November 1, 2014

Bond issue advocates miss report deadline

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
A committee advocating for passage of the USD 231 bond issue may be in violation of campaign finance laws.
Brett Limer, an individual advocating against the bond issue, said no committee opposing the issue was ever formed. He is self-financing a web site, campaign signs and advertising.
According to Kansas statute, political committee reports are due annually to the Johnson County Election Office. The report is due by Dec. 31, but due to the holiday, the deadline for 2011 committee reports in Johnson County was Jan. 3.
USD 231 Kids Come First committee launched its Facebook page in early November, and the navy-blue and white signs advocating a “yes” vote on a $72 million school bond issue began appearing before the new year.
Brian Newby, Johnson County Election Commissioner, said while committees are required to file reports annually, there is some gray area as to whether the local committee needed to file.
The statute says the annual statement shall be “filed on or before December 31, such statement shall cover the period ending on December 1 immediately preceding.”
So if the group began gathering and spending money after Dec. 1, 2011, they may not have needed to file the report.
“In the interest of transparency, I probably wouldn’t split hairs,” Newby said.
How the statute is interpreted is up to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office. It’s unlikely the late report would be investigated without a complaint.
When Spring Hill USD 230 passed its bond most recent bond issue in 2011, a citizens group, USD 230 Kids Count, spent $5,233.
John Fuller of the DLR Group, the developers crafting the Spring Hill project, made an in-kind donation of $1,000 in time, postage and resources; Steve Golubski of JE Dunn, construction contractor on the USD 230 project, made an in-kind donation of $1,084 in postage and printing.
The largest cash donor was Roger Morrison. Morrison, who listed a Salina post office box as his address, donated $1,000.
Calls to the Gardner Edgerton School District about the USD 231 Kids Come First committee were directed to Patricia Fabing, a Gardner resident heading the committee. She did not return phone calls.

Ballots due
Ballots for USD 231’s $72 million bond issue are due at the Johnson County Election Office no later than noon on Jan. 31. Ballots can be dropped in person at the office, 2101 E. Kansas City Rd., Olathe. Officials advise mailing ballots no later than Jan. 28.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    You always want to follow the money and it is MOST HELPFUL to know what motivates people, especially when dirty, rotten politics are involved and when YOU are paying the bills for cronyism government. Keep your scorecard – then you will have no problem in making your choices in the voting booth and God we need a voting booth rather than an appointment department run by a Mayor and Council members who don’t even seem to have a care as to whether the laws are followed. Put garbage into the system and you get garbage out of the system.

  2. Amused citizen says:

    Interesting that Gardnernews would point this out being they seem very much against the bond. Look at the ads that run on the paper against it. But I have not seen equal time allowed for the Bond supporters. Makes one wonder if Gardnernews is not in violation of campaign laws themselves for not allowing equal time at equal cost for both sides of the issues.

  3. Take it from me, Brian Newby is not the authority on campaign finance laws. Nice guy, but he doesn’t enforce or interpret the laws. Like the article says, that is up to the Johnson County DA.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    Yeah, Beasley, and the DA got YOU on the campaign finance laws as they should have. Always have to slam you and others up against the wall to meet the laws and all of you continue to thumb your noses at the law and decent citizens. Your arrogance and wrongdoing will catch up with you.

  5. You’re right Judith.

  6. Seeing the “kids come first” committee be a direct extension of USD231 was disappointing. Apparently the 1,000 rack cards and 1,000 yard signs and full ads in the newspapers and multiple mailings were funded well. Hopefully the citizens of Gardner have seen through the smokescreen and can say NO to this bond.

  7. Judith Rogers says:

    I said NO the day after I got my ballot and I will continue to say NO to that school district because they are part of the problems we have in this community………..rotten politics and people with NO moral values everywhere you go and it is killing the people in so many ways. You even have a Mayor and Council people, who break the law, voting in another who will break the law right along with them as evidenced by his comments…………..you have big, big problems in River City and most of them the citizens have brought on themselves by going along with all of the wrongdoing occurring and it has gone on for years and the stench gets worse by the day. I don’t think Freeman will be working for the average citizen, he will be taking direction from Gardner Bank and similiar banks, big biz, biz in general and other special interests – think your tax bill is high now, stick around for a few more years when you have a Mayor with his appointed Council to do the job on you………..and you will have nobody to blame but yourselves…………

  8. Kids Come First says:

    What’s the story here? The Kids Come First committee “may” be in violation of campaign finance laws? According to the article, even the Johnson County Election Commissioner is not sure of the committee’s reporting requirements. Perhaps the following information will clear up any confusion that Gardner News has intentionally stirred up about this issue as it relates to the Kids Come First committee.

    The Kids Come First committee is made up of a small group of parents who began meeting in late October, 2011 to advocate in support of the bond issue. Members of the committee are patrons of the school district, but the committee is not affiliated with USD 231. Upon forming, the committee contacted the Johnson County Election Office to inquire about the reporting requirements for receipts and expenditures. On November 3, 2011, the committee received a letter from Jeanie Nichols, Assistant Election Commissioner, indicating that an annual statement was the only reporting requirement and it was due by December 31st of the election year, which in this case is 2012. According the information provided to them by the Election Office, the committee did not miss a deadline.

    The final sentence of Ms. Thompson’s article states that the “Gardner resident heading the committee” did not return phone calls. While this is a true statement, Ms. Thompson’s attempt to reach a committee member for comment was feeble, at best. Ms. Thompson was provided with an email address for Patricia Fabing several weeks ago and was advised that email was the best method of reaching her. Ms. Thompson did not contact Ms. Fabing via email prior to running her “story.” Instead, Ms. Fabing received one voice message on her home phone on Monday, January 23, 2012. She reached out to Ms. Thompson via email at 9:15 am the following morning. Ms. Thompson replied to Ms. Fabing’s email 3 hours later, indicating that the paper had already gone to press. In her article, Ms. Thompson references the committee’s Facebook page, yet as a self-proclaimed social media user, she did not make an attempt to reach the group through Facebook. Ms. Thompson also referenced those glorious blue and white “VOTE YES” signs which clearly state the name of the committee’s treasurer, whom Ms. Thompson made no attempt to reach.

    And so I ask again, what is the story here? Seems like another example of the biased reporting practices of Gardner News, not letting the facts get in the way.

  9. I don’t know about all this, but I know the school has paid a fortune trying to get this bond passed. Is that legal? Why can Dr. Gilhouse use my tax money to increase his salary? How many letters and information has been sent out? Even to my email. How do they get that information? I know I saw information from these people around Thanksgiving. Does the school have to report how much they spent in supplies and staff time, etc? That’s the story I want to see.

  10. gardner fan says:

    There are some real idiots in Gardner. First, it appears that the kids committee is doing the right thing with regards to forms and campaign donations. Even if they violated an election form filing deadline, at least they are trying to change the learning environment for kids. Give them some credit for being willing to do that. Most of you just want to complain. You should be embarrassed by your lack of constructive reasoning and willingness to admit that your just plain cheap.
    So, if you can’t afford the school taxes vote no and shut up. I like how all you, especially, Judith, complain about taxes, yet few if any of them run for office. If you dislike the public education system so much, run for office and change it Judith. If you dislike the city’s taxes so, much run for office and change them. Better yet, move away to a community where your values are well respected and are mirrored.
    I have no idea how much money the school district used to educate us about the election. Regardless, I don’t remember one piece of literature that came from the district that said to vote yes or no. THEY ARE EDUCATIONAL PIECES. Those same people that are whining about all the “district information” are the same folks who would whine if the district spent nothing and said very little or nothing. They would say: ”they are trying to sneak it through without the public knowing”. In other words, the district can’t win. One last thing, check the educational results in Gardner USD 231, they are better than most school districts in Kansas. The district obviously can get good results from the offspring of the Gardner residents that post to this web site. So they must be doing something right. Think about that.

  11. Stating my opinion is not whining. I stand by it. Educational pieces my left foot.

  12. @Campaign finance violations says:

    Really? Is Gardner News REALLY agitating over non-reporting political activist groups? Could they BE any more hypocritical?

    Actually, I’m all for activist groups being kept out in the open so we can see who’s pulling their strings. We could start with Gardner News.

    When a paid employee of Gardner News uses her newspaper to carry out an apparent vendetta against anyone whose politics run counter to those of her one-time Council member father; when this same employee took direct information leaks…like emails sent only to Council members…that pretty much HAD to come from her father while he was sitting on the Council, and used them to try to stir up KOMA violations against other Council members; when Gardner News, as a whole, demands accountability and transparency from Gardner elected officials…but only those they disagree with, and seem all too happy to hide their own questionable actions, and those of the politicians they support…it says a LOT about the PAC-oriented behaviors exhibited by Gardner News.

    Don’t get me wrong, Gardner News is perfectly free to say and do whatever they feel. It’s the most important tenet of the US Constitution…freedom of speech. But when they move to restrict the free speech of others, trying to hold political opponents to standards of electioneering that Gardner News themselves, by their own actions, should ALSO fall under…well, they carry their bald-faced audacity too far.

    So…let’s start documenting the characteristics that define a political action organization. Or let’s start documenting the actions that can be considered a news organization. Gardner News can try to play its usual, pathetic double-standard games, but the citizens of Gardner know better.

  13. gardner fan says:

    Senior, you are angry AND whiney. And your left foot smells.

    Saying the district paid a “fortune” for bond literature is not an opinion. You have no clue how much they paid. You are just annoyed and thoughtless with your comments. You don’t even know facts about Kansas school finance, yet spout off like you do. Dr. Gilhaus can’t raise his own salary. No Superintendent can do that…. anywhere in the state of Kansas. Only the school board can do that. They decide his salary. And guess what, idiots like you elect the school board members. So, in other words, YOU set his salary.

    Finally, show me one piece of USD 231 tax payer funded bond literature that says to vote YES and I will personally come over to your trailer and kiss your fixed income, welfare, senior age @$$.

  14. State of Affairs says:

    If kids come first, perhaps we should look into the issue. Yesterday local talk radio topic was “Tips on how to not molest children”, since we hear of a new case about every day involving priests and teachers molesting children. The host said there are not any college classes on this subject.

    Gardner Fan, since you have all the answers, What are people to do if they can’t afford the increase in taxes when the school bond passes? And, you certainly reveal that you have not been taught respect for senior citizens. Remember that one day you will be a senior citizen. Further, 2 people at least 13 years older than you conceived and gave birth to you.

    So, the new age era is: molest children; put seniors out into the street, welfare, or give them “the green needle”.

  15. Judith Rogers says:

    Citizens pay taxes and most of it goes to the schools – they most definitely should have a voice in whether to vote for a school bond issue and they most definitely should have a say in HOW the money is spent. Many arrogant jxxxxxxx in this community and beyond have no respect for anyone except themselves or the thieves and why we have cronyism government up the ying yang. Government entities continue to look upon citizens as the favored ATM machine with no say in how the money is spent – that has to stop and it should stop with this school bond issue for starters. Gilhaus, that school board, that screwed up city government and the thieves are perfect examples of why you have financial instability – now you can start doing something about them or continue to have the problems you have and this applies to all of the rotten political entities across the U.S. It starts with each citizen when they look in the mirror and they better be seeing someone with moral values such as honesty, integrity, ethics, character, decency, etc, however, I believe many a mirror would shatter when some of those people looked in the mirror.

  16. If kids truly come first, I would think you would want to set a good example. I don’t live in a “trailer,” altho I think a mobile home would be preferable to having been raised in a barn, as your language and lack of respect for others indicates you were. My income is none of your concern, although your assumptions and attitude are a good indicator of your apparent snobbery for those less fortunate. When you are reduced to threatening others, you show a lack of respect not only for others, but for yourself. Again, I am entitled to my opinion, as you are to yours. Peace be with you.

  17. parent of children in district says:

    Well, I don’t know who, but somebody is paying for the volumes of letters and fliers sent home in my children’s backpacks at least twice per week. Not to mention the onslaught of emails, phone calls to my home, etc. I did NOT give my email not my telephone number to the district when I enrolled my children to be used as a political platform for the district. Nor do I expect my taxes to be used to waste paper, adminstrators time writing letters to me or to pay whoever is writing these letters and designing these fliers, handouts, etc. that come home from SCHOOLS.

    We are way too administratively heavy, as proven by the time they have to promote this bond and continue to do their jobs.

    I also think it just amazing how that a reporter talking about the district, then gets attacked for her father and his politics re: city business??? Mightly leap there! Ironic how it’s complained about and pointed out in posts, while doing the exact thing you are complaining about. I wonder if people would take the time to read what they wrote outloud before hitting “send”, these posts would make more sense…..

    I agree that FACTS should be the driving decisions regarding what is reported in newspapers, online and in fliers. Also it should be facts that drive your no or yes vote. Stop attacking those who state their views or write their opinions in posts or articles, and attack the lies. Be thankful some people are taking an interest and finding out for themselves how our school board runs and the administrations agenda. I feel confident that the more that is found out, the more people will start holding administration and the board accountable for their doings and only good will come from that.

  18. Start kissing Gardner Fan says:

    Here’s what I received. Maybe you can tell me how technology and facilities will be upgraded without a yes vote.

    Trailblazer Parents

    The 2012 USD 231 Bond Election will be decided in a matter of days.
    Your vote is very important. As a parent of a GEHS student, your vote will:
    • Update technological resources district wide
    • Benefit from the Bond and Interest State Aid Funding
    • Provide facility upgrades and improvements
    The average tax investment for this bond issue
    would be $2.28 per month for a $150,000 homeowner.

    As of today, only 34 percent of GEHS Registered Voters have been recorded.

    If you have already returned your ballot,
    we thank you for participating in the election.

    If you have not returned your ballot, please take a moment to complete and mail or deliver your ballot.

    Your ballot must be returned to the Johnson County Election Office,
    2101 E. Kansas City Road, Olathe, Kansas,
    by Noon on Tuesday, January 31, to be counted in the election.

    If you have not received your ballot in the mail, please call 913-782-3441.

    Thank you for participating in this important election.

    Principal, Tim Brady

  19. Are those e mails routine for ALL elections? And who pays Mr. Brady’s time, or supplies the equipment he used.

  20. Gardner Fan says:

    As an earlier retiree (age 54), I do have the decency to respect my peers….especially those with the decency to support kids. I have zero tolerance for the young or old who hold kids hostage during their mad at the government rants…no matter what the issue. People like Judith make me ashamed to call Gardner my home. She is angry at the world and taking it out on seven year-olds. How sad is that?

    The kids will suffer if the bond is defeated. Just ask a mom with a special needs child who is being taught in a hallway due to the lack of space. Have any of you even seen the crowded rooms and lack of space at the schools firsthand? I read at several of the Gardner Elementary schools every now and then (Nike is my favorite) and have seen it firsthand. To say they won’t suffer is ridiculous.

    Sadly, Judith won’t care while the remaining Gardner’s “I am angry at the people I elected” residents will turn its blind eye and say the thieves in government deserved it…..even though they elected the thieves. Hypocrites for sure…..

    Judith, quit with the crime statements. You sound foolish. Where is the crime? Show me. If you can prove it, call the cops. You have a moral obligation to do so. You can’t, so you won’t. Just more excuses hiding your cheapness and anger in your life.

    I love Principal Tim Brady’s message. It is factual and doesn’t tell you how to vote. By the way, technology and facility upgrades won’t happen without a yes vote. So why would he tell how it can happen. Geesh.

    My offer still stands.

  21. Judith Rogers says:

    I am glad there are “parent of children” citizens out there who can see thru the propaganda and may there be many more coming on board. That school district is another government entity that needs to be cleaned up and out and people put in leadership roles that are true public servants who have their priorities in order and who actually value education for our youth rather than some who are worthless politicians or political pawns to do the bidding of the wrongdoers.

  22. Judith Rogers says:

    Oh, yes, I always love seeing Tim Brady’s name as Treasurer on Drovetta’s campaign finance reports submitterd to the Election Office. I gasped the first time I saw his name on the bottom line but I don’t gasp any more………I just know where his loyalties lie and what his role is.

  23. Gardner Fan blowing hot air says:

    Thanks for making my point! If you can’t get the upgrades without a yes vote, then I guess Brady is telling us to vote yes.

    Should we ge an interpreter for you?

  24. parent of children in district says:

    Good grief…..all the emails, phone calls, literature, etc are all telling you the “sky is falling” propoganda to make you think you’re hurting children if you don’t vote “yes”…what idiot doesn’t see through that??

    The problem is, it is NOT factual…get on Brett LImer’s website to see the facts from USD 231 put into a logical perspective vs the nonsense. I, too, agree that we need a bond, just not THIS out of control bond with too many “wants” vs “needs”. Let’s do an audit of the school district and it’s spenditures before we put ourselves into tax bondage for unnecessary “wants”. Get Deiner to learn to share and we won’t be needing lockers…why are football players still in control of lockers? I thought it was winter sports time??? Call me crazy.

    Re-write the bond to make sense for parents and citizens that want EDUCATION and ACADEMICS for their children, not a playground. Write a bond that we can all live with and I will be the first to change my “no” to a “yes” …and that Mr. Gilhaus is NOT biting off my nose to spite my face as you like to say over and over again.

  25. We’ve been spoiled a bit by past USD231 administrations who tended to put together more timely and less fluffy bond issues. The bond issues I remember from the past involved building schools to meet projected capacity needs. They weren’t perfect, but they certainly weren’t packed with extra, probably unnecessary wants as well as with obvious needs.

    The problem with this bond issue, in my opinion, is that the needs are very real, but there’s enough wants to make it ALMOST unpalatable. Even seeing the crowding in some of the poorer-area schools (like Moonlight, for instance), I’m very tempted to tell the school board “no” anyway, just out of spite.

    But put aside the propaganda, and I still see kids who are being hurt by all this. I’m frustrated as all get-out that the school board would hold our kids hostage, waiting until overcrowding at some of the USD231 schools was so bad that we need to take action to protect the kids, but have to consider all the other additions, as well.

    This is a really tough call for me. If we all end up voting it down, I hope the district will get a clue and give us something to consider, more along the lines of what we really need.

  26. Judith Rogers says:

    It should be extremely clear to all citizens that you have a school administration and school board who are operating in the same manner as your worthless politicians, in fact they are politiicans as evidenced by their dishonesty, conniving, manipulation, priorities totally out of whack, etc., etc. – that is my opinion. The people have not been doing their jobs of holding these people accountable and responsible just like they have not held that City Hall bunch accountable and when that happens your taxes skyrocket and the special interests have a hey day on YOUR DOLLAR and the youth and you will suffer the long term consequences and adverse affects on top of being financially raped.

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