We have some good news. Electrical outages in Platte City have slowed way down in recent months. Wait, did the lights just blink? Just kidding.
A reduction in outages is probably not a coincidence when you pair it with the fact Evergy has been working hard to make some improvements. And by the way, isn’t it nice Evergy is now being more open and explaining that they are actually taking steps and giving specific details about what they’re doing to try to keep the lights on in Platte City?
Kudos to Evergy on a couple of things. First, kudos for the recent improvements in reliability. Let’s not throw a party just yet–don’t want to drain the power supply, after all–but there’s no denying service outages have dropped. I haven’t had to load up my laptop and make the eight minute drive home to finish putting the paper to bed for months. There for a while it was getting to be a monthly occurrence.
Also, kudos to Evergy for becoming more open about what they’re doing to try to improve reliability. People want to hear this.
Actually, people need to hear this. In the past Evergy has been so tight-lipped with this type information that it has hurt them from a public relations standpoint, with local customers questioning whether repeated complaints are falling on deaf ears.
Some steps taken in the past 12 months–and Evergy says it’s about halfway through its list of improvement projects which will continue over the next few years–include: Rebuilding of the feeder backbone along Hwy. 92 south of Tracy; Rebuilding of the feeder backbone along Farley Road south of Hwy. 92; Rebuilding/relocating feeder behind the Platte County High School; Rebuilding parts of feeder backbone north of Elm Grove Road; Replace/reprogramming five distribution line reclosers; Rebuild/replace more than 25 distribution poles and associated facilities inside Platte City limits; Completed tree trimming in Platte City.
Not only does Evergy deserve credit but let’s give credit to the Platte City customers who grew frustrated to the point they made plenty of noise. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. Also, a thank you to the public officials, county commissioner Joe Vanover chief among them, who have also taken steps to put pressure on Evergy.
Uh oh, some people in county government are starting the full court press. Is it going to be 2019 all over again? The “our population is growing, crime is running rampant and the jail population is going to explode, blah blah blah.”
You know the drill. We’ve lived through this before. The “crime is going crazy, it’s like the Wild West out here, head for the hills!” shtick long ago became a running joke among multiple visitors to The Landmark office, who like to poke fun when county officials get hyperbolic about crime.
It’s kind of a weird flex for a unit of government to promote the idea that crime is a real threat in their community. Most locales either shoot you straight about the numbers or downplay them. At times, some Platte County officials seem selective about what numbers they want you to hear, and in some instances actually seem eager to boast about “increasing crime.” Again, this is just weird. The primary goal of law enforcement should always be to prevent crime, not respond to it. So the puffing of the chest should come when crime rates drop.
To that point, let it be known the number of felony crimes in Platte County actually dropped in 2022 compared to the previous year. County officials might try to tell you that’s a statistical anomaly. Time will tell. They can spin it however they want. But they can’t tell you it’s not true.
You wouldn’t know serious crimes had dropped if The Landmark hadn’t noticed a sidenote in the prosecutor’s annual report. County officials certainly didn’t openly talk about it in public settings. It’s like they didn’t want word to get out about the reduction in felonies. Again, this seems very strange. In other jurisdictions, government officials would have been happy to boast about it. Seems like something that should be shared with the EDC and chambers of commerce throughout the county.
Anyway, be ready to play numbers games with the county folks when they start throwing them at us. Numbers can be very manipulative things. Kind of a living and breathing document, if you will.
When anyone at the county starts telling you crime is increasing in the county, ask them to get specific. Where specifically in Platte County are the crime rates increasing? Be genuinely curious. I asked one commissioner that this week and the question was answered with only a general response claiming “over the last several years crime has been increasing.”
I can tell you people inside the local governments that I talk to say crime is not increasing in their cities. Platte City officials tell me crime is not on the rise here. At Parkville, where they have a half cent sales tax on the ballot for “public safety” on April 4, there is talk of “increased calls” but you’ll notice they don’t say “increased crime.” Those are two very different things. Heck, when you ask the police chief why the half cent sales tax is needed he says this: “One of the activities our Parkville police officers enjoy most is spending time in the community, interacting with their fellow citizens. But lately, due to an increase in call volume and police staff shortages, our time to engage in relationship building has been reduced and we strongly embrace the community policing philosophy,” says Kevin Chrisman, police chief.
So the police chief is concerned about getting more time for relationship building. He says nothing about increased crime. I’m familiar enough with police call logs in Parkville to tell you that unless you leave your door unlocked or your garage door open, your chances of being a victim of a crime in Parkville are very slim.
Here’s a pattern I’ve noticed in six years of covering Dagmar Wood as first district county commissioner: The louder and more forcefully Dagmar says something the greater the chance that what she’s saying has no basis in factual reality.
Question me on this if you want. I’ve kept receipts.
(Ivan Foley can be found being careful out there on the mean streets of Platte County)