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Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Cuppa Kansas City Whine?

Yeah I know, this is the Internet and anybody can basically say anything, whether it's true or not.

I read the piece posted below on fellow local blogger Tony's Kansas City site.
It is a response to an article Tony posted on T.I.F.'s (Tax Increment Financing) and other forms of governmental welfare for wealthy land developers and their friends.

After sleeping on the words this commenter had to say, Frank Zappa's masterpiece "It Can't Happen Here" came to mind.

The wake-up irony is that it damn well CAN happen here and maybe, just maybe, what is posted below - exactly as it was posted there - has some merit and justifies further journalistic investigation.


hip critic said...

Lets talk about Bartle Hall, Tony. The expansion project has experienced some serious, very costly mistakes. For instance, they have a minority contractor (who the city always uses) doing the HVAC system who has no idea what he's doing; concerning HVAC that is.

Example: He bids higher than hell and receives the job... EVERYTIME. In this particular case he bid the job for like 10 guys. He sent around 4, 1 whiteboy doing most of the work. When they quickly fell behind (had every other trade waiting on them, sitting by the way) the City came in saying ...SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. *holding hand over the minority contractors mouth*

The city paid another contractor to come in (out of cities pocket and not deducting money from contract of minority firm). They paid this other contracting firm (non-minority by the way) BIG money to catch this other firm up so the sheetrockers, and every other trade could get back to work, instead of sitting for a third month straight while these other guys wandered aimlesssly towards the end.

Let me break it down, we have:
(1)Bartle Hall Expansion way behind schedule.
(2)Minority HVAC contractor allowed to not fulfill contractual duty to city. Not only allowed, but is given incentive to not fulfill.
(3)City paying a "ghost" company to stand beside this company in catching up so the other trades could begin working again after 2-3 months of sitting on the sidelines.
(4)Never having made this public.

I am pissed and you should be too. Not as pissed as my "whiteboy" friend who allowed them to shine as long as they did by being the only one working though. They said he had a big mouth. I wish I could tell you more but he refuses to talk anymore about it until he sues the fuck out of the city for allowing this to transpire. Not only allowing it, but encouraging it.

The sad part: Funkhouser has yet to say anything about it and this firm will probably have future contracts and may currently be pulling the same SHIT at the Sprint Center. I told you fuckers it would get bad before the Elections. That aint shit either.

Funkhouser (as former auditor or whatever!) you have knowledge of this. Surely. If you continue to fail to point these things out you will be placed on my political suicide blog, where Chuck Eddy is getting very lonely. You could have athreesome later tonight with Weaver and Eddy.

*winks at Tony*

1/10/2007 11:42:53 AM

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Burn Baby Burn - Johnson County, Kansas firefighting motto?

This is my critique of the Overland Park, KS. fire department and their 3-alarm fire in the 7900 block of Santa Fe Drive Tuesday morning (January 9).

First I will qualify my opinions - I was trained and spent 5 years as a firefighter for Kansas City, MO in the mid to late 1970's. My respect for the profession is and remains immense. We were trained to attack structure fires at their source - which was more often than not - inside the structure.

What I saw taking place in downtown OP that morning did not seem to befit a highly-trained and lavishly equipped (sub)urban fire department.

The initial alarm was sounded around 6:50 am and within 10 minutes came the first pictures from KSHB's television news helicopter. There didn't seem to be all that much smoke and only a small amount of flame coming from a roof vent in the about 30-foot-wide and 80-foot long business in a strip-type shopping center.

There didn't appear to be any firefighters on the roof of the burning liquor store nor did there appear to be any crews inside nor trying to get inside the structure.

Soon, there were two aerials raised on the east & west sides of the fire building. Two streams from handlines could be seen throwing water from an alley on the backside of the building. The aerials began playing their master streams onto the still-small fire on the roof - then - reportedly because of water supply issues - shut them down for about 10 minutes. There was still no visible attempts to make access to the interior of the building with handlines to attack the seat of the fire.

Forty-five minutes after the initial alarm was sounded - the small flames had engulfed much of the eastern third of the roof and blossomed out of openings in the rear of the building and heavy gray-black smoke billowed southeastward in the gusty northwesterly wind. Around this time, a 3rd-alarm was sounded. When that section of the roof collapsed - the aerial water streams finally made headway on the flames.

At one point - even a FOX-4 news anchor remarked about how the fire which seemed so small & containable early on had gained so much ground on what seemed to be adequate firefighting resources.

This fire is in line with another firefighting fiasco I witnessed in Olathe in 1983 or 1984 - when fire virtually destroyed a plumbing fixtures business. After that fire - I actually obtained my OWN firefighting equipment for our home - not trusting my family's life & property to the OFD.

In addition- I was told by a longtime friend who is a retired KC-MO chief fire dispatcher of another incident while he was on the job.
In that incident- KC-MO fire companies had been called to assist a Johnson County, KS. fire department on a structure fire and those KC-MO crews made entry to the burning structure to attack the fire. The JOCO chief ordered the crews out but those crews - according to my source - resisted leaving as they had nearly "knocked down" the flames.
That resistance reportedly created some "issues" between the JOCO chief of that fire's operation and KC-MO's department.

The Metro's 'big-city' fire department only engages in "surround and drown" fire-fighting tactics as a very last resort.

Frankly, if I lived in or had a business in Johnson County, I would want - no - PREFER the KC-MO fire department and their rapid and professional fire-fighting tactics to respond.