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One thing I hope the new Commissioners will do….
Posted: 03 April 2013 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]
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It is ridiculous, in this age of technology, to not have the City Commission meetings streamed on-line.  A couple meetings ago, there was picture and no sound.  Last night, no meeting was streamed.  Our taxes have paid for the equipment to stream the meetings.  Our taxes pay the salaries of those responsible to stream the meetings.  Why would it be so difficult for someone on staff to simply pull up the meeting on their laptop and make sure it is happening?  A sitting commissioner, conducting the business of this City should not have to babysit by usine his own laptop to check.  But, if the folks responsible aren’t doing their job, perhaps someone who takes their job a little more seriously should be checking on them.

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Posted: 04 April 2013 07:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Larry:  I sent you comment on to the city IT department.  Here is the data that I received:

I can verify that the AV Tech is certainly doing her job properly. They problem is with our CivicPlus portal. I logged on to the website from home at 7pm on Tuesday night. I realized that it wasn’t streaming live and contacted CivicPlus immediately. I came to City Hall and did get the meeting streaming as quickly as I could. The meeting did stream live, but unfortunately it wasn’t in its entirety. It was available, but in 2 parts immediately after the meeting and I reran and captured the meeting first thing Wednesday morning. I am continuing to do everything that I can to resolve this problem and will continue to work with CivicPlus on the issue.

Marie Christian

Information/Program Coordinator

City of Manhattan

1101 Poyntz Avenue

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Posted: 05 April 2013 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks, Wynn, but….

1.  The responsibility lies with City staff.  If your current vendor/site developer can’t handle it, find someone who can.
2.  I can’t believe Civics Plus management would allow such poor service, seeing they just were handed a few hundred thousand taxpayer dollars…. and may come back for more.  Why would the City invest all these tax dollars in a company that can’t even successfully stream the Commission meetings?  Surely, if Ward Morgan or other Civics Plus execs were aware of the pathetic batting average for streaming of meetings, something would get fixed.  There have been issues with something like 4 of the past 6 commission meetings and the streaming of them.
3.  Getting the meeting streaming late, won’t get it.  One of the things we all will be watching for is if the Commission continues reciting the Pledge of Allegience at the beginning of each meeting.  We have a Mayor Pro-Tem who openly voices a distaste for anything having to do with the President of the United States or anything he can deem “big gubment”.  We have a commissioner-elect who saw to it the Ten Commandments were removed from the front lawn of City Hall and could be the first to as that “under God” be deleted from reciting the Pledge.  I would think tuning in late to some of the upcoming meetings might miss a significant portion of the fireworks display.

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Posted: 05 April 2013 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree with your comments on CivicsPlus.  If they cannot even handle streaming of our meetings, then a number of things come into question.  I have sent both of your posting to city staff so they are aware of the issue.  It should be fixed, though I fully expect that like all technology something will not go as planned at some future date.  But we should not have systemic issues.

John will not do anything about the pledge – he may not favor the current commander in chief, but the pledge is about America.  I think that Karen McCulloh was the only person on the commission during the time frame of the 10 Commandments issue.  I think it was moved more to avoid the possible ACLU law suit than because of any deep seated intolerance.  I hope you are not correct on this one, but only time will tell.

I also do not anticipate any fireworks displays at meetings.  We have a split left right commission.  It would be a mistake to spend Tuesday night wasting time in arguments.  If Karen, Usha and Rich have already determined that they are going to fund something like Mass Transit, then they should just say so early in the meeting.  The other two can than explain why they will vote against it, the record will state both views and we can then call for a vote.  It will pass 3-2, saves everyone a lot of time and effort.  On many topics it is not going to be worth anybody’s time to listen to a litany of speeches when the deal is already done long before.  The trick is for the group to figure out what is in play so far as discussion, compromise, etc and focus on those issues.  For instance the group may be committed to funding mass transit and even rental inspection that may be a done deal.  But maybe we can reach a deal on how to fund it. 

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Posted: 05 April 2013 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I, too, think the hours of listening to dozens of “look at me” speeches is a waste of time.  If the decisions are already made, get on with it.  Of course, you will hear those who believe they have every right to sermonize the other 49,999 citizens of Manhattan.  Public discourse may be required.  However, there should be two limiting factors.  Each and every statement from the audience should be limited to ONE minute.  If you cannot state your opinion in ONE minute, you ARE sermonizing.  Second, public input on issues should be limited to those residing in the city limits of Manhattan.  If… when the LGBT issue comes back up, why should the citizenry have to sit through lectures from people residing in Topeka, Salina, and McWhennyville?  Student at the U, fine. You state your residence hall or address and you get one minute.  Religious fanatic… or anti-religious fanatic… residing in Johnson County, you shouldn’t have a voice in what the citizens of Manhattan are or are not required to do.  Likewise with the rental inspection program or mass transit.  Keep the public input to Manhattan citizens.  We’re the ones who will have to pay the bill.

Whew… I’m on a roll.  City Commissioners should NOT be allowed to state that “I rec’d an overwhelming number of e-mails supporting issue ‘x’!”  If a commissioner does refer to his/her e-mail polling, then his/her the entire e-mail folder for the past 30 days should be published as a public record.  E-mail of elected officials IS public record.  We CAN demand… it may take a court order… to have them published.  We have been hornswoggled with the Fieldhouse project and that e-mail survey.  The report from that committee used the term “overwhelming” support.  First, is “overwhelming” 51% vs. 49%?  Who was polled?  And, residents of outlying areas would certainly support the residents of Manhattan funding a large recreational complex they could enjoy at no cost.  Don’t tell us your decisions were based on e-mail receipts unless you are prepared to show us those e-mails came from citizens and it wasn’t two people for an issue and one against it.

If… when the RIP program comes back up, can the Commission insist that the Landlords of Manhattan designate another person to speak on their behalf.  Mr. Hill may mean well.  However, his rambling on and on and on and on get tiring.  Again, ONE minute and to the point!!!

If… when ATA comes back before the Commission, why not use eco-devo dollars from the recent tax referendum?  The agreement was that the eco-devo dollars could be used for “infrastructure”.  I’d much rather see the tax dollar “black hole” that will suck tens of thousands of dollars from our coffers funded from eco-devo rather than have to take money from core projects. 

 

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Posted: 05 April 2013 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Wynn,
Sounds like you are already conceding on issues that haven’t even been brought up yet.
Larry,
One minute? If that was the standard, I doubt that you could do it. You couldn’t read aloud one of your postings here in one minute.

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Posted: 05 April 2013 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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What?  Are you indicating I might become a little verbose in my postings?  Surely not!!!

No one is required to read my lengthy posts to this discussion board.  It’s pretty difficult to tune out the lengthy dialogue at a commission meeting, waiting to hear the Commissoiners have their discussion and cast their votes.  And… I’m certain my posts are deemed much more important to the furture of the Community, the Nation, and the World than argumentative discussion by the “lesser” who would impose their opinions on the elected elite. :>)

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Posted: 05 April 2013 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Larry:  I like it.  Clearly City residents that pay the bill should be allowed to speak, all others can send email.  Second a time limit is in order.  No sense staying until 2 a.m. to just hear the same stuff said again and again.  The email comment is another good one.  I have mentioned emails before, and then try to read one that represents the number.  I do like the fact that folks send us email in advance of the meeting.  They should get represented.  We have done that by reading the email into the record.  I really like the idea of aTa being infrastructure.  Using the tax plus a student fee can put buses everywhere and everyplace.  As long as it does not increase property tax, I am open to the idea.

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Posted: 05 April 2013 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Michael:  I would not say that I am giving up on issues, just being realistic.  All of the talk in the world is not going to sway the way certain things may go.  For instance the library expansion is going to happen on a 3-2 vote.  The third vote is the key.  I believe that the three recently elected commissioners will pass the expansion.  Just like everyone knew that in 2011 the newly elected commission would change the rental program or kill it off; (though that one was hashed over a bit with the life safety version that I championed).  So yes I concede that the library expansion will happen and little is gained by me spending much time explaining why it is a bad idea.  Better to spend time coming up with the most efficient spending plan to support the expansion.  In this case Rich Jankovich has some ideas about lowering the overall cost that has merit.  I will support that issue and help drive down the cost.  I am focused on the overall debt and not so much any individual project.  If we could actually figure out how to fund every single project that the liberals desire, without raising the debt limit, water rates, sewer rates, storm water rates and the property tax mil levy, then I have achieved my goal.  Even social services – give them a million dollars a year,  that is fine with me, just not from the property tax or water bill.  We do you know tax folks on the water bill.  The safe dig program is funded out of the water bill, but not listed on your H2O bill – a hidden tax.

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Posted: 05 April 2013 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Larry,
I wasn’t indicating…you are verbose.  As my daddy used to say…“Well, to make a short story long….”
Now, I do believe that there should be limits, but one minute is too short.  Admittedly, for some people, it is too long, but there are people who have something important to say. Four minutes should be about right.  That is how long the Gettysburg address took to deliver.

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Posted: 05 April 2013 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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“On many topics it is not going to be worth anybody’s time to listen to a litany of speeches when the deal is already done long before.”  Mr. Butler, wow, really?

Larry, I see your point about e-mails sent to commissioners, but what is your plan for documenting telephone calls, conversations at the grocery store, etc.?

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Posted: 05 April 2013 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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KD, I don’t remember commissioners proclaiming “My vote is ‘x’, because I’ve been stopped by many people in the grocery store.”  Yet, we have had at lease two commissioners tell of receiving e-mails with an “overwhelming” slant one way or another. 
Also, as Wynn admitted, he has read e-mails to have them as part of the record.  Have commissioners quoted a grocery store conversation, verbatim, to have it included in the record?  When do we hear, “Tweets to my Twitter account overwhelmingly were in favor of ‘x’, so I’m going to vote that way.”  I would still like to see issues and projects that will be funded by taxpayers of this City have input on record from ONLY those taxpayers.  I am tired of hearing those residing in Timber Creek, on Deep Creek, Tuttle Creek residents, etc. suggest how our taxes should pay for things they can enjoy without the financial burden of the citizenry.

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Posted: 06 April 2013 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Larry, OK, now I get what you’re saying.  I thought you were saying any interactions between commissioners and citizens that may influence how commissioners vote should be documented and reported.  And yes, I remember when a commissioner reported on the volume of phone calls he’d received against constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Kimball and N. Manhattan Ave.

Comments from “taxpaying” citizens only means property tax paying—is that what you’re saying?  So, if someone lives in Timbercreek and works for the University and makes all their purchase in Manhattan, their opinion doesn’t matter?  Of course, it seems you don’t think anyone’s opinion matters as you seem to wish public input wasn’t required, and apparently so does a commissioner, which is far more alarming.

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Posted: 06 April 2013 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Kathy,
We can’t have those evil Timbercreek folks trying to influence commissioners. It is a slippery slope.  Pretty soon we’ll have people from Riley and Leonardville trying to influence commissioners to raise Larry’s taxes. THAT is the underlying purpose of any of these commissioners….to raise Larry’s taxes. He was too smart for them, however, and saw right through this conspiracy of e-mails and phone calls and the like from outlanders.

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Posted: 06 April 2013 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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KD, when it came to the swimming pool tax referendum, that was a sales tax and many from the region assist and I welcome their input.  OTOH, we had TC and other outlying areas chairing committes when the QOLII issue was before the voters.  That was a tax referendum which would have seen substantial increases in property taxes.  Two different scenarios.  If you have skin in the fight, speak to the issue.  If it is an issue where the property tax will escalate ONLY in the City Limits, hold your peace.

The citizens who will be paying the bill have EVERY right to speak their minds!  My point, and I believe Wynn’s, was that there are some issues already decided.  If the Library issue were to come back up, there are 3 commissioners who have their minds already made up that is should go forward.  Two commissioners are against it.  There is no reason to have public input go on and on and on, if it won’t make one iota of difference in the vote.

And, I do not feel folks from outside the City should have the opportunity to philabuster social or statutory issues.  If they want a say in how our community conducts herself, reside here.

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Posted: 06 April 2013 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I find it to be bad form to ever imply that a situation has already been decided, and so public input is pointless.  What happened to wanting the public to be engaged in the operation of government and to be participants?

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