding mutual-aid departments, is a volunteer department and not manned 24 hours a day in their stations, drawing their resources to fight fires or to respond to medical calls for the residents of this area would leave their district and possibly the surrounding districts with inadequate coverage in the event of another event at the same time.

Additionally, I am active in the emergency medical services that are provided by NRAD ambulance and have first hand knowledge of the number of responses that this service has provided in the past at the intersection of Winan Road and 92 Hwy. The additional traffic that would be created by this development would increase the number of accidents at this intersection and would therefore place additional demands upon the ambulance service.

With the limited availability of other ambulance units to respond in the event that NRAD is engaged in medical services in this area, the response times for other areas of the district would increase greatly and would cause undue waiting time for others. Given the current budget situation of NRAD, it is not feasible at this time to expect that an additional ambulance could be placed in service to cover this expected increase in calls. It is also unreasonable to expect that remaining units in service can adequately provide acceptable response times for the members of the ambulance district.

It is our sincerest hopes that all commissioners would view these additional concerns as well as the concerns of the residents within the affected area and vote against allowing this development to proceed as currently proposed.

--Barry Turner
Camden Point

North Platte needs A+ program


The following survey appears on the North Platte R-1 website:

“After weighing the advantages and disadvantages of A+, do you believe the District should work toward implementing the program? (For information on A+, click on the button above).”

The website only provides a confusing explanation as to why A+ does not make financial sense for the district. Perhaps the confusing financial explanation is an excuse to cover the embarrassment of not pursuing A+ designation in a timely and more cost effective manner? East Buchanan, Mid Buchanan, West Platte, and Platte County School Districts have all earned the designation. The A+ program has been a benefit to Missouri students since 1995. A+ makes a great deal of sense for the district and should have been implemented for the students of North Platte several years ago.

I am troubled by the school board’s inability to present the A+ program in any kind of a positive light. The patrons of the district are asked to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the A+ program and then only provided with negative confusing information. The information provided by the board is designed to manipulate the patrons of North Platte, not inform them.

I provided the School Board with the attached letter on March 19, 2008.

“I am requesting the North Platte School Board to begin the process of seeking A+ designation with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. East Buchanan, Mid Buchanan, West Platte, and Platte County School Districts have all earned the designation. Our neighboring school district West Platte currently has 53 seniors of which 40 participate in the A+ program with 20 to 25 of the students planning on using the benefits.

Many North Platte students plan on attending college after graduation, but many of them are soon discouraged when they discover the cost of college tuition or vocational schools.

The cost for an associate degree or attending a vocational technical school for a 2 year program is quickly approaching $10,000.

A+ designation will enable North Platte students to attend college or vocational schools at a much-reduced cost. The A+ Program enables eligible students to attend community college or vocational school in Missouri and to have tuition, fees and a percentage of the book cost paid for by the state.

The A+ Schools program also encourages students to stay in school, make career plans and to graduate with the skills and knowledge required for career success or to pursue advanced education.

Since fall 1995, many Schools in Missouri have taken advantage of the Missouri Department of Secondary and Elementary Education's A+ Program. The A+ Schools Program financial incentive has been utilized by over 33,000 eligible students.

I believe a small portion of North Platte's overall financial budget ( $25,000 + Insurance Benefit for a coordinator) paying for A+ will serve as an excellent educational investment for our community and will do more than anything else to help students earn self-sufficiency, find jobs that pay a living wage, raise their families, and become productive citizens.

The district has excellent educational standards for students and has been successful with M.A.P. testing. I would like to see North Platte students rewarded for their academic excellence by receiving the benefits of the District obtaining A+ designation. The North Platte School District Patrons I have spoken to all support the A+ program. I hope the North Platte School Board will educate themselves regarding the over whelming educational cost benefits of A+ and immediately start the process of seeking A+ designation. You can find more information concerning A+ designation at the Missouri Department of Secondary and Elementary Education's web site:

--Jon McLaughlin
New Market

Gas tax hike is not the answer


If you are in a hole, common sense says to stop digging. But the leadership in Congress is trying to do the exact opposite. With Missourians facing record prices at the pump, Democratic Congressman John Dingell has proposed raising the gasoline tax by 50 cents per gallon.

Raising taxes on motorists only hurts our families and hurts our economy. I will fight all attempts to raise the taxes Missouri families pay at the pump. We need to be working to reduce the price of gas, not increase it.

Congressman Dingell’s proposal would increase the federal gas tax from 18.4 cent per gallon tax to 68.4 cents per gallon. This represents a nearly 300 percent increase in the federal gas tax.

What’s worse, this proposed tax increase comes at a time when gas prices continue to rise. Since Nancy Pelosi has been in charge of Congress, gas prices have risen by one dollar per gallon. We do not need more taxes; we need an energy policy that addresses our growing energy costs.

To combat rising energy prices, we need to increase American sources of energy. This includes increasing production of renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. It also includes tapping into the sources of energy we have and are not using in this country. Millions of barrels of oil exist in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off the costal shelf, but are not currently being used. By going after the energy we have in our own backyard, we can reduce the prices we pay.

Missourians need an energy policy, not higher taxes on their gas.

--Sam Graves

'No sign' challenge issued


A song from my youth said, “Sign, sign everywhere a sign blocking out the scenery breaking my mind.” The Five Man Electrical Band surely had political campaigns in mind when they sang those words. With that in mind, I am issuing a challenge to my opponents regarding the use of signs in our upcoming campaign.

This “NO YARD SIGN CHALLENGE” is being issued in order to keep our neighborhoods and highways clean and to prevent interference with our beautiful natural scenery. We have to start walking the walk, if we are really talking the “green” talk and discussing issues to protect our neighborhoods.

I promise to use no signs in the ground, big or small. I will sign a pledge to do this if all my opponents accept this no sign challenge. This could be a groundbreaking campaign that not only focuses on the issues, but actually make a statement by doing something positive during the campaign by removing unsightliness from the campaign trail.

This no sign challenge should be implemented immediately and I encourage my opponents to sign the pledge I have mailed to them. We should all let our actions speak louder for us than our words.

Let's not simply say we are protecting neighborhoods, let's do something positive not to clutter them up during this campaign.

--William “Bill” Quitmeier

$4 Gasoline is tipping point


If gasoline prices hit $4 per gallon as many economists predict, an estimated 65 percent of American car owners say they will dramatically change their driving behavior, according to a survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for our association.

According to the survey, 91 percent of drivers are driving less and 75 percent are maintaining their vehicle better because of rising gas prices. Other specific behavioral changes were carpooling (31 percent), purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles (30 percent) and making greater use of public transportation (24 percent).

Driving less might not be an option for you, but performing simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance will not only save gas money, perhaps as much as $1200 per year, but will also improve your vehicle’s safety and dependability. The Car Care Council offers these gas-savings maintenance and driving tips:

Check your vehicle gas cap. About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.

When tires aren’t inflated properly, it’s like driving with the parking brake on, and can cost a mile or two per gallon.

A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as three million times each 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat, electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.

An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.

Keep your car properly tuned. A 21st Century tune-up can improve your gas mileage by an average of four percent. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.

These simple vehicle maintenance steps can add up to serious savings. To learn more about how to maintain your vehicle and reduce your fuel expenses, visit

-- Kathleen Schmatz
Presid ent & CEO
Automotive Aftermarket
Industry Association

USA sovereignty being destroyed


The United States was created by the 13 individual states that existed in 1789. They established a federal government with limited powers and very few duties. Each state was to remain independent in most areas.

The people could control federal spending because they elected the members of the U.S. House of Representatives where all money bills must originate. The state legislatures could control federal interference because they elected the members of the U.S. Senate. In 1913, 36 states passed the 17th Amendment to allow voters to directly elect their U.S. Senators.

Since then, the federal government has usurped many powers of the states. We are rapidly becoming a police state. The president is now allowing warrantless seizes and searches, torture, and many other unconstitutional activities. He also is suspending habeas corpus, our right to face criminal accusations in a court of law.

The feds also plan to merge the United States with Mexico and Canada into a sovereignty-destroying regional government with open borders called the North American Union (NAU) by 2010. Go to for NAU details. Americans need to demand that the feds obey our Constitution now, or we soon will be governed by officials we did not elect, just like the European Union is today.

--Richard and Gloria Hampton
Sylmar, CA

Mother determines Jewish faith


This letter is in response to last week’s column (March 19th) by Brian Kubicki, entitled “Barrack Obama – Is he or isn’t he?”

I hate to break the news to Mr. Kubicki, but the foundation of his entire column is bogus --- just as all of the concern about Obama’s true religious affiliation and/or his allegiance to the United States is bogus. Kubicki based his entire column on the premise that if you are born of a Jewish father --- then you are considered Jewish.
He has it backwards. In the Jewish religion it is the religion of the mother that determines whether you are considered Jewish.

So, then by using Mr. Kubicki’s own logic, but this time correctly --- Obama would clearly be construed as being Christian --- regardless of his “name” or what others might question.

This contortion of the truth is typical of Mr. Kubicki, and other social-conservatives, who like to use half-truths and mistruths to make their points. I think it was Adolph Hitler who said that: “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” He also said that: “It is not truth that matters, but victory.” (

Hopefully, the truth will ultimately prevail, and we will have a new era in which American politics, and political commentary, is based upon unity, understanding, and acceptance --- rather than division, ignorance, and fear.

--David Raffel

Proposal is a big shop of horrors


We are late comers to understanding the seriousness of the proposed Tomahawke Ridge Subdivision.

In short, after residing on North Winan Road for fifteen years which has given us a true understanding of the traffic situation, we are horrified at this proposal. The roads are not, absolutely not, adequate to carry the magnitude of vehicles resulting from this, or even a much smaller, housing addition.

Secondly the schools are not set up for all of the children resulting from said subdivision. All of the folks in this Platte City area are very proud of the high quality of the education offered by our local schools. There cannot be a positive outcome for the children.

To all of our neighbors, step up and voice your opinion on this proposed big shop of horrors. We still believe in the American way and hope that the trail of the money will not determine the outcome of this detrimental proposal.

To our county commissioners, we ask that you vote your conscience. We cannot believe that anyone residing in this area could vote for approval.

--Terry and Adrienne Glaeser
Platte County

Unique homes wanted


I am researching a new book titled “Homes of Platte County” featuring historic, exceptional and unique homes built in Platte County from 1840 to 2010. There will be 10 homes per decade for a total of 170 homes.

I need your readers’ help in locating these historic, exceptional and unique homes. Some of your readers may have grown up in one of these homes or one of their friends or relatives did. Maybe a neighbor lives in one that is located off the beaten path and out of sight from the road. All assistance in locating these homes will be much appreciated.

Searching all of Platte County from Iatan to Edgerton down to Parkville and up to Weston and in-between is very important to me to be fair to everyone in the county. But I really need your readers’ help.

The homes need to be in very good shape so they will photograph well. This will be a coffee table style book with beautiful photos of these Platte County homes.

Plans are to have the printing/production costs underwritten by Platte County businesses and all profits going to the Platte County Historical Society and the Platte City YMCA and Parkville YMCA.

--Phillip L. Schroeder
Platte City

Confident about KCI land deal


Perhaps, you have been reading and listening to the exchange of words regarding the development of the land around KCI.

When I first heard about this several weeks ago, I started my own research into this project and unfortunately there has been a lot of misinformation and lack of complete information given to the public. The land that is in question is owned by the public (KCI and Kansas City) and because of that it is not currently taxed like private property.

I am neither an attorney nor do I claim to be an investment specialist but I am a Park Hill school board member. I want to publicly thank our superintendent Dr. Fisher for his work and his negotiations with the city of Kansas City, KCI and Trammel Crow without being adversarial.

I trust that those sitting in those negotiations will work out an agreement that is beneficial to schools and Platte County. Nothing frustrates me more than having kids/education used as political spin to make a news story hit the front page.

With the economy being what it is and let's face it, it is not stellar right now; we need jobs in Platte County. Jobs that can potentially fill some of the empty homes, increase shopping activity and keep the restaurants busy with patrons. Not to mention bring more kids into a great school district like Park Hill.

Dr. Fisher has set the example of how to work with business and education and he has modeled the process that we all should follow to make Platte County the place that new businesses want to be located.

On a final note, thank you to State Representative Jason Brown for his representation of Platte County in Jefferson City. Whether you agree or disagree with Jason, he should be commended for taking an active role in bringing jobs to Platte County and for his working with education during his tenure in the house.

I would suggest that all our Platte County state representatives should be advocates for kids and jobs and take a public stand to keep Platte County top on the list of places to raise your family and plant your business.

--John A. Thomas
Park Hill
School Board Member

City worker draws praise


How does one go about saying thank you to an individual that works for the city of Platte City? Sure one can tell the person face to face, and I have done that. But the good folks of Platte City need to know that there are some who work for this city that are worthy of acknowledgement and praise. It is for sure that should I go to city hall, and make a verbal statement, the wrong people will take credit for the situation and I seriously doubt if the proper individual would ever hear about the “atta-boy.”

There is located adjacent to my driveway a culvert that carries water from the street to a drainage ditch behind my home. The concrete around the opening to the culvert has been in very poor condition for several years. The curbing associated with it had long since been pushed out of place and damaged by the water getting under it and the freezing-thawing process.

I had been promised in the past that the culvert and drainage situation at the street would be repaired. Even some who have worked on the street in front of my house and one who came to clean the culvert stated that someone would look at the mess. In the twenty-three years I have lived on this street no one from city hall has bothered to visit me except those looking to be elected to some position on the city council. I formed the opinion early on that few elected officials or upper level hirelings, if any, could be trusted to do what they stated.

An outstanding exception to my opinion met me face-to-face on March 13, 2008. As I understand it, there is work being done to the curbing on some of the streets in my neighborhood. When the contractor, who has a super bunch of guys, removed the bad concrete, I called Mr. Leonard Hendricks to assess some damage as a result of past water flow. I was prepared for the usual verbally demeaning rhetoric that comes out of city hall. I was met instead by a young man that was pleasant, friendly and has a keen sense of humor. I found him very professional and it appears to me that the guy knows his job and is good at it. Believe when I say that was a very pleasant change from my past encounters with some who preside in council meetings.

I am of the opinion that if the jack legs who claim to be the runners of this fine city leave him alone and let him do his job, we just may see streets and other maintenance issues fixed or changed for the better.

Thanks, Mr. Hendricks, this city could use a lot more like you.

Call me a surprised and grateful citizen.

--Ted Craven
Platte City

Subdivision could cause flooding


I have a deep concern about the proposed subdivision for 92 Highway and N. Winan Road. My home is located on Interurban Road, not far from Muddy Branch, which drains the entire area to be developed.

With the amount of houses that are proposed, the number of acres that will be roof tops and roads are unknown to me, but I suspect in the neighborhood of 30 to 50 acres, maybe more. With that amount of water runoff from hard surfaces, I fully expect my home to be flooded in the future.

A lot of the terrain is now in pasture and some of it terraced, which soaks up or slows down the runoff. Even with the land as such, in the early 1980s, my home had18 inches of flood water in the basement garage and six inches of flood water in my finished basement den and laundry room, which leaked through the wall and door. During that flood, the water was within a few inches of going over Interurban Road.

On another occasion, during a hard rain the flood water backed up to my lower driveway. A former neighbor, Judge Badtke, who has since passed, and had lived in the neighborhood for years, told me the water had actually ran over Interurban Road before, during yet another storm, prior to me buying my home.

The old Interurban Railroad arch concrete culvert beneath Interurban Road is not large enough to handle a fast runoff. The road then acts like a dam, and my home is setting in a large pond of water until it drains through the culvert.

The proposed lake will be for recreation and will not be a flood control lake. I do not expect it to help my flooding problem with the additional runoff from roof tops and roads. While I share the concerns of my neighbors about the volume of traffic on 92 Highway, N. Winan and Interurban Road, the volume of water coming downstream toward my home is of greater concern to me.

A permanent solution to my problem would be a new bridge on Interurban Road; a big help would be one house on 10 acres. I ask for help from the landowner, developer, planning and zoning, the county commissioners and the special road district. Any help will be appreciated.

--Charles Rhodes
Rural Platte County

Security of Missouri's students


Our schools are among the safest places for our children, but the violence that occurred last year at Virginia Tech and recently at Northern Illinois University is a reminder that we must continue to be vigilant and enhance our preparedness for emergency situations.

We have watched with horror as criminals perpetrated violent attacks at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Northern Illinois University. From these we have learned that school officials must be aware of warning signs. Equally as important, we have also learned that early, systematic communication is vital to saving lives. At Virginia Tech, there was a lapse between the first and subsequent shootings. With better communication, the tragedy might not have been as damaging.

Last summer, with the leadership of the Missouri School Boards Association, we created the Missouri Alert Network to ensure quick and thorough communication in the event of a dangerous situation in a Missouri K-12 school. This network is a state-level, rapid notification and information distribution system to be activated in emergencies. Through this system, every school in our state, public and private, can be notified simultaneously with a voice, text, or e-mail message. The network is operated by and, when needed, activated by state public safety officials. We started the Missouri Alert Network in elementary and secondary schools around the state. We are now working with the Missouri Schools Boards Association to expand this important service to colleges and universities which will help us protect even more Missourians from danger.

Last year I created the Campus Security Task Force to enhance safety on college and university campuses throughout Missouri. A survey conducted by the task force revealed that leaders at 92 percent of Missouri higher education institutions said that emergency notification was their highest concern for campus security. Expanding the Missouri Alert Network to colleges and universities helps to address those concerns.

The Campus Security Task Force was charged with enhancing our ongoing efforts to make every campus in Missouri a safe place to live and learn. One of the task force’s recommendations was for institutions to establish multi-disciplinary teams, with members from faculty, law enforcement, and the mental health community, to share and review information about members of the campus community who are perceived to be exhibiting behaviors and characteristics indicative of violence or causing concern. These multi-disciplinary teams will be charged with helping students with these problems, and, in the process, protecting others.

Other task force recommendations include: increased collaboration between campus and local emergency responders in developing and exercising emergency plans, that every campus should have a designated official to coordinate emergency and homeland security operations, and that all colleges and universities should use the Emergency Response Information Program (ERIP), an Internet-based tool, to construct their all-hazard plan. To date, 21 colleges and universities across the state are using ERIP

Missouri students and parents can rest assured that law enforcement officials on college campuses, in college communities, and throughout our state are prepared to protect students with rapid communication of the threats and hazards and rapid, practiced, and coordinated on-scene response to emergency situations. I commend the Missouri School Boards Association for partnering with the state and our schools, colleges and universities to bring this important safety initiative to Missouri students.

--Gov. Matt Blunt

Listen to the survey results


You are dead right about the consequences of the land use plan and the zoning maps not being in agreement (Feb. 27 Between the Lines column). But we need to make the land use plan consistent with the zoning, which should be driven by the desire of the people who live in the surrounding community. Right now, neither the land use plan nor the current zoning reflect what people have stated they want.

The land use plan comes about as an independent study of a host of concerns. It's very technical and I tried to understand it when Daniel Erickson explained it, but, I don't have the background to fully grasp all the considerations that go into such a plan. I do know that the land use plan is supposed to be reviewed and updated on a regular
basis. It has more to do with what might be considered "good uses" for land rather than what people need or want.

That can lead to problems. Just because the terrain (or some other factor) will support a given project doesn't mean it's a good idea. People buy into an area because they like what they see around it. For the zoning to just automatically be changed based on some arbitrary land use plan is unfair to those who bought into an area.

It's not that zoning should never change. But you have to look at a lot of factors. The main ones should be what do the people who have to live with the results want? And what can the local economy support? And what can the county resources (public safety as well as the infrastructure) support?

The county does rely heavily on the land use plan when considering rezoning requests, as well it should, but I too have sometimes been told “it's just a guideline.” Well then, what guides the guideline?

A currently in progress process by the citizen's planning team is supposed to produce a strategic plan, the Platte County Profile. That along with various independent studies that will be done are supposed to influence the land use plan. One study that has already been completed is the survey your paper recently summarized.

This highly accurate survey made a very clear statement that residents don't want so much development, and they want more input into what development does occur. They don't want any more retail or other warehousing type industry and they want little or no more traffic in the support it. Ms. Knight remarked that people seemed like they didn't want any more growth. That's not so hard to understand: People have found Platte County to be a paradise and they are willing to share it so long as doing so won't destroy that paradise.

Personally? I'm not sure this process "works.” I've served on the CPT since inception but here at the end, when we have scientific survey results to direct us, I find some committee members are reluctant to incorporate those results into the profile. We still have one meeting left so I'm hopeful that will change.

That survey was, I'm sure, very costly. I don't know how it compares to the cost of Olsson and Associates, the consulting team that has been paid to conduct the process. Together I bet the price tag thus far has been hefty. If we get a profile, zoning, and a land use plan that all agree with each other and reflect the will of the people, then it will have been worth it. If not, you are absolutely right, our elected officials will have a lot to answer for, as well they should.

--Sue Lange

It's about doing the right thing


We are one of the families that live in rural Platte County that opposes the proposed subdivision “Lake at Tomahawke Ridge.”

We moved here from rural Ray County about eight years ago. We chose our rural home in Platte County because we wanted to maintain our “rural” lifestyle and still enjoy the amenities of the city. We have attended the neighborhood meetings, the community meetings at the planning and zoning office, and have followed the letters and articles in the newspaper. We agree in regard to the issues this type of subdivision will create for the residents of rural Platte County, issues such as increased traffic on 92 and Winan Road. We have heard the statistics from the traffic study, a study that was tainted at best. We believe the traffic study did not even take into account the truck traffic from the quarry. For those of us that live out here and drive these roads every day we know the dangers and the complications those trucks cause. We have heard that the county is not concerned with the water run-off after 38 miles of concrete are poured, but currently there are residents that live below the creek that runs through that property who already have flooding issues. Do the landowner and developer want us to believe that flooding issues won’t be increased after taking the trees out and disturbing the land?

We were told that the Special Road District and Fire Department were not concerned either, but at what cost to the residents of Platte County? Who is going to pay for these things? Can we safely assume that our taxes will increase? We were told that the school system will have to accept the children of this subdivision but at what cost? Currently our schools are reaching their maximum capacity. Just last week Paxton School stated that they are at capacity and need additions built to accommodate the current enrollment. Our school system is growing at the rate of 5% per year. The national average of children per household is 2.3 children. Taking into consideration the national average, this subdivision will house approximately 1564 children. The developer has set a plan to build spanning 20 years, given the greatest stretch of the imagination, we all know they won’t take 20 years to build this subdivision and a more realistic number probably falls somewhere between 7 to 10 years.

Based on a 10-year plan, this will increase the enrollment by an additional 5% a year. Who is going to pay for this increase in enrollment? The cost of busing these children alone will be phenomenal. This type of growth so quickly will cause larger sized classrooms, a need for more teachers, bus drivers, supplies and classrooms and at what cost to our pocketbooks. And more importantly, at what cost to our childrens’ education, not to mention the increased danger our (my child) children will face every day riding a bus to school.

We have heard that the developer plans a vast “green space” in this subdivision. Is this going to look like the green space at the Hills at Oakmont? Can we plan on seeing broken down parked cars, debris and junk on what is currently “green space” of grass, trees, and flowing creek?

The developer claims that there is a need for “more affordable housing” in Platte County. Has he checked the current statistics? There are currently more than 200 homes for sale in the 64079 zip code, 22+ homes currently in foreclosure. Given the current housing problems that this nation and this county faces is this really the time to start building more homes?
We are not lifelong residents of Plate County and therefore are not privy to the relationships some of our commissioners have with the developer and landowners, however, I do believe that a few of the commissioners have profited from campaign contributions and in my mind that brings a question of ethics. Can we believe that they are without a doubt not swayed somewhat?

On a final note:

I have read the recent Platte Profile as many of the residents have done. Regardless of whether the commissioners take into account the concerns of the rural community, shouldn’t they at least take into account the voices of the entire community? According to the survey done--and note of the 1500 residents surveyed only 28% of those were rural residents--the community does not see a need for more affordable housing.

The community’s concerns were the roads, they strongly agreed with the current land use plan stating that homes should be built on no less than 10 acres in order to preserve rural areas, they strongly agreed with Platte County strengthening the zoning and ordinances in order to maintain rural and agricultural areas. Isn’t it the elected responsibility of the commissioners to vote according tot he wants and needs of the entire community?

I ask the commissioners to do the right thing. It is your elected responsibility to vote according to the needs of this community not the financial needs of a single developer and landowner. And note that this development is purely about money. This developer and landowners stand to see revenue in the millions of dollars.

--Patrick and Renae Payne
Rural Platte County

Court plan could use tweaking


As a Platte County resident licensed to practice law in Kansas and Missouri, I support our state’s legal system.

I’ve practiced law in this state from Buchanan to Green Counties and from Platte to Boone Counties and a few spots in between. I’ve practiced before both elected and appointed judges and while I am confident in both, I am more apt to trust a community of thousands in an open election to say who they want passing judgment on the laws of this state than I am a majority of appointed people in a closed room.

When I hear the supporters of Missouri’s judicial appointment system refer to it as the “non-partisan plan,” the wisdom of a judge that I regularly practice before pops into my mind. This judge reminds pro se litigants (folks representing themselves in court) that “just because you say it’s so doesn’t necessarily mean it’s so.” This judge further reminds the self defenders that “you have to present evidence and you have to know how to present that evidence so the court can take it into consideration.”

I wish the Missouri Bar would take this judicious advice when defending the Missouri Court Plan. Simply putting the words “non-partisan” in front of a process doesn’t prove it is “non-partisan” and it certainly doesn’t prove it is the best it can be.

Be aware, the Missouri Bar, unlike the Kansas Bar Association, is a compulsory organization. This means every licensed attorney in Missouri must be a member of the Missouri Bar. I am a member of the Kansas Bar Association because I want to be. In Missouri, if I want to practice law, I must be a member of the Missouri Bar and I must pay my membership fees. Keep that in mind when you hear any advertisement supporting the current plan “brought to you by the Missouri Bar.”

The people who oppose change to the current plan make personal attacks and accuse people of lying in order to discourage us from evaluating the current system. If the system works, what is to be lost by evaluation and review? What these people will not tell you is that there was a Clay County judge that was recalled by the people pursuant to the Constitution and that judge is still sitting on the bench passing judgment as a “Senior Judge.” Despite the will of the people, this judge is still on the bench. The recall did not matter.

I disagree with Mr. Thomas (in his The Right Stuff column in the Feb. 27 Landmark) because I don’t think “trial lawyers” are the root of what’s wrong in the judicial selection process. I don’t blame them anymore than I’d blame regulatory and tax attorneys, but given those additions I will agree with Mr. Thomas’s evaluation that there are special interests promoting the current system.

When we speak of an independent judiciary it is critical that we understand that the judiciary is independent from the legislative and executive branches of government not independent from the people of this state.

--Timothy J. Thompson
Kansas City in
Platte County

Stand up to big oil companies


This past week Congress voted 236 to 182 in favor of an $18 billion tax package that would rescind a tax break for the five biggest oil companies.

The revenue generated from this package would be used to boost incentives for wind, solar energy, and energy efficiency.

Congressman Sam Graves voted against this measure, once again in lock-step with the dictates of President Bush. Of course, not only have Congressman Graves and President Bush condemned this legislation, but so too have the biggest oil companies.

Oil recently topped $102 per barrel, gasoline reached $3.09 a gallon in the Kansas City area, and Exxon Mobil announced profits in 2007 topped $40 billion. It is outrageous that Congressman Graves, President Bush, and the big oil companies would oppose such a measure.

We need a person representing us in Congress who will oppose the gluttony of big oil companies, a vision for the future, the experience of leadership, and a willingness to reach across party lines.

That person is Kay Barnes.

--David Raffel

Highway 92 is a 50 mph road


I agree with you on your comments on the development proposed on Highway 92.
When I was young we lived on the farm just to the west of this proposed development and my grandparents, Claude and Madeleine George, lived just to the north of us. Highway 92 was a great road in 1932 as it was about the only graveled road in Platte County. I got to watch them grading and graveling the road. But little has been done to improve it except putting down a hard surface. It is still a 50-mile per hour road.

I have an interesting story that took place on the land that is included in the development about where the proposed lake will be. My great-grandfather, F. L. Waller owned this land and he died in 1924. After his death, my grandfather, Claude George, purchased the land from his estate. In 1926, Claude George, Kendrick George and Jesse Cox were checking on the land and noticed a well. They wondered if it was a good well and checked it out. They found that a body was in the well and weighed down with big rocks.

The body was that of Hugh Chance, who had not been seen since 1922. People told that Hugh often carried a large sum of money on his person. Hugh did not trust banks. Hugh was about 62 years old when he was murdered. Hugh was the grandson of the Swaney that built the large brick home to the north of the development. Hugh worked as a farm laborer most of his life.

They never did find out who killed Hugh Chance.

--J.R. Hopkins
Diamondhead, Miss.

J.C. Watts would make good VP


If conventional wisdom holds true and John McCain ends up the last man standing in this year's Republican primary, he's going to have his work cut out for him in the general election.

It's no secret that many conservatives not just Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter have major problems with McCain's positions on a wide range of issues, as well as with many of the less than conservative, if not downright liberal, pieces of legislation he's attached his name to. One man's “maverick” is another man's “mealy-mouthed moderate.”

However, if McCain does get the nod, conservatives are not left without choices. They can either “dance with the one what brung 'em” and vote for McCain, sit this one out and hope a more appealing suitor comes calling in 2012, or try to send a message by strapping-up as a “suicide-voter” and pulling the lever for either Hillary or Obama (ala Ann Coulter). That's a personal decision each conservative will have to make.

Still, McCain can do a lot, in my estimation, to influence that decision. If he hopes to have any chance at all, I submit he should get about the business of mending fences, posthaste. He needs to offer conservatives some real assurances that he'll adopt a Reaganesque approach to governance on the key issues. He might win over a few conservatives if, at a minimum, he pledged to honor the Republican Party Platform.

Maybe it's that “maverick” mentality, but, as of yet, McCain hasn't seemed to extend much of an olive branch to conservatives; and when he has, it's to whack 'em upside the head.

Historically, it hasn't really mattered who a presidential candidate picks as a running mate. But this time around, I don't see how it can't. If McCain goes with anyone other than a bona fide, dyed-in-the-wool fiscal and social conservative (both foreign and domestic), I suspect he's toast. He'll likely join Al Gore in the “media darling maverick” hall of fame.

Democrats are coming out 2-to-1 over Republicans in the primaries this year, and GOP dysphoria hangs in the air like whatever that smell is in Newark, New Jersey.
Speculation has already begun as to whom McCain might tap for his veep if he gets the nomination. I've heard some good names and some bad ones. There are many quality conservatives for McCain to choose from, but a name I haven't heard mentioned is former Oklahoma congressman J.C. Watts.

Now, it's quite possible the good congressman won't appreciate my throwing his name out there at all, but it seems to me that, barring some major skeletons in his closet, J.C. Watts could bring a lot to the table.

He's a rock-solid social and fiscal conservative and is pals with Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. If he were on the ticket, it might placate conservative heavy hitters just enough to call off the dogs.

He's a former minister and is 100 percent pro-life, pro-family and pro-traditional marriage. This is a must for evangelical voters, who make up the preponderance of the GOP base.

Congressman Watts is young, vibrant, articulate and from the South (well, Southish). He's a former Oklahoma Sooners football star and, I believe, would appeal to conservatives both young and old.

Oh yeah, and J.C. Watts is African-American. This might attract minorities whose values especially on social issues are more closely aligned with those of Watts than Clinton or Obama.

So, again, I'm not suggesting that J.C. Watts is the only potential running mate for McCain who might convince conservatives to poke his chad, or, for that matter, that any VP choice can.

But, since it's the season for speculating about possible vice presidential candidates, I thought I'd go ahead and speculate.

--Matt Barber
Attorney for
Concern Women
For America

Traffic study seems flawed


Thank you for your comments in your paper, which you can n ow find on my website I will do my best as time allows keeping it up to date with anything going on with the proposed high density subdivision known as Lake at Tomahawke Ridge.

I do need to clarify a couple of things about my comments on the traffic study done for the developers. First it is not that the number count in the study had a “high” discrepancy but that there was a large amount of items not included or what I believe were listed incorrectly. An example of this would be that in the traffic study they show three exits from the subdivision on Winan Road. From these three exits during the peak hours of traffic two of the exits show the same amount of traffic leaving the subdivision. My problem with this is that if you look at the development plan there are 209 homes on drive one (if you use the most logical exit from the subdivision) and 152 homes on drive two. This causes a substantially larger amount of traffic trying to enter or cross 92 Hwy at Winan than what the study shows.

The explanation to me was that Olsson and Associates took the total then used an average at each exit. To be done this way you are assuming people would possibly drive the longest distance to leave the subdivision. By my calculations and using their Data Collection percentages from the study in the 15 minutes between 7 and 7:15 a.m., you would have approximately 91 cars going through the intersection at 92 and Winan. Coming home between 5 and 5:15 p.m. you would be looking at approximately 103 cars. This is if you use the averages from the study.

The guidebook for the study says that the farther away a subdivision is from a “central business district” the more traffic it will have. This subdivision would be over four miles from Platte City, eight miles from Smithville.

Secondly I had a problem with the fact that no quarry traffic (truck and car traffic should be considered differently) was shown in the study, as the same amount of traffic is shown turning south on Winan off of 92 as is shown turning on NW132nd street with no increase in traffic? Checking the data collection sheets in the study, it actually showed 10 more vehicles turning on 132nd the day the study was done (they did only one count, separate days at each intersection). When I asked about this I was told they typically “smooth” the study to keep the flow correct. If you look at the study you would see the numbers were “smoothed” down not up.

They did not add the 10 vehicles to the study anywhere. I was told this would not make a difference in the big picture.

My last major concern pertaining to the numbers is as I mentioned earlier the truck traffic from the quarry. The trucks exit onto 92 from Interurban and also on to Winan going each direction. After having lived in the area for over 10 years, I have seen trucks pull across traffic on 92 as they have to go toward Platte City or I -29. The trucks are loaded and immediately have to pull a hill on 92 Hwy going west. Traffic runs up behind them as it takes about a half mile to build up speed. Mornings, people pull out to pass in areas they should not, which is the same area the developers have the exit from the subdivision on 92 Hwy which will have approximately 169 cars leaving in the morning and almost 200 coming home at night. This is obviously a huge safety issue for this part of 92 going both directions.

Kansas City Public Works sent an e-mail to Olsson and Assoc. this month with several comments on what they would like to see in the study. One of these was that “the report should include a description of street width on N Winan Road, NW 132 St. and NW Interurban Rd. Any deficiencies in the roadway widths to safely accommodate two way traffic should be identified. Typically a minimum width of roadway of 22 feet is required for two way traffic on low speed unimproved city streets.”

I measured Winan in several spots and it was 20 feet with no shoulder. At the entrance to the quarry it was actually 17 feet of pavement not covered by gravel. Interurban still has a one lane bridge just a short distance from 92 Hwy. Obviously neither of these roads would meet the standard KC MO would like to see for safety but I was told they have no say as the subdivision is just outside of the city.

I could go on for a lot longer about a lot more traffic issues but in the end everyone that uses 92 Hwy needs to think about several things. How much traffic will this add at I-29? Who will pay for the road improvements later that will have to be done to make this area safe? And most importantly, drive down 92 Hwy or Winan Road and imagine a dark maybe rainy night, you have car trouble where do you go? There is no shoulder, very few drives, ditches on each side and lots of hills. Is this a stretch of road you want to see an additional 3 to 5,000 cars on per day if you or your wife and kids used it?

Widen 92 Hwy like they did Hwy. 291 in Liberty north of I-35. It has wide shoulders and turn lanes. When this happens I would support a new subdivision, if done right. Until then I expect our elected officials to do their jobs and look at these things as I have and not just give them a “rubber stamp.”

After looking at everything, I am bothered that a developer would spend the thousands of dollars to get this far thinking that it could even be considered in our county in the first place and I have to wonder why.

--Kirby Holden
Platte County

Shine light on selection process


As the Missouri legislature begins its session, it faces a number of bills relating to opening the process by which the judges are selected for Missouri courts. Among those bills are Senate Bill 968 and House Joint Resolutions 49, 52 and 66.

Most relate to opening some portion of the selection process to public scrutiny, including information regarding applicants' names, the Judicial Commission meetings to interview candidates and the applications of the finalists.

The Supreme Court already, on its own, has made some changes in its rules governing this process. But members of the General Assembly want additional concessions.

These are appointments to legal positions of extreme power and influence. In some cases, they are appointments to the highest judicial positions in the state. The public has an obligation to provide input on these candidates to the commission.

Those opposing opening this process make a number of arguments. They argue that opening the process would keep persons from applying. But they fail to note that every candidate who applies does so with the sincerest hope that the world will hear they are one of the finalists for the position. Every candidate gambles on the outcome that their name will be selected and announced to the public.

And, the second argument offered - that lawyers fear losing their credibility with their clients and their co-workers if word gets out that they are seeking these appointments, is equally weak. Every time three candidates are selected, under the current system, two of those candidates end up having to go back to their clients and co-workers and admit they attempted to leave their current job but failed. This situation of having two losers in every race has been a fact since the system was established. In fact, it is not unusual for those same candidates to repeatedly submit their names and repeatedly be told they've lost before they are successful in this effort. That doesn't seem to discourage such candidates from letting their clients and their co-workers know by their re-submission that they would love to have another job other than the one they presently have.

Serving in the judiciary in this state is a privilege highly coveted. While the system we presently have has many good qualities, making some minor changes to make the process more open and accountable to the public can only
strengthen this process.

--Jean Maneke
Counsel to Missouri Press Association

Please define 'affordable'


The 680 home subdivision proposed for Hwy. 92 and Winan Road is being trumpeted by developer Tim Dougherty as “affordable” housing for young families.

To quote Mr. Dougherty, “These are homes designed for young families, not for rich people.” The article then goes on to explain that apparently Mr. Dougherty believes that “affordable” housing for young families is $160,000 to $400,000.

Who is he kidding? No young family I know can afford such a price tag. It’s one thing to try and ram through a controversial, high density housing development in a designated “rural” area, but it’s quite another to try and do it in the name of “affordable” housing.

The only thing that’s obvious to me is that the developer doesn’t want to pay the current prices for land adjacent to Platte City where much development is going on and would prefer to leap-frog out to rural areas, pay less for the land, and cram as many homes on the plan as possible.

There are pocketbooks being padded by this development. It’s too bad they are not those of the young families being mentioned by the developer.

--Linda Baber
Rural Platte County

More important than football


Wednesday was a great day for area colleges. It was “College Signing Day.”

The media outlets were debating who got the best recruit and who will have the best team next year. However, I am referring to a “Signing Day” that is more important than quarterbacks and running backs. I had the privilege of attending a ceremony with the Honorable Mr. Green, Secretary of the Army, Chancellor Hemenway of Kansas University, and several wounded veterans.

Secretary Green and Chancellor Hemenway announced the creation of the Wounded Warrior Education Initiative. This program will help veterans wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan obtain a graduate degree from KU and then return to the Army to serve in a new capacity. Yes, I said “return to the Army” after receiving a life changing injury.

These wounded veterans - who lost eyesight, hearing, limbs, or received lasting injuries - have chosen to continue serving our great nation. KU has chosen to support our veterans with this great program.

I ask the readers to thank KU for the support they give veterans, to thank a veteran for serving, and to evaluate what you are doing to improve our nation.

--Maj. Scott Jackman
Weatherby Lake

Public schools are failures


Whenever government involves itself in our free market system, disaster happens.
Today, our public education system continues to require more of our tax money while producing declining academic results and increasing social problems. The government’s only solution is to throw more of our tax money at the system.

Our free market provided nearly all educational needs from colonial days until well into the 19th century. Home schooling, one-room schools, and private schools flourished without the benefit of government subsidies or directives. The products of this free-market approach somehow managed to transform a supposedly backward wilderness nation into the envy of the world.

Today, many Americans mistakenly believe that the public school system is an integral part of our form of government. They cannot conceive of its elimination. What they fail to recognize is that separation of school and state is not a revolutionary development in our history. It is a welcome return to our philosophical and cultural roots.

Go to for details. Search: schools.

The only viable solution is to separate school and state and return to a tried and proven free market in education. Then we would have many school choices, pay no school taxes, and pay only for the education of our own children. Charity would provide for the poor.

--Robert W. Van de Walle
Granada Hills, CA

Firing Moody is a good move


Talk about boneheaded decisions.

Take for example the city just paid over $13,000 of our tax money to fix a problem that the prior board of aldermen and Moody let go by for a number of years when the original contractor should have been held responsible.

And then one of those Aldermen wanted a job with the city that would pay him $1500 a week. Go figure.

I believe in term limits and it was past time for Moody to go. I personally like Moody but it is past time for some new ideas from his position in city hall. Moody did not work with businesses and some individuals very well. He alienated many important people from the city. It always seemed like the mayor and aldermen worked for him instead of the other way around.

Since Mr. Moody has been looking for a new job for some time it is apparent that he felt the same way. I applaud the decision by the four aldermen who had the intestinal fortitude to stand up and vote the change.

The big problem is with the severance package that a previous administration voted in and was not publicly known about.

It is time for Platte City to move forward.

--Gary W. Brown
Platte City

Proposal doesn't fit land use plan


I would like to add my feelings and impressions to those in the excellent letter penned by Rhonda Stamper last week.

Hwy. 92 is already dangerous. We do not need the additional traffic flow from 680 homes.

The Todd Creek Sewer Plant at one time could not handle any sewage other than Hoover Heights. They have since added capability by enlarging their holding tanks. At the recent neighborhood meeting, I was led to believe the new addition could use the main line from Hoover Heights.

Having been on the Platte County Regional Sewer District Board at the time Hoover’s sewers were installed, I knew they would not. This was verified by a telephone call to Chuck Reineke, executive director of the sewer district.

So my question at this time is where are they going to lay the new pipe? What will they do if or when they hit rock? Whose land is going to be affected?

We live on B Highway east of the property in question, so I guess you could say we’re not impacted. I drive to Platte City all the time. If 92 Hwy. Could be widened, shoulders and wider lanes installed, it wouldn’t be so bad. We are impacted by traffic. I can’t imagine our current commissioners being in agreement with this plan. We are rural and are supposed to have 7-10 acre lots for building. This proposal is so not in agreement with the county’s plan for land use in that area.

I urge all my neighbors to keep your eyes open on this. New homes are fine for the county and its tax base. However, I don’t want to become another over-crowded, dense community.

--Sharon Aring
Rural Platte County

State of the Union talk


As usual, I watched the State of the Union address and the Democratic response last week. I always watch these events for two specific reasons: to remain informed, and to hear our nation’s leaders speaking directly to the people. However, I found myself becoming cynical as I watched these speeches...there he goes promoting amnesty, there she goes blaming the President for committing her “resources” inappropriately.

Later in the night, I realized this thinking did nothing to improve myself for our nation. I decided to stop thinking cynically. I looked instead to determine a way to use the State of the Union address and the Democratic

response for positive change. I focused on a couple key points to make positive change. Just think what this nation could accomplish if we all focused on two positive points from these speeches!

First, President Bush said America is working to improve global hunger,
poverty, and AIDS. I will focus on improving poverty by donating time and money to organizations that help veterans in need.

Second, Governor Sebelius asked us to protect our environment and to stay
economically competitive. I will change to fluorescent lights, always check
the air in my tires, and fix any leaks in my house windows.

I challenge readers to watch these speeches to see how they can make positive improvements to our nation. Stop being cynical. Stop waiting for a handout. Look for a way to make a positive change.

--Maj Scott Jackman
Weatherby Lake

Proposed development a concern


Upon reading the Jan. 23, 2008 edition of The Landmark Newspaper and attending a neighborhood informational meeting led by developer Tim Dougherty on Jan. 24, 2008, regarding The Lake at Tomahawke Ridge, a proposed community to be located at Hwy. 92 and Winan Road in Platte County, I feel compelled to voice concerns about my understanding of what they are proposing.

Neighbors received less than one week advance notice of this proposal prior to the neighborhood meeting last week. This entire scenario is overwhelming and an enormous amount of information for me to process within a week, especially considering this proposed development, according to primary property owner Hal Swaney, has been in the planning stages for about a year or more.

Although I am not anti-development nor anti-growth if done sensibly, as a homeowner who would be directly impacted by this development I am deeply disturbed and have a considerable number of concerns with this development as it is being proposed.

First and foremost is the increased traffic volume a high density development such as this would create and the multitude of safety issues surrounding it. Hwy. 92 and Winan Road as well as surrounding roads and intersections are already extremely dangerous. This development proposing 680 single family homes on essentially 150 developable acres would create an even more hazardous situation with detrimental impacts. This likely would lead to increased accidents on a highly traveled roadway that already features no shoulders, narrow lane widths, poor sight lines, blinded crests of hills, with poor entrance/exit points.

Upon reviewing the traffic study I don't feel the recommended turn lanes are sufficient or adequate in conjunction with the proposal. In addition, the traffic study conducted on Oct 16-18, 2007 was reportedly done at peak times according to MoDOT definitions, in this case 7-8 a.m. and 5-6 p.m. It should be known that the operating hours for a nearby quarry during this check period would have been 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which means the evening count would not have included any quarry traffic. There is also a nearby asphalt plant, though I was unable to verify what the hours at the plant would have been during the counting dates.

A second major point of contention I find unnerving and unsettling is that the county spent $104,830 in taxpayer dollars in 2002 for a land use study, one which presiding commissioner Betty Knight has a history of adhering to since the time it was established. Confusion and conflict seem to surround this land use plan, however, because in many areas--including the area for this proposal--it is in conflict with the current county zoning overlays, which date back to 1972 and revolve around KCI Airport.

The proposed development is a prime example of how the land use plan (rural policy area in this case) and existing zoning (residential multiple dwellings) work against each other.

As stated, the three parcels of land proposed to be developed are currently zoned residential multiple dwellings (RMD). RMD allows one dwelling per 7,500 square feet.

This land has been used for agricultural purposes for decades, which is allowable under the current zoning regulations. According to the land use study, this area east of Platte City has been designated rural policy area with one lot per 10 acres maximum density and is intended to be the last area in expansion and growth within the county.
There are exclusions to this policy but this proposed development does not meet the criteria for exclusions.

I believe the developers/owners are using creative planning in seeking approval from planning and zoning for planned unit development (PUD). If granted the PUD, they would be allowed the flexibility for things such as less than normal setbacks, smaller than normal lot widths, etc. and thus resulting in 680 homes on 60 to 68 ft. lots.

Even though the three parcels of land involved in this property total a little over 300 acres, when you take a way for green space, a lake, walking trails, etc. only about 150 acres of land is actually left to develop. This type of high-density housing is incomprehensible to me for this particular location.

Other areas of concern are, but not limited to, sewer service, stormwater drainage, infrastructure, road upkeep and improvements, property taxes, effect on school district bussing and facilities, effect on the fire department and sheriff's department, capability of the water district and electric companies (they are proposing main power lines to run directly above the lake on the property) to sufficiently serve and accommodate this type of high density housing, and recent interesting campaign donations made by some individuals involved in this proposal as reported in last week’s Landmark.

There is also the possibility of setting the stage for future annexation of this area by the City of Kansas City.

In closing, should the current planning and zoning board and commissioners approve this proposed development it not only would go against the current land use policy but it would establish a precedent and could set the stage for more of the same, not only in this area but throughout the county.

My thanks to second district county commissioner Jim Plunkett for attending and staying through the entire neighborhood meeting last week and listening to concerns that were expressed by those in attendance.

If this particular proposal or any high-density developments in rural areas are a concern to you, I urge you to take an active interest in this topic. If developers meet a Feb. 6 deadline for filing an application for this planned unit development, the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge proposal would be heard by the planning and zoning board on March 11.

--Rhonda S. Stamper
Rural Platte County

Firing Moody a mistake


As to boneheaded decisions, Platte City aldermen have managed to establish the fact.
Two individuals who after two years as members of the board decided not to run again in the upcoming election because they couldn’t see any progress from their ideas and methods convinced two others who have their heads in the place reserved for the proverbial ostrich into terminating the employment of an individual who has the best interest of progress in and for Platte City as his main endeavor.

The progress for street improvements, public works facilities and equipment improvement, storm water and street drainage, the community center and police and court facilities have all been accomplished under Moody’s forward-looking objectives and goals as city administrator far outweigh the few anti-Moody remarks that they are claiming as being grounds for termination.

Sorry fellows, but I feel you have made a terrible mistake and two of you will not be around to defend or rectify the decision you have made.

--Lee Roy Van Lew
Platte City


Tigers were first class


An Open Letter to the Football Fans of Missouri:
On behalf of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, congratulations to the University of Missouri on the Tigers' 38-7 victory over Arkansas in the 72nd AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

We're grateful to the Missouri fans that traveled to Texas to cheer on the Tigers in their first trip to a New Year's Day bowl game since 1970 and their first-ever win in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Thanks for helping make the entire week a rousing success for our city.

Missouri fans should take pride in their players, Coach Gary Pinkel, Athletic Director Mike Alden, and Chancellor Brady Deaton. These gentlemen represented the University of Missouri and the Big 12 in a first-class manner.

We are honored to have been a part of the most successful football season in Missouri history. Again, congratulations on a tremendous year for the Tigers, and thanks again for helping make the 2008 AT&T Cotton Bowl a Classic to remember.

--Rick Baker
Cotton Bowl
Athletic Association

Clinton cost the U.S. jobs


It is interesting that many working Americans and many unions support Hillary Clinton for president, touting her unique White house experience. For this, some people may be excused, but it is unthinkable that America's union leaders would forget the Clinton years.

History tells us that Hillary became America’s First Lady in 1992 when her husband William Clinton succeeded President H.W. Bush. A closer examination reveals that Bush’s trade representative, Carla Hills, negotiated the NAFTA, The North American Free Trade Agreement. However, soon after his election, President Bill Clinton with Hillary at his side began carrying the water for the global corporate elite to get NAFTA passed through the House and Senate. It did pass and NAFTA was signed by Bill Clinton and went into effect on January 1, 1994.

NAFTA then became responsible for that "great sucking sound" of American jobs going to Mexico that Ross Perot warned about during the ’92 campaign. Today Mexican trucks loaded with foreign products are free to travel throughout the U.S. because of provisions in the NAFTA agreement. Bill and Hillary’s North American Free Trade Agreement is also the basis for the NAFTA superhighway proposed to link Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. In addition, the CFR, Council on Foreign Relations is calling for NAFTA's expansion into a North American Union, and thus the elimination of nearly all U.S. sovereignty, as similarly experienced by countries in the European Union.

Hillary gained more White House experience, when her husband called on congress to pass the WTO, World Trade Organization. The WTO, signed by Bill, came into existence on January 1, 1995 headed by a sovereignty steeling foreign tribunal which now regularly rules against U. S. trade policies.

Bill Clinton in his presidential campaign had sharply attacked President Bush for extending trade privileges to China in the years following the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, accusing him of "coddling criminals." But Hillary stood by her man when he reversed course, and severed the link between communist China’s notorious human rights practices and a pending vote for MFN, Most Favored Nation status for China in 1994. MFN, which had to be renewed yearly, was cumbersome. It was renegotiated by President Clinton's Trade Representative, Charlene Barshefsky, to become PNTR, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, and passed into law late in Bill’s second term on September 19, 2000. PNTR paved the way for China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization and is responsible for the transfer of America’s technology and millions of American jobs to China.

Some say that Hillary, having spent eight years in the White House, is the most qualified presidential candidate. Yet, most of what we see on store shelves now is made in Mexico or China, thanks to the efforts of Bill Clinton and his loyal wife Hillary. More than any other two people, they are responsible for the outsourcing of millions of U.S. jobs and the questionable viability of the once world renowned American middle class. The record is clear. Now we must ask, can America afford to elect Hillary with Bill, for a possible eight more years, and who will benefit from her experience?

Nick Ivanovich
Board Member,
Constitution Party MO
3775 Cindy Ct.
Arnold, MO

Letters to the Editor 2007