Make it happen
On Tuesday, voters in Overland Park will have choices for mayor and council members. I plan to vote on actual results delivered for the residents of Overland Park.
Over the last 10 years, city population has grown by 12.5 percent. The city budget hasn’t kept pace. The 2008 budget was $266 million, and for 2018 it will be $292 million — an increase of less than 10 percent. The number of city employees per 1,000 residents is fewer for 2018 than in 2008.
The city consistently ranks high in a number of polls for its quality of life. Its average residential appraised value grew by 5.5 percent in 2016 from 2015, an increase greater than in Lenexa, Leawood, Mission Hills and Prairie Village. The city has grown reserve funds and kept its AAA bond rating.
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For these reasons, I will be voting for Carl Gerlach as mayor and Terry Goodman for City Council. Both have shown honesty, integrity and character while serving Overland Park residents with high quality and efficient service and government.
Perhaps the University of Kansas athletic department should have consulted with the history department before honoring Col. Charles Jennison with a commemorative patch on the football team’s special-edition uniforms. (Nov. 2, 2B, “KU football unveils uniforms that harken back to Civil War days”)
Before and during the Civil War, Jennison was a vigilante who plundered, robbed and killed all over western Missouri. He was temporarily jailed by the U.S. Army for plundering and in 1865 was court-martialed, found guilty and dishonorably discharged.
I would find a William Quantrill patch on a Missouri uniform only slightly more disgusting.
Realtor.com has declared Kansas City the safest place to survive a nuclear war. (KansasCity.com, Oct. 31, “Your best chance to survive nuclear apocalypse is to live in KC, Realtors say”)
In fact, because of the presence of a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility, Kansas City is ground zero for any type of nuclear attack. No one survives ground zero.
The recent story on two holdouts from livestreaming city council meetings (Lenexa and Overland Park) demonstrates the prevailing attitude among the entrenched leaders of these cities. (Oct. 31, 12A, “Why don’t more cities livestream meetings?”)
Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm doesn’t think the public wants this. This is contrary to the opinion of the hundreds of voters in Lenexa I’ve spoken to this fall on the campaign trail as I have run for the Ward 4 City Council seat.
Residents are busy living their lives with work, school and children and cannot always attend an evening meeting. The elderly cannot always go out in bad weather to attend.
If I can livestream my child’s soccer match on Facebook Live with a phone and Wi-Fi there is no reason a city the size of Lenexa cannot make its meetings accessible to the masses.
Meeting minutes are often not available for weeks and do not capture the important opinions and conversations that go into the decisions our elected leaders make on our behalf.
Unfortunately, the current leaders would rather hide in their council chambers and dare the public to find out what they are up to than be proactive in communicating with those they serve.
I must admit that I was alternatively amused and horrified by the conclusions drawn by Robert Leonard in his recent guest commentary on rural supporters of President Donald Trump (Oct. 29, 17A, “Trump-strong and staying that way in rural U.S.”)
He claimed the speech given by Trump to the so-called Values Voters Summit was “beautiful, powerful and inspirational.” I found it a repulsive call to white supremacy and evangelical lunacy.
“Values voters” make no secret of their goals to criminalize all abortions and supersede our laws by a half-baked mixture of hyper-Christianity (no Jews need apply) and God’s law supreme in the halls of our Congress (no minority religions need apply.) Trump fits right in.
Granted, different people can read a speech and get differing interpretations. But when Leonard concludes that the Democrats “want prayer out of the public sphere,” “blame the guns and want to take yours away,” “elevate thugs” and “murder babies,” one has to wonder about the sanity of both Leonard and the hyper-conservative “values voters” who apparently believe this kind of garbage.
It’s hard to believe that our nation has fallen so far in such a short time. For the first time in my life (I am 76), I am ashamed of my government.
Richard L. Warrick