Sutherland: Johnson County’s Dumb And Dumber (And Dumbest)

dumb-and-dumber-dumb-and-dumber-485972_1024_768Rarely does the staff of the Star show why they qualify as the “short-bus” riders of political intelligence so succinctly.

In an article by Yael Abouhalkah (“Abacadabra”), he decribes how there is “trouble in Johnson County’s paradise.”  He does this by way of back-drop for the race next year for the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners between the incumbent Mr. Ed (The Talking Horse’s Ass) Eilert of Overland Park, and Mr. Laura Scott, a.k.a. Ed Peterson, a fellow Commission member from Fairway.

Yael notes parenthetically that the population of Johnson County is aging and that the county is no longer The Golden Ghetto of yore in terms of income growth and general affluence.  Combine that with slowing population growth and an aging


infrastructure and the lavish spending increases by local governments are a thing of the past.  Yael, of course, has an easy solution to this problem—raise taxes throughout the county.

The collective wisdom of The Kansas City Star Editorial Board is that taxes and spending can never be too high.  After all, its members reason, money spent on education, for example, means a better educated, more productive work force, which means more personal income, which means higher tax revenues—so education spending always will pay for itself!  Like in Kansas City, Missouri. Look at the buoyant prosperity on the east side of Kansas City or along Noland Road in Independence.

Q.E.D., baby!

Mr. Abracadabra implies for this reason that Peterson (married to former Star virago Laura Scott) is the better choice for Commission Chair, i.e. he knows the surest path to prosperity is massive tax hikes.  Eilert will only say he won’t raise taxes as a first resort.  Come on Mr. Ed, get with the program!

Eilert had so much promise and such a long history of sketchy dealings.

1373485904-king_louie_bowling_ally_sabrina_staires_6.2013_5134Just recently, for instance, Ed (“Lurch,” to his friends, after the character on The Addams Family), has championed the Museum of Suburbia, to be built in the former King Louie bowling alley at 87th and Metcalf.  The county paid four million dollars to buy the derelict structure to erect a monument to suburban sprawl.  (One wonders why you need a monument to a phenomenon which is so vital and alive throughout the county.  As architect Christopher Wren’s epitaph said; “Si monumentum requiris, circumspice,” i.e., if you seek a monument, look around you.)

kevin-yoder-photoshop1Abacadabra is equally adamant that part of the problem is that Johnson County has grown more conservative both in terms of its elected representatives and its increasing unwillingness to fund the Old Guard Machine beloved by the Star Editorial Board.  He cites U.S. Congressman Kevin Yoder as an ultra-conservative, ignoring the fact that Yoder was the candidate of the moderate wing of the Johnson County Republican Party.  Maybe his conservative voting record and the conservative takeover of the State Senate is simply a recognition by the electorate that the old free-spending ways are not working.  (I think Mr. A would agree with me it’s not because the voters of JoCo necessarily embrace the Brownback/Tea Party agenda!)

So there’s the state of political wisdom about the future course of Johnson County—the Dumb (Ed Eilert), the Dumber (Ed Peterson), and the Dumbest (Mr. Abacadabra and the rest of the Star Editorial Board!)
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17 Responses to Sutherland: Johnson County’s Dumb And Dumber (And Dumbest)

  1. harley says:

    raise taxes already….brownback is a tax and spend liberal..not a republican.
    look at his record…its not that conservative and I’ll explain someday.
    republicans raised sales tax 17 per cent..largest tax increase I can remember…
    which cost everyone collectively lots of money.
    brownback turned down Obama Medicaid money…another bad thing.
    this republican party in Kansas is about to implode as it does nationally.
    Joco is not aging…the population is changing Dwight.
    remember Metcalf…once a great drive and major economic engine
    for the county….now its become buy here lots….title loans….
    northeast county is predominately Hispanic ….as is cities like
    yael might be right….you’re wrong Dwight. county is changing
    and no one can change that.
    taxes? why not. the republicans have raised taxes more than any
    democrat in history !!!!!!!!!!! those tax and spend republicans need
    to be stopped.
    and now…they’re strangling the crown jewel of the state KU!
    education …once the beacon of this county and state is being choked.
    we’ve spent so much money brining amc/and other companies 9 miles
    across the border that we’re going to be broke before they stop their
    tax and spend policies.

  2. Crooked Carl says:

    The Star has you over a a barrel on this one. They’re right about education.

    Look how dumb we are compared to the rest of the world now, after all.

    Joco residents are taxed enough but one less tanning session or spa visit isn’t going to kill them while Brownback runs his Tea Bagger utopia into the ground. It’s hilarious to watch the young and sick suffer at the hands of the Koch brothers.

    (no, it’s sad)

  3. Stomper says:

    Dwight; I don’t necessarily disagree with the main point of your article but do want to toss in some thoughts relative to your comments on education. I don’t know enough facts to claim to have the correct answer. Thoughts are random and I’ll try to be brief.

    I spent roughly my first decade in KCMo attending public school at Border Star. Moved to JoCo and remained there until after college. Left but returned to JoCo after the birth of our first child and the primary reason was the school district. Don’t have proof but I really think most committed parents that can’t afford private schools make the school district they live in the top reason for choice of residence. Education of their kids is number one priority for parents.

    Even liberals like myself don’t like high taxes but I also think that even conservatives like you are not averse to higher taxes IF they are convinced that the dollars will be efficiently spent on education. I do admit that the JoCo school districts ( SM, Olathe, and BV) may be a tad heavy on the administration/payroll but if the dollars can be focused on the classroom and the peripheral benefits (music,art,sports, language,forensics, etc) then I really think the overwhelming majority of JoCo residents would gladly pay higher taxes. I do think, generally, that the “collective wisdom” of the KC Star is correct that money spent on education efficiently can lead to a better educated work force etc. I think companies consider this area when locating.

    Not sure the comparison to KCMo is totally fair. When Paul Wilson wrote that great piece on Home Schooling a short while back, one of the major points that rose to the surface was that the key to success was the involvement of “committed parents”. I think that exists for the most part in JoCo but is lacking to a great degree in KCMo. Many of those committed parents on the Mo. side (if they can afford it) have sent their kids to Pembroke, Rockhurst, Parochial Schools, Home Schooled, or just fled to the burbs. I hear great things about the school districts in Lee’s Summit, Liberty, etc. Those that can’t afford to take special steps to insure a better education for their kids are left to endure what the KCMo school district has fallen to.

    Paul, I’d love to learn your thoughts on this. With all the great research you did on the Home School piece, what do you think?

    • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

      Stomper- Three billion dollars spent on KCMo schools and the net result? The District lost its accreditation. Money is a necessary element in good schools but is not sufficient in and of itself. Otherwise,Kansas City,Missouri schools would be wildly successful. The second point is that a better educated work force is an attraction for businesses wanting to locate here but it is by definition a long term solution. You may get results long term but something needs to happen right now to pay your bills. It’s like saying more education means more earning power long term for an individual so it’s always a good idea to take out huge student loans to get more education. That may or may not be true for individuals but it means you are burdening yourself for years financially by an “investment” in education that might not pan out. The other thing that bothers me is that everyone seems to be saying the only alternative to their approach is to go to an equally ludicrous opposite extreme,i.e.if you don’t give all your worldly goods to the Kansas branch of the National Education Association(the teachers union),you’re out to destroy public schools. Why not have a government that does a few things well, rather than posit a false choice between an all consuming but inefficient government and no government at all?

      • Stomper says:

        I agree completely, Dwight. It’s not money, it’s committed parents. I think we are saying a lot of the same things. I don’t have the answer. I do think the education of our children is very close to the top of the list with most parents. I’m not advocating for total support of the teacher’s union. I agree that some of their goals have nothing to do with kids in the classroom. Schools ought to be run by those closest to it, local parents. Getting off track a bit but the federal government does have some responsibility to insure a floor. Kids graduating high school in Utah could walk right into good jobs while kids graduating high school in Mississippi can’t put together a meaningful sentence. That is a problem for our country in the long run. In the short run as well. I agree with your comment 100%. Didn’t intend to highjack your point as education was just an example of what you were saying about Eilert, Yael, and Peterson. Thanks for the response.

        • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

          Stomper-One more point! There does appear to be a certain symmetry between The Left and The Right Wing positions.The latter says the solution to all problems is tax cuts,the former says that the solution is tax-hikes (particularly on class enemies,i.e. those whose wealth-never mind how it was acquired- makes them evil incarnate,the”1%”,who need to be punished for their sins). Both sides go through this little catechism-“___ leads to more spending/investing,which leads to increased economic activity,which leads to more tax revenues,so you’re getting something for nothing -,i.e. tax cuts lead to MORE tax revenues,more social spending REDUCES the deficit! It’s like the age old dream of a perpetual motion machine,you can get energy output with no energy input. It doesn’t work in physics and it doesn’t work in politics either,wishful thinking of ideologues notwithstanding

          • Stomper says:

            Thanks, I think we are both positioned well between those two extremes. I’m sure we will vote for different candidates for POTUS in 2016 but we are more similar than different in many areas. Keep up the great contributions to KCC.

  4. John Altevogt says:

    What strikes me is just how bad both choices suck. With Mr. Laura Scott you’ve got a guy who was willing to turn a blind eye to Paul Morrison’s misdeeds, suggesting that while he may not have had too many chances to sell out to the highest bidder, he’s not above anticipating the offer.

    As for Eilert, let us count the ways. What was that one deal about digging up dirt on an opponent and getting caught only to have the police chief take the rap (whereupon Comrade Graves kicked the aforementioned police chief – and his wife – upstairs to Topeka)? That one smelled like a sewer pond.

    Are there no decent candidates willing to get into this race?

    • Stomper says:

      John; you ended with a great question that gets right to the heart of what I think is a major problem today with our political leaders. The best people will rarely ever choose to run for office. For one, often they can make far more in the private sector but that’s a minor consideration. More importantly, in the election process today it is standard procedure to throw outrageous lies, allegations, and implications against one’s opponent. Doesn’t have to be true, just sling as much mud as you can and hope voters “believe” some it. Why would a good person subject himself, herself, or their family to the abuse?? The media on both sides of the aisle, is more than anxious to dig up, or “create” dirt. The huge amounts of money on both sides, and money that comes into a district from far away from organizations or individuals with a separate agenda completely really tilts the scale. Does not bode well for us down the road.

  5. chuck says:

    That bowling alley looks like Fred Flintstone’s house.

  6. Libertarian says:

    The day Yael has the answer to ANYTHING is the day mokeys fly outta my ass.

    [Note: It ain’t happening.]

  7. Dwight Sutherland says:

    Yeah,but there is hope yet. Did you see how the Star editorialized AGAINST the medical research tax yesterday? They even followed up with an article this morning pointing out how high area sales taxes are already.Though Yael is incorrigible,the rest of them will go whatever way the wind is blowing and it definitely has shifted around against the tax in recent days.

    • John Altevogt says:

      Dwight, keep in mind that there were two projects competing for additional tax revenue. The first one was a construction project. Keeping mind the old adage, “if they don’t build it, they can’t steal from it, ” I don’t think Yael has complained about this one and this project may be more representative of his constituency than the medical project. As usual, Barb Shelly never met a tax she didn’t like.

      One hates to be cynical, but I’ve just never seen this editorial board make any decision that smacked of integrity, at least not under Miriam Pepper’s alleged watch.

  8. Brother Sunday says:

    Wonderful article and great points everyone. And I do mean everyone. It really is time to raise taxes. I don’t think sales tax is the way to go, though. I really don’t mind paying taxes but it does hurt quite a bit when the county does something sort of retarded like buying King Louie. (The bowling center detailed in the article for you post Gen-X readers) JoCo could have pulled a dead rabbit out of a hat and done some sort of Merriam-esque condemning/eminent domain. But no, they spent my money. Well their money… our money? Whatever. My Nephew still has to sell candy bars for his USD 512 grade school to afford soccer balls and I am sick of it. Raise everything but sales tax. Please.

    • Dwight Sutherland says:

      In Evelyn Waugh’s wonderful send-up of tabloid journalism(fifty years pre-Murdoch!),he has an aide to a press lord say to his boss constantly:”Yes,but up to a point!” The problem is that there are no good options left tax-wise since local property taxes are also among the highest in the countryPlus.the mod-squad in a last Samson like act while still in control of the State Senate in Kansas cut state incomes taxes by THREE TIMES as much as Brownback asked,figuring that he would never dare sign it and thus there would be no tax cuts at all.(What was the line from Animal House?-“This calls for a completely stupid and futile gesture on someone’s part and we’re just the one’s to do it!”) That said I agree it is sometimes necessary to raise taxes AS A LAST RESORT in order to maintain essential services.Just don’t pretend that it is is a magic elixir that will boost the economy,when in fact it may be harmful.(Why is cutting spending “austerity”and raising taxes in the face of a severe recession NOT “austerity”?)

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