(Currently in Edit)
I'm forcing myself to rewrite this piece in a simpler, gentler fashion, and it's not because my editor is writing nasty colored notes below .
I believe Branson residents have reason to be concerned with the breadth of ethical violtions that have occured under Branson municipal leadership. It is with sadness that Missouri leadership deems us merely out-state affording less protection to Branson than the more populated thus vote coveted districts to the north.
Ethical and Sunshine Law (open government) violations have become such commonplace occurrence under Branson Missouri's Mayor Raeanne Presley's guidance that such statements of fact no longer wield shock. To speak of our leadership as corrupt is no more profound than to state chocolate is brown. Though the color is without controversy the flavor leaves no sweet aftertaste.
With the passing of time our situation seems to be worsening. I ponder to what degree of crime is allowed to occur unabated with the current cast of characters. My fear grows stronger with every count of randomly discovered malfeasance.
I wonder if our children our safe from the worst predators be the aggressor a business partner of our mayor. An incident with a recent entertainer and Presley lobbying partner inspired this frightful notion.
It is a constitutional imperative, both federal and within the state of Missouri, that prisoner rosters remain available. The reason this is so important is to ensure that a government body doesn't kidnap a citizen and deny due process. We the people have the right to know who we are holding.
After a painstaking effort, Branson's compliance ....(Continuing)
Even our local press has become compliant. We have leadership ripe and willing to carry canned messages but little to verify fact and conduct research. Though it's my belief that such studiousness to verify fact divides journalism from mere scribble, in the end its every citizens right to access and check their own governmental body's work.
Being able to access basic information in regards to government and trusting laws that protect citizens from conflicts of interest are in effect allows ordinary folk to rest peacefully at night. We can do so because as Americans we believe in a government where people are treated with equity. We have faith in a judicial system that can protect us against
Perhaps, if I am exceedingly clear, I can effectively communicate both the sincerity of my grievances, failure to honor state law which protect us against the type behavior costly to the livelihoods of innocent parties whose only crime is to live under leadership with a blatant disregard for
Just when it seems Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley's fiscal idiocy can't possibly reveal a higher degree of misconduct she one-ups herself. (Bad taste/Mean Spirited)
When it comes to pay the cities contractual obligations Presley ensures and every regional newspaper prints on command, "Branson is broke Can't Pay Contract". The cost of pretending Branson is broke costs us millions. In fact, this years expense for outside legal counsel is set at $1,000,000. Branson's estimated income is understated by nearly 10 million to where it will be laundered we can only speculate.For details read, "Branson Mayor and the Anti Tea-Party Movement". (Boasting, unnecessary )
When it comes time to socialize private property Presley's budget overfloweth. No expense is too little to buy land adjacent to a business partner or Presley's alma mater.
When it comes to fiscal accountability the press is silent. You see, the city never put out a press release , "Corrupt politician dwindles Branson's Savings" ($12 million in reserves dwindled by Mayor). Or, "Mayor Spends $5,000 on Saturday Meetings At Convention Center Away From Press". Or, "Mayor takes third vacation on public dime at tune of $25,000 to taxpayers". (Convuluted, too many ideas colliding at once)
We never read, "Mayor Ignores Conflict of Interest Sits on Board Recieving No-Bid Contract From City". Curiously, we never hear, "Crooked Mayor Calls State Officials To Block Low Income Housing Initiative Funding - State Officials Ignore ". Or of late, "Project Pitched as Funded By Grant Eyes $8.3 million expense and New Taxes".
And yet, all of these headlines are accurate.
Local press is very happy to regurgitate provably false information to such an extent that a new public relations director for the city may be sidelined. After all, if local reporters will print whatever a corrupt politician wants to publish (true or false) why pay for someone to answer with integrity ?
I think that it is important to note that the Branson Daily Independent's Sunday's column is usually written by a long time supporter of Presley's fiscally liberal policies. This Sunday's opinion section was written by conservative advocate Phyllis Schlafly who attacks Presley's political agenda in great detail. If you don't have time to pick up Sunday's paper, I've re-published the article here. (Schlafly )
After the supposedly broke city miraculously uncovered enough tax money to purchase a high school we were told a grant would cover the cost of a project to restore the high school.
Local newspapers printed the project would be covered by a grant. Cool, free money right ? I mean, this is what the newspaper told us. But, the newspapers did what they were told. They printed a press release and marked it as fact. No questions asked, no research needed, no citation necessary . (Argumentative, Assumptive regarding several organizations, backup)
While there is a great deal of interest in re-vitalizing the old Branson High School, shouldn't local architectural firms have the opportunity to pitch the project ?
Normally, when government is abiding by law and attempting to act honorably, projects are bid through an Request For Proposal (RFP) Process.
Competing companies enter proposals into the marketplace of ideas at their own expense in the hopes of winning a contract. The cost to the public is free. Engineering firms invest time and money in hopes of outperforming other entities. Companies generate competing proposals and provide multiple options for the community to chose from.
Normally the Price is $0
Instead of "free" , we were offered a free $5,000 coupon as long as we spent $5,000 to purchase a product that is available for free. The difference is, local companies were not allowed to compete. The recommendation from the Sustainable Design Assesmet Team (SDAT) paid for through the grant (wink wink) is to spend much more money. Just to get the engineering team to Branson taxpayers were forced to pay $5,000 to fly no-bid contractors to Branson under the premise of a grant.
Furthermore, while the articles regurgitated by the Branson Daily Independent and Branson Daily News suggest the project will be funded through a grant, we now learn that nothing is further from the truth.
The team hired by Presley, consulted with outside of the public eye and promoted through the guarantee of free service says the basic cost of the project will be $8.3 million.
But Presley has already worked on a plan to finance the project. A no-bid contract could be funded through a new tax. Presley's charter city initiative , (which in its current form ignores community values) could include a real estate transfer tax. The new tax is a "real estate transfer tax." The tax would have to be paid in order to legally buy or sell property in Branson.
The fiscal irresponsibility which has yet to be examined by either press or public since Presley took office will undoubtedly result in new taxes already.
While the $75 million annual warchest Branson taxpayers give to Presley (and has been exceeded 5 years running) may be free to Presley it isn't free to Branson residents.
But it's understandable why Presley would think its free money. While our hospitals are now denying services to the poor ($45 upfront expense required) , Presley gets free medical insurance from city tax income. Integrity free Press releases are regularly printed free of review. And Presley's squandering of public funds for personal gain have been left unchecked for too long free from the eyes of those who pay the bill completely free of public review.
Much worse is the inevitable suffering that occurs when civic leaders hot for new positions of power lead free of public interest.