Posts Tagged ‘Tom Schweich’

I figure it’s only appropriate that Pitch’s 2014 Blogger of the Year share his thoughts on next Tuesday’s election.

Here is a copy of the ballot for all of Clay County. I will be sharing how I will vote on the races and issues I can vote on. As usual, I’m sure this post will further annoy some local politicos and confuse others. I don’t like boxes and shall not be placed in one.

State Auditor:

I find this race interesting. There’s no Democrat. I am not a fan of Tom Schweich. I had the pleasure of sitting across the table from him before the 2010 election at a Clay County Pachyderm meeting. He was rude, arrogant, and I think he thought he was just going to push me around. I stood my ground, he didn’t like it, and I didn’t like him. I still can’t forgive him for donating to Claire McCaskill many years ago. His excuse to me, that’s just the way things worked in the lawyers office he worked for… Oh… Huh?  I’m voting for Sean O’Toole, the Libertarian candidate. Is Schweich competent, no doubt, but Schweich is also as establishment as they come. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my reasoning here, but that’s where I am at on this one.

US House 6th District

While I voted against Congressman Graves in the primary, I have no doubt he is a better choice than the other two candidates in the race. I believe it is important to hold the house. While I’m not super excited to do it, I have no problem voting for Congressman Graves in this race.

Clay County Presiding Commissioner

I will be voting for Jerry Nolte. I have known Jerry for sometime, and I find him to be a great person. As you know if you are a regular visitor here, I loudly supported him in the Republican primary. I know he will make a far better Commissioner than who is currently in office.

Jay Swearingen and I have a mutual friend. Everything this friend had told me about him had me optimistic that we would have had a different race. Swearingen’s campaign is best described as the “I’m not Jerry Nolte” campaign which really makes little sense. His website has no information about a vision for the county or anything that he will do as commissioner. One thing Swearingen wants you to know is that he will show up to vote. Ok… great!

My one frustration with this race is that there will be no end to “Economic Development Councils” with either race. I find these things to be a complete waste of money and not the role of government. I don’t look to my government to create jobs., Government’s purpose is to create a positive environment for jobs to be created within.

County Clerk

I won’t be voting for either candidate. This is the quintessential Clay County race and something I have spoken out against since the early days of the blog. Follow the connections here: Megan Thompson is somehow related to Matt Thompson who is the son of T.K. Thompson who is friends with Vic Hurlbert. See how this works? Oh, wait, it gets better, Sherry Duffett is close friends with Pam Mason and worked for her when Mason was county clerk. If I was a betting man, which I’m usually not, but I’d put money on the table that Pam Mason receives a job in the Clerk’s office no matter who wins this race.

County Auditor

I will be voting for Sheila Ernzen. I don’t need to rehash all of the history here as to why. If you are curious, just do a search on the blog for Clay County Auditor or Sheila Ernzen. The McCaslins are friends with Hurlbert/Mason et. al. This is yet another Hurlbert inspired candidacy and rehashing of the vendetta against Ms. Ernzen.

Ms. McCaslin has a bit of the I-don’t-know-what-political-party-I’m-from-syndrome. Maybe her and Jay Lawson drink the same water… Anyway, she’s run as a Democrat for past elections, and now, she’s suddenly a Republican. Her husband, Dale McCaslin ran as Democrat in the primary against Ms. Ernzen.

In addition, Ms. McCaslin has no qualifications to be the Auditor. She is not a CPA, nor does she have any experience as an auditor. Wait…this story sounds familiar. William James Norris, Part Deux!

Furthermore, Ms. McCaslin has failed to show up at any voter forums, has no website, no Facebook presence…nothing.

Hopefully nothing I said above was slanderous…I await notification from Mrs. McCaslin’s lawyer. Because based upon her previous behavior, I have no confidence she’d have the courage to send me a note to explain or correct the record. But, just in case:

(That’s an email list above. The big font is for effect.)

Clay County Collector

I will be voting for the Democrat Tom Brandom. While I appreciate Mrs. McEvoy’s willingness to update the County’s software system, and thought that helping other municipalities tax collection was a good idea, I just don’t believe she has always acted with the interests of the tax payers in mind.

I have never really understood Mrs. McEvoy. Back in 2010, I wrote a short piece reporting that, McEvoy may have been unbondable after she was elected. Apparently, it was not okay to report facts because shortly after that I received an email expressing her frustration with me through Facebook. I offered to allow her to respond to the piece, but I never heard anything back. Since then, Meanderings tipsters say she buddied up with Hurlbert and Mason.

I’m of the mind if you are a person that runs for office, the truth matters. Guess what? We’re all human and fallible. We all make mistakes in life. Had she simply acknowledged the truth and explained, there’s a pretty good chance I would have moved on and never worried about it. One thing I’ve learned about life, own a mistake and people tend to respect you more.

Anyway, there have been some questionable things happen while Mrs. McEvoy has been collector. There is the trip to Alaska to look at new software. All the county municipalities in America and somehow Alaska was the one that was most promising.

Then there is the issue of diverting funds to an account that circumvented the auditing process. Those funds were then utilized to oppose the County Home Rule Charter that was on the ballot in 2010. On top of that, she attempted to use a private email account to circumvent the Sunshine Law.

A couple of articles from the KC MSM that are worth your time:

Clay County collector: McEvoy disputes criticism from Brandom about how she’s spent money

Clay County collector in hot water after e-mail sent from personal account

I have spoken with Mr. Brandom a couple of times. We disagree on politics, but I find him a decent and trustworthy person. In politics, especially Clay County politics, that’s saying a lot. He deserves your vote for Collector.

Constitutional Amendment No. 2

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age? If more resources are needed to defend increased prosecutions additional costs to governmental entities could be at least $1.4 million annually, otherwise the fiscal impact is expected to be limited.

On the surface this seems like a pretty simple amendment, but the more I have thought about it the more I am concerned about its implications. If a person is accused of a sexual crime, this would allow the past criminal behavior of the accused to be included as evidence. Normally, Missouri only allows prior sexual criminal acts to be admitted during the sentencing phase of a trial.

Here is my concern with this. Say a person commits a crime 15 years ago, and he/she has truly reformed their lives. They are accused of a sexual crime in the present. Let us pretend in our hypothetical that the current accusation is wrong for whatever reason. Say the evidence is circumstantial, or it is based upon personal testimony only. The prosecutor could introduce the old conviction as “evidence” in this new case. To make it even more convoluted, it appears a mere accusation, not a conviction, could be admissible as evidence.

That’s not the way I conceptualize our justice system nor our civil liberties. Admittedly sexual crimes against minors are of the worst offenses imaginable. You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. While I’m a true believer that past behavior can lead us to be concerned about present or future behavior, I’m also a big believer that people can change. A person should be judged in a criminal proceeding upon the evidence for that crime and that crime only.

Unless someone can convince me otherwise, and I’m honestly willing to listen, I’m voting no on this amendment. (And I fully acknowledge that if I ever decide to run for office, this post will be turned into some mailer. Whatever…)

Constitutional Amendment No. 3

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding;
  • require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system;
  • require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts;
  • and prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

Decisions by school districts regarding provisions allowed or required by this proposal and their implementation will influence the potential costs or savings impacting each district. Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to satisfy the proposal’s performance evaluation requirements.

I’m going to be up front. I signed the petition to put this on the ballot. I thought it important to allow this discussion about teacher tenure and merit pay to happen. Having said that, I’m voting no on amendment 3.

The language is horrible, and I have a significant concern about this line: “promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data.”

Public education is currently a mess. It’s only going to get worse in the coming years. One of the biggest problems is the current push for standardized assessments. To promote and pay primarily upon one data point borders on insanity. It won’t improve teaching or public schools. There’s a chance it could even do the opposite of the intention of the amendment. Good teachers may consider leaving the profession for risk of being unfairly judged.

There are lots of better ideas for education reform in Missouri although few people are talking about or proposing them. A couple things I would love to see would be educational savings accounts and allowing charter schools to exist in all counties of Missouri. Don’t get your hopes up because the education “blob” will work its butt off not to allow any positive change in Missouri.

Constitutional Amendment No. 6

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the Election Day in all general elections?
State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election. Those costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and, planning decisions of election authorities with the total costs being unknown.

Early voting is coming whether you like it or not. I’m not a fan. Some on the left like to use early voting to cheat and win elections. If they had their way, they’d vote as long and as often as possible. They are convinced of a false narrative about ballot access and voting, but then again, many of them are convinced of endless false narratives about our society. This version of early voting may be the most favorable to protecting against fraud and corruption. I will be voting yes on Amendment 6.

My good friend Mike Ferguson puts together a public policy show called Missouri Viewpoints. I’d encourage you to go watch the episode that looks at this issue:

Constitutional Amendment No. 10

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the governor’s decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?
State governmental entities expect no direct costs or savings. Local governmental entities expect an unknown fiscal impact.

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature. This amendment prohibits the governor from reducing funding passed by the general assembly without receiving legislative consent, and provides certain other restrictions on the governor’s ability to increase or decrease line items in the budget. This amendment further prohibits the governor from proposing a budget that relies on revenue from legislation that has not yet passed in the general assembly.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

This is one of those things that could go either way. It may not be the best fix, but I like the idea. I will be voting for Amendment 10. This puts the power of the purse in the hands of the people through the legislature. Governor Nixon has used with-holdings for political ends. One should not vote on this with Nixon in mind, I would fear the same thing with a Republican governor. Because if it’s one consistent thing about Missouri politics, we elect really crappy governors.

Once again, check out the Missouri Viewpoints episode on this topic:

Kansas City Question 1 Capital Improvements Tax


Kansas City Question 2 Public Transportation Sales Tax

NO! Both Question 1 and 2 are the result of crazy-man Clay Chastain.

Bankrupting the coal industry, restricting domestic oil production, and investing in green technology is the goal of our president, and building electric public transportation in cities across this nation is his New Deal.

So even though you were never consulted, Kansas City is moving forward with their plans to build a streetcar in downtown Kansas City, and despite what City Hall and rail activists are telling you, you’re going to pay for it.

FACT: It took just 351 votes to approve the funding of a $102 million building project.
When light rail was defeated by Kansas City voters six times, agenda driven politicians and activists realized that they had to change their strategy. By taking Clay Chastain’s name off the project, renaming the light rail to “streetcar,” and disenfranchising voters by forming a TDD (Transportation Development District) they were able to reduce the eligible voters to less than 700 citizens. Mostly loft dwelling renters without families or taxable property.

FACT: Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich conducts an annual audit of the state’s TDDs, and frequently finds that these projects are plagued by problems with competitive bidding, overspending, and misreporting finances to the state. Something needs to be done to reform TDDs in Jefferson City to protect citizens from having their tax revenue drained by questionable transportation projects that they were never allowed to vote on.

FACT: As many as 9 out of 10 public works projects go over in cost. There hasn’t been a single streetcar project in this country that has come in under budget.  In order to form and pass the TDD, the advocates had to keep their projected cost as low as possible. Historically, cost over runs for streetcar projects have averaged at around 44%.  When this project inevitably breaks the budget, where will the extra money come from? It will come from the city’s general fund, and it will come from the transportation budget, both of which are funded by the average disenfranchised Kansas City taxpayer.

FACT: The contract to build streetcar was not awarded to the lowest bidder. Consistent with Schweich’s audits, City Hall chose not to go with the “lowest and best bid” and bypassed two locally based companies to select an out-of-town company that politicians and activists most likely had in mind before the TDD was ever even formed. The only thing missing from this picture is Tom Pendergast concrete.

FACT: Kansas City’s streetcar was just awarded a $20 million grant from the federal government. On it’s face, that may seem like good news, but most of that money comes from the 2009 Stimulus. This was part of the fifth round of transportation grants, which get continuously smaller with each new round, and ours was the largest one awarded. It doesn’t even cover 1/5 the cost to build our two miles starter line, and there is no promise of maintaining services after it’s built.

FACT: The KCATA’s annual operating cost from their website is $87 Million. That means the entire city is served by buses for a whole year for $15 million less than what it costs just to build 2 miles of track in Downtown Kansas City.

FACT: Despite all of the economic development projects that Kansas City has spent hundreds of millions on in the past decade, there are 20% less jobs in Downtown Kansas City now than in 2000. Not only have Union Station, the Power & Light District, the Sprint Arena, and numerous other projects failed to yield the successes that they promised, but they have all created new obstacles and burdens for tax payers to overcome.

•Union Station merged with the Kansas City Museum, causing it to lose its accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.  The museum closed its doors in 2007 for renovations, but most of the funding it needed to make those renovations was instead used to keep Union Station afloat.

•We were promised that if we built the Sprint Arena, that a professional sports franchise would follow, and while the venue regularly brings large acts to Kansas City, we have yet to fill the arena with an anchor tenant.

•And the Power & Light District is barely operating at 30%. Each year, Kansas City tax payers are forced to pay $12-$14 million out of the general fund to pay back the bonds that were issued to build it.

In addition to these problems manufactured by dreamers in City Hall, Kansas City has neglected our aging infrastructure, our public schools continue to struggle, and violent crime continues to be a problem.

FACT: Federal Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx rose to his position after building a streetcar in Charlotte, NC, while he was mayor. No doubt our own ambitious mayor has similar dreams, which would explain his frustration with any opposition to this project, and his willingness to build it at any cost. Does he really have the best interest of Kansas City in mind, or is he more focused on future career goals?

Without even discussing the pros and cons of rail transit, you can see that this project was misguided before it even left the station, and there’s little, if anything you can do to stop it, because our current mayor and city council have promised to get this project completed even if it means bypassing the democratic process. If you’re as angry as I am, contact your state representative and ask them to seek solutions for reforming TDDs.

Well, Clay County citizens, it’s over, and massive change was in the air across the country and a little bit locally. I must admit I truly have mixed emotions about this election. I love the fact that Mr. Obama was finally told no, unsure if he will be able to understand the meaning of that small one syllable word. I guess we’ll find out soon. This is where he gets real dangerous.

No, folks, the real change came locally. You know I am going to get this out of the way early. So we better get started. 35,000 Republican voters in Clay County demonstrated their complete inability to do research about a candidate. Yes, Clay County, your new Auditor is none other than the man ClayCoMOPolitics has been telling you about for some time now, William James Norris. Rumor has it that William James Norris is currently searching Google for Auditing 101 and may be found at the book store looking for a new copy of Accounting for Dummies. Let’s wish him luck shall we, or should he be wishing the county luck?

I’m sorry, but did us rude political nerds interrupt your sports viewing, or did you just blatantly assume that all Democrats are bad and Republicans good? Or, was it the really pretty red signs that he had? You know big signs next to other Republican candidates signs must mean that the candidate is super-duper awesome and overly qualified.

This all might be funny, if it wasn’t so darn embarrassing. Oh well, stay tuned to me and the Tribune over the coming weeks, I’m sure this is going to get interesting. Oh, and Mr. Norris, so much as breathe wrong, I am going to be all over it. That’s a friendly promise.

We have a new Presiding Commissioner with Pam Mason. I’m sorry, but I’m going to come out and say this. I can’t stand Ed Quick philosophically, but rumor has it that Ms. Mason can be a bit challenging to work with. For anyone that follows Clay County politics you know to what I am referring. Unsure if the building contractors have been called in for wall renovations again in the Clay County Courthouse. It will be curious to see how the lawsuit that Mr. Quick took out at the end of the campaign against Ms. Mason will end up. Rumor had it, win or lose Mr. Quick was going to follow through. Stay tuned for more on that as well. The good thing is Ms. Mason does claim to be fiscally conservative, I trust her on that much. Good things may be in store for Clay County tax payers. We can only hope.

The incumbent Tom Brandom was defeated by newcomer Sheri Chapman for County Clerk. Ms. Chapman is a great person and a regular over at the Clay County Pachyderm Club. I hope she keeps coming out, and wish her the best in her new role.

In another demonstration of Republican ignorance we have Jay Lawson arriving as Recorder of Deeds. Mr. Lawson couldn’t seem to figure out which party he was from, or what office he wanted to run for, and those darn Missouri Ethics Commission Reports seemed to really throw him a curve ball. Alas, he’s now taking care of important documents for you down at the Recorder’s office. I feel better, no really, a lot better, thankfully we didn’t get one of those evil Democrats in there. Probably would have voted to keep Obamacare.

In the evidence that your vote really does count column we have a new County Collector. I just cut my property tax check today to the departing Ms. Reeves. Lydia McEvoy will be handling this role now. By the way, she won by 96 votes.

Congressman Graves returns for another term with a decisive win over Clint Hylton 65-35%. Mr. Graves can you just figure on running for US Senate against Cousin’ Claire in 12. Please!?

We were 229 votes away from winning all the Missouri House seats in Clay County. The only Democrat to prevail was Jay Swearingen in Missouri-31. I only hope that he is not as vile of a creature as Trent Skaggs. Time will tell, unfortunately it may get a little lonely down in Jeff City for Mr. Swearingen. I’m declaring right now, we want this seat in 2012. Who wants to run?

Congratulations to TJ Berry, Bob Nance, Ryan Silvey, and Myron Neth for their decisive victories in the other Clay County House Seats. I am so excited about TJ Berry being my house representative, I can’t wait for January. 11/4/2010 Update: Can’t believe I forgot this! Jerry Nolte was also reelected again as a state representative in Missouri-33.

In bigger Missouri races we now have a new US Senator in Roy Blunt. Now, I’m skeptical, and have been hard on Mr. Blunt. I expect him to listen, and suspect he will, but I assure you if he doesn’t I’ll be here to tell you all about it. Oh, by the way have you called Ms. McCaskill’s office to remind her there were about 1,000,000 reasons for her to listen to us. Prop. C and now this. Woman if you don’t listen to the people of Missouri you are equivalent to a tyrant.

Tom Schweich is our new state Auditor. Not sure what’s going to happen with this one. If this guy approaches the job with the same vigor he approaches a speaking engagement, look out Missouri government departments. Unsure if Tom Schweich is making plans to donate to Cousin’ Claire in 2012, what do you bet he doesn’t make that mistake twice?

Finally, thank you Missouri! Prop. A passed with flying colors. I might like living in Kansas City if we can get rid of this earnings tax. Let the liberal union squealing begin. The end of the world is coming for them. On a more sour note. Missouri, why is it when we don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of you pass more regulation for a bunch of stupid dogs. Complete lack of intelligence sometimes. It’s not the big things, it’s the small costs that repetitively add up. Way to go!