The new push is medicaid expansion, a part of Obamacare. Missouri has been successful pushing back on this part of Obamacare but that hasn’t deterred the big-city progressives. Their newest tactic is to hire a former ‘Pub state senator, Charlie Shields, to be their front-man in their continued search for more money.
In Kansas City, the issue is the failing Truman medical system, two publicly funded hospitals with a track record of failure. Jackson County hopes their new man will succeed when their democrat puppet didn’t.
Former Lawmaker Needs to Prod Legislature Into Expanding Federal-State Health Plan or Face Losses
By Anna Wilde Mathews,
Charlie Shields, CEO, Truman Medical Centers
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The future of Truman Medical Centers, a two-hospital safety-net system here, depends on the state legislature—and no one understands that better than its new chief executive, Charlie Shields.
Mr. Shields, a genial 55-year-old, spent 20 years as a Republican lawmaker, ending up as the leader of the Missouri Senate before term limits forced him to step down. In 2010, he became chief operating officer of one of Truman’s hospitals, and in July he succeeded longtime Truman CEO John W. Bluford III.
Now Mr. Shields, whose office décor includes a collection of elephant statues, must press the legislature’s current Republican leaders to accept the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state insurance for low-income people. Expanded Medicaid would be a financial lifeline for Truman, which is losing money as it cares for a large population of uninsured patients.
Mr. Shields said he tells lawmakers he understands their situation: “I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve made these tough decisions.” Indeed, he voted for a major retrenchment of Missouri’s Medicaid program in 2005, when about 100,000 people were cut from the rolls. He said the move was difficult but necessary amid a budget crunch, and that he always aimed for it to be reversed when there was funding to do so.
Today, Mr. Shields argues, with federal money available because of the health law, the expansion makes sense. Under the law, the U.S. is supposed to pay the full cost of Medicaid expansion through 2016, and then a share that will phase down to 90% in 2020 and beyond.
Still, he acknowledged the political challenge for Republicans who don’t want to be seen as endorsing a law that is unpopular with many constituents. In polling performed by the Kaiser Family Foundation between January and October of this year, 34% of Missouri residents favored the law, while 52% viewed it unfavorably.
As a middle ground, Mr. Shields said, lawmakers could craft a “Missouri-specific solution” that could potentially occur under a federal waiver, and “there are a lot of things that would work” as a structure for expanding coverage.
You can read the rest of the column at the WSJ website.
If the county is unable to manage these two hospitals and keep them in the black, perhaps it is time to pass them on to an organization who can. There are numerous hospitals and hospital organizations across the country who are privately owned and not only stay in the black, but actually make a (horrors!) profit.
When a CEO in a business can’t make his company profitable, the stake-holders have two choices, get rid of the CEO and hire one who can succeed, or close the doors. That truism holds true for publicly owned institutions as well.
The progressive’s solution is more taxpayer money in the form of expanded medicaid included in Obamacare. Missouri has rejected both realizing that within a few years, if that, it would be the state would who be picking up the tab for the increased expenditures of medicaid—money the state does not have unless something else is cut equally. Stealing from Peter to pay Paul is not a viable solution for Missouri.
Government, like all of us, must learn that the public money-well is not bottomless.
It has been a long week. It shouldn’t have seemed that way but it did. I’ve been beating the bushes trying to get conservatives involved in politics. I’ve not been very successful.
Case in point. I’m a member of several conservative political organizations. In every one, there is a small group that is active. Each group has an occasional drop-in who may visit for a meeting or two but their attendance is irregular at best. Most, pleading a busy schedule, drift off.
There is a distinct age gulf in the membership. All the active members are older—in their 50s and up. The younger crowd is too busy to bother—and that is a problem. Not for us, but for them.
We want to get younger members to join, whole families if possible. But we are rarely successful—“We’re too busy! The kids have too many activities. I have to take Junior to baseball/softball/soccer/football/basketball/swimming practice.” It is just the same for the girls. Then, during school session, add voice/band/music practice, Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts/4-H, plus the kids come home with a 30lb backpack full of homework (do the kids ever do work at school anymore?).
Oh, we can still get a turnout for an isolated meeting for a cause such as Common Core or Agenda 21. But when it come to electing officials who will represent us in government, people claim they don’t have time.
It’s a cop-out. People can and will act if their private ox is being gored but politics? Heavens, no! In reality, it is a matter of priorities. What is more important. Being a helicopter parent who is determined their kids are under constant scrutiny or insuring those same children have any freedom when they become adults.
Meet the legislators; visit your state Representative and Senator, watch the bills being discussed and voted upon from the visitor’s gallery. See your state government in action. Coordinate your activity with another group (WMSA pitch here.) Find other homeschoolers, combine resources and perhaps share costs.
When I was in grade school and later in high school, I was required to pass a test of the US and state constitutions. One test was required to graduate into high school. The other was a state requirement for a high school diploma. In my high school, we spent a complete semester being taught the mechanics of government. Anyone who failed had a second chance in summer school. There was a third chance to pass the test for a high school diploma in a night class with adults, an early form of G.E.D.
That requirement no longer exists. It should, but it doesn’t. I suppose it’s more important to be taught diversity and other social engineering agendas than for students to understand how government works.
Homeschoolers take note of this opportunity. Every year I see a number of Jeff City public and private school kids touring the Capitol. I’ve seen other homeschoolers there as well with their kids. Witnessing government in action is too good an educational opportunity to miss. Perhaps you, too, will learn something as well.
We don’t have a strategy yet to attack Islamic State. But they are developing a strategy to attack us.
A laptop found by Syrian rebels last January in an ISIS hideout proved to be a goldmine of information. Foreign Policy’s Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa got their hands on the machine, downloaded 146 gigabytes of material, and were shocked at what they found:
The laptop’s contents turn out to be a treasure trove of documents that provide ideological justifications for jihadi organizations — and practical training on how to carry out the Islamic State’s deadly campaigns. They include videos of Osama bin Laden, manuals on how to make bombs, instructions for stealing cars, and lessons on how to use disguises in order to avoid getting arrested while traveling from one jihadi hot spot to another.
But after hours upon hours of scrolling through the documents, it became clear that the ISIS laptop contains more than the typical propaganda and instruction manuals used by jihadists. The documents also suggest that the laptop’s owner was teaching himself about the use of biological weaponry, in preparation for a potential attack that would have shocked the world.
The information on the laptop makes clear that its owner is a Tunisian national named Muhammed S. who joined ISIS in Syria and who studied chemistry and physics at two universities in Tunisia’s northeast. Even more disturbing is how he planned to use that education:
The ISIS laptop contains a 19-page document in Arabic on how to develop biological weapons and how to weaponize the bubonic plague from infected animals.
“The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge,” the document states.
The document includes instructions for how to test the weaponized disease safely, before it is used in a terrorist attack. “When the microbe is injected in small mice, the symptoms of the disease should start to appear within 24 hours,” the document says.
The laptop also includes a 26-page fatwa, or Islamic ruling, on the usage of weapons of mass destruction. “If Muslims cannot defeat the kafir [unbelievers] in a different way, it is permissible to use weapons of mass destruction,” states the fatwa by Saudi jihadi cleric Nasir al-Fahd, who is currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. “Even if it kills all of them and wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth.”
When contacted by phone, a staff member at a Tunisian university listed on Muhammed’s exam papers confirmed that he indeed studied chemistry and physics there. She said the university lost track of him after 2011, however.
It is very difficult to weaponize any biological agent. You need a modern lab and a trained team of scientists to build a usuable weapon. But that doesn’t mean that the terrorists aren’t trying very hard to build one:
Nothing on the ISIS laptop, of course, suggests that the jihadists already possess these dangerous weapons. And any jihadi organization contemplating a bioterrorist attack will face many difficulties: Al Qaeda tried unsuccessfully for years to get its hands on such weapons, and the United States has devoted massive resources to preventing terrorists from making just this sort of breakthrough. The material on this laptop, however, is a reminder that jihadists are also hard at work at acquiring the weapons that could allow them to kill thousands of people with one blow.
“The real difficulty in all of these weapons … [is] to actually have a workable distribution system that will kill a lot of people,” said Magnus Ranstorp, research director of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College. “But to produce quite scary weapons is certainly within [the Islamic State’s] capabilities.”
As you can see, ISIS is not a bunch of sheepherders hiding in caves. Educated professionals are also flocking to their banner and you have to think they can accomplish just about anything any modern army does – including building weapons of mass destruction.
Islamists call us “Crusaders.” There have been many Crusades over the last millennium. Perhaps it is time for another one. It is already being fought from the Islamist’ side. If we are to survive as a people and culture, it is time to recognize that fact for what it is.
The Cass County Candidate Forum met last night at the Harrisonville Community Center. The democrats weren’t present. Their party strictly controls their primary—there isn’t one. They don’t allow contested races.
The races covered was the Presiding Commissioner, Associate Circuit Judge, County Auditor and Circuit Clerk. Amy Bell, Kim York’s opponent for Cass County Circuit Clerk, withdrew a week or so ago as part of an agreement with the judicial system ending her service as Circuit Clerk. Kim York is now unopposed and will take office at the beginning of the new term. Regardless, she appeared alone and answered question as did the rest of the candidates.
The forum began at 6:30pm with introductions by each candidate. I noted a couple of…interesting items. All the candidates had two minutes for their responses and answers to questions with a one minute closing statement.
Dave Morris, who ran for state senator against Scot Largent and Ed Emery in the last general election, learned a few things since then. I took him to task then when he appeared at a GOP ‘meet the candidates’ meeting wearing shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops when Messrs Emery and Largent wore suits. I said at that time, Dave Morris wasn’t ready for prime time, i.e., his lack of experience in public office and the professionalism needed for state office. I’m sorry to say, he still isn’t ready for prime time.
The comparisons between Judges Meryl Lange and Stacey Lett were distinctive as well. Ms Lange has been practicing law for well over twenty years. Ms Lett for eleven years if I heard her correctly. Stacey Lett said that she has managed her own law office, and had experience with the local US Attorney’s office and other similar offices. It was unclear if Meryl Lange had ever done so, although she said she was once a lawclerk for a Supreme Court Judge. I didn’t recognize which judge that was so it must have been a state supreme court justice.
The important difference between the two was that Stacey Lett, younger and with only ten years practicing law, had twice the experience as a judge. Ms Lett has been the Raymore Municipal Judge for the last three or four years and has personally handled over 9,000 cases. Ms Lange was appointed to fill a vacancy as an Associate Circuit Judge a little over a year ago.
I did notice that Ms Lett answered the questions given her while Ms Lange did not, using the excuse of maintaining her impartiality prohibited her response to some general answers. I suppose that is one method of not making a statement on her views of being a judge. One statement that struck me, when Ms Lange actually answered a question, was her claim to have “handled 100 cases in less than an hour.” That means each case had only 36 seconds of her attention. It does make one wonder how she could do so and give each decision the necessary scrutiny any judicial case deserves.
The questions to Ron Johnson and Ryan Wescoat was fiery as expected. To call this race for Cass County Auditor a grudge match would be a great understatement. Ron Johnson was elected in 2010 ending decades of auditorial neglect by a string of democrat office holders who did not perform a single audit since the 1970s. During that time, the county auditor, “was an accounts payable office,” said Ron Johnson. Ryan Wescoat was an employee in Johnson’s auditor office when that office uncovered the fiasco of the TriGen and Broadband projects. I’ve written about his discovery in a post some years ago.
Mr. Wescoat wasn’t an employee for long. He was fired for insubordination and, without authorization, releasing documents and approving payments to UAM, the company being sued by the county for non-performance on the TriGen and Broadband projects. Since Wescoat’s political backers are the same former commissioners under investigation, Brian Baker and Bill Cook, one may suspect Wescoat’s motives running against his former boss.
Mr. Wescoat, during the initial introduction, went into great detail about his education and teaching experience. It brought to mind the saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” I made mention of that phrase in a Facebook posting last night. My wife, a professor in a local bible college, was not amused by the allegory.
When questions about the future of the county, both Dave Morris and Ryan Wescoat spoke at length about the need for economic development and taking advantage of the conversion of US 71 highway to Interstate Highway 49. At one point I had to wonder if Ryan Wescoat was running for Auditor or for the office of Director for Economic Development. I forget who responded, Jeff Cox or Ron Johnson, that unrestrained spending by the prior commission to push two economic development projects, nearly bankrupted the county.
Returning to the County Auditor’s race, one question clearly displayed the difference between Ron Johnson and Ryan Wescoat. The question, “What would you do if you found an office holder who was not complying with procedures demanded by law?”
Johnson used his discovery of apparent nepotism by the Cass County Clerk, Janet Burlingame as an example. He reported the discovery to the County Clerk and asked her to change her practice to be compliant with the state’s nepotism law. When, after six months, she had done nothing, he reported the case to the county prosecutor. The case was referred to the circuit court where a judge dismissed the charge because it had occurred during a previous term of the county clerk.
Ryan Wescoat’s answer was similar except for one step. After working with the office holder and not getting compliance, he would go to the County Commission, then the prosecutor. The problem with Wescoat’s process is that elected county officeholders are NOT subservient to the County Commission. The commissioners and officeholders are elected peers. One office is not subordinate to the other. The only point of contact is their budget. The Commission, working with the officeholders, creates a budget for the county and the offices. The Commission, after review with the officeholders, approves the budget. I suppose the power of the budget could be a device to use to insure compliance by an officeholder, but it would be a messy and long drawn-out affair, with, I suspect, lawyers involved in the end. Apparently, Mr. Wescoat’s view of the office of Auditor is more inline with the auditors before Mr. Johnson, an accounts payable office who rubber-stamps the decisions of the Commission without question. The concept of the Auditor being the ‘Check and Balance’ of the Commission and the elected officeholders appears to be foreign to Mr. Wescoat’s thinking.
Overall, the distinction between the two political groups, the GOP conservatives and the Oligarchy seeking return of the old, corrupt methods of governance, was readily apparent last night. I make no apology for wishing the conservatives a win next week. Else…we can greet a return to unrestrained spending, debt, and the return of the county to the path of bankruptcy.
Yesterday, July 14th, was the deadline for Governor Nixon to veto, sign or ignore the pile of bills on his desk. One, SB 656, was one of those waiting for Nixon’s action. Late yesterday—at the very last minute, he vetoed SB 656.
What was SB 656? It was a bill that among other things, allowed teachers to protect their students after extensive training and certification by law enforcement, similar training, in fact, that LEOs undergo.
Nixon vetoed it saying it endangered the children. He prefers School Resource officers. So he said. Some school districts cannot afford hiring police to patrol their schools every day nor does every police department have extra officers to station them at every school.
Regardless of his motives, what Nixon has done was to leave schools open for more shootings. Our students must continue to be taught in free-fire zones.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoed legislation Monday thatwould have allowed vetted and trained teachers and school administrators to carry firearms on campus. The measure had passed the Republican-dominated state house by a strong 111-28 vote and the state senate in a 21-7 vote.
“I cannot condone putting firearms in the hands of educators,” Nixon said. “Arming teachers will not make our schools safer.”
Nixon said he supports the use of duly authorized law enforcement officers employed as school resource officers.
The bill, SB 656, was designed to allow school districts to cross-train faculty to a new “school protection officer” standard. These volunteer teachers and administrators would need a valid Missouri concealed-carry permit and complete a Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission certification course. Following these steps, they would be allowed to carry on school grounds if the district opted to allow armed personnel on campus.
Over the summer, no fewer than 10 school districts have sent selected teachers and staff through up to 75 hours of training in anticipation of the bill being signed by the governor. This required training ran at a cost of $17,500 for every two staff members.
In another firearm related issue, Jackson County quietly passed an ordinance earlier this year prohibiting firing a firearm within the county. The way the law is written, if you have to shoot to protect yourself, you will be arrested, regardless of the merits of the act, for shooting within the county.
Kevin Jamison, one of the creator’s of Missouri’s CCW law and President of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance, had this to say.
Jackson County has an ordinance which prohibits shooting in the “urban tier” of the country. There is a map of this urban tier but it takes some effort to get. It does not exempt self-defense. The ordinance was slipped through last December without public notice. It does allow for ranges but does not define them and no county permit for ranges exists. This complicates some of the CCW instructors who have a home range. There was a hearing on a repeal sponsored by County Legislator Greg Grounds. The hearing was continued to 28 July, 2014 at 2:30 in the Jackson County Independence courthouse, in the basement. There were a great number of people there today. That always gets a politician’s attention.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s office says that they did not request this ordinance.
Spread the word.
SJR 36, also known as Amendment 5 on the August 5th ballot continues to be under fire from gun control activists. An appellate hearing occurred yesterday before the Missouri Supreme Court. Ron Calzone, a gun-rights activist was present and made this report.
What do you think “unalienable right” means?
Today I went to the MO Supreme Court hearing over the ballot title for Amendment 5, the super strong gun rights amendment sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer.
The lawyer for the anti-gun side said, (beginning at about 2:50 of the audio link): “The effect of the word ‘unalienable’ has no legal meaning, as we argued in our brief. Three states have, that I have found, have the phrase “inalienable right’ in their constitution. In all three of those states their Supreme Courts have said, specially, that the use of the word ‘inalienable’ does not trigger strict scrutiny standards and that they will review those under rational basis.
Casa Crucis is only a few miles from the Missouri-Kansas border. It’s not unusual to hear Kansan political ads on the radio. The big battle in Kansas is that between incumbent US Senator Pat Roberts and Tea Partier Milton Wolfe. Both are running to be the ‘Pub Senatorial candidate in the upcoming Primary
The campaign turned nasty from the beginning—from the Robert’s people. Milton Wolfe correctly, and truthfully, pointed out that Roberts has no permanent residence in Kansas. In Roberts’ own words, he leases a recliner in a friend’s home. Roberts has had no residence in Kansas for decades, but he still claims to be a Kansan.
I expected Roberts to refute Wolfe’s claims. He did not. Instead, he went directly to smear mode. He produced supposed Facebook posts from Wolfe that supposedly disrespected clients and making disrespectful comments about some X-Rays.
I have to admit that I’m biased towards Milton Wolfe. I’ve heard him speak and was impressed with his comments and goals. When Roberts released that ad, my immediately thought was how did Roberts get those Facebook comments? Did he hack Wolfe’s account? Did he hire some hackers to do so. Were those comments real? Nothing I’ve been able to find supports Roberts claims.
To the best that I’ve been able to determine, the ad against Milton Wolfe is a complete fabrication. It the comments were accurate, then Roberts broke the law by hacking Wolfe’s Facebook account or having it hacked. I suspect Roberts’ motivation is a poll that shows Wolfe has a strong following in Kansas.
In the end, the question is more whom can you trust? Wolfe who has the facts readily available to support his claims about Roberts non-Kansas residency, or Roberts smear tactics? Personally, I will not support any candidate who chooses to use smear tactics as his primary campaign plan.
Local Missouri politics aren’t much, if any, better. Here in Cass County, the battle is between the current conservative ‘Pub candidates against the old county Oligarchy. Jeff Cox, whom I support both in time and money, is running for Presiding Commissioner. He was elected to fill a partial, two-year term to complete the term of the previous Commissioner who was removed from office, not for malfeasance, but because of an out-of-state felony conviction. I’ll not go into the background on that, it’s not pertinent in this election.
In the previous county government, two ‘Pubs quit. One, when some questionable contracts were exposed, quit in mid-term. The other, also reportedly involved in questionable contracts and possible fraud, chose to not run for re-election. That last former commission now plans on being the county puppet-master with a personal string of proxy office holders. He already has one in office, the northern county commissioner.
The county Auditor, Ron Johnson, has a primary opponent, too. That opponent is a former employee who was fired for cause and is now one of the Oligarchy’s puppets. It was Ron Johnson who exposed all the fraud and deceit in the former county administration. The Kansas City Star printed an expose about the machinations of the Cass County Oligarchy.
April 22, 2014, By DONALD BRADLEY, The Kansas City Star
A recent day in an upstairs office in the Cass County courthouse, Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox used the acronym “BMT.
County Auditor Ron Johnson smiled.
“Before my time,” Johnson explained.
These days, the two talk a lot about things before their time in office and they want to make sure people, particularly voters, know they were nowhere around when two of those things came to be.
Because the county’s broadband fiber network and Tri-Gen, a generator built to provide electrical power to the Justice Center, both were colossal failures that the county will be paying on for years with nothing in return.
Tri-Gen alone is costing the county $175,000 this budget year, not counting legal expenses.
Both projects were approved by officials no longer in office.
“Mistakes were made in recent years that will take years to recover from,” Cox said.
Today, broadband is dead in the ditch and Tri-Gen is shut down and the subject of lawsuits.
Gary Mallory, who was presiding commissioner when both projects began, declined to comment.
Cox and Johnson hope voters this year don’t hold either of them responsible. They wonder, too, if ending the two projects has anything to do with them facing primary opposition in August.
Killing broadband was difficult, Johnson said, but it was a decision that may have kept the county from filing for bankruptcy.
“We had to take the least bad option,” Johnson said.
To be sure, the county did go through a time of turmoil. The very day a newly elected presiding commissioner was sworn into office, the county prosecutor filed suit to remove him because of a felony conviction.
Another commissioner resigned. The other chose not to seek re-election.
All the while, the broadband and Tri-Gen projects — which began with high hopes and multimillion-dollar price tags — were struggling.
Broadband kicked off in 2011 with the goal of providing high-speed Internet access to 12,000 households and hundreds of businesses in rural areas. The $26 million cost would come from government grants and low-interest loans.
But the federal government withheld grants because of a delay in a county audit. Some contractors did not get paid. One filed suit against the county. The project suffered, too, from not having enough inspectors.
Cox studied the viability of the project after taking office last year. He decided to kill it.
It’s unknown how much money the county will eventually pay for the project. That will depend on the outcome of litigation and whether federal money ever comes through.
Tri-Gen, which would use renewable energy from sweet sorghum silage to produce methane gas, came on board in 2008 when county officials agreed to build the generator at a cost of $15 million. The idea was to provide energy to the Justice Center and then sell leftover power on the open grid.
But it turned out, they were prohibited by regulation from selling surplus power — a fact they were unaware of until threatened with litigation. But it didn’t matter much anyway because, according to Cox, the science behind the project wasn’t viable.
Cox said a pilot project at the University of Central Missouri never worked.
“You don’t build a multimillion-dollar generator without making sure the science works first,” Cox said. “It was a mistake. The county had no business getting involved in that.
“That said, the county was sold a bill of goods.”
Last June, the county sued Universal Asset Management, the contractor for Tri-Gen, and the head of the company, Gary Lee. The suit alleges breach of contract, professional negligence, fraud and misrepresentation.
Universal Asset Management was also the company behind the broadband project. The phone number listed on the company’s webpage is no longer in use.
About a year earlier, Lee and UAM had sued Johnson and Cass County alleging breach of contract.
Lee and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the county is stuck with bills for both. This year’s budget shows $175,000 went to debt service for Tri-Gen, an outlay that may continue for decades.
“When I think of all the things we could have used that money for — sheriff deputies, road repairs,” Cox said. “It’s hard not to be a little angry.
“And we’re going to be paying a long time.”
What about that fired employee who is now running against Ron Johnson? He was fired for releasing documents, without authority, to UAM. His mentor in his campaign against Ron Johnson is an employee of UAM, the former county commissioner who was deeply involved in issuing those fraudulent contracts to UAM. Millions of dollars in those contracts are still unaccounted for and the basis for a number of lawsuits.
What is the motivation of this clandestine oligarchy? Perhaps it is an attempt to hide their actions being investigated by federal authorities. Perhaps it is an attempt to gain control of those offices whose current holders exposed their actions. Control of those offices would allow them to hinder further investigation. Or, perhaps, it is just plain, old, lust for power by any means.
Whatever the motivation, their tactics should be familiar to anyone observant to county politics. They use the same tactics as do democrats.
But there are honest, ethical commissioners in the county, Jeff Cox and one other commissioner. Who is Cox’s best ally in regaining fiscal health to the county? It is the southern county commission—a democrat. The other commissioner, a supposed ‘Pub who hasn’t met a TIF he didn’t like, is a member of the Oligarchy. Many of the county executive decisions are made with a two-vote majority (of the three possible votes.) That majority is Jeff Cox, the presiding commissioner, and the democrat southern commissioner.
It’s significant when the democrat southern commissioner is more interested and involved in keeping the county’s finances in the black while the so-called ‘pub, northern commissioner wants to spend, spend, spend.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/22/4976141/government-watch-for-years-cass.html#storylink=cpy
A new act of nepotism has been discovered and the report of this new case was released last Friday, August 9, 2013. This time it is an act of nepotism in Burlingame’s current term—she hired her niece, Marissa Scott, to work during the April 2011 election and paid her $120 according to documents filed with the county. Those documents were delivered to the Cass County Commission and to the County Prosecutor, Theresa Hensley.
I received a copy of that public report. You can find it here.
We now have another instance of nepotism that fulfills Judge Cook’s definition—paying a first-degree relative, in this case her niece, Marissa Scott, to work an election during her current term in office. Will Theresa Hensley follow the law and file nepotism charges this time? Or, will she follow the democrat party rules to never charge a fellow democrat with crimes committed in office…like she did the last time.
We, Cass County, made a significant step in 2012 by electing new county officers and removing corrupt ones. Now, it’s time to remove the last vestiges of corruption in the County Clerk’s and Collector’s office.
Nepotism is a political sickness that must be eradicated. No good ever comes from it.
The Cass County Commissioners ended the horror story of the Cass County Broadband Initiative Monday of this week. The initiative was sold as bringing high-speed internet to everyone, every rural resident, in the county. Unfortunately, the supposed return on the county’s investment was a fantasy. The initiative would never have been self-supporting and would have been a fiscal anchor in the county’s budget for the foreseeable future. I’ve written about this project before, here and here, as well as having a few Letters-to-the-Editor published in our county newspaper.
In a 2 to 1 vote, on Monday of this week, the Commissioners voted to disband the project.
Unfortunately, the spending can’t end yet. While the project existed, it put the county deeply in debt. The county will have to cover those debts or declare bankruptcy. The up side is that no more money will be thrown down the rathole.
The legal investigations on where the money went, for what, and who benefited, is ongoing. Several millions are still unaccounted for. At least three, at my last count, former county politicos, are under investigation. The FBI is involved because some of those missing funds were provided by the USDA.
For the last forty years, Cass County has been controlled by a political oligarchy—mostly democrats. That ended in 2010 when the ‘Pubs won all three commissioner seats. Unfortunately, one, the newly elected Presiding Commissioner, was ousted by the democrat Prosecutor, and the other two ‘Pubs were members of the oligarchy. Nothing changed except for the political labels. The only member who espoused conservative principles was the one booted out.
The vote to end the project did not go by party lines. Jeff Cox, the ‘Pub Presiding Commissioner, and Luke Scavuzzo, the dem South Associate Commissioner, voted to end Broadband. Jimmy Odom, the ‘Pub Northern Associate Commissioner, voted to continue spending and the project.
Scavuzzo had originally been in favor of the project. In favor, that is, until it was disclosed that the county did not own the Right-of-Way on the roads that were to be used to lay the fiber. The county had been maintaining these roads but did not own them. When the cost of adding easements for the fiber was added to the existing cost projections, it was too much.
I didn’t vote for Luke Scavuzzo. He’s in the county south and I’m in the north. I must say that he has impressed me since his initial appointment a year ago and his actions since winning his current position last November. Not that I’d vote for him. He’s still a dem.
Still, in this case, Luke Scavuzzo has demonstrated fiscal restraint and good practices. I wish I could say the same for the other ‘Pub associate commissioner.
The Cass County Broadband Project initiative has lost all of its steam.
Cass County Commissioners decided Feb. 25 that there is little to no feasibility left for the county’s broadband project, and made the decision to ultimately kill it during a public meeting by a 2-1 vote.
The project, conceived two years ago, looked to build a broadband fiber network in order to bring high-speed Internet access to 11,592 households and 701 businesses in rural areas of the county.
But after swiftly moving through a short list of other agenda items during Monday’s meeting, Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox entertained a motion to approve a resolution in regard to the county’s Request for Proposals with general contracting firms to take the broadband fiber to homes in rural Cass County.
Associate Commissioner Jimmy Odom made a motion for approval, but the question quickly died due to the lack of a second.
In response to the previous motion, the following agenda item, a resolution to authorize the publication and release the broadband project’s RUS Form 515 became moot.
A few moments later, Cox then asked the Commission for the authority to disband the project.
Associate Commissioner Luke Scavuzzo seconded the decision.
In a brief statement, Cox cited a number of reasons for his decision after spending nearly two months studying the project.
Part of the decision, he said, was linked to the issue that although the county has requested a 60-day extension to the United States Department of Agriculture for the county’s 2011 audit as well as releasing a reimbursement of $326,000 that the county has spent on recent engineering costs.
Cox said that to date, the USDA has refused to release those funds.
“USDA funding is still frozen and we’re continuing to incur engineering costs that are not being reimbursed from the federal government,” Cox said. “We’re basically at the point where we can either take the monies out of the general fund to pay the engineers or we can just default on our contract with the engineer. Or, we can take the money out of the Certificates of Participation, which are supposed to be used for non-USDA eligible costs.”
When Cox opened the floor for the other commissioners to voice their perspectives, Odom, who has supported the project for it’s prospect to enhance economic development in the county, said he wants to hear more about the audit issues and why the USDA funds aren’t being released.
“I’ve never seen anything like that in government where we’re that far behind and I would like to know why,” he said.
On the other hand, Scavuzzo voiced his disapproval of the project, but thanked Freeman for her work.
Concluding the discussion, the Commission carried the vote to disband the project 2-1.
Cox and Scavuzzo voted in favor of ditching broadband.
“Initially, what I will be doing will be notifying all the parties involved now that the Commission has given me the authority to do that,” Cox said. “We will then have to deal with getting all those final bills paid.”
Cox said that there are few options available to deal with the debt that’s been accumulated, one being that it can be rolled into the county’s existing COP funds since the county is already paying the full interest on those funds.
“I think we need to return our focus to providing the core services that county government is responsible for,” he said. “I think it’s important that we get out now while we still can afford to do so.”
The county should have never gotten into this project. Jeff Cox restated that this project did not fall into any core responsibilities of the county government.
“I think we should return our focus to providing the core services that county government has a responsibility to provide, such as road and bridge and law enforcement. The things that the people in the rural areas, that this initiative was meant to help, are the people that I have seen hurt the most out of all of this because all the money that has been diverted from those core services.”