e owe you a numbers update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Platte County. For a time we were giving daily updates on local numbers via our social media outlets, but things have reached the point now where it is generally accepted by the medical experts that COVID-19 is present in Platte County and is in the stage of “community spread,” which means it is often virtually impossible to tell where a patient came into contact with the virus.
This is a just-the-facts update, not here to argue with any tin foil hat wearing deniers nor with the easily excitable types who feed off of panic porn. I’ve encountered both categories during the past month or so. You know who you are, I’m not gonna name names.
On March 26–a little less than three weeks ago–there were eight positive cases of the coronavirus in Platte County. As of early this week the number is 55.
Break the 55 down this way: According to the Platte County Health Department, as of Tuesday there were 26 people who live in Platte County outside of the city limits of Kansas City with the virus. As of Monday (the KC Health Department did not update totals on Tuesday for some reason) there were 29 residents of Kansas City within Platte County who had tested positive. Using Between the Lines basic math, add 29 and 26 together and you get 55 residents of Platte County who have tested positive. A piece of good news is there are 13 of the Platte County Health Department’s 26 listings that have already moved into the “recovered” category.
We sometimes might think of it as something that only hits the older population, but that’s just not true. For instance, the Platte County Health Department lists the 40-49 age group as the most often hit demographic of its 26 cases. A surprising 46% of the Platte County Health Department’s cases have been folks in their 40s.
It’s time to unveil what will be a recurring series in Between the Lines called Love Notes From Nan.
Netflix would call this a docuseries, which is a television series that follows a particular person or group of people and their involvement in real events and situations over a period of time.
Regular readers know the back story on the Parkville mayor. For newcomers, here’s a short summary. Nan Johnston, mayor of Parkville, is not a fan of the way The Landmark has reported on goings-on with the city government. We’ve done multiple news stories on the lack of transparency at City Hall in Parkville. We’ve also done a story or two on the fundraising/reporting methods of Johnston during her re-election campaign last year. By the way, it’s important to know that the Missouri Ethics Commission recently ruled Johnston guilty on four counts of ethics violations. She plea-bargained away a few more violations.
Through all of this, I have reached out to Nan on multiple occasions, in other words killing the situation with kindness. I’ve invited her to come on Landmark Live with me multiple times. I’ll assume her lack of a response is an indication she doesn’t want to come talk about things in a public setting. She’d rather try to backdoor her way through public life, something that, considering the MEC violations, hasn’t worked out so well for her recently.
Through a series of messages captured via a Sunshine request, Love Notes From Nan will show how The Landmark’s accurate and factual reporting as well our commentary has been enough to make Johnston’s head spin. It has prompted her to push the envelope when it comes to ethics, a tactic not new to her. The messages show evidence Nan is using taxpayer resources to try to push her personal anti-Landmark agenda, an agenda that has been unsuccessful in having any effect outside the walls of her office.
“You’re in her soup,” is the way one attorney described it to me after viewing some of what you’ll be reading in Love Notes From Nan.
It’s important to keep in mind the messages sent by the mayor are real. As we proceed with printing Love Notes From Nan in the coming weeks, you might think some of the messages are too outlandish to have actually been written by a publicly elected and taxpayer-funded mayor. But real they are. These are actual messages Nan sent to a variety of people, and you’ll be fascinated to find out the audience to whom she was pushing her anti-Landmark agenda, using taxpayer resources to try to form some sort of boycott of this newspaper.
The emails will show Nan, using her taxpayer-funded email account, has ordered the city clerk not to place paid public notices in The Landmark, ordered city staff to tell The Landmark to stop free delivery of the newspaper to City Hall, instructed staff not to send news releases to The Landmark, told an alderman involved in a community group to tell the community organization not to send their news releases here. She must have been getting frustrated with her lackluster attempts to rally some kind of anti-Landmark riot, because later she tried to step it up a notch. Later emails we intend to feature will show Nan using taxpayer resources and her status as mayor to lobby a longtime loyal Landmark advertiser, asking them to drop their ads. I’m happy to report Nan’s effort has been unsuccessful, so we can assume by now she is only getting hotter under the collar.
Then, later emails will show Nan reaching out to a Landmark competitor in which she pledges to help that newspaper find Parkville advertisers and even offers to help them find Parkville office space, apparently as some sort of reward for that newspaper providing friendly news coverage for her. Kind of a quid pro quo situation, apparently. Later episodes of Love Notes From Nan will show one particular alderman–and we will identify him–seems to be naive enough to go along with Nan’s taxpayer funded game of retribution. Most others seem to quietly tolerate it. One alderman, however, eventually gives her pushback and advises her to stop the taxpayer-funded war she is attempting to wage against The Landmark. We will attribute those wise words from the smarter-than-Nan alderman, as well.
Readers will find Love Notes From Nan both fascinating and educational from a civics point of view. Be sure to tune in. First episode drops soon.
Ivan Foley doesn’t mind being the topic of Nan’s non-affection. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org