I stand to address the Commission today as a frustrated and tired taxpayer of this County. As you all know, I have been down at these meetings off and on since 2015. For a significant period of time, I was here every single week.

Today I stand before you to ask you to finally listen to the people of Clay County. I implore you to vote no on this excessive spending spree that, let’s face the truth, just Commissioners Ridgeway and Owen are proposing.

Commissioner Nolte has made it abundantly clear that he wants no part in this proposal, but as is usual with you two, instead of building consensus, you are just going to roll over him as if he doesn’t exist and he doesn’t represent the entire voice of the democratic body of this county.

One of my favorite thinkers is an investment analyst by the name of John Mauldin. Mauldin’s greatest strength is he’s capable of taking complex economic and investing ideas and boiling them down to simple things. One of my favorite sayings of his is the following:

Debt is either consumption denied or consumption brought forward

Admittedly, not all debt is bad. Sometimes it’s perfectly acceptable to bring consumption forward when it’s done responsibly and with a productive purpose.

You are proposing nearly $50 million dollars in principal payments and millions more in additional interest to be paid back for the next 20 years. You’re effectively bringing forward the future spending or denying the future spending of this County in the name of a bunch of projects that you’ve allowed no public discussion on, you’ve made no public appeal for, and you’ve made no compelling case that we even need.

Of all the projects on the list, the one I find most outrageous, and the one I’m going to take a minute to comment on is the new Annex. I would go as far to grant you the point that the existing Annex is a building that is past it’s time. It’s even arguable that we should do something about it. The problem I have is there has been no public discussion of what the actual needs are for this building.

You’re asking for $20 million for that one building!

How did you get to this figure?

Did you throw a dart at a dart board?

If you got to it with professional assistance, I want to know who the architect was and what piece of ground that you specifically have in mind. And then I want to know how come you think this is acceptable to do all this behind the back of the public?

The Annex is nothing more than a government building that serves a function. We don’t need a Taj Mahal to County government, after all we have enough of those things around this county in the form of overbuilt public high schools. At the end of the day, you could convert an old retail place to do everything that’s needed in that Annex and save current and future taxpayer’s a ton of money.

Now, I’m no expert, but I consume a significant amount of market and economic analysis on a weekly basis. The current recovery we’re inside of is the third longest in American history. There is more debt in the entire system than anytime in human history. Economic “experts” often disagree wildly, but It’s worth pointing out that the majority of reputable economists agree the Great Recession of 2008 was caused by too much debt.

You would be foolish to sit there and tell me that this economic cycle won’t end at some point. And when it does end and the tide goes out, we’re going to see who has been swimming without their bathing suits on. I’d venture to say the way things have been run the last 6 years around here, I bet we’ll want to cover our eyes just a little bit.

It’s irrelevant that we can meet the payment on these certificates of participation now. It’s responsible and prudent to be worried about the rainy day that will eventually come. Heck, your own ordinance even says it’s something to be mindful of. Just flip to page 12, the section titled “Changes in Economic, Demographic, and Market Conditions.” The payment on these certificates will have to be made. In an economic downturn, real property values will correct, and when they do, that means assessments will fall. It is not an unreasonable thing to worry about our taxes going up in the future because of your actions.  

Since the early 2000s, we have seen the County budget more than double. Assuming the rate of inflation since then and little changes we shouldn’t see the operational budget over $75 million. Somehow that budget is now over $100 million dollars, and I saw Commissioner Ridgeway on a TV news report this last week pointing out holes in ceilings in this very building.

If you can’t make basic building repairs on a $100 million dollar budget, you’re doing something really wrong.

So it begs the question, where the heck is all this money going? You stated on that same news report that “It’s time to do some major surgery.”

You know, I remember the last election, and I don’t remember either of you two saying anything about this desperate situation. If we’re having major surgery, you’d think someone would have wanted to inform the patient before we rehired the doctors. And let’s not ignore the fact that this isn’t all cracks in ceilings being addressed here, there’s a whole lot of new on this proposed project list.

You’ve done absolutely nothing to inform the people of any of these needs, so if you seem surprised that people are a little angry with you about this situation you’re completely to blame. A simple Internet search reveals that neither one of you even have active websites. Your Facebook pages have barely any information on them, and you don’t even have email newsletters. I can tell you from direct experience, it’s not that hard!

Commissioner Owen, I’m not making this up, I took a screenshot of it this weekend, your page on the County website literally says (to be finalized). You’ve been in office for almost two terms now. Apparently you both think it’s 1982, and the only way people get information is a newspaper.

If you think communication is too difficult to figure out, there’s a significant amount of people in this world that could help you figure it out. It’s really not that hard. I self-taught myself everything I’ve ever done online. Believe it or not there are a lot of books on using digital tools for communication. Since we pay you a salary, one that you felt justified in raising yourselves, you’re effectively an employee. Part of your job as that employee is to communicate to me, your constituent. I get a say-so in rehiring one of you every two years. Frankly, you’re terrible at your job.

To be honest, I fear it’s far worse than incompetence. Based upon your past actions, I suspect you have contempt for the people and don’t even feel you owe it to them to communicate.

Commissioners Ridgeway and Owen, I’ve been involved in politics in this county for almost 10 years now. Clay County has become known across the state for our dysfunction. I continually think to myself, it can’t get worse. Then you two make another decision.

If you genuinely think some of this stuff needs done, start figuring out a way to communicate the evidence for each and everyone of these items to us. Create a plan that Commissioner Nolte can get behind. Build support with the public. If you can’t do those basic things, things that show you respect the people and the hard earned money we are forced to give up to this county, then table this ordinance right now!

For the next two years, just set up there and do absolutely nothing more than the minimum. Collect your ridiculous salary and do us taxpayers all a favor, ride off into the sunset on your pension in two years.

It gets more apparent by the day that the masks never did a thing to help stop the spread of Covid, but our County Health Priestess Gary Zaborac has said we must stay the course a little longer and hold out hope for the magic mask voodoo.

In honor of our high health clergy, I present to you magic mask voodoo as told in charts.

Day 57 since Gov Abbott announced end of Mask Mandate
Biden- “Neanderthal Thinking”
Beto- “Death Warrant”
Gavin Newsom- “Reckless”
Day 49 since Mandate officially ended
Day 24 since Texas Rangers “Super Spreader”
How’s that working out?
There was never a mask mandate in Sweden.
Almost like the virus virused and have a middle finger to our “interventions”.
Remember, Japan is the mask religionist dream. 😬

I figured it was a matter of time before Clay County Public Health Director Gary Zaborac attempted to get his mini-tyrant on. And true to form, the email from the Clay County Covid-19 email popped into my inbox at 7 PM.

Good Citizens! Your public health gestapo demands the following of you:

  • Venues serving food and/or drink indoors must operate at 50% capacity and close by 10 p.m. No groups of more than 10 people are allowed indoors or outdoors.
  • Gyms, fitness, and recreational centers must also remain at 50% capacity or less and masks are required for everyone inside.
  • Masks are now required outdoors when physical distancing (six feet) cannot be maintained from anyone outside your household.
  • The age exemption for wearing a mask is lowered to those 5 years of age and younger.
  • Indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people. (Gatherings = groups of individuals, who are not members of the same household, congregated together for a common or coordinated social, community, or leisure purpose.)
    • Gatherings of 10 or fewer are allowed, with use of physical distancing between members of different households.
    • Prohibited gatherings do not include non-event-based regular commercial, nonprofit, or educational activity by workers, students, or customers of businesses.
    • Exceptions for gatherings over 10 people can be approved by public health. A submission form will be available at clayhealth.com by noon on Wednesday (11/18).

I want to say this is funny, but it’s incredibly tragic. Any person with any common sense would look at this order and see that much of it is simply an attempt to look like they’re doing something.

The virus doesn’t care one bit about the capacity of your building or gym. It could easily be spread among masked people in an establishment that is at 50% capacity.

Why?

Because viruses, virus. It’s what they do.

I’m in the process of trying to read through some of the mask studies that the CDC refers to. So far the actual science is pretty disappointing on masks. It’s presented as a miracle panacea by many people, but even the best mask worn correctly is useless once a person picks up the virus off an unsanitized surface and touches their nose or mouth. People never, ever, never touch surfaces in gyms or restaurants.

Sorry Gary, I’m not wearing a mask outside. I’ll continue to respect the wishes of private property owners who want me to wear them inside.

The worst part of this order is the attempt to place limitations on a person’s private home. Aside from being incredibly offensive and antithetical to any principle that founded this nation, it’s functionally useless from the standpoint of “stopping the spread”.

Let’s think critically for a minute shall we?

As it stands with this order, I could have a party at my house with 9 strangers. Now if I have 10, oh man, that’s a bridge too far! One of those 9 could have the virus and be asymptomatic and spread it to everyone at the party. Thankfully my party was only 10 people in size and we successfully stopped the spread. Just forget that everyone got the virus.

The permission form that you fill out to have a larger gathering is a nice touch. Hey, guys, if you want to use your personal home for purposes you deem appropriate, you have to fill out your permission form and ask Uncle Gary if it’s okay.

If you’re not laughing and admiring the foolishness of this, there’s literally something wrong with you. There can be no other explanation.

I’m yet to get a straight answer on how these goofy orders that Zaborac issues are even enforceable. I could see it on the restaurants because they effectively regulate them, but I can’t fathom how they have any say so on what I do on my private property. I am going to call and ask that question and see what the health department says because I’m thinking about having some 11 person gatherings at my home for the fun of it to see what happens.

I get it. We’ve got a highly contagious respiratory virus that is currently spreading. People are dying. Tragic? Absolutely, but, that’s not a new development in human history. This happens every so often.

Huh, look at that, almost like we’ve dealt with this stuff before.

This is simply part of the human experience. Science tells us so. What’s new and so peculiar about this is that for some strange reason we think we can stop the virus if we just act or behave a certain way.

Sorry, virus gonna virus and no amount of effort will change that scientific fact.

This latest foolish order is happening just as it appears that the virus is starting to peak again. And considering this order doesn’t even take effect until next Monday, this seems even more futile, unless the virus reads the Clay County Covid-19 email and got scared.

By the numbers: Most American counties — 58% of them — have seen the peak of their coronavirus infections this month, and 76% of counties have peaked at some point in the fall.”

Clay County peaked, ironically, on November 14.

https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-cases-peak-infections-pandemic-outbreak-f6d315f2-9052-401a-95e4-bbfe99e2771f.html

And there’s growing evidence that one may gain immunity for months, if not years after infection.

“How long might immunity to the coronavirus last? Years, maybe even decades, according to a new study — the most hopeful answer yet to a question that has shadowed plans for widespread vaccination.

Eight months after infection, most people who have recovered still have enough immune cells to fend off the virus and prevent illness, the new data show. A slow rate of decline in the short term suggests, happily, that these cells may persist in the body for a very, very long time to come.

“That amount of memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalized disease, severe disease, for many years,” said Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology who co-led the new study.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/immunity-to-the-coronavirus-may-last-years-new-data-hint/ar-BB1b6dwt

In other words, herd immunity IS theoretically possible with Covid-19 no matter what our public health gestapos try to tell us. It’s what the science is starting to indicate.

What we should be doing is protecting the most vulnerable, encouraging high risk people to stay home, supporting our frontline health care workers (I made my second donation to the Liberty Hospital Foundation last week. Have you donated any of our tax dollars you call salary, Gary?), and continuing to live our lives as we INDIVIDUALLY see appropriate.

I saw last night that some restaurants in St. Louis are starting to fight back and refuse their latest lockdown order. Good for them.

Some are going as far as posting signs that say that the St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is no longer welcome in their establishments. While I’m thankful that Zaborac didn’t go that far, and at least these restaurants and businesses in our area have a chance to fight to survive under this new order. I do think local business owners should consider the same for Gary Zaborac. Furthermore, the incoming Clay County Commissioners should publicly rebuke Zaborac and let him know that when his renewal comes up in February that he can pack up his desk and masks and join the throngs of unemployed across the country.

I came across a video on Twitter tonight of the Kansas City area hospital Chief Medical Officers discussing our current hospital capacity.

I found it shared in the response tweets to a local media panic porn tweet. Of course, it wasn’t shared by said media “professional”. No, he just wanted to make sure you knew that this is a problem. BIG PROBLEM!

Now is it a big problem? Potentially at some point depending on how things go here. Anyone that’s paid attention to this pandemic should be smart enough at this point to see that the virus tends to break out more when people are forced inside.

What do I mean? Think about it for a minute.

Why didn’t it break out here in February/March severely? Because it was a decently warm Spring which allowed people to get outside more. Plus, we were somewhat insulated as the virus entered the country on the coasts and larger metropolitan centers. I’m sure the public health gestapo will tell you the lockdowns worked, but all they did was delay the inevitable. This was always going to happen. Leaving the summer, case counts were present, but largely under control.

Well, guess what? It’s getting colder outside and it was really cold a couple weeks ago. Plus we just hit daylight savings time which ends our days sooner. So, we’re all inside more trading the Vid. Now we have community spread. And that community spread is increasing.

Everybody quickly panic on social media and blame Trump. We’re all going to die!

Just kidding, I’m not a “journalist”.

Are things going to get bad? Perhaps, but they’ll eventually get better. That’s what pandemics do. Viruses, well…virus. Everyone needs to remain calm.

I really encourage you to watch the video below of the Kansas City area Chief Medical Officers discuss hospital bed capacity because the geniuses at the local news agencies are probably busy turning this in to panic porn articles with little context and explanation. And you can rest assured that the geniuses in elected office and our health departments sure aren’t going to explain it to you.

After all, they have to take the day off tomorrow.

You can’t make this stuff up. Government agency that is tasked with dealing with pandemic still gets a damned holiday when case counts are exploding. An absolute failure of leadership.

Here’s the video. It runs about an hour:

https://players.brightcove.net/5434965233001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6207826931001

If you don’t have an hour to consume this, let me hit the high points for you…

-Trying to accurately report hospital bed capacity is a little more complex than it would appear on the surface. Add in government and differing definition of terms by different regulatory bodies you end up with discrepancies. Ah, gubmint, if only we had more of it we might get this stuff right…

-Those discrepancies have led to an over reporting of actual available staffed beds on the Covid-19 dashboards.

-We’re getting lower on beds by the day, and there’s a risk that if the surge in cases keeps up we may have to consider reducing preventative care, triaging patients differently, and field hospitals. None of this is ideal, but it’s challenging.

-We are seeing some hospital staff be diagnosed with the Vid, but it’s not happening in the hospitals, it’s actually happening in the community when they go home.

-Hospital staff are stressed but managing pretty well considering the situation.

-I was really pleased to see that the CMOs shied away from saying that we should lockdown, and one individual on the video went as far to say that it’s important that we still have an economy. (Thankfully, there is sanity!)

-Optimistic but concerned tone, I’m sure you won’t hear that from the news media.

My sense is this thing will spike up and we’ll deal with it, but it begs the question, is there anything else we can do?

I’ve seen little actual guidance other than the obvious stuff (social distance, wear a mask, if you’re sick get tested and stay home, etc). That’s all fine and dandy, but what else can we do (getting on social media and arguing about Trump/Biden and masks is not an answer here, but lots of people seem not to be deterred)?

Would seem to me, that if we’ve got stressed hospital workers that maybe there’s some things we can do to help them out? There are two organizations in our immediate area that are there to support the hospital staff.

For Liberty, you have the Liberty Hospital Foundation.

For North Kansas City Hospital, I found this link that allows you to directly donate to their Covid-19 efforts: https://www.nkch.org/patients-and-guests/coronavirus-information/donations

I thought NKC Hospital had a foundation similar to Liberty, but I can’t find it online.

The Clay County Health Department and Health Board have been an unmitigated disaster through all of this. There’s no leadership. They had a Covid-19 email they were sending out there for awhile. It was mostly useless. You rarely see anything from that anymore.

Their Facebook page is primarily filled with reminders to wear a mask and that Covid-19 is dangerous, but there isn’t much else. (Side note: Filing opens for the health board next month) I searched their Facebook page for anything about the Liberty Hospital Foundation. Hardly nothing, and absolutely nothing in the context of helping frontline workers at the hospitals.

Maybe the needed rest on their vacation day tomorrow will help them refocus… LOL! Right. I’m sure they’ll get a mask post in before Friday and enjoy their weekend. Two more days off, baby! Don’t you wish Covid could take a day or two off?

Virus gonna virus, gubmint workers going to take the day off!