Thursday, July 26, 2007

P&R - 18-23 year olds - Extended Day Care

Parks & Rec. has a new request from the Mayor's new Youth Czars (or Tsars if you prefer) Tara S. & Crispin R. They think therefore it must be that the City should provide activities for Adults 18-23. I may have missed something but if you are old enough to vote, hold a job, have all the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood, shouldn't someone 18-23 be able to entertain one’s self in a healthy, lawful manner. If not perhaps we should up the age of consent to 24. Let’s extend an already prolonged childhood into adulthood. We’re living longer, why not? Most of the world thinks Americans are stuck in adolescence anyway, let’s just codify it.

As a taxpayer I don't want my dollars going to entertain 18-23 year olds. You bet, I want supervised activities for children and I do want programs for seniors on a fixed income. They've paid into the system in one way or another and deserve our care. But an 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23 year old needs to be entertained? Supervised? On the public dime? Come on you four (Funk, Gloria, Tara & Crispin) give me a break. Our limited Parks & Recreation dollars do not need to be set aside for adults. If you're bored and can only think of entertaining yourself by breaking the law, supervised activities by P&R are not going to help you. However, someone 18-23 could keep themselves busy by getting a job, getting a second job, volunteering, getting a 3rd job, going to school, go to a museum, read a book, write a book, read to someone, learn something new, give one’s time to someone who needs a little help, but don't expect me to entertain you. (As an after thought, isn’t Ms. Cherry was Wayne’s Czarina of youth? Well maybe she just czars over youth under 18 and Chip and the Girl Child czar over 18-23 years olds). Maybe someone from the Funk’s Kitchen Cabinet could ask P&R to develop and implement programming for that next dangerous age group – the 40 to 50 year olds. They’re prone to mid-life crisis, divorce, buying expensive sports cars and many other inappropriate behaviors.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Memo to Parks Commissioners

According to Matt Campbell, KC Star 7-22-07 – “KC park board’s mandate from new mayor: Make people happier” you, the new board will be taking a retreat to map a strategy. While on retreat please:
Consider that the director of Parks & Recreation, who at this time is Mark McHenry, serves at the pleasure of the board and that you have the authority via the City Charter to ask for Mr. McHenry’s resignation should he not be able to meet the deliverables you set before him. Somehow along the way this has become a job for life once in that seat – with no performance measures or accountability. This should not be. The buck stops on his desk. If you don’t hold him responsible and accountable the buck stops with you.
Contract out pool management; the Aquatics department is a mess. How can you have lifeguards that can’t pass the certification until the 3rd pass? Some lifeguards we are not sure that they can swim.
Word on the street is that one of the regional managers is not allowed into the Bruce Watkins Cultural Center when a certain employee is on duty? Why is that?
Why does the Tony Aguirre Center still not have anyone who can give swimming lessons and summer is half over.
Why do so many Parks & Rec. employees show up on Missouri Employees include persons who have been charged with embezzlement, assault, and domestic-violence. Some of these people are working in, around and with our children. How do they get around the background checks? Is there a fault in the hiring process? Or is someone in a position of authority circumventing the system.
Why don’t the Community Center directors get a budget that they have to adhere to?
Why do Community Centers not have cash registers or a better cash tracking system? Or why are pants pockets acceptable surrogate cash registers?
What is the strategy to build our urban forest?
Why won’t Parks & Rec. more aggressively go after more Federal & State grants? I was told that they don’t have the staff to do the reporting paper work required. Is this true? How do we change it?
Why don’t the kids in summer camp in Central Region, not have their t-shirts? The camps are almost over? The other Region’s camp kids have their t-shirts. Did summer camp once again catch the Central Region Manager off guard?

More things to consider are to follow

Monday, July 23, 2007

Parks Board - Another Thorn For The Rose Garden

I heard via the grapevine that the administrative staff were dancing in the hallways upon the Funk’s appointments to the Park’s Board. They were afraid that one or more of their detractors or nemeses might have been appointed; then the skeletons would come tumbling out of closets. However, the relieved jocularity might be short-lived when P&R realizes what they’ve lost with Hubby, Hubbette & Child Tara’s cavalier appointments to the Board. By soothing his childhood scars (living at the bottom of the coal slag and the mine owner lives at the top of the hill), with his remarks on elitism - the Funk has jeopardized a tremendous funding source for P&R.

It is private donations from the ‘elite” that supports much of the award winning Loose Park, it is private donations that help fund Liberty Memorial, the upkeep and maintenance of many of our signature fountains, the KC Zoo and even private funds contribute to Starlight. Thousands and thousands of dollars that come from the ‘elite’ he seems to disdain. Not one of these current appointees have entree to the demographic, yes, class, of our society who have the dollars to invest private dollars in the infrastructure of our parks and cultural amenities. Not one of these appointments has the social capitol, credibility or peer relationships necessary for “the ask.” And if they do show some moxie to ask, why would the funders invest in them, there is no quid pro quo here. So when P&R starts putting their budget together for 2008-2009 – they may be asking for more money to compensate for the loss of private dollars. And if our parks begin to slide again – remember to thank the Funk Squad and the unforeseen consequences of working your therapy out in public and at public expense..

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Moratorium Neccessary On Cauthen Appointments

Cauthen's contract is up for renegotiation. Therefore, until it's resolved, wouldn't it make sense to restrict his ability to make additional, questionable staffing appointments?

Paper or China?

Gloria decided that serving VIPs and people of import cannot be served plastic serveware or styrofoam but she can serve them running around the office barefoot? Where 's the distinction? Kind of like Ellie Mae Clampitt does the 29th floor.

Now I agree guests should be served one's "Sunday Best" so Hubbette runs down to Williams of Sonoma to buy appropriate china and serveware. However, this was a missed opportunity to go to the Crossroads artists or to the Kansas City Art Institute to have a design competition for serviceweare for the Mayor's office that was uniquely Kansas City and could have been a marketing piece for Crossroads, local artists or the KC Art Institute.
Note to Gloria: this is not engaging the community; what another missed opportunity.

Amsterdam - City Business or Funky Holiday

Did the City pay for the "Funk's" trip to Amsterdam? What part of this trip was City Business? Or is this all for his book?

Automated Trash Carts - Another Cauthen Folly

KC City Manager, Wayne Cauthen, was determined to provide trash carts in order to address neighborhood littering, and dumping. It was a time of serious budget challenges and the investment in these carts was not small. Members of the Neighborhood Advisory Council hosted a "Trash Forum" to advise how expensive this was going to be. But good sense be damned, we now have trash trucks with an automated arms, pilot neighborhoods have beautiful blue carts (owned, maintained and replaced by the City). However, the trash men won't use takes too much time. The trash men roll the carts to the trucks, manually take the bags out of the carts and toss the bags into the truck and roll the carts back. Sometimes they don't even move the carts, just pluck the bags and it's business as usual. Trash that didn't make it into the bag stays at the bottom of the cart sort of a mini landfill on wheels. Do we get extra carts when it is filled up to the brim? Kind of an analogy of our landfill challenge. Is this a $400,000.00 folly?

One positive aspect is that we shouldn't have to pay out too much for maintaining the automated arm and hydraulics on the trucks other than for atrophy. We can hardly wait for the $2,000,000.00 roll out.

This could be nothing, but another curious aspect to this is that when this is reported to "311", the City Manager's Action Center, there's no follow up. Could this be a cover up?