Earl D. Bishop’s guest column in the March 17-18-19 Examiner (“City’s critics long on talk but short on specifics”) offered no specifics.

Henry R. Carner is a retired Independence fire captain.



Earl D. Bishop’s guest column in the March 17-18-19 Examiner (“City’s critics long on talk but short on specifics”) offered no specifics.

Bishop’s past columns are replete with specifics. He conjured up three unnamed groups who purportedly opposed the 2009 sales tax. A rally of non-aligned grass roots citizens was held at City Hall to oppose the unjustified tax question.

A scared City Council canceled their meeting that night. Mr. Bishop cannot produce proof of one “group,” let alone three. He can, however, use my name. I am a retired, tax-paying, property-owning citizen on a fixed income who cannot afford to vote for a tax scam.

Here is the specificity Mr. Bishop wished for. An almost forgotten 1 cent sales tax approved Aug. 6, 1973 (ordinance 3269) states “the levy of said sales tax shall be used and disbursed” to “increase of personnel, equipment, salaries and benefits of the police department of said city.” In 2004, we passed the second sales tax for police. We citizens (no group) wised up and voted no on a third tax bite at the apple. This fourth run at us “easy marks” is even worse, a property tax.

The City Council specifically wasted more than $10.5 million tax dollars in bailouts while not allowing the city analyst to review the secret plans to dump our taxes into politically connected developers’ private debt. They doubled down by proposing a new tax with a loophole that will allow them use the new tax to free up more bailout money.

The permanent property tax question on April 3 (which can be later raised without a vote) has nothing to do with police. The specific truth is that this tax increase is to get more money to pay more bailouts on the Bass Pro area development to help our bond rating. If we don’t continue to spend “good money after bad,” our bond rating is at risk of being downgraded. Our lenders could charge more interest, and our bondholders could flee our bonds.

Could we get a specific list of who owns Independence municipal bonds, so we can tell who specifically has been making contributions to our city leaders who, by the way, couldn’t care less about transparency or accountability? My dear Mr. Bishop, it is the bond rating, not police.

The police can deploy staff for aggressive traffic citation writing but cannot spare a few traffic cops to do burglary patrol? The city of Independence specifically wrote 35,158 traffic citations in 2011, and the city’s Municipal Court specifically took in more than $4.1 million the same year. With that specific knowledge, who would have the audacity to insult our intelligence by telling us that we need more police officers?

The city is specifically spending $27.5 million on the police budget which equates to 38.34 percent of the city’s general fund. With nearly 40 percent of our budget devoted to police, the question is not how much more to give the police department but how is the city managing and deploying our officers to address crime. The former city analyst was not allowed to research that question.

If I am specifically wrong on the real issue being the city’s bond rating, then please provide the intellectually honest and specific answer to why the City Council did not put the bailout money into the Police Department if they honestly thought we needed more police.

You should be a “no” vote on the tax now that I have granted your wish and provided you with a host of factual and specific reasons to not trust the city with any more of our hard earned money.