Thursday, January 31, 2008

Respect returns to Missouri Catholic Bishops they display "courage and compassion."

I am so pleased to see that the editorial page editor of the News-Leader has mended fences with Missouri Catholic Bishops and is no longer questioning their motives. See: Bishops' letter on immigrants changes debate (here's an excerpt):

"Missouri Catholic bishops changed the nature* of the debate about illegal immigration in this state this week by sending a passionate letter* to the governor and lawmakers urging the politicians to stop their pandering attempts to look tough on immigration.

We offer a resounding "Amen!" to the bishops for their courage and compassion."*

That's much better than the time the editorial editor questioned their motives when they came out in support of tax credits for benevolent contributors to the Betty L.Thompson Scholarship Program (failed HB808):

"Other conservative supporters and Catholic schools say the tax credits help build scholarship funds for needy students and offer families more choices. Teachers groups say the vouchers and private-school tax credits take money away from public schools and undermine the education system."

"...what is the true motivation of those trying to get it passed?"*

My guess is that supporting our State's poor students toward more choices for better education took a lot less "courage and compassion" on the part of Missouri Bishops.

Shucks, they were just talking about making tax credits available to benevolent contributors to Scholarships for Children in Failing Urban School Districts (the Betty L.Thompson Scholarship Program) to provide grants for low income parents so they could afford to send their children to the school of their choice, the school they educated themselves about and chose as one that could provide a better education to their failing child and heck, it could've even been a public school they chose. Shhh, let's not mention there were no vouchers (the tax credited scholarship program didn't quack like a duck and it didn't walk like a duck).

I'm just thankful that the News-Leader's editorial board has returned to an attitude of respect regarding opinions of Missouri Catholic Bishops. Aren't you?

*emphasis mine

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Recommended Reading 3

Will the City ask for public input about guidelines for public input?

Read the article in the News-Leader but pay particular attention to the right hand column "More About This Story" where past public comments are outlined. See if you think the past public comments are unrelated or inappropriate to a School Board meeting.

I'm recommending this in light of the recent suggestion by Mayor Carlson that maybe the Council needs to form a Committee to look at rules pertaining to what the public should be allowed to comment on at City Council meetings under "petitions, remonstrances and communications."


"I don't want to be arbitrary in enforcing the rules but at the same time, I think we need to know what they are and maybe have a Council committee look at, as we come forward, because it seems like we're getting more and more of these things and that may be fine, and we may decide that we wanna be here a lot later for everybody to come talk about whatever they do. Frequently, we have people come and talk about things that have nothing to do with city government, for example."

Carlson said he has:

"...different Council people telling me different things. Some Council people say, uh, "you ought to be able to talk about anything," other people say, "there oughta be some rules around here," and if we wanna have rules, fine, if we don't wanna have rules, fine, I just think we need to get on the same page."

On occasion there is a gentleman who addresses Council only to advertise his personal interests, he does his best to tie it in by suggesting the City should take action to promote his interests but it's mainly an advertisement. It would be unfortunate if one man who has probably appeared 2 or 3 times since April 2007, or a total of 10-15 minutes, gave Council an excuse to limit others from addressing the Council about issues of concern they have with the City.

Something I thought was rather important was left out of my current City Council Roundup column at Community Free Press - Midweek. It was probably edited out before I read the proof and okayed it and I just missed it but I thought it was important in light of supplimentals found at the website. The leed in the section about rules for addressing Council that was removed:

"According to City Clerk Brenda Cirtin the city's guidelines for addressing Council have evolved over the years. The roots for the guidelines are found in Chapter 2 (Administration), Sections 43-45 of the Springfield Municipal Code. As the guidelines have evolved, addressing Council about issues not on the agenda have changed to that of simply registering with the City Clerk by 5:00 p.m., the Friday preceding the Monday meeting. The current guidelines do not indicate the registration must be done in writing, as stated in the code."

You can access the supplimentals at the Community Free Press - Midweek website. They are:

Municipal Code Chapter 2, Administration, Sections 43-34

A Citizen's Guide to Addressing Council, from the city's website

Public Hearing Procedures, a handout available at all Council meetings

It seems counterproductive to me that at the same time the City is seeking public input in so many areas, the Council and School Board are discussing restricting established public speaking venues. In fact, as I was getting ready to post this entry I received a news release from the City that they'd like public input on the proposed speed limit reduction for residential streets.

If the Council decides to form a Committee to study the guidelines for addressing Council do you think they'll seek public input about whether public input should be allowed on topics not on the agenda or will the Committee, formed by elected officials, "represent us" in that regard?

Related: busplunge: "Shut Up! You're Distracting Me!" School Board Wants To Limit Public Input At Board Meetings

Related: School board seeks more public input written by Kris Callen, president of the Springfield Board of Education, excerpt:

"To the News-Leader's credit, they were the only media to cover the retreat with a reporter present for a portion of the evening. With that presence, readers should expect accurate headlines and complete coverage. And while the retreat was posted as an open meeting and patrons could have attended, we have no expectation that most citizens would choose to spend their entire Thursday night attending a four-hour meeting. This leads to a more important reason for accurate and complete reporting. Citizens rely on the media for correct information regarding the work of their public entities and boards when they cannot or choose not to attend in person. We do not believe this occurred in this instance and hope that future articles and headlines will more accurately reflect the true nature and extent of the discussion."

Related: from KSGF's Vincent David Jericho Program, February 05,_How can we make dialogue between parents and Springfield Public Schools healthier, Tuesday, February 05, 2008, Guest: Dr. Ridder- Springfield Public Schools

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Citizens have a responsibility

When Councilman John Wiley and Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky hosted their Town Hall meeting toward the end of last year, Wiley said the turn out was better than it had been in years past. Wiley, who has hosted these events annually since he was elected as a City Council member, told me at a Council meeting shortly after the Town Hall meeting that there had been a good turn out the first year he held the meeting but that it had dwindled after that first year and has been slowly building in attendance ever since. Is attendance of about 50 a success? Wiley might say yes, since it's a lot better than an attendance of 6 or 10.

"Present to answer questions were City Manager Bob Cumley, Police Chief Lynn Rowe, Traffic Engineer Earl Newman, Parks Director Jodie Adams, Economic Development Director Mary Lilly Smith, City Utilities Associate General Manager Scott Miller, and Public Information Director Louise Whall." ~ Community Free Press - Midweek Dec.19-Jan. 1, 2008.

Wiley may not be a perfect Councilman (I haven't met one yet) but even though there have been some years he's been disappointed by the turn out at his annual meeting he has kept having it! He kept having it because he told the people who voted for him that he'd have an annual Town Hall meeting so, whether those voters take advantage of the opportunity or not Wiley has kept his word and whether you like John Wiley or think he is a good Councilman or not he should be commended for it.

Look again at the list of people that he made available to answer questions at the last Town Hall meeting! They didn't HAVE to be there, folks. There they were, on a week night, honoring Wiley and YOU by volunteering to show up to answer people's questions....look at the line up! Wiley was right to be appreciative that they took time out of their busy lives to be there for people in Zones 2 and 4 to question.

About 50 people took advantage of it. 50 people.

I'm sorry folks, all the complaining about a "good old boy network," about how our City's staff doesn't do a good job, well, there they were. You could have asked them anything. They could have answered or they could have waffled, regardless, it would have offered some insight into how our city's government works.

City Council members have a responsibility to represent their constituents. Do their constituents have a responsibility to let them know how they would like to be represented? Are they just supposed to know how their constituents feel about issues as they come up? Maybe they're supposed to listen to Vincent David Jericho of KSGF or read JackeHammer? Are they supposed to find out what their constituents are interested in by reading the News-Leader forums? Is the Missouri Liberty Coalition going to inform them for you? Maybe if you leave a comment at busplunge or write a letter to the editor of the Community Free Press they'll know how you want them to react? How you want to be represented?

They listen to that show, they read those papers and blogs, believe me, I know, but when you speak at City Council meetings, when you take time out of your life to show you are passionate enough to attend a meeting, that is when they take you seriously, that is when they are prepared to listen. I think it's safe to say anything less than getting involved in the formal process is considered as so much sour grapes by Council and city staff.

When Councilwoman Rushefsky told me that the 68 citizens who had applied to be a part of the City Manager Search Committee was a good amount of people I was surprised. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised and I'm struggling not to be pessimistic. I'm struggling not to be frustrated over the lack of interest in the City Manager's Search Committee Town Hall meeting last night and I'm struggling that no one had any comment at the Council meeting last night about the City and C.U. unnecessarily donating $20,000 each for a Partnership for Sustainability, HELLO?

Vince summed it up well on his program this morning. The State Auditor was as strong in her opinion as she could be from her position when she said she believed C.U. was violating the state constitution by contributing to such alliances, by contributing to charitable organizations from profits that a public utility shouldn't be making in the first place. I guess it doesn't matter, or it matters but it only matters as an issue to be complained about after it is approved, not when complaining could make a difference in the actual outcome of a bill.

I can report what citizens say at City Council meetings. I can write glowing articles about how citizens made a difference in city government but first they have to make a difference or there simply isn't anything to report.

“I don’t think most people understand how much influence they have on what government does,” Rushefsky said. “It carries a major impact and actually relieves a lot of the burden of governing because, as an elected official, you want to be responsive to their needs.” ~ CFP Midweek - December 19 issue, Citizens Helped Change City in 2007

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Council Bill 2007-027

I don't think there are many people who aren't concerned about the environment and about conserving energy these days.

Since so many people are already contemplating the environment and wanting to live more environmentally friendly lives I just wonder if it's necessary for the City of Springfield to contribute $20,000 and enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Partnership for Sustainability. That is what Council Bill 2008-027 is intended to fascilitate. The bill will come before Council Monday night as a first reading bill and it will be open for public comment.

"...the Partnership for Sustainability is a new group designed to help local businesses and institutions lead the Springfield/Greene County community toward environmental and economic sustainability...."

The city wants to be "an active participant and to contribute $20,000."

Not too long ago the City introduced a "green building policy" because they want to be leaders in green building. They want to set an example to encourage the rest of the business and local community to consider building green, and I think building green is a great idea. I'm not opposed to becoming more environmentally friendly. I'm not opposed to energy conservation or recycling, etc., but I marvel that all these environmental issues keep cropping up at Council meetings unnecessarily. (You can throw your organically grown tomato or free range egg at me now, I know you want to.)

I mentioned in a Community Free Press article in December, 2007 (Citizens Helped Change City in 2007) that City Attorney Dan Wichmer had told me that it wasn't necessary for the Council to pass a green building resolution to build green. Wichmer said all the Council has to do is tell city management that they'd like a new government building or all new government buildings to be built green and management would simply honor the Council's request. All they really have to do is ask. Wichmer said, and I partially paraphrase, that the resolution was just to show the City was taking the lead in building green and the community ought to follow their lead. The question is, is it necessary to invest so much time, energy and taxpayer dollars into making such a statement?

If the city wants to get the message out to the community that they are leaders in building green, they should build green, then, when the new green built government building is open, at the ribbon cutting ceremony when the media and press are present couldn't they simply let the public know that the city of Springfield has built yet another beautiful green building that will be more economically and environmentally sustainable? Couldn't they just announce that they are leaders in building green and the community ought to follow their lead?

I can't understand why it is necessary to spend taxpayer money to join with another group to promote building green. I can't understand why it was necessary to propose and then table a green building resolution because people who have built green in the past didn't think the resolution went far enough and they wanted the public to have more input. Now, the public (because they don't have enough to do watching how the city handles the container ordinance and addresses issues from the audit report, trying to make sure they have adequate input into the Council's City Manager Search Committee process...etc., etc., etc.) must spend time making sure the city handles this green building resolution right, investing valuable time away from their own lives, families and businesses to make sure that the city, if they are going to pass a resolution, passes the right resolution. Planning and Zoning have invested heaven knows how many man hours and administrative hours in studying and writing the resolution only to have it tabled. Discussions and meetings have ensued and changes will be made, translating into more Planning and Zoning meetings, man hours and administrative hours invested in a resolution that is intended to do nothing other than to say, "Look at what the city is doing! We're building green! Follow our lead!" When all they really have to do is follow the Nike ad campaign's slogan and "just do it." Then tell about it.

That is why I think all this green building policy resolution stuff and alliances with environmental groups and contributions of $20,000 here and $8,000 there would be better spent going straight into the police and fire pension fund instead of unnecessary, time consuming and expensive alliances, contributions and resolutions meant to do nothing other than make a statement.

Dear City Council, just do it, then make your statement. The media will give you your moment in the sun free of charge.

Another side issue of concern for me is that a certain member of the City Council is in alternative heating sales and I guess there's nothing unethical about promoting environmental and economic sustainability, it just troubles me when a member that is in that business (who naturally knows more about it, that's a given) uses televised City Council meeting time to promote something that in turn, could be beneficial to his business. I don't know, does that bother anyone else?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Missouri Liberty Coalition meeting

Don't forget there is also a Missouri Liberty Coalition meeting this Saturday from 1-4, get the details at the link provided.

Monday night twofer

Monday night at 5:30 p.m. citizens can participate in the City Manager Search Committee's Town Hall meeting. Citizens are invited to address the committee for three minutes each. Then, directly following the Town Hall meeting, keep your seat for the City Council meeting to follow.

The Council agenda is available for preview at the City's website: look and see! You even have time to register to speak to an issue not on the agenda before the meeting. Just call the City Clerk's office before 5:00 p.m. on Friday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

That Bruise or Bliss

Some nights I'm in the mood for something not available in our little local section of the blogosphere. Something dark, but not evil. Something quiet, introspective, something that draws back just at the right moment. Reveals a little, like the peeking of a garter under a silken dress, just enough to tease, just enough to cause wonder like men would wonder about where that garter leads and so I pop from this blog to that blog, seeking this "something" but it isn't there.

Where's the realness

the trueness

the black and blueness?

That bruise or bliss that rests on the surface of the heart?

No one sees it unless it is released

No one sees beyond the blue or the brown or the black of your eyes into what makes you who you are.

It is the sum of the parts and the parts are all those instances in your life you fail to share but those parts are what shape you.

I keep looking for someone who shares the parts that make the sum.

Those odd instances, like the time I thought my friend Shari's face got all quirked and funny looking because she was going to sneeze when she was on that raft at Whitewater in Branson. She wasn't going to sneeze at all, she was going to fall face first into the Whitewater "ocean." That look on her face right before she dunked into the water is sealed like a little time capsule bubble in my mind and it makes me smile every single time I see it and I couldn't see it any clearer if it were a photograph I hold in my hand. It seems to be the symbol for everything I love about Shari.

Like the time I traveled from Harrison, Arkansas to Halltown, Missouri where my Mom and step-dad lived years ago and spent all afternoon and into the dark night laying on my belly digging a deep hole in the rocky clay ground with my step-father and he with his cane. He was using a crow bar to pry loose the rocks and I said I HAD to be home before dark but here we were with the dark surrounding us, still digging out rocks, still preparing the hole to receive that bradford pear tree. He died suddenly a few short months later. Because I was going through a divorce and relocation it was the last time we really spent together.

Like the time, I must have been 3 or 4 years old, when my brother and I were laying on our backs on the merry-go-round at the park looking at the clouds and Mom was turning us softly, very softly.

Why are those things (among others) important? What makes them special in my memory? Why do those images stick out in my mind's eye while so many other moments are lost?

What makes some little moments gel in our minds while others, others which we might have thought should be more memorable are so fleeting?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Scenes from an Undisclosed Nursing Home: Post 2

I was going to the cafeteria to get Mom some straws when I saw her. There weren't very many people in the halls because it was about dinner time and most of the residents were sitting at their tables waiting to get served their evening meals.

She was sitting by the nurses station, there was no one else around except one other wheelchair bound resident coming up from another hall.

"Can I help you? It's just about dinner time, can I take you to the dining room?" I asked her.

She looked at me, her eyes were full of tears behind her glasses, "I'm waiting for my husband, he's supposed to come...I hope he comes." She said.

"I hope he comes too." I told her and she thanked me.

Later, when I was returning from picking up Mom's dinner tray to take it to her room, the crying lady was talking to one of the aides and she seemed to be comforting her.

I got Mom's tray to her, got one of my own and joined her for dinner in her room.

When I left the little lady was still waiting in the hall, close to the nurse's station but she wasn't crying anymore.

She returned a smile.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Scenes from an Undisclosed Nursing Home: Post 1*

She was one of the first residents I noticed when I put my Mom in a residential care facility (I still find it difficult to use the term NURSING HOME).

It was the hat. The bright rainbow colored hat. A furry hat. She just looked all the sass in that hat.

The first day we were there we arrived right at lunch time. They tried to seat my Mom at the same table with "Hattie." Hattie wanted no part of it. Mom just didn't belong there, Hattie said. She simply COULDN'T sit there. So, they ended up telling us we could eat in the recreation room that day and my opinion of Hattie was a bit unsettled after that.

But this day...this day, as I started down the hall to Mom's room, there was Hattie's familiar frame sitting in her wheelchair in the hall. I could hear her sobbing before I even started walking down that hall. The familiar rainbow colored hat was cocked to the side and she sobbed uncontrollably. One of the other residents was rolled up right beside Hattie and at first I thought she was trying to comfort her, but she wasn't, as usual she just wanted to go to her room so I took her there and returned to Hattie.

"Awww, what's the matter, honey?" I said as I put my hand on her shoulder.

At first she said ,"nothing," and cried the harder but I persisted and finally she answered:

"My son left, my son left," she cried but added, "...he'll be back, I know he'll be back."

Hattie knew her son had to leave, she knew he couldn't stay there forever but it broke her little heart when he left and she couldn't contain herself. She knew it was unreasonable to cry about it but she just couldn't help herself, she was devastated. Her beloved son had come to see her, her beloved son had to go and she knew he'd be back.

Those were the facts.

Knowing the facts didn't make it any easier for Hattie to accept.

*This is the first posting in an intended series of posts on "scenes from an undisclosed nursing home"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Springfield Mayor Tom Carlson opens mouth, inserts foot

Displays further contempt for "the peanut gallery."

I have been observing and covering City Council meetings in City Council Chambers since April, 2007. Several times I have seen the Chambers erupt in applause. Mostly, it has happened when a City employee has been honored for years of service or some other exciting event has been called to the attention of the public at a meeting.

Such was the case on January 14 when the respective Mayors of Springfield and Willard signed an agreement regarding future land annexations near the Springfield-Branson National Airport. Council initiated applause and the room full of citizens accommodated them.

December 17, 2007 that applause, accompanied by whistling filled the Chambers as Tamara Finochiarro ended her appeal to the Council for assistance in the matter of dealing with the City to resolve zoning and fire and safety issues that have shut down business operations at Pythian Castle and labeled the castle a dangerous building.

That public initiated applause was met by the stern pounding of a gavel by our fair city's Mayor, "Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, we would request that you not applause anything. We require decorum in the Council Chambers, appreciate your observing that." Mayor Carlson said.

So, excuse me for nitpicking the fact that the public should observe the Mayor's interpretation of "decorum" as it applies to general public initiated applause versus City Council initiated applause. It feeds into a perception that public comment and public support or opposition for measures taken by our City leaders isn't a matter of interest or concern for some of those leaders, a perception which is further strengthened and legitimized when the Mayor, who has called on the public to "observe that" decorum makes exceptions to the rule when there is broad support "for" an agreement he approves. It also proves that peanut gallerians are not limited to those who don't have money to invest on projects in Springfield, clearly Finocchiaro has invested considerable money and taken considerable risk in restoring the Pythian Castle, yet she is not immune to being delegated to the status of a "peanut gallerian," in regards to how welcome her comments, criticism and concerns are by our fair Mayor.

January 14, Mayor Carlson gave us more reason to believe that such a perception is not unwarranted.

Our City code allows citizens to address City Council at Council meetings and there is a procedure in place, or rules, if you will, that govern that occurrence. A visit to the City's website explains How to Address City Council:

To speak on issues not on that week's Agenda Citizens wishing to address the Council regarding an issue not on the Agenda, may speak under "Petitions, Remonstrances, and Communications." To register to speak under this provision, the citizen must register with the City Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, prior to the meeting. At the appropriate time in the meeting, the Mayor will call your name. Please step to the podium; state your name and address for the record, and your comments. Again, the comments are to be limited to five minutes.

This is exactly the procedure that Tamara Finocchiaro and her supporters followed and they were limited to five minutes speaking time each. (There have been more than a few times I have rolled my own eyes and counted cobwebs on the ceiling wishing that Carlson was limited to 5 minutes speaking time, see this weeks City Council Roundup in CFP, such a moment occurred when after the vote had been taken on the sale of a portion of the Cox building, Carlson went on and on about how well the City did in making a profit on the sale, but that's neither here nor there.)

Apparently, five minutes on a topic unrelated to items on the agenda for any given Council meeting may be too much according to Mayor Carlson:

"I don't want to be arbitrary in enforcing the rules but at the same time, I think we need to know what they are and maybe have a Council committee look at, as we come forward, because it seems like we're getting more and more of these things and that may be fine, and we may decide that we wanna be here a lot later for everybody to come talk about whatever they do. Frequently, we have people come and talk about things that have nothing to do with city government, for example."

Carlson said he has:

"different Council people telling me different things. Some Council people say, uh, "you ought to be able to talk about anything," other people say, "there oughta be some rules around here," and if we wanna have rules, fine, if we don't wanna have rules, fine, I just think we need to get on the same page."

The rules are clear, perhaps the Mayor needs to read them before opening mouth, inserting foot.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

State Auditor wrong or lying, City of Springfield's Finance Director says, "checks not a problem."

Will these unfounded recommendations never cease!?

In Checks not a problem, city officials say, Didi Tang reported:

"Contrary to a claim in the audit report that some checks had been outstanding for more than four years, Mannix-Decker said she is not aware of such checks."

Interesting. the State Auditor's office must have been mistaken or lying when they reported at page 63:

"The Finance Department has not established procedures to routinely follow up on outstanding checks. At April 30, 2007, approximately 60 checks totaling over $9,000 had been outstanding for more than one year. Some of these checks have been outstanding for over four years."

I recently interviewed Mary Mannix-Decker, myself, for Community Free Press - Midweek regarding an audit recommendation:

"Another issue mentioned in the state audit was city employees not turning in detailed receipts to document employee purchasing card spending.During the year ending June 30, 2007, purchasing card charges totaled approximately $6.6 million. Finance Director Mary Mannix-Decker said she did not feel there was a problem with this issue.“For the amount of transactions we process,we don’t have a problem with receipts not being turned in,” Decker said."

Maybe the next question for Decker should be whether she thinks ANY of the recommendations of the State Auditor's audit report regarding the Finance Department were warranted or if she thinks that ANY of the citings are a "problem?"

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

City Manager Search Committee to meet for the first time tomorrow

The first meeting of the City Manager Search Committee will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 2 p.m. in the 4th floor conference room at the Busch Municipal building.

Citizens interested in this issue can contact Public Information Director Louise Whall for more information at 417-864-1010

Storage Container Meeting tonight

The City of Springfield has invited citizens to attend a storage container meeting tonight.

They will be discussing "elements of a new draft ordinance for storage containers," at 7:00 p.m. in the Dogwood Room at the Missouri Career Center located in the Glen Isle shopping center at 1514 S. Glenstone Avenue.

If you are interested in this issue this is the place to be, if you are just interested in keeping an eye on what's going on with your city government this is also the place to be.

Sorry so late in getting this out, it's been a long, busy, hectic day.

Update on MO Liberty Coalition

Because I have been keeping readers informed about the newly formed Missouri Liberty Coalition, which had its first meeting last Saturday, January 5, 2008, I want to call readers' attention to this post by one of the founders of the new coalition.

If you are interested in attending a meeting to find out what it is all about for yourself, Mr. Rodgers has provided a schedule of upcoming meetings there.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Recommended Reading 1, 2008

Mike O'Brien wrote a scorching article responding to a previous article in the News-Leader this morning. Here's an excerpt:

"So it seems odd to many that the CU general manager's compensation is almost double the city manager's. And that a half-dozen top CU assistants make more than the city manager. And that 80 of CU's 1,000 employees were paid more than $100,000 in 2006, compared to 17 among City Hall's workforce of 1,600. And that CU spends five times as much per person on its "company picnic" as City Hall does for its workers. Etc."

The ending is priceless and I didn't want to give it away. If you haven't read it, this is my first recommended reading for 2008.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

More on MO Liberty Coalition

Government gets better when citizens get involved

I just want to commend everyone who came out to the Missouri Liberty Coalition meeting today. It was a first meeting so it was a bit unorganized, first meetings always are.

There was discussion about task assignment, about power in numbers, about how to accomplish goals, what the goals should be, communication and letter writing. One local columnist even provided insight on how to get the attention of media.

Reminder-Missouri Liberty Coalition meeting today

The first meeting of the MO Liberty Coalition will take place today, Saturday, January 5, at the Kansas Expressway Library Station from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. They will meet in the Frisco Room and everyone is invited to attend.

If you have an interest in this group, drop by. Relax, no one is required to stay the full 3 hours.

"It's just people who are concerned with where government is going, how our tax dollars are being spent and how we're being represented, not only on City Council but also when the various department heads seem to turn a blind eye to the people here within the city." ~ Tom Martz on KSGF'sVincent David Jericho Program December 31, 2007

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Missing portion 3.D - 4 of the proposed "Premises Interim Use Agreement" offered by the City of Springfield to Finochiarro of the Pythian Castle

I don't have all the information I need to comment on the Pythian Castle issue, I'm still gathering some of it, but I want to go ahead and post what I found to be missing from the City's proposed "Premises Interim Use Agreement" with Tamara Finochiarro from Jason's posting at Life Of Jason. Now, to be clear, Jason tells me he did not intentionally omit this information, rather he said when his copy was hand delivered this page, page 2, was missing from the document. I have no reason to believe that Jason intentionally omitted this portion of the document and I don't know why he would, he has no reason to omit it, but for the sake of the public having all the facts, following is the missing portion of that document:

3. D. Pursuant to the contemplation of this agreement for the interim use of the premises, Ms. Finochiarro was to allow an inspection of the premises to determine items deemed necessary for public health and safety. Said inspection was to determine what items are immediately required to be addressed as part of any continued limited use, and until final plans and development has occurred. On October 30, 2007, Ms. Finochiarro's agent allowed a first floor only inspection of the premises. Said inspection resulted in the attached list of items ("Exhibit A" herein), each of which constitute immediate actual or potential problems involving the life, safety and health of members of the public accessing the premises. As such, all of the items stated within the Exhibit A, unless otherwise directed therein, must be completed immediately for the continued interim use of the premises. Ms. Finochiarro must address each requirement, and have them completed no later than 5:00 pm Monday, November 5, 2007, or the interim use of the premises will be immediately ceased until all items are completed and inspected. Upon completion of the items identified in Exhibit A, Ms. Finochiarro will be required to notify Ms. Cecelia Copeland of the City Building Development Services Department and arrange an inspection to confirm compliance. Ms. Copeland may be reached at XXX-XXXX (phone number omitted at my discretion-Jacke).

E. Ms. Finochiarro may request a building permit and proceed in advance of the phase one final development plan approval to install the water line and fire hydrant called for in the phase one final development plan, and for the performance of any item contained upon Exhibit A which requires the issuance of a building permit. The City agrees, in response to a proper application for each such permit, to issue a separate permit or permits for the construction of these items.

F. The existing fire hydrant on the premises will be upgraded as deemed necessary by the City for current usage, and the hydrant and water flow rate and pressure shall be upgraded to comply with current applicable codes, and with the terms and conditions of Planned Development No. 277.

4. Ms. Finochiarro must obtain administrative approval of phase 1 final development plan by December 31, 2007. Ms. Finochiarro and her architect have the obligation and shall take the lead in providing information as reasonably required by City for the completion of the ARC approval process. City staff will reasonably
assist Ms. Finochiarro and her architect and/or attorney in defining what information and items remain uncompleted with respect to the ARC approval process. It is understood that these items include, but may not be limited to, clarifying ownership of or easement granting rights to the strip of property shown on the eastern boundary of the premises, and clarifying any outstanding issues regarding the flowage and direction of stormwater off the premises.