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Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It”
Ken Dunwoody                                  GOD
Henpecked Acres                    One Nation
14850 W. 159th St.
Olathe, Ks. 66062
(913)768-1603
kdunwoody2@aol.com
http://NOlathe.net

 

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During his 1995 US Congressional District 3 primary, it was alleged that Mayor Eilert had his Police Chief conduct an illegal FBI criminal background check on opponent Patrick.  US Court dismissed the resulting lawsuit following an “out of court settlement”.  Prior to the settlement, Judge Vratil ordered the files sealed so as not to negatively influence the public at Eilert’s request.  Following the settlement, KC Star filed a lawful KORA request with the City of Overland Park for attorney billing information.  Eilert’s refusal made it’s way to the Kansas Supreme Court and provides the last date on The Act itself.

Cypress Media v. City of Overland Park

 

Cypress Media v. City of Overland Park was a case before Kansas Supreme Court in 2000 concerning the request for release of attorney billing statements.

Important precedents

This case established that exemptions for attorney-client privilege must be defended on a document by document basis, with each justification establishing why that particular document is to be considered confidential attorney communication.

Background

  • Cypress Media, or the Kansas City Star, requested of the City of Overland Park all billing statements from 1996 for attorney services provided to the city by outside firms.
  • The city responded to the requests by giving the star redacted copies of billing information which included the date of the work, the name of the firm, and the amount billed, including attorney fees and expenses. The information that was redacted under the attorney-client privilege exemption was descriptions of the services and descriptions of the legal issues on which the attorney’s had worked. The city claimed the attorney-client privilege material was exempt under Kansas Open Records statute 1998 Supp. 45-221(a), which exempts all things which are exempted under evidence and discovery rules.
  • The Star sued and the trial court, after much debate, ruled in favor of the Star and ordered un-redacted copies of all the documents the Star had requested to be released.
  • The City appealed the decision.

Ruling of the court

The trial court first established that a blanket exception for attorney-client privilege could bot be applied as all communications between attorneys and clients did not relate to legal advice. The court ordered the city to compile a line by line list of the documents in question they wished to remain exempt and justify that exemption for each document separately. The city released a number of documents but established a codified system for exempting a larger portion of the documents, again relying on the attorney-client privilege exemption found in the Kansas Open Records Act. The court determined that it had not met the court’s requirement of a line by line justification for exemption and ordered the release of all of the documents. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court and ordered the documents released. The Supreme Court first rejected the City’s claim of an expansive attorney-client privilege exemption which includes all communication between attorneys and clients. It however, also rejected the Star’s contention that only communication concerning legal advice constituted an exception under attorney-client privilege. Instead, the court affirmed the decision of the trial court to order a line by line justification of the exemptions, bearing in mind that material that is exempt under the attorney-client privilege is not only material relating to legal advice but any material that would reveal reasons for consulting the lawyer, or courtroom strategies. The court also felt that the same standard of analysis should be applied on a case by case basis to determine if the materials fall under the exemption for attorney work product, as the city argues they should. Finally, the court reiterated the opinion of the trial court that the exemptions mentioned required specific line by line justification for exemption. A mere mention of the statute used to exempt the materials is identical to the broad statutory interpretation the city urged, which would render all attorney-client communication exempt. The court thus affirmed all the decisions of the lower court and declared that it was well within its jurisdiction to order the documents released.

 

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During the initial 2001 Johnson County Home Rule Charter Commission and during the 10 year review 2011 Johnson County Home Rule Charter Commission, a considerable amount of time was spent debating whether the County Sheriff should be elected or appointed.  All the while:

19-801a.Sheriff; election, term, bond. Except in those counties operating under the provisions of any consolidated law enforcement act, beginning with the general election in 1976, a sheriff shall be elected in each county, for four (4) years. Such sheriff shall, before entering upon the duties of the office, execute to the state of Kansas a good and sufficient corporate surety bond, issued by a company authorized to do business in Kansas in an amount fixed by the board of county commissioners of not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Such bond, when approved, shall be filed in the office of the county clerk.

So where did this myth come from?  Where did either Charter Commission come to believe they had authority to ignore State Statute?  Peeked my curiosity, and this is what we found:

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19-301.County clerk; election, term, bond. Beginning with the general election in 1976, a county clerk shall be elected in each county, for a term of four (4) years. Such county clerk shall, before entering upon the duties of the office, execute and file with the county treasurer a good and sufficient corporate surety bond, conditioned on the faithful performance of the duties of the office. Such bond shall be issued by a company authorized to do business in Kansas, in an amount to be fixed by the county treasurer of not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

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Home Rule Charter County Clerk: The position of County Clerk shall be appointed, not elected, and the functions and operations of the office of County Clerk shall be performed under the administrative authority of the County Manager. The statutory duties of the County Clerk shall be performed by or, as necessary, consolidated under the authority of and as delegated and assigned by the County Manager. Compliance with this provision shall occur when the County Clerk elected in November 2000 leaves office.

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19-1201.Register of deeds; election, term, bond. Beginning with the general election in 1976, a register of deeds shall be elected in each county for a term of four (4) years. Such register of deeds shall, before entering upon the duties of the office, execute to the state of Kansas and file with the county clerk, a good and sufficient corporate surety bond issued by a company authorized to do business in this state in an amount approved by the county clerk of not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Such bond shall be conditioned on the faithful performance of the duties of the office and that such register of deeds will deliver to the successor in such office all property belonging to such office.

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Home Rule Charter  Register of Deeds: The position of the Register of Deeds shall be appointed, not elected, and the functions and operations of the office of the Register of Deeds shall be performed under the administrative authority of the County Manager. The statutory duties of the Register of Deeds shall be performed by the County Clerk, or, as necessary, consolidated under the authority of and as delegated and assigned by the County Manager. Compliance with this provision shall occur when the Register of Deeds elected in November 2000 leaves office.

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19-501.County treasurer; election, term, bond. Each county treasurer elected at the general election in 1976 shall serve until the second Tuesday in October of 1981 and until a successor is elected and qualified. At the general election in 1980, and every four (4) years thereafter, a county treasurer shall be elected in each county for a term of four (4) years, commencing on the second Tuesday in October following the election, and until a successor is elected and qualified.  Such county treasurer shall, before entering upon the duties, of the office execute to the state of Kansas a corporate surety bond issued by a company authorized to do business in this state and approved by the board of county commissioners in an amount of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). Such bond, with the approval of the board endorsed thereon by the clerk, shall be filed in the office of the county clerk. In the event the board of commissioners shall not be in session in time for any county treasurer to present such bond for their approval as above specified, or such county treasurer shall be unable, for any reason, to present such bond at any regular meeting of the board after due notice of such county treasurer’s election, such county treasurer may present such bond to the chairman or clerk of the board for approval, and the approval endorsed thereon shall have the same effect as if done by the board of county commissioners. In the event the amount of the bond is approved by only the chairman or the clerk of the board, it shall not be less than twice the amount of all moneys directed by the board to be levied in the county during the previous year.

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Home Rule Charter  County Treasurer: The position of the County Treasurer shall be appointed, not elected, and the functions and operations of the office of the County Treasurer shall be performed under the administrative authority of the County Manager. The statutory duties of the County Treasurer shall be performed by or, as necessary, consolidated under the authority of and as delegated and assigned by the County Manager. Compliance with this provision shall occur when the County Treasurer elected in November 2000 leaves office.

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That brings us back to the current lawsuit regarding The County Board of County Commissioners violating The Home Rule Charter and their argument that Statute trumps Charter.  Well Commissioners a reasonable person would conclude quite the opposite.  Charter trumps Statute.

Commissioners, if your legal eagles are successful in proving your position, the judge will have no other choice than remand The Home Rule Charter.  This should make for a busy Monday.  See you in court Tuesday but for now, the choice is yours.

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It”
Ken Dunwoody                                         GOD
Henpecked Acres                                     One Nation
14850 W. 159th St. Olathe, Ks. 66062
(913)768-1603
kdunwoody2@aol.com

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Following the statutory 20 days and 10 additional day extension, Johnson County has finally responded to our law suit with these two documents: p-motiontodismiss and p-memoranduminsupportofmotiontodismiss

I find it interesting that the county’s main argument is that the Plaintiffs do not “have standing” in defense of The Constitution.

Next-  April 1, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. Division 3, Hearing on Plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order.

We will find out if The Home Rule Charter “has standing”.

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It”
Ken Dunwoody                                                  GOD
Henpecked Acres                                One Nation
14850 W. 159th St.
Olathe, Ks. 66062
(913)768-1603
kdunwoody2@aol.com
http://NOlathe.net

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“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It”
Ken Dunwoody
Henpecked Acres   
14850 W. 159th St.
Olathe, Ks. 66062
(913)768-1603
kdunwoody2@aol.com
http://NOlathe.net

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JOCO SPOTLIGHT

Lawsuit fights takeover of mental health board

February 18

BY ROXIE HAMMILL

Special to The Star

Two Johnson County citizens — one of them a former member of the county’s mental health governing board have filed a lawsuit against the county commission’s decision to dissolve the board and replace it themselves.

Saying the commission’s action violates the county’s home rule charter, Ken Dunwoody of Olathe, and Benjamin Hodge, formerly on the governing board, have asked the court to put a stop to the commission’s proceedings as the new governing board.

The suit has the potential to slow the search for a new executive director of the mental health department, but Dunwoody said it’s more important to see that the commission follows the charter, which is essentially the county’s constitution.

“What they did was illegal and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep it from happening,” he said.

The suit asks for a temporary injunction while the decision is being made whether the board’s action late last year was legal. No monetary damages were requested.

At issue is whether the county’s charter allows the commission to end the terms of governing board members early.

Last December, after financial and personnel troubles in the mental health center came to light, the commission decided to end the governing board and take over its duties, which include overseeing operations of the center. However, not every term on the governing board was set to expire in 2013. Three board members would have had until the end of this year; two more, including Hodge, would have served until December 2015. The board’s dissolution infringed on Hodge’s right to deliberate and vote on mental health business, the suit said.

That violates a section of the county charter that says governing board members shall be appointed to “definite terms,” the suit says.

Formerly, the nine-member governing board worked through the issues of programming and budgeting the mental health center then reported to the county commission, which had the final say over the center’s budget. Last year, though, a combination of factors, including failure to replace fee-generating employees like caseworkers, caused the center’s income to fall short of its expenses.

The county commission authorized a bailout of up to about $1 million, the executive director resigned and the county manager’s office took over day-to-day oversight. Assistant County Manager Maury Thompson is temporarily in charge of the department and a new advisory board has been appointed to give the community input on the center’s services. But a new executive director has not yet been found.

Removal of board members has been a sticky issue before. In 2011, the county charter commission, which reviews the home rule charter every 10 years, considered the question but failed to make an amendment. Instead, it urged the Kansas Legislature to clarify rules about appointments and removal of board members for “good cause.”

The county commission’s decision to dissolve the board came with some agonizing about their right to do so. But commissioners said at the time they were confident the state law gives them that power.

Dunwoody said his suit is not about whether the mental health center has been well or poorly run. “I care very deeply about adequate mental health care in the county,” he said. “But I care even more about the constitution.

“I want the rule makers to follow the rules.”

Hodge did not comment about the suit.

Don Jarrett, the commission’s legal counsel, also would not comment.

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Feeding off the ignorance in Washington, DC the Johnson County Government has chosen a “phone and pen” principle of governance, to change The Constitution to fit their needs.  Our “Constitution” our Closest to the People is our Home Rule Charter.  It’s preservation is more important than any single component it serves to protect.

In December 2013 The Board of County Commissioners terminated the existing Mental Health Board Commission and filled the created vacancies with themselves.  This was in direct violation of more than a decade’s use of the voters’ Home Rule Charter.  From 2011 through 2013 (period of concern) the Board of County Commissioners had at least three means of legally accomplishing their December 2013 outcome and intentionally chose not to.

I may not have impact or influence in Washington, DC.  But if I also have no impact or influence on the happenings in my own backyard, then our Republic is truly lost.  After considerable time, treasure and prayer I have filed a law suit in District Court.  Court Documents Filed 

I now stand ready for the criticism that I must not care about mental health services in Johnson County.  Allow me to once again state clearly……… I do not care about the whats and whys the Board of County Commissioners did what they did.  This is about the HOW they did it.  The Court must now decide if the voter approved Home Rule Charter has standing or not.  It’s preservation is more important than any single component it serves to protect.

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It”
Ken Dunwoody                                                                    GOD
Henpecked Acres                                              
One Nation
14850 W. 159th St.
Olathe, Ks. 66062
(913)768-1603
kdunwoody2@aol.com
http://NOlathe.net

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913

Citizen watchdogs go the extra mile to keep an eye on Johnson County governments

January 28

BY ROXIE HAMMILL

Special to The Star

They email. They blog. They attend the meetings, sometimes with a video camera in hand.

And often, this band of citizen watchdogs gets things done.

Those detailed minutes, transcribed from Shawnee City Council meetings and available online? Thank Tony Lauer and Ray Erlichman for that. The yard sign campaign against a sales tax increase in Roeland Park? That was Linda Mau’s baby, and voters rejected the hike. And if you live in Mission and got a new City Council representative in 2012, Bill Nichols may have had something to do with that.

These are some of Johnson County’s citizen activists — a small but vocal group of people well known to city councils and commissions for their persistence, watchfulness and willingness to delve into the smallest details.

These are no casual dabblers. They spend countless hours attending meetings and running down facts.

In some cases, it runs into money, too.

“I’ve spent probably several thousands of dollars on open-records requests since 2012,” Lauer said.

Not surprisingly, open access to public records is a pet cause for Lauer, who often helps neighborhood groups negotiate city hall when they have problems with a developer or want to contest city policies.

For their efforts, they are sometimes met with distrust and dismissal by the people they keep an eye on. Even casual observers sometimes make the mistake of making light of them.

“One expression I hate is when people say I’ve got too much time on my hands,” said Erlichman, who attends most council meetings and writes about them in the blog, Shawnee Ray’s Ramblings. “You jog around the block for two hours or watch Monday night football and that’s better than a council meeting?”

Erlichman has been writing about Shawnee’s goings on for about eight years — long enough for his outspoken opinions to have had an effect on the city officials he critiques. Sometimes that means a certain slowness in responding to his questions, he said. But he’s also been on the receiving end of some criticism himself. His response? At the bottom of each blog post, Erlichman runs a couple of lines of small type: “WARNING!!!!!! The City Manager of Shawnee has determined that local bloggers post items that may contain bad or misinformation. Please read these posts with care and determine for yourself whether the information is valid.”

In some cases that blowback has been a little harsher.

“In 2010 somebody reported to the sheriff I was dangerous,” said Ken Dunwoody, who comments on the doings of the city and the Johnson County Commission in his NOlathe’s Blog. Now, whenever he attends a county commission meeting, he said, he presents his driver’s license to the law enforcement official in attendance.

For elected officials, these activists are a regular part of political life. Some politicians take them in stride, others are more bothered by the criticism.

Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Commission, said public comment is just part of the process.

“Whether it’s a citizen comment or a staff comment, you evaluate the veracity of that information,” Eilert said

Mission Mayor Laura McConwell, frequent target of criticism from Nichols, worries that the frustration and partisan bickering in Washington will spill over into the local level.

“My big fear is that what happens with bloggers is going to trickle down and create gridlock at the local level, and that’s going to really impact people’s lives,” said McConwell, who recently decided to not run for re-election.

McConwell is thick-skinned enough to work with people who don’t agree, but she said Nichols sometimes is misleading in the numbers he presents to his readers. And his videotaping “creates an uncomfortable situation for everyone” because they know he will edit it, she said. “He’s videotaping and getting right in people’s faces.” Nichols said he always tries to be unobtrusive and polite in his taping.

McConwell said she’d much rather have a dialogue with voters who have criticisms of the city’s direction, rather than read about it in a blog. “What that allows is for people just to kind of lob hand grenades,” she said.

Shawnee Councilman Jeff Vaught, who has been a target of Shawnee Ray’s Ramblings, said it’s worth remembering that the people in city government live there, too, and are doing the best they can for the community.

“These are your neighbors,” he said. “These people live in the community and care about the community.”

Vaught said he hasn’t read the blog in over nine months.

“I think it’s great that people want to engage and get involved. It would be boring if nobody did,” said Vaught. “But I am frustrated by personal attacks. That really discredits that person.”

Mark Grannell, president of the Gardner-Edgerton Board of Education, said the school takes pride in providing the highest level of information to citizens as well as quality education. But some of the scrutiny from Walter Hermreck of Gardner and others can cast a negative light on the school and staff, he said.

“Any time you hold public office, there’s going to be a counter-view. That’s healthy,” said Grannell. “But when you continue to pound on negative issues it gets people feeling like there’s always something wrong.”

Grannell said he supports open information. But “the flip side is that data can be manipulated to make an issue where there is none.”

As for relations with the group of Gardner citizens asking the questions: “I like to think they’re cordial,” Grannell said. “It’s hard to be overly friendly with the negative image the group projects. It’s not like we’re failing here.”


It would be easy to dismiss the efforts of these people as the nattering of right- or left-wing crazies devoted to a grander national agenda. Some people do.

But those people don’t get it, say several of the activists. “I hate specific labels,” said Erlichman, when asked if people ever associated him with the tea party. “To me that means you’re just as bad, that you’re marching in lockstep.”

Lauer also dislikes labels. He has a blog, For What It’s Worth, but rarely posts and dislikes being marginalized with a “blogger” label. He even demurred at the idea of being called a watchdog.

“I’m hesitant to put on labels because that gives others and excuse to dismiss you,” he said. “Being called a watchdog puts others on the defensive.”

Sometimes, just being seen talking to someone with political views results in accusations of partisanship, he said. Lauer said he’s open to talking with people from any part of the political spectrum.

That said, though, some of them admit to at least a little partisan history. Erlichman, who has another blog supporting gun rights, ran as a conservative Republican for a state assembly seat when he lived in New York more than 20 years ago. “For a long time I would have classified myself as a Rockefeller Republican, but in the past few years I’ve gone a little more to the right.”

Dunwoody and Hermreck consider themselves more Libertarian than Republican. Mau is a registered Democrat who campaigns against tax increases and considers herself fiscally conservative. And Bill Nichols, who has served as a GOP committee representative, makes no bones about his conservative viewpoint.

The line between citizen watchdog and government official can get a little blurry at times. Sometimes, the natural interest in government inspires citizen activists to run for office themselves.

Such is the case with Nichols of Mission, who recently decided he would like to represent the city’s 4th Ward, a spot now held by Suzie Gibbs.

But he’s not the only one. Lauer of Shawnee put his name in the hat last fall when City Council members appointed a replacement for Dawn Kuhn in Ward 3. He was nominated, but Stephanie Meyer was eventually appointed. Lauer applied to make a statement about the city’s selection process for vacant seats, he said.

And there are those, like Mau of Roeland Park, who have served council terms but continue to be involved in civic affairs.

Running for office is a temptation that has so far been resisted by others. Erlichman and Hermreck, for example, say they often are asked whether they’ll run for office. But both prefer the flexibility and freedom to speak their minds that comes with being outside the politically correct strictures of elected office.

“I feel I can do more by being an outspoken advocate for what’s right without being locked in,” said Erlichman. “I can speak my mind without having to play politics.”

Things look different from the other side of the dais, say the council and commission members who are subjects of scrutiny.

Teresa Kelly knows. Just a couple of years ago, she was an activist herself, campaigning for the right to keep chickens in her Roeland Park back yard. Now she is on the City Council, dealing with tough tax issues as the city tries to plan a budget after losing Wal-Mart, its largest retailer.

“It’s totally different sitting behind the dais,” she said. “There is so much information that people don’t dive into as deeply as we do.”

That means sometimes people don’t understand why certain plans won’t work, she said. Even so, Kelly said, it’s important to treat everyone with respect. “I try to remember how I felt when I would make public comments or write letters to my representative,” she said.

Kelly and other elected officials said they welcome the differences of opinion. “It shows no one is in control. We’re having an adult conversation about the issue,” said Kelly.


If there’s one thing that ties this group together, it’s the belief in citizen involvement at the local level. And perhaps a certain frustration that more people are interested in following the big names in Washington than their own city councils.

“When’s the last time you saw the president of the United States filling a pothole, mowing lawns or anything else?” said Erlichman. “City government has the largest effect on people of any government. It’s also the easiest place to get involved.”

Other points in common: A belief that local government should be open, a love of the hunt for information — and most of all, a hope that all the time and energy they invest will make things better for their fellow taxpayers.

Here, then, is a brief who’s who of local government watchers, their motivations and causes.

Ken Dunwoody

Governments watched: Olathe and Johnson County Commission

Blog: NOlathe’s Blog, http://nolathe.net/

Background: Dunwoody served in an elite Navy “brown-water” unit at the Cambodian border. Afterward, he worked as an electrical/mechanical consultant for a soft-drink company. In 1998, he developed health problems due to exposure to Agent Orange and has been retired to his farm since.


Dunwoody’s interest in local politics dates to 2008, when the city of Olathe tried to annex his farm near Heritage Park. “Something just sparked,” he said.

After a little research, Dunwoody and other residents were able to win the fight because of an ordinance that forbade annexation if the area couldn’t pay its own way in taxes, he said.

The fire was lit. Dunwoody continued to explore issues with the Johnson County Commission. He objected to the summarized minutes that appear along with video of the commission meetings on the county’s website, at one point even offering to pay the $500 cost of having them transcribed. The county turned down his offer but decided to make full transcripts available beginning in 2014.

Health problems have made it difficult for Dunwoody to get out to commission meetings as often as he would like, so he follows the meetings online. He’s been particularly interested in the county’s plans for the former King Louie bowling alley and, recently, the future of the county mental health governing board. The commission recently voted not to spend the money necessary to remodel the King Louie into space for the museum and other offices. And the county commission recently dismissed the mental health governing board so commission members could take on its duties directly. Dunwoody contends that action is against the county’s charter.

“I’m never happier than when I’m doing research,” he said. “It’s frustrating when you know the truth and share that truth and it doesn’t change anything. Incredibly frustrating.”

Thankfulness and a hope to inspire others keep Dunwoody going, he said, remembering a high school trip to Washington, D.C., that his parents helped pay for.

“I never lost the meaning of that sacrifice,” he said. “A lot of my life right now is payback.”

Ray Erlichman

Government watched: Shawnee

Blog: Shawnee Ray’s Ramblings, http://shawneeray.blogspot.com/

Background: Born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx, Erlichman moved to Shawnee in 1989 on a job transfer selling fasteners, nuts and bolts to businesses.


Erlichman got involved in local government because of a proposed smoking ordinance. Passed in 2007, it prohibited smoking in enclosed public places, places of employment and outdoor seating areas.

He had already quit smoking by the time it was being discussed but disagreed that the city should step in to prohibit it. So he went to the council and said so, and ended up on the city’s task force. “It was a learning experience. I wouldn’t say it was a bad experience,” said Erlichman.

As he continued to watch city government, Erlichman became more concerned about how things were being run. When former council member Cheryl Scott delayed her resignation, apparently to ensure her replacement would be appointed rather than elected, and when a relative of the mayor ended up being appointed to the council, Erlichman said things had gone too far.

“It just highlighted the arrogance of officials that they could do what they want,” he said.

Erlichman continued to blog on those and many other issues about the city. He said the blog posts played a part in the city’s decision to bring back detailed minutes of council meetings to augment audio recordings and summarized minutes that were there previously. And he has criticized as “inflated” the job creation numbers city officials use as rationale for special taxing districts.

Shawnee Ray posts can be positive. He pointed out positive pieces he’s done on the fire department and parks. “I can be cooperative. I just can’t stand the hypocrisy going on,” he said.

“My agenda is to try and get more people involved,” he said. His biggest complaint, he said, is “apathetic” people. “That’s why sometimes government gets away with that it does.”

Walter Hermreck

Government watched: Gardner Edgerton school district

Blog: Gardner 24 Seven, http://gardner24seven.wordpress.com/

Background: Hermreck retired from the Army three years ago after 24 years of service in artillery and recruiting. He moved to Gardner a little over two years ago from Wichita and now stays home with his children while his wife attends school.


It was a series of Facebook posts about a Gardner Edgerton High School football game that got Hermreck into the complexities of school district affairs.

The home opener featured festivities with a special appearance by Chiefs mascot KC Wolf. Some commenters wondered where the money for the show came from, he said.

Hermreck set out with the intention to defend the district because he assumed the show was paid for by a booster club rather than the district, which turned out to be true. So he went looking for some open records on school policy. A few days later, he said, he got the records — along with a bill for $122.

“I was dumbfounded,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

But the more he talked to people around town, the more he became convinced the district needed to be more open. School board members’ emails, for instance, are deleted from the system after only 24 hours, he said.

Hermreck also began to question school budget cuts and tax cuts, which he suspects are hurting the school system. He claims the replacement of three school board members and slowly improving access to records as successes. “We’re trying to clean house,” he said.

The issue is transparency, he said.

“I want to get people engaged,” he said. “You can’t control the things that happen in Washington, D.C. City council and school board members make decisions that affect everyday life.”

Linda Mau

Government watched: Roeland Park City Hall

Blog: Citizens for Roeland Park, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Citizens-for-Roeland-Park/201819109961859

Background: Mau moved to Roeland Park in the mid-1980s and became involved in the community as a stay-at-home mom. She is a former City Council member and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2013.


Growing up in southeast Houston in the 1960s, Mau remembers her parents working hard to save money for the poll taxes. “I have three kids, and I tell each and every one of them that voting is a privilege. Don’t throw it away,” Mau said.

When she first moved to Roeland Park, Mau said she’d heard about a series of home break-ins and became worried enough that she went to the police station to ask if it was true that burglars were circling certain neighborhoods. But police wouldn’t tell her unless she gave them her address, she said. “That was what got me started in Roeland Park.”

But perhaps the biggest factor that got her involved was when former Roeland Park Mayor Jack Carpenter used the term “tar babies” to describe city’s increasing expenditures on a new swimming pool. The Tar-Baby was a character in an Uncle Remus story that entrapped Br’er Rabbit with its stickiness, but has also been viewed as a racial slur. Mau called the mayor out publicly for using the term.

“When someone attacks someone else for the color of their skin, you can let it ride or use it as a teachable moment,” Mau said.

Mau became increasingly involved in numerous city committees on such things as parks and Octoberfest. She won a council seat in 2003 but was defeated for re-election four years later. She ran for mayor in 2013, beating incumbent Adrienne Foster in the primary but eventually losing.

Late last year Mau was most visible for a successful campaign against a sales tax increase meant to offset some of the $700,000 in revenue the city will lose when Wal-Mart, its largest retailer, moves away.

People sometimes ask how Mau can be so passionate about issues yet maintain normal blood pressure, she says. “It’s because I love it,” she said. “So many people despair about politics and government in general, and they think, ‘My vote won’t matter.’ Your vote always counts.

“I do what I do because you have to know what’s going on in order to keep the community a community.”

Tony Lauer

Governments watched: Shawnee, Johnson County Commission, De Soto School District among others.

Blog: Shawnee, Kansas — FWIW (For What It’s Worth), http://blog.shawneefwiw.com/

Background: Lauer said he’s been an independent thinker at least since age 12. That was when he took a job stripping and polishing floors in Oklahoma City so he could pursue his own education at home. He and his mother had moved there from Johnson County, but he moved back again in the early 1990s and has made a living at a variety of pursuits, including technology consulting, writing data applications, product development and Internet marketing.


Lauer’s has been a data-driven life. He took to computers in the 1980s, and they are a mainstay in his search for information. Part of his house in west Shawnee is given over to several monitors as well as shelves of printed material he’s requested from governments over the years. “I don’t hack,” he said. “But I know how they work.”

That interest in data drove Lauer to campaign for detailed minutes to be kept of the City Council meetings. The council had been providing audio recording of the meetings plus minutes that provided few details of the council’s discussions.

“Historical data is critical,” he said. “Nobody has a crystal ball to see what the future is going to be, but hindsight should be 20/20.”

Because of his computer expertise, Lauer is able to turn that data into bigger pictures, spotting oversights in spending and other areas of city business, such as the proper recording of plats.

Lauer became interested in city business because of an issue in his western Shawnee neighborhood, Crimson Ridge. The neighborhood was to have 40 acres of trees and jogging trails running among the homes, according to the developer, Lauer said. But neighbors asked him to help when it became known that the land was sold to Habitat Kansas for stream mitigation. Homeowners would not be allowed to use it.

“As far as I was concerned that was like someone trying to take toys away from my children,” Lauer said. In response, he immersed himself in the records, taking a crash course in plats and planning commission minutes. Habitat has since backed away from the mitigation plan, but the neighborhood still doesn’t have its jogging trails, he said.

Since then Lauer has been called upon by many other citizens looking for help in disputes with the city. But he’d prefer to get more people paying closer attention to what’s going on so they can help themselves. “My agenda is to help others do what I do,” he said. “What happens too often is that people spend a lot of time complaining, but they don’t complain to the right people.”

Linda Mau

Government watched: Roeland Park City Hall

Blog: Citizens for Roeland Park, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Citizens-for-Roeland-Park/201819109961859

Background: Mau moved to Roeland Park in the mid-1980s and became involved in the community as a stay-at-home mom. She is a former City Council member and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2013.


Growing up in southeast Houston in the 1960s, Mau remembers her parents working hard to save money for the poll taxes. “I have three kids, and I tell each and every one of them that voting is a privilege. Don’t throw it away,” Mau said.

When she first moved to Roeland Park, Mau said she’d heard about a series of home break-ins and became worried enough that she went to the police station to ask if it was true that burglars were circling certain neighborhoods. But police wouldn’t tell her unless she gave them her address, she said. “That was what got me started in Roeland Park.”

But perhaps the biggest factor that got her involved was when former Roeland Park Mayor Jack Carpenter used the term “tar babies” to describe city’s increasing expenditures on a new swimming pool. The Tar-Baby was a character in an Uncle Remus story that entrapped Br’er Rabbit with its stickiness, but has also been viewed as a racial slur. Mau called the mayor out publicly for using the term.

“When someone attacks someone else for the color of their skin, you can let it ride or use it as a teachable moment,” Mau said.

Mau became increasingly involved in numerous city committees on such things as parks and Octoberfest. She won a council seat in 2003 but was defeated for re-election four years later. She ran for mayor in 2013, beating incumbent Adrienne Foster in the primary but eventually losing.

Late last year Mau was most visible for a successful campaign against a sales tax increase meant to offset some of the $700,000 in revenue the city will lose when Wal-Mart, its largest retailer, moves away.

People sometimes ask how Mau can be so passionate about issues yet maintain normal blood pressure, she says. “It’s because I love it,” she said. “So many people despair about politics and government in general, and they think, ‘My vote won’t matter.’ Your vote always counts.

“I do what I do because you have to know what’s going on in order to keep the community a community.”

Bill Nichols

Government watched: Mission City Hall

Blog: SaveMission, http://www.savemission.net/

Background: Nichols retired in 2009 from his job as a photographer for a listing service. He’s been involved in Republican committee politics and is now a candidate for Mission City Council.


Nichols is probably best known as the guy with the video camera who comes to just about every City Council meeting. He then posts the videos — about 340 so far — on YouTube.

Mission doesn’t stream its meetings online. “People just don’t show up,” he said. “I certainly didn’t before the driveway tax.”

The measure, called the “driveway tax” by critics and “transportation utility fee” by its supporters, has been a thorn in Nichols’ side since it was approved three years ago and is a big reason he spends so much time following up on and blogging about City Hall. That, plus a mistrust of the city’s mayor, Laura McConwell.

He counts the 2012 elections among his biggest successes as an activist. That year he helped elect three new council members of the four who were running, unseating two longtime incumbents. After talking to The Star for this story, he decided to run for a council spot himself.

“I hate to say I stir the pot. But all I want is government that takes care of my money,” he said.

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In it’s continued disdain towards the Kansas Constitution and Statutes the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners have now resorted to conducting County business in secret hoping no one will notice.

Kansas Statute 75-4319 is quite clear in what constitutes an Executive Session and the process of how it is conducted:

http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/statute/075_000_0000_chapter/075_043_0000_article/075_043_0019_section/075_043_0019_k/

“Any motion to recess for a closed or executive meeting shall include a statement of (1) the justification for closing the meeting, (2) the subjects to be discussed during the closed or executive meeting and (3) the time and place at which the open meeting shall resume. Such motion, including the required statement, shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting and shall be maintained as a part of the permanent records of the body or agency. Discussion during the closed or executive meeting shall be limited to those subjects stated in the motion.

So what was so secret and who would benefit from this illegal conduct by Johnson County?  And how with 3 former Mayors who each know more than us commoners about such stuff would allow this to happen?  Why did neither the County Manager nor Legal Staff correct this statutory violation?

They are aware of this requirement.  Each of the last 3 meetings in 2013 had Executive Sessions, what was so secret about 12/12/13?

12/12/13- “Commissioner Osterhaus moved to recess the Board’s open meeting and to convene in executive session at 12:15 p.m., for a period of forty-five (45) minutes for the purpose of receiving advice of legal counsel and to reconvene in open session at approximately 1:00 p.m., or as soon thereafter as the executive session may end. Commissioner Peterson seconded the motion.”

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12/5/13- “Commissioner moved to recess the Board’s open meeting and to convene in executive session at 12:15 pm., for a period of fifteen (15) minutes for the purpose of receiving advice of legal counsel and pending litigation and to reconvene in open session at approximately 12:30 p.m., or as soon thereafter as the executive session may end. Commissioner seconded the motion.”
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11/14/13- “Commissioner Osterhaus moved to recess the Board’s open meeting and to convene in executive session at 12:15 p.m., for a period of thirty (30) minutes for the purpose of receiving advice of legal counsel, pending litigation, and matters related to non-elected personnel and to reconvene in open session at approximately 12:45 p.m., or as soon thereafter as the executive session may end. Commissioner Allen seconded the motion.”
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Our next posting will be identifying campaign contributions to our anointed ones from Deffenbaugh Industries and how Deffenbaugh has the equivalent of one full-time employee under County supervision.  Then we will share how, we’ll let that be a surprise.
“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It”
Ken Dunwoody                                                                       GOD
Henpecked Acres                                               
One Nation
14850 W. 159th St.
Olathe, Ks. 66062
(913)768-1603
kdunwoody2@aol.com
http://NOlathe.net

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Obama does it.  Brownback does it.  Eilert does it.  What is it?

They all pick and choose what parts of The Constitution they enforce and what parts to ignore.

Stuart Little is the County paid “Lobbyist” and this is what he was instructed to do to assist in changing Kansas State Statutes in order to allow County Commissioners’ removal of appointed volunteers to County Boards/Commissions.

A good mechanic would have placed this tool in their toolbox.

A good mechanic looks at and tends to the whole car.

Little KORA

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