Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gossip and rumors and..., oh my!

Tony Messenger, the conspiracy theorist

Messenger wrote here at his blog (see Blunt's moving target):

"He (Matt Blunt) said that the state would not condone one of its employees doing private legal work while employed by the state. But that is a direct contradiction to the very letter given from chief of staff Ed Martin to Eckersley when he was fired."

From the letter Aubuchon wrote to Tony Messenger:

"Scott Eckersley was terminated for cause on September 28, 2007, after months of performance related problems...."

"On September 22, 2007, the decision was made to do a full investigation of Eckersley and his conduct...."

"On September 26, 2007, I presented preliminary results of my investigation to Ed Martin and Henry Herschel. I had found that Eckersley has used state resources to do private business for a health care company. This included time away from the office for meetings, emails to and from his state account for the business, and use of state telephones for meetings. This work was unauthorized and Eckersley used his position in state government to the health care company's advantage...."

"On Friday, September 28, 2007, Martin and Pryor met with Eckersley to discuss his departure. Although there were numerous grounds for termination for cause, the two hoped to talk to Eckersley and see if he might want to resign...."

"Eckersley was terminated that day by certified letter."

"Please understand that space allowed by this letter is limited and only allows the above enumerated instances. There are other instances that contributed to his termination."

Aubuchon also noted:

"This is a regrettable series of events in which a young man has lost his way and has likely become a pawn in political attacks." (*ahem*)

The letter was signed by Richard Aubuchon, Deputy Commissioner/Chief Counsel.

Aubuchon attached a letter sent from Edward R. Martin, Jr., Chief of Staff, to Scott Eckersley. The letter communicates:

"With this letter, I am terminating you for cause...."

"Also, you misused state resources to conduct business on behalf of your brother and your father. (See attachment 2) I believe that Henry Herschel authorized de minims assistance to family and friends but not to the extent that you have admitted and your emails indicate."

You can find these letters in the side bar of Tony Messenger's recent article Attorney speaks out about being fired

So, why Tony Messenger writes about Matt Blunt...:

"He said that the state would not condone one of its employees doing private legal work while employed by the state. But that is a direct contradiction to the very letter given from chief of staff Ed Martin to Eckersley when he was fired."*

...is unclear. The letter to Eckersley from Martin mentioned it and the letter from Aubuchon to Messenger mentioned it. I'm sure there was much more discussed verbally that didn't make it into the letter Martin sent to Eckersley either, or the letter Aubuchon wrote to Tony.

Then, again, at his blog (see Blunt's moving target) Tony writes:

"But that's hardly the bombshell of the day. For that you'll have to wait for tomorrow's column. Yes, I'm writing a column mid-week. This story is too important to wait for Sunday. Here's a tease: One of Blunt's attorneys has written a letter that would indicate that another of Blunt's attorneys is in violation of state statute."

That's fair game but what is unclear is whether the Governor's office is aware there is another attorney in violation of state statute or, for that matter, what the Governor's office will do to remedy it, if true.

Tony seems to be very excited about making charges that don't have much "stick" to them. I guess we'll have to wait and see if there's anything to it. So far I'm not terribly impressed.

Is this the same guy that thought a certain radio talk show host was a conspiracy theorist because he took the word of a certain developer involved in submitting proposals for the former arena site not too long ago? What is it that makes Eckersley more credible than Spence? How is Messenger jumping on the Eckersley band wagon different than Jericho jumping on the Spence bandwagon? All this gossip...I always thought gossip was something generally credited to women but I'm learning that isn't always the case. Go figger.

Maybe Messenger is right to believe Eckersley but so far this is just he said/he said/he said/he said. Not any different than the recent BC Development/City of Springfield dust up, maybe Vincent David Jericho was right in that case. Tony seems to like gossip, as long as he's the instigator. ;)

Note: all emphasis mine.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Taking care of elderly parents takes diligence

Just a warning.

My Mother had emergency surgery.

After laying in a hospital bed for two days requesting that her old primary care physician be called in and with her very devoted daughter requesting that her old primary care physician be called in, he finally was and immediately determined that the blood supply to both of her legs and lower pelvis was completely blocked.

The prognosis was as favorable as we could expect but could have been better if she and I had been taken more seriously when we repeatedly tried to get attention for her legs, which were as cold as ice, mottled and turned almost black when they were not elevated.

This happened WHILE she was laying in a hospital bed, while the doctors caring for her in the absence of her primary care doctor were discussing discharging her to a rehabilitation facility.

This is a warning. If you find your elderly parent in the hospital and his or her usual primary care physician is away from the office and practice partners are overseeing her care, practice partners who do not know your parent and do not know your parent's health care history, BE ON GUARD. You may be the only thing between saving your parent's life or watching your parent die, or lose a limb.

Thank God, the people praying for my Mother, the family who has been there with me and the primary care physician who had overseen her care for 12 years in the past.


She is not out of the woods yet. She may yet lose a part of one of her legs. Those who pray....shoot a prayer out for a sweet little old lady who knows what she's talking about when she says something isn't right....

....and for my Mom: HEWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! You little birdie.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A proud apologist for "the peanut gallery"

All is well in the City of Springfield, Missouri. Rick Baier of BC Development said nothing to embarrass the City and everything to protect BC Development and Rick Baier. He's one of those "very sophisticated people," that Mayor Carlson spoke about, remember?

The fact is, the City got a better deal than they could have gotten (or would get if they reopened the process), just as Carlson said when he spoke at the Council luncheon meeting on October 16:

"...this community is now looking at getting $7 million for something that they could have gotten a heck of a lot less for."

There are members of staff who are celebrating tonight and who will fall into bed later, pull the covers up to their necks and fall off to sleep in blissful peace.

After the flak Mayor Carlson took over his statement about the "peanut gallery," he and Mary Collette made a point to express how pleased they were when a citizen offered critical remarks about the shortfall the city will take in paying off the parking garage that Hammons will soon own and control.

Collette, not long ago, allowed citizens 2 minutes to tell why they opposed the container ordinance and an additional 3 minutes if they had something constructive to say. She told citizens at that special Community Involvement Committee meeting:

"As Chair of this committee, we don’t even always take public comment but I just want you to know that we want to hear from each and every one of you, well, maybe not."

It was nice to see them making an effort to let the public know their comments are welcome. We can hope it was sincere.

But, back to Baier of BC Development, I told my husband over a week ago that I could see two choices for Rick Baier. He could come to the defense of Becky Spence and take on the City of Springfield or he could fire her and throw her under the bus. I didn't understand at the time that Spence was not a partner with BC Development, rather just an associate that BC Development was working with locally on this deal if they should win the bid for land at the former arena site. I'm going to guess that while Baier doesn't need to fire Spence under the circumstances, that he will likely not look to do business with her in the future. I think we should keep in mind that it is in the best interest of Rick Baier to play nice, not simply because he might want to work a future deal with the City of Springfield but because he might like to work future deals with other city governments in Missouri, city governments who have contact at meetings and events with other Missouri state muncipalities. You don't become a "sophisticated person with money to risk" by airing your dirty laundry in public.

Just as in the case of the Heer's deal the city had no choice on this deal and they really SHOULD be thanking their lucky stars they got the deal they got.

David Queen, the Attorney who worked with Mary Lilly Smith in the negotiations of term sheets between Hammons and HCW Evergreen said that the city could go through this process as many times as they wanted to, there was no limit to how many times they could restart the process, but now that all the cards are on the table, now that it is on record that Hammons is the ONLY developer that could make the deal work because of his exclusive right to food and beverage sales, his ownership of the 90' easement and his side deal with Opus to build new offices for BKD on a piece of Hammon's property, the city would NEVER be able to negotiate $7 million if this were reopened for bids again. This is the deal the city has and it's much better than it could have been.

Hammons, in his exclusive interview with KSPR after the luncheon meeting on October 16 made it pretty clear that he didn't much like the idea of building a hotel on the site, that he had concerns about Branson's new airport and the amenities they offer in Branson.

There are a lot of people who will likely be calling on Vincent David Jericho for an apology but I won't be one of them. I think he deserves a big thank you. It's my opinion that Vince has been good for the process. The business of the City of Springfield needs attention and input from its citizens.

If a dull, dry, timid, radio talk show host droned sweetly to his listeners,

"You should go to City Council meetings and stay involved in the process,"

...how many people do you think would have jumped through hoops to attend a Council meeting? How many people would be watching City government and City Council if Vince didn't "go over the wall?"

I don't care if you like Vincent David Jericho or not, I don't care if you like his methods or not, he's made and he's making changes in communications in our city and our community and regardless of whether Becky Spence took him for a ride or not, how many people in this city would be paying attention, be engaged and interested in city government if it weren't for him?

Just like everyone in the opinion business, sometimes you're going to be right and sometimes you're going to be wrong, Vince will be right and Vince will be wrong but even when he's wrong he's still right about one thing, citizens need to pay attention to their government and sometimes, once in a great while (and in the domain of radio talk) maybe the end justifies the means.

So, sure, beat the heck out of Vince if you want to, that's every person's perogative, just be careful, unless you never make a mistake yourself. I'm still a commoner and I still believe in the peanut gallery, my favorite guy is still the little guy and I'd still "bet" on him, not because he's "sophisticated," not because he's got "real money at risk," but because the little guy's opinion matters too. No one should be disparaged unfairly. Everyone deserves respect and if you think Vincent David Jericho hasn't invested his time and put his money where his mouth is in this community then you haven't been paying attention.

If, as a couple of City Council members said tonight, they are happy to hear from the citizens of Springfield, Missouri they should be thanking Vincent David Jericho. They are hearing from many more citizens than they used to hear from and we all know why.

Look, we shouldn't be about the city government vs the citizens of Springfield or the citizens of Springfield vs the city government. When, at all possible, we can give accolades to our city government for doing something right, then we should. Of course we'll always be able to find things that could have been done better. The city is right that they'll never work a deal or pass a bill or resolution that everyone in the city is happy with but if we all pay attention and we all work together then perhaps we can communicate ourselves to a time in the future when we can all celebrate together and isn't that what we all really want? We want good government. The city is saying it wants input from its citizens. Everyone should keep giving that input, not just the people that agree with what the city is doing but also those that disagree, and as Tony Messenger said in a recent column:

"...The best roads laid by government, in my book, are bumpy ones with lots of twists and turns. But we drive there together, like a big family squeezed into a station wagon going on a long summer vacation.

Sure, we'll fight and squirm and lash out at each other every now and then, but that's just part of the fun."

Contention and disagreement are not a bad thing, they are healthy when they are seen through to the end, the end being true communication and understanding.

I think Vincent David Jericho should keep doing his job, city staff should keep doing their jobs, City Council should keep doing theirs and as a citizen of Springfield you need to be doing yours.

Later, we're going to be looking at the statements Baier has made for consistency. I think that'll be interesting too. :)

Ya'll have a good night. Some of you can eat your peanuts now, those that didn't leave them in the seats at City Council Chambers. ;)

Council Bill 2007-335

Vincent David Jericho of KSGF announced this morning that Rick Baier, the Principal of BC Development will be addressing City Council tonight.

According to an October 13 story in the News-Leader, here:

"The potential departure of BKD changes the economics of the project, and it would not be feasible to build only a hotel at the site, both Huffman sand Baier said....

Because Hammons has exclusive control over food and beverage service, a major revenue source, at the expo center as part of an operating agreement he signed with the city five years ago, the out-of-town developers said."

At an October 8 City Council meeting, Becky Spence, a local Springfield partner to BC Development, stated that several City Departments told someone from BC Development that it was a "done deal" and that the city already had a verbal agreement with John Q. Hammons.

And the puddin' got thicker when Baier was quoted by The Springfield News-Leader, here, on October 10:

"Contradicting claims made by his business partner Monday, a Kansas City developer said Tuesday that city officials had not told him a downtown hotel deal was going to John Q. Hammons.

"No, it wasn't inside the City Hall," said Rick Baier, principal of BC Development, a day after Becky Spence said in front of the Springfield City Council that city employees told the firm about Hammons having locked up the deal.

Baier said sources outside City Hall led him to believe that Hammons, a well-known Springfield developer, would get the job on a piece of city-own property."

On October 12, City Manager Bob Cumley wrote that Spence's "unfounded allegations made in a public meeting impugn the integrity of all city employees....To have someone make false statements in a public meeting is totally unacceptable and will not go without response." The letter demanded an apology from Becky Spence.

Jericho has been telling his listeners the last page of this story has not yet been written. Today he is calling for "the peanut gallery" to attend tonight's City Council meeting. He has suggested that patrons of the peanut gallery bring peanuts with them since they were mentioned by Mayor Carlson, albeit not specifically, at a Council luncheon on October 16 where the term sheet for the sale of the former arena site to John Q. Hammons was revealed, Carlson said:

"Any day of the week, I'll bet on people that have got real money at risk, time, money and effort to spend as opposed to the people from the peanut gallery."

See the quote in context here.

After a public hearing tonight the City Council is expected to vote to accept the terms of the agreement for the sale of the former arena site and parking garage to John Q. Hammons.

"This is the beginning of the end of the Care Bears," says Jericho.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tony Messenger agrees with conspiracy theorists, joins the peanut gallery

Yesterday, October 17, 2007, Tony Messenger wrote at his blog (see caption: "The Hammons deal ..."):

"So I ran into Mayor Tom Carlson over coffee yesterday and he was already preparing for whatever criticism might come his way over the deal announced between the city and John Q. Hammons over the new convention center hotel. Indeed, if you read the comments after the news story today on the topic, you'll see the conspiracy theorists are out in full force.*

Today, he wrote in an unsigned editorial (trust me, he wrote it...or if he wants to deny it, that's fine, the News Leader is welcome to start requiring their writers to sign "Our Voice" columns instead of providing an apron string for writers to hang onto as they hide behind the Gannett name as if they are the (editorial) legs of a mama a little boy peeks out from behind).

Messenger wrote today, October 18, 2007:

"The problem with the city's process is that it adds fuel to the fire to those critics who believe this was never an open competition from the beginning. If, in fact, the city's logic holds true that the TIF process had to be reopened because of major changes to the scope of the deal, then why isn't the process being reopened again? Now the deal has totally changed, with BKD entering into a private agreement to build its office building on property Hammons owns. So the proposals that were sought seeking both an office building and hotel no longer apply.

The lesson for the city is that process matters. The city sends mixed signals when on one hand it says "Hammons has paid his dues" — as city attorney Dan Wichmer recently stated in defending negotiations with the developer — and on the other hand argues that the process has been an open and fair competition.

Hammons has controlled the process from the beginning, not because he's done anything nefarious, but because he holds all the cards. Because of previous deals with the city, he holds the contract to manage the Expo Center. He owns the land surrounding the site. He is the landlord of the company looking to relocate. In a nutshell, none of the other developers had a chance.

If this process proves anything, it's the truth spoken by a couple of city officials at the most recent council meeting — this is, that the city is not very good at development.

The City Council should approve this deal because it moves downtown forward and improves the city's debt and budget situation. But this chapter in the city's history should also send a clear signal that it's time to leave development to the experts."

I'm wondering, these people Tony has called "the conspiracy theorists," are they kind of like the people Mayor Carlson called "the people from the peanut gallery?" And hasn't Tony, peering from behind the News Leader's legs, written pretty much what "the people from the peanut gallery, the conspiracy theorists," have been fussing about all along...ah, that's different?

Further, what about his advice of last week, when he wrote:

"Focus on the issues, people. Leave the name-calling to children on the playground."

Does identifying people as "the conspiracy theorists" qualify as name calling?

Tony, Tony, Tony, I warned you last week to take your own advice. Now, you've joined the patrons of "the peanut gallery." Now, you've gone and put your stamp of approval on what "the conspiracy theorists" have been saying all along, yet for some reason we are all to believe that it's "conspiratorial" when expressed by the common man (or a certain radio talk show host ) but valid and legitimate opinion when expressed by the Editorial Page Editor of the News-Leader? Very, very interesting.

When you wrote:

"If this process proves anything, it's the truth spoken by a couple of city officials at the most recent council meeting — this is, that the city is not very good at development."

and when you wrote:

"...this chapter in the city's history should also send a clear signal that it's time to leave development to the experts."

You are saying the same thing that others who have said city staff is incompetent when it comes to negotiating deals with developers have said...the only difference? You didn't put your name on it. You are the Editorial Page Editor of the city's leading newspaper as opposed to a "conspiracy theorist" or a person in "the peanut gallery." I'll also note that you are happy to report that "the city is not very good at development," when it comes from the mouths of "a couple of city officials at the most recent council meeting" but others who have offered the same opinion, instead of being worthy of a nod? Conspiracy theorists?

Now you are asking the questions that "the conspiracy theorists," and patrons of "the peanut gallery" have been asking and making the same statements they've been making all along (as highlighted above).

Sorry, I'll place my bet, any day of the week I'll bet on people from the peanut gallery who are willing to put their names behind their words and are willing to risk time, reputation and persecution over those who call names but then agree with them in unsigned "Our Voice" columns at the city's leading newspaper.

Now, Tony, in your next unsigned column would you mind asking the city if they made Hammon's competitors aware of Hammon's control over the process before they wasted their "real money, their time, money and effort," on a process in which Hammons held all the cards? At what point did the city know that BKD was not interested in sharing their offices in a multi-use facility? Before or after they insisted developers include them in their proposals? Before they strung other developers along or after?

Was it proper process to not inform the other developers that JQ Hammons owned exclusive rights to food and beverage sales at the expo center until after they had invested their real money, their time, money and effort on proposing a multi-use facility that required a tenant who wanted no part of the facility?

Could the city have strung the other developers along to make it APPEAR to the peanut gallery and conspiracy theorists that the process was open for bid, knowing full well that the other developers didn't have a chance because the chips were stacked against them?

Did the city take advantage of the other developers in order to negotiate a deal with Hammons, causing them to waste their real money, their time, money and effort in issuing proposals the city knew they couldn't possibly compete with Hammons to win? If so, will any of these developers be willing to invest that real money, time and effort on future proposals? Will they return to their home cities and talk with other developers from behind their hands about how the city of Springfield jerked them around, causing other developers to refrain from dealing with the city of Springfield?

Is this sort of dealing in the best interest of the community? Is the council making the best decisions on behalf of the peanut gallery?

And then, answer this question, humor me, what's the difference between a "conspiracy theorist," radio talk show host, blogger or citizen journalist and an Editorial Page Editor of the News Leader?

*all emphasis, mine.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mayor Carlson's victory dance...

...or the "peanut gallery" speech, uncut.

"There have been allegations made from some quarters in the community that somehow the process was rigged or fixed. Well, lemme tell you something, people that are well heeled, that have the money got involved in this and these are very sophisticated people and if they, believe me, they go through business all across the country, they've got places they can spend their money and do things and people that know the real skinny on stuff invested in this community and hung it out and do you think that HCW, that does business all across the United States, that Opus, that is considered one of the best developers in the United States, Mr. Hammons is in 48 states across the country, would have stuck through this if they thought the outcome was predetermined? Ask yourself, do these people that manage millions of dollars would they have bought into this process and hung with it if they thought the outcome was....(Note from Jacke: he either didn't finish this sentence or the last word was unintelligible on my tape)

Now, there are apparently some people in our community that know more about it than these major United States developers? Or at least they proposed it, they purport to, but the people that were spendin' their money stuck into this because they always thought they had a shot at winnin' and because of that and because this community, this city, the city government, gave specific instructions to keep the process fair and to follow the law, the people that have the wherewithall to know and understand that believed it and stuck with it and that's why this community is now looking at getting $7 million for something that they could have gotten a heck of a lot less for. That's why this community is now in the process of getting a first class hotel on a piece of land that was just raw grass and that's why this community now is looking at a potential to have a first class United States firm having its major office downtown and opening up more office space, because the process did have integrity to it and because the people that were betting their money stuck with it and I'll bet, any day of the week I'll bet on people that have got real money at risk, time, money, and effort to spend as opposed to the people from the peanut gallery and that's why, because those people knew and because we stuck to plan the rules and play in the game in a fair way that this community is going to end up with a win, win, win situation."

~Mayor Tom Carlson, October 16, 2007 at the City Council luncheon where the term sheet for J.Q. Hammons purchase of the former arena site and Jordan Valley car park was revealed.

Mayor Tom Carlson: King of the Peanut Gallery

If Mayor Carlson wonders why it seems like some people in the community don't have a lot of respect for him, I think I can give him a little hint.

Here's a short quote from the City Council luncheon meeting October 16 regarding the arena site:

"Any day of the week, I'll bet on people that have got real money at risk, time, money and effort to spend as opposed to the people from the peanut gallery." ~ Mayor Tom Carlson, October 16, 2007

I have no problem with Carlson betting "on people that have got real money at risk," they're very fortunate that they have "real money" (or government awarded, tax payer funded incentives) TO risk, seems like that's what it takes to get taken seriously by Carlson.

Not very many VOTERS in Springfield have got the kind of money it takes to compete with John Q. Hammons, HCW Evergreen, Opus or BC Development for the honor to spend millions of dollars on a piece of dried up grass with a garage, but I'd wager more than a few of those peanut gallery patrons cast a vote for the Mayor. It's nice to know that he wouldn't bet on any of those peons in the peanut gallery who don't have "real money." It's nice to know that he's so interested in input from the community he represents.

Apparently, since he doesn't plan to run for another term as Mayor he doesn't need to impress the "peanut gallery." If he ever did.

Friday, October 12, 2007

In response to Tony Messenger's "Can't we all just get along?"

It seems, to me, that Vincent David Jericho did nothing but break the news of the BC Development letter written by Richard Baier, the principal, and offer Becky Spence a platform to tell her side of the story. Because of very real past actions on the part of the city having to do with other developments that didn't turn out well, the trust level toward City government among some members of the community is not at a high point. Has Vince fed into that by discussing some issues that have come up that haven't been discussed anywhere else? Sure, I think so.

Turns out that Spence may not have been a credible source, this is a discredit to Spence but is it a discredit to Vince that he believed a citizen was telling him the truth and in public, and in an open forum we found out that it wasn't true that city government departments told BC Development it was a done deal?

I suppose the entire media could have been very, very quiet about what Spence had to say, not reported on it at all and then this wouldn't have been an issue? No, it was going to be an issue for the simple reason that BC Development's Richard Baier wrote that letter in the first place and the News-Leader ended up publishing that letter (because it was news) and the HCW Evergreen letter as well, both letters are public records and both letters are news. So, is it better that it all got purged in public and the people know what happened here or would it have been better had it been kept quiet, the BC Development letter left to sit and simmer in the imaginations of the public and Becky Spence to have never been exposed as less than credible, leaving room for gossip, speculation and suspicion?

Sarah Overstreet of the News-Leader fairly reported here:

"As Spence addressed the council and council members then asked her questions and made comments about them, some spectators in the audience started to grumble, and you could hear them talking to each other.

The meeting went on fairly peacefully, until Councilman Ralph Manley decided to issue a scolding."

Sarah went on to give the city's

"statute defining "decorum" in a city council meeting:

"No person shall make personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or otherwise disturb the order and decorum of any council meeting. The sergeant-at-arms, at the direction of the mayor, shall remove any person violating the provisions of this subsection (b)."

So, it is fair to ask that people follow the law, and people could have waited, though frustrated that night, to see what Vincent David Jericho had to say on the radio the next day, they could have waited to see what local bloggers and the News-Leader reported on it later and held their tongues during the Council meeting, but as for Tony Messenger's rant at his blog? It seems disingenuous, it seems he's talking out of both sides of his mouth when he wrote in his blog entry Can't we all just get along?:

"...The topic's been on my mind a lot this week after Monday's show at the city council where Becky Spence and Vincent David Jericho and various followers filled the council chambers and blasted council members and city staff with no grounds whatsoever. Turns out that Spence's allegations were and are totally unfounded, and the show that a group of citizens put on was nothing but a distraction from the real story, and that's what's so disappointing about such displays. There are real issues to discuss, issues that reasonable people will disagree about, but why can't we do so respectfully?"

Why do I say disingenuous and talking out of both sides of his mouth? Because not so long ago Tony wrote Good debates can sometimes get rowdy :

Roger Chance was the editor and publisher of a small town weekly newspaper that had been in his family for decades.

He drank Old Crow whiskey and Pepsi in a white styrofoam cup. You could tell what time of day it was by the whiff of Roger as he walked by. The more Old Crow, the later it was. Roger kept a bottle in his desk, another one in the press room, one in the darkroom, and others, I'm guessing, in hiding places I never found.

Roger is the kind of guy who would have enjoyed the Springfield City Council meeting last week.The council's been getting beaten up a fair amount lately, but Roger would say that's not a bad thing....

"...On Tuesday night, Roger would leave the offices of the Yuma Pioneer as I stayed behind to put the weekly newspaper to bed, leaving room for a council story — and a righteous editorial, if Roger felt, well, righteous. Roger would take his styrofoam cup with him, and walk the couple of blocks down Main Street to City Hall. And then the fun would begin.

As I hear it (remember, I was back at the office), Roger wouldn't so much take notes as he would get into arguments with various council members over the issues of the day. Sometimes he'd be downright belligerent. Then he'd come back to the office, tell me what happened — his version, at least — and direct me to write a story. Occasionally, he'd sit down at his manual Remington typewriter and pound out an indignant editorial, leaving me to guess how drunk he was when editing out the cuss words the next morning. Sometimes they stayed.

The council put up with this not because Roger bought his ink by the barrel, but because he cared. He was as invested as they were. A little fiery debate was good for the process...."

"...This is serious business," Carlson said, "not something like a ballgame where people cheer and boo."

Roger Chance would disagree. Not that the business is serious, but that cheering and booing is uncalled for. (For the record, I wasn't at the meeting, but unlike my days working for Roger, the wonders of technology allowed me to watch it on tape.)...

"...The best roads laid by government, in my book, are bumpy ones with lots of twists and turns. But we drive there together, like a big family squeezed into a station wagon going on a long summer vacation.

Sure, we'll fight and squirm and lash out at each other every now and then, but that's just part of the fun.

Of course, that might just be the whiskey talking."

Apparently, if you are a friend and collegue of Tony Messenger's your "rowdiness" at a Council meeting is to be treated with sympathy and sentimentality, one gets the impression that not only did Roger Chance, his editor and publisher, disagree but the flavor that Tony sprinkled this blog entry with appears to support Roger Chance's disagreement...now, if you are Vincent David Jericho, a local radio talk show host for which Tony seems to have lost no love, then City Council should be a more "serious" affair and the "rowdy" debate is less than acceptable.


Sarah made a fair point, Tony made a fair point as well, that is if one didn't know the history and hadn't seen him call proponents of tax credits for private or homeschooled children "liars" because they denied the scholarship monies offered by individuals and offset by tax credits were "vouchers." That is if one hadn't taken a ride on "the short bus" with him in the past. So, Tony...I don't know, tell me where you stand on this issue. I'm a bit confused.

My advice would be you take your own:

"Focus on the issues, people. Leave the name-calling to children on the playground."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hey, children, leave them ducks alone!

I went to the park today. I sat on a bench in the sunshine and watched the ducks and geese, that is after going down to the water's edge to stop an overgrown bully of a boy from chasing the ducks and geese into the water with two of his friends. They would yell loudly, laugh and run at the waterfowl who aren't used to people aggravating them in such a fashion, or so I thought....

...but I spent a little over an hour sitting on that hard concrete bench, which was warm from the sun, watching the ducks and watching a series of children torment them. Racing at them on their bicycles, yelling at them, heckling them. Charging at them on foot, once I witnessed a young teenage girl walking with two other young teenage girls SPIT at a duck.

The worst was watching the overgrown bully, a little later, with his two overgrown bully friends form a triangle and "corner" a duck, "we've got him cornered now," said the bully. The mother happened along at that moment and told them to leave the duck alone, the duck was frightened and unsure of which way to go. What I find scary is thinking about what would have become of that duck if there had been no adults around? What if there was no one there but those three rough boys? What if the mother hadn't come along and said, "leave that duck alone, you're scaring her?" It doesn't take much imagination.

In each case either I or another related or unrelated person told these children to stop chasing the ducks, so that's a good thing...but what is causing children to want to chase animals, heckle, spit on and scare them in the first place? I thought being gentle with animals was something that you taught your children as toddlers, what's with teenagers, 13 -15 years old engaging in such activity?

According to this article from the Humane Society:

"Animal cruelty committed by any member of a family, whether parent or child, often means child abuse occurs in that family...."

"...even innocent acts of cruelty should be addressed, it is particularly important to intervene when a child is insensitive to the obvious distress of an animal, repeats a harmful behavior, or derives pleasure from causing an animal pain...."

"...Humane education should be part of every school curriculum. The Youth Education Division of The HSUS publishes materials that help teachers establish a classroom theme of kindness, respect, and tolerance.

For subscription information, contact The HSUS's Youth Education Division, the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE), at 67 Norwich Essex TurnpikeEast Haddam, CT 06423-1736"

Every child I witnessed chasing ducks and geese today was told not to chase them but not WHY they shouldn't. Every child I witnessed chasing ducks and geese today returned later to chase them again AFTER being told not to chase them.

I have seen ducks with lame feet at that park before...

makes me wonder.

Just some thoughts on Councilman Ralph Manley's comments at the October 8 City Council meeting

I listened to my tape and then I went to City of Springfield, MO - TV23 and replayed the entire exchange from the point of Becky Spence addressing council till the end of the discussion including Ralph Manley.

When Manley said,

"The lack of respect that some of you have shown for this council to think that we'd do something underhanded or that's not...."

Now, at this point the crowd reacted. Why? Well, because it seemed, and I got this impression as well as others, that Manley was suggesting that the mere turnout of people to a City Council meeting was disrespectful of the council and could have seemed to say but let me be clear, he did NOT say, "how dare you question our integrity?" It is not unreasonable that people took it that way.

I will say that Manley had a view of the entire crowd that I did not have and that no one else, except other Council members, had. Manley could see the body language of the people, collectively and individually. Manley could see the expressions on people's faces. It is possible, and maybe even likely, that Manley saw some things in body language and expression, alone, that the rest of us could not have seen and that he perceived those expressions, that laughter and that body language as disrespectful. I don't personally think any contempt, right or wrong in this case, that might have been shown that night was directed at Council so much as City staff and particularly, Mary Lilly Smith but I ASSUME Manley perceived it as such and I am ASSUMING he took it personally. It is no more unreasonable that Mr. Manley took it that way than it is unreasonable that the crowd took it another way.

I wonder if it ever occurs to other people to put themselves in the other guy's shoes?

I am astonished that Becky Spence so adamantly declared that City staff in several different departments told BC Development that "it's a done deal," only to find out the next day that Baier would not support her position. Not only did she declare it but she then elaborated on it to Council, never once suggesting that she didn't know it to be fact.

There will be more to come out about this issue.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mark Twain on irreverence

"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its one sure defense." ~ Mark Twain

Some people today, after sitting through a contentious and some might even say "bawdy" City Council meeting last night, are going to suggest that citizens were wrong in calling out from the crowd and not following guidelines of mannerly decorum at the hallowed halls of City Council Chambers.

Considering that according to Councilman Ralph Manley the sheer presence of citizens coming to a Council meeting last night was "disrespectful" of the Council, I thought this might be a good time to share a few quotes from a master of irreverence...Mark Twain:

"...when you are in politics you are in a wasp’s nest with a short shirt-tail..."

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

"In my experience, only third-rate intelligence is sent to Legislatures to make laws, because the first-rate article will not leave important private interests go unwatched to go and serve the public."

"No one's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session."

"Wherefore being all of one mind, we do highly resolve that government of the grafted by the grafter for the grafter shall not perish from the earth."

"Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."

"The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all."

...and oops, one last quote, apply where needed:

"Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pictures of crying children whose mothers are being....

Joe Daues of KSPR News reported here:

Currently the government is launching a quiet war against illegal immigrants, and it’s becoming increasingly visible and more intense by the day.

"I think we're talking about something the American people have never seen before," said Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff.

Across the country, federal agents have been raiding businesses and homes in an unprecedented campaign targeting illegal immigrants." I think we've gotta show the public that we are serious about enforcing the laws," Chertoff said.

In just the last month, federal agents conducted work-site raids in seven U.S. cities, arresting nearly 200 undocumented workers. They rounded up almost 2,400 illegal immigrants who were previously ordered deported.

In the last week, 1,300 illegal immigrants were arrested in California, in one of the biggest sweeps in recent memory.
More that 50 workers at McDonalds restaurants were recently arrested in Nevada. That sparked protests in a frightened and frustrated immigrant community.*

But back on July 1 of this year, in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, shortly after the comprehensive immigration reform bill failed to pass, Chertoff said:

"...there's one thing we haven't been able to do. We haven't been able to require every employer to enter a system in which they check the work status of their employees and determine whether they're legal.

And without that, we don't really have the ability to enforce the law with respect to illegal work in this country in a way that's truly effective. And that would be the single greatest additional weapon we could use if we're serious about tackling this problem."*

Wallace pointed out that what came out of the debate on immigration reform was the recognition that the American people do not trust our government when it comes to enforcing the laws on illegal immigration. He asked Chertoff:

"...why not take the lesson from this failure and go for enforcement first, resubmit the president's agreement to spend $4.4 billion on new enforcement?

You say you don't have some tools when it comes to employer verification. Why not resubmit all of those and challenge the Democrats on enforcement first?"

Chertoff then tries to go into a rant but is cut off when he pulls the...:

"700 criminal cases against employers, raids involving thousands of people, unfortunate pictures of crying children. ..." "... whose mothers are being..."

...sympathy card.

Wallace finally pins him down to answering his original question. The rest of the exchange:

WALLACE:I don't mean to interrupt you. I mean, are you going to submit the $4.4 billion? Are you going to resubmit the tamper- proof card? Are you going to resubmit the employer verification or not?

CHERTOFF: I think we're going to say to the members of Congress who think they have a better way that they should produce legislation and pass legislation, which they have not done for the past two years.

They've tried enforcement only. That didn't pass. We've tried comprehensive. That stalled. I think it's now time for Congress, which has the power to legislate, to make a determination about how it wants to help us solve this problem.

WALLACE: But the government, the president, is not going to submit his own plan.

CHERTOFF: Well, we've submitted a budget. We submitted a comprehensive immigration plan. We agreed on $4.4 billion which was going to be secured by the payments made by the illegals so it would not bust the budget.

In the absence of that plan, I think now those who have a better way ought to come forward with that better way. We're still going to work on our part to enforce the border using the tools that we have.

I predicted in Something ventured, nothing gained: Status quo returns to Washington, that our representatives will return to status quo. Nothing substantial will be done to enforce our laws because the carrot that was being held out in the form of comprehensive immigration reform has been put back in the bushel basket and there's no longer any need to prove to the American people that the federal government takes it job to secure our borders seriously. I wrote:

To those representatives:

Don't blame the opponents of the bill, do your job of securing our borders and then come back to us in a couple of years. The "ball's" still in your court and the "carrot" can be replaced but not unless you prove you are willing to do your job and do it consistently and do it long term.

Sometime, since late June, early July, Chertoff has had a change of heart from claiming not to "really have the ability to enforce the law with respect to illegal work" to doing something about illegal immigrant workers, remember, he told Chris Wallace:

"...We haven't been able to require every employer to enter a system in which they check the work status of their employees and determine whether they're legal.

And without that, we don't really have the ability to enforce the law with respect to illegal work in this country in a way that's truly effective."*

Does this mean his ability to do so was always there but he simply didn't want to take action on enforcing the law?

July 1, I wrote, nothing much was being done to enforce our immigration laws until the proponents wanted to pass this comprehesive immigration reform bill. Wasn't it convenient that, all of a sudden, when there was the hope of passing this legislation, that there were numerous ICE raids of businesses employing illegal aliens across the country, that there was all this "tough" talk about securing our borders, that there was all this talk about pouring billions of dollars into homeland security coffers to take care of the illegal immigrant problem?

With the recent "Dream Act" proposal, now we're seeing another step up in ICE raids of businesses employing illegal aliens across the country. More convenience? My suspicious nature makes me wonder about whether these raids are undertaken in the hopes it will stir up further sympathy via:

"pictures of crying children. ..." "... whose mothers are being..."

Remember, Joe Daues, KSPR News :

"In the last week, 1,300 illegal immigrants were arrested in California, in one of the biggest sweeps in recent memory. More that 50 workers at McDonalds restaurants were recently arrested in Nevada. That sparked protests in a frightened and frustrated immigrant community.*

He continued:

"They're not criminals. They want to work. We want to do things right for them and for this country," said one protester. But some are criminals. For the first time since a May 22nd raid in the Ozarks,immigration officers are accounting for more than 100 suspected illegal aliens rounded up from George's Poultry plant in Butterfield, MO."*

October 7, Immigrants' dream nightmare for critics -- chicagotribune.com:

"...Rosa, 17, a soft-spoken honors student, worries every day about something the typical American teenager never has to think about: being deported because she is an undocumented immigrant."

Some days I feel overwhelmed by it—just hopeless," said the young woman who came to Chicago with her parents at age 7. "But other days I have a lot of hope that things will be OK, that everything will work out somehow."

Under new and controversial legislation championed by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Rosa's dreams—graduating near the top of her class and attending college—could change her status as an illegal immigrant....

...the Dream Act, or Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, the legislation would provide hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship if they were brought to the U.S. as children, are younger than 30, have graduated from a U.S. high school and either enroll in college or enlist in the military.

"This bill means a lot to me," Durbin said recently. "But it means even more to a lot of young people across this country."

Yet the Dream Act, which Democrats have vowed to bring to a full Senate vote in November, faces an uphill fight. It was withdrawn last month as an amendment to a defense bill in the wake of intense public criticism. It has even raised the ire of traditionally pro-immigration groups that view the military-service component of the bill as a means of strong-arming desperate young men and women into uniform at a risky time of war. And it has infuriated anti-amnesty groups that say it has no safeguards against fraud, rewards those who have broken the law and does nothing to address future immigration enforcement."*

Oh, for the love of "...unfortunate pictures of crying children."

No doubt some will think I'm heartless because I seem to show no sympathy for young Rosa or young crying children, but we either enforce our laws or we don't and my main point is that there seems to be a pattern here. When legislators want to pass immigration bills that offer amnesty to illegal immigrants there is a step up in enforcement of law. When there is a step up in law enforcement the stories of crying children being torn away from their parents comes into play and, like I said, my suspicious mind wanders and wonders about that convenient pattern that always emerges when there is an amnesty bill offered. Politics and emotional blackmail have a consistent tendency of rearing their heads. Rosa's situation is a sad one, but is rewarding criminal activity the remedy to the problem?

*All emphasis mine

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Oh, Good Golly, Molly ~ Go, Vince, Go!!!

October04_6:00am_What has been promised for 3 ½ years on KSGF

Thursday, October 04, 2007 - 13
*A Must Listen

What is the timeline behind the empty plot of land in Jordan Valley nect to the expo? What does a memo say that was addressed to the city from a developer who was in the running for this land?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Recommended readings 13, 14, 15

My friend at The Atlanta Jewish Times Online has written two reviews on the play "My Name Is Rachel Corrie." Rachel Corrie was the peace activist who was killed when an Israeli operated bulldozer ran her over while she tried to block access to the bulldozing of a Palestinian home. Her reviews are compelling, also included is a link to a couple of letters written in response to her review(s):

ON THE TOWN: Synchronicity Digs Up 'Rachel Corrie'

ON THE TOWN: 'Rachel Corrie': Artistic Triumph, Political Disaster

VOICES: Letters- September 21, 2007

IRS' Washington branch nosing around in Springfield, Missouri

Why would the IRS' office in Washington be interested in:

"Springfield Missouri hotel/motel tax?"

That's what they googled.

Here's what they read: The Heers Building ~ Council Bill 2007-267

They read 7 other pages, don't know what.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Recommended Reading 12

US Autism and Asperger Association newsletter special report 041807

"NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release - October 1, 2007
Urine Testing Confirms Autism is Mercury Poisoning"

Hat tip: C.J.