Monday, February 29, 2016

The Pete Rose of Shawnee: Councilman Mickey Sandifer: Dumb or Devious? Secretly a tool of the Polsinelli law firm? At taxpayer expense?? The $75,000 question...

Mickey Sandifer is the Pete Rose of Shawnee zoning.  He cheated the taxpayers by throwing the game.  Now at first blush, you might think Mickey Sandifer, Shawnee Ward 4, is the dumbest City Councilman in Johnson County.

Shawnee Councilman Sandifer, who allegedly threw the fight to benefit Polsinelli's client, Vantage Apartments
  After all, he just dragged Shawnee into a lawsuit over the Vantage Apartments, by willfully and blatantly and voluntarily violating the 8 Golden Factors in their rezoning effort-- to build on land the developers own.

But is Sandifer dumb?  Or worse yet, devious?  Paid on the side to throw the fight?  Did he blatantly give his reason for voting no--in order to trigger the lawsuit by the metro's biggest development whore attorneys, Polsinelli?  Knowing that, immediately following the vote, when he did not have to say ANYTHING, instead he deliberately revealed the only illegal answer for his vote?  Knowing, and coached by the development attorneys that this would not only cause the city to be sued, but also allow the zoning to go through?
The neighbors are just realizing Mickey Sandifer screwed them.
Thus allowing Sandifer to POSE as a man who supported the neighbors, but really to get the entire divided council off the hook by forcing the COURT to reverse the zoning disapproval.

That's my bet.

There are only 8 legitimate reasons to say no to zoning.  They are called the Golden Factors. Established following the Kansas Supreme Court case Golden v. Overland Park in 1978.  And by law, there is one glaring reason that city councils can NOT use in making zoning and rezoning decisions.  Namely, that the neighbors don't want it.    

Because: neighbors never want the land next to them to be anything but exactly the way it is, vacant ground.  Or, more of what the neighbors have.  In this case, more single family homes.  But property owners have rights to use their land.  And there are 8 ways to justify it, via planning and staff reports.

Without the Golden Factors, there would be no development.  There would be no schools or nursing homes or fire stations or apartments or retail.

The brilliance of the Kansas Supreme Court's ruling was: it specifies eight legitimate reasons.  And it contains the Secret Bullet: if any council member is dumb enough to step on the buzzer, and utter the words, "I just did it because the neighbors told me to say no", then the zoning goes through.

AND if, like Mickey Sandifer, they happen to be so stupid or naive or arrogant or narcissistic {or option five: all of the above} as to say it, during the meeting, to the smiling Cheshire cat face of a Polsinelli attorney, then the project gets their zoning approved anyway, but there's also a fine.  In this case, $75,000 is cited in the lawsuit against the taxpayers of Shawnee.  (Note, Councilman Sandifer is paid a salary of around $8000 a year.  In my opinion, he should voluntarily cover the fine.)

Now, I am not a fan of Polsinelli's development law firm, especially John Peterson (he of Meadowbrook and the Tutera properties in Prairie Village).  And now he has his legacy, his son the puppet, young Curt Peterson, handling the EASY cases.  

How easy was it for Curt to get the zoning?  Well, pretty easy!!!  Maybe that explains why Curt Peterson REPORTEDLY WINKED AT SANDIFER!

Before the meeting, possibly in a private phone call, untraceable like an email would be:
All the lawyer had to do was potentially speak to Mr. Low Self Esteem, shoot-from-the- lip Mickey Sandifer, and whisper:  "You be the hero, Mickey.  Just vote no, but right afterward, talk into the mike and say these words:  "I voted no because the neighbors didn't want this zoning."

And of course, Mickey Sandifer played right into Polsinelli/Peterson strategy.  That's how they earn $500 an hour.  Playing weaklings like violins.    I haven't reviewed Sandifer's campaign contribution reports.  I can only imagine he will have as much money as he ever needs to run for re-election.

Here is Sandifer's poison pill money quote:
"I'm put on the council to vote in favor of the residents that I represent.  The residents in the area didn't want it, so I voted the way I voted because I felt that's how I could best represent the people."

And with that, the neighbors were screwed, but left with the false impression that Sandifer was "on their side".  No.  He wasn't.  He threw the fight and screwed you forever.

Elected office is not a plebiscite.  (Mickey would never know that big word.  He quit high school 38 or so  years ago, SM North, quit macrame class and jewelry making class six weeks before graduation.  Jesus.  Couldn't tie a few knots in order to graduate, and go to work for Daddy, driving Daddy's Explorer around the family trash business site,  the rest of his life.  He just got his GED only after I suggested he do it so he could "make a difference in this town".  After which he ran against me, by lying that I wanted to widen 75th St, which of course I did not. )

A Lesson in What it Means to be an Elected Official, 
You Take an Oath to Follow the Laws of Ks:
So elected office means you go to the meetings and read the reports and know the damn LAW.  That is your oath.  And along the way, you are coached, in executive sessions, by your city attorney, on exactly how to NOT break the law.  You are not a kneejerk do-what-a-dozen-neighbors-tell you, because they do not always know the law.  They just want what they want.

If America's cities were plebiscites, we could just install little voting apps on everyone's home computer or cellphone...and every Monday, homeowner could vote on every issue, even if they were uninformed.  Even if that vote would cost your fellow taxpayers $75,000 in fines.

Now Mickey Sandifer tried, once again, to be the Big Man.  (He tried it earlier, during the Deffenbaugh zoning when as a Planning Commissioner he went around in Daddy's truck and meddled as an unrequested 'negotiator' with those neighbors.)

This time, Sandifer just screwed all the taxpayers, including the neighbors he claimed to support, out of $75,000 AND the zoning.

And of all places.  Because that Golden case, in Overland Park, was triggered by a case before Shawnee's former City Attorney, the great and very wise Marvin Rainey.  (Father of Shawnee's current city attorney, Marvin's son, Ellis Rainey.)  Marvin used to be the mayor of OP.  AND JoCo's first Election Commissioner.  So when I was on the Council, trust me, we were coached all about the Golden Factors.

Shame on Mickey Sandifer.  Always a  know it all, always a wanna be.

I hope our local paper, the Shawnee Dispatch figures this out and reports on it.  Soon.  They should have spotted it when I did: the moment Sandifer VOLUNTEERED his illegal reason.  Instead, they waited until Curt Peterson filed the inevitable lawsuit last week.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Is that a pencil in your pocket or are you just glad to see me? How Graphene will change your world and lighten your purse or pocket.

There's a new next big thing.  Graphene.  Get ready to throw away your laptops, I-Pods and cell phones.  They will be as obsolete as 8 track tape, 78 recordings and cassettes in a very short while.  
From University of Manchester

OK, guys and gals--tell me a few things:  First: How do I invest in this?  
Second:  And should I?  Or am I impossibly late to this party???

(I did love the trailer for the upcoming Sally Fields movie, "Doris", where she asks a roomful of GenX hipsters who want her "digits" eg phone number, do they have a pencil.  And they tell her, "Nobody uses pencils any more."  Ha.  Those kids obviously do not golf.  And just maybe the late Sally Fields, as Doris, will have the last laugh.)

And third: Not to put too fine a point on it, (pun intended), but exactly how might you develop careers or new opportunities for yourselves, in this industry?

Life is moving pretty fast here in my world.  First we lost Pluto.  It was undeclared a planet.  By fiat from scientists.

So, with an eye to finality, I rushed to rip that page about Pluto, the Ninth Planet, out of my Encyclopedia Brittanica.

But then.. Oy veh.  A month ago, some smarter more unstoppable scientists with OCD and hoarding tendencies discovered a replacement ninth planet.  30,000 years away, sight unseen.  But it made the cut.  Which is a good thing, right?  Cut and paste, baby.  Cut. And. Paste.

Thank God for Scotch tape.  And my Grandma's pinking shears....I could have used a photo of a regular Scotch tape dispenser, but since many readers find me via, I thought I'd emulate his sexy spacer technique.  Min is so lame.  I know.  But it's an homage.  A start.

The coolest thing to me about graphene is that carbon is the 6th most abundant element on Earth.  I recently saw a re-airing of Lesley Stahl's alarming story about "rare earth minerals", being found mostly in China.  So this would possibly  keep us competitive if we can avoid our reliance on "rare earth".

I know we have some here in the US as well, but digging it out is as crazy as fracking.  

I am sure Donald Trump will be all over graphene, after he sweeps Super Tuesday.  We're not just gonna built a well.  And put a 35% trade tariff on all things Chinese.  Now we're gonna cut them out of the cell phone bidness.

And to help me remember the name, and do my little part to promote it to the world, raising our global consciousness of the next new thing, from now on, when I dine at a restaurant on the Plaza or at Urban Table, where they take one's name and call you for a table, I'm just going to CALL MYSELF GRAPHENE!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Read it here first: Obama takes Supreme Court seat, doesn't resign till he is confirmed. Biden becomes Prez; runs for reelection; Hillary is out.

You are reading this prediction and advice here first, breaking news from the heart of America, Shawnee Ks. at 8:41pm Sat. Feb. 13, 2016:

If he's smart, President Obama nominates himself, immediately, to be ratified by the US Senate to replace the late (and still lukewarm) Justice Antonin Scalia.

He does this because: he is young, needs something to do the rest of his life, and because he can.  Come on, read the list that USA Today just posted, (end of this post) of 10 other possibles.  They are virtual nobodies.

Appointing any of them is a recipe for disaster.  It invites a frozen Senate, waiting out the election.

The only way to ram thru an appointment and confirmation is for Obama to nominate himself.

Obama would not resign until the Senate confirms him.  Vice President Joe Biden would then automatically become the President.  He would also go to the Democratic convention this summer, and seek his first FULL term.

Biden's calculus has changed.  He was way behind, in the process--when he chose not to file originally.  What a difference a day makes...

The Senate would approve Obama because even the Republicans would prefer Joe Biden to Hillary Clinton.  And the Dems would confirm Obama because he's qualified (he was a Constitutional law professor before he became President.)  Whether you like him or not (and I don't) he does have the resume and more importantly--think about it.  count the votes.  Obama can twist arms on any number of issues to ensure he has the votes...and gets confirmed this summer.

The losers would be Hillary...and Bernie Sanders.  Now Hillary MIGHT accept being Vice President, figuring that Biden might die in office.  Or she'd just go home and be a grandma.

The Democratic Party got a big win today with the death of Scalia.  Nobody saw that coming.  They had been campaigning on the assumption that up to three justices might be expected to die in the next eight years, AFTER the Presidential election.  But Scalia was not on that list of justices who were older and in frail health.  He died in his sleep. Of natural causes, during a hunting trip.

Tho they have hunted together, previously, former Vice President Dick Cheney was nowhere near Scalia on this trip!!!

Had he been able to make a choice, I'm betting that as a VERY conservative Republican, the late Justice Scalia would not have chosen Feb. 13th to take the exit lane while the Democratic President could name the nominees to replace him.

No sitting President has ever used this self-nominated strategy, but it's been discussed.  And hey, there's always a first time.  I believe that at times, a sitting President has sent three names to the Senate for vetting and confirmation.  Now wouldn't it be a hoot if those three names were:

In basketball that's called a three-pointer.  Or a slam dunk.

Here's the USA list of Ten Nobodies:
WASHINGTON — Who could replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia if Republicans don't block all of President Obama's nominees, as appears likely? Here are 10 possibilities:
Sri SrinivasanThe 48-year-old federal appeals court judge was confirmed unanimously in 2013 for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — a traditional stepping-stone to the Supreme Court. He would be the court's first Indian-American justice.
Patricia MillettSrinivasan's 52-year-old colleague on the D.C. Circuit is popular in both parties and is frequently mentioned as a possible candidate. She argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court as an advocate.
Merrick GarlandAt 63, Garland is older than most nominees, since presidents want their choices to stick around for decades on the bench. He is a moderate who serves as chief judge on the D.C. Circuit court and could be a compromise choice.
Kamala Harris: California's attorney general, 51, could be another leading candidate. She has the added luster of holding political office, a life experience that is sorely lacking on the Supreme Court. She's currently running for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Deval PatrickThe former governor of Massachusetts, 59, is a close friend of the president who served in the Justice Department during President Bill Clinton's administration.
Amy KlobucharIf the Senate would be less inclined to block one of its own, the senior senator from Minnesota, 55, might be someone Obama would consider.
Sheldon Whitehouse: See "Senate" above. Whitehouse, 60, the junior senator from Rhode Island, is a former attorney general of Rhode Island and U.S. attorney with strong credentials.
Goodwin LiuHe was Obama's choice for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in 2010, but Republicans blocked his nomination, making him a less likely choice now. At 45, he sits on the California Supreme Court.
Paul WatfordA judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Watford, 48, is another Obama nominee with a potentially stellar future.
Jane KellyShe is a 51-year-old judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit who was a career public defender. From Iowa, she has enjoyed the prior support of Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee.
More on the death of Justice Scalia:
For a related story, about the effect of Scalia's untimely death, and the new likelihood that Missouri's Justice Clarence Thomas will have to actually write some dissenting opinions, see