Recent Updates Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • skcablog 3:11 am on August 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bond Issue, Hickman Mills CS-1, John Sharp, Laura Loyacono, Mark Sharp, Missouri Legislature, Primary Election   

    Thoughts on The 36th District Race and The Latest School Bond Issue 

    Two ballot issues should be of especial concern to residents of south Kansas City, one being peculiar to the southeastern half.

    The first is the issue of who will be their representative in the State House. One choice is one with a questionable past involving use of Facebook time regarding issues of a sexual nature and internet searches for tactical rifles during the time he was supposed to be teaching high school students; issues which led to his resigning his teaching position. Mark Sharp happens to be the son of longtime Democratic puppeteer John Sharp, who is eager to have his disgraced son in Jeff City so that he, himself, can have his finger in yet another pie.

    The other choice offered is Laura Loyacono, a newcomer to Kansas City politics, but knowledgeable about how Jeff City works. Her past includes a record of supporting public education and stable housing for seniors and working families. She also helped establish the Jackson County Children’s Services Fund.

    While Sharp’s most recent flyer states that “This senseless killing must stop” and joined Mayor Lucas in requesting the governor to convene a special session: he says nothing about what he will propose at that session. Even implying that he will do something about guns is a bit hypocritical when he, himself, was searching online for not simply a hunting rifle, but a tactical rifle.

    For those concerned about COVID-19, you should also be aware that he campaigns without wearing a mask.

    Loyacono promises to fight for quality affordable healthcare, common sense gun laws, and expanded access to education and job training. She has a Master’s degree in public administration and no ties to the local political club.

    It’s time for south Kansas City to step up and say no to the establishment and yes to a real and fresh voice to represent us in Jeff City.

    The other issue, which is important to those living in Hickman Mills, is the bond issue. While this bond itself will not increase your taxes, it will increase the debt service the district will have to pay back which could have dire consequences.

    In 2014, the District had a financial reserve of 24%. By the end of 2018 the District was so low on funds, it had to borrow money to make payroll and then ended up closing two schools and laying off teachers. Altogether, it doesn’t seem like this Board is a group that knows how to handle money.

    Before voting to put this issue before the people, the Board hired a consultant, Hollis+Miller, an architectural firm. While they have worked with many school districts and did architectural work for Hickman Mills in the past, one has to wonder about conflict of interest. The Board has a history of accepting the recommendation of consultants simply because they’re the consultant. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them that there needs to be an evaluation process.

    Aside from that, let’s compare some of the issues supposedly covered by the last bond with those to be covered by the proposed bond:

    2016 Bond2020 Proposed Bond
    Roof ImprovementsRoof Improvements
    HVAC ImprovementsHVAC Improvements
    Restroom RenovationsRestroom Renovations

    There was/is no delineation as to where any of these have or will occur, so we don’t know if these are new projects or old ones that just didn’t quite get taken care of. There are also listed for the current bond “exterior improvements” and “interior improvements”. That could be anything. Does the public not deserve to know exactly what will be done with their money? How will we be able to judge if our tax dollars are being used properly?

    While fund balances have now been built back up, given recent history they could very well go back down again. This seems a poor time to go further into debt. This bond issue will not raise your taxes, but should the District budget get close to the red again and the Board votes to close more schools, your property values will certainly go down.

     
  • skcablog 5:00 am on July 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Not Strong & Not Effective Voice for South KC! 

    John Sharp, running his son’s campaign, recycles his old and phony campaign slogan (“A Strong Voice for Us”). That is what Mark Sharp’s campaign is about: John Sharp. John Sharp was not strong and effective for his neighbors; John sold them out every chance he could get to the corporate interests. Mark Sharp is not a strong person. This is apparent with his resignation of his teaching position in Texas for inappropriate sexual messages displayed in his classroom while students were present. Mark Sharp will not be effective because he will do and say what his father John Sharp wants. Mark Sharp is nothing more than a puppet for John Sharp. Mark Sharp did not even have the ability to create and promote a new vision for the people he wants to represent. Previous blog posts detailed the issues with Mark Sharp’s record and John Sharp’s self serving agenda. Move forward South Kansas City next Tuesday without the failed Sharp brand!

     
  • skcablog 7:00 am on July 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Kansas City’s Most Self-Serving Career Politician: John Sharp 

    Southeast Kansas City is plagued with high crime, poverty, and struggling neighborhoods. One person controls much of what happens there, to the detriment of the people living in the area: Former and shadow city councilman John Sharp.

    John Sharp started as a Republican State Representative in the 1970s. Next, Sharp became a city councilman in the 1980s. After being term limited out and with a council backroom deal with his replacement city councilwoman, he became the director of MAST ambulance service. But, with no management experience, the ambulance service was soon in financial difficulties and the city was forced to place the independent ambulance service under the supervision of the fire department. Sharp then became a Hickman Mills school board member in the 1990s, a step many take when they want to get their name before the public so they can run for a higher office. When his term was up in 2007, Sharp returned to city council for another 8 years. And, when he was again term limited out and once again with a backroom deal with his replacement city councilman, Sharp became a Public Improvement Advisory Committee representative.

    John Sharp also created a political organization, the South Kansas City Alliance, he says to compete with Northland Neighborhoods but in reality it is a way to get city hall to fund his political group. The political action committee Southland Progressives was created by Sharp to fund candidates for school board and other local offices. Sharp’s main concern is to make sure PIAC money and all development subsidies flow to the corporations to the detriment of Hickman Mills School District students, whom he once purported to serve. Sharp has done nothing to revitalize Blue Ridge Boulevard or the area’s struggling shopping centers.

    Now, with this background, here is the point: John Sharp promoted the former state representative DaRon McGee, who resigned from the Missouri House for alleged sexual harassment of an intern. McGee was also a former aide of Sharp’s when Sharp was on the city council and had to resign that position for similar reasons. Today, John is trying to solidify the position of his son Mark as state representative. Mark Sharp resigned his teaching position in Texas for inappropriate sexual messages displayed in his classroom while students were present. While implying this occurred while in his 20s, he actually resigned at age 31, so the long side of 20s when he certainly should have known better.

    John Sharp’s agenda is very clear when you look at the complete record: John Sharp’s career is the agenda, not the community of southeast Kansas City. It is time to for southeast Kansas City to move forward without the failed Sharp brand.

     
  • skcablog 2:24 pm on July 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    South Kansas City Candidate Forum 

    The 2020 Missouri primary elections will be held in just three weeks on August 4. Tomorrow, July 15 at 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. local neighborhood groups are holding an online forum. Candidates for County sheriff and prosecuting attorney, as well as for Missouri House districts 25, 26, and 36, and State Senate districts 7 and 9 are scheduled to participate.

    See the event Facebook page for more details or to attend.

     
  • skcablog 2:21 am on July 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    State Rep. Sharp’s Letter Diverts Attention From Damning Report 

    This month, voters residing in south Kansas City’s 36th Missouri House district have been receiving this campaign letter from Representative Mark Sharp. Mr. Sharp is running in the August 4th primary election to retain the seat which was essentially given to him by the Jackson County Democratic Party after last year’s resignation of DaRon McGee. The letter responds to selected vaguely-referenced facts about his past which, when revealed last month, led to calls for Mr. Sharp’s resignation. Though the letter is the first that most residents of the district have heard of this controversy, it has actually been brewing since May, when a report from the Texas Education Agency, published here for the first time, began circulating among Missouri Democratic Party members, local activists and journalists.

    After appearing on Twitter, news of Representative Sharp’s inappropriate behavior and sexist/homophobic remarks broke into local media via an article in The Kansas City Star, which was published on June 24th. Later the same day, local activist Justice Horn posted his demand for Sharp’s resignation on Facebook. K.C. news blogger Tony Botello followed up with a post on June 26th.

    The Report They Don’t Want You To See

    Sharp’s letter refers, without specifics, to allegations made by a defunct Twitter account, which he claims are untrue, and to “thoughtless remarks” he made on Facebook when he was in his twenties. Sharp assures us that he has “grown” since then. However, his letter does not mention that, when he was 31, Sharp resigned from a teaching position in Texas, “due to allegations of inappropriate conduct in the classroom”. That fact, and details of what lead up to his resignation, are in the report from the Texas Education Agency. Representative Sharp is clearly trying to deflect attention from that with his focus on what happened “nearly a decade ago”.

    Voters will have the opportunity to question Representative Sharp about these matters at an upcoming candidate forum, to be held online on the evening of Wednesday, July 15th. Participation is free.

     
  • skcablog 11:36 am on July 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Cerner South Kansas City Hillcrest Road 

    Cerner has been in the news recently about its cultural and societal issues. Kansas City is in upheaval about previous civic and national figure’s morals in today’s society. We quote: “Cerner has no tolerance for racism and has taken significant steps in recent years to advance diversity and inclusion strategies.” Cerner wants to focus on only their employment practices. In South Kansas City, Cerner needs to focus on their community practices. Cerner forced the City with the help of former Councilman John Sharp to close Hillcrest Road, the main connector for residents to travel between 87th Street and 95th Street. Residents have to go out of their way to get on busy I-435 or travel to Blue Ridge Boulevard to do business on 87th or 95th. At Cerner North Kansas City Headquarters, Walker Road is not closed. All this grandstanding by politicians about holding dead people accountable for their sins is a waste of time. In South Kansas City we want economic justice for all people. Cerner needs to open Hillcrest Road up or build an outer road at their expense next to I-435 so residents can travel between 87th Street and 95th Street.

     
  • skcablog 12:08 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    A Promise Delayed, Or a Promise Broken? 

    I noticed tonyskansascity.com linked to the Martin City Telegraph article on the recently reviewed Hickman Mills Area Plan. The problem with that link is that the article was written by John Sharp. He’s the one who testified in person before the Neighborhood and Development Committee when he was supposed to either send in his comments for the city clerk to read or participate by Zoom. That testimony, as mentioned before, rambled on for a good 8 minutes and covered items that weren’t related to the plan.

    As an aside, one of those items he mentioned is the move of Price Chopper on Blue Ridge Boulevard just south of Bannister Road to a location a little further west on Bannister across from the Cerner Innovations Campus. Mr. Sharp seems to think this is a great move, which implies he is also happy with the soon-to-be-vacant building on Blue Ridge Boulevard and the CID area that was created for the Price Chopper. That CID will add an additional tax to groceries for the already-impoverished area. This is exactly the argument that has been made recently for TIF districts and the school districts they encompass.

    But I digress. The plan Mr. Sharp is so happy with has quite an emphasis on the Three Trails (California, Oregon, and Santa Fe) and well it should. It is mostly through Hickman Mills that these three trails converge, making them unique to the area. The plan, however, says very little about the history of Hickman Mills, even though there are original buildings still standing which were part of the original town of Hickman Mills. Mr. Sharp seems to be as okay with ignoring this history as the city is.

    The bigger issue, however, is the City has once again broken its promise. When the original Hickman Mills Area Plan was drawn up, the boundaries did not include the entire community of Hickman Mills (not to be confused with the school district of Hickman Mills). Instead, the area west of 71 highway was to be included in the Red Bridge Area Plan. When the community pleaded with the City to change the boundary, they promised they would when the plan came up for review, which was this past year.

    A few years ago when the Red Bridge Area Plan was under discussion, the City was asked about changing the boundary and they said that would occur when the Hickman Mills Area Plan came up for review and proceeded to take the Red Bridge Area Plan which included a good portion of Hickman Mills to the City council for approval, which of course they did. This past year, when the Hickman Mills Area Plan was being reviewed, the City was again asked about changing the boundary. They said it was too late because the Red Bridge Area Plan had already been approved. Promise broken with a caveat. Hickman Mills is now being told to wait for the City to finish its review of FOCUS, the overall city-wide plan and perhaps plan boundaries will be changed.

    Fifth and sixth district representatives seem to be fine with this decision because they approved the Hickman Mills Area Plan and agreed the community just needs to wait. Again. It’s been over 10 years, but apparently the City believes a few more won’t matter. Just as he seems to be okay with creating an additional tax burden on those he formerly represented, (perhaps having been on the council for a total of 4 terms, he is more politically-minded than community-minded) Mr. Sharp also has no problem with the City breaking its promise to the community.

     
  • skcablog 2:41 pm on June 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    South Kansas City Crime & Safety Town Hall 

    Saturday, June 27th from 10:00 A.M.

    To participate in the South KC Crime & Safety Town Hall meeting online or in person, please register. Details below:

    SKC CRIME AND SAFETY TOWN HALL MEETING NOTICE

     
  • skcablog 10:09 pm on June 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Systemic Neglect of Kansas City’s East Side 

    This blog and those attached to it have never been big fans of Kansas City government, but we believe they have hit a new low. This letter was sent, by a friend, to the mayor, council members, and department directors. It not only states the problem, including pictures of disparity, but offers solutions. How often do people simply complain and expect the City to find answers? Dishearteningly, only one council person has even acknowledged it. One would be tempted to say in light of what is occurring across the country, in light of what has been occurring here in our own city, in light of the recently passed Juneteenth, there would be more concern shown. However, while this may be predominately, and increasingly, a Black issue, they are not the only ones affected.

    While systemic racism does exist, it is actually being encouraged by our elected representatives and those they employ. The City, with some deliberateness, is investing in already well-established areas and ignoring others. I recall a press conference a while back regarding the Loma Vista Shopping Center, most notably the long-closed and dilapidated Shoney’s building. The roof is caving in and there has been a tarp placed on the large hole to keep the water out. The city responded that the owner is paying his taxes so there’s nothing to be done. I can imagine what would be done if it were my roof. By allowing certain areas of the city to become and stay blighted, the City is driving white flight from those areas.

    It is especially disheartening that the City doesn’t realize (or care about) the effect their decisions are having on the generations now in school. Because our schools are funded by property taxes and because the schools on the east side of Troost are in areas of lower assessed valuation and because of the proliferation of TIF areas, the children are suffering. Teacher salaries aren’t high enough to ensure top-notch teachers. What does this bode for the future?

    While no one is saying all areas should be equal, they should at least have an equal chance. No one should be forced to live in areas with poorly maintained streets and dilapidated buildings and underperforming schools.

    A quote from the end of the letter is appropriate:

    For far too long we have relied on a system that does not look at all areas of the city the same. That does not value the viability and livability of all neighborhoods in Kansas City. That does not promote healthy lifestyles for all residents. That has no regard for the education of black and brown students.

    We must do better Kansas City if we ever hope to become a truly great city.

    Perhaps, though, the answer is simpler and sadder. Perhaps it isn’t about racism. Perhaps it’s simply about voters and being able to stay in office/position of authority. If the areas west of Troost have higher voter turnout than those on the east side of Troost, why should anyone care about the east side? It’s easy to turn a blind eye if it doesn’t affect your chances of being elected/re-elected. Basically, and perhaps unwittingly, those living on the west side of Troost are one big lobbying group simply because they have money and because they vote. What a sad commentary on those elected to represent all of Kansas City. Of course, there is simply no excuse for those who actually represent the areas affected. Where are their voices?

     
  • skcablog 2:22 pm on June 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Platitudes for The Plebs 

    Sixth district Councilwoman Andrea Bough apparently has sent out an “update” email which included the following:

    “The events of the last few weeks and months have made one thing clear – we have inequities in the City . . . and we have work to do. Voices are crying out to be heard, and we are listening. While we may feel overwhelmed at the issues that we face we must not be afraid to re-examine the ways in which we have approached these issues in the past. We will continue to fight so that the marginalized voices will be heard and the inequities erased.

    We need to work together and continue to have these conversations on how we improve the lives of all.”

    Obviously, she is referring to the pandemic and other issues currently facing both our city and country and I applaud her for speaking to the issues and voicing concern.

    At the same time I couldn’t help but think of everyday issues of her constituents and wonder why she can’t show the same degree of regard. Many in south Kansas City feel “marginalized” and feel the “inequities” with other areas she represents; yet, she is willing to write them off while offering platitudes about how she understands. She may be listening, but she isn’t hearing.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel