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Yet Another Baldwin City Business Closes

So, I see how the downtown renovation is helping the downtown business community. One of the most recent new businesses in downtown Baldwin City is closing. The BC Chamber of Commerce was hooping and hollering about how cool it was to lure this antiques retailer from Paola over to Baldwin. Now its closing will create two vacant storefronts in Baldwin City. Yes, I know that we cannot know the exact reasons why this business failed, but I can say that it points to a larger problem that the Baldwin City government staff simply do NOT consider it part of their job to attract and retain businesses in Baldwin City. In fact, they are demonstrably anti-business and would just as soon keep it that way. It makes for less paperwork.

As a long-time citizen of this crumbling town I can only hope that very soon we elect a mayor and City Council that will clear all the dead wood staff out of City Hall and instead hire competent, intellegent people that can grasp the concept of business revenues funding their salaries, rather than yet another increase in property taxes. The motley crew of incompetent, lazy, and downright unprofessional clowns we have occupying the roles of City Administrator, Director of Public Works, Director of Codes Enforcement/Zoning and their respective underlings demand raises every year while continuing to reduce their workload and value to our community. I can only hope and pray that citizens of Baldwin City finally grow sick of this gross incompetence and take action in 2009 to elect pro-growth, pro-business candidates that will right these senseless wrongs.

April 3, 2008

Delusions of Grandeur

Comments

5659junction 6 years, 7 months ago

Out of curiousity, MapleLeaf, did you often shop at the business in question? What about the other businesses downtown? Are you a regular customer? We can point fingers in a million directions, but when it comes down to it business and revenue keep a store open. Until this entire community gets behind the local businesses, we will be hard pressed to keep much of anything open.

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FeelLikeaStranger 6 years, 7 months ago

What business is there downtown that would attract the interest of a 30 year old male or a 25 year old female? An Antique store? Come on... how many of the younger generation so you know that go "antiquing"? No offense to the current downtown retailers, but what else is there that will attract money from the citizens of Baldwin aside from eating?? I wouldn't exactly point the blame for that at the City Administration.

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NanCrisp 6 years, 7 months ago

The City Administration, City Council, and Chamber of Commerce have been on a long-term strategy to make B.C. into another Weston, MO. This was discussed ad infinitum back in 1993 when I was on the Chamber board. The streetscaping going on downtown is part of that plan, along with the recruitment of large numbers of antique dealers, specialty shops and restaurants.

The fact that there has been a plan is great. The plan itself, however, has fallen on bad times. Weston is a unique type of tourist attraction, appealing to people who want to spend a Saturday afternoon wandering through antique and curiosity shops, buying a few knick-knacks and stopping for lunch and ice cream. In another day and time, B.C. might make good with that type of plan, especially given the university in the middle of town that might attract the type of people who might be interested in this type of activity.

Unfortunately, this type of tourism is hard-hit by the downturned economy. (I put that in past tense because this has been turning downward for 3 years now, but it takes the folks at the back of the train a while to realize the brakes have been applied and the momentum is slowing; as someone who's been at the front end, I told you so!).

As for the future leadership of B.C., it certainly will be interesting to see how Mr. Dingman and staff can "manage" the months and years to come. It's definitely going to be a test of the mettle. It will also be interesting to see whether the B.C. voters (the 10% who actually do vote) try to put together a City Council that will have the appropriate experience and mindset to navigate the tough times ahead. Spend, spend, spend has been easy, easy, easy. Now it's time to do some work.

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p_zinzer 6 years, 7 months ago

I certainly agree with FeelLikeAStranger. When's the last time Jeff could write an article about the City Council considering a tax abatement for a light manufacturing, professional services, or technology company wanting to move to Baldwin? Oh, you say that Baldwin isn't the kind of place where these types of companies would want to locate? Isn't that the real problem here? Why can't Baldwin City be just as suited to something like this?

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Delta_D 6 years, 7 months ago

FeelLikeA Stranger has a point. I am several years past the younger generation ,except for grabbing lunch or dinner ,downtown does not hold alot of intrest for me. No offense to any of the retailers. You can only check out Baldwins many antique stores so often before it gets kind of old. ( No pun intended) I have high school age kids who quite often say there is nothing for them to do in Baldwin. Unless you are into summer sports, recreation for the younger crowd, which is growing as more families move here, is almost non existint. In the past there had been talk of a skate park, that was nixed, a community center, again that did not happen. Ottawa at least has a movie plaza, and a couple of video stores. I do not know what the answer is, or how much blame goes to the city council. As far as turning Baldwin into another Weston, MO, why would we want to pride ourselves on being a copy of another town? I would rather, as a consumer and patron of this community be proud of the fact that we are unique, and offer a wide variety of establishments that suit all ages and tastes.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 6 years, 7 months ago

Delta D~ I feel your pain, on the subject of things to do for young folks. Don't give up just yet, however. The new rec director, Steve, really seems on the ball. He has plans & ideas and has good experience. Did you notice he has a kids' fishing derby scheduled for May 3rd? It's on the flyer they were handing out at the health fair. They're doing art classes, woodworking, & other interesting things, too.

He also LISTENS. I strongly suggest stopping by the rec center, introducing yourself, and offering your views & suggestions on what kinds of activities would be welcome in this town and would keep the kids busy. I know he will take your comments seriously--even if $$ constraints make it hard to implement them. But even there, don't underestimate this guy--I think if anyone can figure out how to stretch every available dollar, he can do it.

General thoughts on the antique store situation.. I love them, but can't see how any of them can make a living in this town. Antiques on the Prairie has the right idea with adding some food service to the mix--I hope that takes off and helps draw people in.

I haven't checked out which store closed, but if it's the one I think it is, they were WAAAAAY overpriced--and I do enough antiquing to recognize fair market value (at least with particular categories that interest me). The other place on the same block has always been very competitive, and I'd buy from her before I would buy from the other one--although they did have some exquisite pieces.

In this kind of economy, I suspect specialty stores everywhere are struggling. Those in small towns, with lower volume, just don't have much of a chance.

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FeelLikeaStranger 6 years, 7 months ago

ibelieveinmapleleaf: I would suggest actually coming up with a resolution to present to the City Counsil and the City Administrator, I mean, if you actually have anything that is even worth listnening to... It's sure a lot more constructive than thowing daggers at the backs of others.

I'm guessing you wont, anyone that thinks the best idea is to clean house, obviously won't take the time or effort to provide any sort of suggestions.

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ibelieveinmapleleaf 6 years, 7 months ago

..Stranger,

Please let me know how many businesses you have operated in Baldwin City and had to deal with the current City staff? Please share with me whether you think the laziness, ineptness, or downright sociopathic behavior of some of the employees is what you find most aggravating about doing business in Baldwin City? Please let me know when the last time that an apparently arbitrary decision made by a City staff member, based on their faulty understanding of their authority, job duties, or even their chosen profession in general cost you thousands of dollars?

Can't answer those questions? Never had any of that happen to you? Perhaps if you shared some of my experiences you would see that the City Council can't/won't crack down on these bozos, and the only hope, short of a localized case of bird flu at City Hall is to put in place a City Council that will exercise its authority, leadership, and vision and fire these clowns and replace them will folks that 1.) know what they are doing, and 2.) actually want to put in a good day's work every day.

Until then, we are doomed.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 6 years, 7 months ago

Do, please, give us concrete examples of sociopathic behavior on the part of city workers. I have had extremely limited experience in dealing with people at city hall, so I have no opinion, positive or negative, about anybody there. In what situations are they making arbitrary decisions, misunderstanding their own authority & duties, etc?

Without sharing actual experiences, you may have a hard time getting public support, even if you have a just cause. Many of us simply do not have first-hand experience to corroborate what you're saying, so you'll need to spell out your grievances if you expect anybody to consider them.

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pfdragon 6 years, 7 months ago

Well this goes out to all of the ignorant people who obviously have nothing more productive to do in their meaningless lives than harp on the city workers of the great town of Baldwin. When was the last time you all had to deal with selfish money hungry poorly informs citizens and stand up for what is right?! Have a little faith and support in your community. Anarchy above the laws of township has proven itself unsuccessful in the past yet you think you are better than what history has proved itslef? Ha! You think complaining and harping and just plain being whiny and persistent will get you any wear? Grow up! Welcome to the real world where laws and order are set up for your own good. Some people cant see a good thing or a good person because they are so blinded by their own stupidity. And because I know the people this will effect will have no comprehension of what Im saying.. Follow the rules like everyone else!

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ibelieveinmapleleaf 6 years, 7 months ago

pfdragon,

If you are going to rant and make some sort of stand that I am "blinded by (my) own stupidity", at least use proper grammar and spelling to elevate yourself above us "stupid" people.

Regards, ibiml

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towniegirl 6 years, 7 months ago

Yet still no sharing of actual experiences...you've got to give a little bit of solidity to your statements ibelieve if you really want people to understand what is going on.

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ibelieveinmapleleaf 6 years, 7 months ago

towniegirl,

I have shared my experiences on the previous SpeakOut posts many a time. Given a bit of free time this weekend, I'll write a rambling account of my issues for those who missed my posts from the last four years.

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FeelLikeaStranger 6 years, 7 months ago

ibiml, can't wait to hear your story.

B.T.W, I do have a business, I have had to work with some of our current City Staff... Other than a few questions regarding building plans, which were ironed out rather quickly and painlessly, I would say my experiences have been pretty positive.

I'm looking forward to forming my own opinion over your situation. Hopefully we'll get all the facts and not just the one sided, hateful rant we've seen so far.

Unfortunately for you, there are probably a large percentage of readers that have already formed their opinion just off your lack of composure. TYPICALLY what you find in these situations:. The one who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.

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towniegirl 6 years, 7 months ago

I too have a business in this town and have worked with current city staff without complaints. I remember some of your previous posts on SpeakOut, and possibly it slips my mind, but I don't recall you specifying your experiences...just complaining about "city staff" in general.

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5659junction 6 years, 7 months ago

If I'm not mistaken, a large number of the "lazy, inept, sociopaths" (MapleLeafs opinion, NOT mine) that work for the city also live in Baldwin, purchase goods in Baldwin, and pay taxes in Baldwin. City Council members, who you also pointed fingers at, would have to be Baldwin residents, right? It's probably safe to surmise those council members and city workers have friends and family in Baldwin. As a business owner I wouldn't want to bite the hand that feeds me. If a store owner was hateful towards me, my friends, or my family, I wouldn't do business there. You don't have a captive audience, MapleLeaf. Lawrence is a short jaunt down the road. As my first post points out, I'm a big advocate of supporting local business. And yes, that comes from owning one and wanting the support of the community I'm in. As you toss out hateful comments about local residents, are you hoping no one figures out which business is yours?

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towniegirl 6 years, 7 months ago

ibiml- One more thing...don't point out someone else's grammar/spelling errors when you posted one prior to theirs.

"Perhaps if you shared some of my experiences you would see that the City Council can't/won't crack down on these bozos, and the only hope, short of a localized case of bird flu at City Hall is to put in place a City Council that will exercise its authority, leadership, and vision and fire these clowns and replace them will folks that 1.) know what they are doing, and 2.) actually want to put in a good day's work every day."

replace them WILL folks??

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pfdragon 6 years, 7 months ago

ibiml, Hilarious that you find fault in spelling and grammer. Sorry Im not going to spell check or check with an english teacher for my comment on people speak out.
My concerns dont lie with in grammer of blog comments. But nice to see you are using your time wisely.

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NanCrisp 6 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, pfdraogn, but this is one of my pet peeves, being an editor by profession. It's grammar. Not grammer. Grammer might be one way to address your grandmother, but otherwise, it's not a word in the English language. English, by the way, being proper, should always be capitalized.

Grammar and spelling certainly do matter, more and more these days, as bloggers continually misspell, employ horrible syntax, and put themselves on public and permanent record as being a touch illiterate. I don't mean to single you out, but I do like to make a point to those who defend their lack of proper spelling and grammar as being acceptable. While it might be acceptable to spout off verbally without first checking facts, it is never acceptable to spout off in writing without first checking your spelling and syntax. After all, you took the time to compose, it takes only a couple of extra seconds to proofread.

The more people see improper language in print, the more they tend to accept it, and the more illiterate society, in general, becomes. Eventually, communication breaks down amid the plethora of usage that can no longer be discerned as a cohesive language.

Just as rules of law are important to a cohesive society, so are rules of language. So, as you say, "Follow the rules like everyone else!"

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ralpho 6 years, 3 months ago

Bring back the use of the Stocks as a form of public punishment. People will flock to the downtown to see someone ostracized. Seriously though, Baldwin should emulate Amsterdam and sell weed and lard-fried foods on Main Street with live music along with the antique stores. This way middle-class, respectable people will come to Baldwin to buy their drugs instead of having to go to the dangerous streets of the Big City. Or, how about a paint ball set up where the abolitionists and the pro-slavers stalk one another in a kind of play Civil War? Or, how about a pumpkin-shooting contest once a year around Halloween.? Get an elementary-school teacher to plan activities for the town. People are bored in America. That is why they are so fat. You give them them something interesting to do, and they will come and give you their money.

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