Contributed by Shawn Dietrich
Archive for August, 2013
At the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Meeting August 8, 2013 the Commissioners backtracked on a breakfast buffet of waffles that would saved the tax payers in excess of $8,000,000 of currently known “improvements” to the formally condemned and repossessed King Louie Building in the Metcalf Corridor of Overland Park, Kansas.
Public pressure recently forced the Commission to stop funding the original idea of the “Museum of Suburbia” that started the purchase of this old, vacant and environmental health hazard that just happened to be owned by friends of local government. (Even the Wall Street Journal later made headlines mocking this $40,000,000 debacle.) On the verge of an intentionally delayed condemnation by Overland Park and repossession by a local bank, our County purchased this $4,500,000 listed property for $2,000,000 (through a realtor with employer status among at least one Part-time Commissioner). Without knowing how to pay for the purchase, they quickly added another $1,600,000 of emergency repairs just to make the building weather tight. $3,600,000 committed on November 17, 2011 without any idea how to pay for it, because it was a “good deal”.
With “Museum of Suburbia” off the breakfast waffle menu, Chairman Eilert scrambled eggs to place the County funding of “The Enterprise Center” as a cost justification to purchase King Louie. Historically “The Enterprise Center” has been required to request annual funding, year to year, from The County to assist their business incubation non-profit operation. Intended to create jobs within The County, little is shared with the public in open meetings, In the last ten years they claim to have created over 700 jobs, but the details of longevity and salaries is quite limited. For all I know they created one job 700 times riding a lawn mower?
In the video below listen and count how many times Chairman Eilert refers to “The Enterprise Center” as a County function/operation.
Listen to Commissioner Allen state that career part-time politicians know more about this stuff than the Commissioners recently elected.
I watched the debate live last week. I watched and recorded it again today and changed my opinion. Last week I thought that Commissioner Klika made his point and on the record placed everyone on notice. Today I believe that was his intent from the get-go and was surprised his motion passed with a majority of the Commission to defund King Louie. Faced with defunding this committed to project (which by the way is the public’s view) he waffled and served breakfast to Chairman Eilert.
Dangers of waffling to Eilert leaves Commissioners Osterhaus, Toplikar and Ashcraft wondering (wandering) whether to support motions made by Klika with confidence. In the end, The County fell one vote short of defunding what folks believe was a political favor for friends. If no one follows, you are not a leader.
Ken Dunwoody GOD