Old Drum

Commentary on Warrensburg, Johnson County and Missouri issues from a Libertarian perspective. View my earlier commentary at www.olddrum.net.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Our Confusing Laws

In an earlier post (Back Door Zoning), I reported that Rep. Shannon Cooper's HB1976 would allow zoning without a vote of the people. He called me up and said that wasn't true. So I did some more research.

Rep. Cooper's bill only mentions a vote of the people in conjunction with planning initiated by a petition. His bill creates a group of new sections (64.1000 to 64.1042) in the Missouri Revised Statutes. However, the bill does not repeal any existing sections, such as 64.530 which requires a vote for any planning or zoning. His bill appears to provide a lot more detail than does existing law on what a county planning commission may do. Also, current law allows planning/zoning commission members to be appointed rather than elected (which I think is a change from what existed back in 1997, when we fought the issue here).

I apologize to Rep. Cooper (and the other sponsors) if I misrepresented his position. However, it's pretty easy to see why I read the bill as I did. Here's what the key part says:

64.1006. 1. A planning commission may be established by the procedures provided in subsection 2 or 3 of this section.

2. Any county in this state may make, adopt, amend, and carry out a county plan and any county commission may establish and appoint a planning commission with the powers and duties as set forth in sections 64.1000 to 64.1042.

3. Any group of registered voters from any county not having a planning commission may circulate a petition for the formation of a planning commission.
(this part goes on to give details and require a vote to set up a planning commission).

Our legislators should recognize that, like eminent domain, planning and zoning is an emotional property rights issue out here in the countryside. I'd suggest clarifying this bill before it goes any further to make it absolutely clear that a a public vote is required if a county commission initiates zoning under para 64-1002 described above. Even if Rep. Cooper and the other rural sponsors don't intend that planning & zoning be shoved down our throats, many supporters of P&Z do.

In Liberty

Friday, April 21, 2006

Back Door Zoning

Shame on you, Shannon Cooper. You've sponsored a bill that will allow counties to shove planning and zoning down their citizens' throats, without a vote of the people. Instead of convincing a majority of the voters in a county that they need zoning, all that would be needed would be 2 out of 3 county commissioners.

Thanks to the Missouri Farm Bureau, I've learned that HB1976, sponsored by Shannon Cooper (R-120, Clinton - also southern Johnson County), actually sneaks in this egregious violation of our right to at least have a say on whether or not some appointed (yes, appointed, not elected) officials control how we use our property. Cosponsors include Rep Todd Smith (R-118, Sedalia), Jim Avery (R-95, Crestwood), Brian Yates (R-56, Lee's Summit), Charles Schlottach (R-111, Owensville), Steve Hunter (R-127, Joplin), Michael Parson (R-133, Bolivar), Ron Richard (R-129, Joplin), Vicki Schneider (R-17, O'Fallon), Kenneth Jones (R-117, California), Tom Dempsey (R-18, St. Charles), Mike Sutherland (R-99, Warrenton), Sally Faith (R-15, St. Charles), Gary Dusenberg (R-54, Blue Springs) and Rodney Schad (R-115, Versailles).

Why would they want to take the power to decide from the people? Why would the Committee on Local Government vote it "Do Pass?" Why do the Republicans want to put property control decisions in the hands of an appointed elite? I don't know, but I do know what citizens of Johnson County should do - tell our State Representative(s) and Senator that WE WANT A SAY!

In Liberty

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Aquila Rewards Failure

I have a few hundred shares of Aquila, the electric company for Warrensburg and much of western Missouri. They'v ebeen in financial trouble for some time, because their leadership tried to get into the energy trading business. Sinc that collapsed, they'v ebeen busy selling off assets to pay their debts. To top that off, they're under court order to dismantle a peaking power plant they built without regard to Cass County regulations.

One of the key people in this despoiling of a once-dependable company (and its stock) is its current head honcho, Richard Green. What's infuriating is that the Aquila Boar dof Driectors keeps rewarding him for his misfeasance, with bonuses for selling off assets and most recently a fancy enhanced pension plan.

I just got my proxy notice and passed on my intruction to withhold a vote for Green as a corporate director. If enough of us do that, will Aquila get the hint? I doubt it.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Fair Tax worth a look

Tax time again - parking will be scarce by the Post Office.

Are you tired of spending big bucks to have someone prepare your income tax - and then not being quite sure that it's correct? Tired of not getting a big hunk of your paycheck because it's being withheld for "taxes"? Tired of worryinmg about audits, interest and penalties? As an employer, do you hate filling out all those forms to withhold those taxes? Do you hate exposing your private financial life to the government? Well, there's an answer on the table. It's called the Fair Tax.

There's a very good article on the Fair Tax in DigitalBurg.com. Take a look at it.

In Liberty

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Comments on a Brand

I read the DSJ's article on Scott Crist's presentation to the Chamber luncheon. He adressedthe people who say, "Huh?" when they see the brand, wondering what it means. Part of his comments related to other cities whose slogans he finds obscure. Now, I always thought that a slogan should take off on something a city is already known for; let's see how a couple of hte "obscure" ones he mentioned do that:

"Cleveland Rocks" - Cleveland, OH, is the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which I understand is a significant tourist attraction. The slogan itself says that the city is a young, vibrant place with lots to do.

"Rare, Well Done" - Omaha, NE, is associated with steaks and the beef industry, and the slogan builds on that while, saying (I guess) that it's hard to find a city that does things so well.

"Keep Austin Weird" - This slogan associated with Austin, TX, puzzled me, so I Googled up Austin TX. It looks to me like one of their real slogans is "Go live in Austin" - a clever play, since the CVB's logo says "Austin - Live Music Capital of the World" (or maybe that's the logo/slogan).

Well, we're stuck with "Made Fresh Daily" which has no natural association with the Burg. I hope that their marketing plan makes something happen with it, because I really do want to see Warrensburg succeed.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Power of Incumbency

Local election results again prove the power of incumbency and name recognition. I would point out, though, that getting 2/3 of the vote should not be viewed by the incumbent as a ratification of the Hawthorne TDD deal. The margin came against an unknown newcomer and the incumbent's name is on the radio and in the paper every day (from her business, not her political ads).

Even though it appears that the State Legislature's eminent domain "reform" movement will kowtow to the development interests with a watered-down bill, the issue of property rights is NOT going to go away.

In Liberty

Monday, April 03, 2006

Election Tomorrow

Tomorrow Warrensburg voters will decide whether to keep the incumbent councilperson or to replace her with a newcomer to local politics. Please look at whatever information is available, see which one reflects your opinions on such issues as the Wal-Mart tax, and vote accordingly.

In Liberty