Posts Tagged ‘kansas city star’

Op-Ed – Kansas Web site ‘Kaw and Border’ defends Ben Hodge after false KC Star column

Monday, March 14th, 2011

From Kaw and Border.  Re-printed with permission:

Steve Rose, chief mouthpiece for the Dick Bond-wing of Johnson County politics, has largely been off our radar for the past few months. The largest reason is that due to some kind of contractual issue, his column was removed from the front of the Johnson County Sun and with it, his automatic access to tens of thousands of Johnson County residents who received the Sun in their mailboxes or driveways the past 20+ years. (more…)

Vote to predict the future of The Kansas City Star’s columnist line-up

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
pollcode.com free polls
1. The Kansas City Star lists six news columnists. Will Mike Hendricks be the next news columnist to lose his job?
Yes No

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2. If not Hendricks, whose column will next be eliminated at The Star?
C.W. Gusewelle
Debra Skodack
Steve Penn
Mary Sanchez
Steve Kraske
The Star will go out of business before further eliminating news columns
The Star will rebound and again become profitable, and will add new columns
pollcode.com free polls

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3. Will The Star cut the jobs of all white news columnists, regardless of merit, before Penn (who is black) and Sanchez (Hispanic)
Yes
No
pollcode.com free polls

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4. If The Star chooses to disregard merit and heavily consider race while further eliminating columns, will Jason Whitlock be considered equally black?
Yes. The Star would treat Whitlock just like any other black columnist.
No. The Star will consider Whitlock to be too white, or there will be some other disqualifier found.
pollcode.com free polls

JCCC leaders Terry Calaway, Shirley Brown-VanArsdale, Lynn Mitchelson increase the property tax rate, then mislead the public about it

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

JCCC leaders appear unable to tell the truth about anything these days.  The property tax rate is being increased, and that’s a fact.  But JCCC leaders are trying to pretend that this is an opinion that is up for debate.

At Thursday night’s monthly JCCC Board of Trustees meeting, chair Shirley Brown-VanArsdale said that she didn’t “agree” with Trustee Benjamin Hodge that JCCC is increasing taxes.  But The Kansas City Star reported that, Johnson County homeowners will, in fact, pay a higher percent of their property taxes this year to JCCC, when compared to what trustees approved in last year’s budget.  Jim Sullinger reports:

In other action, trustees approved a $134.3 million budget for the next school year. It includes a $4 increase in credit-hour tuition for students living in Kansas and a property tax levy equal to the amount levied last year – $8.77 on each $1,000 of assessed value.

However, Benjamin Hodge, a trustee, pointed out that the proposed levy was not the same as trustees approved a year ago. That amount was $8.75 cents on each $1,000 of assessed value.

He noted that by October the county had increased that levy amount by .019 mills or about 2 cents on each $1,000. Don Perkins, the college’s budget director, said the 2-cent increase was caused by a rare reduction in the county’s overall assessed value amid a worsening economy and slumping real estate values. To collect enough tax money to fund the college budget, the county made the 2-cent adjustment.

Hodge asked the board to roll back the $8.77 levy by 2 cents. His motion failed for lack of a second. He then voted against the budget.

After the trustee meeting, Perkins said the county could increase levies this coming October if the economy and home values do not improve.

In Kansas, local governments rarely actually vote on a property tax mill levy.  Rather, based off of the county appraiser’s office, local governments make assumptions of the total value of private property, and then elected officials vote on a dollar amount for the budget.  In the rare occurance of the assumptions being lower than expected — if property values decrease more than expected — because the total budget stays the same, what necessarily occurs is an automatic tax increase on property.

That’s what happened last year at JCCC.  The county appraiser’s office was incorrect and assumed a too-high total property value across the county.  And because JCCC wanted the same total dollar amount, an automatic (without any votes) increase occurred in the property tax rate.

As Sullinger reported, JCCC’s financial director Don Perkins said that an automatic tax increase may may AGAIN happen this year.

At last week’s board meeting, Trustee Hodge pointed out that the property tax rate had increased above what trustees had voted on in 2008.  Therefore, Hodge was not trying to decrease taxes, but he was merely attempting to restore the mill levy (which is a percent of a homeowner’s property value) to the original 2008 tax rate.

JCCC leaders face District Attorney review of open meetings law

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

On Friday, JCCC Trustee Benjamin Hodge filed with Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe a detailed summary of two likely violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act at Johnson County Community College.  District Attorney Howe is not required to investigate the request, but Hodge says he would be surprised if a formal review is not performed.

Here is a link to the 106-page document (PDF) that is now filed with the district attorney’s office.

At RedCounty.com, Trustee Hodge writes that included in the formal KOMA complaint is the detailed 64-item budget list that President Calaway chose to share during a closed meeting, and that Calaway claims should be considered part of his own job evaluation.  Hodge writes:

I encourage readers to look at the 64 items on the list, on page 102.  Is this the type of information that closely relates to Terry Calaway’s private job evaluation?  I don’t think so, and neither does The Kansas City Star nor The Kansas Press Association.  This is budget information, information that the Kansas Open Meetings Act requires be discussed during an open session.

Terry Calaway’s ‘lame excuses’: Kaw and Border

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The area blog Kaw and Border on JCCC President Terry Calaway, Board Chair Shirley Brown-VanArsdale, and Vice chair Lynn Mitchelson:

Ben has worked very hard to bring transparency and openness to the JCCC Board of Trustees. Unfortunately, as Yael Abouhalkah (of all people) at the Kansas City Star recently editorialized, the JCCC Board and President (outside of Hodge) have been conducting meetings in secret in violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. Ben didn’t like that and as a result, has been lableled a nuisance by Steve Rose. One would think that Steve Rose, whose name is synonymous with Johnson County’s long time suburban newspaper, the Johnson County Sun, would appreciate Ben’s efforts at upholding a state law that even The Star had to correct the college on, as Ben describes on RedCounty.com here.

Of course, JCCC President Calaway and the other 5 establishment board members have tried to come up with lame excuses for their secrecy, as described in this recent article in the Gardner News, that apparently KOMA doesn’t apply to written documents, just verbal communication. Right.

Not only that, they subsequently violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act back in November as well when four of the board members, a majority, wrote a letter to The Star discussing Ben’s claims in his own letter to The Star regarding the board’s possibility of raising the mill levy. Problem is, having four people sign a letter was a violation of KOMA as well. Ben discusses these issues at length here.

Bottom Line Communication on Star’s Diuguid

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Bottom Line Communications:

How bad are things at the Kansas City Star these days? So bad that the word from a variety of sources is that veteran Lewis Diuguid, who lost his long-time column in December after 21 years, will now give up his Vice President title and take a major pay cut.

The options offered him are still better than those given to many other folks at Kansas City’s largest paper during its most recent round of layoffs and cutbacks (see list).

Despite his change in status, Diuguid will be on the Star’s Editorial Board helping to shape the newspaper’s views on issues.

Diuguid, a lightning rod for criticism by conservatives for his often inflammatory views on race relations, is said to be losing his Vice President of Community Resources title along with a pay cut to now be a writer.

Breaking: JCCC receives an education from Kansas City Star on KOMA

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

After learning of the broad interpretation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act used by Johnson County Community College and its lawyers at Lathrop and Gage, the editorial board of The Kansas City Star this afternoon faxed a letter to the college administration and Board of Trustees explaining what The Star views as the intent of KOMA.

Related:

Kline didn’t ask for records, but abortionist and KC Star attempt to create story

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

KansasLiberty.com:

But lawyers for Tiller said in court documents that abortion records related to the case had been mailed to Kline’s new home in Virginia. That, they alleged, constituted a further demonstration of “outrageous” prosecutorial conduct by Kline, who, as Kansas Attorney General, first initiated the investigation of the Wichita clinic operator.

Tiller faces 19 criminal counts alleging violations of Kansas abortion law in Sedgwick County District Court. Judge Clark Owens is expected to rule soon on motions by Tiller’s lawyers that evidence be suppressed or the case dismissed. If the judge denies the motions, a trial is expected to begin March 16.

Caleb Stegall, a lawyer who has represented Kline in the past, said Kline had not requested the records and that a misunderstanding led to their mailing.