Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thanks to Shawnee Mission Post/Jay Senter's reporting, ACLU spanks SM School Board's Three Monkeys policy as violation of 1st Amendment.

Today, Doug Bonney, Chief Counsel and Legal Director of the ACLU of Kansas challenged Sara Goodburn, President of the Shawnee Mission School District for violating the First Amendment in suppressing parents from speaking at a fake Open Forum meeting earlier this month.
Speak no evil.  Ignore public input.  Disallow First Amendment.  And make the public GUESS what you think, so you can get re-elected without ever revealing how you voted in those executive sessions.  The SMSD school board puts 98% of all votes on their consent agenda.  So how would you know for whom to vote???
Last month, the SM School District secretly (like 98% of everything they do) passed new rules requiring patrons to:
a. WRITE the Superintendent, first about any issue BEFORE attending a school board meeting
b.  Not mention names of district employees
c.  The "Onesie Rule": Not speak in support of any issue that anyone else mentioned earlier in the
      in-name-only Open Forum
d.  Wait patiently by their mailbox !!!--for a reply that might or might NOT come,
     weeks after said Open Forum.  Seriously.  Might come when you win the Readers Digest
     Sweepstakes.

The All-for-One True Blue Blood Oath
The school board also seemingly took a blood oath and foresook their integrity, revising their Code of Ethics, (LOL) never to disagree in public with any board position.  Especially if they disagreed.

Having watched the Trump administration try this tactic, sending generals out to back up crazy actions, it makes me wonder, how's that working for ya?

Our SMSD Three Monkeys!  New school board president Sara Goodburn--the paper waving scolder of parents making comments--plus former prez Deb Zila, cozied up to departing Superintendent Jim Hinson.   Photo by Shawnee Mission Post.com 


Huge praise goes to Jay Senter, publisher of an unrelated blog, Shawnee Mission Post, which has dogged this story ever since they revealed the conflict of interest story when Deb Zila, the school board member who was prez when she hired her 'school crush', Jim Hinson, as Superintendent.  And then Mommy Deb snuck through on a consent agenda the CBIZ contract for insurance benefits admin.  Her daughter Mallory, former Nordstrom customer service gal, administers the benefits plan for our school district!  And Mom Deb didn't think she needed to pull that off consent agenda--and ABSTAIN!

Well, now Hinson has suddenly resigned--before we figger out how to get the Ks. Legislature to fund us so schools re-open in August.

Cheers to the ACLU of Kansas for writing Sara Goodburn and 'splaining the First Amendment to her.  (She might have missed that chapter in history class.)  Clearly, the SM School Board has spent too much time emulating the KCMO City Council!  Suppressing speech, voter turnout, public information, etc.

Sara Goodburn scolded a parent for asking about Deb Zila's failure to abstain, and her conflict of interest on the CBIZ contract.  A totally valid point.  And, even with the new gag order, Zila is NOT an employee of the district, so the Open Forum rule didn't even apply to her.  (Goodburn admitted that later.)

One clever parent threaded the needle at the last meeting asking pointedly, without naming any names:
1.  "Will the contract for the NEXT SMSD superintendent have a moral turpitude clause?"

2.  "Is anyone on this board currently having an inappropriate relationship with any district employee?"

The board and the audience gasped audibly.  Stunned silence.  Absolutely NO response!  The dead elephant in the middle of the room cinched up his necktie, and stared at his shoes during the awkward silence, till Sara Goodburn asked for another patron to approach the mike.

Question: Do we think the district, or the superintendent, before he leaves this month, will respond in writing????  Or maybe on his way out the door, he will start tweeting...

---
Here are excerpts from Doug Bonney's great ACLU letter:
“…I write to emphasize that people have a well-established First Amendment right to criticize both elected officials and other public servants,” Bonney wrote. “The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment reflects ‘a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.’ New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 271 (1964). ‘Criticism of their official conduct does not lose its constitutional protection merely because it is effective criticism and hence diminishes their official reputations.’ Id. at 273.”
Bonney went on to suggest that the policy, as currently written, would prohibit both public criticism of the district’s superintendent, who is vested with great authority over decisions about the district’s position on matters of public policy, as well as praise of current teachers or building principals:
“By prohibiting commenters from discussing ‘matters related to a specific student or employee,’ the Board’s current guidelines are overbroad and inconsistent with the First Amendment. Specifically, the guidelines prohibit citizens from making public comments — whether good or bad — about the stewardship of school employees who have key responsibilities for carrying out the public functions of the school district. For example, the guidelines would prohibit a parent from criticizing Superintendent Hinson by name for his public statements about the on-going legislative and public debate over school funding in Kansas. Similarly, the guidelines would prohibit a parent from extolling the selfless dedication of a particular teacher or principal in the district who has made extraordinary efforts to help immigrant students. Because such comments fall squarely within the people’s First Amendment right to comment on stewardship of public officials, the Board’s current guidelines for the Open Forum agenda item are unconstitutional.”

Read Doug Bonney's ACLU letter to SMSD in full, here.
See related post about SMSD in RH column.

also, read www.kcmopost.com for other news that will make you so glad you live in Kansas.





Sunday, May 21, 2017

KCMO suckers!!! Giving KCI away like a bride's dowry to Burns & Mac--Despite most of their employees living in Joco. And one puny KCMO storage barn paying property taxes.

Thanks to Chuck Palah, the best researcher I've ever found, for this undeniable statement of the facts.

Mayor Sly James is giving away KCI terminal in a no-bid contract to the bride,
Burns & Mac--as a form of dowry.
Even tho Burns & Mac owns only a car barn in KCMO.
And 85% of her employees live outside of KCMO,
mostly in Joco.
Conspicuously absent from the tax rolls?  Their headquarters building, with the recent expansion completed, after KCMO granted them blight designation, millions in tax breaks, partial earnings tax exemption, all while the city financed the project for them.

So where is it?  Lost in the fog at KCI???

In the wake of Burns and McDonnell's recent surprise announcement, requesting to be given a no-bid billion(+) dollar airport terminal construction contract,  the public is being told by Mayor James, City Manager Troy Schulte, CEO Ray Kowalik, and most of our local media, that Burns and McDonnell is an outstanding  exemplary member of the Kansas City Missouri community.  But is that really true?  Let's take a look, because everyone else seems to quickly accept whatever they're told without question. 



First, just a quick refresher on Burns and McDonnell.  They are a privately-held, employee-owned, wealthy Kansas City-based engineering, architecture and construction firm, headquartered at 9400 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64114.  For 2015, Burns and McDonnell reported $2.6 billion in total revenue.  Average compensation for the most common salaried job (electrical engineer) is $136,955.  Their workforce is comprised of 84-percent White Caucasian, 6-percent Asian, 5-percent Latino, and 4-percent Black.  Women hold 24-percent of positions. 

The board of directors is composed entirely of White males.



Now, let's go to the  website for JACKSON COUNTY MISSOURI and see if Burns and McDonnell pays taxes on real estate/personal property. 


Below, you'll see all the listings on the site for Burns and McDonnell, and remember that their headquarters is 9400 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64114:

BURNS & MCDONNELL ENGINEERING CO INC
404 W 90TH ST, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
12/16/2016 00:00
19,227.56
This is the only real estate listing found for Burns and McDonnell.  This is a parking lot/storage facility, several blocks from their headquarters, where they keep vehicles/trailers.
 --------
BURNS & MCDONNELL ENGINEERING COMPANY IN
10450 HOLMES RD, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
Inactive account
Burns and McDonnell occupied 3 floors of this building.
 --------
BURNS AND MC DONNELL
404 W 90TH ST, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
No activity on this listing since 2015.
 ------
BURNS & MCDONNELL ENG CO INC
9201 STATE LINE RD, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
Inactive account
 ------
BURNS & MCDONNELL ENGINEERING CO INC
9221 WARD PKWY STE 300, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
Listed as an active account, but no values found.
 ------
BURNS & MCDONNELL ENGINEERING COMPANY INC
4800 MARTHA TRUMAN RD, GRANDVIEW, MO 64030
11/30/2016 00:00
4,921.66
Listed as a MACR 7-year personal property for tax depreciation purposes.
 ------
BURNS & MCDONNELL ENGINEERING COMPANY IN
404 W 90TH ST, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
11/30/2016 00:00
5,032.92
Personal property
 ------
BURNS & MCDONNELL ENG CO INC
10450 HOLMES RD, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
11/30/2016 00:00
23,763.27
Personal property for the 3 floors of the building which they occupied.
 ------
BURNS & MCDONNELL ENG CO INC
9201 STATE LINE RD, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
11/30/2016 00:00
72,971.53
Personal property
 ------
BURNS & MCDONNELL ENG CO INC
9300 WARD PKWY, KANSAS CITY, MO 64114
11/30/2016 00:00
626,618.61
For the personal property listed below.
34 Chevrolet Impalas, 2 boats with motors, 3 flatbed trailers, 12 other trailers, 13 Chevrolet truck/SUV, 1 Ford Transit, 142 GMC truck/SUV, 1 Lincoln MKT SUV
 ------
BURNS & MCDONNELL ENG CO INC
UNKNOWN, UNKNOWN, MO
Listed as an active account, but no values found.
 ------
So, you can see that Burns and McDonnell pay a modest amount of taxes on personal property (vehicle fleet, trailers, boats, furniture, office equipment, etc.) held in all the buildings they occupy, yet only have one real estate holding at 404 W. 90th KCMO 64114.  You can Google this address to view their modest non-descript vehicle storage facility.
Conspicuously absent is their headquarters building, with the recent expansion completed, after KCMO granted them blight designation, millions in tax breaks, partial earnings tax exemption, all while the city financed the project for them.

Next, let's see where the Burns and McDonnell leadership team reside.  Do you think they live within KCMO?  Based on a sampling of several hundred Burns and McDonnell employees who contributed to Mayor James reelection campaign during a single quarterly reporting period, we know that approximately 85-percent or more of their  employees do not reside within KCMO.  And if you don't reside in KCMO, then you don't pay property taxes/buy groceries/merchandise in KCMO, and don't send your children to school in KCMO.

Ray Kowalik, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, lives in Lee's Summit, MO.
David Yeamans, Director and President of Aviation & Facilities Division, lives in Leawood, KS.
John Nobles, Director and President of Process & Industrial Division, lives in Leawood, KS.
Paul Fischer, Vice President and Director, lives in Overland Park, KS.
John Olander, Vice President and Director, lives in Leawood, KS.
Dave Ruf Jr., Chairman Emeritus, lives in Overland Park, KS.
Greg Graves, recently retired CEO, lives in Stilwell, KS.

BOTTOM LINE?
After doing this cursory review on Burns and McDonnell, it seems rather apparent that they leverage their position as a large employer to extract maximum benefits from the city, while simultaneously choosing to grow and contribute to the economic vitality of the non-KC Missouri suburbs and state of Kansas.

Do you think KCMO should grant an exclusive no-bid billion(+) dollar construction project to a company whose management team are non-residents?  Have you ever wondered why Mayor James, Troy Schulte, and many on the KCMO Council seek to impress and enrich non-residents?  Follow the money-trail and your questions will be answered.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sly James' 123GO Bond game--rather than his 23Skidoo out of KCMO/"Little Detroit" by copying Senator Pat Roberts LaZBoy strategy

Sly, I am so sorry I couldn't airlift you immediately out of KCMO to WDC for your 23Skidoo exit strategy.  Good luck peddling your craycray 123GOBond issue!  If you can con the public into believing that NON-MANDATED EASTER BUNNY WISH LIST, you'd be such an asset to the nation.  Now whatever you do, delete this Instagram!


KCMO Mayor Sly James RENTS, and resides in tony Union Hill at 108 E 30th St., a few houses east of Walnut--a block and a half east of Main. Where the yard sign and his bodyguard are on the street. That's open record.

He does not own any home in KCMO --he sold Mannheim, and relocated from a rental north of the river.  Therefore, ipso facto, SLY JAMES DOES NOT PAY PROPERTY TAX!
You may recall he left his wife--and his kids' cars--listed on Mannheim Rd personal property--when he sold that house and encamped to rent in the Northland.  But sloppy Joe--I mean Sly--then failed to pay his personal property taxes on time.  That should have been grounds for the Election Board to refuse to allow him to run for re-election.  But he was running against The Colonel--a homeless man.  (never reported by Micheal Mahoney or the STAR.) And annoying Clay Chastain, who rents a room here from his sister in Westport--but lives and drives and votes in West Virginia.  So the Election Board let that SLYde.
Currently in Jackson County, one in ten homes are already abandoned!!!!  No property taxes paid there!
Sly's exit strategy out of Little Detroit--aka KCMO--got busted when Hillary ran a dreadful campaign, barking like a pit bull, and lost the Presidency. (I used to like her, and once wrote her 7 checks, so back off.) Sly's plan was: Hillary appoints Cleaver to a post, then Sly takes Cleaver's unexpired seat--requires just the votes of the local Democratic Central Committee--those nameless loyal precinct committeemen and women. Sly tells his landlord, do like Senator Pat Roberts does in western Kansas--rent me a back bedroom or just this Union Hill basement-- with a LaZBoy recliner for when I circle back to gladhand.

But instead of 23 Skidoo, now he's peddling 123GO.
Like Sen. Pat Roberts (R)KS, who rents a back bedroom from a landlord in his home district, Mayor Sly James hopes to one day replace Congressman Cleaver and move to Washington DC.  James would have the taxpayers buy him a LaZBoy recliner in the townhome he currently rents on Union Hill, 108 E 30th St.  Mayor Sly James does not pay property taxes.  Yet his boondoggle 123GO Bond issue would raise property taxes in KCMO for 40 years.  $100 a month compounding annually.  (per the CITY MANAGER, WHO TOLD DAVE HELLING THAT GLORIOSO'S NINE BROCHURES ARE FULL OF FALSE INFORMATION AND PROMISES.)    For a wishlist where not one puppy kennel, not one sidewalk or bridge is mandated.  Just a Hallmark card of "wouldn't this be nice..."


For more information and news, log onto www.kcmopost.com

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shawnee Mission School District allows nepotism hires--and overcharges $1054 upfront if you dare to request Open Records search

Here's to my esteemed and finally emboldened leader friends at the news reporting website, www.ShawneeMissionPost.com!  Generally they just kiss the asses in power.  But FINALLY, THEY TOOK A STAND.  And got punished for daring to report the news.

They outed the Shawnee Mission School District for allowing the hire of the daughter of one of their school board members, Deb Zila.

Photo from SMPost.com: Deb Zila, the smug silent Mom who approved the contract with CBIZ to be
benefits MANAGER for the school district where she was elected to serve on the board!!
Hey, Deb.  Save us all the trouble of  a KORA records search--divulge the answers for FREE! 
Meet Mallory Zila.  Fresh from KState, until last April, when this former Nordstrom employee became a highly paid Employee Benefits Manager for CBIZ.  She manages insurance and benefits for SM School District,
where Mommy Deb Zila serves as SM South area's elected school board member!
Note: this ruffled grey sweatshirt is NOT from Ivanka Trump.


And then, when the website made a KORA request (Kansas Open Records Act) Shawnee Mission Post was gobsmacked to be told they were slugged with a preposterous $1000 downpayment demand!!!

Here's that link:
https://shawneemissionpost.com/2017/03/13/shawnee-mission-school-district-asks-for-1000-prepayment-in-order-to-comply-with-open-records-requests-61471

Note that the rate for searching and copying is $56 per hour, when the district publishes a rate of $30 to respond to KORA requests.  But working at the copier at SMSD comes with a benefit: all the Koolaid you can drink.

Today Shawnee Mission Post ran a survey on their web site.  Asking inoccuously:  "Are you satisfied with the level of transparency of the Shawnee Mission School District?"  

Knowing the facts, what fool would answer "yes"??  None.  But that doesn't count the district's horde of employment slaves...and Facebook and LinkedIn friends of Mallory and Deb Zila.!!
Well, so far the tally is 65 yes, 458 no. I thus conclude that the staff of the Shawnee Mission School District logged on after drinking their morning Koolaid, to vote yes. Couple that with the new policy of charging a deposit of a preposterous $1000 for Open Meetings requests for documents, which will likely be overturned as burdensome and thus illegal. Shame on overpaid Jim Hinson and the school board that condones this crap. 
The SM Schools should be merged with Blue Valley School District, and Olathe and Desoto. Fire some administrators, consolidate and save the taxpayers money. Then the Mom on the board, Mrs.Deb Zila, should submit the answers now, for free--and then resign based on conflict of interest.  Did she abstain from a line item on a SMSD board consent agenda that authorized her daughter's company's employment contract?  That's how these things sneak through. 
And folks wonder why the Ks. Legislature wants to cut down on wasteful taxpayer subsidies of public schools. We all have the governance we are willing to put up with. And yes, I know that's a dangling participle...I'm from Iowa, a "state of minds"... 
Note: if you like being informed about government transgressions and consumer issues, check regularly with www.jocopost.com and www.kcmopost.com