One Name, One Vote

Next week’s election on April 8th features several municipal elections. Around the Lake area, aldermen races, a fire district levy and school board races are heating up as election Tuesday approaches. American Spring and Guerrilla Radio will be looking at these local races, what they represent for the community of the Lake of the Ozarks and the importance of ‘local control’ of these different government agencies.

In the case of area schools, for a growing consensus of parents, Common Core implementation is a crucial issue this election cycle. At the heart of opposition to Common Core is the blatant, gross overreach by state and federal government into our local schools. Common Core supporters assert that implementing the standards do not interfere with local control of our districts. They claim that teachers will still be allowed to teach as they see fit, that school districts and boards will retain ultimate control with regards to our children’s education. This is absolutely false. It strips taxpayers, voters and parents of the control guaranteed them by the US and Missouri Constitutions.

This is not the only issue to face our local school districts. Currently, in Camdenton, major construction is underway on two satellite elementary school buildings. While it is difficult to argue against the need for such renovations, the project is already experiencing overruns in cost. Financial responsibility and transparency is a key component to the Camdenton race.

Across the state, ‘no tax increase’ levy extensions and other funding increases are being sought by schools in record numbers. The floodgates to these ballot initiatives were opened recently in Jefferson City, as state lawmakers allowed schools to increase their debt load.

CAMDENTON SCHOOL BOARD

Last spring, a ballot initiative was proposed by Camdenton’s school district administration and the board of education. It regarded a ‘no tax-increase levy’ for the district. The initiative was pitched by superintendent of the Camdenton school district, Tim Hadfield. Hadfield famously repeated an example to the voters of the district, that sought to explain how such a ‘no tax increase levy’ would be used to ‘shift a few cents from one pocket to another’. This, he said, would allow the district to complete the necessary construction to these schools without asking for a tax increase to fund them.

What Hadfield did not tell the public during his slight of hand public relations campaign is that the ‘no tax levy’ granted the school board the ability, without a vote of the people, to raise the levy by up to eleven cents.

A similar ballot initiative is on the books for the Eldon school district next week. It joins a flurry of such measures on ballots across the state. For a network of parents and taxpayers across the state, the epidemic of school levy proposals can be directly related to future costs associated with Common Core and rising school district ‘legal fees’. As scandals in the Hickman Mills school district clearly demonstrate, financial transparency is critical to prevent abuses.

There is reason, at least in Camdenton’s school district, to be concerned about similar abuses. Questions about an abandoned audit, cost overruns at a ball field and concerns about the role of an architecture firm in school business have swirled in the community.

In the case of an approximately $1.5 million dollar overrun during the construction of a ball field, an investigation revealed that the Camdenton school maintenance supervisor, Kerry Dickeman, had ties to multiple LLC’s and awarded those businesses contracts for work on this ball field.

After the results from this investigation were presented to the Camdenton police department, they suggested the information be forwarded to Jefferson City for review. The CPD believed there was reason to pursue the questions raised by this citizen-led investigation, but cited their own conflict of interest as reason for being unable to investigate themselves. This conflict is the relationship between the department and the school, through the CPD’s role in providing resource officers for the district.

Additional concerns have been raised regarding the role of architecture firm, ACI/Boland. The architecture firm seems to have a never-ending ATM with the Camdenton school district. The firm, after designing the new high school and other buildings, was intimately involved with the passing of Camdenton’s ‘no tax increase’ levy measure last spring. Certainly, the construction and renovation projects attracted the attention of the firm. Their level of participation in the sham of the ‘no tax increase’ initiative is unclear at this time. What is clear however, is that ACI/Boland certainly has the inside track with regards to the Camdenton school district.

Selynn Barbour, current member of and candidate for the Camdenton school board, is forced to recuse herself from each and every vote that involves the architects. This is because she is related to members of the firm. ACI/Boland, with their sponsorship of the half-truths presented by Hadfield’s presentation of a ‘no tax increase’ levy, seems to have ensured that their parasitic relationship with the district will continue. Should Barbour be re-elected, the likelihood of this increases.

In a recent Q and A with candidates for Camdenton school board, four out of the five candidates expressed a willingness to restrict the public’s ability to provide oversight and accountability in the district. This logic and the willingness of these candidates to hand control of our district over to unelected administrators and lawyers represents a troubling trend that has presented itself in districts across the state of Missouri.

The lone dissenter to this, in the Camdenton school board race, was candidate Mindi Sales.

Three seats are up during this year’s election, ensuring that two positions will be filled by those who endorse turning our district over to unelected administrators and lawyers. It is with this thought in mind that a strategy has emerged in this race that has gained traction with the voters. It is an idea plainly expressed by candidate for Mid-County Fire Protection District board, Jeremy Rugen.

MID-COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT BOARD AND TAX HIKE

Rugen, who entered the race in the wake of recent public opposition to the closure of satellite stations in Camden County, has put this slogan on his signs:

“One name. One vote.”

Rugen, who was opposed to the idea of closing the satellite stations, represents a departure from the ‘status quo’. He recognized that the district should look at alternatives that did not include closing these stations. On paper, their closures would save some money, but Rugen, like many other county residents, believes that there are alternatives that should be taken before shuddering area stations. These closures, while saving the district, will cost the taxpayers more. Closing satellite stations, such as the one in the Roach area, will cause immediate hikes in home owner insurance rates for some Camden County residents. Earlier this year, during a packed meeting of the Mid County Fire Protection Board, the public protested these cost cutting measures.

The board and administration of the fire protection district used this as reason to ask for yet another increase in taxes. They launched another campaign, to little fan fare and less support, to raise the district’s levy. Mid-Missouri Fire Protection District Chief Scott Frandsen and the board, including Charlie McElyea, attempted to turn the public’s resistance to closing stations into support for the levy increase the district has been seeking. This has not materialized however, as residents do not believe raising taxes is the answer. They believe other steps should be taken first, such as not filling vacant administrator positions. They believe that by taking measures to reduce administrative costs, enough money would be saved that the district could improve wage conditions for the front line firefighters. They believe these goals can be achieved without costing taxpayers of the district a single dime in new taxes.

These three ballot issues on April 8th will determine the direction these districts, both school and fire. They represent local control of our government and restoring accountability, transparency and honesty from the institutions we fund. We will continue to watch them closely.

Monday night at the Camdenton High School auditorium, a forum will be held for the school board candidates. This forum, at 6:00 PM, is sponsored by the district’s teachers and the public is welcome to attend. We would encourage you to do so.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

Advertisements

Missouri State Senators Concerned About Teacher Suppression

Wednesday, Missouri Senators heard testimony from a growing coalition of parents, teachers and educators who oppose the implementation of Common Core in our districts. During this testimony, the Senators were stunned to hear of the suppression tactics being used against teachers in districts across the state who chose to speak out in opposition of this transformation of education.

The State Senators called a sidebar Thursday, about testimony regarding teacher suppression efforts, taken by administrations around the state, against teachers who aren’t in favor of the corporate model of Common Core standards. They witnessed this type of behavior and suppression of teachers first hand in Jefferson City, courtesy of Lt. Governor Kinder. The Senators also had concerns about the veil of secrecy surrounding Common Core and lack of answers from DESE.

Debate continues in Jefferson City on several pieces of legislation regarding Common Core.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

Greg Hasty Impresses At Meet and Greet

Wednesday evening, candidate for Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty held a meet and greet event at Captain Ron’s in Sunrise Beach. Dozens showed up in support of Hasty and were enthused by what they heard when Greg, after some prodding, addressed the crowd. The event was a fundraising success as well, according to early indications.

To hear Greg Hasty and Cliff Luber address a variety of county issues, and to see Greg’s qualifications, click here.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

Franken’s Fitful Future

When Second District Commissioner Cliff Luber presented the formal, legal request for a modification of the Universal Land Use Code, it was much needed good news regarding the county’s embattled Planning and Zoning department. It was a victory for the taxpayers of Camden County and Cliff Luber, who has made Planning and Zoning concerns one of his top priorities since taking office. The formal request, submitted according to 1402 of the ULUC, represented a long battle by Luber to begin to restore equity, fairness and common sense to the Planning and Zoning department with regard to inappropriately zoned properties in Camden County. It is a significant achievement for Luber and what many regard as one step in the right direction with the ULUC.

This formal proposal, brought by Commissioners Luber and Thomas, was something entirely different for candidate Kris Franken. It was the ‘cherry’ on top of a manure sundae.

Franken and Joe Roeger at this week's leeting of the unelected TAC.  At that meeting, it was announced that MODoT would not support the TIGER 5 grant application.  This was another in a string of recent rebuffs of Franken.

Franken and Joe Roeger at this week’s leeting of the unelected TAC. At that meeting, it was announced that MODoT would not support the TIGER 5 grant application. This was another in a string of recent rebuffs of Franken.

Recently, support has fallen apart like wet toilet paper for Franken and the abuses of Planning and Zoning under Hathaway. Franken has long stood in support of former P & Z administrator Don Hathaway, who submitted his resignation at last week’s meeting of the Planning and Zoning commission. Hathaway was the center of numerous controversies during his time as P and Z administrator. The latest of these involving Franken’s violating the ULUC in an attempt to unilaterally rewrite Article 800.

For candidate Kris Franken, Hathaway’s resignation could not have come at a worse time. Hathaway’s departure shines an unwelcome spotlight on the ‘status quo’ under Kris Franken. It speaks volumes to the way business has been conducted in the Camden County Courthouse under his self-appointed reign.

It comes in a week that finds Franken feeling particularly vulnerable. A typical tactic used in Camden County politics, one well-known to residents of the area, is to put up several candidates for one office. Typically, these multiple candidates all have similar platforms and are sponsored by similar interests. This tactic is used to ensure that the ‘status quo’, represented by Kris Franken, is maintained. This election cycle however, Franken stands uncomfortably alone facing opponent Greg Hasty for the Presiding Commissioner’s office. This awkward political vulnerability, along with his own well-established track record, has Franken teetering as his term winds down.

At Thursday’s meeting of the Camden County Commission, Franken’s frailties displayed themselves. During open session, Franken appeared to be quite miffed at the language of the formal request. He was upset that he wasn’t mentioned along with Commissioners Luber and Thomas in the formal request to revise ULUC language.

Franken protested that he was also in favor of fixing this problem with Planning and Zoning. Unfortunately, in what has become a tiresome trend, his assertions come up woefully short of reality. As Cliff Luber pointed out in his press release announcing the formal request, this issue has been brought up numerous times, with ample evidence to support such a change. Franken, despite claims to the contrary, did nothing to fix this obvious problem with Planning and Zoning. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Franken repeatedly opposed Luber’s efforts to bring attention to this issue and fairness to the taxpayers of Camden County. Frequently, on audio recordings of commission meetings, Franken can be heard to dismiss, dispute and disassociate during numerous complaints regarding Planning and Zoning.

His protests to the contrary fall on deaf ears. Franken, with a history of covering up the transgressions of his supporters, has continued to protect Don Hathaway.

In a recent article from the News Tribune, Franken claimed the results of an investigation into Don Hathaway’s conduct late last year were “inconclusive”. This is in stark contrast to the fact that Hathaway was placed on a two-week unpaid suspension.

Second District Commissioner Cliff Luber believes the results were anything but inconclusive, as reflected by the suspension. Luber would welcome the results of that investigation becoming public, he said during a recent appearance on Guerrilla Radio with American Spring.

It comes as no great surprise that Franken wanted to tag along on Luber’s achievement in rectifying a long standing problem in Planning and Zoning. Unfortunately, Franken, with his recent end-around attempt to rewrite the ULUC, has displayed an utter lack of knowledge of and respect for its articles regarding revisions. After his last minute effort to rewrite Article 800 crashed like the Hindenberg, Franken then sought, and the people paid for, two legal ‘interpretations’ to justify his actions. He also sought to rewrite history, by convincing Don Hathaway to state that he had asked Franken for the rewrite, despite Hathaway’s stating previously that Franken had not acted properly with regards to his attempt to rewrite of Article 800.

Hathaway has now resigned.

The Missouri State Attorney General’s office is conducting an inquiry into possible Sunshine violations in regards to Camden County Planning and Zoning.

During Thursday’s meeting of the Camden County Commission, Franken made sure to say a ridiculous, smarmy ‘thank you’ to Don Hathaway, for his supposed input on Luber and Thomas’ proposal.

In that, Franken the candidate stands alone, like the cheese in that old children’s rhyme.

What an unfortunate place to be.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

Commissioners Luber, Thomas Address Incorrectly Zoned Properties

Thursday afternoon, Second District Camden County Commissioner Cliff Luber announced that he and First District Commissioner Bev Thomas had drafted and sent a formal request to the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission. This request, presented below, would seek to address properties in the county that have been, through the actions of the county, inappropriately zoned.

Currently, if a property were incorrectly zoned when Planning and Zoning was implemented, a property owner would have to pay out-of-pocket in order to have the issue corrected. In several cases presented over the months by Commissioner Luber, the historical use of properties simply did not match with Camden County’s P & Z zoning. Businesses and farms were zoned as Residential properties. This was the result of Planning and Zoning map inaccuracies. Each of these cases cost the property owners an $800 fee to correct the county’s mistake. This has been the status quo since Planning and Zoning was established in the county.

The following press release was issued from Second District Commissioner Cliff Luber. This announcement is the culmination of his effort to restore common sense and equity to Camden County Planning and Zoning.

Since my first few month in office, I began advocating for a change in the Unified Land Use Code regarding improperly zoned property at the time Planning & Zoning was implemented. Citizens currently have to pay an $800.00 rezoning fee to rezone their property back to its existing use, which was no fault of their own. Under 1402 of the ULUC, Commissioner Thomas and I voted today to send a request to the P&Z board for formal consideration of a change to the code. I currently have two mis-zoned properties on my desk that need a proper resolution. I want to thank Commissioner Thomas for her assistance in this matter.

Cliff Luber

Your 2nd District Camden County Commissioner.

P&Z Board request letter

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

TIGER 5 D.O.A. : Mr. Roeger’s Neighborhood Expansion Halted

The death blow appears to have been struck against the expansion of Highway 242 from the west side of the Community Bridge to Highway 5 in Sunrise Beach. This comes after an expected proposal for funding from the County Commission evaporated into thin air. The Camden County Commission, expected to hear a proposal that would ask the County for approximately $6,500. This amount represented half of the cost to have an ‘insider’ write the TIGER 5 grant. The proposal was never given. The funds, wisely, weren’t asked for. As a result, the commission simply wrote a letter of support for the project, instead of committing tax dollars to this private partnership.

On Tuesday’s meeting of the unelected LOCLG’s TAC, Joe Roeger and Kris Franken listened as Bob Lynch from the Missouri Department of Transportation gave the proposal’s eulogy. Lynch said the TIGER 5 grant for the proposed expansion of Highway 242 did not have the support of MoDot engineers.

This would seem to send Joe Roeger back to the drawing board…

For more on this story, tune into tonight’s episode of Guerrilla Radio with American Spring, the prime time edition.

Eight tonight. Call in and join the conversation.
718-664-6859

Event: Greg Hasty For Presiding Commissioner

Wednesday evening, March 26, at 5:00 PM there will be a meet and greet event for candidate for Camden County Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty. This event will be held at Captain Ron’s in Sunrise Beach.

Come out and meet Greg, a refreshing change of pace from the ‘status quo’ in Camden County….

Greg and Second District Camden County Commissioner Cliff Luber joined us on Guerrilla Radio with American Spring in November, discussing a host of issues facing the county…listen to Greg and Cliff here.

Greg’s full qualifications for office can be found here.