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Letters to the Editor 2008

Allow entrepreneurs to flourish

3/17/10 issue

EDITOR:

Abraham Lincoln has many famous sayings, including “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” That doesn’t prevent Washington from trying.

This month the House passed legislation that it called a “Jobs Bill.” The problem is that Washington cannot create jobs. Real job creation happens when entrepreneurs and innovators start a new business. Not every small business succeeds, but every big business starts out as a small business.

In fact, a new study on job creation by the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City suggests that young, fast-growing firms create ten percent of new jobs in a year. The average firm in the top-performing one percent generates 88 jobs each year. By contrast the average company only adds two or three new jobs each year.

Washington does play a role in job creation. We need policies that reduce taxation, regulation and litigation. I want small business to spend their time growing their business and adding workers. Right now too many small business owners are spending too much time filing out regulatory paperwork or trying to understand our complex tax code.

In the coming months you will see a lot of legislation with jobs and stimulus in their title. If Washington really wants to help create jobs, the only way to do it is to put the right policies in place that allow entrepreneurs and innovators to flourish.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


Save engines on this plane

3/3/10 issue

EDITOR:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of a current fundraiser to save the Engines on the L-1011 that recently landed at the Airline History Museum in Kansas City. The plane was saved from becoming scrap metal and made the journey here, using borrowed engines, to be used for children's educational programs.

I believe it is so important to save these Rolls Royce RB 211-22B engines so the plane can be kept intact and in its original condition. Without these engines this plane will not run, or move on its own power. Not only was this a favorite plane with passengers, but also with employees who worked on and flew this plane.

If donations are made in time, then negotiations may be possible with the owner of the engines. Otherwise, the owner could begin removing the engines at anytime. Eventually engines that do not run will be installed for looks only. I truly believe that if these engines are removed it would be a great loss to the museum and the rich airline history in Kansas City.

Not only was this my most memorable aircraft to work on as my years as a mechanic, but I was part of the crew that spent nearly a month volunteering in Roswell New Mexico getting this plane ready for its historic trip back to its home here in Kansas City. TWA flew this airplane from April 1974-April 1996 displaying the original red & white TWA colors . To donate or for more information call 1-800-513-9484.

--W.L (Bill) Collins, Retired TWA
Platte County


Pleased his letter got Schaaf's attention

3/3/10 issue

EDITOR:

I was pleased to see that my letter got the attention of Rep. Rob Schaaf. He may have been sincere with his intent, but most people I know are wary of political surveys. For example, a survey about individual federal tax rates should be viewed knowing that 50% of wage earners pay less than 3% of all federal income taxes.

Before Rep. Schaaf insinuates agreement with me, I would like him to first answer the question presented. He responded to my suggested question on long term obligations as if I asked about debt. The word debt was not in the question. However, if he believes that voters should approve long term obligations, is he willing to sponsor a bill in that regard?

My concern on economic development was directed to understanding how he intends to bring new investor capital and new jobs to Missouri if there are not sufficient other economic incentives to do so. The Issues page of his website doesn't tell me. And he doesn't provide a list of significant economic bills he has supported. That's not a criticism, it's an observation. In a recent Twitter post he states, “My campaign platform is simple: Develop the economy (no new taxes!)…” I agree in concept; I just want to know what his plan is.

I also found it interesting that in order for me to have input, he suggests I attend a meeting at his designated location and time, meaning I have to adjust my schedule to his. If he was truly interested in my ideas, would he not just ask the editor for my email address?

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Assessing constituents' opinions

2/24/10 issue

EDITOR:

I am not aware of other legislators who publish their survey results, and I hoped that my doing so would be appreciated. I was surprised that Mr. Gordon Cook of Parkville wrote that the tax questions implied that I favor taxes; I do not. I was merely assessing the collective opinions of my constituents.

Mr. Cook suggested the next survey should include the question "Should Missouri municipalities be allowed to incur long term financial obligations without voter approval?" I hope he can see that it would be wrong for me to conclude how he feels about the issue simply because he suggested the question. (I myself feel voters should always be asked to approve such proposed debt.)

I understand that The Landmark's space limitations only allowed 20 of the 27 questions on the survey to be printed. I agree with Mr. Cook that economic development is crucial, especially during this recession, and that is why I have voted for every economic development bill during my four terms. He might be interested to know that 66.9 percent of those responding to the survey would like Missouri to be a "right-to-work" state (question #27).

Surveys in previous years contained other economic development questions, too.

I hope to meet Mr. Cook at one of the legislative forums I hold every week during session (my legislative office (816) 233-0300 can provide the schedule) or sometime on the campaign trail during the coming months. I also hope that when he finds that I agree with him on the issues he mentioned in his letter, he will become a supporter instead of a critic, although I may have to get his input before I send out any more surveys.

--Rob Schaaf
State Rep. District 28
Candidate for
State Senate District 34


 

Schaaf questions were leading

2/17/10 issue

EDITOR:

I got a big kick out of State Rep. Rob Schaaf’s “survey” of registered voters in his district. It reminded me of a survey I erroneously received from the Republican National Committee a while back.

Since it was blatantly obvious where Mr. Schaaf was heading with his line of questioning, I believe his last question should have read like this: “Do you believe that surveys should be sent to groups of like-minded individuals, that pose leading questions, phrased in a manner that would ensure the response you seek?”

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


 

Get off the 'need more money' train

2/17/10 issue

EDITOR:

In regard to Representative Rob Schaaf's twenty questions, and after reading that he positions himself as “standing for the hard-working, strong, common sense conservative values,” I was left to wonder. He devoted 5 of the 20 questions to taxes, two of which proposed raising taxes. Asking about a tax increase is no different than proposing one.

More tobacco taxes, the same old tired and worn out position that politicians use over and over. He knows people won't stop smoking. Why the disingenuous approach?
More fuel taxes for MODOT, but no questions about MODOT's efficiency or lack thereof. In this regard, he sounds like Kansas City Mayor Funkhouser, who in regard to the Tomahawk Creek annexation said on Chris Stigall's morning show, “We need more money. If we have more money, we can do more.” I believe that line is reserved for politicians.

Perhaps Rep. Schaaf just needs some navigational assistance. The solution to Medicaid is not more taxes, but fewer people asking for assistance, incentives to save and plan for old age, and competition and education within real healthcare reform (absent the insane proposals currently on the table). As to fuel taxes, has he determined how much MoDOT is wasting?

And why no questions about economic development? With 20%+ under/unemployment, isn't that an important issue? Has he looked outside his own circle for ideas? I lived in Nebraska when LB775, a pro business tax incentive bill, was passed. Anyone living there knows what a huge benefit that bill provided to the state.

Here are two additional questions for the next survey. “Should Missouri municipalities be allowed to incur long term financial obligations without voter approval?” And, “Do you believe that half of the population should be allowed to consume government benefits and services without contributing to the system?”

Rep. Schaaf needs to get off the “we need more money” train. If that's the limit of his creativity and representative of his conservative principles, he should either jettison the RINOs on his team or just stay home.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Ad against Blunt misleading

2/17/10 issue

EDITOR:

The television ads we are being exposed to about Roy Blunt are very misleading.
Roy Blunt is smart enough to see through the attempt by the Democrats, the news media and the EPA nuts to spread a half truth and in the Democrats’ normal method do a personal assassination of Roy Blunt. They have no ideas of their own, so they revert to personal attacks to try and destroy the opposition.

Roy Blunt does not want to see the energy rates in Missouri double or triple, so he is wisely against the liberal attempt to break the coal industry, as the occupant in the White House has stated he wants to do.

I have grown up in Missouri around the use of coal and have survived for 81 years with no ill-effects. We can do without some Chicago thug telling us we are not able to take care of ourselves.

Roy Blunt voted against the Clean Air Act because he knew what it would do to energy costs for Missouri citizens and I for one am proud of the vote he cast.
The people who are doing these TV spots are either dumb or very well paid by Robin Carnahan. We don’t need another Claire McCaskill in Congress who represents only the elite in Washington and not the people of Missouri.

Stay the course, Roy. I am with you.

--George Fee
Weston


Separation of powers is vital

2/17/10 issue

EDITOR:

We celebrate Presidents' Day on the third Monday in February. Originally, the holiday honored George Washington’s birthday, but was later changed to a holiday that honored all of America’s Presidents.

In the history of this country we have had 44 men who have served as President of the United States. The first, of course, was George Washington who was said to be first in war, first in peace and first in the heart of his countrymen.

Washington chose to serve only two terms as President even as many hoped he would run for a third term. Every American President, with the exception of Franklin Roosevelt, has followed his example. This set the stage for a peaceful transfer of power, something that was almost unheard of at the time.

The Presidency was unique to the rest of the world. Kings, Queens and Emperors were the rulers of the day in the 18th century. Our Founding Fathers did not want another monarch to rule over them. That is why the Presidency was not created to be all powerful.

Even today, no President is able to simply command Congress to pass a law or a budget. The President instead has to listen to the people and find areas of agreement. This separation of powers is what keeps our democracy strong and healthy.

Today, Kings and Emperors are the exception around the world, instead of the rule. On Presidents’ Day we celebrate not just the service of our Presidents, but the important part they play in our democracy.

–Sam Graves
Sixth District
Congressman


 

Law would affect fire boards

2/17/10 issue

EDITOR:

Urban sprawl in its basic form is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the spreading of urban developments such as houses and shopping centers on undeveloped land near a city.” Now don’t get me wrong, I am more than aware of the negative connotations the two little words “urban sprawl” can bring, but let me remind you of a few things…that family cheering on the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, those old friends meeting for lunch at the Country Club Plaza, the teenage girls shopping at Zona Rosa and the children playing tag in Loose Park are all in areas once considered to be “urban sprawl.”

Kansas City began a pattern of growth over a century ago. JC Nichols and partners saw beyond the city limits and in large part made Kansas City into the city it is today. Now, here we are again, still fighting the same battle they did, fighting a battle for growth.

In a short time, the Kansas City Council will vote on whether to allow a voluntary annexation of 300 acres in Platte County. This vote is an opportunity for smart city growth and serves as a way to increase the tax base. Critics complain that it’s not near downtown. That’s because it is located near major employers like Citicards, Harley-Davidson, ADT and the Kansas City airport. Its location is meant to serve the needs of the thousands of Kansas Citians who live and work in Platte County.

Additionally, the developer has agreed to cover the cost of all infrastructure, road improvements, snow and trash removal and recycling, and is doing so without any tax incentives. Really, what more can you ask for?

It was smart growth opportunities such as this that JC Nichols envisioned for Kansas City. Let’s hope our city leaders look to the future just as he did.

--Jonathan Hovey
Kansas City in
Platte County


Law would affect fire boards

2/10/10 issue

EDITOR:

Significant concerns lie with proposed House Bill 1578, sponsored by state Rep. Don Calloway of the 71st District (St. Louis metropolitan area). If HB1578 is passed into law, Missouri fire protection districts with three directors will be forced to increase their number of directors to five.

Our board of directors and I oppose HB1578 for the following reasons:

HB1578 will cost fire protection districts, with restricted budgets and limited incomes, thousands of dollars associated with elections just to comply with this bill, especially when this bill calls for the expiration of three director terms, simultaneously.

There are established fire protection districts in Missouri with three-person boards of directors that opted not to levy a tax during their formation process that rely on funding from fundraisers, subscription service, bake sales and emergency services fees. These districts struggle to pay for the repair of aging firetrucks, older fire stations, pay basic bills and maintain insurance coverage.

HB1578 will mandate financially strapped fire protection districts to conform to a five-person board of directors, thus possibly eating up line-item budgets necessary for their operations. I can assure you that cutbacks in line-item expenditures, such as training and equipment, will occur with our district for the purpose of budgeting unexpected election costs associated with this bill. Volunteer and career fire protection districts face the same risks and responsibilities as any other fire department, yet some may encounter smaller operating budgets and more unpredictable funding obstacles.

We do not oppose five directors serving on a fire board in Missouri; however, our board of directors and I are adamant that the discretion to increase the number of directors serving on a board to five shall ultimately remain with the authority of the fire district as it written in RsMO Chapter 321.

I challenge other fire protection district board of directors and taxpayers served by fire protection districts to contact your state representatives and share with them the financial dangers that this bill poses. This bill affects fire protection districts of all sizes in this state. The passing of this bill may put fire protection districts in a position to either raise their current fire levies and/or reduce their line-item budgets for fire training, equipment and other functions necessary for providing fire protection services to residents and patrons.

Most importantly, this bill adversely affects the taxpayers, especially if taxes in fire protection districts are raised.

Last but not least, we appreciate the diligence of Rep. Martin Rucker of the 29th District for his positive response to our concerns, and whose intent is to address this with the House of Representatives.

--Matt Westrich
Treasurer
Board of Directors
DeKalb Fire
Protection District


And the survey says. . .

2/10/10 issue

EDITOR:

I recently surveyed the registered voters in District 28, and received 1,175 responses. Some of the questions were as follows with numbers after each representing the percentages who answered yes, percent no, percent no opinion and percent no answer (blank):

1. Do you believe that there are an adequate number of healthcare options available locally? 51.1 percent, 39.0 percent, 5.6 percent, 4.3 percent

2. If your doctor is willing to accept what your insurance company pays, should you be allowed to see your doctor? 92.5 percent, 1.0 percent, 1.1 percent, 5.4 percent

3. Should insurance companies be required to accept any qualified doctor who is willing to take the fee schedule? 87.0 percent, 4.1 percent, 3.8 percent, 5.1 percent

4. Do you support federally mandated universal healthcare? 16.7 percent, 74.6 percent, 5.7 percent, 3.1 percent

5. Should Missouri enact a "conscience protection" law that will protect pharmacists and other health professionals from being forced to distribute or make available a medication that they feel causes an abortion? 59.1 percent, 28.9 percent, 8.4 percent, 3.6 percent

6. Should the age to carry a concealed weapon be lowered to 18 years? 9.2 percent, 85.1 percent, 2.5 percent, 3.2 percent

7. Should a concealed carry permit allow a person to carry a concealed weapon on a college campus or other public property? 33.6 percent, 60.1 percent, 3.7 percent, 2.6 percent

8. Do you believe government collects too much in taxes? 78.3 percent, 13.6 percent, 4.7 percent, 3.4 percent

9. Do you support replacing Missouri's complicated tax system with the Fair Tax? 60.7 percent, 12.6 percent, 20.1 percent, 6.6 percent

10. Do you support eliminating all other tax brackets and implementing a true flat tax in Missouri? 58.6 percent, 20.2 percent, 14.4 percent, 6.9 percent

11. Should a fuel tax increase be placed before the voters in order to fund road construction and repair? 50.2 percent, 41.0 percent, 4.6 percent, 4.2 percent

12. Should a tobacco tax increase be placed before the voters in order to fund the growing Medicaid program? 58.3 percent, 34.6 percent, 5.3 percent, 1.9 percent

13. Do you believe judges in Missouri are going beyond their bounds of interpreting Missouri's Constitution? 51.0 percent, 13.8 percent, 30.0 percent, 5.2 percent

14. Does hate speech legislation violate the first amendment guarantee of free speech? 50.6 percent, 30.0 percent, 14.0 percent, 5.4 percent

15. Should constitutional rights extend to the unborn? 56.3 percent, 29.2 percent, 11.0 percent, 3.6 percent

16. Should Missouri comply when Congress passes a law exceeding its tenth amendment authority? (Tenth amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.") 16.4 percent, 59.5 percent, 17.9 percent, 6.2 percent

17. Should Missouri law require that presidential candidates prove their constitutionally-required citizenship before being allowed on the ballot? 88.8 percent, 7.3 percent, 1.4 percent, 2.6 percent

18. Should Missouri do

19. Do you believe that the laws regarding illegal aliens should be enforced more strictly? 90.9 percent, 4.6 percent, 1.7 percent, 2.8 percent

20. Should illegal aliens have the same rights as U.S. citizens? 2.9 percent, 94.7 percent, 0.7 percent, 1.7 percent

I would like to thank all those who took the time to complete and return the surveys. The survey was paid for by the people, so I want the people to have the results.

--Rob Schaaf
State Representative, District 28


Great law enforcement work

2/10/10 issue

EDITOR:

This letter is a "thank you" to the Platte County Prosecutor’s Office, Tracy Police Department, and Platte City Police Department for their outstanding work on the Joe Savala case.

Without going into much detail, Mr. Savala was convicted of second degree sodomy this past week in Platte County Circuit Court. The victim in the case was my brother, who was 16 years old at the time. After watching justice move at turtle speed for nearly two years, we were all very pleased with the outcome of the case.

I hope no family ever has to go through what my brother, mother, and grandmothers went through. However, if it does, you should feel comforted in the fact that the Platte County Prosecutor’s Office is steadfast in seeking justice.

While I'm sure others did help in the three offices I stated above, I would like to especially thank the following people: Beth Taulbee(Tracy would be lost without you), Mark Gibson and Justin Kalwei of the prosecutors office, and the night sergeant of the Platte City PD (Sorry, your name escapes me).


--Larry Hill
Tracy


Let's get the horse back in the barn

2/3/10 issue

EDITOR:

We’ve all heard the cliché about closing the barn doors after the horse has bolted. The lesson is that you cannot prevent a problem that has already happened. But that is exactly what the President proposed to do in his State of the Union speech.

He proposed a spending freeze on non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending. Discretionary spending is the spending over which Congress has direct control. Other programs, like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, are entitlement programs whose spending increases are based on a formula.

I agree with the President that we need to rein in Washington spending. However, we need far more than a spending freeze to repair a budget deficit that was $1.4 trillion last year and is projected to be $1.35 trillion this year.

The programs that the President is now proposing to freeze already received an enormous spending increase of 17.4% last year. Yes, we need to freeze spending, but not at last year’s budget-busting levels. Congress overspent last year. We need to freeze spending at a more reasonable level. It’s disingenuous to talk about fiscal discipline after approving one of the largest spending sprees in history.

For far too long, Washington has simply increased spending without worrying about where that money would come from. I’m glad that Congress is at least discussing spending less money. However, the time for half-hearted measures is over. We must begin to make tough decisions about our priorities. We need to get the horse back in the barn.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


 

Frustrated with the U.S. Supreme Court

2/3/10 issue

EDITOR:

The right wing of this Supreme Court never ceases to amaze me. From Sam Alioto, who reportedly has never ruled for old peole in an age discrimination lawsuit, to Clarence Thomas, a black man who ironically doesn’t seem to care much for blacks, hispanics and other people of color based on his horrendous voting record against them, it’s painfully clear that this bunch has an agenda that is not compatible with those of mainstream America.

Now in a stroke of right-wing genius, the right has pulled off the proverbial coup-de-gras. By changing the campaign finance law, they have wrestled away control of future elections from the people and placed them squarely in the hands of their bedfellows in big business.

It’s kind of scary to think that if Roe v. Wade is revisited, which is very likely, these same five male misfits will be making intensely personal private decisions for every potential child-bearing female in the United States.

Being right of center in terms of one’s political ideology is one thing, but these guys are so far to the right that if the earth were flat, they would fall over the edge.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


 

The debate over the earnings tax

1/27/10 issue

EDITOR:

The subject of city earnings taxes has been in the news a lot lately, with Missouri's two largest cities being the primary focus of attention. Both Kansas City and St Louis have a 1% earnings tax, which voters approved decades ago. The issue has emerged in recent months, primarily as a result of efforts by the Show-Me Institute, which studies public policy and proposes solutions to public policy issues. The Institute's President, Rex Sinquefield, is a millionaire businessman who would like to see city income taxes eliminated in Missouri.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan reported on Dec. 28, 2009, that five petitions had been submitted that would eliminate city earnings taxes over a specified period. Before either of these petitions can be placed on the ballot for a statewide vote, the required number of signatures must be collected by the petitioners and approved by the secretary's office before May 2, 2010.

My position on this issue has been cited in various reports by local media, but not in adequate detail. Essentially, I am not in favor of repealing the earnings tax without a great deal of thought and preparation, but I am in favor of keeping an open mind on the subject and examining different methods for replacing the revenue generated by the tax. This is an issue that is not going away, and we in city government need to understand that and be prepared.

As mayor I will tell you that our principal objective is to keep people and businesses in Kansas City and grow those numbers. To the extent that the earnings tax is a detriment to growth, and if there is a way to replace it that is rational and careful and smart, I'm open to doing that. On the other hand, taking the $200 million that is raised by the tax out of the system overnight isn't going to improve our ability to keep people and businesses in Kansas City either. I'm just saying you can't be ideological about this. You can't be closed minded about it. I'm willing to look at the facts and evidence on any situation, including the earnings tax.

The Show Me Institute and others have made some recommendations about how to replace the earnings tax. We need to study those proposals carefully. I have my research staff looking into various studies, and we will be examining the issue very closely over time. The fact is, we have to find the best way to pay for all the city services that our citizens need fire, police, trash collection, street paving and so on. If we had to get rid of the earnings tax today, I don't know where we'd get the money to replace the $200 million it brings in. But we've been doing business the same way in Kansas City, and we've continued to lose market share. Our share of metro income in 1970 was 40%. Today it's 18%. We can't keep doing things the same old way and expect different results.

Right now, the objective is to get people and businesses into Kansas City and keep those who are already here. If the tax is a detriment to that and I hear every day that it is maybe there is another way. I'm not one of those people who believe we have to shrink government, or starve it, because bureaucrats and politicians spend too much money. I don't want to shrink the revenue base for the city and I don't want to reduce the size of city government more than we have over the past two years. We need a robust government with well paid, well trained and well equipped employees to provide services.

As the merits of the city earnings tax are being debated over the next few months, I believe that we in city government must keep an open mind and carefully examine the various proposals that will inevitably be put before us. If there is a solution to our funding needs that is superior to the earnings tax, then we need to examine it, and be open to change.

--Mark Funkhouser
Kansas City Mayor


 

We don't need cap and trade

1/27/10 issue

EDITOR:

Virtually every elected official from Jefferson City to Washington, D.C., has expressed deep concern about the loss of jobs and the need to jumpstart our economy. After all, the U.S. unemployment rate stands at about 10 percent, the highest it's been in a quarter century. Here in Missouri, the jobless rate is about 9.5 percent.

As a result, Congress will be discussing lots of proposals for creating jobs and fixing the economy in the weeks and months ahead, and members of Missouri's Congressional delegation will have to what steps to take to meet the specific needs of workers and families here at home.

In doing so, they should oppose the energy-rationing cap-and-trade bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year (and may soon go before the U.S. Senate) and move on to more viable efforts that will help not hurt Missouri's small businesses, employers, workers and families.

Supporters of cap and trade claim that such a federally mandated program which is built upon massive energy taxes and cumbersome rationing mechanisms will effortlessly create jobs and reduce carbon emissions with little, if any, economic impact.

But from businesses to workers and their families, an overwhelming majority of Missouri voters clearly disagrees. In fact, this month, our organization, the National Federation of Independent Business, released a survey showing that Missouri voters are greatly concerned about the impact that a cap-and-trade system would have on jobs, energy prices, and economic growth.

Key findings of the Missouri survey include:

•60 percent of voters oppose a federal cap-and-trade system while 34 percent are in favor of such a system. (7 percent Dk/Na)

•48 percent of voters believe a federal cap-and-trade system would lead to more job losses while 16 percent believe it would have no effect and 25 percent believe it would create jobs. (11 percent Dk/Na)

•62 percent of voters believe a federal cap-and-trade system would increase energy costs while 19 percent say it would have no effect and only 12 percent believe it would lower costs. (8 percent Dk/Na)

•49 percent of voters believe a federal cap-and-trade system will limit economic growth while 19 percent say it will have no effect and 24 percent believe it will increase growth. (8 percent Dk/Na). This survey follows two national polls released in late December gauging opinions of small businesses and voters across the United States.

The earlier surveys showed that small business owners, our nation's engine of job creation, similarly skeptical about employment claims, with 69 percent believing that a cap-and-trade system won't create a single job.

Furthermore, nearly 60 percent believe that energy prices will rise if cap and trade is passed into law.

Given that small businesses create between 60 and 80 percent of all new jobs, their perspective surely should have some weight. After all, does anyone really believe that massive new energy taxes that would lead to fewer jobs and higher energy costs should be at the top of Congress' priority list?

NFIB and other organizations whose members are responsible for creating jobs have come out against cap and trade. For example, the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that cap and trade legislation will destroy 2.4 million jobs and reduce gross domestic product by as much as $3.1 trillion. The American Farm Bureau, meanwhile, recently voted unanimously to oppose the legislation.

Their opposition is well founded since the evidence shows that cap and trade won't work in any case.

In European countries operating under cap-and-trade systems, unemployment rates have gone up while the supposed reductions in carbon emissions have not materialized. That's even with the decreased economic output that's resulted from the ongoing global recession.

Major developing economies in China and India whose energy use is increasing exponentiallyhave said no to similar cap-and-trade-like systems that would restrain their economies. And without these nations on board, even sweeping actions here in the U.S. would have literally no beneficial effect on the planet.

It's what we in the small business community call a “high cost, low impact” scenario the type of scenario we usually try to avoid.

Given cap and trade's potential for destroying jobs and hurting the economy, it's pretty clear that Congress needs to seriously rethink its legislative priorities.

The people have spoken: Cap and trade is the last thing Missouri needs right now.

--Brad Jones
Missouri Director
National Federation of
Independent Business


 

You can't have it both ways

1/27/10 issue

EDITOR:

Senator Claire McCaskill wants to have it both ways. On Monday she sent out a letter titled: Time to break the cycle of debt.

She is proposing a cap on federal discretionary spending through 2014. After ballooning the federal budget since the progressive Democrats took over Congress in 2006, they claim to now want to hold the line.

That is kind of like you getting new credit cards equal to more than your household income and then having a serious discussion with your spouse that it would be prudent to only spend three times your income on fiat credit.

Senator, that crisis you talk about is here today. Look what you have done to our economy already. Your liberal progressive policies have damaged the housing, banking and automobile industries.

There are only two possible solutions to balance the budget. Reduce federal spending or raise taxes.

So where do you stand?

If you are in favor of reduced spending, then what departments of government or federal programs do you intend to cut or remove to balance the budget?

Or are you and your friend Barack Obama just preparing the country for the largest tax increase in history?

-Paul Hamby
Maysville
Missouri Co-Coordinator
Campaign For Liberty


Questions at North Platte

1/27/10 issue

EDITOR:

Given the recent budget reduction plans at North Platte R-1, I believe the patrons of the district need to ask themselves some questions. When they supported the bond issue, did they realize that they could be voting to potentially put teachers and staff out of work? What impact will the reductions have on your children's education? Is the resolution to utilize $900,000 to pay off the remaining balance of the high school lease purchase the wise and prudent use of district funds, given the recent school funding scenarios presented by the state? In my opinion the school board needs to take a serious look at expenditures then consider change.

--Jon McLaughlin
New Market


Changes needed

1/27/10 issue

EDITOR:

So the sewer district voted 3-2 to pass a 'master plan', absent the benefit of the county's final land-use plan that would seem to be the driver behind all other infrastructure plans, sewers included? And they did this over the objection of their two newest members, one of whom hasn't even had time to review the plan?

Just more 'business as usual' at Platte County Regional Sewer District and it's board. As I read the article what I got out of it is that they need a plan, ANY plan, just to show the commission they have a plan to serve the area, good bad or indifferent. The sole reason for doing this would seem to be that they want to block Timber Creek Sewer Company from providing residents with fair competition. Shame on them.

Keep working, Platte County Commissioners. You have three more board members who need to be replaced!

--Sue Lange
Parkville


COPs loophole needs addressed

1/27/10 issue

EDITOR:

After reading about Platte County R-3 Superintendent Mike Reik's desire to change the bonding limits, I thought perhaps he hadn't been counseled by the Missouri financing community on the art of deceptive financing. His school board could finance their capital needs using certificates of participation (COP's). After all, school facilities are needed only one year at a time. To get the COPs issued, the district would buy insurance to back the underlying bonds, just in case there weren't sufficient funds to make the payments. Then, if the district failed to make payments, insurance would take over. Upon which, the insurer would sue the district, i.e. the taxpayer, for damages.

Sound like a plan? It was used by the City of Parkville in 2006 by then-mayor Kathy Dusenbery and former county commissioner Michael Short to finance a $4 million City Hall when only $1 million was approved by voters. I am certain they hate being reminded of their boondoggle.

Ms. Dusenbery's monument consumed over 11% of Parkville's 2009 general fund revenues. The city's 2010 budget document states,“The most important financial challenge facing the City involves the constant struggle to adequately fund all of the capital improvements and infrastructure needs that the city requires.” So sits Parkville; leveraged to its eyeballs; like owning a house on Spinnaker Point and can't afford furniture. Is it any surprise nobody runs for office? Who wants to nurse debt for two decades?

By the way, Platte County has over $18 million of COPs outstanding as of December 31, 2008 according to the audited financial statements. Wink, wink to Platte County and the soon to come horse trails.

COPs, i.e., lease purchase financing, i.e., debt, continue to be promoted by Missouri financiers even though “an issuer can find itself cash strapped in future years” due to “no voter approved income stream being attached to the debt payment.” This wording from a financier's website. Another financier stated at a city council meeting, “COPs are not bonds; they are not debt” and then gave details of principal and interest payments. So who is the bigger fool?

As a reminder, current Missouri statutes result in the annual cost of COPs being classified as an operating expense, whereas accounting rules subject them to determination as long term debt.

I was recently asked what concerns I had in regard to the 2010 elections for state and county offices. If I could get one thing accomplished in Missouri, it would be revising statutes to properly define debt and eliminate this current loophole. Given the recent 20 year cycle of excess leverage in all sectors of the economy, the last thing we need is more leverage. But don't tell that to Commissioner Dusenbery. We taxpayers “don't understand."

Current Missouri Senator Charlie Shields was unwilling to address the loophole. My inquiries into his office yielded nothing but rebukes. I eventually received a written response that appeared to have been written by someone unfamiliar with any of the conversations. Upon inquiry to another elected official's office, it was suggested that I sue the City of Parkville, as if that was going to make the building disappear and eliminate the debt.

The only valid reason ever offered for this loophole was that voters won't approve spending when capital items are needed. Hhmmm…….voters not trusting elected representatives to make sound financial decisions. With appropriate statute changes, shenanigans like Parkville's City Hall wouldn't be allowed and lease financing could be preserved for its intended purpose, which I will presume was small capital items.

Does anyone running for Missouri state office have the will to address this loophole?
Superintendent Reik could seek other means for his capital needs, but perhaps he has principles and respect for the taxpayer. It would be nice to have these same qualities in Missouri's state leadership; someone willing to change the statutes and protect the taxpayer; someone unlike Senator Shields, who was more interested in protecting his friends.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


 

An open letter to Claire

1/20/10 issue

EDITOR:

An open letter to Missouri junior US Senator Claire Conner McCaskill:

Your campaign promise to “never” vote for a bill that had an earmark has proven to be an outright lie. The largest Omnibus bill ever proposed, with thousands of earmarks, immediately garnered your vote with no objections.

Your control over attendees at the very few town hall meetings you held in the Kansas City area minimized and kept those who placed you in office from questioning or rebuking your actions, reasoning and votes. Your arrogance that dismisses anyone who may challenge what you do serves no one but you.

Since mid-year, your lemming support of the progressive agenda has continued unabashed. I am ashamed that you are currently holding an office that should "represent" not “rule” Missourians.

Your current support of legislation to destroy Medicare by taking $500 million in funding to pay for an ultimate single-payer government run health insurance program and further create even more unemployment in the health care/insurance industries is truly the act of one who wants to install all the failings that history shows that come from this system. Your support to “force” citizens to purchase insurance or face fines and/or imprisonment smacks of a dictatorial form of government none of which any informed American wants.

Your flagrant disregard of the will of the majority must demand your removal as senator at the earliest opportunity. Your constituents will see you treated as you have treated us. You have failed to govern, and now, following the lead of President Obama, are killing the America that gave you such a blessed life. Your blatant disregard of the wishes of the citizens of Missouri and your avoidance of all the unintended consequences from your votes have put us in a jeopardy that will be hard to overcome, but we will. You can count on it.

This country was founded to escape the tyranny of a non-representative ruling elite class of government and now you, by your actions and votes, have driven America into the same socialist/communist/Marxist regime. Shame on you and shame on your like-minded colleagues. You are all a disgrace to this country. You truly lack the moral fiber to be entrusted to serve the public.

I’m sure you fully understand this statement, but your desire to rule has overridden any common sense, values or principles we expected from you as our public servant. My intention is to share this with everyone I know whether they support or oppose you. I don’t know how you can sleep at night with what you’re doing, apparently it’s due to lack of any conscience.

--Steven E Hammer
Gladstone


Tax funded bonuses must stop

1/20/10 issue

EDITOR:

A bonus is defined as something that is in excess of what is due. Some college and professional coaches get bonuses when their teams win championships. In Washington, bonuses are given even when you lose taxpayer money.

This week, we learned that the chief executive officers and top administrators of government-run Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will earn $42 million in bonuses. These are the same two government-sponsored institutions that have cost taxpayers more than $110 billion and have put us at risk for another $2 trillion in potential losses.

On Christmas Eve, the Obama Administration announced that it was removing the cap on the amount of taxpayer aid available to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both institutions have been shielded from the executive compensation limits that the administration put in place for companies that received Troubled Asset Relief Program funds. The CEOs for these institutions have a base salary of $900,000 and will now receive bonuses of $5 million each.

Only in Washington can it make sense to give out $5 million bonuses, but tell our seniors that there is no money available for a cost of living adjustment to Social Security. Instead of handing out millions in bonuses, Washington ought to be restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so that taxpayers get their money back.

We can start by cancelling taxpayer funded bonuses to failing institutions. I, along with 70 of my colleagues, have written to the treasury secretary asking him to do just that. Taxpayer funded bailouts and bonuses have to stop.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District

 


 

In defense of Brit Hume

1/20/10 issue

EDITOR:

Brit Hume has been catching hell for "proselytizing": He urged Tiger Woods to look into what Jesus Christ has to offer.

My response to that is three-fold.
A) Let's just plainly admit that, yes,Mr. Hume was "proselytizing.” (Why go through semantic contortions to the contrary?

B) I challenge the implied premise of those finding fault with his "proselytizing," that "proselytizing" is an inherently bad thing. Whenever someone tries to persuade someone of another point-of-view, that's "proselytizing." Haven't we all done that,and what's the big deal?

C) The first clause of the First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, but the second clause says "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Brit Hume was engaged in the "free exercise thereof" when he encouraged Tiger Woods to investigate Jesus Christ. (And this also needs saying: The dirty, devious trick of all those that want to silence the speech of people of faith, has been to imply an extremely narrow interpretation of what "free exercise" alludes to. It's acted as though "free exercise" just means going to church and doing church activities.)
In closing, I suggest this: If the First Amendment has nothing to do with people attempting to "persuade" one another, which is all that "proselytizing" is, then it's a pointless exercise of shallow people just running their mouths with no purpose.

--David McAninch
Kansas City


 

Why is Tomahawke still being pushed?

1/6/10 issue

EDITOR:

The Kansas City council is currently considering a request to annex 319 acres located at 92 Highway and Winan road to allow a developer to construct a 665 home subdivision called The Lake at Tomahawke Ridge.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with this project as the developer's attempt to get it approved has been ongoing for approximately two years, with denials coming at every turn. However, in spite of the fact that the Platte County Planning and Zoning staff, Platte County Planning and Zoning Board, Platte County Commissioners, Kansas City Planning and Zoning staff and Kansas City Planning Committee have all either recommended denial or voted to deny the developer's requests regarding this project, there are still four Kansas City council members who are willing to sponsor this project and bring it before the full city council for a vote.

Some of the reasons for these denials include:

•Inadequate infrastructure to handle the additional 6000 plus cars a day this subdivision would bring to the area

•Inability of the Kansas City police and fire departments, as well as MAST ambulance service, to respond to any calls to this area in a timely manner. MAST has stated that anyone having a cardiac arrest would be less likely to be resuscitated before they could get there unless a neighbor was able to come to their aid, call 911 and perform CPR until MAST was able to get there.

•The plan does not conform to the Platte County Land Use Plan or KCI Area Plan

•At an earlier meeting with the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), several councilpersons said development should be encouraged closer to the city's core and discouraged further out.

In addition, the Kansas City Planning and Zoning staff has stated that if the area were annexed into the city limits, the purpose the developer wants to use the plan for should be the third option as far as zoning is concerned. The staff recommended zoning for industrial purposes or one home per 40 acres before anything like the developer wants to put in should be considered.

The project also goes against many of the recommendations included in the FOCUS Kansas City strategic plan that is included on the city's web site.

I think it would be reasonable to ask these council members why they are so willing to sponsor a plan that does not appear to fall in line with any of these recommendations, and would appear to be unsafe at best, given what has been stated by the city's police and fire personnel, as well as MAST.

Some of the intersections in Platte City can become congested with traffic now, particularly in the morning and evening hours; try to picture those intersections with an additional 6000 cars each day traveling 92 Highway.

Remember, these council members won't have to deal with that headache, we will.

We will also have to deal with the increased student population at our school, as well as any revision of district boundary lines it might cause.

If you are opposed to this, now is the time to let Kansas City know how you feel. A month from now will be too late.

--Joe Morris
Platte County


Fine job of snow removal

1/6/10 issue

EDITOR:

This is a “thank you” and compliment for the City of Parkville Public Works employees.

Not only did they do a tremendous job of clearing the heavy snowfall from the streets--and this during a holiday weekend--but on Monday morning one phone call to the city garage brought a snowplow back to my neighborhood. A tractor-trailer moving van had difficulty negotiating a corner into a cul-de-sac to load household goods of neighbors who had sold their house.

Even though I am sure they city’s snow removal crew was exhausted and surely had other demands, within minutes of my phone call, a plow quickly widened the intersection so the moving truck could make the turn and back down into the relocating family’s driveway.

Thank you, Parkville public works!

--Reid Nickisch
Parkville


Consider firing your doctor

1/6/10 issue

EDITOR:

For those of us that are opposed to the current health care bill being rammed down our throats by the US Congress, I have some good news. I received an encouraging press release the other day from the office of Representative Rob Schaaf. Dr. Schaaf represents Missouri district 23 in the State House of Representatives. Dr. Schaaf is pretty mad at the AMA for its endorsement of the menagerie that is known as the US Senate health bill.

According to Dr. Schaaf, "The AMA has ignored the best interests of patients, opting to protect special interests. Physicians need to send the AMA a strong message that they will not tolerate AMA's support of this horrible bill."

To reinforce his statement, Dr. Schaaf resigned from the AMA.

I say thank you. I join Dr. Schaaf in encouraging all doctors that are currently members of the AMA to leave it.

I would like to take this a step further, though. Doctors work for us, and many are dependent upon the income that we help create for them. Now I have heard that many doctors oppose this health care bill like you and I. I say let's give them some creative encouragement to be more vocal about this. The next time you go to your doctor, consider asking them this question: Do you support the current health care bill that is being supported by the President and rushed through Congress? If the answer is no, follow with this question: The AMA supports the health care bill, will you consider joining Representative Rob Schaaf and resigning from the AMA?

If they answer yes to the first question, fire them as your doctor! As citizens opposed to this absurd bill we need to explore every avenue that exists to stopping it.

--Andrew Palmer
Kansas City


What did Claire get for us?

12/30/09 issue

EDITOR:

Congress for sale-Votes for sale. Harry Reid publicly stated if your Senator did not get you something in this Health Bill then your state does not have a very good Senator.

How about it Claire? What did you get us beside an opportunity to pay our tax money to support Nebraska, Louisiana, Vermont, etc. Are you not a very good Senator?

We will soon see because I remember you promised the voters of Missouri that you would never vote for a health bill that was not deficit neutral.

A child of three can see this bill being “floated” and the House and Senate is not close. This is our fault for regardless of how our representatives vote, we continue to reelect them.

I really cannot tell the difference in the two parties except at election time. We should not vote for anyone who is in office now.

P.S. Claire, I am concerned about you, anyway, because when I wrote you to complain about the stimulus bill you answered me with “there is no pork” in said bill. Now, being raised in Missouri you should recognize pork when you smell it.

--Galen R. Pyle
Platte County


 

Kansas City Children's Zone

12/30/09 issue

EDITOR:

In November, 2009, I co-sponsored a resolution that enabled the City of Kansas City to provide $200,000 in start-up funding to a consortium of organizations in the city core. That funding will enable them to compete for federal funding from the Obama administration's “Promise Neighborhoods” program. Such funding will help make it possible for Kansas City to replicate Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone, an approach to education that provides assistance, from birth through college, to children living in a defined area.

Some residents may wonder why I would approve spending $200,000 in support of a long-term educational program when the City's budget is so tight. It is a fair question, and one that I am well prepared to answer. I support it because it is a tool that, if sustained, can help to bring an entire generation of children out of poverty by providing them with the support they need to complete both high school and college and become productive, tax paying citizens of this great City.

The Kansas City Children's Zone--now called Zone 2-7 Anchor of Hope--is a long term project that will operate over 22 years of a child's life. It is not a quick fix. But Kansas City's problems are fundamental, caused by long neglect and wrong-headed economic policies. Such problems cannot be resolved with quick-fixes.

In my campaign for mayor, and in both of the State of the City speeches that I've given since being elected, I have said that Kansas City faces three major issues that threaten its financial stability: Crumbling infrastructure coupled with inadequate city services, crime and the fear of crime, and concerns about our educational system.

Citizen dissatisfaction over these issues became so intense over the years that many middle income residents fled the city which has eroded the city's tax base. In 1970, Kansas City had 40 percent of the income in the metropolitan area; now we have 18%. And, with that 18%, we are still bearing the responsibility for most of the region's major infrastructure--its arterial streets, roads, bridges and sewers, as well as its cultural amenities and sports venues.

As mayor, I have committed my administration to addressing these three fundamental issues.

To improve basic services and infrastructure--which must be accomplished through the various city departments and the city manager -- I introduced The City That Works initiative in February 2009, and it is beginning to bear fruit.

To improve safety, I supported adequate funding for our police department, and even voted against the last city budget when my city council colleagues saw fit to cut police funding by $12 million.

We must have adequate officers on the street so they can help to control crime, and we must also attack the causes of crime, by changing conditions that help to create criminals.

That is how the Kansas City Children's Zone 2-7 Anchor of Hope fits into my long range plan for improving safety and educational opportunities in the city, and why I approved funding to support that effort. It is well known that the majority of Kansas City's homicides occur in areas where poverty abounds, where high school dropout rates are high, and where youth in the neighborhood have given up hope of a better life. Zone 2-7, if sustained, can change that for all the children in zip code 64127.

Zone 2-7 will not cure all the problems in Kansas City that have driven people to move in search of better educational options for their children, but it is a start; a small piece in a very large puzzle. I will continue to look at other educational initiatives, and I will work closely with all the 14 school districts in Kansas City to ensure that city government is providing their leaders all the support and resources it can to assist them in doing an even better job.

--Mark Funkhouser
Mayor of Kansas City


It's not about race or politics

12/23/09 issue

EDITOR:

To Landmark letter to editor writer Eddie Clay from Grandview:

Congratulations on being able to find racial injustice in a story that is about the wholesale pardoning of repeat sex offenders.

Congratulations for being able to have heartfelt sympathy for the victims and their families while being morally offended if we throw away the key on their attackers.

Apparently though, you have no objection to submitting the offenders to a “horrible and painful death much the same as they inflicted upon their helpless victims.” Exactly how many times do they need to offend before you feel they should be subjected to that “horrible and painful death” thing?

Congratulations on being able to straddle all sides of an issue at once....except the racial injustice one, of course.

So what you’re trying to say is that Michael Dukakis (a Democrat) was "viciously smeared by Republican strategists" for pardoning Willie Horton but Mike Huckabee (a Republican) being attacked for pardoning Maurice Clemmons is non political…and even if it is...it’s justified because of what the Republicans did to the Democrats back in Willie’s case? You can seriously draw a parallel between rape and murder and some politician's hiring policies?

Does it occur to you that the relatives of those loved ones who are raped and murdered don’t care what race or political party the offenders and their bleeding heart champions are? Rape and murder are not committed against just one race or another. They are not committed against just one political party or another. Any elected official who turns a blind eye to the thousands of warnings that sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated and, indeed, keep upping the violence ante, deserve to be publicly and loudly taken to task just prior to being booted from office forever.

As the relative of a victim of a sexual predator, I think I will speak for most of us if I ask you to kindly pick a different subject for your race-baiting, political grandstanding and moral waffling, Mr. Clay.

--Susan Stewart
Platte City


Fa la la la la, la la la la

12/16/09 issue

EDITOR:

Two years ago we saw The Heart of America Christmas Pageant put on by First Baptist Raytown, and so were looking forward to this year’s event.

They did not disappoint. What is so amazing is that this is put on by a congregation not a professional troop. The performance was moving in many areas, and the crucifixion scene is one of the most powerful I've seen on stage. Many were touched by the spirit that afternoon. I know my family was.

It will be broadcast on Channel 29 KCWE-UPN on Christmas Day, December 25, at 11 a.m.

--Vic McCance
Platte County


 

McChrystal credibility questioned

12/16/09 issue

EDITOR:

General McChrystal may be a fantastic warrior and a military genius. His reputation, however, as honest or trustworthy has been eroded by his own actions.

As the prime culprit in the shameful cover-up and exploitation of Pat Tillman’s battle-field death, his credibility in front of the American public is diminished. His rush to reveal his personal views in the midst of the deliberate and thorough debate within the Obama Administration on the Afghanistan strategy demonstrates a lack of discipline and a big ego, unbounded by the Constitution, which places the decision-making authority in the elected commander-in-chief.

After testifying in front of the Congress this week, should we hold our breath for the next stunt our fearless general is going to pull?

--Jen Mayhew Masoner
Platte City and
Rami Saffarini
Platte City


Huckabee deal similar to Dukakis'

12/16/09 issue

EDITOR:

As the furor over Mike Huckabee’s pardon of Maurice Clemmons continues, it vividly brings to mind the vicious smear campaign by Republican strategists against Michael Dukakis for his early release of Willie Horton.

The difference between the Horton and Clemmons cases in my mind is that Dukakis’ pardon of Horton was used as a tool to drive a wedge between us along racial lines in order to win an election. Much the same was done by Platte County’s own Sam Graves in his shameless attack ad admonishing Kay Barnes for her “support of minorities over well qualified white women,” which was clearly designed to pander to the fears of the largely white electorate in his district.

While I feel compassion for Huckabee, who, like Dukakis, had no way of knowing that their actions years later would come back to haunt them, my heart aches for the victims and their families.

To be sure, these were despicable acts committed by what turned out to be despicable characters, who in my opinion deserved to die a horrible and painful death much the same as they inflicted upon their helpless victims.

That being said, it must be pointed out that none of us has a crystal ball that can predict the future. Sending offenders off to prison for their crimes is just and righteous, but throwing away the key, effectively denying them the ability to redeem themselves to society, particularly where there is hope for redemption, is morally repugnant.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


 


It's character assassination

12/9/09 issue

EDITOR:

The latest soap opera episode of the Platte County Commissioners would be funny if it were not so important to the voters of Platte County. Betty Knight and Kathy Dusenbery continue their campaign to discredit Auditor Siobhann Williams for doing the job she is not only qualified for but for which she was elected .

Ever since Ms. Williams took office the commission has refused to work with her to correct problems and errors discovered by her audits. Now, after spending unnecessary outside audit costs in the thousands, which verified Ms. Williams' original findings, they had to hire another outside firm to correct the errors and oversee the workings of the HR department.

Now, Ms Williams is being accused of harassment by the demoted former manager of the HR department. Since when is doing your job called harassment? If the commission had done its job when the audit findings were first reported and had acknowledged Ms. Williams’ qualifications as auditor, there would not be the current issues.

I will not even address the bogus charge of sexual advances. This charge is the typical character assassination of the Republican Party. However, politics prevails and the smearing of a Democratic officeholder who uncovered the lax workings of the previous auditor as well as other departments was more important that doing what is best for Platte County.

No wonder it is so hard to find candidates for public office when they know they will be subjected to unwarranted attacks on their reputations and families.

--Mary Anne Baier
Kansas City in
Platte County


 

Tomahawke needs a reality check

12/9/09 issue

EDITOR:

Once again, Greed Speak has voiced its only concern which is dollars, or Benjamins.
It is, once again, time for a reality check with facts instead of pulling bogus numbers out of the blue or "Pie in the Sky." First, there is absolutely no need for more housing availability in the Platte County area. Fact: In late 2008, residential development within area proximity to Platte City contained 2,707 single family lots and 560 townhome lots. The total number of homes built was 927. Yes, that does leave 2,340 empty, available lots. The number of homes permitted this year was less than 60. The price ranges begin at $140,000 up to $500,000. Gosh, how about all of this "affordable, quality" housing just waiting for buyers right here right now?

In Running Horse West, under preliminary plat approval, 59 single family lots are planned with 59 available. Where in heaven's name is further need? Professing need in light of the facts does seem a bit ridiculous, yes?

Second, and for one more time, the planning and zoning members are well educated, diligent people who took two years to study all aspects of this proposed super dense subdivision. It is offensive to us that a suggestion has been made that these folks do not care about our economic growth. They do care very much. The difference is that they intelligently qualify all proposals in light of their overall benefit for the community as a whole; not special interest groups.

They did not ignore the facts regarding the condition of our area roadways or the statistics sighting the many multicar accidents. They did not ignore that putting a 657 home subdivision at this location would fly in the face of the entire surrounding area and would be much like dropping Tokyo in the middle of a corn field. For all of these and many other reasons reiterated at all of the meetings, the decision was to deny this application.

In conclusion, the facts speak for themselves; there is absolutely no need whatsoever for additional "affordable, quality" housing in this area at this time.

--Terry and Adrienne Glaeser
Platte County


Government doesn't save jobs

12/9/09 issue

EDITOR:

Last week, the president held a jobs summit. The purpose of this summit was to come up with ideas that will help create jobs. With an unemployment rate over 10 percent for the first time in a quarter of a century, I’m glad that the administration has finally gotten the message that Americans need jobs.

The administration’s first attempt to help create jobs resulted in a $787 billion “stimulus” bill that did nothing to stimulate our economy. In fact, the White House says that 640,000 jobs have been “created or saved” by the stimulus. As of Oct. 30, $214.5 billion of the stimulus had been spent. That means that each job “created or saved” cost taxpayers $335,000.

We know that government does not create or save jobs. What government can do though is set the table for economic growth. That is why I believe we should be pursing policies that will help create opportunity for small businesses to grow.
If the president wants to help create jobs, he should immediately submit the three pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress. These trade agreements won’t require a tax increase or add to our national deficit. What they will do is create good-paying American jobs in areas like manufacturing and agriculture.

I believe that American farmers and manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world as long as it’s a level playing field. Rather than trying to tax, spend and bail our way to prosperity, Congress ought to be helping create the conditions for economic growth.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


 

Not the time for salary increase

12/2/09 issue

EDITOR:

To my Platte County elected officials:

Other than Kathy (Dusenbery), I have voted for all of you in the past and in most cases felt you represented my vote well. I cannot tell you how unhappy I was to see that all but Jim (Plunkett) voted to give yourselves a pay raise. Yes, I know Kathy you were not present. And, yes I understand this is in the future but I do believe most, if not all of you, are re-running for office.

But, I understand this is being reconsidered and thankfully so. At a time when those of us on Social Security were told we did not deserve a raise, due to deflation, and almost all of us have seen our property values decline and our savings also how can you justify a six percent pay raise? At a time that it appears we need infrastructure and roofs repaired we slide through another parks bill. I wholeheartedly voted for the roads and bridges tax and the first park tax, but not for the latter.

Please show fiscal responsibility in keeping buildings, roads and bridges repaired and salaries in line with the economy. I am not saying you are not worth more than you are getting, so are a lot of others. I hate to see you voted out of office for not considering how your actions "appear" to those of us struggling.

--Dave Trewin
Platte County


 

Coach's call was the right one

12/2/09 issue

EDITOR:

By now, many sports fans have heard about New England head coach Bill Belichick's controversial decision to attempt a first down on a fourth-and-two late in the game against the Indianapolis Colts. He made the executive decision to try to win the game in one fell swoop, which was, in my opinion, the correct call to make for their situation.
Here's what made up the perfect storm: Patriots have the ball on their own 28-yard-line, two minutes and three seconds left, a six point lead, fourth down, two yards to go. Belichick decided to go for it. One play later, Kevin Faulk, the Patriot's running back, was laying on the turf inches short of the first down after the bobbled pass from Tom Brady. In the next two minutes, Manning scored a touchdown, putting the Colts up 35-34 to win the game.

But was the gutsy call right? The answer is yes.

When ESPN's Alok Pattani crunched the numbers, the Patriots had an 80.5% chance of winning the game if they went for the first down (based on a 55.7% fourth down conversion rate), but a 79% chance if they punted (based on their average 44 yard punt). Belichick's highly criticized call was statistically more likely to get them a win.

The question of Belichick having little confidence in his defense also arose, but it is really more of a doubt that any fourth-quarter-tired defense could stop Peyton Manning, who had already had two 79 yard touchdown drives that quarter, both under two minutes and five seconds.

That's not to say that his choice wasn't a gamble - it was. But it was a calculated gamble. His was the best choice, even if it ultimately failed.

--Parker Redel
Platte County


 

It's all about the Benjamins

12/2/09 issue

EDITOR:

It has been two years, and here we are, still arguing about the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge development. Letters such as this keep going back and forth, but if you ask me, this should not have been a fight to begin with. So we want to prosper as a community…this is how we do it.

The economic future of Platte County took a big hit last August when the Platte County Planning and Zoning Committee denied the proposed Lake at Tomahawke Ridge, a development to be located at the intersection of N. Winan and Highway 92. And, I sat back and watched it happen, without even muttering a peep. Well, not this time. I’m taking this opportunity to let you know why this property must be annexed by Kansas City.

1. MONEY, MONEY and more MONEY – over $700 million will go directly to this area via food and drink sales, vehicle expenses, grocery sales, telecommunications, bank deposits, etc.

2. AFFORDABLE, QUALITY HOUSING – There is clear need for affordable, workforce type housing in this area. At the $170,000 to $350,000 price point, the bread and butter of our community – retired and active military, government employees, cops, firefighters, teachers- will have more options to live and work in this county.

Alright, we were fooled once. We allowed the Platte County Planning and Zoning to deny a clearly good opportunity for this county, but let’s not be fooled twice. Let the Kansas City City Council know that this development is good for Platte County.

--Jonathan Hovey
Platte County

 


Numbers form pie in the sky

12/2/09 issue

EDITOR:

If someone walked up to you today and offered you $722 million to better your community, would you refuse it?

As long-time member of this community, I think it absolutely absurd to deny the economic advancement of this area. The proposed Lake at Tomahawke Ridge development at the intersection of N. Winan and Highway 92 has the potential to bring $722 million in investments to Platte County- $530 million in bank deposits, $30 million in food and drink sales, $59 million in grocery sales, $51 million in vehicle expenses, $12 million in telecommunications and $10 million in insurance premiums.
Yet Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission denied the project citing increased traffic and a concern that this development would be out of character for the area – seriously?

Now our hope lies in the City of Kansas City. Lake at Tomahawke Ridge filed a petition for voluntary annexation and a rezoning application in October and the rezoning petition goes before the Kansas City Planning Commission in December.
I don’t know about you, but a $722 million influx into a community during a down economy is pretty hard to resist. Let’s hope that Kansas City has more sense than the Platte County P&Z.

--Kathy Barth
Platte County


 

Paying the bill for the state audit

12/2/09 issue

EDITOR:

It has come to my attention that the City of Tracy plans to make yet another fiscal misstep with tax money. I am referring to the almost $18,000 bill presented to Tracy by the State of Missouri for the spiteful and unnecessary audit, brought on after a former mayor couldn't lose with grace.

Current Mayor Rita Rhoads was quoted in a local paper saying the city planned to play the whole bill at once, even though the state has given Tracy two years to pay.
Why would the City of Tracy pay the whole audit bill in one lump sum? Is the state charging interest? If not wouldn't it be more prudent to place the nearly $18,000 in an interest bearing CD or money market account for 24 months? If the city pays the bill two years before it's due, it would be another example of the City of Tracy dropping the ball with taxpayer money.

Also, the whole community should thank former Mayor Brenda Ferguson for costing Tracy nearly 20% of its general fund for an audit that wasn't needed. At the time of the state audit, there was a private auditing firm conducting an audit at the request of the city. The cost of this was $10,000. The private audit, which yielded the same results as the state was $7,000 less.

So, thank you Mayor Ferguson, I guess once you lose an election the best interest of the city takes a back seat.

--Larry Hill
Former
Tracy Alderman

 


 

Social Security on life support

12/2/09 issue

EDITOR:

Social Security is on life support. The system has so many flaws that it is impossible to fix. A fundamental flaw is the system's use as a way to redistribute wealth. The money I pay to Social Security should be for my use… when I retire. Truth be told, Social Security handles only the money flow, without benefit of investment, from me and you directly to retirees. This is not justifiable. In essence, it is a scam and a ponzi scheme.
Also, we do not have a choice of whether or not to participate. The Supreme Court ruled in Nestor v. Fleming of 1960, that contributors have no right to their contributions to the system, whether willing or not. Smack! Pow! Pop! This is prime-fascia evidence that our contributions are basically stolen from us. This begs the question why pay for Social Security? Why should I pay for a retiree's meal and medicines? I've got my own to worry about. Many individual retirement options are now available to us that even allow growth of invested principal.

The number of workers now funding the system is rapidly decreasing while the pool of retirees is greatly expanding. For example, in 1950, 16 workers supported one beneficiary. However, in 2009, three workers are supporting each beneficiary. By 2025, if Social Security makes it there, there will be two workers supporting each beneficiary. The burden increases with each succeeding generation. The flaw is the ratio of workers to retirees.

In essence, the system is already dead. In 2009, the 12.4% Social Security tax raises more funds than are actually paid out to retirees. However, in just nine more years, benefits will exceed tax revenues, creating a desperate situation for many Americans. For generations, mothers and fathers have instructed their children to save their money, to work hard, and to plan for their future. Planning for retirement is everyone's responsibility, no exceptions and no excuses.

Steps need to be implemented immediately to give young workers an option to “opt-out” of Social Security in favor of other rewarding retirement plans. Social Security has served its purpose and will, consequently, become obsolete in the next decade.

Death is the seed of new life, but if the seed is never sown then what can we harvest?

--Christopher Goodale
Kansas City
Park Hill High School
Junior, Class of 2011


Further restrict teenage driving

12/2/09 issue

EDITOR:

Screeching tires, a resounding crash of metal, and, in all likelihood, the screaming of the injured. According to a government study in 2007, 7,000 people were killed in car crashes involving teens- 5,000 teens themselves- and 250,000 were injured. For this reason and others, the use of cars by the general teenage population needs to be severely restricted due to the unnecessary danger regular driving can pose.

A study by the University of Chicago shows that teens who have clear restrictions placed upon their driving get into about 50% fewer crashes, are 71% less likely to drive drunk, and 30% less likely to use a phone while driving. Now, there are people who will say further restricting where, when, and how teens drive will lessen their independence. This is to some degree true. However, what we have to realize is teens will have the remainder of their lives to be independent, so there is no excuse to let up on controlling driving habits when doing so has proven to be effective.

Gas, maintenance, insurance: the three main items every car needs. To get them, we need what we love and hate to earn: money. Now most teens will earn their share of the bills by getting a part time job. But is this a wise decision? Part time jobs eat up time that could be spent volunteering or in an extra-curricular, both activities colleges love to see. So by restricting when a teen drives, the need for them to work may well disappear, leading to more opportunities to impress colleges.

In conclusion, the use of cars by the general teenage population should be restricted. The reasons being that driving has proven deadly for thousands of teens, restricting and controlling driving habits has shown to drastically decrease the likelihood of dangerous driving behavior, and driving usually means working, meaning less time to impress colleges. The power to control the safety of our teens is in our hands: we need to lay down tougher rules and consequences and, if necessary, take the keys to take control.

--Zachary Sarver
Kansas City in
Platte County


 

Time for a change in schools

12/2/09 issue

EDITOR:

The school system we currently have needs to be either improved or completely replaced. There are several reasons for this, but mainly because it is not as successful now as when it was introduced during the Industrial Revolution.

The current education system that most public elementary through high school systems use were born out of the Industrial Revolution. They were created mainly to teach kids to be good at following directions, because during that time period the vast majority of children would have grown up to become factory workers, especially in the northern United States. School at that time was mostly for giving children the ability to follow directions and to have a simple understanding of the workings of the world, such as the ability to read and write. This doesn't apply to most students today, because many of whom will go on to become employees of corporations that don't necessarily need the same requirements as during the early 1800's and in many cases requires much more than what was taught back then.

I will admit that the current school system is good for handling the large amounts of students that many schools face. Being able to successfully get a class of around 400 or possibly more students through school and if nothing else at least training them to be able to hold a simple job while they decide what they want to make of themselves is no small feat. However, the current school system truly doesn't make any attempt to make students take challenging classes, instead most schools just require a certain number of classes to be taken in certain subjects in order to graduate.

In order to make the current education system better, it would need a major overhaul. The main thing that needs to be changed would be to maybe not require, but defiantly encourage students to take challenging classes such as Advanced Placement classes. Another change would be to find a way to help those students that are failing without making them feel like they will never accomplish anything in life. Also, many other schools around the world consider American schools to be a joke, despite what students here think, and comparing the major way they take tests (mostly essays) and the major way we take ours (mostly multiple choice) I would have to agree with them, our tests reward luck as much as it does knowing the material.

In closing, I believe that an overhaul of the school system would be a positive change, although it would mean some major work to make it come to fruition. The current system that we have is starting to show its age, and it doesn't age all that well, but it isn't truly that bad either. It's time for us to decide what is important: an easy education or a good one.

--Ethan Carr
Platte County


 

Sometimes, he feels so alone

11/25/09 issue

EDITOR:

With the defection of Russ Purvis, it appears that mine is the “lone voice of dissent” in a forest filled with conservatives.

From the owner Ivan Foley to the opinion writers, down to those who submit their personal views, there is certainly no shortage of those on the right whose opinions differ from my own.

While I will carry the “liberal” banner with pride, hopefully one day something either of us might read or write will serve as a basis for common ground on issues where we might agree.
Thanks.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


 

Adding more traffic is ludicrous

11/25/09 issue

EDITOR:

A response must be made to the letters written in last week’s Landmark by Jonathan Hovey and Katherine Barth concerning the proposed super dense subdivision at 92 Highway and North Winan Road.

First, Mr. Hovey has stated that there is "plenty of demand" for this project. We all saw the out-of-county real estate agents sent to the decision meetings last year. Why would real estate folks from St. Joseph show up to support a project here? We do understand their presence was requested by the developers, as there would have been mostly empty seats on the pro side without them. Our Platte County residents took time off from work and came to the meetings in overwhelming numbers, standing room only, to oppose this travesty.

Ms. Barth, we acknowledge a property owner's right to divest themselves of property; that is the law. You also stated that necessary improvements to 92 Highway and the surrounding roads were to be made. If one looks at these proposed improvements it is obvious that the addition of turning lanes and small areas of widening will do virtually nothing; this is not even a drop in a very large bucket.

The lack of sight lines, numerous curves, soft shoulders and lack of passing on the entire length of 92 Highway will not be addressed. Interurban Road and North Winan Road were never designed to safely support large numbers of vehicles.

Remember, MoDOT has already stated that there are no plans to change 92 Highway or any other of the roads in this area. The existing traffic from the current area residents, along with the large truck quarry traffic, make travel on 92 dangerous now. The addition of hundreds, eventually thousands, more vehicles would be completely ludicrous.

We remind you all that the Platte County Planning and Zoning members and the county commissioners studied this proposal with due diligence for two years. Their combined decision to deny this proposed subdivision was made as a result of that study. It is simply not the intelligent or right thing for so many reasons.

Our board members are people who do want to see growth in our community, but that growth must be done sensibly without the total destruction of the area. Greed has raised its ugly head and we, who have chosen to live out here, hope it will not gobble us to death.

--Terry and Adrienne Glaeser
Platte County


Kansas City not being open

11/25/09 issue

EDITOR:

I am concerned over the lack of reliable and credible information on the proposed development of 500 new homes in the vicinity of Winan Rd and Highway 92.

There was a zoning notice posted at the intersection of Winan Rd. and Highway 92 that had a discontinued phone number to call for information. I was attempting to attend the zoning hearing in Kansas City but could not determine the location or time of the hearing since the listed phone number was out of service.

Not to cast doubt over the process, but it is hard for the public to attend supposed "open" hearings if they are not publicized.

--Curtis Sawyer
Platte County


 

Turnover of sewer district board should continue

11/18/09 issue

EDITOR:

Rebeca Rooney believes her replacement on the Platte County Regional Sewer District is 'political'. It's not about her, it's about responding to voters who are fed up with a sewer district that is power hungry and abusive of local residents.

This summer the Park Hill School District voted to spend nearly 1 million more than was necessary to solve a sewage problem at Union Chapel. The school had other far less costly solutions available but has repeatedly stated they were 'afraid' to choose other options. Chuck Reineke, representing PCRSD, repeatedly told the school district officials (contrary to information from the Platte County zoning office) that "someone" would eventually run the sewer and at that time, PHSD would have to abandon whatever solution they chose, and hook on to the gravity fed sewers.

Keep in mind, PCRSD has the ability to exempt the school from being forced to hook up. Yet, in a public school board meeting, and in an email to me, a copy of which went to the school district officials, Mr. Reineke indicated that such a decision was 'up to the MoDNR'. He implied that it was out of local hands, furthering the 'fear factor' that, at least partially, drove a financially poor decision on the part of PHSD. I wrote to the MoDNR and indeed it is up to PCRSD to grant exemptions. With respect to treatment plants, PCRSD dictates what language will be on the operation certificate issued by MoDNR regarding future hook ups. Is Mr. Reineke that uninformed about the authority which governs his job? If so why does he hold this job? If not, then why did he misinform PHSD at their board meeting?

Mr. Reineke's uninformed status impacted two other families I happen be acquainted with. After being assured by Mr. Reineke that sewers were not pending for their neighborhood, these people proceeded to make costly repairs and replacements to their septic systems. Shortly afterward, both were informed that sewers were in fact coming, and they'd have to abandon their investments, pay to have them removed, then pay to hook up to the new sewers. His failure to pass on correct information cost these families large sums of money.

I sat through a public meeting where Mr. Reineke informed members of my neighborhood that sewers were going to be run through our properties in spite of the fact that no one needs them and the key entity (presumably) behind the new sewer, in this case Park Hill School District, had other options. We were told by Mr. Reineke, "These sewers are coming and you better get used to it." You know what? I don't like being bullied. And since that meeting nearly two years ago I've run into countless people who've encountered the same insolent attitude from the PCRSD employees.

The PCRSD board of trustees will say, "where's the proof?" Understandably they think people should approach their forum to have their grievances addressed. Personally, I've found that the board is just as arrogant as Mr. Reineke is. I wrote Lewis Sanders of the PCRSD board objecting to the treatment homeowners received at the above mentioned meeting. I never even got the courtesy of a reply. I went to a board meeting a year ago this month, only to hear one board member complain about having to invite the public to the meetings! With that attitude, is it any wonder the board has not heard of the problems we encounter?

The expense of hooking on to sewers is very high. For many in these economic times the prospect is unfathomable. The process to gain an exemption is fraught with "gotchas.” The idea that families should have to take out a loan to pay for sewers they don't need is unconscionable, but that is happening all over this county. And by the board's own admission, often the new sewers are "all about development", not about the local residents who are forced to foot the bill.

Unfortunately for taxpayers, the sewer district gets nearly limitless power from the state, so there is almost no way to stop the out-of-control behavior of the current-day administration. However, everyone works for someone. Mr. Reineke works for the PCRSD board of trustees. The board is appointed by the county commissioners.

Acting on their authority and responsibility to protect citizens of this county from continued abuse and in many cases financial hardship created by the sewer district's decisions, the commission has turned over two members of the PCRSD board, and they should continue turning over members of that board until all the problems are solved.

--Sue Lange
Southern Platte County


Obama's presidency will wake up the people

11/18/09 issue

EDITOR:

“The mountains will rise, the heavens will open……we will rise up….….we will change the world.” Or something of that sort. The Landmark reader who believes Obama to be a messiah and who has twice called Landmark writers racist believes this. And now he claims that party lines should be drawn on income. Is it possible to be more misguided?

If you are not on the dole, you must be “rich”, therefore you must be Republican. Obama-like thinking, if you ignore his advisor appointments. Perhaps the writer hasn't been paying attention to those loud screams coming from the principled conservatives abandoning the Republican Party as well as the principled ex-Democrats, like Russ Purvis.

Class warfare; it's the same as race baiting. Throw inflammatory rocks on the other side of the fence. If anything comes back, accuse the other side of throwing first. Obama does it, and the corrupt national media sucks it up, covers it up, and spews blame on the other guy.

And let's have a level playing field, whatever that means. The problem is that Beltway bluebloods in both parties see a level playing field as keeping the electorate ill-informed and/or dependent. The great lie. Each proclaims an ability to raise the level of the pool by moving water from one end to the other.

What is a level playing field? That would be stealing from those who have worked and earned it and giving it to those who haven't. Who needs principles when stealing is easier? But the Democrat's methods of redistribution have not produced wealth. And Obama proposes to do more of the same.

And how about Obama's playing field? Anyone counted the job losses lately? Any poor or middle class been invited to the upcoming jobs summit, where Obama will hand out bribes to his corporate friends?

And the economic Armageddon; it's still coming. And Republicans certainly deserve some blame. But don't ignore history and the role of the Federal Reserve. Maybe the writer likes that his dollars are worth less each and every year, a designed result courtesy of the Federal Reserve. Never mind that the Federal Reserve was founded in 1913 under the administration of Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat.

Never mind that the Community Investment policies of the last 30 years that fueled the monetary fires were put in place in 1977 under President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, strengthened under President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and used as political tools by ACORN, a Democrat funded organization. Never mind that policy changes with regard to Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac proposed by the Bush administration (initially in 2001; loudly in 2005) were objected to by Democrats.

Anyone read about the deteriorating financial condition of the FHA? Loan delinquencies are now depleting its capital. Have Democrats addressed it?
Never mind that Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, is one of the wealthiest senators, yet claims to serve Missourians, “many of whom have to rely on credit cards to get by.”

And do you think Michelle Obama, a Democrat, could have parted with some of that $300,000 annual salary to help her husband's poor brother in Kenya, who lives on less than $1 per month? If this country's poor people--with cell phones, internet service and other amenities--have nothing, what does Barack's brother have?

In a sad and demented way, Obama's presidency will be one of the greatest in history and good for the country. Great for its attempt to destroy government by the people, and good for waking people up to the fact that Washington is corrupt, that the general media is corrupt, and that liberal agenda has cancerous effects.

Maybe the writer should visit the desolate section of Atlanta I saw yesterday. It may cause him to think differently about a level playing field and the song the Democrats have been singing for decades. If that's what a level playing field produces, why isn't everyone running to be a part of it?

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


 

Rights of a property owner

11/18/09 issue

EDITOR:

I have lived in this community most of my life. I have seen us slowly grow and develop, but it seems that lately we are taking steps in the wrong direction. The group opposing the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge development, which will bring a potential $722 million to the area, is not only in opposition to the growth of the community, it seems that they are also taking stance against the rights of property owners.

There’s plenty of demand for this project –why shouldn’t Hal and Peggy Swaney have the right to use their land as they want to? Our local government could have worked with the developers to make plans, get community input and built a consensus. Instead they are chasing economic growth away with their bureaucratic shuffling.

In this country, a property owner has the freedom to do with the land, what they so choose. This situation should be no different. If it is good for the buyer, good for the seller and great for the community, I guess I don’t see what the fuss is all about.

--Jonathan Hovey
Platte County


 

Developers will save the day

11/18/09 issue

EDITOR:

If you have recently driven a few miles east of Platte City, you are well aware of the hilly stretch of roadway that leads to the intersection at N. Winan Road and Highway 92.

Currently the City of Kansas City, the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Platte City Special Road District do not have any immediate plans to give these tight rural roads the facelift they need. However, the developers for Lake at Tomahawke Ridge, a proposed 655-lot development located at the very intersection we speak of, plan to do exactly that.

The development will provide significant improvements to Interurban Road, Highway 92 and N. Winan Road. These improvements and right of way dedication will exceed $2.5 million, creating safer roads for the people of this community.

I have read several letters that claim that this development will cause a substantially larger amount of traffic on inadequate roads. These letters state that Highway 92 and Winan Road as well as surrounding roads and intersections are already extremely dangerous. To that I say…

1. Yes, these roads do need work, and that is why the developers have voluntarily agreed to accept all costs in making the necessary improvements. They do this, despite the fact these improvements are not seen as an immediate need by City of Kansas City, the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Platte City Special Road District.

2. MoDOT believes that the existing two-lane highway will continue to serve the area reasonably well, even with the population growth. This, based on its operational level of service survey of the surrounding roads, proves that these roads are not only adequate but also capable of safely handling the increase in traffic.

Traffic safety in the area has always been a cause of concern for local residents. And, that is why the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge developers plan to make the necessary improvements.

--Katherine Barth
Platte County


 

Why would Kansas City want Tomahawke?

11/11/09 issue

EDITOR:

Why would Kansas City begin annexation/rezoning proceedings this month, currently scheduled to begin on Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. at Kansas City City Hall for approximately 329 acres to cram in 657 homes on east Hwy 92 in rural Platte County (the proposed Lake at Tomahawke development)?

This is a two-lane road with terrible sight lines and no shoulders; over 300 reported accidents in its vicinity in the past 10 years; where high density development is not compatible near KCI Airport per the airport’s own study; 4.3 miles from a main business district; 2.6 miles from a four-lane interstate; a nearby rock quarry generating heavy truck traffic; in an agricultural district moving heavy farm equipment; and where water drainage issues exist And yes, developer Tim Dougherty has stated generated tax dollars from this unreasonable proposal will go to Platte City, not Kansas City?

Futhermore, the landowners currently have a pending lawsuit against the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission and the Platte County Commission as both have denied this proposed development to proceed for numerous reasons.

Kansas Citians, go to www.noto500homes.com for further information, review this ill-thought-out proposal and voice your concerns to your council representative.

--Rhonda S. Stamper
Platte County
Platte County Citizens
for Sensible Land Use & Growth


 

Is this urban sprawl wanted?

11/11/09 issue

EDITOR:

As everyone hopefully knows by now, Lake at Tomahawke Ridge is back in the public eye--they are now asking for annexation into KCMO to get their way when the county would not allow them to proceed with their “high density” subdivision in rural Platte County.

If you live in Platte County, you should be upset due to the large amount of man hours and tax funds that have been used to analyze this project for landowners Hal and Peggy Swaney, along with developer Tim Dougherty. Even more of our tax dollars are being spent, as they are currently suing the county for not giving them what they want.
If you live in Kansas City you should be upset as they now want KCMO to take on this subdivision, going around the Platte County government decision to deny it. At last check on www.NoTo500homes.com, no one had collected the $100 in the Tomahawke Challenge contest--this would be one of the most isolated subdivisions in the country. Is this the kind of urban sprawl you want?

Your Kansas City tax dollars are now being spent on the staff at City Hall doing the same thing Platte County did. By the developers’ own admission, the majority of tax dollars from this subdivision will go to Platte City, not KCMO.

The KCI Area plan also says the same thing, as this subdivision is closer to Platte City than to the business districts of KCMO. Your KCMO aviation dollars paid to do this KCI Area Plan at a cost of almost $500,000 dollars. Would you like to use it or was it just a “guide” that any developer and his attorney can get changed?

No matter where you live in KCMO, your tax dollars are being spent now on this proposed annexation and if annexed your tax dollars will be paying to keep up the infrastructure. At this time of the budget crunch in KC, is this where you think your KC City Council should spend your money?

--Kirby Holden
Platte County


County should stay in this fight

11/11/09 issue

EDITOR:

Why would Kansas City consider an annexation request on the development known as Tomahawke Ridge, when rural Platte County where the land is located has strongly voted no to this proposed development?

I understand a person only has so much breath, but after our dedicated Platte County commissioners, planning and zoning and concerned citizens have done their lengthy due diligence and research for the past two years on Tomahawke Ridge; I personally cannot remain silent while KCMO considers a request to provide landowners a clear end run around decisions made by our elected county commissioners.

The citizens of our county have a clear voice and they and our county commissioners have spoken by a solid vote of “no” on this proposed development.

We elected leadership of Platte County to speak for the majority of the people and the best interests of our community. Why, then, would KCMO put themselves in a situation to risk undermining our elected officials and their decision as to what is best for our rural community? What can Kansas City, Missouri be thinking when long term sustainability of services is at the forefront of cities of all sizes all across the nation today? KCMO, please slow down long enough to hear the concerns at our local levels as there is clear data to support our commissioners’ decision.

Bottom line, Platte County officials and citizens need to stay in this fight. Stop and listen, as the financial concerns and the highway safety issues will fully rest with our rural county and citizens where the daily impact will be on us, not KCMO, in providing costly services and infrastructure to this rural area.

Until the infrastructure is built to support this new development and the vote is yes, we would respectfully ask KCMO to stand down on our county's clear decision and recognize annexation will clearly undermine the majority vote by elected officials, being the majority voice of Platte City, Missouri citizens.

We recognize KCMO is big city-focused which we understand, however many of us Northland folks are “rural by design.” We routinely commute to the city for employment and are taxpaying citizens to KCMO, but we prefer the beauty of rural lifestyles for our families.

--Wanda Nelson
Platte County
Platte County Citizens
for Sensible Land Use & Growth


 

More transparency needed at R-1

11/11/09 issue

EDITOR:

The North Platte R-1 bond issue passed and the district now has a $6 million commitment from its patrons all from the power of two votes. Talk percentages all you want but the bottom line is 575 (4/7 of 1077) were needed to pass the bond and 577 voted “yes.”

This is a real-life lesson in the value of a vote that our North Platte civic teachers can share with their students. 21% (vocal minority) of our district's registered voters have set the course for the future of our district's facilities, operations and costs. We can only hope that it will be as cost effective and efficient as possible for our low density/rural district.

Going forward, the district needs to become more open and transparent in its operations. For example the purported facilities master plan should be posted to the district website or in some other manner widely distributed to the patrons. Before the first shovel of dirt is turned, patron input should be solicited and plans well publicized so patrons can be given the opportunity to be a part of this significant undertaking.

There are a lot of knowledgeable and experienced patrons in NP R-1 that the leadership would bode well to tap for ideas, guidance, input and suggestions.
So, as we celebrate Veterans Day this week, may God bless those who have served our country and shed their blood so that we may cast our votes in freedom and without fear of reprisal.

Any North Platte R-1 patron who failed to exercise this privilege, right and responsibility has only themselves to look to if they are dissatisfied with the outcome. So with that being said, its time to move on and let the building begin.

-- Kay Folck
North Platte
Parent, taxpayer


 

Obama trying to level playing field

11/11/09 issue

EDITOR:

Strictly from a financial standpoint, I’m having a hard time understanding why there are any poor or middle class Republicans.

Based on every single statistic I’ve seen, the poor and middle class have suffered greatly under Republican administrations, while the rich got much richer. Under Bush, Jr., this financial disparity was even more pronounced. It would seem that the poor and middle class voters who still support the Republican party are actually voting against their own best interests. In my mind, this is like the Indians voting to be led by Custer.

Obama appears to be attempting to level the playing field for the middle class, who now have little, and the poor, many of whom used to be middle class, who now have nothing.

I laugh when I hear those financial have-nots of our society ironically label Obama a “socialist.” For their sake, they may wind up wishing that he had been--if those who supported Bush’s “favor the rich” policy that led us and the rest of the world to near economic Armageddon--ever return to power.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


More Independents on the way?

11/4/09 issue

EDITOR:

The resignation of Russ Purvis as chairman of the Platte County Democratic Party, and then removing his Democrat label entirely, was not a total surprise to me.

When Russ and I opposed each other for the 32nd State House seat in 2002, he was pleasant and lacked the brassy edge that seems to accompany many on the radical left.

Although I’m sure his decision was not easy, I commend him for standing on principle and leaving a party that no longer represents his values and ideals. If he truly does begin to identify as an Independent, and with Republicans endorsing candidates like Scozzafava in New York, I can think of some who just might join him.

---Susan Phillips
Platte County


Whatever happened to statesmen?

11/4/09 issue

EDITOR:

I am a former Platte Countian with roots that extend back to homestead days. Although I have not lived in Platte County for many years, I have family ties that will remain there forever.

I was very interested in Russ’ article a couple of weeks ago and your comments in the Oct. 28 edition of The Landmark regarding Russ’ need to leave the Democratic party -- or that the party left him. I had the same feelings as a former Republican, now Independent. I won’t go into all of my reasons for that since much of it relates to Arizona state and local politics, but I too felt the party left me.

I will comment about my overall review of party politics, at all levels. I left my party connection because I felt that both the Republicans and Democrats only respect the extreme positions of their parties and anyone who might have moderate beliefs is simply someone that is to be ignored. It seems to me that being somewhat left or right of center is just not acceptable. I often wonder whatever happened to statesmen as opposed to extremist politicians, who believe that you MUST drink all of the Kool-Aid in order to be considered a member of the party (either one).

I could not and won’t be an extremist. I think that there are good ideas on both sides and that working together to develop a consensus will bring the best results. But, I don’t believe that the leadership in either party subscribes to this line of thinking.

Thanks for continuing to write and publish articles and columns representing both sides of the issues, without the extremism.

--Ken Martin
Litchfield Park, AZ


Vacancies on Main Street

11/4/09 issue

EDITOR:

Amazing.

The last 13 years have shown terrific growth in Platte City.

Capital improvements throughout the city and the creation of Platte Valley Plaza have upgraded the city to a first rate community with the exception of a deterioration of the downtown Main Street area. Vacancies continue along this stretch. It is common knowledge that this area of the city is hurting more and more each year for recognition other than the presence of the courthouse square.

The former Platte-Clay facility is empty, the south side of Main Street from Fourth Street to Third Street has several vacancies and Third to Second Street has two vacancies on the north side. There are others along Hwy. 92 that are also vacant.

As it has been published in the local newspapers, the board of aldermen has decided that the Platte City Chamber is no longer of help to the city and removed the monetary support from the city. The mayor sat idly by while this issue was discussed and voted on.

Now we find that the board has rejected a proposal offered by a reputable organization that specializes in the type of situations the city is in trying to promote further growth.

I believe the proper word to describe this situation is stalemate.

Our present board has two members who are business persons on Main Street. Yet they seem to be against any proposed effort to upgrade and market the Main Street corridor. The remainder of the board members seem to say “we will just wait and see if anything happens, something may appear out of the bushes.”

The election is upcoming in April, voters have time to step up and pay more attention to what happens in the board room. The only way to put a stop to this stalemate and get back to trying to improve the promotion and continued upgrade of the city is by the vote of the people in Platte City.

--Lee Roy Van Lew
Platte City


A sighting of angels at Weston

11/4/09 issue

EDITOR:

Angels Among Weston.

My two daughters, my two-year-old granddaughter and I were on our way on a recent Saturday to the Weston Red Barn Pumpkin Patch when my fuel pump quit not far from the concrete plant on Highway 45 and we were stranded.

After freaking out (that was me) and popping the hood of my Tahoe, our first angel appeared named Holly, who, after trying to jump my truck to no avail, took me into town to try to find a garage open. We came to Carter Service, where we met angels number two and three, Ernie and Jimmy.

After making arrangements to have my truck picked up and brought to the shop, Holly took me back to my truck and my girls when our angel number four showed up by the name of Clint the Tow Truck Driver (that is what we call him).

I cannot express how grateful we are for all of these men. We were far from home, one of my daughters and I are from Wichita, my other daughter and my granddaughter are from Overland Park. They made a very trying time one of the most pleasant experiences we have ever had if you can believe that.

Clint the Tow Truck Driver even led us to the Pumpkin Patch that we were originally headed for. If awards are given to citizens of Weston, we would like to nominate all of them for going out of their way to help us and get us back on the road. They are all truly "Our Angels.”

Thanks.

--Cathy Anderson
Wichita, Ks


Government-run health care

11/4/09 issue

EDITOR:

This past August, I held 23 town hall meetings across the district. I heard over and over again that my constituents did not want a government takeover of health care. That message was not delivered by slick television ads or special interest lobbyists. Instead, it was delivered by everyday people who had finally had enough. I heard the message loud and clear, but that was not the case for everyone.

Last week, Speaker Pelosi introduced her version of health care reform. The 1,990 page proposal is very similar to the plan that Americans overwhelmingly rejected in August. It costs just over $1 trillion dollars.

Who is going to pay for it? In short, we all are. The bill proposes billions in new taxes. Small businesses that file as individuals will be hit hard. It will also require all but the smallest of businesses to provide health insurance for their employees, regardless of their ability, or pay a penalty.

The bill will also require individuals to buy health insurance. Those who don’t will pay the federal government a penalty fee. In addition, there are new taxes on medical devices like wheelchairs and bandages. The bill would also cut nearly $500 billion from Medicare.

In short, this bill will increase your insurance premiums, cost us jobs with new taxes and mandates, and cut billions from our seniors’ Medicare benefits. That is not common sense reform. I will oppose this bill and work to pass common sense health insurance reform.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


 

At North Platte, it's the right time but the wrong plan

10/28/09 issue

EDITOR:

As the voters go to the polls in November we need to seriously look at what we are being asked to approve. Anyone who has stepped foot in either the intermediate school or junior high campus can see that these 1920's vintage facilities are in a dismal state. Given the current opportunity for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding and the all time low material and labor construction costs, we absolutely should take advantage of these circumstances to address these facility issues.

However, HOW we address these issues is another matter all together. The current bond proposal is to build a new intermediate school in Edgerton and do some work on the junior high and elementary buildings. Which raises the question…why rebuild in Edgerton and why only band-aid the junior high? This question has been posed to many and here are the replies:

1) “Because there's always been a school in Edgerton.” Well there's no such thing as “always.” Times change, circumstances change, life changes. So just because there has always been a school in Edgerton is no explanation for why there continues to need to be a school in Edgerton. We have the administrators, boards and leadership of this district to thank for the circumstances we are faced with today. They may have done their best at the time with what they had to work with which is exactly what we should do today. Decisions aren't made nor the taxpayers encumbered because “that's the way it's always been…we've always had a piece of the district in each community.” There isn't a district around us who has perpetuated a multi-facility district across diverse communities. Truth is we are less able to do so than many of our neighbors given our “low density/rural preservation” status. There is no power plant or major manufacturing looking to move into the district. Nor is there any density housing development in the works. In all honesty there won't be because the district lacks the infrastructure to support such investments in our community. And you know that's not all bad. Many, if not most of us, elect to live/stay in the area because we like rural Missouri values and way of life. We aren't looking to be the Park Hill of the north.

2) “Camden Point got its school replaced when it burned.” Yes and in retrospect that could be characterized as a “missed opportunity.” When that tragic event occurred the district could have begun the first step towards making the district more cost effective and efficient but it didn't. That's water under the bridge now which leaves the district with a facility it has to maintain for the time being. But it doesn't explain why we continue to have to maintain three campuses today.

3) “When a city loses its school, it dies.” Edgerton did not die when they lost their K-12 school to the North Platte district consolidation over 50 years ago. Today families or businesses do not decide to move into or leave Edgerton based on three years of a 12 year North Platte academic experience occurring in Edgerton. Families don't decide to move into any of our North Platte communities based on a piece of the school being in any given town. They look at North Platte as a whole and the academic ranking it has achieved through the hard work of its faculty and use that as a factor in deciding to settle anywhere in the district.

4) “We have to give Edgerton a school; otherwise they'll block any other district facility improvement efforts.” This is an uncorroborated claim and sure seems like an unfair characterization of a community who obviously cares about its children and their children's education. To accuse a community of being so selfish that they would put their own desires ahead of what is in the best interest of the district is woefully disrespectful of a wonderful, caring community. Edgerton can be counted on, just like Dearborn, Ridgley, Camden Point, New Market, etc. to vote for a plan that will make the district as cost effective and efficient as it can possibly be. To think otherwise is a characterization that Edgerton or any of our North Platte R-1 communities do not deserve. This isn't a “pick on Edgerton” issue. Decisions made long ago left Edgerton with a vintage facility that's been band-aided; much like is being slated for the junior high. Enough is enough. It's time to take a different tact; NOW is the opportunity to do the right thing for the district.

Which all gets down to the question: “What makes our district so unique or for that matter so plush that we can afford to maintain three remote facilities?” None of the districts around us could afford to do so, and truth is we shouldn't be spending our money that way either. Wouldn't it be better to spend district monies giving our teachers bonuses for the outstanding results they produce or making programmatic enhancements to our schools rather than erecting a whole new edifice that we'll have to maintain ad infinitum? If a new school is built in Edgerton the district taxpayers are once again going to be saddled with paying for the upkeep, maintenance, costs utilities, etc of maintaining three campuses. Why don't we take advantage of this current economic climate to get some economies of scale and do things more cost effectively long term for the taxpayers of our district? One suggestion would be to use bond monies to add 4th and 5th grade space to Camden Point and expand the sorely needed work on the junior high to include room for 6th grade (remember, the junior high is also a 20's vintage building wrought with outdated plumbing and wiring, not to mention asbestos and mold, so putting a band-aid on it is only going to postpone the inevitable rebuilding this edifice is going to require). With a different approach the district could end up with only two campuses to maintain long after the bond is paid off 15 years from now. In the long run, this would be less costly and more efficient than what we are doing today. There are likely other cost effective scenarios, this is just one thought.

The hallmark of the North Platte School District is its outstanding and caring faculty, not our bricks and mortar. The students and faculty need a good, clean, safe environment to work in. So we do need a bond passed to provide this for them, but we can do so with fewer campuses and tackle both the junior high and intermediate facilities while ARRA monies are available and construction costs are low.

Unfortunately, the November bond is worded in such a way that it forces the district to continue with the current three facilities model. Good news is that there is another opportunity in April to take a different tactic than what we are being asked to support today. So the prudent move would be to defeat the November bond, get back to the drawing board and bring a bond to the voters in April that lays out a plan for a more affordable, cost effective, and sustainable district facilities plan than what's being posed on the November ballot.

It's not my objective to ruffle feathers; I just ask folks to give this matter thoughtful consideration when going to the polls. Ultimately, the decision is up to the voters; whatever they decide is what we all have to live with and pay for, regardless of which town(s) it affects. So let the electorate be heard. Please get out and vote regardless of where you stand on this issue. That's how our democratic process works and how our district can be best served.

--Kay Folck
North Platte parent/taxpayer


More info needed on school bond proposal

10/28/09 issue

EDITOR:

After reading various articles in local newspapers, newsletters, and visiting with people of the North Platte School District I am writing this letter with numerous concerns. I am not against the proposed bond issue nor am I in favor of until I gain further information. My confusion being what is written in the local press as well as by word of mouth.

When Francis Moran, left the district due to retirement we were told the district was in good condition (financially and buildings). We would see no big changes in the district and have a smooth transition with the new superintendent. Why did the board vote to join the Missouri State Board of Education Association? For many years Moran and the board didn't feel a need to belong to this group. The second change came for a second maintenance person for the district when we have the same amount of buildings, and the enrollment decreasing over the last three years, (up 1% this year).

Were the buildings really bad and for the last few years we have "cobbled up" the maintenance, or let them go too far, or were repairs being made by unskilled personnel trying to do the work? How can this happen this fast?

Somehow within the last 12 months we have major building issues in all three buildings not due to growth. First up to $4.5 million and now $6 million after an architect firm evaluated all three buildings. It seems to me that poor maintenance is what led to these problems. One newspaper says at least there is still a roof left, but that is an understatement. The roofs leak extremely bad in numerous locations causing walls to separate and ceilings to fall. Last spring the board issued a survey about the district. Sumy reported that the surveys were good with no major issues. Now we are headed to vote on a $6 million bond issue.

With a proposed bond issue of $6 million, will this money be used for the best interest for the future of the students and patrons? Do we have a master plan for the future of the district? With job losses, cuts in wages, low real estate values, and economics in general, is this the best step to be taken now? Have we looked at other cost cutting avenues? (Centralizing bussing, cafeteria, library, gymnasium). What guarantee do we have that the money will be used properly and we will get the stimulus money? Will the old building be recycled to help the environment?

The school board is working with an old building, but like a good old car, proper maintenance and care will let the car go on for many years. We have good schools, that’s why so many families want to go to North Platte and be untruthful about their residence being in another school district. On the North Platte web site a board member states this is a good time to build due to the heightened competitiveness of construction, then why did we choose Trevis, who was not the lowest bid? Was it because a board member grew up next to the architect? Or was it because one of the members of the firm is a brother to the new maintenance person? Or because a brother of a former school board president also works for the firm? I think this is what one local newspaper calls "Good Ol’ Boys Club.” I hope the board will praise two of the members of Trevis Architect firm. These gentlemen are alumni of North Platte School District and are designing a building for their alma mater.

Another board member stated it was prudent to apply for any available funds, then why did it take the board an extended time to apply for the A+ program that has been available for numerous years, at no cost. The Kauffman Foundation Science Grant was never applied for due to the extensive paperwork involved, leaving our district without a chance to gain thousands of dollars in the science department, again, costing tax payers no increase in taxes. The former administrator didn't think these were worthwhile causes apparently. However, the district did file for grants to spend on athletic complexes they do not own, and spent matching funds on these facilities not owned by the school, but is free to the public in the parks and recreation area. The superintendent stated there is a "good" chance for our district to obtain the stimulus funds. Is this the same "good" the building conditions were in when the former administrator left?

Another concern of the bond issue is something I have previously mentioned, "the good ole' boys club.” Will everyone get a fair chance at bidding this project? In the past only certain people or businesses can do the work or donate to the school. The school board, past and present, have hand picked people and businesses to do the work, however, now they are asking EVERYBODY to support the 25% tax increase. Has the board really thought this bond out, what it will do to future businesses, real estate values, and good taxpaying citizens of our school district? Or is this a two month hurry up scare tactic and trust us method?

To end, I am not against or in favor of this bond issue until more is disclosed. I agree something needs to be done or the students will suffer. I am glad to see signs up about the bond issue. Please respect others and place signs on your own property not on public right-of-way. Youth are important in education as well as sports so when one coach of a youth team threatened another youth league coach I hope he remembers the kids he is coaching.

I personally wouldn't say I would not live somewhere that school bonds would not pass. I am proud to be a North Platte graduate and a 40+ year resident of this fine school district. Finally I hope people will think about the children and ethics before personal and financial gain for themselves.

Please vote Nov 3.

Proudly signed by a resident, parent, and volunteer.

--Bennie R. Wenzel, Jr.
Dearborn


Supporting the bond issue

10/28/09 issue

EDITOR:

As a graduate of North Platte, an almost lifetime resident of the North Platte School District and the current president of the North Platte Parent Teacher Association, I feel it is my responsibility to write this letter.

As the PTA liaison, I consistently attend the monthly North Platte Board of Education meetings. I want to commend our elected leaders for guiding us in the best feasible direction. They have hired an architect to identify the facility needs of each building. They have also held teacher and staff work sessions to gather input on how the school facilities are impacting the education of the students. The needs have been prioritized and are being used to create a master plan for the entire district. These diligent steps have led us to the need to pass a bond initiative.

The current conditions of our intermediate and junior high schools cannot be ignored. As parents and patrons of our district, we should be of the mindset that we want only the best education and educational facilities for our children. Great schools produce future community members prepared and ready to take on the challenges of our world. Updated and well maintained facilities attract quality educators as well as additional families to our district. We cannot afford to fall behind and let down our greatest assets in our children.

Passing of the bond "now" is the fiscally responsible thing to do as a district. This will allow us to take advantage of federal stimulus dollars and favorable construction costs. As I understand, even with the tax increase we will still have the lowest levy in the area.

I urge you to support the students and your community with the passage of this North Platte Bond Issue.

--Cheryl Hartell
Camden Point


Voters should get final say on salary increase for officeholders

10/28/09 issue

EDITOR:

With so many Platte County residents out of work, or working on reduced salary, or losing their homes plus seniors not getting COLA's for several years, what are the elected officials of Platte County doing raising their future pay?

Seems they are living the age-old political motto, "Me, myself and I first.” Would it not have been better to pass on any future pay raise for right now and look at in future years when hopefully the economy is better?

If this pay increase that they passed must stand, another suggestion: This pay increase should be put on the next general election ballot and be voted on by the Platte County voters. Do not do like the county commissioners and run a special one item ballot for the park tax to ensure its passage and waste a reported $60,000.

This would only be right and proper since the voters put them into office, now the voters should have a final say on a pay raise.

--Harry Sievers
Parkville


A grieving family says thanks

10/28/09 issue

EDITOR:

On behalf of our family, we would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for all the prayers, hugs, cards, flowers, food, hospital visits and words of encouragement that have been directed our way from the time of the accident through Kelsey’s passing.

As hard as this is, we have felt the Lord work through your prayers and ask that you continue lifting us up. The outpouring of love and support has been truly overwhelming. In this crazy, mixed-up world, it is refreshing to see a community, a school district, many churches, friends, families and people we have never met come together without any notice and rally around the ones that are hurting. I someday hope and pray that God will reveal and show to me the effects of the amazing impact Kelsey has made on so may lives.

I hesitate in listing a special thank you list for feat that I leave out the most important people, but I also want our gratitude to be known.

• Thank you to Brady Testorff and everyone at the First Baptist of Platte City. We needed a larger building and you opened your doors and so much more before we even made the call. We are blessed to call you our brothers and sisters in Christ.

• Thank you to Chuck Duddy and family for offering their escort service. Your generosity has touched our hearts.

• Many thanks to Platte County R-3 High School. I know from talking to a lot of Kelsey’s classmates, that learning ceased and grieving began the day Kelsey passed. From Dr. Mike Reik to every teacher, the attitude of the district was only focused on what these kids truly needed and what they could do to provide it. I couldn’t imagine raising my kids in any other district.

• Thank you to Platte City Middle School staff and students. The outpouring of support and concern shown for Jordan and our family through his hospital stay has helped Jordan to understand that there are plenty of people willing to help him through this tough time.

• Many thanks to the Lady Pirates volleyball team and their parents. The coaches, players and parents are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They provided food for nearly 300 people after the funeral, made shirts and posters in memory of Kelsey and cancelled volleyball matches to be there for their girls and our family. I truly believe that Kelsey will continue to live in their hearts and you know she “Loved the Battle.”

• Thank you to everyone who made contributions to the Kelsey Morris Memorial Fund. When our heads clear, we make a promise to everyone that we will make a decision where that money will be best utilized to benefit as many people as possible.

• A special thank you to Rhonda Amos and Kelsey’s classmates for designing and printing the t-shirts. Hallie Booker, you are an awesome young lady and we thank you so much for the poem.

• A heartfelt thank you goes out to Rinda and Hunter Timmons. To Rinda, I thank you and your husband for raising a son with such respect. We are so thankful for you, Hunter, and the year you shared with Kelsey. You truly treated her the way every girl should be treated. We could not have picked a better boyfriend ourselves. Thank you both for the homecoming memories!

• Our never-ending thanks goes out to Ron and Tammy Davis and our church family at First Baptist Church of Northern Heights. When everyone else moves on with their lives you will continue to be our strength and our refuge until our Lord call us all home.
I do not want to leave out our family and the friends that we consider to be family. They know who they are. They were the ones who never left our sides. They are the ones who took care of things that needed taken care of without asking. They are the ones who sat by Jordan’s bedside when Joe and I could not be there and they are the ones who were there with us when Kelsey took her last breath.

Words will never express what these people mean to us and the gratitude that we have for each and every one of you. Joe, Jordan and I could not have made it this far without you and we are forever indebted in your loving kindness. Although we will miss Kelsey each and every day, we know without a doubt that she is with her Lord and that we will meet her there again one day.

Thank you again.

--Jody, Kim and
Jordan Morris
Jim and Kay Gilliland
Junior and Shirley Morris


Public option would become only game in town

10/28/09 issue

EDITOR:

As of late, the junior senator from Missouri, the honorable and obtuse Claire McCaskill, has taken to endorsing a “handcuffed” version of a public health insurance option. The driving impetus behind this is to give you and I, the beleaguered consumer, a more cost competitive option for the purchase of our health insurance.

The employment of this option reminds me of the retail industry's use of “loss leader” marketing. Loss leader marketing involves the sale of one or more popular products at or below the retailer's cost. It sounds like a great recipe for bankruptcy. On the contrary it is found to generate an upswing in foot traffic into the retailer's store which eventually turns into an upswing in revenue ( a.k.a. ka-ching).

A typical example of this would be your local grocer's sale on chuck roast at $1.00/lb. Some consumers will show up just to take advantage of the cheap meat. But a good many will alter their shopping habits for the great deal on meat plus purchase a few other necessities. The retailer is betting that the profit made on the “other few necessities” will far outweigh the loss they take on the meat.

A stipulation that usually accompanies the offer will be a limit per shopper rule. The grocer realizes that without limiting the amount of meat each shopper purchases, a small number of shoppers could quickly exhaust the supply of “special sale” meat.
The consumer wins the most when neighboring merchants run competing offers. The usual result is that the consumer will remain loyal to the store that offers the best overall value for the consumer's shopping dollar.

In a healthy economic environment consumers will bounce back and forth between merchants in search of the best deal. Occasionally a merchant with extremely deep pockets will be able to offer a loss leader or an assortment of loss leaders for an extended period of time. Sometimes this will result in one store gaining such an upper hand that some competing stores will find themselves with such an eroded customer base that they are unable to stay in business.

Loss leader marketing works well as long as all merchants involved have to abide by the same economic rules. Now, substitute health insurance provider for grocer in the previous discussion. When you think public option, just think of a grocer with extremely deep pockets.

Present day insurance providers charge the consumer enough to pay their expenses and claims plus keep a little for themselves, the true basis of capitalism. The conventional wisdom espoused by the gang of 535 (Congress) is that the insurance companies are making too much profit. They see themselves as the masked cavalry on white horses coming to our rescue. The public option is their silver bullet.

The immediate goal of the public option will be to undercut the existing market rates. The initial premise is that a public option will force existing insurance providers to be more competitive. If existing providers do not charge enough to cover their costs they will soon find themselves out of the market place and out of business. If a public entity does not take in enough revenue to cover their expenses…. they will simply get a bigger budget next year so they can be “properly” funded.

Meanwhile, savvy consumers gravitate to the best value for their dollar, they move to the public option. It won't take long for the grocer with deep pockets to drive the other grocers out of business. It's not entirely outside the realm of possibilities that the public option will eventually become the only game left in town.

So when politicians and other public officials tell you that under their reform efforts you will be able to keep your present coverage if you like it, your response should not be “thank you.” Rather it should be, “for how long”?

---Craig Fisher
Kansas City


Nazi is a word being used a lot

10/21/09 issue

EDITOR:

I've noticed the word Nazi being used a lot lately. Seems to be joining racist as a descriptor for conservative dissenters. Nazi is a strong word, creates very stark images of tyranny, of police states, of war, of concentration camps and genocide. It's use is meant to label people as evil; it is all very Saul Alenski and “Rules for Radicals.” But has anyone really given thought to what the word means?

Nazi or Nazism is derived from the German for national socialism. National socialism; not very conservative sounding is it? National socialism is founded in the belief that laissez-faire capitalism, communism, and democracy are failures and a strong centralized government is required as the people are incapable of effectively exercising power.

Under national socialism, the state rises to prominence with all power centralized in it and the state makes the decisions on what is best for its citizens. It espouses land and economic reform, the end to interest-slavery, the opportunity for all citizens to make a decent living through redistribution of resources. What is a decent living, though, is defined by the state and the state determines how resources, land, and wealth are distributed. Everyone is expected to work, either physically or intellectually. The deformed, the insane, those practicing aberrant lifestyles are labeled as living a life not worth living. The state assumes control of critical infrastructure and enters into partnerships with key industries in order to garner a share of the profits. The mass media is owned by the state. It espouses a minimum standard for universal health care, mandates a healthy lifestyle, and requires mandatory physical fitness training and exercise. It requires all citizens receive a minimum standard education which includes political indoctrination. It requires its citizens help the constabulary by reporting un-citizen like activities. It espouses ethnic nationalism. Political dissent is not tolerated.

dd a dose of militarism along with expansionism and you quickly have fascism and a police state. Central to this system seems to be the creation of a cult of personality surrounding the leader(s) of the state and the infallibility of the state or party. Also, if you want to get ahead, you have to be a member of the party--and there is only one political party.

I compare the above to the portrayal of the conservative dissenters as Nazis and I'm having a hard time making that leap in logic. I haven't heard conservative dissenters say democracy or capitalism are failures. I have heard them speak about enabling and empowering people. I have not observed conservative dissenters destroying, blocking access to, or otherwise intimidating liberal business owners, employees, or patrons. I have heard the terms constitutional reform and redistribution of wealth used, but not by conservative dissenters. I have heard them protest against government take over of key industries and infrastructures and call for boycotts, a very non-violent means to send a message. I have not heard them protest against health care reform, but I have heard conservative dissenters protest against government "controlled" health care and call for respecting life. I have heard discussions of taxes on "unhealthy foods" and taxes on people who lead "unhealthy" lifestyles and fitness and exercise requirements to obtaining health care, but not from conservative dissenters.

I have not observed conservative dissenters espousing the establishment of an ethnically pure state, but I have heard them call for the protection of this nation and all its peoples. I have not observed conservative dissenters rallying school children or conservative activists forcing teachers to indoctrinate children on conservative ideals. I have not seen videos of school children singing the praises of conservative dissenters.
I have not heard conservative dissenters ask people to report on citizens who disagree with them. I have not observed conservative dissenters raiding and destroying newspaper offices, TV, or radio stations, but they have protested outside those locations. I have observed the mass media labeling, vilifying, and maligning citizens for exercising their right to disagree and dissent.

No, I don't see where the Nazi label applies to the conservative dissenters. Interesting to note, though, that socialism and its egalitarian principles, when taken at face value, can be very appealing. It is very easy to convince yourself that you are doing the right thing. However that can quickly change when the bills come due.

--R. Hollis
Rural Platte County


 

Protect the First Amendment

10/21/09 issue

EDITOR:

Can we please see, through plain old common sense, that our First Amendment has something to do with protecting our speech from those that are offended by our speech?

Here's Janet Murguia, of “La Raza,” working mightily to silence the speech of many, by characterizing speech that dissents from her views as “hate speech.”

Could such contempt for dissent; and for the very diversity of views that is the result of First Amendment activity, be any more visible?

If we won't stand up to folks such as Janet Murguia who hate all speech that dissents from theirs, our First Amendment will go away.

And you know what else? I count on being offended on a regular basis, and only a populace that expects and accepts that can be counted on to support and sustain First Amendment liberty at all.

But are we importing a whole population that hates freedom and diversity of expression?

Is there any way to persuade them of how desirable and beneficial First Amendment liberty is for all and each of us?

--Dave McAninch
Kansas City


 

Dealing with the loss of a student

10/21/09 issue

EDITOR:

I would like to say a special word of thanks to Dr. Mike Reik, Craig Robinson, and all the faculty and staff at the Platte County R-3 School District. I have watched them deal with the heartbreak and at the loss of a student several times. The loss of Kelsey Morris is just the latest.

It is always painful for everyone involved, and my heart goes out to her family and friends. I think it is important to recognize the way the school district staff responds to crisis. They begin with a staff meeting; they invite their counselors and key teachers to be available for the students. Then they invite the kids to the Wilson Center where trained counselors are available for them to help them with the loss. They also welcome members of the clergy to come and be there for the students and staff.

One of the counselors asked me how I thought they were doing. I responded that I thought they were doing well. We should not take for granted the effort, energy, and love our administration, teachers, and counselors put into their work. I have been blessed by them and think we owe them a big “Thank You!”

Please take a moment and say a prayer for Kelsey's family, for the students, staff, and the administration. We are very blessed not only by their professional competence, but also by the extra effort and thought they give to everything they do. Again, please accept my heartfelt thank you!
Grace and peace.

--Bob Howard,
Pastor
Platte City
United Methodist Church


Back to play another race card

10/14/09 issue

EDITOR:

Do these jeans make me look fat? Many women have posed this question to their husbands or significant other. Men, if they are smart, always reply "No dear, those jeans don't make you look fat." But under their breath, some guys may also be saying "those four pieces of cake you eat every night make you look fat."

While the joke may not be funny, my point is that although I never directly accused The Landmark opinion writers of being racist, their intensely critical and openly disdainful disgust for Obama and his policies does give the appearance of racism, particularly from the perspective of many black readers like myself.

All one has to go on regarding perceived racism is what is said or written and how that is interpreted. While I tend to disagree with conservative columnists Kathleen Parker and David Brooks, especially regarding the president, their opinions never come off as hateful or racially mean-spirited.

I realize and respect that The Landmark's writers are for the most part openly conservative and Republican, so I know that I'm not just "preaching to the choir."
I very much appreciate your willingness to print opposing view points, especially mine.

As the old saying goes "you are what you eat." Likewise, in the case of The Landmark opinion writers especially, there is no escaping the reality that "you are what you write."

PS - I question how The Landmark's writer who investigated my allegations could ascertain that no racism existed after only 60 seconds, but that's another story.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


 

Czars should be accountable

10/14/09 issue

EDITOR:

According to history, the word “czar” is derived from the word Caesar and means emperor. In Eastern Europe and Russia, a Tsar was equivalent to kings. In the United States, the czar title is given by the media to a high level official in an administration.

These officials report to the president and are meant to be in charge of an important policy area. Every president since Franklin Roosevelt has named at least one czar. These czars do not fall under Congressional oversight or require Senate confirmation, because they are members of the president’s staff.

The steady increase of czars is changing our government. We now have an auto czar, a border czar, a drug czar, a health czar, a green jobs czar and the list goes on and on. I believe that any president should run their office as they see fit within the framework of the Constitution. However, creating a new level of bureaucracy that does not answer to Congress has gotten out of hand.

At a minimum the American public has a right to know who these czars are, why they are qualified and what is in their job description. That is why I have signed on to Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s resolution requiring the White House to do just that.

In addition, I believe all czars should testify before Congress. No branch of our government should be more powerful than another. Czars should be accountable to Congress and the American people.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


 

Small businesses play a big role

10/14/09 issue

EDITOR:

Two events that occurred during the week of Sept. 21 have caused me to focus, once again, on the importance of Kansas City's small businesses to the economic health of our City.

On the 23rd I met with John and Esther McMurray who have operated a small business on Independence Boulevard for almost 30 years. Because of their perseverance and their determination to make their Dairy Queen franchise a success, even as the neighborhood changed around them, they have become a living example of the entrepreneurial spirit that is at the heart of every small business. I was pleased to present them with a proclamation honoring their contributions to Northeast Kansas City.

The second event occurred on Sept. 24, when I hosted a reception for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Partner America Program which was held to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners. Mayors throughout the country share my view that small business is the economic backbone of our respective communities.

Back in 2007 during the Mayoral campaign, I held a press conference to talk about some of my ideas for creating more opportunities and more institutional support for small businesses. At that time, we were just coming out of a period during which large businesses had received a lot of institutional support through use of incentives, such as tax increment financing (TIF), and I wanted to find a way to extend that kind of support to small businesses. At the press conference, I introduced the concept of creating a “Micro TIF.”

After being elected, I set about trying to implement policies for using economic incentives in ways that would create the best results for all city businesses. My first accomplishment along this line was the Economic Development and Incentive Policy, which constitutes the City's first policy for how, and under what conditions, economic incentives such as TIF can be used.

Next, I introduced, and the City Council adopted, a resolution for the creation of a New Tools Task Force which was charged with the responsibility of designing new economic incentives and institutional supports that are a better fit for small businesses. These new incentive tools will include not only the concept of “Micro TIF,” but also other approaches that will be better able to serve small and micro businesses.

Although I am pleased that we are now on the cusp of creating new and better supports for the development and retention of small businesses in the New Tools Zone of the City, I know that our efforts are really only just beginning. City government will have to remain vigilant for new ways to support small businesses throughout Kansas City to help improve their odds of surviving for the long term. Small business is truly the economic backbone of this community, and I intend to do everything within my power as Mayor to help them succeed.

--Mark Funkhouser
Mayor
Kansas City


Auditor did what she had to do

10/7/09 issue

EDITOR:

Kudos to Siobhann Williams, Platte County Auditor, for doing the right thing in auditing the Platte County Human Resources Department because of the problems her office uncovered that were listed in your article Wednesday, Sept. 30.

We citizens who have questioned actions/asked for accountability of commissioner Kathy Dusenbery, in her former life as mayor of Parkville think we know why Auditor Williams had to announce in the manner in which she did. This auditor has guts and we taxpayers appreciate her perseverance in pursuing the listed “problems.”

Your words, “this particular dog and pony show was needed” were understood by anyone who has asked for accountability on any issue from this former mayor, now commissioner. I howled when reading your account of the scene on the Friday of the announcement. ‘“The key to the ‘hey, we’re cool, our emotions are in check’ performance was to let commissioner Kathy Dusenbery only speak when spoken to. She did get in a couple of high school girlish rolling of the eye moments.”’

The immaturity of this commissioner, evidenced by her not uncommon emotionally charged verbal attacks on people who question her, keeps anyone who knows her (and is wise) from setting themselves up for her verbal abuse and eye rolling if they need accountability of any sort.

Ms. Williams did what she had to do. We citizens who care about fiscal responsibility thank her. We also thank you for your thorough reporting and clear description of the scenario. (I am still laughing!)

--Betty Poole
Parkville


Let the auditor do her job

10/7/09 issue

EDITOR:

Isn't it time for the Platte County Commissioners to recognize that we elected a qualified CPA county auditor, Siobhann Williams, and she should be allowed to do her job? Withholding information that is lawfully requested and required by her to do her job is petty. It is time for the three Republican commissioners to do what is best for the county and the county taxpayers and stop their partisan political game.

With the present economy and our high taxes, we should not be wasting money by the inadequate record keeping of the human resources department.

---Mary Anne Baier
Kansas City in
Platte County


Health care reform imperative

10/7/09 issue

EDITOR:

The English Evangelical preacher John Bradford noted in 1553: “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

In his case he was commenting on the fate of criminals being sent to their execution.
In our case, we can invoke this reference when considering fellow Americans who have no health insurance, have a pre-existing medical condition that is excluded from coverage, are dropped from medical insurance because due to high utilization, or have such high medical expenses that they are forced into bankruptcy.

If we are truly the greatest nation on earth, then we must institute health care reform now to save the 45,000 Americans who die every year because they are without health insurance coverage, and the 14,000 Americans who are losing their health insurance every day. Within that reform, we must also institute a viable “public option,” which would provide adequate coverage for those millions of Americans who have no other means for access to health insurance coverage.

Anyone of us, at anytime, could become one of those poor souls in our country who have no health insurance, or inadequate health insurance. “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

Health care reform in America is an absolute imperative now!

--David Raffel
Parkville


Some too big for their britches

10/7/09 issue

EDITOR:

Last January as I served jury duty at the Jackson County court house downtown KC, I listened to the judge who was giving instructions to a pool of some 300+ potential jurors veer off onto his own personal agenda. Pretty soon he was crooning to us that we should all write our legislators and tell them that we are not being paid enough for serving jury duty. He said Missouri is one of the lowest paying states in the union for jurors. Well I say good, because $6 a day is more than enough. Most people ignored him because they are glad to serve. Granted more people need to quit making excuses and go downtown when summoned to serve, but just think how much money we could save if we didn't have to pay jurors. Parking is a problem downtown but most parking lot owners have a few empty spots and many could make room if it is someone who has come downtown for jury duty.

It used to be that the government official was viewed as someone who couldn't make it otherwise. People used to shoo them off their property. With apologies to those in government who are truly servant hearted and skilled, I have to ask when did public servants get too big for their britches? Why keep on electing people who constantly give themselves raises and benefits and loot the coffers of the American people?

After all it is our land, we the people own it. We the people need to run it and take care of it and quit expecting someone else to do it. Taking personal responsibility for the running of our nation's business is simply good business. And, if we don't like the way things are going, we should go vote. Remember your voter ID Card is a more important document than your driver's license. Protect it and use it. Let's put out of office the people who don't represent us the way we want them to.

--Lynn Vogel
Independence


 

It's time to stop playing racist card

9/30/09 issue

EDITOR:

Thank you for publishing The Landmark Newspaper. Unfortunately (actually, fortunately) I am a new reader (within the last couple of months). It is truly very informative and to the point. And, although it may be perceived as a Republican newspaper by some, I do not think that way at all (by the way, I am an Independent).

Facts are facts.

It has become increasingly irritating, however, that anybody who criticizes the dramatically misdirected Obama initiatives are most inappropriately deemed as racist. Was everybody that opposed George Bush, Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan also a racist? Correct me if I am wrong, but I can’t recall that card ever being played.

Many people said Obama would never be elected because he is a black man. He was elected. What does that say about America’s ability to look past skin color? Now that his approval rating has taken a nosedive, we are, once again, racist if we don’t agree with him.

The facts: Chris Stigall wrote an excellent column just about two weeks ago, “What is there to trust about President Obama?” There were no less than 16 items Obama said he would do (or not) and then turned around and did the exact opposite…in just eight months! Seriously, go back and read the Sept. 10th article for a refresher. Three plus more years? Aaaarrrrggghhhh!

We have a ‘Declaration of Independence’ that states that all men (women, too) are created equal? President Obama’s ‘Declaration of Dependence’ states that all men (and women) may be created equal, but those who have initiative will pay for those who don’t. The land of prosperity will self-implode if there is no reward for success.

Those same successful people employ several others, not to mention the fact that their purchasing power, and taxes, provide jobs.

To take a quote from a most recent letter to the editor, “no profits, no taxes.” Where will we be then? Who will pay?

Get real and get on with it. Quit playing the racist card and start strategizing about participating in the game.

--Ken Smith
Parkville


Race not the focus or driving force

9/30/09 issue

EDITOR:

I read where letter writer Eddie Clay (Obama supporter alleges Landmark columnists are racist, last week’s issue) wants to take us once again, his second foray I believe, down the rabbit hole and away from the issues at hand.

I believe our president, President Obama, has made it fairly clear that he believes race is not the focus or the driving force behind recent events. He has made it fairly clear that he believes recent events are about the issues at hand. On this, I agree with and support our president.

--Roy Hollis
Rural Platte County


Document the power outages

9/30/09 issue

EDITOR:

Amazing.

On a mid-afternoon Sunday, with the temperature in the mid 70’s, we have a power failure. It is not unusual for this to happen in the northeastern part of Platte City. A bolt of lightning and a clap of thunder and the electricity collapses. None of this today, maybe all of the household air conditioners kicked in at the same time.

The part that bothers me is KCP&L has filed for a rate increase and probably will or has already gotten the raise.

In the mid-1970s, I was building an interstate project in Illinois and a neighbor was a consulting engineer. Every time we had a power failure he would document the date, time and length of the failure. He then entered the data into the electric bill and deducted the time from the bill.

For most of us it would be quite a chore, but he made it work. His data was never questioned and he never paid a penalty for the deduction.

Something to think about, maybe practice if you have the time. A dollar is a dollar.

--Lee Roy Van Lew
Platte City


Manipulation of milk prices

9/30/09 issue

EDITOR:

The U.S. dairy farm business is at a critical point. Record low wholesale milk prices have caused farmers to burn through their cash on hand and most have borrowed to the full extent of their credit lines. In the next 6 months, we will see hundreds of cow dairies fail. Why is it that a 2% change in consumption of fluid milk caused a 50% drop in mail box prices to our farmers? Meanwhile Dean Foods and other milk processors are posting record profits.

The simple answer is monopolies. Through exploitation of the COOP laws, the US Federal Government allowed the merger and buyout of milk processors throughout the country; there are now a small enough number of folks controlling milk markets to allow them to manipulate prices. An effective monopoly. This is not a failure of free markets. This is a failure of government meddling.

I don't know the best short term answer for our dairy farmers. The best long term solution is to pull all government involvement in agriculture, but that won’t happen soon.

The government response so far is to hold hearings and ‘listen.’ Meanwhile Rome is burning. After hundreds more dairy farmers go bankrupt, the next thing that will happen is record high milk prices - probably $6 and $7 per gallon milk in 2010.
USDA will use that as reasons that we need even more government regulation. What we have is a system that creates boom and bust cycles, then the very government agencies that create the problems stand up and propose more regulations as solutions, giving them even more power to create more boom and bust cycles.

The financial crisis of last year was created the same way. You can change a few names from the above examples. Substitute The Federal Reserve, The Treasury, SEC, Goldman Sachs, private banks and draw the same parallels. Just like the dairy industry, they have not yet dealt with the core causes of the crises and the solutions proposed so far are more regulation.

The gasoline crisis of the past couple summers was created the same way. Government over-regulation prevented building new refineries, while another government bureaucracy allowed the merger of hundreds of small oil companies over 30 years. Now we have just a few players who have an effective monopoly over the price of oil and gas. Through another round of government meddling, the fate of GM and Chrysler are nearly sealed for certain demise. For those of you who think Cash for Clunkers was a success, all that did was push buyers forward to August and now the showrooms are barren of customers. More dealers and automakers will go broke in the next few months.

Who approved selling AMOCO, our American oil company to a foreign nation? The idiots running Washington for the past 20 years. Folks they are the same. Clinton / Bush / Obama = same big government economic policies

Too big to fail is the rallying cry to ‘save’ chosen corporations. The government answer is more bailouts and regulation. The common sense answer for too big To fail is to stop allowing monopolies. More companies competing on a level playing field with less regulation will make a healthy economy. To support free market economic policies visit www.campaignforliberty.com

To support our efforts to End The Fed and save the dollar; www.auditthefed.com
To save our dairy farms: Let’s keep discussing this topic – I have not seen a good short term solution yet.

--Paul Hamby
Maysville


 

Obama supporter alleges racism

9/23/09 issue

EDITOR:

I wholeheartedly agree with former President Carter’s assertion that racism is a major factor among many of those on the right who oppose President Obama.

It’s been clear since early on in the presidential campaign, when Sarah Palin’s rallies evolved into vessels for right wing extremist and hate-mongers to spew their venom without fear of retribution, that the Republican party was infiltrated with those who had a different agenda.

While I respect the opinions of The Landmark’s editorial writers, it’s clear, based on their intensely personal and openly disdainful disgust for the president and his policies, that their objectivity must be called into question regarding their ability to respect Obama as the president without taking his race into consideration.

I sincerely hope that the GOP can rid itself of this cancer among their ranks before it is allowed to spread and infect the minds of those who can still separate their political beliefs from their personal prejudices.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


 

Another apology not needed

9/23/09 issue

EDITOR:

What does it say about a person when they’re not content with one apology , but want someone to grovel, to be an abject supplicant before a multitude?

I so hope that Joe Wilson will stand firm in his refusal to apologize again, which apology would then be groveling.

I’ll be sending Congressman Wilson a few bucks for his next campaign. We need more like him. As long as he refuses to grovel, that is.

--Dave McAninch
Kansas City

 


 

Cap and trade would hit your pocket

9/23/09 issue

EDITOR:

Many times we hear about legislation moving through Congress that is supposed to create jobs and help the economy grow, but too often the rhetoric does not match reality. Unfortunately, we’re seeing this pattern again.

The Waxman/Markey climate bill, better known as “cap and trade,” promises more jobs and a better economy. Lofty goals the bill simply cannot meet. In fact, the bill does just the opposite. The bill, which barely cleared the House in June and is now making its way through the Senate, would cost Missourians almost 60,000 jobs and wipe out more than 2.4 million jobs nationwide, according to a recent National Association of Manufacturers study.

The same study also finds that energy prices would grow exponentially for businesses of all sizes and individual households. By 2015, gasoline and electricity prices would jump 8 percent, costing the average Missouri family more than $243 in disposable income each year by 2020. By 2030, Missouri families would lose more than $1,300 in disposable income, gasoline prices would increase by nearly 25 percent, electricity costs would jump 64 percent, and the amount we pay for natural gas would increase more than 75 percent.

In tough economic times, Congress should not be legislating middle class tax increases by requiring families to pay more to cover the basic costs of living. Altogether, the higher energy prices, fewer jobs, and loss of industrial output would further strain Missouri’s state budget and require additional budget cuts or increased taxes on all Missourians.

Specifically, Missouri’s 3,123 schools and universities and 163 hospitals will likely experience a 28-42 percent increase in energy expenditures by 2030. This does not include cost increases for other services provided by government entities, such as public transportation and vehicle fleets, like school buses.

Missouri business owners and residents should be deeply disturbed by this bill.

I thank Senator Kit Bond for his vocal opposition to this legislation and I urge all Missourians to take action by calling Sen. Claire McCaskill and telling her that “cap and trade” will hurt Missouri business, kill Missouri jobs and cost Missouri families. Senator McCaskill, stand up with us and say no to this piece of “job loss” legislation.

--Ray McCarty
President
Associated Industries
of Missouri


 

The speech was rhetoric, fear tactics

9/16/09

EDITOR:

Same plan. Same fear tactics. Same smear tactics. Same rhetoric. That's the net effect of the President's speech on healthcare last Wednesday. There is nothing new. I quit counting the inaccuracies shortly into the speech. And protocol aside, wouldn't it be nice if more politicians showed Joe Wilson's emotion?

Obama's concept of unlimited benefits and limited participant cost is an insurance financial nightmare. The supporters of this plan are either ignorant of basic insurance business principles or are being intentionally deceptive of their agenda, which is no surprise. And the requirement that routine checkups be covered is like requiring auto insurance companies to cover oil changes. But remember, this president and many in Congress have never run a business or had to make a payroll.

Obama thinks Americans are too stupid to see through his deceitful blaming of others for scare tactics, and in his next breath state, “Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing. Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it the most. And more will die as a result.” If this sounds familiar, it is the same form of rhetoric used to pass the pork laden and wasteful stimulus package.

Perhaps the most obvious statement of his core beliefs was “…overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries…”. Who but an anti-capitalist, neo-Marxist would make such a statement? Balance in regulated private industry is not the agenda of this president. This president also presumes that Americans are stupid enough to believe that profits are evil; think about it, no profits, no taxes. And he makes no mention of the endless regulations that consume administrative costs. Who with any sense of foundation would allow themselves to be subjected to these continuing insults?

The words “at somebody else's expense” cannot be found in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. Yet Obama wants to raise a glass to the late Senator Ted Kennedy and carry on the senator's method of reform based on that premise, while he mocks those mounting the real revolution who are finally recognizing the core decay in government.

Many words are being used to capture the essence of this president. I condensed it to 17: Obama is incapable of leading America because he doesn't understand America because he isn't really an American.

Being American is not about where you are born, it's about what you believe.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Benefit walk/run was a success

9/16/09

EDITOR:

We would like to thank all of those that came out and participated in the 5K Walk/Run for Cheri on Sept. 5.

Through your efforts we are able to establish funds for a scholarship at the Platte County High School in Cheri’s name. We are also able to assist the Benedictine Dance Team, which Cheri was a member.

We would like to thank many individuals and groups; the Platte City Parks and Recreation Board and Parks Director Dannie Stamper for their support in putting on the Walk/Run, a special thanks to Jason Tinder, parks board member, for caring enough to ask that the Walk/Run take place, the Platte County School District for letting us use the facilities and to all of those that helped us advertise the event.

Most importantly we want to thank everyone who showed for the event as well as others for their thoughts, support, and prayers for us over the past months. We continue to take it one day at a time and truly appreciated your continued support and prayers.

--Steve, Jackie, Dustin Menk
and Sean Huntley


Farm Bureau contradicts itself

9/9/09

EDITOR:

I read the Platte County Farm Bureau president's recent letter to the editor in The Landmark about the county’s land use plan.

Appeared very much the party line for Missouri State Farm Bureau, very much like an advocacy call to protect the character of rural Platte County, farming, and agribusiness, which is something that is very supportable. And I don't doubt the county land use plan needs regular maintenance as our community changes and grows.
But I compare this letter to the Platte County Farm Bureau's past proclamation printed in The Landmark supporting development of a high density housing subdivision in the rural farming area of the county.

I don't get it, the logic doesn't make sense; to say one thing but to have done that which is counter to your stated purpose.

Am I the only one with questions of veracity?

--Roy Hollis
Platte County


 

Oppose the Clean Water Act

9/9/09

EDITOR:

Some lawmakers, at the urging of environmentalists and fish and wildlife groups, are pushing legislation to expand the reach of the Federal Clean Water Act. S, 787, The Clean Water Restoration Act. This would erase the distinction between federal and state waters, giving federal agencies unfettered access to private property with the ability to regulate ditches, gullies, farm ponds and even areas where water pools after a rain.

Expanding this act as proposed would have far-reaching impacts on agriculture production. More than 2,300 ponds in Platte County--including many areas on my family farm and surrounding farms--would be regulated by the Federal government if a bill moving through Congress becomes law. In addition, nearly 315,000 ponds across the state of Missouri would be affected.

It would be unreasonable to force farmers, ranchers, and other landowners to comply with still more unnecessary regulations, obtain permits, and work through the bureaucratic, time-consuming permitting process for activities inherent to food, forage, and fiber production.

I encourage everyone in Platte County to contact Senators Bond and McCaskill, as well as Representative Graves, and ask them to oppose The Clean Water Restoration Act.

--Kevin Rawlings
Platte County
Farm Bureau President


 

Fast-acting tax relief needed

9/9/09

EDITOR:

Labor Day traditionally means the end of summer and the beginning of football season. It’s also a good time to assess the health of our economy.

Last week, the Department of Labor released its monthly jobs report. Our nation’s unemployment rate has jumped to 9.7 percent, a 26-year high. In the month of August alone, 216,000 Americans lost their job. Since February of 2009, over 2.4 million private-sector jobs have been lost.

I have long said that government does not create jobs. I do, however believe that Congress has a role in setting the table for economic growth. I believe that Congress should address litigation, regulation and taxation reforms in order to help our small businesses.

Small businesses have long been the innovators and job creators in our country. Many big businesses started in garages, kitchens or basements as a small business. They are the creators of seven out of every 10 jobs in this country and it’s vital that we make it easier for entrepreneurs, not harder.

Congress should reduce burdensome regulations and costly litigation. We should also make our tax code simpler and fairer. We need to make this country the best place in the world to do business.

The “economic stimulus” is not working. Its focus on big, slow, bureaucratic spending has failed to revive the economy. We should be focusing on fast-acting tax relief for small businesses and individuals.

Congress returns to Washington this week. Our economy and helping set the table for economic growth should be the top priority.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


 

Fly the flag on Sept. 11

9/2/09

EDITOR:

There is only about one week and counting to get the word out all across this great land and into every community in the United States of America. If you forward this information to at least 11 people and each of those do the same...you get the idea.

THE PROGRAM:

On Friday, Sept. 11, 2009, an American flag should be display outside every home, apartment, office and store in the United States.

Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this eighth anniversary of one of our country's worst tragedies. We do this to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

ACTION PLAN:
So, here's what we need you to do. Take a moment to think back to how you felt on 9/11 and let those sentiments guide you.

Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11. Honestly, American should fly the flag year-round, but if you don't, then at least make it a priority on this day.
Thank you for your participation. God bless you and God bless America.

--Marcella Cannon,
Sr. Vice-President
VFW Ladies Auxiliary
Platte City

 


 

Public health care killed Dad

9/2/09

EDITOR:

My dad retired from the Navy and was in excellent health until the day he died by the Veterans Administration public health care.

In his late seventies, Dad went into the VA Soldiers Home in Washington D.C. to be looked after. Dad grew up in the Depression and fought in WWII which made him a person who did not complain. The public health care nurses took Dad’s lack of complaining that he was ok. Dad became delirious so they sent him to the U.S. Army Walter Reed hospital for tests. During his night stay Dad was disoriented, got out of bed and fell which gave him a severe head injury. The public health care doctor called me and recommended that I let my dad pass away as the head operation might not work to relieve bleeding pressure on Dad’s brain.

In the hardest decision of my life, I agreed with the government doctor and let Dad pass away. I later learned that the blood tests done in the hospital showed that Dad was dehydrated which caused his deliriousness. The public health care nurses supposedly watching over him failed to give him water because Dad did not complain about not having water.

A few years later my brother who is a 100% disabled Marine went to the VA public health care hospital with severe stomach pain. Again, a public health care doctor called me and recommended that I let him pass away as the operation probably would not work. This time I said, “No, I want the operation.” A Kansas University doctor did the operation and said that it was a standard procedure. That was a year ago and my brother is doing fine.

I believe that in both cases of my dad and brother the public health care administrators made a decision that instead of doing a risky expensive operation it is cheaper and easier to let the person die. Bureaucrats decide health care actions by rule books and costs with no room for compassion. Why would any of us want to turn our lives, or the lives of our loved ones, to those with no compassion: that is public health care?
PS: The government health care system lost Dad’s body, and my dad never received the proper respect of a burial he was due for having served his country in war and with military distinction.

“Jesus wept,” and so did I.

--Chris Shove
Dearborn

 


 

The funeral picketing ordinance

9/2/09

EDITOR:

As many know by now, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas is responsible for disrupting the privacy of grieving families by picketing the funerals of loved ones. Westboro picketers display hate-filled signs and utter hate-filled slogans while services are being conducted.

Since 1993, Kansas City residents have been protected from such picketers by an ordinance that was adopted for the specific purpose of, “protecting the privacy interests of families of deceased persons at cemeteries … by prohibiting picketing …” Soon, the city council will be voting on whether or not to repeal this ordinance provision.

As mayor, I will have little choice but to join the council in voting to repeal, and I would like to explain why.

Westboro challenged a similar ordinance in court under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the federal Eighth District Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of Westboro. The Eighth Circuit is controlling law for the City of Kansas City; thus our attorneys have advised the city council that our ordinance would most likely be overturned. Since the courts have granted monetary damages to Westboro in the past, our attorneys say that such damages could be assessed against Kansas City if our ordinance is challenged.

I agree with our attorneys on the legal points, and want to avoid having to pay damages. Therefore, I will join the council in overturning our ordinance. I do this because I must, but I do it with a heavy heart. On a personal level, I am sickened by the bigotry and hatred expressed by Westboro Baptist Church, and by their lack of simple human compassion. Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of attending a service picketed by Westboro, or who has seen news reports or read their website will understand the source of my anguish.

As mayor, I support the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech, even when I do not agree with that speech. But I cannot support Westboro's flagrant abuse of that freedom. Their verbal attacks upon families, at a time when those families are mourning the death of a loved one, are shocking and morally unacceptable, even when made in the name of religious beliefs.

Kansas City is proudly diverse in our ethnicity, in our religion, and in our sexual orientations. As Mayor, I am angered by those who would abuse our citizens because they are gay, or Jewish, or Catholic, or Protestant, as Westboro Baptist Church routinely does.

As citizens of this great city, we must express our disapproval of the kind of hatred being disseminated by Westboro Baptist Church while not infringing upon Westboro's constitutional or other legal rights. At the same time, we must honor and respect all our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights of privacy and freedom of religion, as well as their freedom of speech.

--Mark Funkhouser
Mayor
Kansas City

 


 

Tour of Missouri will showcase best

9/2/09

EDITOR:

As Labor Day and the start of the 2009 Tour of Missouri Professional Cycling race quickly approach, I wanted to highlight the quick ascension the Tour of Missouri has seen in only its third year in existence. Of the 15 teams participating in this year’s race, seven teams also raced in the Tour de France. This is a dramatic increase over the three Tour de France teams that participated last year and only one in the inaugural year.

The field of cyclists for the 2009 Tour of Missouri will include the best in the sport.

The seven teams that competed in this year’s Tour de France accounted for 14 victories out of the 21 stages in that race. Both of our previous Tour of Missouri champions, 2007 winner George Hincapie and 2008 winner Christian Vande Velde, will be back to compete. We will get to see some of the world’s best sprinters with 2009 Tour de France Sprint Jersey Winner Thor Hushovd and 10-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish. We will also see some of the best climbers, with 2009 Tour de France King of Mountains Jersey Winner Franco Pellizotti confirmed to race.

The 2009 Tour of Missouri begins in St. Louis on Labor Day, September 7, and concludes in Kansas City on September 13. This year’s race will feature the finest field we have seen to date, with cyclists from over 20 countries with National, World and Olympic Champions on team rosters. I encourage everyone to come out and watch these world-class athletes. You can find more information about the Tour of Missouri at www.tourofmissouri.com. The Tour of Missouri is Missouri’s largest sporting event and it is free to the public.

--Peter Kinder
Lieutenant Governor
State of Missouri


 

McCaskill not getting it

8/26/09

EDITOR:

I recently wrote Sen. Claire McCaskill in regard to a series of phone calls, all in one day, to her offices regarding proposed healthcare legislation. Suffice to say that upon completion of the first three calls, all of which were inappropriately terminated by her Washington DC staff, I could not have been more disgusted with government and representation. It was as if I was speaking with trained attackers.

During the third and most revealing call, the senator's staff person went into a tirade for what seemed like minutes. My attempt to ask another question was met with “You are interrupting me!” and the call was terminated.

Upon reflection, it occurred to me that I have been wrong for decades. It is the citizens who work for the government. The taxes we pay are assessments on personal assets, which are derived not from hard work, but from luck. Taxes are obligations of responsibility and a means for government to reward the unlucky. And we are to honor the omniscience of those in power about all things in and of government and society.

I relayed the presumptions in the paragraph above to the senator's Kansas City office later that day and received an affirmative response. When I asked for reconfirmation, the staff person realized what she had done and transferred me to her supervisor, who apologized.

Knowing I was throwing snow balls into a liberal fire, I included the following suggestions in my letter to the senator: (1) Implement the proposed health care plan for all federal elected representatives and federal employees. Upon compiling five full years of operating and claims experience with this defined group, present the results to the public; and (2) Propose legislation that puts the individual in charge of health care, to include: tax credits (not refunds) for paid medical expenses and insurance premiums; and vouchers for the purchase of catastrophe coverage for those who want coverage but truly can't afford it.

My letter to the senator also suggested she propose legislation that allows all medical providers to deny medical treatment to illegal aliens or anyone who cannot show valid proof of citizenship, given that her staff told me she is and has been opposed to any financial support and any form of amnesty for illegal aliens.

The senator doesn't seem to appreciate the reason so many average citizens are protesting. The President is attempting to change the foundation of America. And despite her unwavering support of his catastrophic economic and social policies, the senator continues to purport that she represents the people.

Those supporting Senator McCaskill, and those who sit idly believing this is just politics as usual, will get what they deserve.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Put a cap on cap-and-trade

8/26/09

EDITOR:

As Congress continues to address climate change, we’re starting to hear a wide range of estimates on what the actions of lawmakers will cost American consumers.

The Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan arm of Congress that prepares fiscal estimates and budgets, claims the increase in energy costs will be about the same as a postage stamp a day for the average homeowner. Other estimates are much higher—which makes me worry.

I don’t know about you, but when the U.S. Postal Service released its Forever stamps, I breathed a sigh of relief. A Forever stamp guarantees I can buy a stamp today and not worry about adding extra postage when mailing rates rise, as they continue to do. I’d like to have a similar cost guarantee for any climate change goals Congress considers.

Don’t get me wrong—I don’t want electricity bills going up at all, even if the cost is equivalent to a stamp a day. At Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative we’re committed to keeping your rates as low and affordable as possible. But if Congress believes climate change legislation won’t increase your rates by more than a postage stamp a day, they should put measures into place to protect that promise.

If the U.S. Senate approves a cap-and-trade system as part of a climate change bill—something the U.S. House did this summer—we need to make sure there’s a cap on the bill itself, a limit to how much electricity prices can rise. We need our own version of a Forever stamp for cap-and-trade costs—a guarantee from Congress that electricity prices won’t rise beyond the reach of the average American household.

How can we do this? Policy experts say there’s a tool to fix this potential problem—an economic safety valve. A safety valve would keep prices from rising above the level Congress expects, effectively promising consumers access to affordable power in the future.

Congress believes climate change legislation will cost you a stamp a day. But we can’t just sit back and see if those estimates pan out. Access to affordable electricity is critical for all of us. If an economic safety valve helps keep electric bills affordable for consumers, Congress should adopt it. Join the Our Energy, Our Future™ grassroots awareness campaign at www.ourenergy.coop and tell Congress to put a cap on cap-and-trade.

--Mike Torres, CEO
Platte-Clay Electric Coop
Kearney

 


Rural input is needed at county

8/26/09

EDITOR:

The Platte County Planning and Zoning department is currently in the process of updating the Platte County Land Use Plan, which was originally developed in 2002 as a vision for the county's unincorporated areas.

While they are not planning to completely re-write the plan, they are intensifying their focus on the less-populated areas of the county. If you are a farmer or rural resident who lives and owns land and businesses in these areas, you will want to be a part of this planning process.

Roughly 93 percent of the land that would be affected by the plan is currently classified Agricultural/Rural. There are currently more than 700 farms in these areas and they generate nearly $4 million in earnings. Without the input of the farmers and land owners affected, changes made to the Land Use Plan could be detrimental to the county's strong agriculture industry.

I'd like to urge all Platte County farmers to attend the next Platte County Land Use Plan public input meeting on Sept. 10 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Platte County Courthouse.

While good intentioned, we cannot expect our urban neighbors to take into consideration all factors important to agriculture and our rural communities. Make your voice heard and help ensure that the future of Platte County's agriculture industry stays strong for this generation and generations to come.

--Kevin Rawlings
Platte County
Farm Bureau President

 


Maybe Bush not looking so bad

8/26/09

EDITOR:

I think people are going to become very sentimental for the Bush White House soon.
Admittedly Mr. Bush had his issues and made his mistakes, but he did try to find common ground, consensus, and he was a mediator. This administration is not seeking middle ground or consensus regardless of the verbiage.

Liberals actually prospered under the Bush style of leadership and did far more good. Right now they are accomplishing a lot, much of which is not healthy for our nation, and they wonder why they are being blamed for current events. This is one of those teaching moments, I suppose, about why we have checks and balances in our government.

In the meantime, elderly are protesting health care; citizens are showing up armed, symbolically at least, at counter administration protests; Democratic party congressional delegates are stunned that their constituents are holding them accountable during town hall meetings; fiscal conservatives are saying enough is enough; liberal left is protesting against their own administration for not being leftist enough; the administration foreign policy is bankrupt and the secretary of state is ineffective; and the Mexican Army is on the southern border taking over from an inept constabulary and we can't seem to pull together the funds needed to move National Guard troops to the border to help the border patrol.

Guess it is time to break out the leisure suits, the bell bottoms, platform shoes, and fire up the disco ball. Welcome back to the 70s.

--R. Hollis
Platte County


Help on the way for KCPD

8/26/09

EDITOR:

Information on Kansas City's share of funds from the Obama Administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has been various, and not always accurate.

Some complained initially that Kansas City had not received its fair share of funding, and jumped to affix blame. The fact is that Kansas City has received $111,287,185 in federal stimulus money and will likely receive another $98,312,609. These numbers may go higher still, based on other applications for funding.

Details about what has been requested, as well as the areas to which the funding will be applied, are available on the city's website (www.kcmo.org).

Among the programs to be funded by the money already received, are the following: Approximately: 51 million for stream/water related projects, 17 million for various transportation related projects, 5 million for energy related programs, 12 million for lead hazard control and low income home weatherization, 7 million for KCI Airfield repairs, 4 million for the City's Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program, and 8 million for Police Department funding. The remainder is to be distributed in smaller amounts to a large variety of projects.

I was notified last week that Kansas City will receive $8,366,750 over a three year period to hire more police officers. This funding will certainly help fill the gap in police funding which was left when the City Council declined to fully fund the Police Department in the last budget. We will now be able to hire the current class of police officer recruits who graduate from the Police Academy this month. But without more, we will not be able to begin the January cadet class on time. Now it is up to City leaders to get serious about reprioritizing existing funds for use in public safety.

On July 30, I participated in a conference call with Vice President Joe Biden and the Mayors of three other major cities to discuss the implementation of Recovery Act funding. I enjoyed sharing our experiences here in Kansas City with the Vice President and my fellow Mayors. I felt the Vice President was sincere in trying to help cities get their fair share of stimulus funding.

If you have a question on this or other matters, please send them to mayor@kcmo.org. I will address one or more questions in a future letter in The Landmark, and will respond to all individually.

--Mark Funkhouser
Mayor
Kansas City


Defend our country, don't apologize for it

8/26/09

EDITOR:

I want to express my full support for continued and expanded spending for ballistic missile defense. Conservative visionaries in the 1980s had it right starting with Ronald Reagan. The High Frontier concept which led to the Strategic Defense Initiative brought the Soviet Union to its knees and was the primary reason for the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Liberals were wrong on this issue and still are. Defensive systems did not incite an arms race. In fact, they had the opposite effect. Thank God for President Bush and his vision to abolish our participation in the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which opened the way to new spending for missile defense.

Missile defense is defensive. It is not offensive. The Preamble of the Constitution requires the government to provide for the common defense of its people. With the threats posed by rogue states such as North Korea and Iran, it is foolish to mortgage our future by not spending to expand our North American defensive shield, which currently does not fully exist.

Missile defense capabilities should not be used as “bargaining chips” in discussions with our allies and other foreign powers. Politicians can bargain with offensive systems but they should never hinder the ability of an ally to protect themselves from terror attacks.

In the past, liberals attempted to block spending for “Star Wars” and mocked anyone who believed we had the technology to achieve this end. Today, they stand embarrassed and wrong. Now, a new era of liberal politicians continues to espouse a false belief system that wants to reduce ballistic missile defense spending and deny defensive capabilities for our allies and our own nation. This is a failed philosophy, historically disproven, and one that places America in great jeopardy.

The devastation of 9/11 is only a fraction of what could happen if just one nuclear warhead strikes a US city. If that happens, who gets the blame? Who bears the responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths? It will be the politicians and more than likely the liberal ones. It's time they set aside their patrician antics and put America and its people first.

Defend our country and our allies now or we will do our best to make sure your time in Congress is brief and your place in history, nondescript. Vote to increase spending for missile defense or move out of the way for someone who wants to defend our country and not apologize for it.

--Mike Stark,
Ret. COL US ARMY

 


He says it's about hatred, racism

8/26/09

EDITOR:

Sadly, it’s becoming quite clear, based on these orchestrated disruptions of town hall meetings around the country, that this whole debate about health care, stimulus plans, or cash for clunkers is not about issues at all. It’s about hate.

It’s unfortunate that many of these misguided individuals are so blindly consumed with resentment for Obama, and let’s be open, some of it is racial, and some political, that they wouldn’t recognize a good idea from the president if it jumped up and smacked them in the face.

These so called “patriots” hypocritically profess their love for our nation yet stop at nothing to tear it apart since their candidate did not win the election.

I doubt that we will ever get out of this mess based on the disruptive actions and attitudes of those who refuse to accept change, even though we all know that the status quo is what got us here and is not acceptable.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


Co-op shouldn't mean public option

8/26/09

EDITOR:

If anyone should know about our democracy, it is Thomas Jefferson. The third President said, “In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.” I agree on both counts.

In Washington they are not standing on principle, but instead focused on swimming with the current for political expediency. After months of hearing about how necessary a “public option” was to health care reform, the President and members of the Senate are now saying it really may not be necessary.

The public option is a bad idea and that is precisely the reason it is losing support across the country. Instead lawmakers are now buzzing about health care cooperatives. In typical Washington fashion, very little is known about the idea for co-ops, but that has not stopped them from being hailed as a possible savior.

These co-ops are meant to function like electric and agriculture co-ops. The federal government would spend six billion dollars as start up money. However, there are no details about how a co-op would work, who it would be available to, or who would determine what rules it would operate under.

By definition a co-op does not include government control. Yet some lawmakers seem to think that co-op is just another name for public option. I am open to any idea that helps increase competition and make health care affordable for more Americans. But if co-ops become the public option by another name, then the American people will oppose them as another attempt at government run health care.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District

 


 

Elected officials take note of this

8/26/09

Dear Platte County Elected Officials:

On Saturday, Aug., 29, 2009 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Oak Grove Park in Gladstone, Missouri (NE 76th & N Troost Ave) there will be an open microphone event where your constituents will be paying $5 for five minutes of time to voice their concerns about current government issues.

Americans for Conservative Training, who is hosting this event, represents citizens from Buchanan, Platte, Clay, Clinton and Jackson Counties. Voters from all areas will be participating in our open mic town hall.

This is your invitation to come and listen to your consitutents. We are confident that all of Missouri’s elected officials are concerned about their constituents and interested to learn their opinions. We hope to see you there.

--Andrea Plunkett
Platte County


With Obama, isn't it ironic?

8/19/09

EDITOR:

As reported by the Associated Press:

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Braced for a fight he never got, President Barack Obama went on the offensive in support of his health care plan Tuesday, urging a town hall audience not to listen to those who seek to "scare and mislead the American people. For all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary is if we do nothing,"

Irony: With the Democratic Party running non stop commercials telling Americans that children will not get medical treatment, that Senior Citizens will go without health care and that employers will stop providing health care if his "Health Care Reform" is not passed, no scare tactics here.

Obama reiterated his determination that the plan be paid for without adding to the nation's soaring deficit.

Irony: Obama's own financial gurus have said he is basing this on false premises. He projects using the first two to three years, which has advance taxes to pay down the deficient. But the next 10 years has no surplus thus it will cause the deficit to balloon. But that would be after his second term (or at least while he is a lame duck) and who will remember.

Obama's commercials state at the end that the "President and your (HIS) congress have a plan to fix Health Care".

Irony: The irony is that in all his speeches he says "I am working hard with the Republicans who just won't work with me to form a Health Care Plan." What he means is they will not "Go Silently into that Good Night" and sign off on HIS plan to burden generations with government (socialized) medicine.

Obama pledged to have all the negotiations around a big table. We'll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies -- they'll get a seat at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process."

Irony: Even the local daily papers Washington reporters showed that, "so far, substantial negotiations on health reform have been held behind closed doors. These include two agreements with the drug industry and hospitals to reduce costs over the next 10 years. In Congress, some of the committee bill writing sessions have been open, but negotiations are also taking place behind closed doors. That's routine in Congress. Much of the difficult negotiations take place in private sessions, before bills come to committee or the House or Senate floor.

Obama states we have to pass his health care plan NOW!!!

Irony: Doesn't anyone realize that he is rushing these programs through with no idea of the consequences? Look at the Cash for Clunkers that caused dealers to sell cars only to find out they changed the MPG ratings on old cars. Then deals were no good and people had to come back and get their old cars or pay back the money. Or the fact that the program ran out of money in less than a month. And, no plan to replenish the funds if it did run short…. Yep let's rush another one through. NO, it’s get this program through before the American public gets wind of its long term disastrous long term consequences.

My mother used to say, "Don't throw the Baby out with the Bath Water.” All the polls show that Americans want health care reform, and I agree. The polls also show we do not want Government (Socialized) Medicine. As more and more of Obama's "rush to judgment" programs fail, the more the American people are saying, "Let's take a second look.” Remember when Obama promised if we only spend $787 billion unemployment will not go above 8%? Now he says that because we did not wait to have in the "real fourth quarter" unemployment figures he was slightly off. I say let's do this right the first time. This is too important to rush. And I think all those Americans wearing patriotic shirts and waving American flags are not Nazis but loyal Americans wanting the insane spending to stop. Yes, we want the health care industry to be fixed.

The sitting down (even behind closed doors) with insurance companies and hospitals has supposedly set up millions of dollars of savings. Many agree that tort reform for doctors to prevent using unneeded procedures to head off lawsuits is needed. Maybe we need to return individuals to their country of origin if they cannot show proof of citizenship, as well as not having insurance, when they are treated. Maybe…. Maybe we need more ideas but then "Our President and Congress has a health care plan.”

--Dave Trewin
Platte City

 


 

Stop the government rescues

8/12/09

EDITOR:

America’s Founders were capitalists, anti-central government, and for democracy. We all know that our defining historical moment was when our founders broke the yoke of government tyranny by the King of England so that each American could have life, liberty and pursue happiness. The American Revolution was the result of courageous people who lived for a long time under a failed central government system, knew its problems, and took action to enact a different form of government and economy: the one we have today that has served Americans well for over two hundred and thirty years.

Other systems of government that attempted to control the economy such as the Soviet Union are also on the dust-heap of failed ideas. I worked in the former Soviet Union and later Russia, and I know from first-hand experience that the rise of capitalism in Russia fundamentally transformed the economy and society for the better.

The difference of everyday life between the former communist Russia and current day capitalist Russia is astonishingly better.

Yet today America is taking a course that follows the ideas of the failed Soviet system. In 2009 the federal government took over private firms, fired private business persons, started setting the pay scale for private business, and liquidated private investor holdings and redistributed those holdings to political supporters. While it is difficult to describe how government control over free enterprise creates failure, the best expert opinion I ever heard was from the Noble Prize winning economist Milton Freidman who said that no matter how well-intended government is, it will fail at operating free-enterprise activities. Government programs will fail because they are not sensitive to market signals, and are controlled by political interests.

America has become a great country and the beacon of hope for the world by ensuring individual liberty and individual free-enterprise. Together liberty and free-enterprise allow any person who has the desire to improve their life a chance to do so without government interference.

The federal government actions in 2009 are a radical change from our past and America’s founding principles. Many Russians have told me that communism sounded like a good idea but in reality it could not work and made life miserable. History gives us ample proof that central government control of free-enterprise will fail, will stifle liberty and lead to oppression. Despite the allure of government intervention rescues, we should stop this trend now.

--Chris Shove
Dearborn, MO


 

No to government-run health care

8/12/09

EDITOR:

As an American citizen, I never thought I would see the day, where we would propose a bill in Congress that would basically mandate our lives. I have always known America to be a country where you have freedom of religion, speech, choices, etc. We have a great and wonderful rich heritage with our founding fathers and our Constitution. The current health care bill that is being proposed in Congress right now is going to take away such freedoms. Examples are: The ability to choose what doctor you want, what benefits or procedures you want done, and how long it will take you to get care and even how much it will cost. My first comment is I don’t need or want a Washington Bureaucrat to come between me and my doctor. On pg. 30 Sec. 123 of HC bill, this Health Care bill with RATION care. A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you will get. Then on, pg. 42 of HC bill, you will have NO CHOICE! What kind of HEALTH CARE is that!

On pg. 58 & 59, government will have direct access to individual’s bank account for electronic funds transfer and a National Health card will be issued. Wait a minute; the Government will have access to my bank account? I knew this was a capitalistic government not a socialized one. On pg. 241 Lie 6-8 of HC bill, all doctors will be paid the same regardless of their speciality. Wow, so Dr. Brain Surgeon you’ll now get paid the same as Dr. Podiatrist! I’d be mad, if I were you!

On pg. 427 Lines 15-24, government mandates program for orders for end of life. The government will have a say in how and when your life ends. WHAT??? I though God was in charge of that. These are MANDATES, not choices and freedoms that our Constitution is meant to protect and provide. We, the people...: We have the right to LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

I have contacted my Senators and Congressman, asking them to vote NO in my behalf. This bill would be catastrophic to America!!! We are blessed with so many freedoms that other nations don’t have. We have some of the best Doctors and healthcare procedures that other countries come here to receive CARE. I can’t think of one country where Nationalized or Socialized medicine works! Instead of getting better care, you will end up with rationed services, long lines, waiting for authorizations, and ultimately people dying when certain treatments are delayed. (A cancer patient would be a good example.) Increasing incentives for Doctors and Nurses to go to Medical School and thus having more people in the medical field would be a novel idea to help the overall Healthcare.

The cost of this health care bill alone is overwhelming, trillions of dollars. Putting those who pay taxes in debt even more for generations to come, and why? So, we can make sure every person in America has health insurance? Yet, all non-US citizens, illegal or not, will get free care, on pg. 50, Sec. 152 of HC bill.

I think it is high time that we start taking personal responsibility for ourselves, our families, our cities, and our nation. That is why I am writing you today, to say, ENOUGH of Government TAKING OVER of my family’s decisions on Health Care! What is America coming to? I’m for MORE freedom, LESS Gov’t, and LESS taxes, but that’s NOT what’s happening right now.

Let’s stand up and make a difference!

--Janet Stark
Platte City


 

County ethical level questioned

8/12/09

EDITOR:

The Platte County Aug. 4 Special Election has come and gone and I see that out of 61,231 registered voters, only 8% voted.

Isn't this low turnout sad, especially when you look at voters in Iraq, where even under threat to their lives, some 75 - 80% come out to vote. I understand that the sole item to be voted on, the park tax, could have been voted on in a later election since it does not expire until 2010.

It appears that our Platte County commissioners wanted this special election to ensure that their way won. This shows me where their priorities are and spending $60,000 + tax dollars to get their way is not a problem with them.

It is a shame to see that the Platte County Commissioners have now arrived at the same ethical level as those in Congress. So be it.

--Harry Sievers
Parkville

 


Become part of the solution

8/12/09

EDITOR:

The passage, as well as the proposal, of the half cent sales tax for parks is a phosphorescent illustration illuminating the necessity for the Platte County conservatives to collaboratively facilitate the acquiring and sequestration of our collective fecal matter.

I fully accept responsibility for being part of the problem. Now it's time to stand up, and speak up to be part of the solution.

GET EDUCATED! GET INVOLVED! VOTE!!

--Vic McCance
Platte County


 

Questioning Obama's judgment

8/12/09

EDITOR:

President Obama has confirmed my fear of having a president with terrible judgment.
His recent accusation that the Cambridge, MA police “acted stupidly” in the arrest of a black college professor shows Obama makes decisions without gathering all the facts and analyzing the situation. He automatically took the side of a fellow black, and berated the police, without any knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the event. He should not be commenting on local police matters. This only weakens the office of President of the United States.

President Obama has trouble thinking correctly and makes poor decisions when he is away from his aides, is not reading from a prepared speech and does not have a teleprompter in front of him. Also, he has exhibited a tendency to “shoot from the hip”.
Do you trust him to take the 3 a.m. call? I don't.

--Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH


 

It should be about creating jobs

8/12/09

EDITOR:

As Congress recesses for August, many are breathing a sigh of relief. As Will Rogers once put it, “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as we do when a baby gets hold of the hammer. It's just aquestion of how much damage he can do with it before we take it away from him.”

This break is a chance to reflect on the first six months of the session and to talk with constituents. I am going to travel the district in August to talk with constituents about what is on your mind. If you are looking for an event close to you, simply call my office or visit my website at www.house.gov/graves. If you do not see an event close to you, check back as we add more events throughout the month.

I’m calling this the “Main Street Matters Tour” because I believe that in many ways Congress has forgotten about Main Street. They bailed out Wall Street earlier this year. The stimulus package spent $787 billion dollars, but less than a half a percent was meant to aid small businesses. The House passed a cap and trade bill that increases energy costs and would drive jobs overseas.

I believe that Congress should focus on the concerns of Main Street. The strength of our economy has always been found in our Main Streets from coast to coast. Congress ought to be helping create jobs instead of passing bills that are going to cost us jobs.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


 

Signal changes are dangerous

8/12/09

 

EDITOR:

What caused the double injury accident at Hwy. 92 and Prairie View Road Tuesday morning, Aug. 4? I do not know since I was not there. I do know the lady driving one of the vehicles has driven this road many times without any problems.

This intersection for a number of years had a left turn arrow only, for drivers turning onto Prairie View Road from Hwy. 92. It was not legal to turn left while the traffic was moving along Hwy. 92.

I saw the traffic signal in question being worked on the week prior to this accident. The left turn arrow and the sign above it previously said left turn only on green. After the work, the signal was a green light with a similar sign which said “left turn yield on green.”

I feel the changes to this signal caused this accident. We are creatures of habit and we need some warning of critical changes like this to our traffic signals. In our mind, a left turn arrow and a left turn light are very similar and indicate go.

The people who do these changes to our traffic lights are trained (we hope) and know the dangers of these types of changes to our signal lights. There should have been some warning signs along the road indicating the change to warn people before modifying the light.

I would like to wish the people involved a speedy recover.

--Dan Duane
Platte County


 

Why take from a grave?

8/5/09

EDITOR:

Why would someone take from a grave?

Our friends, Steve and Jackie Menk had to lay their daughter to rest at a much too early age. While they are still grieving for their beautiful daughter, they also have to deal with items being removed from her grave.

Cheri was very fond of lilies and Gerber daisies so Larry and I purchased three solar powered lilies to place at her grave. They were lime green, red and pink. The green one was Jackie's favorite and was the first one to be taken. The other 2 were taken approximately a week later.

When Jackie called to tell me, I couldn't believe it. How could anyone be so cruel? I know that there are items on other graves at the cemetery and not sure if anyone else has had this problem. Yes, we could replace them but Jackie would rather have these back.

If one of them has mysteriously appeared in your yard, please return it to the grave of Cheri Menk in the Platte City Cemetery.
Thank you.

--Larry & Donna
Van Fosson
Platte City


 

Health care is a crisis

8/5/09

EDITOR:

In the July 24 issue of The Landmark, our congressman Sam Graves wrote a letter that basically defended the American health care system as it currently exists and thus seems to advocate the status quo. I and I think most Americans strongly disagree with that. He stated that of the 47 million without health insurance 9.1 million make over $75,000 per year and they choose not to purchase health insurance. Reality is that premiums for a family plan will total at minimum $12,000 per year assuming no pre-existing conditions; and if there are pre-existing conditions, which most people by time they hit forty will have a pre-existing condition, then those premiums will skyrocket providing that you can get any insurer that will agree to cover you.

The second category he claims that 60 percent are changing jobs, being in school or graduating from school. Those in college are often, if not usually, covered by their parent's plan. Changing jobs is not to be trivialized. In this economy it may take at least a year to find another job with any kind of health benefits. In the meantime, the onset of a major illness is not going to wait until you are able to get insurance to pay for the treatment.

The third category he quoted involved the nearly 10 million illegal immigrants. I agree that ideally we should not foot the bill for their health care. However, when an illegal immigrant does show up for treatment at a hospital emergency room the American citizen already foots the bill for their care through higher health care costs and premiums.

The Census Bureau methodology can be misleading. It counts the uninsured at a snapshot in time. The number would not include those who may have been uninsured for a few months earlier that year, nor those who fell into that category as the economy worsened. Also, the number does not include the under-insured which would be those that as examples may have $5,000 deductibles, or no prescription coverage , or a very low cap on hospital costs such that a major hospitalization will drive them to financial ruin.

I have a hard time understanding the fear that so many people have regarding government health care, i.e. "socialized" medicine. The same Census Bureau reports 28 percent of our population already has Government-provided care. Anyone over 65 (Medicare), the very poor (Medicaid), the military, and members of Congress already have this so-called socialized care. Congressman Graves, who spent several years having the onerous job of voting in lockstep with Bush over 90 percent of the time and now against Obama, has this dreaded socialized care that the taxpayers are paying for.

Why is something that is good enough for 28 percent of the population not good enough for the rest of us? People have commented on supposed problems with Canadian or European socialized health care as warnings for us to avoid. I have traveled extensively in those places, know many nationals of those countries, and have yet to meet any Canadian or European that was upset with their quality of health care; and as a fact citizens of Canada and most European countries are healthier (definitely less obese) and live longer than we do.

Health care in the United States is a crisis and the sooner we can come up with a solution that will guarantee access for every American the better.

--James Faurote
Platte City


 

Cash for Clunkers is not fair

8/5/09

EDITOR:

My partner in medical practice, Dr. Jim Conant and I, have a saying: “Fair is fair.” Whenever we discuss business things, we both know what fair is, and we get along well because we both only want what is fair, and we treat each other with fairness. As a legislator, I try to keep the same concept in mind. Legislation ought to be fair.

The recent “Cash for Clunkers” program violates my fairness doctrine. All it does is redistribute wealth, something government should never do. For some reason, many people think that taking money from rich people and giving it to poor people is what government should be doing. But what is fair about that?

From time to time, Congress decides that a certain behavior is either good or bad, and they decide that it is their duty to encourage good behavior and stop bad behavior. So they pass laws that include incentives to encourage behavior they want and incentives to discourage behavior they don't want. But you have to ask yourself is this what Congress ought to be doing? Should Congress be deciding which behaviors are good and which are bad?

Let's assume for a minute that it is the place of Congress to decide what you should or shouldn't be doing. Then how should Congress go about putting incentives in place to get you to start doing good things and stop doing bad things? I would say that incentives should always reward good behavior, punish bad behavior, and be fair.

What do you think?

Now consider the “Cash for Clunkers” Program. Congress has said that they will take taxpayer dollars and give up to $4,500 to each person who trades in a gas guzzler he or she has owned for at least a year for a new high-mileage car. But does Congress' new incentive reward good behavior? Does it punish bad behavior? Is it fair?

First, is owning a gas guzzler good behavior or bad behavior? Congress would say that is bad behavior. So of all the people who will be getting the reward (the $4,500), how many of them were behaving well (according to Congress)? The answer is none of them. Congress is rewarding their definition of bad behavior, that of driving a gas guzzler.

Now you might say that Congress is rewarding what they think is very good behavior of buying a brand new fuel efficient car. But Congress is not rewarding everyone who does that… if you bought a brand new car the day before this new incentive, you get nothing. If you never owned a car before and bought a fuel efficient one, sorry. If your fuel efficient car wears out and you decide not to buy an old gas guzzler, but instead get another fuel efficient one, you get zilch. You only get rewarded if you, according to Congress, were bad. Congress is not rewarding good behavior.

Look at it another way: Two guys go to the car dealer. One has an old gas guzzler. The other has no trade-in. Both buy a shiny new fuel efficient car. The one with the old gas guzzler gets a cool $4,500 bonus of taxpayer dollars. The other gets zero, so he essentially has to pay $4,500 more for his new car. But they both were behaving as Congress wanted them to. That is not fair.

What is fair about giving one man's hard-earned money to another so he can buy a new car? Nothing is fair about that. The law only helps a subset of citizens, those who have owned a gas guzzler for a year. It isn't available to everyone. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could have a cool $4,500 discount on a new car?

Nope, for the “Cash for Clunkers” Program, Congress gets an “F”. It rewards bad behavior, it does not reward good behavior, and it isn't fair. Congress just spent three billion dollars to redistribute wealth. But the bad incentives don't end there.

In the past, Congress decided that recycling was a good thing to do. They passed all sorts of grants and programs to encourage recycling. But what about recycling car parts? One of the provisions of the “Cash for Clunkers” Program is that the old gas guzzler must be destroyed. So hundreds of thousands of old cars will now be destroyed across our land. So much for recycling the car parts on them. And so much for having those old cars around for people who can't afford to buy a brand new car even with the $4,500 discount.

What do you think will be the effect on the used car parts businesses and on the used car businesses? Did Congress stimulate the economy for those people?

Consider the amount of energy that must be used in making a brand new car. All that metal must be mined and smelted… how much energy does that take? All the car parts must be machined and transported to the factory, which I bet takes a lot of energy, too. How does all that energy used in making a new car compare with the savings in energy over the life left in the old gas guzzler by switching to a new fuel efficient car? I suspect it would be a net loss, were the truth known!

So did Congress do what it did in order to save energy? Did they spend three billion of our tax dollars so that everyone would be burning less gas? No, they did not incentivize the buying of new cars by everyone, only the trading in of old gas guzzlers for destruction, which probably saved little energy at all, and perhaps even resulted in the usage of more energy overall. Maybe Congress really did it to “stimulate the economy” by helping the car manufacturers, do you think? After all, the government now owns a good percentage of General Motors.

But not all the dealerships that used to be with General Motors can do business anymore. Don't forget that it has been reported that many of those car dealers who had contributed to Republicans had their dealership franchises cancelled, leaving the ones that had contributed to Democrats. And that happened just before the “Cash for Clunkers” bonanza went into effect. Could the Democrat-controlled Congress be that sinister? I hope not.

Let's see… the government also owns a good chunk of several banks. How many of the people who buy a new car under this new program will have to borrow money in order to do so? I'll bet a lot of them! I sure hope those banks take better care in loaning that money than they did when people were buying houses they couldn't afford!

So what's the bottom line? Americans ought to be furious with Congress over this poorly conceived program. The incentives are all wrong, and the program isn't fair. It may even be downright evil. Now I'm not saying you should boycott the program. By all means, if the Congress that people elected passed this program in their infinite wisdom, go ahead and take advantage of it. Get your $4,500 gift of taxpayer money! …Unless of course, like me, you bought a Prius last year. Then you'll understand very well what I mean when I say “Fair is fair.”

Now back to the question of should Congress be deciding what behaviors you should and should not be doing? The answer should be obvious after thinking about “Cash for Clunkers.” Is Congress smart enough to decide what you ought and ought not do?

--Rob Schaaf
State Representative,
District 28

 


 

County should put people before parks

8/3/09

EDITOR:

In following some of, but by no means all, of the park tax debate, it is apparent to me that crucial services are being neglected in Platte County.

As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that the county desperately needs new office space for the prosecuting attorney. Even though they are redoing the current office space, it is not an appropriate solution.

Crime victims, county residents, as well as law enforcement have a vested interest in new, modern office space for the county prosecutor's office. For many victims and their families, their first encounter with the criminal justice system, after the incident, occurs in the prosecutor's office. So many victims are scared, worried, and wondering what the process is going to be like.

As they walk into an office space that is full of cubicles, their first impression cannot be good. This is the result of the county commission failing to prioritize the prosecutor's office space. Of course, this is in sharp contrast to the commissioners’ office space.

The office space problem for the prosecuting attorney is not the fault of prosecutor Eric Zahnd. Eric has made the office very modern, has great training, but he does not control the amount of his budget. He is at the mercy of the commissioners, who have not seemed to prioritize office space for the office.

Along those lines, the sheriff's office needs prioritization in funding. Much of Platte County is served by the Platte County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff is the local law enforcement for thousands of Platte County citizens. Those people have a right to have the best funded law enforcement available.

Far too many good officers have left the sheriff's department to go to work for other jurisdictions. The loss of an officer is not just a loss in manpower, it requires added money to hire and train new officers. The result: the county loses money. Turnover, as you know, always costs.

The Platte County Commission needs to prioritize law enforcement funding. Parks are certainly important to the overall quality of any community. A park is not as important as robust, well funded, and supported law enforcement.

Communities that thrive, grow, and prosper have well-funded law enforcement.

The citizens of Platte County deserve a county commission that puts people before parks.

--Miller Leonard
The Miller Leonard
Law Firm, PC
Arvada, Colo


 

Why tax everyone for a few?

7/30/09

EDITOR:

It has been interesting to me to see how shocked the pro-tax folks have been that anyone would dare question a 78 million dollar tax extension.

The breathlessness of the proponents to pass this now is like the Bush and Obama administrations ramming through their stimulus plans, cap-and-trade, and now health care reform. The slipping the issue in on an off year special election cycle, costing taxpayers $57,000, is sneaky at best and manipulative at worst. Unless the surveys were misleading and the focus groups were stacked to arrive at a certain outcome, why is there such a hurry to vote on this at a low turnout election?

There is one major problem with the tax as it is, and one major problem with the supporters:

The tax is way too much. The surveys showed around 40% of residents use the community centers, and around 48% of residents use the trails. All other amenities in the parks system are used by a lesser percent of residents. On the other hand, 100% of residents have a true, need for, and use of, county roads and law enforcement. So the question is: Why are we spending more on what less than 50% of residents use than we spend on what 100% use?

The supporters keep espousing a collectivist "spread the wealth around" attitude. Numerous letters to your paper and others trot out the bromide, "people from outside Platte County spending money in Platte County will pay for our parks," in an effort to make the tax more palatable. They are advocating letting someone else foot the bill for what they want. Bill Grigsby has written, "Our sales tax is a fair issue that lets all citizens in and out of the county help pay the park and recreation bills," he makes it sound voluntary when it is not. Again, this sounds more li ke Bush and Obama!

Grigsby also wrote, "I know there are those who oppose the half cent tax making it look like it will be a financial burden on their daily life." I don't know anyone who is doing that. But then, when he wrote, "These same people place their priorities on other venues for their fun and games," he swerved into the truth! We do, and by and large, we pay for them out of our own pockets.

On second thought, since Bill doesn't mind taxing everyone for a few, maybe he would be my campaign manager and treasurer for the, "Jeff's fun and games sales tax!"
A half cent is way too much, and it isn't the responsibility of our guests to fund this overreach. Vote No on August 4th.

--Jeff Watson
Parkville


 

Noticing who supports the tax

7/30/09

EDITOR:

In looking at the top proponents for the Platte County sales tax increase, it is of no surprise to me how many are already consumers of the taxpayers’ funds.

By the way, yes, renewing an expired tax even at the same rate is an increase for those of us that don’t live off the government dole, the private citizens that have to make the money to be put in the county coffers before the paychecks can be written to the tax more and spend more officials.

According to a June of 2009 report by the Economic Development Intelligence System (E.D.I.S.) on Platte County, the average per capita income for 2008 was $34,500.00. Yet our county commissioners who pull down well over $60,000 a year for a part time job, (no, I don’t count ribbon cuttings and glad-handing at pancake breakfasts as compensable work) are among the first to go on the attack against us private producers who don’t support their bloated plan to take more money out of our pockets for frivolities.

While driving through the county I saw a huge vote yes sign in the front yard of a county administrator whose county salary of nearly $60,000 is well above that of the average taxpayer. I wondered, causation? Or correlation? The Landmark has supplied names of other taxpayer-supported workers who support this tax.

With Harley Davidson layoffs of over 400 in Platte County, along with the nationwide increase in unemployment, maybe, the government folks figure that since more and more people are out of work they’ll be able to spend more time at the parks and trails. Or maybe they are just trying to make sure they keep their paychecks coming. Yes, I know this is for parks, not salaries. But in reality it’s for more government spending and we all know that government spending begets government spending.

One other thing that bothers me is, if they are all so proud of this tax increase why did they sneak it onto the August 4th ballot? Were they counting on low turnout by opponents in an off year special ballot?

Passing this tax is like putting a new stereo in your car when the engine needs overhauling. Let’s put the breaks on this one and Vote NO on Aug. 4th.

--Timothy Thompson
Kansas City in
Platte County


 

Remove the bloat, fat, and pork

7/30/09

EDITOR:

I, like many, enjoy the Platte County parks system. The community centers, parks, trails and programs help to make Platte County a better place to live. However, I fail to see why these factors fit into any common sense conclusion to support continuation of the half cent sales tax.

I'm tired of the government -- beginning with Platte County -- wanting to spend more and more money. I'm tired of unimaginative, entitlement-minded and cowardly politicians and commissioners who run scared at the notion of actually cutting spending and making tough decisions. I'm tired -- but not surprised -- by these same politicians bloating programs with their costly pet projects. And I'm infuriated that the parks department has communicated to -- and even hidden behind -- the supposedly apolitical employees of the community centers who are actively encouraging a "YES" vote.

Folks, difficult and ever-unpopular belt-tightening is essential. Vote "NO" and send the commissioners back to work to remove the bloat, fat, and pork. Vote "NO" to tell them that the continuance of the tax is not guaranteed. And vote "NO" so that they will have to deal with the realities of reduced income and higher expenses in the same way that responsible households and businesses do every day.

--Chris Kirk
Platte City


 

Half cent amount is too much

7/30/09

EDITOR:

Hell has just frozen over. Russ Purvis and James Thomas, writing in The Landmark, are in total agreement about the excessive amount being asked for the new park (pork) tax.

The Republican and Democrat Central Committee coming together on any issue is a strong message to the commissioners--this tax is not as popular as the commissioners would like taxpayers to think it is.

Commissioners: Here’s your sign. Vote no.

--Shirley McClintock
Platte City


 

Park tax doesn't create jobs

7/30/09

EDITOR:

I am voting against more taxes because it is the right thing to do. My husband and I own a small business and we already pay too much in taxes. During this economic crisis, why would we vote to send more money to our government that will not create one single job? The parks and rec budget does not need to be larger than the budget for law enforcement or roads and bridges. Recently, both the Republican and Democratic Central Committees voted against this new additional tax.

For the first time two different political ideologies agree on one thing: go to the polls on Tuesday, August 4th and vote no.

If you stay at home, don't complain about having the highest sales tax in the metro area.

--Rachel C. Paolillo
Platte City


 

In support of park tax question

7/30/09

EDITOR:

I have followed with interest the county parks and recreation sales tax renewal that will be voted on next Tuesday, Aug. 4.

While on the surface this subject is somewhat controversial due to the challenging economic conditions, I have a different thought that I have not seen in the Internet editorials or print sections of The Landmark recently.

While the timing of this renewal is unfortunate, it also could provide a unique opportunity for the county commissioners to truly make quality enhancements in the park system. The key to having a first class park system is having the land and infrastructure in place.

Now is the time to lock up park land for our citizens before ever rising land costs skyrocket beyond affordability, or while some construction materials are artificially low, such as access road and parking area for the parks. In some key areas, securing desired park land has a very limited time to be accomplished before that property is committed to developments and other construction projects. . .losing the opportunity forever.

One only has to look at some of the park land the county and Parkville locked up a few years ago that would be prime real estate development areas currently … and in fact in some cases projects were already “in the wings” as the land was secured. The property would have been gone forever.

In any governmental entity, fiscal accountability is critical … and never more so important during these times. However our future is now. The half tax has been in place for years, and all that is being asked is for the voters to renew it. While it's true approval will build significant revenues long term, the impact on any one resident is hardly felt. However what will be felt is the availability of quality green space, parks, trails, and recreational activities that make a county truly a first class community to live in. For those who wish to look only at the dollars, those facilities, green lands, and parks also enhance our property values well beyond the half cent per dollar spent when we go to the stores, as any realtor can verify.

In terms of priorities, it is certainly reasonable to ask our commissioners to focus on major needs and enhancements ... including locking up strategic land while it is available per a master plan … and if that master plan needs to be updated, to do so on a timely basis. Some of the more unique and narrow based potential uses might be best served by deferring. However, for our overall core park system, trails, and related recreational infrastructure there is what could be a one time, golden opportunity next Tuesday to truly make a long term difference in our county for decades for a relatively minor continued investment in our community in terms of what we pay as a fractional part of our sales taxes.

--Dave Rittman
Parkville


 

It's a bad time for an excessive tax

7/30/09

EDITOR:

Vote NO August 4 on the extension of the park tax.

How can anyone believe those of us against the extension of the half cent sales tax in Platte County are ogres who hate parks?! It is wonderful that we enjoy beautiful park lands and trails. Speaking for myself and those constituents with whom I have spoken, what we hate is excessive, unnecessary spending at all levels of government – including our local Platte County.

No matter the good intentions of spending more and more on parks, to look carefully at the facts and figures you find this Platte County sales tax collects an unnecessarily excessive amount of money. It is especially egregious when we are all struggling with the effects of an economic downturn and high unemployment. It is also NOT in keeping with the original intent of this tax approved originally to expire in 2010.

It is time we, and especially those in my Republican party whose core values include fiscal and personal responsibility, speak out and let our elected representatives regardless of party know that we will not accept perpetually increased tax burdens on our shoulders and those of our children and grandchildren who will have to carry them well into the future.

This isn’t just about parks, but about priorities. Vote NO on August 4, communicate clearly and often with your representatives locally, at state and federal levels. Watch what they do, gather information from various sources and become engaged in the debate; and then don’t miss an opportunity to vote. It will make a difference to us, our families and our nation.

--Edie Prost
Platte City


 

Put burden on those who benefit

7/30/09

EDITOR:

My personal belief is that, when practical, the tax burden for a public service should fall on those who benefit from it. In the case of parks and water systems, that burden should properly be applied to the property owners of Platte County and collected from them as part of their property tax bill.

Parks and water systems in Platte County provide very little benefit to our visitors from other counties who we invite inside our borders to spend their hard-earned dollars at our local businesses. Why should they pay an additional sales tax?

If parks etc. improve or maintain the "quality of life in Platte County," then that increases the value of the property that we own here, and we should pay accordingly.

PS: Full Disclosure -- I am a member of the Platte County Democratic Central Committee. My vote for our resolution to oppose the sales tax was by proxy and was according to my written instructions.

--Cher Dombrowski
Parkville


 

KCP&L making upgrades

7/30/09

EDITOR:

Since acquiring Aquila last year, KCP&L has streamlined operational efficiencies, performed technological upgrades, and improved service and reliability to provide our expanded customer base with the kind of service they expect from us: excellent customer service and nationally recognized system reliability. In fact, in 2007, KCP&L was named the most reliable electric utility in the nation when we received the ReliabilityOne Award from PA Consulting Group. In 2008, we received the same award for the Midwest Region.

During the past year, we have evaluated our entire system to get a snapshot view of areas where we need to improve reliability. That methodical review has enabled us to begin to develop both immediate and long-term plans for maintaining system reliability. This process included the evaluation of circuits and engineering plans for all communities we serve, including Weston and surrounding communities.

We have also expanded our operations team in Weston and the entire Platte County area. By adding additional resources, we are able to improve response times, diagnose the cause of the outage and dispatch a crew to restore power quickly. Though we can't control Mother Nature, this addition of local resources will result in a more timely response to outages in the Weston area.

Last month, some Weston customers experienced outages or flickering lights caused by trees or animals, such as snakes and squirrels, coming into contact with our lines. To improve line clearance, we have dispatched additional tree crews to the Northland, including Weston and Platte City, to trim around power lines.

In the coming months we will be installing additional lightning and circuit protection in these areas to improve service during storms.

We stake our reputation on our system reliability and will continue to make improvements to maintain a high level of reliability.

--Bill Herdegen,
Vice President of
Transmission & Distribution
KCP&L


 

Act caters to big union lobbies

7/30/09

EDITOR:
The Employee Free Choice Act that is being debated in the Senate provides far less than the “Free Choice” in it’s name.

It takes away each employees right to a fair, impartial and private vote on union organization.

It forces the employer into government (read union) mandated arbitration. It caters to the big union lobbies that represent just 14% of all workers in the U.S.

This just discriminates once again against the common man and the small business. These are the backbones of our country and our economy.

As a small business owner (five employees) I scratch and claw for work to keep these employees working full time, all year long. It does not seem fair to take away the private voting rights of five hard working men just because the unions are calling in their favors of support for Barack Obama.

Those five are just mine. What about the over 100 million other non union hard working people out there.

Congress, are you just going to ignore them too? Where is the transparent administration now?

--Ben Stallings
Kansas City


 

Difference in guns explained

7/30/09

EDITOR:

Please consider this an offer to help, not to be critical on a minor point, but to me it is a very important point.

In the June 24 issue, at the bottom of page one “Gang member sentenced for shooting in Platte,” in paragraph 3, it reads “fired a Mac-10 semiautomatic machine gun. . . “

It is important for all to understand the difference between a semiautomatic weapon that fires only one bullet on each pull of the trigger. Such weapons are legal in the right hands of law abiding citizens.

On the other hand, a so called “machine gun” fires a continuous stream of bullets on one pull of the trigger. It is “fully automatic,” not “semiautomatic.” Such a weapon is totally illegal in the hands of anyone except for law enforcement or military.

So, “semiautomatic” and “machine gun” are two very different weapons.

To combine them is misleading to the public.

Thank you for your consideration.

--Marshall McClure
Platte Woods

(EDITOR’S NOTE: We thank Mr. McClure for his explanation on the difference in the weapons described. Another reader phoned with the same explanation. The term “semiautomatic machine gun” was used by the prosecutor in a press release about the gang member in our June 24 issue.)


 

Sometimes, it is what it is

7/30/09

EDITOR:

As a black man about the same age as Skip Gates, I and most other black men our age can identify and feel his pain and anguish at what he perceives as racial profiling.

When I moved my family to what was then an almost all white city, I was stopped nearly every day for one bogus reason after another. The “straw that broke the camel’s back” was the night we were stopped on our way to a formal gathering, my son and I dressed in our tuxedos and my wife and daughter in their beautiful evening gowns. When I demanded to know why I was being stopped this time, I was told that “ a black man was just seen on a roof attempting to break in a house.” As I vehemently demanded to see the officer’s name and badge number, I was threatened with arrest for being “insubordinate.”

To illustrate a difference in how blacks and whites perceive the police, allow me to offer another personal experience. When I was called to jury duty recently, the defense attorney for a black defendant asked the prospective jurors “by a show of hands, how many of you believe that cops can be trusted simply because they are cops?”

All the hands of the white jurors flew up. Not a single black juror raised their hand.
I can understand why whites don’t understand. Unless you’ve gone through the shame and frustration of being constantly harassed and intimidated, which gnaws at your insides like a knife, it’s impossible to know what that feels like.

Whites often pose the question “Why does it seem to always come down to race?”

Speaking as one with many years of unwarranted experiences, I can only give this short answer: “Sometimes, it is what it is.”

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


 

Why spend 26% of revenue on parks?

7/24/09

EDITOR:
Anyone willing to venture into the details of the 291 page Platte County Park System Master Plan may be impressed by the multitude of charts, maps and pictures, but they will be sorely disappointed if they are looking for details on how the first $60 million was spent and how the next $80 might be spent. The essence of this plan is, “Aren't we pretty?”

They spent $60 million and can't tell us how? With a tax that represented over 26% of 2007 tax revenue? Let me say that louder - OVER 26%!

In addition, the following were noted during a recent meeting with Parks Director Brian Nowotny:

1. There exists no detail financial projection supporting the resource allocation percentages shown in the plan.

2. There exists no detail addressing the costs of operating, maintaining and/or improving the existing assets.

3. There exists no detail addressing the projected costs of acquiring new assets or the associated projected costs for operations, maintenance and capital improvements, if acquired.

4. There was no consideration as to whether any of the current operating costs should be moved to the general budget of the county.

5. The community centers are fully self-funding and require no additional tax support.

6. Shiloh Springs golf course was said to require only debt service support. Shiloh Springs plan Objective #3 states, “Provide a Financial Framework for Long-Term Success,” but nowhere in the plan is there any mention of debt service, which continues annually through 2018.

7. Mr. Nowotny was unable to state whether the commissioners had considered contingency plans in case the tax continuation measure failed.

8. The term “needs” was used repeatedly as if recreational amenities were considered to be essential services on the order of safety, law enforcement, sewers, roads, education, etc.

The devil is always in the details. In this case, financial details are missing. For example, page 72 of this document on estimated costs states: “The Appendix of this report contains cost estimates for planned improvements, MINUS the infrastructure costs.” It goes on, “For some of the planned improvements, it is possible that infrastructure costs will be the most expensive component.” A reputable banker viewing this as a loan would say, “Nice concept; come back when you have some details.”

Why did our commissioners omit these essential and elementary components? Is it because they don't want to disclose how much money is being generated by this tax? Is it ignorance? Or is it intentional deception? And is this also the reason it was quickly put to vote for Aug. 4? So taxpayers busy with summer vacations and back to school activities would overlook this lucrative ballot issue?

Are Platte County citizens so disconnected that they are willing to spend 26% of the county's tax revenues on non-essential “needs”? Taxpayers may want to pay more attention to the bill when they eat in Zona Rosa (11% sales tax) or shop in Parkville Commons (9.1% sales tax).

I was going to end this letter with a question to voters about whether $80 million is a fair exchange for pretty pictures. But after further thought, and after confirming that my numbers are correct, I changed my mind.

This is insane. Vote NO on this tax. Then tell the commissioners to do a reality check.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Planning team likes its proposal

7/24/09

EDITOR:
My passion for parks led me to volunteer as a member of the Citizen Planning Team for the Platte County Parks Master Plan update. Our Platte County Parks system is excellent for kids, providing safe areas for children to play and participate in youth sports; great for adults and seniors, offering wellness and passive recreational opportunities; outstanding for our many communities, creating collaborative partnerships with our local cities, school districts as well as various other associations; and more importantly continues to contribute to an exceptional quality of life for those of us who reside in Platte County.

Citizens involved in the process of updating the Platte County Parks Master Plan repeatedly said, “Take care of what we got, expand our existing community centers, improve and finish the various phases of our existing parks, connect our trails, continue the collaborative community partnerships, outreach grants, and continue to plan to accommodate for growth.” Those priorities identified by citizens throughout Platte County will be accomplished with the renewal of the half cent sales tax for ten years.

By renewing the sales tax visitors to Platte County from other states, counties and cities share in the cost of our parks system. Yet, we have the pleasure of enjoying our parks system all year long, while they help us foot the bill. The strangers we see exiting off of the interstate to visit our local gas stations and restaurants, those are the folks I’m referring to helping us pay for our parks system. Renewing the parks sales tax is a far better alternative than increasing the tax levy and putting it on the backs of the individual Platte County taxpayer. Renewing the parks sales tax is also a far better alternative than boarding up and closing our Platte County Parks or limiting park services to include mowing and trash removal.

The Platte County Parks Department has been good stewards of our tax dollars. Everyone agrees the money has been well managed and the park system has made Platte County a better place to live. Vote yes and ensure our parks system continues to enhance our quality of life now and in the years to come.

--Trish Stinnett
Platte City


Common sense missing

7/24/09

EDITOR:
The citizens of Platte County have shown strong support for our parks as evidenced by the investment made for parks over the past nine years. Reasonable thinking folks understand we need to protect this investment through proper maintenance and reasonable growth of our park system. The question is: at what cost?

Our three county commissioners have put the citizens of Platte County in a very uncomfortable position which simply could have been avoided with the application of some common sense. It is absolutely disappointing that our three county commissioners just don't get it. Their excessive tax-and-spend approach, and their unwillingness to look at both viewpoints, is even more disappointing.

We all have friends that are not able to enjoy their retirement years as planned, due to the near collapse of their retirement accounts. We all have friends that are affected and struggling by the nearly 10% unemployment rate. We all have friends that have businesses that are struggling. Many citizens have had to tighten their financial belts to keep their heads above water, and even keep their homes. Why do our elected officials believe they shouldn't have to tighten their belts?

The Platte County Republican Central Committee did the right thing by opposing the park tax at the rate presented. They did not say that they did not support a tax for our parks, just not the ½ cent taken over ten years--at a cost of up to $82 million dollars park tax. I agree. In my opinion, to ask taxpayers in these tough economic times for $82 million dollars for parks is reckless at best, and poor stewardship at its worst

For these reasons I will be voting NO on Aug. 4 in the hope that others will do the same. A vote NO would require our commissioners come back in a year with a reasonable, common sense-based request for the continued support of Platte County parks.

--Deb Hammond
Parkville


It's about nice vs. necessary

7/24/09

EDITOR:
Regarding the letter last week in support of the renewal of the sales tax for the parks: I would not have expected anything less from someone who works for the Park Hill School District. With all due respect to the teachers and the tremendous work they do, officials at PHSD have been bellied up to the trough so long they can't separate "nice to have" from "necessary.”

I agree with Ms. Brand that Platte County is a wonderful place to live, and park department employees have done well. But to say that parks and trails are vital to our kids’ health is stretching it. I grew up more physically fit than most of today's kids and there was no park or walking trail anywhere near my home. What I had was a back yard, or friends with back yards. My friends who lived in apartments had common areas in which to play. Often we played on the school playgrounds (and we used sidewalks to get there). Anyone could use them, or the track or even the baseball diamond at the school so long as there was no tournament being conducted. As I drive around looking at neighborhoods and communities I don't notice that Platte County is hurting for places for kids to play and exercise. We are hurting for a practical perspective on "nice" vs. "necessary.”

Case in point: recently PHSD Board of Education voted to spend $1 million more than was necessary to connect Union Chapel Elementary to a sewer system. The solution they chose clears more trees, requires more easements, and costs more ($1 million more) than the next best sewer-based solution which, by the way, would have more than adequately meet their needs. In spite of endless documentation to the contrary, PHSD officials dogmatically stuck to the 'need' for this higher cost answer. PHSD officials cannot distinguish a 'want' from a 'need.’ Neither, it would seem, can its employees.

"Nice to have" is what you spend your money on after all your bills are paid, preferably after you've paid your savings account too, and even then, only if you can afford it without asking someone else to foot your expenses. To the many Platte County residents who daily have to choose between food, gas to get to work, utilities, medicine, and other absolute necessities, renewing a tax for a luxury item is categorically unfair. But our socialistic schools would never get this point. PHSD has enough money to waste, but not enough to buy a clue.

Alternatives to renewing this sales tax might include usage fees, that's always fair. Possibly we could do the responsible thing and put these projects on hold until the economy recovers. Or maybe, since the PHSD seems to have enough spare money to build public sewers, maybe it could come up with money to fund the parks and trails.

--Sue Lange
Platte County


Fiscal sanity is needed

7/24/09

EDITOR:
Thank you to the Platte County Republican Central Committee who held the line against another tax increase.

Yes, nicer parks would be nice, so would a cure for cancer, a nuke-free world and a solvent, monetarily responsible government.

We are waiting for interest rates to rise as upward inflationary pressure from Porkulus I and the omnibus spending bills. The proposed new health bills will hardly be revenue neutral. We know corporations don't pay taxes, but pass those costs on to consumers as a cost of doing business. With top tax rates already approaching 60%, the American people need relief to pay bills and save money.

Fiscal sanity must reign.

--Dennis Quinn
General Manager
The Saint George Hotel
Weston


Health care by the numbers

7/24/09

EDITOR:
Last week the world of big league baseball stopped and honored its all-stars. The players are chosen by fans who rely on statistics to determine if a player is just good or if he’s an all-star. These numbers give fans a way of understanding who is playing well, even if they cannot see every game.

So it is with the Census Bureau. It collects data that it puts into statistics so that we can better understand our country and its people.

The Census Bureau, in its most recent survey, found that slightly less than 47 million Americans are without health insurance. 9.1 million individuals making over $75,000 lack health insurance. Many of those individuals could purchase health insurance, but choose not too.

Another 9.7 million or 21 percent of the uninsured are not American citizens at all. I do not think anyone would argue that American taxpayers should foot the bill for illegal immigrants to have health care.

Nearly 60% of the uninsured, about 26.5 million, are under the age of 35 with the highest rate coming from Americans aged 18-24. The uninsured are not a permanent group. Some are changing jobs, some are in school or just graduating from school.

There is no doubt that there are many Americans who would like health insurance and do not have it. However, I am not convinced that spending $1 trillion dollars and completely overhauling our health care system is the best way to extend health care to as many Americans as possible.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


Weston event to aid cancer fight

7/24/09

EDITOR:
I’ve helped sponsor the Lewis and Clark 5-10K Walk Run for the last three years with the help of all the volunteers. This year I’m going to ask all of you that have helped in the past and been part of the event to see if we can out do ourselves for a special cause.

The Chamber of Commerce Board approved a major change to the event this last week. We are going to donate all the proceeds of the event to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (www.pancan.org).

The event will be renamed the Weston Pancreatic Cancer 5-10K Walk Run and will be held Saturday, Sept. 12.

Even a town the size of Weston has been affected by pancreatic cancer, and I’m sure several of you have had family or friends affected by cancer in general.

Let’s all take this opportunity to reach out and help promote research and treatment ideas for this disease by raising money for a cause we can all get behind as a community.

We are encouraging volunteers, race participants, and store owners around town to collect donations/pledges for this event. I’m going to set a goal of $10,000 as our goal for this event, and I would love to break that mark. If you would like to help sponsor the tee shirts for this event we are asking for $50 or $100 donations and your logo will be included on the back of the tee shirt.

We will get the fliers printed soon and distribute them to the stores here in Weston as well as to anyone who would like one. The Pancreatic Cancer Association will list this on their national web site as well as the Kansas City Affiliated site. It will be listed on the Mid America Race Association (MARA) site as well.

If you have any questions or suggestions or you would just like to volunteer please contact me at 816-812-8262 or at dockinslow@gmail.com.

Thanks again and good luck!

--Dr. Chris Kinslow
Chiropractic Physical Therapy


Cap and trade is unfair

7/24/09

EDITOR:
The House of Representatives recently passed legislation mandating reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade system. Mandatory cap-and-trade will result in increased energy costs for all sectors of our economy including agriculture which will be amongst the hardest hit.

Energy especially petroleum is essential to growing crops and forages and raising livestock. Both myself and the other farmers work to conserve energy, but gasoline, diesel and fertilizer are a necessity. If this legislation passes in the Senate, American farmers would face at least a $5 billion a year loss in net farm income due to increased cost for fuel, fertilizer and other inputs. Plus, pending EPA regulations would impose a tax on agriculture that could cost Missouri farmers alone more than $500 million, equal to 20% of Missouri farmers' profits.

However, farmers wouldn't be the only ones that would be impacted by this pending legislation…If passed, this will cost a Missouri family more than $3,000 each year in increased electricity and other energy costs.

We must reduce our dependence on foreign oil and develop cleaner sources of energy, but our Senators cannot turn their backs on those of us that depend upon affordable and reliable energy inputs. I encourage you to join me in contacting Senators Bond and McCaskill to ask them to oppose mandatory cap-and-trade and any other climate change proposal in the Senate that unfairly penalizes agriculture and other segments using energy.

--Kevin Rawlings
Platte County Farm Bureau
President


Likes park tax proposal

7/24/09

EDITOR:
I would like to offer an opinion about the proposed ½ cent sales tax extension requested by the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department. I am a college student getting ready to graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design and someone who has lived in Platte County my entire life. Soon I will be considering where I want to live after college. I’ll be looking for a community that offers quality community recreational facilities for working out, indoor and outdoor volleyball courts, running trails and outdoor park areas for meeting friends.

There will be many graduates like me who will be looking for the same amenities. I hope the voters will remember that next round of influential taxpayers will be college graduates like me looking for great places to live. The more Platte County has to have to offer, the better for its citizens. Please keep my age group in mind when supporting the vision of the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department.

--Arynn Nease
Platte County


Cherry-picking annexation spots

7/17/09

EDITOR:
So, Parkville wants to 'cherry pick' the portions along 45 Highway that have potential for bringing in tax revenue, while leaving the areas with older infrastructures to rot. How typical! I thought annexation laws prevented that sort of thing.

Hwy. 45 is a state highway, funded by taxpayers and built to be an east/west conveyance. It is not Parkville’s personal cash-cow to milk as they please without regard for the impact on surrounding areas. I've spent countless hours in county planning meetings. It was never stated that development should occur in the city limits. Rather, the sentiment repeatedly expressed was that logical infill (that is, putting new developments adjacent to areas already so developed) is more desirable than the leap-frog development that has been taking place in recent years.

One of the largest fears expressed in those meetings is that 45 will become another Barry Road. The half-mile stretch of 9 just south of 45 is a good indication that these fears are not unfounded.

Annexation to circumvent the county’s plans is devious. To annex along the highway with the stated intention of deliberately leaving out contiguous neighborhoods because their infrastructure is aging, is unconscionable. But, creating a scheme that would deny local residents any say when their property values and quality of life are at risk, is downright repugnant.

That Parkville elected officials and paid administrators would even consider being party to a plan that benefits developers and denies justice to residents speaks volumes about their lack of personal ethics. Cry ‘foul’ all you want for that accusation but inevitably one’s actions are dictated by one’s moral fiber and the two cannot be separated.

Parkville officials plan to deliberately harvest the fruit and allow the rest of the tree to die. Shame on them! If there were a more glaring example of why this nation is collapsing on itself, I’d be hard-pressed to locate it.

--Sue Lange
Unincorporated
Platte County


Strange case of alleged road rage

7/17/09

EDITOR:
I was reading the paper the other day and ran across the Highway Patrol Section and noticed there is something omitted. Not by you, but I am sure the Highway Patrol does not want this released to the public.

On June 9,2009 about 7:15 am I was driving down I-29 south about at the airport when I had a white car tailgate me so close I could not see his headlights. I could not get over as we were passing cars. As soon as we got by the cars we were passing he went around me. Just as a point of reference I was going 72 in the left hand lane as we were passing the airport exit.

He got beside me and he shook his fist at me and I waved him on by in disgust. He then got this look of rage on his face. He immediately hit his brakes and pulled in behind me again. He was in a white four door car with no markings.

I could see in my rearview mirror he was screaming and waving his hand for me to pull over. Obviously this frightened me, so I called 911. In the meantime I started to hear a siren. There were no police around me and he was so close I was afraid he would hit me if I slowed down.

The 911 operator dispatched a Highway Patrol car and told me to move over to the right hand lane which I did. As soon as I got one lane over, I could see he had red lights in his grill. But I could not see them previously since he was tailgating me so closely.

I pulled over on the Tiffany Springs overpass. I had the 911 operator on the line and rolled down my passenger window.

This man dressed in khaki pants and a blue shirt with a gun on his belt walked up to my car. He was screaming at me. He was enraged. He asked why I didn't pull over. I told him I had no idea who he was. He was in an unmarked car and not in uniform. I told him I had 911 on the phone and he slapped his badge against my car window and yelled,"I am 911!"

I told him I had no way of identifying that and I was doing nothing wrong.

He stated I was obstructing traffic in the left hand lane. I explained I was going 72, over the speed limit, and that was not obstruction. This entire conversation was taped by the 911 operator. I looked in my rear view mirror and the officer that the 911 operator had dispatched pulled up.

The man that was yelling at me looked back and then stopped yelling, telling me I could go but to stay out of his way and the left hand lane in the future. I then read his license plate to the 911 operator and asked her to transfer me so I could file a complaint. I was so afraid of this man I drove away prior to talking to the other officer.
I have since found out he was a gaming officer for the casinos.

I have tried to file a complaint with the Highway Patrol and his immediate officer tried to blame it on me, citing the law that slower traffic must move to the right hand lanes and not obstruct traffic. I again told him I was going 72. How can speeding be obstruction? This officer was not going to an emergency. He was going to work just like me. The supervisor told me he would listen to the 911 tape and get back to me.

The next call I received stated he was forwarding the complaint to Jefferson City.

Captain Elder in Jefferson City told me that he reprimanded the officer and nothing else would be done even if I filed a complaint. Captain Elder did apologize for his officer’s behavior. I explained that if I had treated someone at my work the way his officer treated me I would no longer be employed and writing up the officer was not sufficient. Most reputable employers now have a No Tolerance for Rudeness policy and it is written for immediate suspension or dismissal.

I finally received a letter from the Highway Patrol with the complaint that was completely wrong. I have corrected it and returned it over a week ago.

I requested a copy of the 911 tape from the Kansas City Police Department and was told that even though I have an open complaint with the Highway Patrol that I was not privy to it.

What the Highway Patrol and I work out is still to come, but what I want my friends to know is the Missouri Highway Patrol believes it is ok for an unmarked and un-uniformed officer to pull anyone over because they were in a non-emergent hurry and they were in his way.

So if you are driving down I-29 and see a white car tailgating you, be aware that some outraged officer may be in that car.

Call 911 to protect yourself and your civil liberties.

--Diann Godbey
Camden Point


In support of park sales tax

7/17/09

EDITOR:
I want to strongly voice my support for the upcoming renewal of the county-wide retail sales tax for local parks.

Living, working and playing in Platte County is wonderful; and our parks and trails are a vital piece of this community. The recent accomplishments of the department are so great and appreciated.

We must continue to provide optimal resources to keep our youth active, inspired and enjoying the outdoors in Platte County.

--Kristina Brand
Health Enhancement
Coordinator
Park Hill School District

(Editor’s note: Letter sent through Park Hill email system)


Vote no on $82 million Toys Tax

7/10/09

EDITOR:

So, here’s the picture: We’re in a nationwide economic downturn. According to the St. Louis Business Journal, there were approximately 272,000 Missourians jobless in May and foreclosures in Missouri are at a 22-year high. And this, according to our county brain trusts in the Platte County commissioner’s office, just happens to be the perfect time to ask you for an additional $82 million in taxes.

Now, our three “Republican” commissioners, Betty Knight, Jim Plunkett and Kathy Dusenbery, will probably argue that asking you (again) for a half cent tax levy for the county’s “toy department” (a.k.a. the Parks Department) over 10 years is not an increase per se, but what do you call a brand new tax that takes more money out of your wallet? And not for necessities either, like public protection or roads, but for fun stuff! This is tantamount to a homeless man asking you for cash so he can keep his cell phone going.

Knight, Plunkett and Dusenberry say they want to know what the people think. Really? What the people think? So why have they decided to put this single issue on a countywide ballot on Aug. 4, one of the lowest turnout elections? To find out what you think? Doubtful.

And instead of voting on this tax increase when most voters plan on going to the polls for other issues anyway (a few hundred other voters in a water district have one other issue on the ballot), our three commissioners decided unilaterally to blow $57,000 of our money by holding an election on this one issue. Is that fiscal prudence? Hardly.

So, we’ve got our elected officials at the federal level spending our money like a bunch of drunken sailors. (Which, as has been pointed out before, is an insult to sailors.) And now Platte City (our local answer to DC’s “logic-free zone”) wants you to belly up to the bar, once again, and indulge them in a little levy “drinking binge.”

Platte County voters, please stop the madness! Send Knight, Plunkett and Dusenbery to some kind of twelve-step program and vote no this August 4th against the $82 million Toys Tax.

We need some lucidity and sobriety in government.

--Dagmar Wood
Parkville


Dusenbery willing to debate?

7/10/09

EDITOR:

Apparently Platte County Commissioner Kathy Dusenbery has acquired a copy of the liberal playbook for addressing concerns of dissenting private citizens. The following tweet was recently issued by Ms. Dusenbery: “Platte Co. man who opposes county park tax rode on bike to Tea Party on Platte County trail. Commissioner is amused!”

The man to whom she refers is me. Had Ms. Dusenbery shown up earlier than 30 minutes after the three hour event ended, she might have noticed other park tax opponents about whom she could comment. And she overlooked the real breaking news, “People who oppose federal government actions, and pay federal income taxes, drive on federally funded highways.”

Once again, Ms. Dusenbery misses the point, which is the need for a park funding plan that goes beyond the dollar she has in her pocket. To my knowledge, Ms. Dusenbery has failed to present a plan to justify continuance of the full half cent tax. For instance, just what does she intend to do with that $4 million annual income once the community center bonds are retired when the existing tax ends?

So here is my reply to Ms. Dusenbery via The Landmark: If you wish to debate the park tax, please respond to the editor no later than 9 a.m., July 14, 2009. Open platform, open books of the county, and open to the public.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


So long to CK Rairden

7/2/09

EDITOR:

I find it somewhat appropriate that in the same week Ed McMahon, Farrah and the King of Pop meet their ultimate demise, CK Rairden chooses to put his Off The Wall column to rest. They say great tragedies come in threes. But for readers of The Landmark, we may have to stretch that number to include the cigar-chompin’, left-wing stompin’, sound-bite quotin’ transplanted Pirate living in the ‘Zona desert.

CK and I became acquainted in 1999 when he stumbled across my sportswaves.com website, which was filled with a lot of the same junk my current column collects on The Landmark’s website. Being an avid Chiefs fan stuck in the deserts of Arizona, CK was eager for news of his hometown team. We began chatting via emails.

From these cyber notes I quickly concurred that this former Platte County resident needed a bigger audience. My meager website was his start but he blossomed into a must-read columnist with Ivan Foley’s newspaper.

I will miss his furry mug staring out from the right-hand corner of my weekly Landmark. I wish him well and look forward to his occasional online posts.

--Greg Hall
Kansas City


Sanford still needed

7/2/09

EDITOR:

Governor Sanford, welcome home.

No one said this would be an easy road. Being in the public eye 24/7 is an incredible amount of stress. Temptation comes in many forms – a skirt, a casino, alcohol or other addictions. We all give in to a temptation at some point in our lives. That is because we are human. The judge of a man’s character is not that he never makes a mistake, but how he handles himself afterward. Take some time and get your family life in order.

Don’t let the critics discourage you. They will go away soon enough if you keep your focus on libertarian conservative solutions to American problems.

One of the key differences between libertarian conservatives and social conservatives is that libertarian conservatives believe your personal life is between you, your family and God – and no one else’s business. Social conservatives are more concerned with legislating morality than creating fiscally responsible constitutional government. Social conservatives have caused much damage to the Republican party.

Libertarian conservatives , such as you and I, are the future and best hope for the conservative movement in America.

Please come back to work with the same enthusiasm we Americans have come to appreciate from you in the past few years.

There is much work to be done. We need your strong voice on the national stage.

--Paul Hamby
Maysville, Mo.


Less bureaucracy

7/2/09

EDITOR:

Washington is a place where bureaucracy often seems to trump common sense. This seems especially true with the approval process for refineries and many other important energy projects.

This week, I reintroduced legislation to cut the red tape and streamline the approval process for important energy related projects including gasoline refineries, nuclear power plants, ethanol plants and wind farms. Each of these projects would increase our domestic energy supply, create jobs and help alleviate the high energy prices that Missourians are facing.

Many important energy projects are tied up in red tape, delaying production of the energy we need. Because of the bureaucratic red tape, we have not built a new refinery in this country in over 20 years. We have not built a significant nuclear reactor in 30 years. As a result, we are more energy dependent than ever.

My bill would not relax environmental standards at all. Instead, it would simply direct federal agencies to expedite their review of permits and take actions necessary to accelerate completion of projects that will increase energy production, transmission, or conservation. We need to get those projects moving so we can start weaning ourselves off of foreign oil and combat rising energy costs.

This bill is a step in the right direction, but it is only part of the solution. Congress needs to continue working on solutions that will reduce the cost of energy for Missourians. We need to pass common sense legislation, like this, that makes us more energy independent and creates jobs.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


Education is a divisive issue

6/26/09

EDITOR:

For a long time, you've heard me talking about the need for an Education Summit; an event that would engage a large number of Kansas City citizens in a dialogue about how we can do a better job of educating all the children of our City. Like many other cities, Kansas City needs a supportive and invested community of stakeholders to ensure that all young people are empowered to reach their full potential.

Along the way, I've encountered a lot of people who believe that public dialogue is just a waste of time, or who say that our education system is too broken to ever be fixed. But I rejected those arguments, and I didn't give up. Now, I'm glad I didn't give up, because I've discovered numerous individuals out there who are as concerned about the future accomplishments of Kansas City's children as I am, and who are willing to give of their time, talent and money to make the Education Summit work.

In fact, I am now so confident of the level of support for this project that on June 4, I put the issue before the city council so that I could formally introduce council members to the conceptual framework of the Education Summit. My purpose was not to ask the council for funding, since the summit will be privately funded, but to acknowledge their position as city leaders and encourage their participation. In general, the council was supportive.

I also wanted to introduce the council to two of the people who have taken up the mantel of leadership and are heading the project Janice Ellis and Crosby Kemper. Both Ms. Ellis and Mr. Kemper are well known in Kansas City for their accomplishments in business and for their dedication to improving the quality of life for Kansas City residents. I am grateful to have such highly skilled and highly motivated individuals leading this project.

Kansas City is divided in so many ways, and education is one of our most divisive issues. But I believe that education can unite us.

I was recently told by Jim Nutter, a businessman and civic leader, that he is not convinced that the Summit will work, but that if I am willing to take the risk to do it, he is willing to take the risk to support me. And, he said, 'If we pull it off, it will be the most important thing to happen to Kansas City in the past hundred years.” With his help, and with the help of all of you in our diverse communities, we will pull it off.

--Mark Funkhouser
Mayor
Kansas City

(EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a question for the Mayor, send it to straight_talk@kcmo.org and the mayor will address one or more in a future column in The Landmark, and will respond to all individually.)


Bicyclists, be careful

6/26/09

EDITOR:

Now that the weather is really warming and more people are taking to bicycling, so too are more news reports appearing on bicycle accidents and bicycle "harassment.” Much has been said about the role of motor vehicles in this. Here is another perspective to consider.

I can appreciate bicycle enthusiasts coming out to ride the county roads, particularly Interurban. It is a nice road with gentle hills and curves, very scenic, has some history having served in the past as the roadbed for the Interurban railroad. Those same qualities bicyclists enjoy are the same that influence many of us to live and work in the area.

However some bicyclists, not all, but some like to group up in gaggles which are all over the road. Some, not all, seem to prefer riding in the middle of the traffic lane or to the far left in opposition to the Missouri Bicycle Statutes which require bicyclists to ride to the right.

Yes, there is a clause allowing bicyclists to ride center or left in the lane, but only when the road is too narrow for safe passing or there are road obstructions. Not all the time on an otherwise normal, unobstructed road. And a small few even stop in the middle of the road to adjust whatever it is that bicyclists need to adjust.

You know who you are. These acts don't exactly endear you to other road uses as they show your disregard for them and these acts endanger us all. The country roads carry not only recreational traffic but also residential, commercial, and agricultural traffic.

In the bicycle meets-motorized- vehicle confrontation there are no winners, but I can tell you who will lose. I am glad to share the road with you and I do my best to watch out for you. And I thank the bicyclists who show the same courtesy to me. Some bicyclists though, just like some motorists, need to become aware of what they are doing.

Here's to a safe and enjoyable journey for us all.

--R. Hollis
Rural Platte County


Will somebody defend Obama?

6/26/09

EDITOR:

When Barack Obama was elected as our nation’s first black president, most of us knew that he would be the subject of all sorts of racist insults. What bothers me most is that too many of these bigoted remarks have gone unchallenged and unpunished.

The latest incident involves a subordinate of a Republican Congresswoman (EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually a state senator, not a Congresswoman) from Tennessee, who created the faces of American president on squares of a mural. All the faces of the white presidents were happy and smiling. Obama’s square was pitch black with only a pair of white eyes set in the middle. To my dismay, the (state senator) refused to fire her subordinate.

It’s odd that many of my friends on the right, including those who have written in The Landmark on the subject, labeled Judge Sotomayor a “racist” for merely comparing her views on life with those of a white male. Unfortunately, those same voices who so loudly cried “foul” then, are conspicuously silent when blatantly bigoted statements and caricatures like those are aimed at Obama and his family from members of the GOP.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


Voting 'no' on park tax

6/19/09

EDITOR:

With all due respect to the Platte County Commission, I’d like to know how they justify asking for a Parks Department tax increase during this economic downturn?

Didn’t we just blast President Obama for taking his wife on a fancy date the night before the General Motors government take-over? If perception is anything at all, they need to consider how this looks and feels to Platte Countians who've recently lost their jobs. More walking trails and horse paths will not put dinner on the table.

I get mad every time I drive over the unused bicycle trail that is marked on the pavement near Zona Rosa (what sane person would ever ride their bike in that location anyway?), but it does serve as a reminder that we probably have all of the trails we need and I personally will vote NO on August 4th.

--Susan Phillips
Platte County


Fundamental differences

6/19/09

EDITOR:
I am sad when I see Christian Fundamentalists compared to Islamic Fundamentalists, as David Raffel of Parkville states (last week’s letters to editor in Landmark).

If a Christian is fundamentally following the teaching of the Bible he (or she) is not attempting to bring about the scriptural utopia at the point of a gun, but a society where all may consider the claims of Christ, and test the validity of "Christ in me, the hope of Glory".

The Islamic adherent is following the tenants of their Koran when they are instructed to convert or kill infidels, some follow the instructions, specifically and others modify the teaching to suit their own preferences.

Actually that is true in both groups.

--Mike Paden Sr.
Platte County


Nuclear power can help

6/19/09

EDITOR:
Energy prices continue to climb having a major impact on family budgets in Missouri. Meanwhile our nation’s unemployment rate is the highest in 25 years. In Washington, those problems are seen as two separate issues. They shouldn’t be. We can create a win-win situation for Missourians if we find solutions that tackle both problems simultaneously.

Last week, legislation was proposed in Congress that would both create jobs and put us further down the path of energy independence. The American Energy Act is an all of the above solution for energy independence.

Today in America there are 104 nuclear reactors that provide our country with 20 percent of its electricity. Nuclear reactors provide the United States with 73% of its CO2-free electricity, yet we have not built a significant new nuclear plant since 1978.
This bill would establish a goal to bring 100 nuclear reactors online over the next 20 years. Nuclear power is a safe, reliable source of energy that both Republicans and Democrats agree should be a part of our energy solution.

Too often people say they oppose the solution, because they do not want a plant in their back yard. I have lived with a nuclear plant within 20 miles of my home for almost my entire life. They are good neighbors who provide safe and reliable power.

Instead of pushing an energy tax that will cost us jobs, Washington ought to be looking for solutions that make us energy independent and help create jobs. Nuclear power can help do just that.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


The original Hippocratic Oath

6/12/09

EDITOR:
The mainstream media have fallen all over themselves attempting to place blame for the murder of George Tiller.

Maybe we should put some of it at the feet of the liberal press and their ally, our public education system. For nearly four decades, we’ve been taught that a woman has the right to choose what she does with her body. We are told that, after all, this mysterious mass hasn’t turned into a baby yet and, besides that, no one should be forced to be pregnant. This educated generation who deny basic biology now sit as our judges and juries.

It stands to reason that when presented with the Kansas trial of Tiller, they were too confused about when life does or does not begin to bring a conviction. To do so on any level would mean admitting to a human life in the womb; a life deserving protection.

While there is some support to re-write the Hippocratic Oath to allow for abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, I personally think I will make sure my doctor has taken the original one.

Apparently, George Tiller did not.

--Susan Phillips
Kansas City in
Platte County


A culture of intolerance, hatred

6/12/09

EDITOR:
Scott Roeder is a domestic terrorist --- no different than Timothy McVeigh. He should be judged, and punished, as such.

The so-called “pro-life” movement that produced Roeder is complicit in Dr. George Tiller’s recent murder. Their supposed “culture of life” is actually a culture of intolerance, sexism, and hatred. Roeder was just a radical by-product of this culture. There have been many other incidents over the years of “pro-life” radical behavior, including: murder, bombings, and vandalism.

Furthermore, Christian Fundamentalism, which is at the core of the “pro-life” movement, is specifically complicit in the crime committed recently in Wichita. Their shrill vitriol and demonization of those in the “pro-choice” movement has fostered this culture of intolerance, sexism, and hatred.

Frankly, there is no difference between Christian Fundamentalism and Islamic Fundamentalism when it comes to generating violence and terrorism. This violence and terrorism ultimately threatens our multi-faceted society in America. It is no surprise that in both Christian and Islamic fundamentalist perspectives there is no room for compromise or understanding --- it’s either their way or no way.

Sadly, Dr. Tiller lost his life in the struggle against this form of domestic terrorism. However, even more sad is that the real “murder” was perpetrated against our society in America --- a society which is supposed to be governed by laws, tolerance, and understanding.

God helps us all in our struggle against all forms of terrorism.

--David Raffel
Parkville


A decision to be made

6/12/09

EDITOR:
Concerning the renewal of the parks tax at the half cent rate, I want to thank our commissioners for voting to put it on the ballot. Now the voters get to listen to both sides and decide if we want to continue to invest in our parks at this rate or not.

--Susan Brown
New Market


A name change

6/12/09

EDITOR:
I just wanted to take a minute to thank all of you for your support of the Victory Sports Network and our transition into the College Fanz Sports Network.

As many of you know, back in November, the College Fanz Sports Network acquired VSN from me.

While everything we are going to do in the next year may not be out in the public light as of yet, I will guarantee you that you will be excited to see the upcoming changes to VSN/College Fanz.

Also, as of the start of the next athletic season, we will simply be referred to as the “College Fanz Sports Network.”

I cannot let the cat out of the bag too much as of yet, but rest assured this summer is going to be a very exciting summer of expansion to College Fanz and to coverage of NAIA Sports.

--Jason Dannelly
Director of
College Relations
College Fanz
Sports Network


Apologetic for his crimes

6/5/09

EDITOR:
I am guilty to charges of embezzlement in which I created false transportation invoices. Regardless of the circumstances or my mental and emotional state, I did knowingly commit a crime. I cannot begin to express how sorry I am for my actions and the hurt and betrayal that I caused so many. My employer, Ferrelgas, trusted me and treated me well as a long time manager. I betrayed their trust and will do whatever is necessary to pay for my crime against them.

I've been asked by counselors, law enforcement officials, and lawyers whether or not I did drugs, abused alcohol, have a gambling addiction, was in a severe depression; questions asked in an attempt to understand what drove me to the point of committing a crime.

None of the reasons apply to me, and even if one did, there is still no reason for a person to break the law as I did. I've had to make peace with my God first, and now with each of my family and friends. I had pretty much shut myself off from family and friends over the last year as I grappled with my loss of integrity. Now I have contacted many of them to tell them I am sorry. I've lost everything I honestly worked for, though far worse, some friendships and now I must face the legal consequences of my actions. I will accept and face with dignity whatever consequences are set for my action. And, by the grace of God, I hope to live a very long life in order to make up for my crime and betrayal.

I damaged my father's, brother's, and my son's last name and what they stand for. There is no amount of prison time or personal remorse that can ever make that betrayal right again. It is humbling to realize that many of those that I betrayed by my criminal actions, still support me as family and still count me as a friend. I have no idea how I will ever make it up to them.

By this letter to the editor, I wish to reach out and offer my deepest apology to others of this community.

To the mentors, members and supporters of Prominent Youth (in Platte County), I cannot express to you how remorseful I am over how my crime impacted and hurt so many. The vision that began Prominent Youth and the initial funding were honest, and an attempt to offer life changing opportunities to youth. The hard work and creative effort of so many to breathe life into the idea was beyond expectations and a true testament of faith and to the strength of character of so many. Specifically, I wish to send out my sincerest apology to the leaders of PY, who stuck it out to the end. They were the true source of inspiration and dedication behind PY's growth. They are Matt Magnuson, Adam Nelson, Nicole Hodge, Patti Johnson, Jessica Sharp, Heidi Pratt, Dan Karr, Samantha Floyd, Sean Morelli, Robert Dunn, Stephanie Savage and Cara Abbott. They altered their life plans to guide PY, and to them I owe a debt which can never be repaid or perhaps forgiven. There are so many more than named here and each is truly a person of character and vision.

To the vendors, especially Gabe Murphy, Kevin Robinson, and Chuck Siler, who helped support PY through extending us credit. I am sorry for not paying the debt owed to you, and how it impacts you and your family's livelihood. I will somehow make it up to you.

To Branson and Ashley, you both deserved the scholarship awarded you by PY, and I cannot begin to express how much I regret not being able to fulfill the 4-year obligation due you.

To my friends in Platte County that are standing by me even now, Lori and Bob, Scotty and Sue, Sheila, John, Dave and Dot, Chris, Rick, Ron and Steve, your friendship and support humbles me.

To the school districts of Platte County R-3, Park Hill, Smithville, Liberty, and Raytown, the students that joined PY are a testimony to the quality of your teachers and resources for those in your charge. I regret my failure and apologize for my crime and the example I became for them.

To my hometown of Perryville, Missouri and to St. Vincent's High School, I am so sorry; I failed the first basic teaching of respect and honesty. Failing in that, I will do as I was taught as a young boy, to accept the consequences of my action without complaint or self pity. My hometown, coaches, teachers, and friends deserved better than I have given.

When I most needed emotional guidance and support, Reverend Rusty Savage of the First Baptist Church in Platte City, reached out and embraced me with one of his comforting, forgiving bear hugs. Despite my betrayal to his family, he helped me face God and seek forgiveness. Minister Brady Testoroff never hesitated to greet me with warmth and kindness. I am sorry for my crime.

To my son Garrett's friends, coaches and teachers, who stood by him, not judging him on my crime, but accepting him as a friend and supporting him through what may be the worse three years of his young life. You will each hold a special place in my prayers and heart.

I have acknowledged some whose simple act of kindness during my son's graduation got me through and helped me stand firm in pride for what my son accomplished, and helped him stand firm with dignity and grace. I cannot show enough appreciation for your giving heart. They are Dan and Renee MacDougal and their daughter Anna, who opened up their home for my son's graduation party; they are John, Ginger and Cera Kroenke, who offered a warm greeting to me and support for my son; Sheila and her sons, Joe and Jeremy Barton, who continue to this day to support Garrett and I.

How underrated is a friendly and firm handshake? It may be the simplest and most non-evasive way of letting someone know that you accept them, support them, or offer encouragement to them, yet the handshake is the most overused and therefore is often overlooked as a means to encourage another person. I will never forget the simple acts of kindness offered through a firm handshake at my son's graduation party a year ago. Unexpected yet so appreciated, as I watched Doug Baldwin, Bob Shaw, Bill Parker and Rick Hodge walk across a crowded room and offer their hand to me. They were each an example of kindness that is meant to be passed on, and a memory which gives me hope at the most difficult times.

Finally, I owe the deepest apology to my son Garrett. He was judged by some based on my crime. Unfair perhaps, but still hurtful to a young man. Garrett worked hard to be a top student at PC R3 High School; he worked hard to become a standout basketball player, and he worked hard to forgive me for putting him through hell during what should have been one of the best times in his life. He deserves respect for his resolve to stand by me, and to this day I am humbled by his strength of character and inner reflection on who he is.

I hope that I will be like that sheep that left the flock as described in Luke 15:3-7. Jesus found him and brought him back to the fold. Jesus might have to use a much harder and longer staff to reach me; but I hope that at the very least each of you will accept my apology. I will do whatever is deemed necessary by the law and after that, work hard to make peace with the many I have hurt. Thank you.

--Scott Beeson
Perryville, MO

Editor’s Note: Scott Beeson, formerly of Kansas City in Platte County, pled guilty in federal court recently to wire fraud and money laundering related to his embezzlement of more than $3 million from his former employer, Ferrellgas. He is the founder and main benefactor of the now-defunct Prominent Youth organization, which had been formed to provide educational opportunities to students in area school districts, including Platte County R-3 and Park Hill. He is awaiting sentencing.


Local GOP supporting a charade

5/28/09

EDITOR:
Memo to columnist James Thomas: Perhaps you overlooked my July 23, 2008 letter to The Landmark. It will tell you all you need to know about Kathy Dusenbery's void in financial discipline. It's still on The Landmark website.

Memo to self: Sometimes readers should see it in print, not between the lines.
Last week's Landmark was priceless. The county commissioners get caught with their pants down while the Parkville board can't figure out which way to turn before the next oncoming train hits them. And both are connected to Dusenbery. Does it get any better?

Think about it: an expiring tax that brings in $60 million isn't addressed in open session of a county commission meeting, and the election filing requires immediate action. That is planning-- NOT. That is representation--NOT. That folks, is classic Dusenbery! This utter lack of adult responsibility by elected officials is why we should bring back tar and feathers.

Why does the local Republican Party even support this charade? Kathy Dusenbery may carry a Republican card, but she, like most liberals, can't get her hands on enough taxpayer money to solve dreamed-up problems. The words fiscal and responsibility are not in her dictionary.

So now Kathy is wetting her lips on $60 million. And having potholed every financial avenue in the City of Parkville, and having the paint job acquired for the election starting to fade, she sets her eyes on a bucketful of money without any thought of a financial plan. I warned voters. Did you think I was lying?

Witness now, five years after getting her hands on $2.75 million in 2004, and then heisting another $3.655 million in 2006 with trickery and deception devised by Michael Short, the embers of Dusenbery are smoldering in Parkville. This week it's Mayor Gerry conducting musical chairs around the train horn mess to see who wants to tell the truth. After asking the question, Mayor Gerry apparently hid under the table. Fortunately for us peasants, Alderman Bay was the winner. Maybe Mayor Gerry should keep playing this game at future meetings until everyone can recite Mr. Bay's answer.

And the acoustics in the new $4 million meeting space (money spent by Dusenbery; spending not approved by voters; money acquired by misleading voters; project over budget; bonds sold by Short; etc. etc.--in case anyone forgot) must be poor as some in the room didn't hear Ms. Butcher say “the money has already been spent.” They didn't mention, so I will, that their meeting place costs upwards of $225,000 per year. How much are those quiet zones, fireman Dave?

Memo to Platte County residents: Dusenbery is fiscally inept; Dusenbery does not represent the people; Dusenbery thinks of Dusenbery. How much does it have to cost you before you guess the answer to this charade?

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Predatory practices exposed

5/28/09

EDITOR:
One of Bush Jr.’s first orders of business was to change the bankruptcy laws to favor the credit card industry. Since then, with the economy faltering, thousands of people who fell on hard times were forced to declare bankruptcy yet still repay the credit card industry.

Now that the predatory practices of the credit card industry have been exposed, and the tide has turned in favor of the consumers, I hope this unjust law will be rescinded to make it easier for those in debt to get back on their feet.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


Landmark should pull a Specter

5/21/09

EDITOR:

Lucy and I want to thank you for the three page spread that was recently in your paper about our family (Landmark People feature “71," March 25 issue).

We know of no other paper who would do this. Again, thanks so much and we want you to know that we are proud to be counted among the LANDMARK PEOPLE.

A big thanks to Bill Hankins. Bill did the interview during a time when I had just come home from the hospital and Lucy was not a whole lot better. He always called before he came to see if we felt like talking and of course we are both big talkers. Bill has a way of asking the right questions that bring back memories of the past as well as being a perfect gentleman. We really enjoyed having him.

Now that the serious part is over, let’s have a little fun. As you know, I have known the Foley family for many years. Your mother, father, brothers and sisters. All great people. Very opinionated and I have always said, “Don’t ever start an argument with a Foley. You just can’t win.”

A few years ago you told me that I had too much time on my hands. After all this thinking that I’ve gone through, you know I believe you are right. I am thinking, “Now how can I help The Landmark continue to increase its circulation?” Here is the answer: Do an Arlen Specter on them.

The Democrats would flock to your paper. Possibly you might renew friendships with former mayors or councilmen. Who knows, you might even be invited to lunch with former school board members or retired superintendents. You might lose a writer or two, but you would still have Russ Purvis. Poor Russ, he is already outnumbered four to one.

You know this is only fun, not an argument. Remember, I said “You can’t win an argument with a Foley.”

Thanks again, and if you need any more help just let me know.

--Wes and Lucy Paden
Dearborn


 

Girls, this law is for you, too

5/21/09

EDITOR:

During my time in the Missouri legislature, we debated and passed Conceal and Carry, in spite of the loud, irrational campaign by anti-gun rights activists.

They insisted we'd have shoot-outs in the street and more children would be harmed. The National Center for Health Statistics reports an 89% decline in the number of accidental gun deaths among children since 1975. Children are 78 times more likely to die in vehicle accidents, suffocation, drowning, fire, bicycles and falls than in a gun related accident.

How long do we women think an intruder in our home or a stalker in the parking garage will wait for us to phone for help? States with conceal/carry laws have seen murder rates of women permit holders fall by as much as five times the drop of their male counterparts [More Guns, Less Crime, John R. Lott, Jr.].

It is high time that women in Missouri realize these laws were designed for them as well as men and that the right to protect applies equally to all.

“If women and young girls would take up the practice and gain the skill, which requires but little effort, they would add to their happiness by falling in love with one of the finest of outdoor sports.” [Annie Oakley, Oct. 1919].

--Susan Phillips
Kansas City in
Platte County


 

Appeasement jeopardizes security

5/21/09

EDITOR:

President Obama is making mistakes impacting our foreign policy. The Administration tried appeasement when it declared Chavez's president-for-life referendum was “for the most part…..a process that was fully consistent with a democratic process."

The Administration looked the other way when Russia pressured Kyrgyestan to shut down a valuable U.S. air base.

In Turkey Obama said “The United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam”, which is true, but he should have stated the U.S. will pursue Islamic terrorists.
The President warned North Korea it would suffer “consequences” if it went ahead with the launch of a long range missile, but North Korea snubbed the U.S. and launched the missile on a 2000 mile run. Also, North Korea recently restarted its nuclear weapons development program.

President Obama attempted to charm Iran, but Iran's parliament speaker rebuked our President and told him the U.S. has to acknowledge 60 years of crimes against Iran, change our policies, and abandon Israel.

Obama is making reconciliation overtures to Cuba, but Cuba is negotiating to allow Russian warships and aircraft to refuel at Cuban bases; and Russia might be allowed to reopen an electronic intelligence gathering operation in Lourdes.

Appeasing and apologizing (for nothing) to these totalitarian countries is interpreted as groveling weakness by the Administration, and it is jeopardizing our national security.

--Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH


Defend Savage

5/21/09

EDITOR:

Like Harry Callahan in the “Dirty Harry” movies, talk host Michael Savage refuses to surrender to a paralysis that makes us helpless.

Meanwhile, Limbaugh and Hannity will not defend Savage from those seeking to silence Savage.

Limbaugh and Hannity present themselves as such passionate champions of dissent and freedom of speech, but won’t speak out for the First Amendment liberty of Michael Savage. The commissar wannabes will succeed because blowhards like Limbaugh and Hannity become silent when it matters most to speak out.

--Dave McAninch
Kansas City


Remember the fallen

5/21/09

EDITOR:

In some circles, patriotism has become a synonym for arrogant or jingoistic. Some people even use it as a political weapon; “Don’t question my patriotism,” they say. Yet, this Memorial Day, and every other day for that matter, we should remember that those who died for this country are the true patriots.

At its core, Memorial Day has always commemorated the universal all-encompassing understanding of, “No greater love than this does any man have, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

After the terrorists struck us on 9/11, America was changed. Our all volunteer force responded. People with comfortable jobs left their towns and deployed with their Reserve and Guard units. Some even joined the active-duty forces. The existing military responded in its typical heroic fashion, overthrowing a tyrannical regime in Afghanistan and battling ruthless insurgents in Iraq. Thousands gave their lives.

The call to freedom came and they answered.

--David K. Rehbein
National Commander
American Legion


 

Judges should not make the law

5/15/09

EDITOR:

A life sentence is something that most of us hope to avoid. However, for judges, a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is the ultimate job in the legal world.
Earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced that he will retire from the Court at the end of this term. The president will nominate a new justice to be confirmed by the Senate and seated by October.

Our Founding Fathers gave federal judges a lifetime appointment for a very specific reason: they wanted judges to be free from the pressures of elective office. We want judges who are focused on the law, not on partisan politics.

I hope the president will pick someone who will not bring an agenda or partisan ideology to the bench. I believe judges should simply interpret the law, not make the law from the bench. The Supreme Court is often the last defender of individual rights.
In recent years, the court has split 5 to 4 on decisions that have a major effect on our rights. In 2008, the court cited the Second Amendment in striking down a District of Columbia gun law. The landmark decision reaffirmed gun ownership as an individual right.

A lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is not a decision that any president should take lightly. The president must make sure that his nominee understands the important responsibilities that are entrusted to the court. He must also understand that the role of any judge is to follow the law, not make it.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


 

R-3 school lunches are fast food

5/8/09

EDITOR:
As a parent I am worried about what is being served at my child's school.

My children attend public school in Platte City. We are very pleased with the school system except for their food menu. Before coming here my children attended Department of Defense Schools in Europe, which had high standards for their lunch menu.

I understand that the school is using the “minimal” USDA standards. I will explain the lunch menu for May 2009.

Every Monday chicken nuggets are served with baked fries, fruit, some sort of cake and milk (milk is 1% or chocolate skim). As a parent I ask myself what kind of chicken nuggets these are. Do they have fillers? Are they 100% white meat, all natural like Tyson now makes, or are they some cheap kind. If it is the latter, how healthy are they really? Are the nuggets baked or fried?

Every Tuesday is some sort of hot dog, such as a regular hotdog, mini corn dog or regular corn dog. Hot dogs are not a healthy food, some of the turkey hotdogs with no fillers are getting close to healthy, but I doubt that is what the school is serving. However, on Tuesdays at least there is a fruit and a vegetable served.

Every Wednesday is chicken patty day, served with whipped potatoes, a vegetable, and a hot roll. Come on--every Wednesday? How healthy is this really? Is the patty breaded, and is it fried or baked?

On with Thursdays: hamburgers served with fries or tater tots, fruit or salad, and a cookie and milk. The menu is beginning to sound like that of a fast food joint.

Fridays are no better--on four of the five Fridays grilled cheese sandwiches are served and on the other Friday mozzarella dunkers are served, with salad or fresh fruit, and a cookie. Are these grilled cheese sandwiches made with whole grain bread or white bread? How about the cheese--is it an unhealthy cheese (like American) or a higher quality, healthier, better cheese like cheddar?

Our school system is a peanut-free zone. I applaud this decision. I applaud that 1% milk and skim chocolate milk is served. However, peanuts are not the only allergy food in the US prone to children, soy and milk is also on the top 10 list. My children are lactose intolerant and I wish that the school could have a lactose-free milk for them instead of substituting juice for milk.

I personally limit my child’s school lunch consumption. If I was a teacher I would not want to eat the school’s lunch every day either. I recommend that Platte County R-3 schools at least follow the “intermediate” guidelines rather than the “minimum” guidelines under the Missouri Eat Smart Guidelines from the Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition, Schools & Child Care Work Group.

The school we came from followed the “advanced” guidelines and what a difference it made. Parents wanted to eat the school lunch with their kids and most teachers ate the school lunch, too.

Under the intermediate guidelines, hot dogs would be limited to being served once every two weeks rather than every week. Under the advanced guidelines hot dogs could only be served once a month.

Also, under intermediate guidelines a whole grain food is served at least once a week. I don’t even see one whole grain item on the lunch menu for the entire month. Even under the minimum guidelines, a variety of foods should be served to broaden each child’s food experience. How does chicken nuggets, hot dogs, chicken patty, hamburgers and grilled cheese week in and week out broaden a child’s horizons?

A school lunch menu like this may meet the minimum USDA guidelines, but that doesn’t mean that the school can‘t improve. At least there are no vending machines for the children with chips, chocolate and sodas.

The lunch menu is not a great example to children for healthy eating habits. The popular food items might be cheap and easy to prepare, but the health cost for the children in the long haul isn’t worth it.

It doesn’t take a nutritionist, charts, calculators or an understanding of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to notice that the school lunch is fast food. It may be in accordance with the minimal guidelines but there is room for change and I would like to see Platte City R-3 schools raise its standards to the intermediate or advanced guidelines. Academically the school system is an A+, now the school menu needs to meet the same standard of excellence.

--Jennifer Sturgeon
Platte City


The specter of Specter

5/8/09

EDITOR:
I hope Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection to the Democratic Party will serve as a wake up call to those in the GOP who also believe, as Specter, that their party has been hijacked by far right extremists with narrow agendas.

I believe that those on the right, like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s “us vs. them” mentality, will serve as a catalyst for other moderates in the party to reconsider their allegiance as well.

Platte County’s own Congressman Sam Graves’ past attack ad admonishing his opponent Kay Barnes for “supporting minorities over well-qualified white women” was a glaring example of that same “us vs. them” mentality.

Unless and until those on the right accept and respect the views of the moderate wing of their party, there will likely be more defections to the Democrats.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


Tax Day Tea Talk

5/1/09

EDITOR:
I was just about to leave the Tax Day Tea Party when they introduced you. I stayed to hear you and then had to leave for my Bible Study class.

Good job...points well spoken, all. Thanks again for your publication.

--Sue Lange
Parkville

You did a great job speaking to the World War I Memorial crowd at the Tax Day Tea Party. Hope that you print your "bullet points" in The Landmark. Eric Zahnd was very good also.

We, from Platte County, estimated the crowd at 6-7,000 protesters. What was your estimate?

--Lee Valentine
Kansas City in
Platte County

Good job speaking at the Tax Day Tea Party. You might have outdone Chris Stigall.
However, if you continue to use my material in your speeches (the Reagan quote), I might have to charge a fee!

--Andy Stanton
Platte City

Thanks for the good write-up of the Tea Party in The Landmark. I really appreciate the fact that you spoke, along with Chris Stigall and Eric Zahnd and the others. I had to be in Jeff City that day (Blunt appointed me to the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board) and could not attend.

I think Newt Gingrich (American Solutions?) is talking about another protest on July 4th...it will be on his website.

Anyway, thanks for being a part of a significant protest--they are reporting one million strong! Yeah!

God bless.

--Susan Phillips
Platte County

Nice speech. Now what was your website again???

Good to know my wife and I are not alone in our current political feelings.

You really did do a good job and I also thought our prosecuting attorney made all of us in Platte County look good.

--Kirby Holden
Rural Platte County

Just wanted to say I saw the editorial and the tea party rally photos. All I can say is “Damn, he's got an awesome haircut.. look how pretty it blows in the wind!!”
Hugs.

--Victoria Lynn Crook
Official Between
The Lines hairstylist

Just got back from the tea party - what an awesome event! Really enjoyed hearing you speak, too - you may have even heard me cheer, as I got a pretty good spot up front. I was going to say that I've got some pretty good inspiration now for some new editorial cartoons. Man, Chris Stigall was a great speaker, also. Seems like a really interesting person.

--Matthew Silber
Kansas City


 

Take a hard look at spending

5/1/09

EDITOR:
News of billions and trillions of dollars in new spending reminds us that Washington still has not figured out how to solve its spending problem. Congress keeps proving the old anonymous quote- “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”

The first step to solving any problem is recognizing that you have a problem. The only conversation in Washington has been about how quickly money can be spent. That’s the kind of thinking that led to $200 million of stimulus money being earmarked to plant grass on the National Mall. That provision, along with hundreds of millions in wasteful spending, was eventually stripped from the bill.

Last week, the President brought his Cabinet in and asked them to find $100 million dollars in savings. I agree with the President that the federal government needs to tighten its belt. However, we should not stop at $100 million. That is the equivalent of a family that makes $60,000 a year finding $6 in savings. We can and need to do more.

This year’s fiscal budget is over $4 trillion dollars with a deficit of over $1 trillion. There is plenty of waste, fraud and abuse in a budget that size. While $100 million is a good start, it is only a start.

I am ready to take a hard look at spending and make the tough choices that will be required. I hope that the Administration will work in a bi-partisan way to bring our budget back into balance.

--Sam Graves
Congressman
Sixth District


Media coverage of Tea Party

5/1/09

EDITOR:
Just finished up looking at some of the mainstream media coverages and the KC Red Star. The Red Star coverage was almost verging on neutral, except for incorrectly associating the events directly with Obama and indicating a certain shared crowd psychosis. Not sure I would have used the word "angst" to describe the mood, though it does suit the tone of dismissal.

The discussion piece following the Red Star web site article continued to be dominated by trolls, pretty much lacking in intellectual content. More rules for radicals in play, continued ridicule with no substance.

What the article and the discussions do effectively show are the continued polarization of the people on the current government and political climate. We have been polarized before, led to some pretty nasty things, but don't think we are anywhere near those levels.

Great speech and great event.

---R. Hollis
Platte County


Opposed to RV storage facility

5/1/09

EDITOR:
I am a resident of the Red Rock subdivision. I oppose the plans the Kerwins have to construct an RV Storage Facility.

The entrance for this business would be off our entrance street, Leipard Lane, causing undue cost to the Platte City Special Road District taxpayers for the gain of one. The increased traffic can clog up our only way in and out of this sub.

Any accident there would cause the flow of all homeowners to be disrupted indefinitely. The huge commercial signage, commercial lighting, septic pond and giant metal buildings will be an eyesore to those of us who moved here for the very reason we can have a piece of the country remain.

I love my home and anticipate selling one day and want the most that I can get. This current economic downturn has done enough to diminish its value and an eyesore like that would make it even worse.

I am all for quality of life, peaceful living and this enterprise does not play into my ideals.

--Faye Conger
Platte County


Every leader gets scrutinized

4/24/09

EDITOR:
In response to last week’s letter in The Landmark from Eddie Clay: No, sir, not psychic powers, just common sense.

And as you appear to possess such, I wonder why so angry? Your party won the presidential election, controls Congress. President Obama says he won, no doubts there, and he says he trumps all. Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi tell us it is their way now; no room for debate, deliberation, or discussion.

That citizens of our nation might object to being dismissed in such a fashion should be no surprise. But, you have Congress and the White House, and can rule as you please. Why aren't you happy?

Why worry what a bunch of "sore losers" think. That is unless there is some substance to these losers' issues, or perhaps you are just experiencing "sore winner syndrome.”

I respectfully disagree we are in a sad state of affairs. Every president faces fervent scrutiny and criticism, this president included. Did you not passionately scrutinize and criticize the Bush administrations and associated Congresses from day one, as is your right?

Everything is as it should be, with all citizens exercising their right to express concerns, to support political issues, and peacefully assemble for redress of grievance. That is unless you disagree with all citizens having these rights.

Look around Kansas City and the metro area. No "technicals,” no political party militias extorting "taxes,” no masked death squads, no burning tire barricades. Majority rule is in effect and respected, business goes on, and so does political discourse.

In the meantime, grow a thick skin and get used to this side of criticism, or it is going to be a long four years for you. You might also try some graciousness with your victory; it will help in mitigating the many concerns we all share.

--R. Hollis
Rural Platte County


Attitude is the problem

4/24/09

EDITOR:
Finally, I have been able to identify what the problem is with our economy, though with all the politicians arguing and finger pointing, it has been hard.

Washington State 8th District Representative, Republican Dave Reichert stated it succinctly, "I believe in the right of Congress to dictate where federal dollars go.”

1) It's not federal dollars. The US government earned not one red cent of it. It's taxpayers’ dollars which we worked hard to earn and were made to give away.

2) We don't live in a dictatorship, though many men and women have died to free those who do.

3) It is not a right, it is Congress's responsibility. There is a huge and very distinct difference.

Until the attitudes of the members of Congress change, we will always be in peril.

--Sue Lange
Parkville


Man shares police experience

4/24/09

EDITOR:
In response to the letter from Eddie Clay in last week’s Landmark on majority rule being accepted and respected, there is no reason to guess. Since he prefers that winners rule, he should consider moving to Parkville where King Gerry and his minions recently declared themselves experts in medical science. I digress.

Perhaps he should apply for an executive position with White Star Lines. With President Obama at the helm of the ship, and with global warming, we know that icebergs will be declared nonexistent. Brandy for everyone.

The real problem may be that Mr. Clay hasn't taken the time to read those “living documents” so described by Hillary. According to James Thomas' article, he isn't alone in that regard. Where do they keep those Federalist Papers? Perhaps hidden so we don't bother anyone with arcane ideas like individual liberty and responsibility. Maybe self-educated Abe Lincoln buried them after he read them. Or maybe reading history has become arcane. Teaching our foundational principles might mean our offspring learn about liberty and personal responsibility, or worse, become conservatives.

Mr. Clay also seems to believe that the constitutional right to organize ceases once the election is over. The ultimate organizer (President Obama) heralded that right. Of course, that right isn't granted to average, hard working, taxpaying, conservative minded Americans. Those rabble-rousers, according to Queen Pelosi, CNN, NBC, and the Goebbelsesque media, lack roots.

Now never mind that in less than 100 days, Obama has bowed to the Saudi king, removed his shoes at a Turkish mosque, and last week flipped his middle finger to Christians by covering up Jesus at Georgetown University (maybe Sharia is next), proposed spending that will require extorting the savings of everyone alive and the earnings of those yet to be born; apologized to the world for America (that should make WWII vets proud after saving the butts of the Europeans, Chinese, etc. as well as the Iraqi vets who have served up a freedom banquet in spite of his calling them failures); fired the head of a private company (that must be somewhere in that living part of the Constitution); told the banks that they can't pay back TARP loans (regulation redefined); and mandated continuation of the Democrat initiated policies that led to the financial meltdown (forced loans to unqualified borrowers bought by Fannie and Freddie, a/k/a socialized housing). Need I go on?

Here is something that Mr. Clay and President Obama might want to consider: a contingency plan to address to loss of the rich. What happens when those who write the checks to those who work and those who don't either leave the country or decide to produce less?

Now Mr. Clay might think me extreme. After all, I am conservative, male, white, I work (which makes me working class), pay taxes (which excludes me from Obama's working class), pro-life, Christian, and favor following the Constitution. The only thing more hated by a liberal is someone like me who is black (and there are many). I have already alerted Senator McCaskill's office that I fit the profile of a terrorist as recently defined by the Department of Homeland Security. However, I am not too concerned with being monitored. When I called Senator McCaskill's Washington DC office in regard to the Georgetown University incident, her staff asked, “Which GU?” If they can't find GU, they probably can't find northwest Missouri. I have ceased being surprised by the cluelessness of the senator and her staff.

So Mr. Clay, you enjoy the brandy while it lasts and the ride on the rudderless ship named Liberalism. One only has to read history to know where that ship will finally come to rest.

And one more thing. The people that are going to save you from your suffering; you know, Barney, Chris, Maxine, Nancy, Harry, and the rest of the gang that gave us socialized housing; they're still in power.

And now the best part, you no longer have to guess.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Navy man enjoys stay

4/24/09

EDITOR:
I knew when I arrived in Platte City nearly a year ago that I was not going to be staying long. As a Navy officer I never dreamed I would receive orders to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, let alone have the opportunity to live in a place like Platte City. As I approach the end of my time here, I want to express some thoughts about the time my wife Lucy and I have spent here.

Like our counterparts in the Army, Navy officers are rarely in one place for an extended period of time. During my twelve years in the Navy, I have had the opportunity to live in San Diego, Calif. Ocean Springs, Miss. Newport, R.I. Jacksonville, Fla. and Platte City, Mo. Lucy and I were in the area for one day when we decided to rent a lovely house in Platte City on Devonshire Dr. We figured the neighborhood was ideal due to its proximity to the airport, the shopping in Zona Rosa, and the excitement of Kansas City.

What I did not know then, but am grateful to recognize now, is that the people of Platte City are the friendliest people I have ever lived with. I had only been in my new residence a few days when a representative from the Platte City Chamber of Commerce knocked on my door to welcome my wife and I to the neighborhood. It immediately struck me that in my twelve years of moving from coast to coast, an event like that had never happened before. That simple expression of “welcome” set the tone for the terrific time Lucy and I have had for nearly a year. As my time here draws to an end, I must resign myself to the likelihood that such an event may never happen again.

As a Navy officer and native New Yorker, I expected to feel like a fish out of water when I decided to reside in Platte City. The truth of the matter is that I have never felt more welcome in any of the places my career has taken me to date. I wish to extend my thanks to everyone in Platte City for making this the best year of my Navy career.

--Jim Drew, LCDR
Platte City


Man shares police experience

4/17/09

EDITOR:
My name is Jack Taylor. I live in Excelsior Springs. I work 12 hour days at the Iatan KCP&L power plant. I am a father of a 25-year-old and an 11-year-old. I am guardian of my 1-year-old grandson, just to let you know a little history.

Anyway on March 2, I got up at 4 a.m. and started work at 6 a.m. I worked 12 hours on this day then was asked by my supervisor to help him move some furniture that evening. This task took two hours, he wanted to know if I wanted to go to Tanner’s for dinner. We arrived at Tanner’s at 7:30 p.m. We had dinner, his wife, kids and a coworker were also present.

I had dinner and four beers over a period of two hours that could be accounted for. I proceeded to drive home at 9:30 p.m. I was stopped by (a Platte City police officer) for speeding, then he asked if I was drinking. I confirmed what I had and was positive that I was not intoxicated, myself weighing 210 pounds.

He then instructed me do a field sobriety, which I agreed with nothing to hide. He said I failed the test. Remember, I had been up for 18 hours, worked construction all day looked like a mess from working and wearing a hard hat all day.

I said positively that I was not intoxicated over the legal limit of .08 in the state of Missouri. He assured me I was, impounded my vehicle and took me to jail. I took the breathalyzer and registered a .048, way below the limit. He booked me for DUI and I had to bond out.

My question is where is the justice? I work hard every day to take care of my family and this is what I get rewarded with, go to jail without breaking the law, missed days wages, impound fees and lawyer fees for what, driving legal under Missouri law?
Can you help me find some kind of justice or see if this only happens in Platte City?
Thank you for your time.

--Jack Taylor
Excelsior Springs

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Platte City Municipal Court records indicate all of Jack Taylor’s charges, including the DUI, were pled down to a charge of defective equipment.)


Majority rule is accepted

4/17/09

EDITOR:
I’m no psychic but I would guess that the vast majority of those who so vehemently oppose President Obama’s measures to get us out of this economic mess are the same people who voted against him.

Based on their many mean-spirited letters and opinions, I’m not at all sure that anything Obama does short of resigning and handing over the office to the Republicans would placate those sore losers.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a newly-elected president, who was thrust into the limelight with a positive message of change, is now unmercifully scrutinized and criticized for actually following through on his campaign promises. It’s even sadder that those on the right are so blindly obedient to their Republican ideology that they would hope for the President’s policies to fail, and have us all continue to suffer, rather than see our country succeed and prosper under Democratic leadership.

This “my way or the highway” mentality of inclusiveness scares me and should frighten all those who believe in a Democratic society where majority rule is accepted and respected.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


A cup of raisins

4/10/09

EDITOR:
It is so important that we keep the main thing as the main thing during times like these. When I worry over the value of the dollar or loss of liberty or job, I am reminded that I have a great family, great memories and a great faith.

Nothing, not even an “administration gone wild,” can diminish that reality. Come with me, take a breather from the news, and follow me to the clothesline…

I wondered if I’d ever reach the line myself. Someday, maybe, I could work with my mom. Today, I’d just watch her. How methodically she hung each towel and sheet. Why, each corner had to be dog-eared exactly to overlap the last. I could smell the bleach on the sheets as they snapped in the wind. Soon they would be taken down, carried in and moistened with the sprinkler bottle. So stiff but then wadded in a neat round shape and nestled in the ironing basket.

Tomorrow, she’d iron. If my dad had time, the weeds under the clothesline would be cut and my sister and I would pretend it was spacious lawn. Back in the well house, the piles of laundry grew smaller as they were washed, bleached and passed through the wringer. It was mid-morning now and the laundry was priority. Seeing my mother carry baskets of heavy, wet clothes up to the line, I imagined her a strong woman. Actually, her 100-lb frame could probably carry ‘most anything.

Later, it would be many buckets of water for cooking and cleaning. My sister and I practiced with our own water; one small arm extended for balance. Our buckets were small but we were learning to carry and not spill. From the cool of the sun, we knew it wasn’t near time for lunch but our stomachs were getting hungry. Mom would keep us outside near her while she worked and we were not allowed to run in and out of the house. I began to dream about my own home someday. I would want purple rugs like my mother’s and they would hold my shoes when I got into bed at night. My tiled floors would be very clean, like hers, and my whole family would like down on them and listen to the radio. It would be summer and the floors would cool us.

I, too, would treasure every towel and piece of clothing I’d hang on my line. And they would be folded neatly and put away. Everything would have a place. Someday. I felt a hand on my arm. My mother had brought us a cup of raisins. I would eat them slowly, one by one, and I’d enjoy the flavor of each. Quietly and to myself I felt very rich, very pampered. Surely, life could not be better than this.

—Susan Phillips
Kansas City in
Platte County


The U.S. is in trouble

4/10/09

EDITOR:
The United States is in trouble. The present control of government by the Democratic party is destroying the country as we have known it.

You people who put these people in office will live to see a repeat of the 1930s. No, not the Depression. The taking of the United States as Hitler did in Germany in the 1930s.

He was elected as a “Social Democrat” only to nationalize every business in Germany under the guise of “serving the country.” He quickly became a total power in Germany, which resulted in the absence of any personal freedom for any individual in that country. He confiscated under the title of “taxes” all of the productive wealth of the citizens.

Does this sound familiar? It should. The same thing is being done now in the United States.

The people who put the Dems in power may never get a chance to “vote again” if this is the change you wanted. You are going to live with your result, but you’ll not like what you get.

President George Bush made some mistakes, but he never tried to become a dictator, which our president of today is doing with the willing but misguided help of the Democratic party.

If this is not stopped, there will be no more freedom in the United States, and our constitution, which has served us well for over 200 years, will no longer be “the law of the land.”

Every facet of our lives will be dictated by the government and enforced by armed troops.

Every time government gets involved in private industry, it only gets worse and more expensive. Whether you believe it or not, we cannot afford this.

Wake up and see what is happening before it is too late.

—George Fee
Weston


What was that about?

4/10/09

EDITOR:
Read one of your competitors’ Op-Ed pieces on the Platte R-3 school board decision to retain Dr. Harpst as a consultant. And their indication that this decision would get the National Enquirer treatment elsewhere.

Am I to now assume The Landmark is in a league with the National Enquirer?

Thanks for a great hometown newspaper. And I know why I rarely read your competition.

—R. Hollis
Rural Platte County


'Tweaking' the smoking ordinance

4/3/09

EDITOR:
I appreciate the accurate reporting by Alan McArthur on the events of the March 8 Parkville City Council hearing on the proposed smoking ban. Too often our local papers “spin” instead of reporting. For that reason, many of us are selective about papers we read. I read your paper because I find the reporting trustworthy.
However, I could not find the ending to the article. Was it left out? (EDITOR’S NOTE: The article can be found in its entirety on The Landmark’s website at www.plattecountylandmark.com/Article11047.htm)

I would also like to set the record straight regarding Mayor Richardson’s comments as to the turnout of the hearing on the proposed ban. He stated, “It looks like the public has chosen not to participate and I’ll choose to take that as a good sign.” For the record, this was St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Break for our schools, and this was the umpteenth hearing on the issue. The people of Parkville know there are those on the Board of Alderman who are so opposed to the ban that they are working with “special people” involved to accommodate them before considering voting on a ban.
There was a committee headed by representative Gia McFarlane (appointed by Mayor Richardson) that worked diligently, researching and discussing many already passed smoking bans, before submitting the original draft, a “clean” ordinance, with no exceptions. Per the mayor’s reported comments in the article, “We’ve had a lot of input from the public. There is a segment of citizens who are disappointed with the lack of stringency (in the ordinance.)”

He was referring to this “last” draft being considered. Why was the original draft which was supported/presented, I believe, unanimously by the very impressive, qualified committee (who spent much time and energy before giving their recommendations to the Council on the proposed ban), not considered? Rita Weighill, VP of Communications with Park University, stated in the March 8 hearing, “Park University endorsed the previous ordinance and although the proposed ordinance does not provide the same protection, the university would like to go on the record supporting the proposed ordinance.”

It is sad that some on the board have chosen to support “special people” instead of “doing the right thing” by their constituents in Parkville. It is apparent that when they get the ordinance “tweaked” in favor of these “special people,” there will be a less “stringent,” as described by Mayor Richardson, ordinance. Very fishy and very sad to me.

We’ll see what happens next. Many people have gotten so tired of this council’s “behavior” that they have tuned out and just head to Zona Rosa to eat in establishments that serve up clean air.

Hurray for Kansas City for doing the right thing.

--Betty Poole
Parkville


Hoping we don't have to go South

4/3/09

EDITOR:
Just watching the world news of late has given rise to some thoughts, such as they are.

Putin is working to solidify control over Mother Russia’s military, economy, oil and gas; China's military continues to grow along with their economy with an eye to control the pacific rim; Chavez is militarizing and working to foment revolution in South America with support from Cuba and Russia. Mexico is slowly spiraling out of control as border violence continues to spill over and grow within the U.S.

And here we sit with an administration reliant on a gaffe prone vice president, a marginalized secretary of state, and a bevy of regionally focused "ambassadorial representatives at large" for its foreign affairs expertise. Be afraid.

All it takes is for Mexico to go South, no pun intended, causing a U.S. intervention to "potentially" spark another world catastrophe. Chavez gets uppity in response to Mexico, US responds, Russia reacts to actions against Venezuela, China sees this as an opportunity to gather territory along the Russian-China border.

While this is all going on, Iran sees an opportunity to take out Israel because U.S. is distracted with Mexico, Chavez, and Russia; the Middle East goes up. Meanwhile, N. Korea sees an opportunity to solve the Korean Peninsula question once and for all; NE Asia goes up as Japan and other nations respond to this as well as the situation between China and Russia.

Let's hope we don't have to go South.

---R. Hollis
Rural Platte County


Taxpayers need to be heard

4/3/09

EDITOR:
Discontentment and disappoint is being felt by more and more Middle Americans. These feelings are shared by people of all faiths, genders and race. Middle Americans are the backbone of our great nation, but our voices are being ignored by the representatives we are paying handsomely to represent us.

Big government is the problem, not the solution! It defies logic to think an individual or government can spend its way out of debt. This treasury, along with the Fed is sinking our country into a debt we may not be able to recover from. Our dollar is being devalued by mass printing of currency making it worthless. Is it blatant ignorance on their part or deliberate behavior? Either way, future generations of Americans will inherit a mind-numbing debt if this out of control spending continues.

It is time the American tax payers make our voices heard. Billions of our hard-earned dollars are going overseas, many times to countries who want to see us in ruins. Billions more are funding medical benefits, educational benefits, welfare and food stamps for illegal aliens in our country. Our own citizens cannot receive these entitlements. Now this administration wants to add tens of thousands more to the welfare rolls.

This Congress has the lowest approval ratings in history. Their income taxes and campaign contributions should undergo a thorough audit. Their hypocritical outrage of corporate bonuses is nothing more than political grandstanding…and the American people know it. Their first responsibility is to protect this country from enemies both foreign and domestic. They are failing miserably.

Tea Parties are being planned across our nation. We have called, emailed and faxed our representatives to no avail. The blame-game and finger pointing has become a joke. Covering their tracks is becoming increasingly difficult for this Congress. The American people are gathering to show their civil disobedience in a peaceful, but determined way. We will not see our country destroyed from within and stay silent.

--Malinda Handforth
Independence


Cartoon gets Mary temperamental

3/26/09

EDITOR:
I have been elected twice to represent the patrons of the Platte County R-3 School District. My election affirms that a majority of the voting patrons of our district trust my judgment in issues involving our schools and the education of our students. My goal in every decision I make is to choose what I see as best for the students and patrons of our district. This same goal compels me to write this letter.

Last Thursday afternoon, March 19, as I was heading out the door for a PCR-3 School Board meeting, I heard several students who were collected in my kitchen, including three of my own children, call out in disgust about a cartoon they had just discovered in The Landmark. I will not reiterate the reprehensible comments made in this cartoon.

As an elected public official I trust that patrons will tell me truthfully and respectfully when they disagree with a decision I have made. I will listen with an open mind, attempt to see their point of view, and respectfully relate my point of view. On occasion, I am more than willing to agree to disagree but I will only do so when I am convinced that my decision was made with the best interests of our students at heart. I realize that not everyone will agree with every decision I make, but I always make the decisions I see as best for the majority of students and patrons. It is the job of the media to report on and to express opinions about my decisions and the job I do as a school board member.

This cartoon goes way beyond expressing an opinion about our board and the decisions we have made. This cartoon is a direct, personal attack on our students. This is an attack that I cannot let go unchallenged.

Mr. Foley, it is clear that you have a personal vendetta against the Platte County R-3 Schools. When that vendetta plays out as criticisms against myself or our board as a whole, I must accept that. But when it plays out as direct attacks on our students, I cannot remain silent.

The seven PCR-3 board members put their names on the line indicating they were each willing to take criticisms for their decisions. Our children and students did not. Please respect that important distinction and limit your future attacks to the political realm and do not attack our students.

--Mary Temperelli
Platte County R-3
School Board Member

(EDITOR’S NOTE: For the editor’s response to the writer’s accusations that he has a “personal vendetta” against the school district and that the cartoon in last week’s issue was a “direct attack” on students, see the Between the Lines column on this page.)


Obama has agenda on stem cells

3/27/09

EDITOR:
Contrary to popular media coverage, the general field of stem cell research is not controversial. It is only the specific field of human embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) that is at the center of an ethical debate. This is why President Bush issued Executive Order 13435, which reads:

"The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall conduct and support research on the isolation, derivation, production, and testing of stem cells that are capable of producing all or almost all of the cell types of the developing body and may result in improved understanding of or treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions, but are derived without creating a human embryo for research purposes or destroying, discarding, or subjecting to harm a human embryo or fetus."

In his speech given at the ceremony during which he overturned this order, President Obama made this statement: "It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda - and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology."

So let's examine the scientific data regarding stem cell research together.

From the moment of conception, an embryo exhibits all the characteristics of life: metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction. She carries human DNA with a unique genetic signature that is distinct from her mother, father and other living organisms. She also has the innate ability to proceed through the entire sequence of human developmental stages. All she needs is the proper environment and nourishment, the very same things that you or I need to survive. These are simple scientific facts: An embryo is alive and the embryo is human.

Why all the controversy? Extracting stem cells from an embryo is a destructive process. Based on the scientific definition, this process ends the life of a human being.
Some like to argue that this is perfectly ethical because an embryo is not a "person." No explanation is usually given about what this means. Common usage simply refers to a human being. As we have seen, an embryo already fits this description. Ultimately the question of personhood is a red herring. It draws our attention away from the real issue: What is the unborn? The scientific data is incontrovertible. An embryo is a human life. Period. And ESCR ends a human life.

So why are politicians so singularly focused on this one type of stem cell research that, after 10 years, has failed to produce even one useful therapy? Why ignore an entire area of research, adult stem cells, that is already providing treatment for over 100 specific medical conditions such as brain injury, stroke, retina regeneration, diabetes, nerve regeneration, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's, kidney damage, multiple sclerosis and at least 26 different forms of cancer?

By revoking Executive Order 13435, President Obama is wasting our money. He is pulling precious funds away from the most promising area of research and throwing it at an area that is now obsolete. He claims to care about finding cures, yet takes money away from those who are already producing them. He is, in keeping with his voting record, placing his own agenda over and above the needs and lives of innocent humans.

It is obvious that this issue is not about science, but about world views. I end this letter with the same quote from President Obama that began it. Only now that we have the facts, the hypocrisy in such a statement uttered by him should be evident, "It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda - and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology."

--Dawn Silber
Kansas City


Stock market woes under Dems

3/20/09

EDITOR:
I am having those thoughts again and I just can't seem to take things at face value.

I was reviewing the stock market the other day. Does anyone realize the market has lost near 50% of its volume since the 2006 Democratic electoral victory in Congress? Its high in 2006 was 13,191. Wow. I know it is convenient to blame the past occupant of the White House and he did make some bad economic decisions. But he had a lot of help the past two years from Congress, which included our current President.

Banks and some states are lined up to reject the stimulus monies; too many strings attached extending federal government control into their areas. Who would have thunk! I know rejecting the money is unpopular in some quarters, but this is actually a sign of hope and change. These business and government leaders must now take responsibility and act. Taking responsibility for one’s acts; that is kinda refreshing and is a positive change. I want to see them succeed in cleaning up their own houses, by themselves, as they should. If benefits us all if they do. By the way, if anyone thinks it is just a fluke South Carolina lined up to be the first state to reject the stimulus monies, then they need to review their history.

A little bit closer to home, I am having difficulty getting my mind around the Missouri Farm Bureau recent letter to the editor. I could not understand why the Farm Bureau would object to legislation simplifying statutes and empowering counties which want to do planning. Isn't simplification a good thing?

And I was confused about how people's wishes regarding county planning could be ignored. Last I checked, even in class III counties, commissioners are elected. The commissioners live, work, and socialize with their constituents. Commission meetings, as well as planning boards, are supposed to be open meetings, per that Sunshine thingie, and citizens can speak at these meetings.

If commissioners aren't listening to their constituents, they will quickly find themselves very unpopular at the local cafe, possibly subject to a recall vote, or voted out of office in general election.

So, I asked some questions in Jeff City about this legislation and was informed Farm Bureau has been objecting to it for some time now, that it was edited last year to include changes Farm Bureau wanted and still Farm Bureau won't support it. That agricultural land is exempt under this legislation. That is a good thing, right?

I read through both the House Bill and the Senate Bill. But it wasn't until I got to the provisions about Sub-Division Regulations, Zoning, and Developer Penalties that my confusion lifted. I think I get it now. Out of curiosity, I went on-line and scanned some other Missouri newspapers to see if this letter from the Missouri Farm Bureau was published else where. I could not find it.

That is not to say it was not published in hard copy or on-line in another Missouri newspaper. Just that I could not find it.

Maybe someone with more time and better skills than I might succeed.

--R. Hollis
Rural Platte County


Why not repower your engine?

3/20/09

EDITOR:
In today’s economy most people realize they need to reduce expenses. A great way to save significant money is to keep and maintain your current vehicle. Replacing your worn out engine with a remanufactured or rebuilt engine rather than buying a new or used car may be an excellent way for you to cut costs and realize long-term savings.

When a car or truck suffers major engine damage, often the first reaction is to buy a new or used vehicle, but the cost to repower an engine is a drop in the bucket compared to the higher insurance rates and monthly loan payments that come with a new car. The bottom line is that a repowered engine makes a vehicle more dependable, more fuel efficient, less polluting and more valuable.

With engine repowering, a vehicle’s engine or an identical one from another like-vehicle is completely disassembled, cleaned, machined and remanufactured or rebuilt. Unlike used or junk yard engines with an unknown performance and maintenance history, repowered engines are dependable, reliable and backed by excellent warranty programs.

In addition to its financial benefits, engine repowering also saves the tremendous amount of energy used in processing discarded engines and vehicles. It also saves an incredible amount of raw materials that would have been used in building a new engine.

To learn more about the benefits of installing a remanufactured or rebuilt engine, visit the Engine Repower Council’s Web site at www.enginerepower.org.

--Steve Rich
Engine Repower Council
Bethesda, MD


Arrogance can be devastating

3/20/09

EDITOR:
I never cease to be reminded of the mindsets that plague us locally and nationally. Sunday morning, while attempting to cross the street at a marked crossing in my neighborhood, one car stopped. As I started to cross, a black sedan behind the first car pulled into the opposite lane in an attempt to pass, only to stop when its driver noticed me. When I asked the driver of the black sedan if he noticed the pedestrian signs, I received a less than pleasant response. I noticed at least one child in the car.

The current governing body of Parkville believes policing rubber door strips (re: the smoking ban) is a high priority for our tax dollars as this matter received significant discussion at a recent board meeting. Most likely, given a choice, their response to anyone questioning how they establish priorities for the city would get a black sedan response. At least on this one I can vote with my sales tax dollars. This misguided governing body doesn't deserve more revenue.

Last week, Landmark columnist Russ Purvis compared a human embryo to an acorn that doesn't become a tree. Russ didn't mention the fallen kernels of field corn that never make it to stalk status. Perhaps that God doesn't line up those fallen kernels in perfect rows for another harvest is reason for Russ to conclude that God doesn't exist. God gets a black sedan response.

The week prior, Purvis praised the Obama administration's attack on Rush Limbaugh. If Obama has the intellect proclaimed by Russ and the mass media, you would think he would pick a fight he could win. So far, Obama hasn't responded to Rush's offer for a debate. Perhaps that too is above Obama's pay grade.

Attacking private dissenting citizens; Obama's black sedan response to those who oppose his form of socialism. Are private citizens without a microphone next on his list?

Arrogance has long been a human fault. Combined with unchecked power, the consequences can be devastating. One can only hope that those not paying attention will pull their heads from the sand or remove whatever is impeding their view, including the driver of the black sedan.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Farley argues with himself, wins

3/13/09

EDITOR:
In your story of March 4, 2009 (Farley may sue city) there are three errors.
The first is that you state I am requesting $500 for the cost of the kitchen faucet, which is incorrect (EDITOR’S NOTE: On this, Mr. Farley is technically correct. Upon first reference in the story, The Landmark rounded down to $500, failing to note the additional $9.72 requested by Farley. Later in the story the exact $509.72 sought by Farley is noted).

The second is that the article says that I stated in my letter “the clogs to the upstairs bathroom were caused by the galvanized piping and he will cover the costs of the upstairs faucet and stool as well as replacing the cost of replacing the piping. That cost was a total of $963.85.”

What my letter said was as follows: “The following day there was no water pressure on the second story of the building. Edlin was again called and determined that the debris from the waterline repair had also lodged in the upstairs lavatory faucets. Those repairs were made and the kitchen faucet (previously ordered) replaced at an additional cost of $509.72. In making those repairs it was also discovered that a portion of the galvanized waterlines in the building that connected the lower and upper floors was also defective. Edlin advised me that this had nothing to do with the problem with the upstairs faucets and stool but was the result of the age of the line.
Consequently, I instructed Edlin to replace that line, even though prior to the water main repair by the city it had been functioning without a problem. I did not request that the city pay for the replacement of the galvanized waterline since it was not directly caused by the water main break, though the repair of it at this time was precipitated by that incident. According to Edlin, the $509.72 repair was caused solely by the debris from the line repair done by Platte City.”

No part of the $963.85 for replacing the galvanized line was charged to the city. Only the $509.72 paid by me for damage caused to the upstairs faucet and stool, which Edlin says was caused by the debris from the city waterline, is being sought by me.

The third error occurred in the first quote of my letter, which is on page 10. The correct quote from my letter is as follows: “All of the replaced faucets and the work done on the stools would have been totally unnecessary had not the city repaired the waterline and allowed the debris to enter into building’s water system. All I am asking is to be paid the amount paid by me that according to Edlin was the result of the city’s action. I believe that if you were in my place you would take the same position.”

--James Farley
Farley Law Office
Platte City


Proposed project opposed

3/13/09

EDITOR:
I am very concerned about a proposed development adjacent to Red Rock Addition east of Platte City on Hwy. 92.

The commercial development will adversely affect our home values as potential home buyers will see a large commercial sign across from the houses advertising the RV storage facility with one building as long as a football field and two smaller buildings on the hill.

The Platte County taxpayers, probably the Platte City Special Road District patrons, will be paying for half of the road widening project for one individual’s business, which is not right for one business to benefit from the taxes of many. Primarily, Leipard Lane is a residential street and should remain residential. The road widening proposal is for about 300 feet of Leipard Lane to be 40 feet wide then suddenly return to the present 22 feet, which will be a safety issue.

The traffic of the large bus-sized RVs will be hazardous to the residential traffic and children riding their bikes as they cannot be seen easily by RV drivers.

We chose to live here because it was rural and not congested with commercialization and would like it to remain rural.

--Anita Nickless
Rural Platte City


Obama crazier each day

3/13/09

EDITOR:
I am not surprised that Obama has quickly knocked down the limitations on embryonic stem cell research. Now, once a majority of average Joes get used to the idea of using "day-old" embryos, he'll be in the neighborhood handing out money to women willing to sell their own "fresh" eggs.

The man is crazier each day. We already have proven, documented results with adult stem cells and the available lines are unlimited. But no...he is compelled to unethically destroy tiny young embryos for more power and a few patent dollars.

Lord help us! What other damage is he planning with his Executive Order pen?

---Susan Phillips
Platte County


Where is the adult in the White House?

3/6/09

EDITOR:
Some of the comments I hear from President Obama sound more like a child who doesn’t get his way rather than the elected leader of the free world. When discussing the stimulus package recently, Republicans objected to his proposal to increase benefits for low-income workers who don’t pay federal income taxes. How did he answer? “I won,” and “I will trump you on that!” During the campaign, when he answered Pastor Warren’s question of “when does life begin?” with “it’s above my pay grade”…more Americans should have taken him at his word. He has already proven that he is attempting to operate well above his pay grade and now, with a little opposition from Pelosi on his troop withdrawal schedule, I’d say he is getting ready to throw one big temper tantrum in front of the whole wide world.

--Susan Phillips
Platte County


Don't refuse the stimulus money

3/6/09

EDITOR:
Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania once again quipped, “If I’m drifting in the middle of the ocean, without an oar, I don’t care if the person who throws me a lifeline is black or white, gay or straight, Democrat or Republican.”

President Obama has thrown such a lifeline to the states in the form of his stimulus package which will render badly needed aid to those who find themselves out of work and in danger of losing their homes due to circumstances beyond their control.

Unfortunately, four Republican southern governors are so caught up in partisan politics that they are threatening to refuse the money, effectively leaving those they represent to drown in a sea of desperation when help is so readily at hand.

This type of blind obedience to their ideology by these governors, only serves to poison the political atmosphere with the foul stench of partisan obstructionism that most Americans have grown to abhor.

I hope all those who will be adversely affected by their respective governors’ selfish decisions will remember this when these men are up for election.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


Washington is destroying this nation

3/6/09

EDITOR:
The stimulus package passed by the President and Congress didn't include "Buy American" requirements because they said it's not important for Americans to have jobs if it angers our trading partners like communist China. And "E-Verify to I.D. illegals" was taken out because it's unkind to people who only break laws trying to better themselves.

Some laws just get in the way of living the good life. So if you have some trash or old furniture cluttering your place, just throw the stuff out on the side of a road some night. Or if your neighbor has something you really need, don't hesitate to take it. And if you happen to represent the people, just make those unpopular deals behind closed doors. If you're in business, and you must con people out of billions, don't worry, you won't go to prison like guys who take a few bucks from a mini mart; you'll just be confined to your yacht or McMansion.

Congressional approval ratings are in the tank. So just go along when they insist on putting us deep in debt to China to fund wars that destroy whole nations of innocent people, for vague, ever-changing reasons.

But don't go so far as to copy a DVD. The corporate-controlled FBI will track you down and you'll probably never be seen again. Can we afford to continue believing such twisted logic and give Washington more time to destroy this once great nation?

--Nick Ivanovich
Arnold, Mo.


Remember, we are the government

3/6/09

EDITOR:
How are the good citizens of this great USA going to take control of their lives in this depression?

We are all God's people and we know that greed and the devil are trying to take over. At these times we must make it clear to those responsible, the politician, big money, and lawyers, that we can't afford them anymore. Maybe it's time we show them we can live without them. God's honest people don't need crooks to bleed all their efforts. Somehow we must figure out how to turn this around. Keep the faith and maybe we can turn this thing around.

For too long we have watched our lawmakers waste our taxes on the greedy. Don't let the oil cartel defeat God's world just because they control our lying lawmakers.
Remember, we are the government.

--William Leroy Elwood
Osceola, MO


Farm Bureau concerned about planning

3/6/09

EDITOR:
Missouri Farm Bureau is very concerned about legislation introduced in the Missouri General Assembly regarding county planning.

Currently, Missouri state law requires a favorable majority vote by people of any county wanting to initiate county planning, typically the first step for planning and zoning implementation.

That makes a lot of sense to us. If a county is going to start the planning process, why would county commissioners not want the citizens living in that county to have the right and ability to voice their opinion?

Legislation was introduced again this year in the Missouri General Assembly to remove the requirement of approval by county residents to initiate county planning, and instead turn the decision over to the county commission.

There are more than 80 third-class counties in the state of Missouri that do not have planning and zoning and, if approved, this legislation would remove the decision to initiate the process from people living in the county and put it in the hands, theoretically, of two people.

If two of the three commissioners in a third-class county decided to start county planning, they could do so without regard to the wishes of the majority of county voters. We think that is a terrible idea. Farm Bureau believes the citizens of a county should determine the direction of their county with regard to the planning process, a right they have now that would be taken away by this legislation.

If the majority of people of the county vote to start planning, great – the people had the opportunity to voice their opinion and select the direction they want their county to take. Such a decision should continue to be made by the many (the citizens of the county), not the few (the county commissioners).

Farm Bureau hopes legislators will give some serious thought about voting for a bill that would remove the right of citizens to vote up front.

--Charles E. Kruse
President
Missouri Farm Bureau


Bigger problems to tackle than smoking

2/27/09

EDITOR:
The Parkville smoking ordinance process, or should I say cram job, rages on. The editor failed to include my name right below Tom Hutsler on the board's most admired list.

I could write an exposé on how the board of aldermen is ignoring all the tough issues: rising sewer costs; another 25%+ water rate increase from Missouri-American Water; police turnover; internal controls problems; can't produce a financial statement; a city hall it cannot afford; high debt; businesses closing. But who cares about facts?

According to last week's Landmark, three restaurants allow smoking. STOP THE PRESS! We have a crisis!

The mayor proclaims: “The public is all over the place. More public opinion is not useful”. The public is a nuisance! Who needs a Constitution? Way to go, King Gerry!

Alderman Dave McCoy, among others, says the restaurants can leave. Smokers must go! Save the children! You go get 'em, Dave.

Never mind that Mayor Richardson seemed to ignore that little internal control problem until it was again exposed by this newspaper. And fireman Dave, once he has extinguished the restaurant sales tax revenue, will raise fees and taxes. He'll cry, like he did with grinder pumps, “The costs are going up. What are we supposed to do?”

Just to remind you, it was fireman Dave, along with former Mayor Kathy Dusenbery, who presided over the $500,000+ grinder pump fiasco and the 250% sewer rate increases, and advocated creative financing to build that special meeting place known as City Hall. At least fireman Dave hasn't yelled at me out of his car window.

A smoking ordinance poll conducted on my street showed the following: half were not aware if it; none had been contacted by anyone; one was unsure, the rest against; nobody favors higher taxes.

Alderman Sportsman, who purports to represent Ward 4, proclaims “The people in this city want a smoking ban.” Apparently, none of my neighbors were invited to his and Alderman McManus' Redbud Court Ward 4 club meetings.

By the way, did I mention there were only three restaurants left that allow smoking? CRISIS, I say. This town needs more smoke- free empty buildings!

What we really need is a new sheriff. I say Sheriff Bart. You know, the sheriff who saved Rock Ridge from the conniving Hedley Lamarr (Blazing Saddles, 1974), who wants to steal the town.

And someone call Senator Claire McCaskill. Tell her the mouse has been saved! Tell her they're in abundance at Parkville City Hall. Along with Hedley Lamarr.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Instead of Tomahawke, how about wind?

2/27/09

EDITOR:
Recently, some friends of ours who travel extensively, came for a visit. After we described the ongoing Tomahawke subdivision nightmare, they immediately suggested a wonderful solution.

"Your villains could become heroes" they said. "We have seen this same conflict in other parts of the country and the most wonderful result was not more houses."

They have seen the utilization of such cleared pastureland as wind turbine power generating stations. This is a win-win situation for everyone. The precious green space is preserved and can still be used for pasture, the power generated will benefit the entire community, the landowners still profit and Platte County could become a leader in our country's quest for clean, green source renewable energy. The Highway 92 corridor is an ideal location for this project. The technology is out there and our friends have been told that the programs and funds are available for these ventures. The hero badges await.

--Terry and Adrienne Glaeser
Rural Platte County


Don't accept things at face value

2/27/09

EDITOR:
As always, last week was a fantastic issue of The Landmark. Informative, insightful, thought provoking. And now I have these thoughts . . . in my head . . . that won't let me accept things at face value. So I have to join the Ivan Foley Brigade.

Just some thoughts, of no particular value . . . Porkulus (otherwise known as the Raw Deal), the new Dem spending bill (Porkulus II), and the Presidential slashing of the deficit. These activities aren't synonymous, they aren't even compatible. I dont' get it, . . . unless that is the intent.

Bill Clinton isn't going away. Every time the President does something, expect Bill Clinton to appear in the wings with some well framed, but after the fact, advice. Real message to the American people . . . "See, you should have gone with Hillary. Then you would have had me, too, and we wouldn't be in this mess." Sets the stage for Hillary Clinton's run in 2012 against what the mainstream media will label as a failed administration.

The Attorney General. . . says we are a nation of cowards when it comes to discussing race. But everytime something comes up the least bit controversial Sharpton, Jackson, or Bond immediately cry Racism. Huh? Point in reference, the NY Post Monkey Cartoon. I thought of it in terms of the Infinite Monkey Theorem, but I guess that doesn't support agendas meant to foster discord between the races. Kinda hard to have that open and honest discussion, there, Mr. Attorney General.

What is wrong with Russ Purvis? Love his column, but this last one wasn't convenient nor truthful. . . his words rang hollow. Is he signaling the beginning of Democrat buyer's remorse? As the leader for the Democrat party in Platte County, his efforts helped give us Senator McCaskill. He tooted the Obama horn. He implored us to get on board with the new administration or get left behind. Given what I'm seeing, I think I'm glad I missed that bus because it seems to be heading to Abilene. Now is a little late to be deciding this isn't the change he hoped for. What is happening is the "change" that was promised and Russ was party to bringing it about. Time to either get on board with the administration, support it fully, or man up and say “I was wrong” and then work to ensure the future Democratic Party efforts in Platte County are just that, Democratic and not socialist.

I guess I could throw one more thought out there. I still don't get why the Farm Bureau is supporting a multi-million dollar high density urban housing development for one of its officials. Seems a contradiction to everything Farm Bureau stands for. But then again I guess ethics, integrity, and conflict of interest aren't of concern when it is about who you know and what's in it for me. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge! As a taxpayer I guess I will have to keep pinging my elected officials regarding Farm Bureau supported ag legislation and due diligence. Just want to be sure my tax dollars are used wisely.

Again, thanks for the excellent home town newspaper. Where do we report for basic training?

--R. Hollis
Rural Platte County


Farm Bureau members getting subsidies

2/20/09

EDITOR:
Over the last several months we seemed to have seen an increase in public relations for our local Farm Bureau. It could be my imagination, since I am now paying a lot more attention since the Farm Bureau decided to get into the subdivision business in 2008 by supporting Hal Swaney's proposed Lake at Tomahawke Ridge.

We have seen letters to the editor from the Missour Farm Bureau president Charles Kruse informing us of our cheap food cost and also a letter from their promotions director, Diane Olson. Several months ago local members were seen in local papers giving $200 grants to school teachers.

While fighting against the subdivision project and along the way several farmers who own the land, one of our local residents found a website that has the farm subsidy database. The website www.ewg.org shows you what some of our farmers are being paid in subsidies with our tax dollars.

A quick check on the website of the 10 board of directors listed on the Farm Bureau Website shows some of these members combined have collected over 2.5 million dollars in subsidies since 1995 for themselves or farms they are associated with.
Go to http://farm.ewg.org/farm/ and use your zip code or search by name to see what your local farm bureau member may be getting in tax dollars to grow or not grow certain crops. The website shows the local farmer we are fighting has collected over $674,000 of our tax money in subsidies since 1995, but it looks like they did give part of it back with those $200 grants to the school and they got their picture in your paper.

Can we get a picture of the 20,000 people in unincorporated Platte County each giving him a check for $30? The “not for profit” Farm Bureau does not mention the subsidy dollars in any of their letters to the paper.

The website also mentions that last year farm income was a record $88.7 billion yet $5 billion was still paid out in subsidies. Subsidies are not always bad but the website does mention 60% of all subsidies are paid out to just 10% of the recipients. That does make it appear that some of the members may be working the system. Don't take my word for it go to the website or Google “Missouri farm subsidy” and see what pops up next time you see something in print on our more public local Farm Bureau members.

--Kirby Holden
Rural Platte County


Mayor's performance an embarassment

2/20/09

EDITOR:
On Feb. 3, 2009 at the work session and Parkville Board of Aldermen meeting, the mayor and city staff tried to push through another no smoking ordinance without much previous notice to any of the affected businesses.

The published agenda called for a vote that night on the “revised” ordinance. It appears that the aldermen were also unaware of the impending vote until they receive their “packets” a few days earlier. Alderman Marvin Ferguson called me and asked if we were aware of the scheduled vote that evening. Alderman Gia McFarlane also came by to make sure we were aware of the meeting that evening. It is unlikely that Mrs. McFarlane and I will ever agree on this issue; I do however, admire her spunk and integrity by insisting on an open forum.

In December of 2008, a similar ordinance failed to gather enough votes for passage. At that meeting several aldermen had voted no, saying the ordinance as written was too restrictive. The mayor and staff forged ahead and rewrote the ordinance without addressing any of the reservations voiced by the board of aldermen. Nor were they inclined to contact any of the four businesses which would be affected by its passage.

During the work session, it was obvious that many of the aldermen still had reservations and misunderstandings on its application; especially as it applied to the American Legion. I rose and offered to explain how the ordinance would affect the Legion, but was dismissed by the mayor, saying he would not allow any public discussion.

At the close of the work session I again rose and asked the mayor if he was going to allow public discussion during the board of aldermen meeting. He said he would not allow any public discussion during that meeting. He did offer me one minute to make comments on the proposed ordinance. I told him that the ordinance was so riddled with holes and inaccuracies that they could not be addressed in one minute and excused myself.

A smoking ordinance is still probably attainable. It will require active involvement by the aldermen and the affected businesses. The recent performance by the mayor and staff was an embarrassment to the community.

Remember Mr. Mayor, dictatorships are easy; it’s democracy that's hard. Lets work together to find a solution that we can all live with and be proud of.

--Terry D. Brown
Building Manager
American Legion Post #318
Parkville


Bond's 'good ol' boy' tactics

2/13/09

EDITOR:
A letter from God’s Country in Pottawatomie County, Onaga (Boy, does it seem like that movie “Groundhog Day” up here every day).

Anyway, I liked the Jan. 14 Between the Lines column on Kit Bond. It was easy to read, logical and easy to follow and that’s what made it good. But more importantly, timing.

Your readers and especially all voters need to know Bond’s “good ol’ boy” tactics on Todd Graves because that whole deal was a cluster. And since I’m such an avid Sam Graves supporter, this only helps solidify his position and future electability. But timing is the key here.

With this out in the open a year before the Senate race starts, all Republicans must find the right person, support this person and get off their high horses and lazy (backsides) and hit the streets. This seat could be easily lost to the Dems and only an all-out assault from all Republicans can guarantee us retaining this seat.

Keep up the idea that the Republicans must work together at all levels and a little “elbow grease” effort should lead to the next important race. A little sweat never hurt anyone and that is what has happened to most Republicans.

--Woody Grutzmacher
Onaga, Ks.
Formerly of Platte County


Republican window dressing

2/13/09

EDITOR:
Speaking as a shallow black man, without a mind of my own, who must rely on visual effects rather than real issues to decide on whom to support, I’m elated to see Michael Steele, a black man, elected as head of the Republican party.

It doesn’t matter that most minorities find past Republican practices morally repugnant and racially divisive. Nor does it matter that their most visible and outspoken member, Rush Limbaugh, has shown nothing but utter disdain for the plight of Blacks, Hispanics, and other people of color.

No, sir. Just the fact that the Republican party has chosen to place a black face as the window dressing to mask their longstanding lack of support for issues near and clear to the hearts of minorities, is certainly incentive enough to lure gullible guys like me into the Republican fold.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


Price of used cars would skyrocket

2/13/09

EDITOR:
The Cash for Clunkers program being considered by Congress for inclusion in the economic stimulus package is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The program would earmark federal funds for car owners to trade-in their sport utility vehicles in exchange for vouchers to be used to obtain newer, more fuel efficient vehicles. On the surface the program may sound reasonable, but its consequences will create issues for those not fortunate enough to afford the cost of a new vehicle and would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Those seeking a ‘quick fix’ have failed to consider the impact of the program on lower and fixed income families as well as charities. By taking vehicles off the road that might be sold as used, the program will raise the price for all used vehicles, thus impacting those on limited income that cannot afford new vehicles. Further, since the parts on those vehicles that are scrapped could be sold as used or reconditioned, the program will cause an increase in repair prices for consumers.

Congress and states have considered Cash for Clunkers proposals in the past and in many cases have decided against them. Providing incentives for individuals to purchase fuel efficient vehicles or to have their current vehicle maintained is a better use of federal money. Cash for Clunkers programs might look good on paper, but in reality they are a bad idea and should be rejected by Congress.

Interested parties can send an e-mail in opposition to the Cash for Clunkers program to the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader and their congressional representatives by visiting www.fightcashforclunkers.org and clicking on "Take Action."

--Aaron Lowe
Vice President,
Government Affairs
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
Bethesda, MD


Rejecting the pay raise

2/6/09

EDITOR:
This week Missouri lawmakers rejected pay increases recommended for them and judges. It was a no-brainer to do so. We are all facing tough economic times and our priority in the Senate is to make the difficult decisions in these lean times to balance our budget in a way that will protect taxpayers like you. We will be making difficult decisions, but this one was not difficult because it was the right thing to do. In no way should lawmakers get a pay raise while Missourians are hurting and struggling to find and keep their jobs.

Our vote on House Concurrent Resolution 5 in the Senate was the final step to rejecting pay raise recommendations made by the Missouri Citizens' Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials. Missouri law requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the Missouri Senate and House in order to overturn the committee’s recommendations. Otherwise, they would become law effective on February 1.

The commission recommended a $1,500 annual pay raise to each of the state’s associate judges and a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for judges, legislators and elected officials only if the General Assembly were to approve the same COLA for state employees. The current salary of representatives and senators is $35,915. Those in top leadership positions, like myself, earn up to $38,415.

Gov. Nixon likes to say budgets are about priorities. We believe budgets are about priorities, but more importantly, they are about people. That is why we will measure every solution by whether or not it protects your job and your take home pay, so you can continue to provide for your family. In this case, the people of Missouri should not be footing the bill for pay increases for elected officials and judges — especially not now. Making sure Missouri families survive this recession is what will guide us through the truly difficult decisions we must make in the coming months.

--Senator Charlie Shields
Missouri Senate Leader


Tax cheat enforcing tax laws

2/6/09

EDITOR:
Timothy Geithner, the brillant man who worked for the International Monetary Fund, was president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, and up to his eyeballs in the TARP bailout. He is the only man for the job of Treasury Secretary which is in charge of the IRS.

All that sounds good except he chose to avoid paying his taxes until he got caught! A tax cheat will be enforcing tax laws for the rest of America! Looks like we are putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

But it is all good, because President Obama says these problems are only an "embarrassment". I guess the 60 senators who voted for Geithner think it is okay not to pay your taxes.

Do you think that Senator McCaskill will be coming to your defense if the IRS comes after you?

--Jackie Cox
Parkville


McCaskill, Pelosi on same level

2/6/09

EDITOR:
One can only marvel at the circus taking place in our nation's capital. Our leadership writes checks to solve every problem. Like heroin for a heroin addict. “Guessing and Hoping” should be the tag line. What is really required is time and discipline, the latter being absent in most politicians.

Last week, after reading the press release where Senator Claire McCaskill requested that Senate leadership provide funds for oversight of the $800+ billion “stimulus,” I called Senator McCaskill's office to ask about her position on the bill. I was told “Sen. McCaskill has not yet taken a position……..” Press Secretary Speiser, who took my call, went on to state that the Senator could not take a position since the Senate version was not final. I find that position totally disingenuous given the debate surrounding the House version. If the Senator can't take a position on this matter at this date, when can she?

I have called the Senator's office in the past on other issues, only to get the same response. I assume this is the reality of Beltway politics, and most noticeably, Democrat politics. Make promises locally to get elected; then arrive at the national level and receive the songbook and playbook from party leadership. So the Senator sings the words she is given and faithfully cheerleads whatever she is told to support. And like a good newbie, she falls in line, lest Missouri not get fed from the trough.

In her press release, the Senator says, “This legislation will cost more than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined”, a statement that in and of itself should give pause. But what does our Senator do? She begs for oversight funds to make sure the money is spent as promised. No position on worthiness, only a position on making sure it is wasted as intended.

Now the Senator resorts to name calling, which may get headlines but does nothing to solve the underlying problem. Where was she last year before any TARP funds were released? How about applying the concept of limits to government?

Her proposed compensation limit would have significant unintended consequences, and I doubt any were considered. The Senator fails to understand what created this economic mess: government meddling, natural human tendencies, and failure to balance oversight. Her void in understanding private enterprise (those who pay taxes to fund the salaries of those doing the name calling) should perhaps come as no surprise given that she has been a government employee most of her career.

For those who pay attention, watch Senator McCaskill's actions, as she is putting her principles clearly on display:

·Does she have any idea what fiscal responsibility is? Will she question anything in the “stimulus”?

·Will she respond to the racial comment of Robert Reich that “white construction workers” need not apply for jobs under the bill?

·She voted Yea on the confirmation of Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary, who violated tax law and now is head of the IRS. How will she vote if former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, also with tax problems, comes to the floor? Does she question that both men didn't discover their tax errors until preparing for confirmation hearings? Perhaps this is the benchmark for “Change” promised by President Obama.

Anyone thinking more spending is going to cure our economic problems is in for a big surprise. An economy can't go through a 20+ year debt binge without some pain. This “stimulus,” a/k/a “spending on friends and family of the Democratic Party,” is a first step in a massive transfer of wealth, and will likely get a resounding Yea from this Senator, and with a smile and a cheer.

At least Russ Purvis finally figured out Nancy Pelosi's economic genius. Maybe Missouri voters will figure out that Senator McCaskill is of the same caliber. Both of them need to go home.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


The right man at the right time

1/29/09

EDITOR:
Oh, happy day!

The poor, the downtrodden, and what’s left of the middle class can finally breathe a long sigh of relief now that someone occupies the Oval Office who shows understanding and compassion for the have-nots of America.

Even though our new leader inherits a plethora of overwhelming problems, I’ve never felt so confident and optimistic that we’ve chosen the right man at the right time to lead our nation and the world back to prosperity and respectability.

--Eddie L. Clay
Grandview


Talk radio being targeted

1/29/09

EDITOR:
Those who want a government-managing of talk radio can’t afford for us to see this: If each of us has freedom of speech, then each of us faces the risk (inseparable from First Amendment opportunity) that the views and expressions of others will be found to be more compelling than ours, gaining a larger audience than ours.

And just as the First Amendment does not require any newspaper to print my letters, neither does it require each and every person to be allowed on to talk radio.

Only petulant children think otherwise.

--Dave McAninch
Kansas City


It has been a lifetime of changes

1/29/09

EDITOR:
Those of us born in the early part of the 1930’s have been exposed to some tremendous and uplifting experiences during our lifetime in this great country.

I can remember my Grandma’s wood and corn cob-burning kitchen stove with the reservoir to heat water to do dishes and such. Churning cream to make homemade butter and then lowering it into the well to keep it cool. Home-cured hams and bacon encased in cotton flour sacks.

The Great Depression, this we can barely remember, the dust storms, the grasshoppers and day after day with no rain. Many people migrated to different areas of the country and started all over again. My Dad gave up in southeastern Nebraska, sold out and moved to Central Iowa with three kids, wife and a collie dog. He told me later in life when I asked him why he didn’t move to California which some of our relatives did. He told me he wanted to raise corn and feed cattle.

Then came WWII and all of the suffering it brought for four long years.

The late 1940’s and early 1950’s brought prosperous times. Small farms became larger, farm machinery grew in size and rural electrification came into being, the proverbial outhouse began to disappear, some dirt roads became gravel roads.

We graduated from high school in the early 50’s and had our own outlook on life. School systems throughout the country consolidated and centralized.

The Korean Conflict came to be. A bitter and hard conflict that was looked upon by American citizens with many different ideas and perceptions.

We married and started our own families, which turned out to be a big event in our lives.

The interstate highway system began construction and continued for almost 30 years before completion throughout the USA.

In the 1960’s farm size continued to grow and machinery got larger and more powerful, the days of the four-row corn planter became a thing of the past, self- propelled combines appeared. Farms committed to large in-house raising of chickens, turkeys, hogs.

The Vietnam Crisis was upfront in the early 1970’s. Urban sprawl was evident, automobiles were fancier with bells and whistles plus horse power and speed. Jobs were plentiful.

In the mid-70’s our children began to graduate from high school and looked at a different world than we did at that age.

The 1980’s brought the 55 MPH speed limit. Environment became a subject of concern. Rooftops in urban sprawl had taken root and were rapidly progressing.

In the 1990’s we began to realize that our productive years were ebbing and the IRAs and 401K plans caught our attention. Our grandchildren were now young adults graduating from high school, going on to college or joining the work force.

Nowadays we move a little slower, are set in our ways, a little cantankerous, bull-headed and have opinions that we keep to ourselves. Our biggest thing in live is enjoying our great-grandchildren and the families all gathering together for different events.

When we stop and look around us, we think of things past and present. We have for the most part enjoyed our lives and accomplishments and are amazed at all the changes that have occurred in our lifetime.

--Lee Roy Van Lew
Platte City


Postmaster says goodbye

1/29/09

EDITOR:
As the saying goes, “unfortunately, all good things must come to an end,” and that’s my feeling about my retirement as Postmaster of Platte City MO 64079, effective Jan. 2, 2009.

It truly has been an honor to serve the patrons and having worked with my employees of our post office for close to four years. I have always stressed service to our customers, the most important part of the post office. We strived to maintain the “small town” atmosphere in our lobby, where not only could you buy a book of stamps but also discuss family or how the Pirates did over the past weekend.

Our area has grown by over 500 households and businesses in my tenure, with new construction continuing. I will cherish both the business acquaintances and personal friendships I have gained over these years.

As many know, I have experienced an unexpected illness and resulting surgeries in the past few months which helped convince me that life is too short to not spend more time with family whenever possible, along with golf and fly fishing, and that is “the plan.” I also have volunteering with the American Red Cross in the works.

As of this date, a permanent replacement has not been assigned, but I know that you will welcome the new postmaster as you have all of us in the past.

Once again, thank you Platte City.

--Jim Petesch
Platte City Postmaster-
Retired


Use the money to create jobs

1/22/09

EDITOR:
The incoming administration and congress are developing an economic stimulus plan of about $800 billion, which is supposed to create approximately three million jobs. The jobs will evolve from projects designed to rebuild and replace our roadways, bridges, dams, and possibly runways. Schools will be upgraded. There could be substantial funding of energy projects, which will hopefully reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

We need quick turnaround projects ready to be implemented within 90 days of funding.

Unfortunately, about $300 billion of the $800 billion economic plan will go to tax cuts for individuals ($200 billion) and businesses ($100 billion), and not create jobs. The tax rebates parceled out in the spring of 2008 did not stimulate the economy because $66 billion of the $78 billion in rebates went into savings accounts or used to pay down debts. Businesses might use the tax cuts to pay down debt and buy back stock.

The incoming administration should not put the $300 billion into tax cuts, but should use the entire $800 billion to create good paying U.S. jobs, while improving our infrastructure, upgrading school resources, promoting alternative energy programs, increasing domestic oil production and reducing the importation of foreign oil.

--Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH


Invest in your car

1/16/09

EDITOR:
With gas prices at a four-year low, now is the perfect time to invest that savings into preventative maintenance and repairs to extend the life of your vehicle. According to recently released statistics from the Energy Information Administration, the average retail price for gasoline dropped to $1.684 a gallon, the lowest price since February 2004. Gas prices are down more than 55% from the $4.11 mid-July peak.

Because most analysts are predicting oil and gas price increases in the spring, this is the opportune time to invest those short-term gas-pump savings into a long-term vehicle investment. Keeping your vehicle in safe working order makes financial sense, adding years of reliable life and saving the cost of new car payments and higher insurance rates. In fact, over a four-year period, the cost difference between keeping a car and buying a new one is nearly $10,894, according to Runzheimer International.

To help you drive smart and save money, check out our popular Car Care Guide at www.carcare.org.

--Rich White
Executive Director
Car Care Council


Can't help poor by destroying the rich

1/16/09

EDITOR:
With our incoming president and his supporter relying on government spending to spur economic growth, may I offer this timely reminder:

•You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
•You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
•You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
•You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
•You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
•You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.
•You cannot help man permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

The author to the above points was Abraham Lincoln. Very wise words, written years ago and some people still don’t get it.

--George McClintock
Platte City


It's not exactly 'genocide'

1/16/09

EDITOR:
Does anyone really believe that Israel is perpetrating a so-called "holocaust", "genocide,” or "massacre" in Gaza?

Think about it --- there are over 1.4 million people living in Gaza. During the past 15 days of intense warfare, there have only been approximately 850 people killed in Gaza. At least half this number is Hamas terrorists. If Israel is committing a holocaust, genocide, or massacre --- they're doing a very bad job of it.

If Hamas is so concerned about the deaths of Palestinian civilians, then they should move themselves, and their equipment, out into the open and away from these civilians.

--David Raffel
Parkville


Will it be 'Welcome back, Carter?'

1/16/09

EDITOR:
I started composing this missive some days ago, and from the recent press conferences and reports in the media it appears some of my concerns are getting attention. Though I suspect I hold differing opinions on these subjects. Nonetheless, I would like to send this open letter to my community, state, and federal elected officials, representatives, and senators . This coming year has great potential to see solutions to many areas of concern within our nation. Equally it has the potential to become the opening episodes of a spin off show appropriately titled “Welcome Back Carter”. I remember the Carter administration and the Congress of the mid 1970s. I lived through it. I really do not want to do that, again. In that light, let me share with you some of my concerns.

The “Age of Information.” I think we have figured out the importance of information, how it can be used to inform, influence, mislead , and deceive, and the concept of the “Strategic Corporal”. What is left to us now are continued technological advances in processing speed, access, distribution, and storage. What we are facing, I believe , is the dawn of the “Age of Terra Based Energy”. Yes, energy because our future is going to revolve around the availability of reliable energy, or the lack there of. It is going to affect all aspects of our daily lives.

Energy availability and reliability. This isn’t a concern offset by a narrow, myopic approach as is all too often presented by the political parties in congress. No, it is a concern best addressed by a multi-tiered approach, which is greatly affected by capabilities to develop these resources. It is an approach that considers solar, wind, wave, geothermal, reclamation of gases, nuclear, coal, gas, oil, etc., right here at home. Time to end the dependence on foreign energy sources and start turning our effort and dollars to tapping into all these sources of energy here. Not only will we have a reliable and secure source of energy, but we also stimulate our economy.

Going Green. Altruistic, well intended, not realistic. Being environmentally focused is much more than driving a hybrid, recycling, or being frugal. It extends into every facet of our lives; how we feed, clothe, shelter, and entertain ourselves. If the government’s intent is to promote environmental issues, then going green has to become cost effective. Right now, most environmentally friendly processes and products are more expensive than standard industry products, and are beyond the economic means of many consumers. People are being asked to make hard budgetary decisions these days and when you have X amount of dollars to spend, the average consumer is going to go with the most cost-effective product. That is human nature. Mandate it thus make going green cost effective and consumers will buy it, which as a byproduct will help stimulate the economy. There is also the prospect for energy savings here as well as most environmentally friendly products are conceived with this in mind.

Immigration. The greatness of a country should be judged by how many people are trying to get into it, or so said a former British PM. By all accounts, America is still very much a great country. However there are issues with illegal immigrants entering the country for work and the burden it places on our tax base and social welfare system. Time to address it. If the nation wants a guest worker program, fine. So long as the guest workers are paying taxes and contributing to the social welfare system, that is fine. And if such a program is enacted, then there is no excuse for being an illegal worker or hiring an illegal worker thereafter. And being a guest worker is not a path to citizenship. We already have that process. And if we don’t want a guest worker program, then fine, too. Enforce the immigration laws, bring our jobs home, get Americans and legal immigrants to work, and clean up the industries that rely so heavily on illegal immigrant labor. And stop the drain on our social welfare system imposed by illegal immigrant workers. Our economy is not and should not serve as the social welfare system for anyone of a dozen other nations that should be taking care of this themselves.

Homeland Security. All the rage these days in various circles as we deal with the international and national terrorist threat, and security of our people and our infrastructure. One area of concern is our energy system. Interdicting it will have devastating consequences across our nation. But we remain dependent on foreign energy sources and therefore open to intimidation and being held ransom to the demands of other nations and nation state actors. It is also safe to assume that some of the money we pay for foreign energy finds its way into the hands of the very terrorist who would destroy our nation and our way of life. Changing our focus on energy and where we obtain it not only removes the potential for international blackmail but also denies funds needed by terrorisst such as Bin Ladin to conduct their operations. The terrorists are good enough already, we do not need to help them.

Transportation. We need to start rethinking how we transport goods and how we travel in this country, not only from an economic position but an energy perspective as well. Time to start rethinking our rail system. Not in the traditional sense but in terms of MagLev technology and high speed regional transit. The diesel electric locomotive has proven the value of electric powered systems to move bulk goods and people. The weak link is reliance on diesel. Time to move away from that and look to alternate energy sources to power a system which allows for speed and flexibility in the delivery of goods and travel. The revamping of the rail network will cause quite a change in the trucking, airline, and especially so in our automotive sector, but it will also drive demand for manufacturing, new technology, and it will create new jobs while retaining current jobs though perhaps with a different focus; example long haul truck terminals to integrated rail/short haul trucking terminals.

Economy. Our current economic situation typifies why the Reagan Era economic regulations were enacted. Might want to consider putting them back. Time to end this robber baron concept in which top executives are enabled to drive their companies to ruin and then are rewarded for it while the consumer pays the bills. Might want to give some thought to stimulating the economy through tax cuts to encourage business and by creating a demand for quality, competitive products made in America. Not through monetary stimulus packages with no oversight, or consequences, or expectations. Trade agreements, like NAFTA, coupled with increased taxes, followed by economic deregulation, have enabled the hemorrhaging of jobs to foreign markets and the dismantling of our manufacturing base. Some of our unions have been duplicitous in the demise of industry as they have tacked on unnecessary labor expenses to their contracts, eventually passed on to the consumer, and further making American products non-competitive. Let’s make it cost effective to do business here at home, and the role of the government in this is to mandate, regulate, and provide some realistic oversight to set conditions for the conduct of business. Not manage, which is where we are headed with unsupervised bailouts, loans, meddling in the housing and financial markets, and the government becoming a major stockholder in companies. I do not think we can spend our way out of this and we do have a recent example that says you can’t. We didn’t get out of the Great Depression through government spending and government programs, it was the war in Europe creating a demand which stimulated the economy. BTW, if workers want to Unionize, by all means do so, but under the auspices of a secret ballot. Fair is fair, and unionization is tough enough for everyone without the government condoning parking lot, strong arm tactics to coerce a signature on a unionization petition.

Those are some of the items I am concerned about. I do think there is a linkage between our energy needs and our economy, our security, etc. But the critical vulnerability is energy. And I do think that energy can be one of the catalysts to speed the recovery of our economy. I know the situations are more complicated than l have laid out and I know there are other options. What I do expect of you, my elected officials, is to give fair consideration to all facts, consider all options, make informed decisions, and be a good steward of our tax dollars and resources. Thank you and good luck.

--R. Hollis
Platte County


Personal responsibility is key

1/9/09

EDITOR:
After reading Russ Purvis' 12/11/08 column, I thought perhaps he was a different sort of Democrat. I even sent an email complimenting the article. Someone must have noticed as he was quickly pulled back into camp.

On 12/11/08 Russ writes, “You can choose to be responsible and become involved in saving our nation from dimwitted, self-interested politicians …………...” I thought maybe he was including Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and a host of others in that statement.

Then on 12/18/08, Russ writes about his group meetings to solve the nation's problems. Russ, which flavor was the Kool-Aid?

So after two years of campaigning and being heralded for running the most effective campaign in American history, Obama doesn't know what concerns the average American. I would suggest your meetings are nothing more than a means to promote fear, and you bought into it.

You failed to mention that Obama's deficit will be one trillion dollars, the inflationary printing press called the Federal Reserve, the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security, and that most of our elected representatives don't have a clue as to how to operate within their means. (See the federal budget report at http://www.fms.treas.gov/fr/08frusg/08frusg.pdf). You also failed to mention that other issue: lack of responsibility.

Now the reality: your party will do whatever is needed to stay in power, be it welfare, bailouts, benefits to illegals, and attempts to further the socialization of medicine. Add to that spending on their latest fantasy called global warming. The Republicans showed their lack of discipline. Now it's the Democrats turn to pillage the treasury.

What a sad situation that the core premise of your party is that only government can provide a solution; that the only way they can retain power is by promising monthly checks or grants. This country now has a portion of the population in its fourth generation of dependency via social welfare programs that serve to enslave rather than foster independence and self-sufficiency. You fail to recognize that resources have limits and that every social ill can't be solved with a government program.
Government's inabilities have been proven by its many failed attempts at socialization, the latest being housing with Fannie and Freddie. Can you imagine the consequences if California Representative Maxine Waters had her way and you socialized oil companies?

At the risk of being elementary, some thoughts on your pressing issues:

•Economy spend less than you make and understand your balance sheet. This is really quite simple and applies to every citizen, every company and every governmental entity.

•Education this is simple. Get one. Then promote goal setting, hard work, self-sufficiency and endurance. That may concern your leadership as it would threaten the dependency relationship of those you enslave.

•Health care this may be more complex, but let's start with effective education and personal responsibility, both of which would yield substantial long term benefits. Education would contribute to eliminating some fears, again threatening your desire for dependency. Perhaps some of that excessive tobacco tax settlement money could be used for this purpose.

Further to health care, the answer is not more government. As with Fannie and Freddie, those in power helped to create the current chaos. Now you want people to believe they can fix it. That government can create a sustainable business model is laughable.

Think about it, Russ, you could truly be a different type of Democrat by promoting personal responsibility. Personal responsibility built this country. Seems your party has decided to run away from it.

--Gordon Cook
Parkville


Israel's response to Hamas

12/31/08

EDITOR:
For those who say that Israel’s response to Hamas’ rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip during the past 7 years has been “disproportionate,” consider the following points:

· The United States response to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor was not simply to bomb a similar number of Japanese warships --- NO --- we went to all-out war against Japan.

· The United States response to the 9/11 Al Qaeda terror attacks was not simply to bomb a similar number of Taliban and Al Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan --- NO --- we went to all-out war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

As a “proportionate” response --- would you recommend that Israel simply lob a similar number of rockets and mortars indiscriminately into the Gaza Strip?

The way to end this conflict is simply for Hamas to stop shooting rockets into Israel.

However, if Hamas insists on continuing this form of terror, then the least they can do is stop using civilians as human-shields, and move their installations and personnel out into the open --- then --- Israel can more easily target them specifically.

-- David Raffel
Parkville


Letters to the Editor 2008