Sunday, September 30, 2007

Customer Advisory 2007-5: New Non-Commercial Brush Disposal Fee

I got up early Saturday and, with my grandsons Trey and Austin, loaded the last of the brush from the ice storm that remained in my daughter's back yard in my son's pickup truck and went to the leaf dump to dump it. I remember reading a letter to the editor about the new fee, but had forgotten about it until I pulled into the brush lot. Luckily I had $3.00 in my wallet.....that was all I had, $3.00 and the brush lot doesn't take credit or debit cards.

The young man working the gate listened to my beef and gave me the following:

On June 4, 2007 the City of Springfield enacted City Ordinance #5682 establishing a $3.00 per vehicle service fee for the disposal of non-cmmercial brush at the City's Yardwaste Recycling Center (YCR). This fee will become effective on July 1, 2007. The City will continue to accept leaves, grass and other yardwaste athe YRC at no charge. Current commercial fees for brush disposal at the YRC will remain unchanged.

Since 1992 brush disposal at the YRC has been free to all non-commercial residental customers. Since 1995 commercial YRC customers pay brush disposal fees ranging from $10 to $30 per load depending on the type and sixe of the vehicle.

In 2006, the YRC brush lot received 43,500 loads of brush from residents, businesses and contractors from throughout the Springfield metro area. Over 85 percent of these loads were from non-commercial residental customers.

The annual operating costs of the YRC brush lot are over $170,000 per year. However, commercial brush disposal fees and public donations met less than 15 percent of these annual costs. The remaining 85 percent of these annual costs are born only by customers who use the City's Sanitary Landfill for their solid waste disposal. The landfill receives less than 25 percent of the total solid waster generated in the metro area. Recognizing the long-term financial requirements of the landfill and to insure the continued operation of the brush disposal site at the YRCX, now make it necessary to linti this brush disposal subsidy by enacting this new fee.

Equally important, by adding the proposed non-commercial brush disposal fee, all residental and commercial customers who directly benefit from this City service will contribute to its on-going operations and improvement. The fees paid by customers of the brush operation will meet over 80 percent of the brush lot's direct annual cost in 2008. By 2010, it is anticipated that these service fees and associated product revenues will make the YRC brush lot a self-supporting public enterprise.

If you have any questions or concerns about this request, please feel free to contact me at 417-864-2001.


Thomas F. O'Neill

43,500 loads of brush? Who did the counting? I don't ever remember seeing a counter out there except maybe once when the guy told me the stuff I was dumping was too long and I had to cut it shorter.

Less than 25% of our trash goes to the landfill? Where does the rest of it go? Kansas?

Equally important,..., all residental and commercial customers who directly benefit from this City service will contribute to its on-going operations and improvement. Using this logic: I don't go downtown, why am I paying for it? I don't have kids in school, why am I paying school taxes? I don't go to parks, why am I paying park taxes? I don't frequent the square, why am I paying for it? cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Another Urban Legend or Fighting Fascists With Fascism

I deleting this post because I can not verify that it actually happened. You can read the original posting
here. It has urban legend written all over it. Michael Ledeen posted this on the National Review Website. I wish there was more documentation with it, such as who sent it, to whom was it sent, when was with sent, any other people observe the same incident, you know, the usual who, what, where, when and maybe even why.

The Scariest* Item in the 1975 J.C. Penney Catalogue

Who'd a thought that we were practicing for real life:
"would you like fries with that order?"

*is "scariest spelled correctly? It doesn't look like it is

Separated at Birth

James Dean 9/30/1955

September 30, 1955 - Actor James Dean was killed in a car crash in California at age 24. Although he made just three major films, Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden and Giant, he is one of many actors who lived fast and died young.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Add Another One To The List

Saddlebrooke, MO


Can anyone give me any insight into Saddlebrooke, MO, please? It's basically a housing development located off of US65 between Springfield and Branson.

I've been to their website ( ) and it's given me some info, but it has also revealed something that I've never heard about. I called the company and was told that Saddlebrooke has been "incorporated." That means to me that it is a city or town, with a mayor, city council, city laws, city taxes, etc. Everything that makes an incorporated governmental entity.

That doesn't appear to be the case with Saddlebrooke. The person I spoke to said that they do not have any of the above items. He said that they "incorporated" just so they could do their own zoning, instead of dealing with it through the county. There was no other motivation.

That sounds strange to me. I never heard of such a thing. Is it common in Missouri, to incorporate but not have a city, taxing authority, tec., or is there an issue other than zoning involved? It also raises questions of accountability, responsibility, and oversight, depending on who's in charge of the incorporated entity.

As you can probably tell, something isn't quite sitting right with me. You may have heard the saying that, "Just becasue you're paranoid, doesn't mean someone isn't following you." Well, that's why I'm asking you folks. Am I unreasonably paranoid or is something amiss?


The link is here.

Friday, September 28, 2007

What's With These Old Men and Their Hair?

Plaster, Jetton, Evergreen, Springfield Link?

It's Friday night, about 9:30 and I have been working at the rent house all day today, putting in a new sink, washing floors, cleaning the bathroom, washing windows, putting up curtains. I am tired.

BUT--all day long something was nagging at me. We all know from the SN-L about the Plaster, Jetton DD highway manipulations. The name of Plaster's group, Evergreen, rang a bell with me, but I didn't know what the connection was or where I got the idea there even was a connection. Read about it here, and read about it here adn read about it here

I think I found it: from the Springfield Business Journal:

HCW Evergreen pulls out of Springfield hotel competition

By Matt Wagner of the Springfield Business Journal reported:

One of four firms negotiating with the city in hopes of gaining the exclusive right to build a four-star hotel and corporate office building in downtown Springfield has formally withdrawn its proposal, and another has been silent for weeks.

Rick Huffman, CEO of HCW Evergreen LLC, sent a letter dated Sept. 14 to City Manager Bob Cumley that outlined the Branson firm’s decision to withdraw from the field of developers interested in building on 1.7 acres between the Springfield Expo Center and Jordan Valley Car Park.

In the letter, Huffman stated that the decision to withdraw was based on two factors: BKD LLP accounting firm’s decision to relocate to the southwest corner of St. Louis Street and John Q. Hammons Parkway, and the restrictive conditions of John Q. Hammons’ long-term lease with the city to operate the expo center.

Rick Huffman stated several weeks ago that he wouldn't be pursing the project. The skyrise in Branson is another project that he won't be trying to build either.
He's been working on the Tulsa Landing and expanding a project in Phoenix.

The SN-L has a story about Hammons being the last man standing: read it here.

I googled Huffman, Plaster, Evergreen and Hammons and came up with this from November, 2004. And then this:
SIFE Board of DirectorsEvergreen Investments LLC. Mr. Stephen R. Plaster. President. Evergreen Investments, LLC ... Mr. Rick Huffman. President. HCW, LLC. Mr. Wayne Callahan ... - 165k - Cached - Similar pages

Both Huffman and Plaster gave money to Roy Blunt.

It just seems all interconnected to me, maybe Plaster is jealous of Hammons, maybe they are competitors, sure seems that way. Anyhow, we all pick up the pieces and end up getting the wurst of the deal.

The SN-L has another article about the last man standing, with 14 comments. One comment, by Old Hillbilly, references the Springfield Business Journal article again:
Apparently the NewsLeader doesn't want to quote from Huffman's letter to the city that explains his decision because it might embarrass John Q., which the NewsLeader recently proclaimed to be Springfield's Icon of Giving, as well as the dunderheads at City Hall.

Turns out NOBODY in their right mind, other than John Q, would build on that site because the city granted John Q the food and beverage sale rights to whatever goes there as part of the deal to build the expo center nextdoor. So this whole "bidding" process has been a sham. Once the other bidders read the fine print, they saw there was no way that anyone other than John Q could make a deal work.
Events related to development of the former arena site:

2002: City of Springfield and John Q. Hammons agree a multipurpose arena will be built on the 1.7-acre lot. There is no contractual obligation.

Spring 2006: Hammons offers $25 million to Missouri State University to build its own arena after failing to secure a committed tenant.

That kills the arena plan at Jordan Valley Park, prompting the city to seek alternative development proposals.

February: The city receives four proposals. Only Rick Huffman proposes a high-rise, luxury hotel. BKD and Hammons, the accounting firm's current landlord, want to build an office complex for BKD.

March: A city advisory board eliminates Hammons from the competition, saying his plan was similar to that proposed by BKD. Hammons responded by announcing a plan for a new hotel across St. Louis Street, but has since abandoned that plan.

April: The TIF Commission agrees to reissue a request for proposals.

May: Four new proposals are received, all featuring headquarters for BKD. Three also would add high-rise luxury hotel rooms to the site.

July: On a split vote, the TIF Commission forwards all four proposals to the city staff for further negotiation.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Parkview High School: The Worst In Springfield-One Man's Opinion

Our daughter and her husband have been living in one of our houses while she finished up college. She graduated in May of this year and last month closed on a five acre farmette in Lawrence County. They moved out of our house the middle of the month and my wife and I have been cleaning it and painting getting ready for new renters.

So far we have painted the entire interior, put on a new roof, painted the exterior, installed tile backsplash in the kitchen, new countertops, sink and faucets, repaired all the storm windows and painted the back porch and installed a ceiling fan.

I put several "for rent" signs in the neighborhood and in front of the house. The rent is $700 a month with a $600.00 deposit. The house is a brick house, 1306 square feet, has three bedrooms, one bath, covered patio on a quiet street with lots of shade trees that made it through the ice storm. A refrigerator, gas cook stove and Maytag washer and dryer are included with the house.

Houses in this area rent from $500.00 a month to $850.00 a month. I know because I shopped the market and have rentals in this neighborhood. Duplexes rent for $550.00 to $650.00. I believe I am at the market value as far as the rent is concerned.

The schools are Parkview, Jarrett and Portland. Our children went to these schools. My wife and her family graduated from Parkview.

I believe that people drive around the neighborhoods they would like to live and look for houses for sale or for rent. Putting up signs gets the traffic past the house.

I know from experience that level pay utilities for this house is $250.00 a month, phone and Internet is $60.00 a month, trash is $20 a month, Cable tv is $50.00. If you hire the mowing, figure another $125.00 a month. All together it costs about $1,000.00 to $1,100.00 a month to live in this house, and that is just for the hard costs.

Most reasonable advisers recommend not spending more than 25 - 30% of your income for housing costs. My expectations are that the renters would have a combined income of more than $4,000.00 a month.

Searching Craig's list, I came across this ad:

Seeking Reasonable Rent on 3BR/2BA
Date: 2007-09-18, 12:05PM CDT
We are looking for a 3BR/2BA in Springfield for less than confiscatory rental rates: $750 or less. We are responsible tenants, both long-term BPS employees in technical fields. We have two children, 14, and 6, and two well mannered dogs, one walker mix and one beagle. We don't tear things up and we pay rent on time, every month.
If you have a decent property that sounds like something we'd be interested in, call me at 417-xxx-xxxx or 417-xxx-xxxx
This sounded like they might be pretty good tenants. I know our house was only one bath but it is a decent property in excellent, move in condition. I wasn't too thrilled about the two dogs, but I figured if they would be long term tenants and agreed to a non-refundable pet deposit, the dogs might be ok. I didn't quite understand the use of the word "confiscatory" in regards to rent, so I googled it:
confiscated, confiscating 1. To take away something from someone, usually as a penalty.
Thesaurus: seize, impound, appropriate, sequester, commandeer, expropriate; Antonym: restore.
But first, I had to see if my property interested them. So I emailed them this:
XXX Street Address, $700.00, 3 br 1 ba, washer dryer refrig stove, hardwood floors.
I came home to get a tool to put in the sink and checked my email. This was in my inbox:
That's in Parkview school district, the worst in Springfield. I've seen similar houses in that area for $50-$75 less. Sorry.
So, a person advertises for a home to rent, I reply to that ad, he tells me that I am over priced and the schools are horrible and he isn't going to rent from me. I sent him an email saying, "hope you find what you are looking for."

Upon further reflection, he must have had some horrible bad experience with landlords to even think of using the word confiscatory as it relates to home rental costs.

For the record, I think Parkview is an excellent school and my rent is appropriate for what I am offering.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Drinking The Kool-Aid, Part 8,259

The paper this morning was full of good stuff!!!!

Helm's article talking about the horrible "they";
Cunningham's article talking about the great payday loan people;
June Brown and Larry (JL)Cunningham's letters;
The PLO Terrorist who became a Christian
and the continuing saga of "Twinkies, Pop Tarts and Steaks".

A wealth of stuff and a joy to read. I can't wait to disect them but I have GOT to get some work done.

A quick tease:

I don't know Representative Cunningham nor do I live in his district. I seem to recall that he owns a grocery stored or once owned a grocery store in Marshfield.

The last line of his article, "Mr. Ray, you, or no one else in this world has enough money to influence how I voter", stuck me odd.

Why is an elected state representative defending or even explaining the payday loan industry? Appears to me this could and should be done by the payday loan people.

But wait, it gets better, in reviewing the campaign finance reports filed by Representative Cunningham, most of his contributions come from banks and groups like "The World Acceptance Corporation" whose website describes them as such: "World Acceptance Corporation is one of the largest small-loan consumer finance companies in the US. It offers small loans, credit insurance and ancillary products to individuals with limited access to other sources of consumer credit. It also provides its customers with income tax preparation services and access to refund anticipation loans."

And a special note to our bankrupt friend: We have mentioned this before and you seem to keep forgetting it: Simple declarative sentences in chronological order with subject/verb agreement. Identify who they are and who is the greatest huckster?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Twinkies, Pop Tarts and steak"

The Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives thinks that if you buy "Twinkies, Pop Tarts and steak" with food stamps, then you probably don't deserve to receive food stamps. Read it and weep.

Rod Jetton wants the food stamp program changed so funds are distributed more fairly.
The elderly and working poor get a slim portion of benefits compared to a welfare parent with multiple children, the Missouri Speaker of the House said at Monday's Ozark Food Harvest Conference at the Clarion Hotel.

Though hunger relief workers witness poverty needs daily, Jetton said many Americans aren't convinced there is a need to help when they observe welfare recipients buying "Twinkies, Pop Tarts and steak" at grocery stores.
Is this guy serious? What difference is it to him, the guy who shut all those people off medicaid, what they eat?

I am amazed that the Speaker of the House would even say something like this!
"Americans pay their taxes, and they want to help other people. We're a generous country," he said. "But they get frustrated when they don't see it going to the people who really need it."
When Speaker Jetton sees someone pay for Twinkies, Pop Tarts and steak with food stamps, he assumes that they don't really need the food stamps.
In his address, Jetton criticized the disparity of a single elderly person getting $10 a month in food stamps while a young single parent with children gets $500 or $600.
The Republican lawmaker advocated legislation raising the minimum allotment to $30
Speaker Jetton, $20 more a month isn't going to make that much difference, especially since all their money is going for medicine. I'm from Missouri, show me where an old person only gets ten bucks a month and show me the person who gets 500 or 600 bucks a month.
Jetton, a 40-year-old Marble Hill native, knows what it's like to rely on food stamps.
While attending Southwest Baptist University, he married a woman and adopted her child. Jetton reluctantly started receiving food stamps in 1988 after he and his wife had another child.
Jetton thought he would get about $20 to help buy items such as orange juice. Instead, he received $388 a month to feed his family.

Jetton, I can't hear what you are saying, your actions are getting in the way. You got $388 a month for you, your wife and 2 kids. Now that you are making the big bucks you don't want anyone else to benefit like you did?
"I'll be honest with you," he said. "I've never eaten as good in my life as I did when I was on food stamps."
That includes the post-food stamp years when he graduated from college, served in the Marine Corps and started a real estate company.
IN my experience anytime someone says, "I'll be honest with you," they are lying big time. Speaker Jetton, maybe you need to sponsor a bill that helps people learn how to buy, eat and cook healthy food. Obviously you need to learn this since you haven't eaten as good in your life as you did when you were on food stamps.
Who are you trying to kid.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Drinking the Kool-Aid

This is a long article. In my opinion, it is one of the best narratives of what brought us to war in Iraq.
Knowing what we know now, to include Alan Greenspan's powerful statement ("...the Iraq war is largely about oil...”), it should serve as a reminder of what happens when there are no checks and balances.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bush, Cheney Gearing Up For War With Iran

President Bush is gearing up for a showdown with Iran over Nuclear Weapons. He does not want to leave office with Iran capable of developing nuclear weapons. The Telegraph has the story here.

Can anyone stop Bush and Cheney?

Previously, accusations that Mr Bush was set on war with Iran have come almost entirely from his critics.

Many senior operatives within the CIA are highly critical of Mr Bush's handling of the Iraq war, though they themselves are considered ineffective and unreliable by hardliners close to Mr Cheney.

The vice president is said to advocate the use of bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons against Iran's nuclear sites. His allies dispute this, but Mr Cheney is understood to be lobbying for air strikes if sites can be identified where Revolutionary Guard units are training Shia militias.

A State Department source familiar with White House discussions said that Miss Rice, under pressure from senior counter-proliferation officials to acknowledge that military action may be necessary, is now working with Mr Cheney to find a way to reconcile their positions and present a united front to the President.

The source said: "When you go down there and see the body language, you can see that Cheney is still The Man. Condi pushed for diplomacy but she is no dove. If it becomes necessary she will be on board.
Remember what Alan Greenspan said, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

What is going on with Bush and Cheney? Can't anyone stop them? Why are we going to war with Iran? Remember those nuclear weapons that flew across country? Something is going Even the French think so.



and Blue

Random Stuff on a Saturday Night.

My first hero
My first love
Almost John Q hair
Fruits and Vegetables
Fat Elvis, very fat Elvis
I taught I taw a puddy cat
What I'm reading now
The first cigarette I ever smoked was a Chesterfield

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tapping Your Foot in a Public Restroom: Disorderly Conduct.... Part Two

We blogged about this last August.

Reading the arrest report, I wonder what did Craig do that was so illegal or lewd: tapping his foot? Running his fingers along the edge of the stall divider?
These may be signals that one is trolling for sex, but did any sex occur? Did any members flash? Not according to the police report.

It seems we were not alone in our thinking. The Washington Post has an editorial on Mr. Craig's Plea: more than gestures should be required to charge someone with a crime. (It is interesting to note that in the article Craig is referred to as "Mr. Craig", not "Senator Craig.)
Speaking about Craig's attempt to overturn his guilty plea, the editorial presents the premise that
Mr. Craig is at fault for not consulting a lawyer and for waiving his right to appear before a judge. Yet it seems clear that he pleaded guilty because his priority was not exoneration but avoiding exposure. What's troubling is that the sting operation may have been counting on just that sort of motivation in order to extract guilty pleas from men who, in fact, had done nothing explicitly lewd or illegal.
Many or even all of those charged, including Mr. Craig, probably were in the bathroom in search of sex. No one is in favor of sex in airport restrooms or any other place where it may cause public offense. But as with any other crime, those targeted and arrested for lewd or disorderly conduct ought first to be caught in a lewd or disorderly act. That wasn't the case with Mr. Craig.

Somehow, We Suspected This All Along.....

Alan Greenspan, husband of NBC Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, has always been one of our heroes. A straight shooter, he was the chair of the Federal Reserve for 18 years.

Now, he has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.

In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

Greenspan, 81, is understood to believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil supplies in the Middle East.

Britain and America have always insisted the war had nothing to do with oil. Bush said the aim was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and end Saddam’s support for terrorism.
The UK Times on line has the story here.

Say Good Night, Dick

Anybody else think Joey and Dick Martin look alike?

This Just In.....Part Two

The previous post was a copy of an ethics commission complaint filed against the Greene County Republican Central Committee and deputy treasurer Cindy Stein, who also is the Greene County Auditor.
The complaint indicates the committee failed to file in a timely manner, the required quarterly reports. The complaint also contends that instead of filing reports quarterly, as required by the law, the committee filed a single report for all of 2005. The Ethics Commission requires reports to be filed quarterly.

The second item is a letter from R.F. Connor, Executive Director of the Missouri Ethics Commission, advising that at the August 30, 2007 meeting of the Missouri Ethics Commission, the complaint filed against Cindy Stein by the Missouri Attorney General was withdrawn. Accordingly, the Commission voted to dismiss this case as it was unsubstantiated.

What part of not following the rules did the ethics commission not understand? It appears to be pretty evident by the reports filed by the Greene County Republican central committee that quarterly reports were NOT filed in accordance with the law.

They can argue all they want that the information that was to be supplied in the quarterly reports was supplied in one report instead of four reports. The law states, however, that reports be filed quarterly. This was not done. Apparently the ethics commission thinks the end justifies the means.

It doesn't appear that the ethics commission is following their own rules and Missouri law. There is a lot more about the ethics commission, read it here..

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This Just In......

Tony M...You are right, they have no shame, or popsicles.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why Did 300 People in Springfield Watch the Bike Race?

The SN-L reports close to 300 people watched the bike race in Springfield. We wondered why until we saw this picture on another website.
"Papa, Papa, the Italians! They are coming!"