Comment history

Baldwin shuts out Spring Hill to remain unbeaten

Kindly explain the violation. I beg to differ. The readers deserve to know.

Siting a news article from another newspaper is not a violation unless you're intent on censoring what people read.

October 2, 2013 at 8:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin shuts out Spring Hill to remain unbeaten

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

October 2, 2013 at 5:05 p.m. ( )

Study finds most Baldwin City streets in good shape


It's not that they don't plan ahead. It's that they do not care. They are biased towards the north of Highway 56 neighborhoods. They are beholden to the developer(s), the school district, and the homeowners in the north.

We have some city government and school board representatives that own homes in these areas. These new Baldwinites tend to be of higher incomes.

In addition, the city government mistakenly believes that additional development is destined for these areas in the near future (not realizing that most of the available land is locked out or not for sale. I know this for a fact).

The city will continue to neglect and ignore the south of Highway 56 neighborhoods until the voters put a stop to it. Twenty years ago these kind of things would not happen. Our city council and mayor were long time residents with an understanding of the city and populous. Today's government leaders are mostly newbies with little generational anchoring to the community. Many of them tend to be very out of touch and self-serving.

The "study" mentioned above is nothing more than the city leaders trying to justify their position on the south of Highway 56 streets (sidewalks, gutters, sewers, etc.). The gall is that they used taxpayer money to fool the taxpayers.

Another couple of election cycles and with education and awareness, I believe voters will remove the bad apples and replace them with newer, more responsible and responsive leaders.

I hear from many voters and not one is happy with the street, lighting, sidewalk, gutter and sewage issues in the south Highway 56 neighborhoods. Your observation about the safety of walking in these areas is shared by most of us.

August 18, 2013 at 11:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Study finds most Baldwin City streets in good shape


Thanks for your added comments.

I would suggest that our brick streets are extremely cost-effective. More so than concrete and asphalt. When was the last time the brick streets required some kind of scheduled, expensive repair?

The bricks streets are over 100 years old. Brick surfaces last more than 100 years. Snow, ice, sand and salt rarely effect them. During those same 100 years you can imagine that had these streets been concrete or asphalt, they would have been replaced 5 or 6 times by now at considerable cost.

What needs to be refurbished now with the brick streets is the underneath foundation or supporting, leveling bedrock. You pull the bricks up, lay a new, level support foundation, and relay the bricks in place.

Considering that taxpayers haven't paid for this repair in 100+ years, the cost of doing so now would be an expense that would not be needed for another 100 years. You cannot ask for a better return on an investment.

Read the history of these brick streets and who, how and when they were installed and it's a fascinating story and plus for the city.

August 15, 2013 at 11:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Study finds most Baldwin City streets in good shape

Perhaps someone at city hall could comment on how some streets south of Highway 56 are still chat / rock and have 2 foot deep muddy ditches and are in “good shape”.

The street curbing in the Signal photograph above looks to be in "good shape"? Really?

Sooner or later, some smart attorney is going to see opportunity in pursuing an action against the city for residential sidewalks that fail to meet federal disability requirements. Instead of ignoring the issues that taxpayers and homeowners find important, the city needs an annual program to upgrade the streets, lighting, sidewalks, and rain sewers south of Highway 56.

As a side note to Ms. Darnell -30 years ago a city council decided to asphalt over some of Baldwin City’s historic brick streets. These streets were in good (but not excellent) shape. For some reason the council didn’t want to pay for minor restorations. They thought asphalt and concrete was a simpler and cheaper option. This decision did not go over well with citizens and hopefully it will never happen again. The public was outraged.

Instead of listening to taxpayers, our city government chooses to pander to special interests while short- changing the majority of residents who are footing the bill.

Constructive comments are invited.

August 14, 2013 at 11:09 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Study finds most Baldwin City streets in good shape

I find this study very hard to take seriously on several levels. It’s difficult to believe that $10,000 in taxpayer dollars was spent on a pre-ordained study that could have been accomplished by a public works director and city manager (plus a mayor and city council) already on the city payroll.

Most of the conclusions in the study are just “common sense”. What do we pay a city manager for? To have the experience and knowledge to study and make these determinations himself, or do we pay him to hire even more people to tell him what he should already know.

I don’t come to these conclusions without good credentials. My family has lived in Baldwin City since a time when there were only downtown dirt streets (before brick streets) and dirt and rock city streets with no sidewalks throughout a very lightly inhabited city proper. I’ve also had relatives in Baldwin City government.

Here’s why this study is bogus. The city council, mayor and city manager know that taxpayers south of Highway 56 are angry. They feel short-changed. Their tax dollars (which represents a majority of taxes collected) are being funneled off and spent north of Highway 56 due to pressure from developers, businesses, the school district, and new, wealthier homeowners. It also is no coincidence that some members of city government live in these neighborhoods.

So the city government says “Hey, let’s commission a study that shows the south Highway 56 streets are fine and get this heat off our backs”. They hire a retired county official from Johnson County (even though they could do the job themselves or assign city workers to accomplish almost the same thing) to perform a study. I don;t see why an engineer was required for such a vague and brief study.

The hired researcher knows 2 things:

1) The members of city government are taking heat for siphoning off taxpayer dollars to pet projects north of Highway 56;

2) The city government is paying his fee. He answers to them, not the taxpayer.

What you end up with is a study written to validate what the mayor, city council and city manager want it to.

Here’s the real story. I spent time last week myself taking photographs on the FireTree streets scheduled for milling and re-asphalting next year. They are newer streets in a new development. There is some poor concrete curbing on several of the driveways (due to a developer’s decision to install lower quality cement). The streets are better than most of the city streets south of Highway 56 in that they all have curbs, rain sewers, some sidewalks, etc. The street pavement is 99% acceptable.

August 14, 2013 at 11:08 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin school district having trouble selling Chapel Street properties

Is this really any surprise? I predicted exactly this scenario last year. My prediction was based on several factors that could have been avoided had the superintendent and then school board solicited some professional advice and remained patient for the real estate market to recover.

The Chapel Street property comprised 2 square blocks of land on which 2 connected school buildings are constructed. The old, historic junior high building has a footprint taking up approximately 1/3 of the property and the old elementary school 2/3 of the land.

The county appraised the properties, including buildings at approximately $1.3 million. The school district’s independent appraisal came to approximately $850,000.

The school district in a rush to make it look like they were accomplishing something sold 2/3 of the total property, including the old elementary school for only $200,000 last year (hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the appraised value).

Last year I predicted that by selling the properties piecemeal the school district would be left with an unsellable “white elephant” in the old, historic junior high property. This remaining 1/3 of the property has little value to a developer or property owner because the building occupies almost all the land of the 1/3 plot leaving little room to further develop the property. Plus the building contains lead paint and asbestos; a very expensive proposition for removal.

Additionally, the old elementary school abuts the junior high school building. There is no property separation or turf buffer. The 2 buildings are connected.

The property should have been sold as a whole. All the land and 2 buildings sold for near the appraised price. This is what would have been in the best interest of taxpayers and would have avoided the current situation of now owning a “white elephant”. Long after this superintendent has retired and the school board (that made these decisions) is replaced, taxpayers will still be paying for this mistake.

August 9, 2013 at 4:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City Council approves 2014 budget


Thanks for your comments.

I was there. I've been in "the inner circle" of Baldwin City government and mover-and-shackers for over 40 years. Third generation and over a century of Baldwin City decision making.

Sadly, not many taxpayers and voters attend even though they freely voice their frustrations and complaints casually around town or during my interactions with them. The unhappy majority is out there.

August 8, 2013 at 7:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City Council approves 2014 budget

While the city leaders deserve credit for holding the line on spending and utility costs, I think taxpayers and voters should note the following--

"Streets to get both a mill and overlay include Firetree Avenue, Flame Way and Blaze Boulevard. Those to get an overlay only include Quayle, Eisenhower and Washington streets."

Every single one of these streets is "north" of highway 56.

The 3 Firetree streets that will have their asphalt milled up, recycled and overlayed are some of the newest and most modern streets in all of Baldwin City already. Once again this wealthier, developer-connected neighborhood is receiving favoritism over south Highway 56 streets that have not been improved and modernized in 30 years.

Quayle, Eisenhower and Washington streets will receive new asphalt overlay while there are some streets south of Highway 56 in residential areas that still have rock / pebble streets and have never been upgraded. Many of these areas have street gutters that consist of 2 foot drop offs into a muddy ditch.

Once again, voters and taxpayers should take the time to inform themselves as to which city officials live in these north Highway 56 areas, including planning commission members, and ask why these developers and homeowners receive favored projects at all taxpayer expense.

August 6, 2013 at 10:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Eisenhower Street upgrade to get underway

Thanks for your comments, Sherwood, but I am not sure what your comments have to do with my contributions other than to provide additional information.

My comments are in regards to taxpayer funds being siphoned off to the north Highway 56 neighborhoods, on a business park study that will never be objective on a type of project that has failed for most cities and an extravagant waste of $50,000 on new signage to show travelers "they've arrived" in Baldwin City. These are just a few examples.

While the above 3 government representatives may not have been around for past expenditures, I can tell you that on future north of Highway 56 projects, some of them are on the bandwagon behind the scenes. So it is worth noting where they own property and how these improvements benefit them directly.

July 22, 2013 at 9:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )