Before I talk about a few positive things, I need to get one negative that is gnawing at me out of the way — last week’s US Senate vote against a modest, bi-partisan bill that would have offered some common-sense solutions to help fight gun violence in this country.
Most Republican senators — and a few Democrats, as well — voted against the measure, which would have banned some semi-automatic assault-type weapons and provided for broader background checks for gun purchases — most notably at gun shows and the like where Charles Manson could probably pick up a firearm with no trouble.
The Senate rejection can be traced to the same old story when it comes to any kind of gun control, no matter how big or small — pressure from lobbyists controlled by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
No matter that nearly 90 percent of Americans support expanded background checks. It’s pretty apparent that we can add gutless to incompetent when we describe Congress these days.
A few Citizen readers/observers have contacted me in recent days to comment on local conservative James C. Thomas III’s letter to the editor in our April 10 issue.
In the letter, Thomas defended the Taxpayer Protection PAC — that I called out after its failed sneak attack against the County roads tax renewal — which he was a part of. He also thanked me for helping him promote his campaign finance planning efforts and implored me to send anybody his way who might need such help.
The afore-mentioned readers/observers brought up a good point: anybody looking for help in that area may want to look somewhere else as Thomas’ recent track record isn’t too good.
The last two County sales tax renewals he has helped form opposition to have passed handily at the polls, including the roads tax, which passed 57-43 percent despite no formal campaign committee to help get the word out.
That’s what the City of Platte City may be thinking about its Police Department station/Civic Center at Fourth Street and Hwy. 92.
As we’ve chronicled in our last two issues, the PCPD is being forced to relocate — at least temporarily and maybe permanently — because of radon gas and structural mold issues uncovered during a recent floor repair project. This means that the $30,000 repair project has suddenly turned into a situation where the City will have to pay more than $15,000 to secure a home for the PCPD for the next year, while it decides whether or not to pursue permanently eliminating the radon/structural issues.
Such a replacement project could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which begs the question: is the building worth it? The original structure, which of course housed the Platte City High School for decades, is more than 100 years old. The addition housing the PCPD is about 60 years old.
There may not be a better answer than this: the City may have too much money invested in the building to not fix it. City officials estimate that, counting the purchase price of the building more than 15 years ago, the City has spent about $1.5-1.7 million on it.
One word of advice: while I’m not suggesting in any way shape or form the City is considering it, tearing down the Platte City landmark is not a wise idea.
DASH WITH ME
Anyway you look at it, when nearly 15,000 folks show up to check out your community, it’s a big deal.
That’s the number of extreme obstacle course enthusiasts expected to participate in this weekend’s Warrior Dash at Platte Ridge Park. This year’s event differs from last year’s in one big way — participants and spectators are required to park at the Platte County Fairgrounds in Tracy and when they leave, they will be funneled through Platte City’s Hwy. 92 business district.
So, if you’re out and about around the Platte City area this weekend, be forewarned that traffic may be a little more congested than normal. Also know that many of those folks are probably contributing to the City’s sales tax revenue coffers.
And kudos to the Platte City Chamber for organizing the Pre-Dash Bash from 5-8 p.m. Friday at the Fairgrounds. Check it out for only $6 in advance or $10 at the door.
See our story on page A1 for all the Dash and Pre-Dash details.
Thanks for reading.
Lee Stubbs is owner/editor of The Citizen. He may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.