ang on, 2020 is almost over.
But, reality check. The stroke of midnight (easy, you guys, no double entendre during Christmas week) on Jan. 1 isn’t going to instantly end the global pandemic and all the weirdness it has brought just because the calendar has turned to 2021. There’s still some inconvenience and a variety of pain and painful measures for us to get through before things return to close to what we were accustomed prior to COVID-19 rudely interrupting our lives and lifestyles. For comfort and protection, we need a vaccine to get widely distributed and administered, and maybe get some more CARES money into the hands of Cruise Holidays and the Southern Platte County Athletic Association.
Anyway, Christmas is here and there is cause for optimism and perhaps a sense of some light at the end of the tunnel.
Not to brag, but I’m feeling so good about the future that I just ordered myself a Christmas present. That 3-pack of Manscaped boxer shorts should be here any day.
Shout out to the peeps who messaged me about their physical ailments after my recent column proclaiming my medical expertise acquired via numerous television doctors. A not-so-loud shout out to the guy who said he had a mysterious rash and asked if he could send me a photo in hopes of a diagnosis. Location is everything. Kind of like in real estate. If your rash is above the belt, sure, feel free to send me that pic. If your problem is below the equator, please text that pic to my medical associates Guy Speckman and Chris Kamler.
Merry Christmas? The good news is that about eight months or so after getting the money in hand, some of the federal dollars intended to support the fight against COVID-19 have finally been handed from the Platte County commissioners to the Platte County Health Department. The bad news is the commissioners only felt the need to award the health department $308,000 instead of the $741,000 health officials requested.
Maybe we’ll talk about the highlights and lowlights of 2020 next week, but there is no question locally one of the biggest travesties of 2020 has been the Platte County Commission’s handling of the $12.2 million in federal CARES dollars. Receipt of the money rocketed the three commissioners into a control-freakish power trip and they’ve had a busy year approving handouts to cronies–including to the employer of a county commissioner’s wife–and playing games with money that should have been quickly distributed to public agencies, such as the City of Kansas City and most importantly the Platte County Health Department. Those are two public agencies the county commissioners view as political adversaries, for some reason. The idea of “we’re all in this together” has never caught on with the county commission of Ron Schieber, Dagmar Wood and John Elliott. Instead they’ve brought a Washington, D.C. type atmosphere of partisan politics and political divisiveness into Platte County government.
At the local level in particular, people deserve the focus to be on good governing. They don’t deserve political gamesmanship, political pettiness, political bullying or cronyism but that’s what we’ve seen from the county commissioners in the year 2020.
Here’s the world according to the county commissioners: the commissioners believe Cruise Holidays–a travel agency that will gladly sell you a cruise trip–deserves $226,000 in CARES money while the Platte County Health Department only deserves $308,000 during a pandemic that poses a potential health threat to every resident of the county.
That’s an interesting outlook. For those familiar with how these commissioners have painted themselves as extremely prayerful and such, this behavior doesn’t seem to match that image.
It’s been said here before and we’ll say it again: the commissioners’ handling of CARES money will be talked about, memorialized and lampooned for years. Kind of a strange legacy.
This seems like a good time to again mention that in recent months, the county commission has approved more than $77,000 in free public money to the youth sports organization (the Southern Platte County Athletic Association) that employs the wife of county commissioner Ron Schieber. Including $20,000 of which the commissioner took an active voting role in. It seems fair to assume Schieber would have continued to vote yes on everything associated with SPCAA had his obvious conflict of interest not been pointed out by this newspaper.
Some priorities seem oddly arranged at the county.
Who knew rural convenience stores are immune to COVID-19? I don’t have anything scientific to back up that observation, which qualifies me to be president of the United States.
I mean I guess rural convenience stores are immune, just based off an observation of a general lack of mask-wearing going on in many of them. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.
Your Landmark is on the streets earlier than normal this week, as our office will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Merry Christmas to all of you and thank you for the gift of your time and attention this past year.
(You can find Ivan Foley standing by the mailbox anxiously awaiting his new boxer shorts. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)