Last week, I took a trip to the toy department, where I lamented the Chiefs’ unbelievable playoff meltdown. This week, it’s back to the real world. Let’s start off with the Platte County Commission renaming the Platte County Courthouse the Owens Lee Hull Jr. Justice Center. The designation — made in honor of longtime Sixth Circuit Judge Lee Hull, who has retired from regular judicial duties — was made during a special outdoors Commission meeting Dec. 31 on the Courthouse steps that also served as the kickoff to the County’s 175th anniversary. It was a neat event (though a bit blustery) that featured Hull being introduced by fellow retiring judge and lifelong friend Abe Shafer. Hull then spoke for a bit about the honor and his tenure before emceeing a re-enactment of sorts of the County’s original charter ceremony way back in 1838. A nice crowd was on hand and they gave Hull a warm round of applause after the ceremony. Apparently, though, some folks are not happy with putting Hull’s name on the Courthouse. A few local businesspersons were basically quoted in a Kansas City Star piece last week that the Courthouse name should be what it’s always been and that “we don’t need to go putting people’s names on the Courthouse.” Presiding Commissioner Jason Brown apparently agreed with those sentiments and abstained from the vote to rename the Courthouse at the Dec. 31 meeting. My thanks to our letter writer at the bottom of this page who pointed out that we incorrectly stated in our front page report last week that Brown voted against it. Technically, this is not true: abstention means neither voting for it or against it. Let’s just say that by abstaining, Brown did not support it. This is certainly his right, but seemed a bit odd, considering Brown stated his support for the renaming during a Dec. 18 meeting with fellow Commissioners Beverlee Roper and Duane Soper and Shafer, who made the initial request to honor Hull. In fact, according to minutes from the Dec. 18 meeting, Brown “suggested doing the renaming at the 175th celebration if time would permit to get everything done.” When I asked Brown after the Dec. 31 event why he did not support the renaming, he declined to comment. I have since heard folks try to explain his reasoning as a belief that we should not put names of the living on public buildings. OK — I can see that....I guess, although it’s not that big of an issue to me. It’s not like I’m going to start feeling compelled to call the Courthouse the Owens Lee Hull Jr. Justice Center whenever I write about a particular trial or court case we are covering in the building. A good analogy is the Platte County Jail, which, as you may or may not know, was named the Tom Thomas Law Enforcement Center in honor of a former longtime Platte County Sheriff. I don’t think I have ever written a story that detailed an arrested criminal being held in the Tom Thomas Law Enforcement Center. Anyway, I respect those that believe the history of the building is somehow being compromised by the renaming, but the way I look at it is this: it’s a mostly ceremonial gesture that honors one of the true pillars of the Platte County legal community that probably isn’t going to cost taxpayers any money. Let’s get indignant about something else, waddya say? Speaking of taxpayers’ money, last week’s Platte County 2014 budget hearing was an interesting affair. I was not at the meeting, but longtime Citizen reporter Jeanette Browning-Faubion was and her front page story did a good job of detailing the squabbles County officials had before passing the budget 2-1. Roper and Soper voted yes while Brown voted against the budget and we will come back to that in a bit. But a big highlight was Platte County Clerk Joan Harms stating that if the Commission made good on its plan to cut $7,000 from her office budget, she would cut her office hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to 9-4 on those days. Naturally this didn’t sit too well with the Commissioners and Harms agitated Brown even further when she said that when compared to the overall budget’s projected $59.8 million expenditures, the $7,000 in question did not represent a significant amount. Brown’s response: “Every dollar matters. This money doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the taxpayers.” You know, truer words have never been spoken; every cent does matter when talking about taxpayer money. Which brings me to my final tidbit from last week’s budget hearing. As I mentioned earlier in this column, Brown voted no against the budget, citing — among other reasons — a $2,500 salary increase given to one employee, while across-the-board raises were denied. Soper defended this by saying that there were many instances in the past of salary adjustments to singular employees aside from mass cost of living increases. He also pointed out that Brown had missed many of the budget meeting with officeholders annually held to help determine the budget. Like I said earlier, Brown is right about every taxpayer dollar counting. I’m quite sure that most taxpayers would think they are getting a better return on the nice salary they are paying Brown if he attended all of the very meetings in which those taxpayer dollars are being allocated. Thanks for reading.