When you think about it, realigning Platte County’s parks tax to help fund law enforcement makes a lot of sense. I just don’t understand why we needed the Platte County Commission to appoint a citizen jail committee to tell us. Presiding commissioner Jason Brown seems to really want this measure to move forward, as evidenced by his comments last week that this situation is different from a very similar situation that came up a few years back. I mean it’s not really different but whatever. Clearly, the county can legally put a couple of questions on the upcoming November general election ballot asking voters to approve reducing the parks tax by 25 percent and then reallocate that money — estimated at $12.2 million — toward law enforcement. Great. A potential solution to help fund the leasing of federally mandated radios the Platte County Sheriff’s Department currently uses. So I’ll ask again why a citizen group came up with the idea (although I’m not convinced the members didn’t receive a few outside influences to reach this conclusion) and then formulated potential ballot language. Shouldn’t the county’s elected officials take on this responsibility? Brown seems to be the biggest advocate so why not make this a part of his agenda? The jail committee originally received instruction to look at county facilities, judge whether improvements were needed and then come up with ideas on how to fund the changes. Instead, the committee recommended no expansion at this time, so the task should have ended there. Instead, members ignored the flow chart and went on to Step B and formulated a plan to fund radios. I just don’t understand how the process derailed to this point. At least the idea now lies in the hands of the elected officials. Hopefully, Brown and commissioners Duane Soper and Beverlee Roper take the proposal and make sure they have a big hand in where the process goes from here and how the ballot language looks if the county opts to go down this path. I know I would have felt a lot better if reallocating the parks tax was a government issue from the beginning rather than going through the contentious dog-and-pony show of a jail committee during the past couple of months. *** On a brighter note, how ’bout them Royals? This current hot stretch has taken Kansas City from seemingly another dead season to at least briefly in first place in the American League Central standings. As a devoted fan, I’m going crazy trying to enjoy every last second because it’s literally never happened before in my life — save for a brief fraudulent flirtation with the playoffs in 2003. And a South Korean fan named SungWoo Lee has helped make the ride even more enjoyable. Lee consistently follows games from his home and recently made the trip to Kansas City for a dream vacation that even he couldn’t have imagined would end up this special. He’s been a celebrity, a rock star and the Royals’ good-luck charm. I don’t really believe in that last part, but the story continues to play out in a way that makes fairy tales blush. I have interacted with SungWoo for the past couple of years on Twitter. It’s one of the ways he stays in touch with the team while dealing with a daunting time difference. He’s always been funny and engaging, and he’s no different in person. I’ll admit I’m a little jealous of his experiences — meeting George Brett, throwing out a first pitch before the game and hanging the ‘W’ on the Royals’ Hall of Fame following Monday night’s win. Most fans would be lucky to experience one piece of his magical journey. But SungWoo continues to handle all of the attention with humility and grace, taking countless pictures with fans and entertaining a bevy of media requests. I took time to meet up with him before Sunday afternoon’s game against the Giants. SungWoo first told me I look much younger in person, which I think was a compliment. We hugged and chatted for a few brief minutes. I wanted to spend more time, but I’ve seen the overwhelming adoration he’s received and wanted to let him get to his original intent — watching baseball at Kauffman Stadium. We can do it just about whenever we want. For him, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I know he’s enjoying it. *** The past couple of months have been humbling. I didn’t envision inheriting so much responsibility so soon here at The Citizen. This staff has worked tirelessly to try and upkeep the standards Lee Stubbs set. I know many have noticed a few of our changes, and I haven’t received many complaints. In fact, hearing a few compliments has been nice. We are finally up to full staff after hiring Bryce Mereness as a reporter last week. Give him a follow on Twitter at @BMcitizen. Bryce has jumped right in to sports responsibilities, and I’m glad to have him on board.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Citizen_Ross.