f you believe in transparent and open government–and I think that’s basically all of us with the exception of about 10 people at Parkville–you’ll want to read the front page story entitled ‘Senseless and disturbing.’ The headline sounds like the title of a horror flick. No chain saw murders or serial killers at Parkville, just some folks who commit atrocities upon the art of transparent governing.
Reporter Debbie Coleman-Topi interviewed two widely respected open government attorneys in Missouri, one in Kansas City and the other from the St. Louis area. Both provided eye-opening quotes about the Sunshine Law lawsuit going on at Parkville, in particular about the city’s request that plaintiff Jason Maki be placed under a gag order that would prohibit him from talking to the press.
Here are some of the interesting quotes:
*”You can’t prohibit a citizen from complaining about their government. It’s the essence of the Constitution,” Bernie Rhodes, noted Sunshine Law attorney, Kansas City.
*”Who are these people? It is beyond ridiculous. I’m sure the city has a lot better uses for their money. It’s a lot of money being spent to protect somebody’s (city officials) interests.”– Bernie Rhodes, upon hearing the City of Parkville admits it has spent $86,000 to defend the lawsuit to this point, with the case still far from over.
*”These are elected officials. If they don’t have a thick skin they never should have run for public office.”–Bernie Rhodes.
*”I’m sure she (Mayor Nan Johnston) doesn’t want anyone to talk about her DUI arrest either.”–Bernie Rhodes.
*”Obviously the City of Parkville has lost the plot.”–Mark Pedroli, St. Louis area attorney who specializes in Sunshine Law.
*”It’s beyond alarming that a government entity would ask a court to gag a resident in Sunshine litigation. The city may not enjoy the litigation but to ask a court to restrict First Amendment rights of a resident in a judge-tried case is both senseless and disturbing.”–Mark Pedroli.
*”Frankly, this highly unusual request makes you wonder what are they hiding in the City of Parkville?”–Mark Pedroli.
Are you getting excited to watch the Christmas movie that was made in Weston last summer? I know some of you are because I’ve seen postings on social media sites. Unfortunately some have posted the movie is scheduled to air next week on Christmas night on Lifetime. But The Landmark is here to let you know that’s just not the case.
The good news is that it’s coming to Lifetime. The bad news is that the planned air date isn’t until next Christmas season. That’s Christmas 2021.
More good news: if you’re anxious for a sneak preview of the Weston flick, the movie trailer is out now, as you’ll read on our front page. You can find the video preview at this link:
I gave the trailer a watch recently and spotted what I was almost certain was a familiar face. At the 44 second mark of the video, I was confident I saw a clear shot of wine aficionado Hannah Magee, front and center. Hannah is owner of Weston Wine Company. So I reached out to Hannah to verify, asking the hard-core investigative journalism question: Is this you?
“Correct! I was part of a caroling group in a scene of the movie,” she told me this week.
If you know others who had roles as “extras” in the movie, watch the trailer and shoot me a note if you recognize someone.
Well darn, on page 3 of this edition you’ll see my buddy Guy Speckman, still my all-time second favorite newspaper publisher, seems a bit butthurt about being gently called out in this column space last week for lack of communication. My sincerest apologies. I totally forgot about his sensitive side. Really feel like I should make amends. I’m tripling his Christmas bonus.
I don’t know about you, but I envision Speckman doing his writing in a smoking jacket and slippers while puffing on a pipe filled with the world’s finest tobacco. The setting is his spacious den at his palatial estate in Savannah. A Shih Tzu named Poopsie Woopsie rests at his feet, lying on a silk rug placed on the hardwood floor. In moments of writer’s block, Speckman brings Poopsie up to his lap and gently strokes that ball of fur, bringing calm and inspiration. There’s a cozy fire roaring in a brick fireplace and a glass of expensive wine at a side table. Unless he knows he won’t have to drive for about 18 hours, in which case he’ll enjoy one and a half servings of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Speckman dips his fancy writing utensil into a porcelain inkwell and pens thoughtful, worldly wish lists to Father Christmas. Occasionally he asks his butler to bring him a box of crayons to compose fan letters to Donald Trump.
I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes down at Speckman headquarters. Color me jealous or prove me wrong, one of the two.
True story. I once knew a nice older lady whose maiden name was White, her first husband’s name was Green and her second husband’s name was Brown. She has passed now, but her life seemed like a mission to get somewhere over the rainbow. Kudos to the effort.
Everybody stay healthy and stay safe. We’ll have to check with the Trump White House, the governor’s office, or the Platte County Commission to be sure but I’m starting to think COVID is something to be taken seriously, you guys.
(You can find Ivan Foley watching trailers of Weston Christmas movies while fueling the fireplace with wood soaked in Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)