Hollister Tourism Tax - Proposed Ballot Language

Hollister officials were clear the ballot language was only a draft:

Hollister City Government Draft of Tourism Tax Legislation.

Matt Blunt responds to questions about Eckersley firing

The clip above was posted by Tony Messenger earlier today. Read the Matt Blunt update below for background. Tony Messenger had the lead and promises a provocative post about Blunt's office tomorrow.
The purpose of the post below is to provide background and a working demonstration on how press offices work at the state level.

Taney County - Taxed to Death – Proposition A

Dead ducks - what many area poor will be without help this winter. The state predicts heating bills could triple this winter. The burden of taxation is taking a toll on Branson businesses as well (see Branson Edge for 12 Month Rolling Fund Totals. Taney County Assessor James Strahan predicts Taney County businesses and residents will face a massive increase when they get their property tax bills this year.

On November 5, 2007, six days from now, Taney County residents will have to ask themselves just how much more they're willing to take.

Hollister has a proposed 5% tourism tax on the ballot. Documentations on ballot language and distribution of funds has been requested. We have received a fax from the Hollister Chamber of Commerce in support of the tax. As one of five individual members on the Hollister Chamber roster, I'd hoped to hear different news other than....raise taxes please.
Hollister Alderman David Willard figures Hollister can't lose and voted to give voters the oppourtunity to decide if they want it or not. Ozark Mountain Newspaper correspndent Gary Groman reports %75 of the tax generated will help build infrastructure and %25 will be used for marketing Hollister as a tourism destination. Willard figures if residents vote against it, low taxation could generate tourism allowing Hollister to execute a higher value proposition. If the tax fails Hollister will be the only tourism area in the region without a surplus tourist tax.

The Taney County Times took a break from the award winning "snake oil reporting" last week (we bought five copies to encourage ethics). Documents regarding funding and the lobbying effort to pass the tax seem to have eluded the public. No filings with the Missouri Ethics Commission have been sent to the best of our knowledge and their high-tech money tracking tools.
Proposition A - the so called economic development tax would create a 90 million dollar bag of money for fun and games - fueling the personal pockets of a handful of Taney County residents.
Groman had the audacity to ask me if I thought corruption was involved with the creation of the tax - to which I answer patently, thoroughly, by definition.

For Background see Branson Mediagate

www.dictionary defines corruption as follows:

1. lack of integrity or honesty (especially susceptibility to bribery); use of a position of trust for dishonest gain

We caught them because they weren't very good at it. A series of reports from the Taney County Times and Branson Daily News gave a black eye to the Branson media visible to anyone paying attention. This isn't the media of Linda Morgan's day.
Reading the "a tax almost as good as chocolate" tipped us off something was very wrong. No one loves taxes that much, unless they're receiving gains on the backs of citizens - which was exactly what Vonda Sheets and Donna Clevenger did when they pretended to be reporters while representing a multi-million dollar power grab as Board Members of the White River Valley Historical Society. Though we can't seem to find the individuals funding the campaign to talk citizens out of their hard earned cash we did find both reporters on the White River Valley Historical Society's list of officers. They actually fought behind closed doors to raise taxes for themselves. Like we said, patently currupt - even worse - straight wicked.
Groman wants us to ignore the corrupt and underhanded methods used to illicit public support for a tax levy created by and for special interests and ignoring Taney Counties most needy. He's sat on the fence while those creating the tax made him look foolish on the front page of the paper. Then again, the Ole Seagull hasn't found a tax lately he didn't like.
The one time staunch conservative who hired Attorney Eric Farris to sue President Bill Clinton for sending troops to Bosnia hasn't found a tax he doesn't like lately. Yesterday we asked Seagull, "Have you broken your right wing?" Seems like lately he's been flying in circles tilted to the left ....
Proposition A encourages irresponsibility. It says, "don't show us what you did with that extra two million dollars we gave you this year have another 90 million."
And to the reporters who failed to disclose their masters.
To the community I'd like to apologize for the actions of our local press; we're trying hard to fix corruption within and return to a culture of integrity to regain public trust.

Kathryn Buckstaff slates four books

When Gannett closed the Springfield News-Leader Branson bureau Buckstaff found herself without a job.

After a week she started clearing out stacks of paperwork.

When I heard the city of Branson's contracts with HCW went into the trashcan I gasped.

She carries a great deal of our culture and history in file cabinets somewhere in Hollister (we share the same polling location and I always see her on election days).

When Buckstaff's phone stopped ringing she went into a state of shock. It was a double whammy - insider credentials pulled and bills starting to stack up.

The Chamber of Commerce clipped her off the free-market and she looked as happy as a bumblebee in a field of daisies snuggled in her new position. Buckstaff's job is to write positive stories about Branson. It's the kind she likes to write and said she was relieved to be on a 9 to 5 schedule.

She's relieved no more breaking stories will wake her at 2 A.M. - relieved faxes from an editor altering her written creation will no longer keep her locked down under the pressure-cooker.

Now that she's left the news business, Buckstaff has committed to writing four books s. A series of three mystery novels and an autobiography will fill her early mornings and nighttime hours.
(Photo shot by Darin Codon Sept 9, 2007 Branson Convention Center)

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt Update

Sex, Scandal and Money - It's everything the evil media wants in a story and this post is about Missouri's top officials journey to seduce the press this week.

To keep up to date on long-form political rants and reports read Southwest Missouri News where we post the top political stories in the region and state daily.

Political Hit of the week goes to Gannet's Springfield Newsleader report by Tony Messenger.
The saga beginning with Messenger's sunshine request for e-mails from the Governor's office opened up Pandora's box. Here's an excerpt.
Around the time Blunt, Martin, and spokesman Rich Chrismer were publicly telling the press that e-mails are not public records, Eckersley says he was privately pointing Martin and anybody who would listen to the governor's e-mail retention policy. That policy says e-mails are public records and indicates a schedule for how long they are to be maintained — at least a year in most cases. It's clear from the public statements made by Martin, Chrismer and Blunt that the policy wasn't being followed.

Eckersley read the policy. He read the contradictory public statements. He didn't understand why nobody would listen to him.

Now he does. They didn't want to listen. Within weeks of pointing out the governor's own policy to those he worked with, Eckersley was shown the door by the governor's chief of staff.

"I kept pushing it," Eckersley says now. "There's no question in my mind that I was retaliated against as a result of that."

Through a spokeswoman, Martin refused to comment for this column, but the state has plenty to say about Eckersley and his firing in documents provided to the News-Leader.

Messenger did a great service to the journalism community as Attorney Jay Nixon ran with the story clarifying the law on e-mail and the availability of digital documents under the Sunshine Law.

The Republican's didn't sit idly gripping the master dialogue by broadcasting a paid stocker video clips of Jay Nixon using a state vehicle for campaign trips. Missouri republicans rehashed pounded this with all their might. To summarize, Nixon promised to reimburse the state for using state resources to campaign, which he did with a $47,000 check. Missouri's Auditor Susan Montee stated unequivocally that state resources are not for rent.

Everything I ever needed to learn about public relations I learned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). After a storm of bad publicity, the agency started releasing "top 10 stories of the week". The FBI is one of three agencies with direct posting privileges to Branson Agent. These stories are published as soon as they're released on the website.

Blunt's office issued a bundle of press releases over the wire yesterday. Here's a partial list:

Blunt Honors Vietnam Veterans
Blunt Provides Tools to Help Young Missourians Reach Full Potential
Gov. Blunt Celebrates Expanding Access to Health Care
Gov. Blunt Announces Ten Illegal Immigrants Detained
Gov. Blunt Directs Campus Security Task Force Co-Chairs to Review NWMSU Shooting

That was yesterday. This morning Blunt appeals to a social conservative base stating his displeasure with an Iowa ruling regarding gay marriage.

The lawsuit guarantees Blunt's office policies will remain in the public eye....

Little note for new readers out there. For months I've been challenging Taney County Officials to release information as the Sunshine Law demands - in the form they were created. Sparing details, it's abundantly clear documents can be requested in the form they were created - but hey - I'm a forgiving man, as long as they say they're sorry and correct their mistakes - we'll play nice.

Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley turns 50


Raeanne Presley's birthday celebration generating two van loads of toys for charity.
Guests were asked to bring gifts for children in lieu of presents for Presley. No count as of today but the 50 toys goal was easily met.
Posted by Picasa

Hollister Hillbilly Halloween



It was fascinating to see the inside of a Hollister Honky Tonk Halloween party....a view into a culture few urbanites have ever been exposed to.
Posted by Picasa

Branson Missouri Has Huckabee Fever

Branson's prosecuting attorney Dub Duston come out of the closet this quarter with a 250 lay on presidential hopeful Fred Thompson.

The big winner is Mike Huckabee who took in the lion's share of contributions from Branson residents. Huckabee is the first candidate to visit Branson making a stop at Scotty Earls house last month.

Interestingly, Huckabee took Herschend and Joslyn money. Both supported different candidates financially in the first two quarters on the year.

Full Report: Branson presidential candidate donations Q1 - Q3 2007

Chatter continues of a possible Giuliani - Huckabee Republican ticket. Rudy Giulaini would perform better in the north and with fiscal conservatives while Mike Huckabee could sway Southern voters and social conservatives.

United States Federal Government – (1 of 5) Following government money

Federal Election Commission

Reporter Guide: http://www.fec.gov/press/press.shtml
Press Releases from the Federal Election Commission are posted on Branson Agent and can be accessed by email. In general, these documents are tedious and since we’re here to have a good time let’s dig into something a little juicier.

Raw Data: http://www.fec.gov/finance/disclosure/ftp_download.shtml If you want comprehensive files for cross tabulation, think you’d play a good government watchdog or you just like filtering through Gigabytes of data for serendipitous findings – knock yourself out. As for me, I just like data – all of it.
In the past you’d have to filter through several hundred pages some schmuck in Washington D.C. would send on request.
Family Legacy:
http://www.fec.gov/finance/disclosure/norindsea.shtml Exceeding Federal Election is as much an art as science. Donating to Political Action Committee’s is a good way to control the message the receiving indidual gives. Clearly, this is a way to control the candidate. Another is to get a politician or a political cause on the family “Christmas List.” Here’s how it’s done. You your wife, your three sons and their three wives donate to your person or issue. Easy as pie and eight times the slices you’re legally allowed to serve your future legislator .
To conduct a “family legacy ™” search – enter just the last name on the form.

Secondary Sources
: If you download the data you can create custom programs to filter queries. Many online applications use downloads and reconstruct Federal Election Commission Data. Here’s a couple:

Fundrace 2000: http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/ One of the most interesting applications is the “neighborhood mafia™” search. Great for local searches.
Branson Contributions Via Fundrace: http://bransonagent.com/2007/10/branson-contributions-q1-q3-2007.html

Open Secrets: http://OpenSecrets.org Easy to use interface. Here’s an overview of Roy Blunt’s career fundraising efforts - http://bransonagent.com/2007/10/roy-blunt-federal-career-profile.html

We use Branson Agent to post original documents and can deduce the following developments in the local market.

If you have Excel, this will come in handy. For a great tool for storing, filtering, collaborating and sharing data we recommend Google Documents. We will demonstrate some of the features when we cover the state of Missouri.

Missouri Politicians on Iran

Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman issued a bold statement Thursday regarding the Bush administration's Iranian ecnonomic policy. While lauding the president's action on reducing funds to Iranian interests Steelman said much more needs to be done.
Following money into terrorists hands is a topic Stellman has addressed through press releases and interviews throughout the year. Of particular concern is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and corporate investments that put millions of dollars into the hands of our enemies. See Sarah Steelman's full statement.
Hardliner Missouri Dems gave a thumbs down to Senator Claire McCaskill last month on her FISA stand and many are up in arms for McCaskill's statements backing the Bush administration's stance on Iran.
McCaskill published the following statement on her website concerning Iran in a statement on nuclear proliferation:
The greatest threats to our safety are weapons of mass destruction. The spread of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons must be stopped. Claire says there must be no uncertainty about that goal.

North Korea, has been stockpiling nuclear weapons without so much as a glance from the current administration. Iran may now be close to producing a nuclear bomb. We cannot allow them to go any further. We must talk to the North Koreans if we are ever to get them to renounce their weapons and allow a verification system to assure their compliance.

Iran's nuclear capability, however, can still be prevented. Unchecked, it will create a domino effect that will be felt throughout the Middle East. An immediate and complete moratorium on their enrichment processes is needed. And it must be non-negotiable. Together with our world allies, we can convince Iran of their own best interest, using the threat of economic sanctions and the promise of world trade and investment. Claire believes they need to know our talks, if unsuccessful, will be followed not by rhetoric and reprisal, but by the full strength and force of the American military.

Claire McCaskill reference:
Hat Tip: Heather Turner

Missouri Immigration - Racial Profiling Lawsuit - Governor Responds

The post below was written as a swell of reports and reaction to Missouri Governor Matt Blunt's immigration enforcement strategy was being penned.
A lawsuit filed by Sam's Janitorial Services accuses Blunt of racial discrimination and abuse of power. Twenty-two suspected illegal immigrants were arrested, 11 were charged and seven were immediately reported. Blunt said four of the 22 are still being investigation.
Part of Blunt's immigration enforcement plan requires state contractors to remain, "illegal worker free."
Blunt's press release stated:
"It is ludicrous to believe that Missourians would want their taxpayer dollars paying to support illegal activity. I implemented a statewide ban on contractors who knowingly hire illegal workers and am confident our state is better served through this action.
"I am pleased to defend my executive order, which safeguards taxpayer dollars, with Sam's Janitorial Services in a courtroom or anywhere else. Missouri is benefiting from my directive which reflects my belief that it is inappropriate for Sam's Janitorial Services or any other state contractor to knowingly hire illegal workers."

The St. Louis Dispatch published a story about racial profiling as law enforcement officers check immigration status during traffic stops.
The state's crackdown on illegal immigrants has led to 52 arrests in the first six weeks, with most caught in routine traffic stops.

More than half of those detained were passengers. One had a flat tire. Others were pulled over for speeding or failure to use a turn signal properly.

While many have hailed Gov. Matt Blunt's get-tough policy, critics say the Missouri Highway Patrol's even more aggressive strategy of checking residency during traffic stops could result in racial profiling.
If you're being told from on high that we're going to stop illegal immigration, law enforcement is going to look twice at someone who looks Hispanic," said Jorge Riopedre, secretary of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. "It's only human nature."more...

Immigration - Washington DC - Jefferson City - Branson

Mexican immigrants find themselves between a rock and a hard place when they cross through Tijuana and jaunt straight north on the coastal highway that runs the length of California.
I remember seeing the sign in my youth during family travel from Los Angeles to San Diego where my Grandmother resided. A nuclear power plant and Military base (Camp Pendleton) are two barriers immigrants have to pass safely before an inland checkpoint where Orange and San Diego County meet.
In the afternoon in Tijuana, Mexico, immigrants would line up at a giant ditch that divides our two countries and when the sky was dark enough a game of red-rover would ensue with U.S. Border Patrol. Before a high profile death, it wasn't uncommon to see an agent treat an illegal guest with liberal use of a nightstick. This was nearly two decades ago.
This morning the Senate failed to pass a bill that would call up legislation allowing children of illegal immigrants under 30 who entered the U.S. before age 16 and lived here for five years to gain legal status if they attend college of join the military for at least two years.
Majority Whip Richard J. Durbid D-ILL., the bill's sponsor said, "Since when do we in American visit the crimes of the parent on the children? Is that what America has come to? What crime did they commit? They obeyed their parents. They followed their parents.”
Congress failed us this year when by not passing a comprehensive immigration bill and due to political cycles and technicalities of your system; It's highly unlikely that an immigration bill will reach fruition in the next session.
Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona is one of the most outspoken critics on immigration calling for National Guard Troops on the border - which she received after a verbal vote of no-confidence on the Federal Government's ability to find a solution to her state's needs.
Missouri Governor Matt Blunt has been exceedingly aggressive on Missouri's immigration issues several press released and promising support for local law enforcement agencies that take on immigration. In a press release issued from Kingston Missouri which stated an average of 55 illegal immigrant detainees average each day Blunt said,
"With Washington failing to enact policies to enforce our federal immigration laws it is necessary for our state to take action. We support and welcome lawful immigrants into Missouri but will also continue to take a tough stand against illegal immigration in our state."

Lady liberty's welcome to foreigners is inscribed in stone evidence our nation is one founded on immigrants who seek to enter the land of the free. Today, United States citizenship is the most sought after in the world and the government reports every month the backlog of applications exceeds 1,000,000 cases.
In Kansas City a pro-Mexican group called LA Raza made an ultimatum to city officials demanding a member of a park board be removed for affiliation and support of the Minutemen. The Minutemen is a group of citizens who are taking illegal immigration into their own hands, guarding the border and tipping off agents as they stop border trespassers. La Raza decided to move the convention location to San Diego, ironically, a Minuteman stronghold.
In Branson, immigration has been the topic of several debates. Alderman Stephen Marshall is a strong supporter of H2B visas believing immigrant labor is necessity for Branson businesses to stay competitive. Marshall, a native of Jamaica gained US citizenship himself four years ago.
Branson Alderman Jack Purvis has endorsed a strong stance against illegal immigration even proposing city ordinances be drafted to solidify a strong stance against the practice. To date, no such actions have been taken.
I read a poem years ago by a Mexican writer, the idea sticks in my mind.

What If you were I and I were you
And 10,000,00 Gringos were trying to cross the border into Mexico

Interesting thought. In Branson we have fewer Latin immigrants than other Missouri cities and a much higher population of Polish and Russian workers who defect.

Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley - Birthday Party

Friends of Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley have come up with an interesting way to celebrate her 50th birthday. Friends, colleagues, and residents of Branson are invited to share in her special day this Monday, October 29th, at Catina Laredo Mexican Restaurant, at the Branson Landing from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Instead of gifts for her, Presley, has asked that guests bring toys. Those toys will be donated to to charitable organizations in the Tri-Lakes area that will distribute them to children in need this Christmas. Organizers are hoping to collect at least 50 toys, one for every birthday the Mayor has celebrated.

'To honor Raeanne’s perennial ‘young-at-heart’ disposition as well as her dedication to serving our community, we would like guests to show their support for our area’s kids,' says organizer Ann McDowell.
For more information, or if you are unable to attend but would like to donate a toy, please call Tracey Barton at (417) 335-7357.
(by Kathee Baird)

Pete Herschend Not Proposing Vouchers

Pete Herschend affirmed he wasn't proposing school vouchers last week and said students have a right to be educated.

Though he said he wasn't a proponent of vouchers he did say he believes all Missouri children have the right to the best education available.

He did include home schooling in the brief discussion at a Branson Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting last week. Herschend believes if a child is receiving a better education through home schooling then the option should be available.


The Sunshine law is by far the most empowering tool Missouri Citizens have to access and ensure their government is open, honest and free of corruption. It guarantees Missouri's citizens can be free and self governed.
Do you care enough to request information about your local, state and federal government?

I do, mainly because I believe a fundamental truth about politicians - most don't believe in God. If politicians believed an omnipotent being sees, hears and records all ensuring accountability on a judgment day - the majority of laws we have on the books regarding open government wouldn't be there. Also, a heck-of-a lot of people would be out of a job.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to write a guide to accessing your servants (the elected officials that have been appointed to serve you).

But what if they're naughty?

According to Missouri's House of Representatives District 23 Rep. Jeff Harris who is campaigning to become Missouri's next Attorney General, Missouri should have a Sunshine Enforcement Unit. Think about it citizens and very jealous foreign friends - a band of attorney's whose job is to politically execute any elected official who fails to deliver on their legal obligation to release information to the public when demanded.

As Yakov Smirnoff would say, "What a Country!"

In a conference call with Harris yesterday he suggested one of the duties of this unit could be to educate local government officials on how to perform on legal requirements when asked for information by a citizen.

When it comes to all forms of political evil and uncovering festering wounds from perversions of public trust the United States looks like this:

1. Federal Government - extremely open, the press has tremendous access to information.

2. State Government - Missouri has been innovative in their development to technology and tools for citizens to access their government. Governor Matt Blunt and Attorney General Jay Nixon office's have developed a good suite of programs available for citizens to access. Missouri's Judicial Branch is extremely accessible as well.

3. Local Government - Not so good. it's exponentially easier for me to get the president's choice of fish for lunch than it is to get an arrest list from COMET.

Harris also supports strengthening the Sunshine Law to include "negligence" as a standard for evaluating violations....."me like"

Harris is running in a three way race for the Democratic nomination. In terms of money, he's outperformed by Missouri Republican turned Democrat Senator Chris Koster.
Most of his campaign has attacked Koster, his lack of Democrat credentials and funding from Rex Sinquefield.

Branson Intermediate School students signatures fly with Luke Skywalker's Light Saber to space

Space exploration is a hot topic in one Ozarks classroom this week. More than 600 sixth and seventh graders, along with faculty and administrators of Branson Intermediate School, watched as their signatures were launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle discovery shortly before noon today.

The first Friday of every May, NASA and Lockheed Martin sponsor the Student Signatures in Space® program. Sixth grade teacher, Kelly Neal, was looking for a way to get her students excited about space exploration while visiting the NASA website. When she found out about the program, she knew this would be a way to do it. Neal said, “ the kids were excited when they signed the poster last May, but, watching the shuttle lift off today made it very real for them.” Another claim the students can make is that their signatures flew with Luke Skywalker’s light saber. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the movie, Star Wars, shuttle crew members took that as well.

Branson Intermediate Elementary was chosen as one of about 500 who received the honor this year. Since the program began in 1997, more than 4 million students have participated in the Student Signatures in Space ® program.

(Written by Kathee Baird)

Branson City Council (2 of 4) Actions Taken by the board Oct 22, 2007

New shopping development on Forsythe Boulevard
A bill for a planned development for Tanstone Plaza at Forsyth and Roark Valley Road. The 57 acres, which has already been cleared, would include a shopping district, restaurants, condominiums, affordable housing apartments and water features. The property owner, Tanstone Group, is also working with the city to redirect Forsythe Boulevard to eliminate the steep grade and put in a roundabout in the middle of Forsythe that will connect with Oak Creek Drive that extends westward to the Tanger Mall.
Grant money for new trails
An agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) for grant money to construct an additional hiking and biking trail in Stockstill Park. The trail would be on the south side of Roark Creek near the pedestrian bridge and extend to the west boundary of the park. Eventually, this trail will continue westward to connect with the Henning Conservation Area along Highway 76. The total cost of the trail is $110,000 with the grant money from MoDOT paying half, or $55,000.
Police get new bullet proof vests and new communications equipment
A bid from a St. Louis company to replace nine body armor vests for the police department’s Special Operations Squad. The cost of the armor is $14,000, which was budgeted by the police department in the 2008 fiscal year budget. .
Aldermen also approved a $150,000 upgrade to the police department’s communications equipment with $104,000 of that amount coming from a state grant. The upgrade will allow for additional radio frequencies to be added and give the department the ability to communicate with multiple other agencies in the event of a large- scale disaster or emergency.
Board approves agreements with local non-profit agencies
The Board approved the annual agreements with the Branson Arts Council, Christian Action Ministries and the Salvation Army. The Arts Council will receive $40,800 for providing artistic, cultural and educational opportunities to area citizens; Christian Action Ministries will receive $30,000 and the Salvation Army $5,000 – both of these agencies provide temporary emergency help to people for things like housing, utilities, food and clothing.
New fire truck bid approved
Board approved a bid proposal for a new aerial ladder truck for the fire department replacing an older truck. The low bid came from Pierce Manufacturing of Wisconsin in the amount of $692,000 -- which is $8,000 below the budgeted amount for the truck.
Amending the local taxicab ordinance relating to coloring of cabs
Board approved on first reading an ordinance amendment requiring taxi companies operating in the city to have a single color scheme on their vehicles, and that this color is different from that of other companies. This is a consumer issue to prevent confusion among riders who are looking to use a particular cab service in the city. Branson has one cab company and six shuttle services licensed.
Mayor and Board can sponsor bills
Board approved an amendment to an ordinance that allows the mayor and board members to sponsor legislation and present reports on the proposed legislation at the regular board meetings.
New auditing firm hired
Board approved on first reading a contract that hires the auditing firm of Cochran Head Vick and Company of Kansas City to conduct the annual audit of the city’s fiscal year that ended September 30. Cost of the audit would be $34,000.
Temporary wine store turned down
Board rejected a request by an out-of-town winery to install a temporary doublewide to operate a retail wine store, including wine tasting at 3125 Green Mountain Drive. The company is Mount Pleasant Winery based out of Augusta, Missouri, which plans to build a permanent wine store next year on the same property. Aldermen cited safety concerns since construction on the permanent wine center could interfere with customers driving in and out of the temporary store along a heavily traveled street, Green Mountain Drive
(Prepared by Jerry Adams Branson Communication Director)

Missouri District 64 Dennis Wood Down Time

Missouri District 62 House of Representative Dennis Wood has taught me a thing or two in my day. Wood promptly and purposely attends every community engagement possible. Though he's currently on sabbatical from correspondence with the Springfield News-Leader, his presence is certain at major public events.

From Wood I get tidbits and see him enough enough for these to translate to novels about Missouri's second most important legislative body. Wood shows up to everything and the largest complain I've heard about the man is that he'll tell you about "how he shows up for everything" - which he does.

The 14 day stretch where woods corresponded with the Gannet's Springfield News-Leader was taxing in most every way imaginable. Eventually, about the time Wood quit talking to the press, Governor Matt Blunt said he'd have to wait for the legislative session to fix it. Wood and Blunt have been in contact everyday since Lebanon resident Robert Plaster declared himself king of his village declaring independence from Stone County Commissioner's rule.

The company decided to override Stone County Commissioners objections to Plaster's development ideas on the Stone County shores of Table Rock Lake. Plaster did it through legislation and apparently Rod Jetton was the man who helped him do it.

Governor Matt Blunt made a statement which hit national newspapers via Gannet which was "It wasn't that important, I'll fix it."

Good enough for me. I'm not giving free political advice here, but if I was Wood, I'd keep saying that over and over- "Matt Blunt said he would fix it". If I was Wood I'd carry around photocopies of an apology letter from Matt Blunt and hand it out in case someone asked.

Any political error is correctable if handled with integrity.

Wood has been good to Blunt. Still, he fears what the backlash will be next session in Jefferson City.

On Taney County's proposed 90 million dollar sales tax - Proposition A - Wood says "it all comes down to how Eastern Taney County votes.

A lobbying organization has been selling the tax to Eastern Taney County residents saying the majority of a 72 million dollar cash cow will come from Branson.

If Proposition A passes it will some Branson area sales taxes will be above 11%.

The picture above is from the Presley's 40th Anniversary Celebration. I didn't think Wood attended until I looked at the photo of the Presley family and zoomed into the photo.

Letter to Taney County Commissioner/Pharaoh Danny Strahan

Dear Danny Strahan - Pharaoh of Eastern Taney County,

It was good to see you at Hollister's historic unveiling of its entry into the tourism industry. I was of course disappointed by your lack of attendance at Branson's Convention Center Grand Opening celebration.

You expressed your disappointment with my exposure of corruption, incestuous political pandering and deception involved with Proposition A. You point out that good men were criticized. Indeed, this is true. Good men were criticized for promoting bad ideas. We in fact acknowledge their virtue and criticize their destructive plans which can only breed failure.

I am ashamed of the press and their evident corrupt dealings. If they weren't so susceptible to bribery I wouldn't have had to write a word. I'm angry that I've had to do it, but citizens have a right to know what their elected leadership is doing. If local news correspondents had a lick of integrity, my time addressing the topic could have been invested elsewhere.

Let's get back to the primary issue. You and two other men lead Taney County. My simplistic view of government is this - two departments exist - 1. Department of Fun and Games and 2. Department of Saving Lives.

Your proposed Proposition A tax does nothing for the Department of Saving Lives and dumps $90 million into the Department of Fun and Games. In my opinion, the White River Historical Society has evolved into a ridiculous organization. They've proved themselves poor keepers of history, poor stewards of fact and their actions are at times offensive.

While high numbers of Taney County residents live in poverty - you spend $50,000 to preserve a jail, Why? I watched the White River Valley Historical Society perform a terrorist reenactment in our town square. They spoke the oath to death by the Klu Klux Klan predecessors "The Baldknobbers". In my town square! Is this a wise use of tax payer dollars?

I'll be the first to say I don't think it is. The county you govern - your kingdom - is ranked by COMET (Combined Ozarks Multi-Jurisdictional Task force)as the most Meth-laden county in Southwest Missouri.

People are dying, but you build more prisons. Your people are dying. Our people are dying. I don't find your significant investment (wasn't gonna cost a dime right) to imprison more Taney County Citizens impressive. How many more will die while you invest in fun and games? When it comes to meth, law enforcement is a one-legged stool. Why is this ignored while plans to build a temple to a few peoples dead relatives becomes a priority?

It's great that you've found a way to levy a tax on the good citizens of Taney County while assuring the cities can't reduce their debt obligations. But if this tax was born out of good instead of hatred you'd have more support for it. As it stands, deception by the corrupt reporters who lobbied for an increase for their "Temple to the Dead" and false report published in the papers with the intent to deceive and con citizens into financing their ridiculous venture has been noted.

It's my understanding that Ron Houseman was paid to lobby for the tax increase. Do you guys really call yourselves Republicans? Where in the Republican platform does it encourage making up new ways of taxing people and figuring out how to spend it after seeing how big the pot is? Since the tax doesn't necessarily help anyone I don't think there is a solid liberal Democrat leg to stand on either. Not even a socialist would steal from the people to give to the most wealthy citizens.

I can't verify the findings (how much Houseman is paid) because the group lobbying for the funds never filed Missouri Ethics Commission reports.

I was threatened by a local cocaine cartel many years ago. Watching what these individuals were doing encouraged me to document and record the happenings of our region. I often wonder how the drug trade became so powerful and how these filthy men are allowed to poison our children to this day. I wonder how these cartels exist unfettered, while we seem to have 90 million dollars to spend on a 100 Acre Temple to the Dead.

You're an elected leader and as such I've tried to facilitate your voice. When no newspaper in Taney County would print James (your brother and county assessor's letters from employees, I did. When the newspapers charged him to facilitate a message to the people I stayed up at night and re-wrote the entire letter so the people could see it.

I have a daughter here sir and a responsibility dictated by the most high to ensure the best world possible for her. I want her to be free.

When I see a spade on the political table - I call it. If you got a problem with that - I'll publish it. If you have a correction - I'll pay to facilitate the message.

Being Taney County is the Southwest Missouri seat for Meth production I can only assume it's because of one or more of the following 1. powerful people want it that way 2. Law enforcement is unable to handle the crisis either underfunded or undertrained 3. Corruption and nepotism is common in Taney County. 4. People/Leaders don't care 5. Incompetency.

Please, tell me different, I want my faith in our leadership restored.

Though I disagree with the priorities of the commission, I don't hate the individuals. I don't hate the players, I hate the game - a game where people die while temples to the dead are constructed on the backs of the dying.

This isn't how I want my children to live. Your actions affect her life. I ask you Pharaoh - set my people free.

Taney County Collector Sheila Wyatt to sue Taney County Commission

Taney County Collector Sheila Wyatt is expected to address the Taney County Commissioners this morning regarding a lawsuit filed Friday. Wyatt contends the Taney County Commission isn't compliant with state law regarding payment for her position.

Taney County Assessor James Strahan addresses rising taxes in attack ad

James Strahan payed to place an advertisement in the Taney County Times last week. The Branson Daily News wanted to charge him $1400. Strahan accuses the commissioners and Rep. Dennis Woods for sabotaging his plan to keep assessments lower. In the pay-to-play article, Strahan asserts his assesments are in compliance with the State Tax Commission's guidelines

The Taney County Commission has had to fund Strahan's office while Missouri's Tax Commission withholds funds claiming assessments are inaccurate. The ongoing dispute is slated for judicial review in Cole County next month.

Strahan's message - Taney County taxes property taxes will rise significantly and its Taney County Commissioners and Rep. Dennis Woods fault.

The Taney County Commissioners have yet to approve meeting minutes dating back to last year. Strahan suggests the commissioners want to destroy the records.

Read the full opt-in here....

Missouri Senator from Columbia Democrat Chuck Graham arrested for DWI

Democrat Chuck Graham was arrested last night after crashing into a car. KOMU, a television station in Kansas City has the report:
In the probable cause statement, an officer says, "I believe that defendant poses a danger to the community or to any other person because while drunk, Graham drove his motor vehicle into the rear of another motor vehicle, thereby endangering countless innocent users of the roadway."

Police said they are treating this accident like any other, despite the high profile arrest.

"All accidents are handled the same," said Sgt. Dan Beckman of the Columbia Police Department. "I don't care who's involved in it. We're going to handle each accident the same. We're going to investigate it, find out what happened. We're going to issue the proper summonses if they need be, or we're going to make the proper arrests."

Full Story

Instructional Video on How to Create a Taney County Tax Entity

The video above is an early experiment in film by Georges Méliès - L'homme orchestre. If you watch the first few minutes you'll understand why this doubles as an instructional video on how to create a tax board.

The man duplicates himself over and over until all the seats are filled.

The 90 Million Dollar so called "Economic Development Tax" on the Nov. 6th ballot - aka Proposition A will be controlled by the Taney County Commissioners. They will place four members on the board of their choosing. The other three members are "lame duck" seats from entities with no alignment of purpose guaranteeing no real oversight.

Hollister Steps built in 1920's - Photos




The bottom of these steps starts 25 yards from the Taneycomo aka Hollister bridge to an apartment building which sits atop Hollister's cliffs.

Hollister Enters Tourism Industry Arena - Waterpark to open 2009

Hollister City Administrator Rick Ziggnefuss said details on a $26 million TIF funded arena scheduled slated to open in 2009 was to be designed with the Hollister School District in mind.

According to Ziggenfuss the current plan to build an arena is being financed through the maximum allowed by law - 100% of property tax and 50% of sales tax. A component to the development announced by developer Justin Gage is the creation of one of the world's largest waterparks which will be built across from the publicly funded Arena.

The Waterpark on the 112 acres of land east of hwy 65 will not be part of the TIF district.

More to come....

Before the Landing

Property purchased by the city in this "before the Branson Landing" shot of the Taneycomo waterfront sold for a higher dollar amount. The owners had word of land transactions in the surrounding area.

Jeff Merrill

This picture was taken a couple days before Jeff Merrill was sworn in as Taney County Prosecutor. He was a happy-go-lucky guy until he started to understand how much paperwork and afterhours time the job entailed.
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Matt Bartle says Missouri Judicial reducing jail population

Word from Missouri Senator Matt Bartle - we have less people in jail by reducing sentences for first time non-violent offenders and 120 day shock-time sentencing.

Branson City Council (1 of 4)

The city of Branson is bringing public comments from the back to the front of Branson City Council meetings. The move sends a signal to residents that their voices are important. The time citizens have the right to speak was reduced and a more interactive format was implemented.

The City of Branson sent this press release today:

Starting this Monday night, the Public Comment portion of the regular Branson Board of Aldermen meeting will be at the beginning of the agenda, instead of at the end.

The Board two weeks ago approved an ordinance moving Public Comment to the front so citizens wanting to address aldermen on city-related issues would not have to sit through the business portion of the meeting, which many times extended past three hours.

People wanting to speak during Public Comment will still have to sign the sign-up sheet located at the front door of the council chambers prior to the start of the meeting.

Speakers will have five minutes for their comments that must pertain to issues the Board of Aldermen has jurisdiction. Following the speaker’s time, the Board has five minutes in which to respond or ask questions.

The Public Comment is time for citizens to speak on items not on the regular agenda.

Citizens who want to speak on a particular item on the official agenda do not have to sign the sign-up sheet. When agenda items come up for consideration by the Board, the mayor provides an opportunity for public input and comment.

Springfield Business Journal - Book of Lists

You can't believe everything you read on the Internets, but we pride ourselves on holding to a higher standard than Southwest Missouri print publications.
The Springfield Business Journal's opt-in is a good deal for business. Though it evades the boundaries of the Journalistic Code of Ethics (pay for play opt-ins are shunned) the book itself is a fascinating read.
It provides the In's and Out's of Southwest Missouri Businesses and is the regions foremost business intelligence tools.
For my media clients, I'd rate the 2,000 dollar inclusion investment as a strong buy.
Though the Springfield Business Journal is more gossip than news the annual book of lists is a jewel of cold hard business facts.

Disclosure: We aren't receiving a dime for our flattering and profit inducing post.

Taney County Proposition A - Is a lawsuit imminent?

Contrary to popular belief, lawyers are used for negotiation not winning, but the deceptive tactics, fraudulent advertising and loose language might put a barrier between an open $90 million dollar check county officials will receive if Proposition A pases.

Lobbyists working for two Branson newspapers were present at meetings where deceptive language was chosen to push for a new sales tax in Taney County. The tagline "Build a Bridge" was placed on a billboard near Hollister's crossing.

According to the Missouri Ethics Commission:

Elected Local Government Official Lobbyist
An elected local government official lobbyist is any natural person employed specifically for the purpose of attempting to influence any action by a local government official elected in a county, city, town, or village with an annual operating budget of over ten million dollars.

Later this week we'll be covering new plans the White River Valley Historical Society has for a large chunk of the %90 million dollars.

Taney County voters will choose if they want to write a 90 million dollar blank to the government on Nov. 6th.

Hard News

Multi-Millionaire exotic car tycoon Jim Cox tells me yesterday, "Darin, you'd be a millionaire if you just quit blogging."

He's got a point, a really good point, but the inner world of a man's heart chooses the priority of battles we need to fight.

A little over a year ago, a journalist at a major publication in town started asking me about my political sympathies and affiliations. She wanted to know which I preferred the sacred donkey or elephant to which I put my hand my waste high and said, "My only political affiliation is a girl about this tall."

All politics is local. What could be more local than the interior of a father's heart - the love of his daughter?

We live in difficult times. We live in a day of moral relativity, of freedom - a day of renaissance and inquisition.

Every day I write not for silver but for life. When I'm not with my daughter I can only act to change the world she is to heir.

I ask Jim, "Do you read me everyday?." He says he'd answer but doesn't want my head to get big.

I love you McCartney. I leave you history and hopefully the world a better place.

Branson Commerce Park

Chalk one up for Mike Rankin Branson Commerce Park had their ribbon cutting this afternoon which is good news for my business and anyone else working in tech.

The 200 acre mixed-use facility is heavy handed with the latest in fiber optics. The intent is to bring new business to Branson and second to a thriving entertainment economy it's exactly what Branson needs.

As Hollister announces a pre-ordained move into entertainment Friday Oct. 19, 2007 Branson announces a move into the 21st century. Exciting times.

Technical infrastructure is the repeated message of economic prophets when they talk about why Branson is a bad investment for business owners.

Rankin's business strategy was to bring high paying tech jobs into Branson. This is good for three main reasons.

1. They pay well increasing value, money and demand for more valuable real estate in the area.

2. The worker they attract is fortunate enough to be the sole-bread winner of the family and the demographics lure larger families. Branson's demand for inexpensive labor can be met with teenagers and part-time jobs for stay at home moms.

3. ENVIRONMENT - These industries don't damage the environment! The beauty of the Ozarks is and has always been the number one attraction in Branson.

The Commerce Park is also the catlyst that is bringing natural gas to Branson residents as well lowering the cost of fuel for home-owners who currently rely on propane.

We often talk about CID's, NID's and TIF's. The Commerce park is another CID/NID which is a self-subsidizing means of providing the infrastructure and reduced-rent residential housing.

Sun over Taneycomo bridges - Photo

This shot is part of a two year photostudy of Taney County. To the left is Hollister with Branson to the right and Lake Taneycomo flowing between them.
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Branson Collector Car Auction this Friday and Saturday

Press play to see Jim Cox show a 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner sold in last year's fall auction.

I ran into Jim and Kathy Cox last night setting up for the bi-annual Collector Car Auction. This year's show will start on Friday at 10 a.m. and Saturday at 8 a.m. Tickets are $10 and bidders must pre-register.

Briefly - Car Collectors from around the world bid on some of the most finely engineered machines on the planet.

Over the last few years I've noticed lower bids on Rolls and more on rods. The muscle cars popularity is a result of baby-boomers buying memories of their first kiss.

The Branson Collector Car Auction was the first event booked at Branson's new convention center and will be the first event to use the entire convention floor.

Missouri Political News Roundup (Brief Version)

Matt Blunt barely beats Jay Nixon barely in poll

Political Tyrannosaurus Rex creates 100 PACS to avoid Campaign Finance limitations

Harris says Koster sells out to Rex

McCaskill Says S-CHIP Not Socialized Medicine

Anti-Clone Group to sue Carnahan

NASA asks Russian Comedian From Branson to Talk to Astronauts in Space

Gerken and Associates Open House Tomorrow

Gerken and Associates is having an open house and ribbon cutting tomorrow.

Ribbon cuttings happen so often an area newspaper decided to stop covering them. The sheer frequency and lack of return on investment for the paper provides little incentive.

Charlie Gerken never fails to attend ribbon cuttings - no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they appear. For the people establishing a business in our town - it's a very big deal.

As much support as Charlie's given just by showing up at every chance to celebrate new families taking a chance on Branson it's certain the event will be well attended.

Good times and good friends.

As for me, I've committed to attending as many of these as possible. It's a small token of support that means a lot.

Downtown Branson Main Street Association Members vote to Discontinue Membership model

Historic Downtown Branson is much like many downtown districts in Missouri and throughout the United States. However, unlike many downtown districts, Downtown Branson has a heart that still beats. Though numbers overall are down...today is different - downtown is alive with seniors with little to no appetite for the latest brassiere innovations peddled down the street at Victoria Secret.

New TIF funded developments have taken a piece of the tourist pie, yet if you walked outside today you wouldn't know the depth of suffering the merchants have endured. It's bustling today.

The Downtown Branson Main Street Association met in a small room near Business 65. The board of directors has been whittled down from seven to three members. The two full time employees are leaving for jobs with the state and the membership model that exists today looks like it's on the way out.

The tally wasn't read but a representative of the board said votes were in favor of the organization moving away from a membership model.

Though I'm not sure what exactly the remaining members of the board are hoping to evolve too - one thing is for certain - a planned coup by some of the downtown merchants seems to be impossible.

AS I walk into the small room I'm met with something foreign to me as I show interest in the organization - kindness. It's refreshing because the intensity of interactions with the "keepers of the record" hasn't been pleasant lately. It's a welcomed change.

The board goes into closed session - since I'm the only one present that isn't on the board - I'm the only one that leaves. Before I go, I remind the board of the merchants - they've been innovating - they are the largest stakeholders - they care about the fate of our historic downtown as the fate of the district determines what bread they'll have on their table.

I run into Jeff Justus on the street after the closed session is over. Justus, uncle of Missouri Senator Jolie Justus, tells me of his connection with the land we stand on. He recalls his great grandfather who spent his life working just two blocks from our sidewalk debate. Sidenote - he worked two years short of a pension.

His name means something, one of the few families whose name is inscribed on the original documents that changed Lucia to Branson.

Four new members of the board must be chosen and if wisely selected an opportunity exists to mend a divided sub-culture in Branson.

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder in Branson today

Ben Jones, one of Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder's staffers should be getting an e-mail notification here in a while. While hacking Internet access at the Hilton Peter Kinder walked into the lobby.

Nice guy, I feel bad the funk of my three mile hike this morning had to stand in the way of our exchange of pleasantries.

I always carry two cameras with me - except for this morning. I have only one camera and no data chip.

We talked about the Tour of Missouri (photos below) and I took the opportunity to lobby for a return to Branson. I even promised to deliver on Dick Gass's suggestion that we let the schools out if the Tour of Missouri comes back. Though I have no authority to command such things from the Branson School District I'm certain if it was a make-or-breaker - I could deliver.

When asked if the Tour of Missouri would return to Branson Kinder expressed other cities were pressuring his office for a taste of the tour - Hannibal was one city he mentioned.

When asked about extending the number of touring days Kinder said with a nod, "we're working with that idea."

Kinder said Request for Quotes (RFQs) would be issued to city's interested in hosting the next Tour of Missouri.

The bottom line is the same as always, it's about money and what cities are willing to pay it.

Kinder said Susan Montee's office conducted an audit of his office that will be coming out next week. Montee's staff went through two years of receipts.

Kinder said TeamKinder Blogging was slowed due to an overload of responsibility from the Tour of Missouri and that posts will continue soon.

The picture posted above is a rare sight. Before Kinder stayed at the Branson Hilton a full security check was conducted. Since the building was constructed it's the only time I've seen all lights on at one time.

Kinder booked a simple room, in fact, of all the rooms booked by representatives of the state, Kinder's lodging requests were the most humble - no special arrangements. I love it when politicians fly coach. It sends a good message - and you never no when someone might be paying attention.

Peter Kinder walked through and made a point to stop and say hi. He remembered my name which was impressive.
In his hand was the autobiography of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Kinder was excited about the book and the history of Thomas's days in Missouri. He recommended it. He'll be coming back soon and though he's only read 80 pages, I'm certain he's a fast reader and hope he'll be so kind as to loan the book to me when he comes back.
I got a photo this time. No cord - will post later

Early Morning Branson Blogging

I took a three mile hike into Branson this morning.
The mandatory deadline for politicians to report quarterly earnings hit yesterday and reporters around the state filtered through over 4,000 PAC's, election committees and personal filings to decrypt who's paying who in Missouri Politics.
An early financial scorecard provided me enough comfort for a nights rest. The majority of articles published this morning on Southwest Missouri News is comprised of findings by those journalists quick to the punch yesterday.
Statistics show most of you stop by early in the morning - so go ahead and take a look - the majority of discussion throughout the week will revolve around Missouri Ethics Commitee filings.

Build A Bear Growls in Eastern District Court

Build-A-Bear Retail Management, Inc. filed suit yesterday against "The Bear Builders" for trademark infringement.

4:2007cv01750 - Build-A-Bear Retail Management, Inc. et al
Filed in Missouri by Missouri Eastern District Court
Case Number: 4:2007cv01750
Missouri Eastern District Court
- Trademark
Filed: October 15, 2007
Plaintiff: Build-A-Bear Retail Management, Inc., Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., The Bear Builders; Defendant: Monique Allen, The Bear Builders

The image above, including the logo, is the property of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.

Downtown Branson Main Street Association Fate Discussed Tue 11:30

The Downtown Branson Main Street Association (DBMA) issued a voting form to members last week in hopes of privatizing the organization. Business owners accusing the DBMA of ignoring the voices of downtown merchants caused tension resulting in the creation of a break-away organization earlier this year.

The current state of the DBMA is unknown as they are the second worst violators of the Sunshine Law in our area.

A sunshine request made Friday revealed several members of the Board of Directors jumped ship over the past few weeks.

Results from the vote to privatize the DBMA and discard the membership model will be read at the 11:30 meeting.

An announcement that the leadership team of the DBMA has accepted new positions with the state is foreshadowing that the attempt to take the DBMA out of the arms of members was a failure.



Winter Gas Prices to Rise Missouri Department of Natural Resources -

Missouri's Department of Natural Resources forecasts higher gas prices this winter.
Natural gas users can expect to spend an average of $78 more on winter heating, while propane users could be looking at a $221 average jump

Full Press Release

Governor Blunt Announces First Round MOHELA funds released

It was the pinnacle of partisan politics during the 2007 legislative session. Governor Blunt announced the first round of funding from the privatization effort called the Lewis and Clark initiative which sells student loans and provides money for educational institutions. Here's where the first round went.

* Harris Stowe State University Children and Parent Education Center, $26,972
* Missouri State University, $22,273
* Northwest Missouri State University Plant Biologics Center, $6,998,855
* Southeast Missouri State University River Campus, $16,540,000
* Truman State University Pershing Building, $6,250
* University of Missouri-Rolla Engineering Building, $3,304,673
* St. Charles and East Central Community Colleges, $4,000,000
* Department of Economic Development Missouri Technology Corporation, $8,512,500

The governor did a good job of spinning the dismal report issued by the state auditor last week in a press release issued today.

Show Me the Money - State Races in Missouri Cash Scorecard

John Hancock from camp Blunt released this information a few hours before reporters across the state race to interpret campaign data and retrieve information about how much each candidate has to spend.
Quarterly reports were due today.

Hollister Moving to Tourism Model and why the press isn't reporting it

Hollister Missouri will announce a major move into the tourism industry later this week. The fate of a massive development and 900 acres quietly annexed over the last month will be released with instructions from city officials on how to report the move.

The "forget the citizens" method of reporting sheds light on the anti-Branson anti-community and anti-democracy initiative two corrupt reporters drafted called Proposition A (a vote against Proposition A is a vote against corruption). The initiative involves a substantial portion of $90 million dollars in public funds to be funneled into the reporters pet project. Great efforts have been made to deceive Taney County Citizens so money can be laundered into the coffers of the White River Valley Historical Society which two reporters for Branson media outlets control through membership on the board of directors.

Records show correspondence published by unregistered Tax Lobbyist Vonda Sheets is limited to "Official Propoganda" published by Hollister's information officer. At every turn the citizens have been duped.

Documents obtained include detailed instructions on how to "sell a 15% tax increase to the public." A much lower increase at the county level was treated with "hateful disgust." Hollister increased their levy by 15% which they are allowed by state statute to pay debt.

Proposition A, which takes 90 million dollars from tax payers could also result in a massive increase in taxes as the irresponsible measure promises continued debt with no return. Contrary to popular belief, when municipalities act irresponsibly, they can increase tax rates without a vote of the people.

After a sunshine request was filled at City of Hollister administration offices the assistant city administrator demanded at 75 dollar deposit to release "instructions to the press" drafted by city officials. Officials claim the documents are only available on paper and "no digital records exist."

No official documents allowing reporters to admit Hollister is moving to a Tourism Destination Business Model have been released.

Last month, Hollister officials passed their first Tourism Tax.

Senator Michael Gibbons to run for Missouri Attorney General - Like he said 6 months ago

Senator Michael Gibbons didn't make a formal announcement that he's running for Missouri's Attorney General until Friday (video above). Click on the audio clip below to hear an interview with Gibbons last February.
The interview conducted in Branson marks the beginning of Gibbons campaign efforts. We discuss Gibbons roots as a Kirkwood Alderman, Senator Jolie Justus and the year of the filibuster.

Click Here to Hear Michael Gibbons Interview In Branson

Branson Merchants Agree - Socialist Economic Model - "Business Incubator" total failure

Downtown Branson merchants blame the Downtown Branson Mainstreet Association (DBMA) for a history of failed leadership, poor business models and alienation for the parties most interested in Downtown Branson's economic success - the merchants that make a living off downtown Branson's success.
At the top of the list of greatest failures and ludicrous business models that sucked public funds into the trashcan in the "Business Incubator." To some, the model was nice on paper, however the reality tells another story.
The "Business Incubator", a tool promoted by the White River Valley Historical Society's applies a socialist business approach. The government, in the two cases mentioned The WRVHS and the DMBA, purchase a business using tax payer dollars and give shelf space to merchants that otherwise wouldn't take the risk to invest in a business.
The paying merchants don't appreciate it because the limited supply of buyers is split and the business organization that is supposed to be supporting them ends up competing with them.
Eventually, the business's subsidized through the "Socialist Business Incubator Economic Model" are supposed to graduate to the free market model other downtown merchants and American society in general has to compete with.
The general idea is that business owners who are successful in selling merchandise while being subsidized by the state are likely to rent a business in the district later.
Unfortunately, the model has never graduated a merchant, but this hasn't stopped the utterly corrupt White River Historical Society from peddling the model further, including integrating the poor idea into Proposition A - their recent $90 million tax proposal - disguised as an economic development tax - which does nothing of the sort

Branson Chamber of Commerce to win huge powergrab

Last week I ventured into the Downtown Branson Main Street Association (DBMA) a psuedo-political government entity that was well funded through co-op programs until a move last week by the state stripping funds from both the DBMA and the Branson Veteran's Taskforce.
According to White River Valley Historical Society (WRVHS) Tax Lobbyist Donna Clevenger :
Taney and Stone county commissioners have until Nov. 1 to appoint a
destination marketing organization to administer tourism dollars if
they want the matching tourism funds from the state.

The change in the co-op program of the Missouri Division of Tourism
requires that the three organizations currently receiving state
tourism money cease operations and that those entities will no longer
be able to receive the matching reimbursement funds from the program.

According to the executive director of the Missouri Division of
Tourism, Blaine Leutkemeyer, the change will better use marketing
dollars from the state and eliminate the overlap of multiple groups
marketing spending money to market to the same advertising areas.

The total state funds available for the co-op program is $3,450,000
for the fiscal year of 2008.

The following year will have $3.8 million. Luetkemeyer said his office
is committed to help grow the program and he wanted to clarify at the
meeting that the program is not a grant. Whichever organization is
appointed by the county commissioners will use tax dollars generated
in Taney County, spend those dollars on promotions and advertisement,
then send documentation to the MDT for a 50 percent reimbursement.

Citizen reports confirm Ozark Mountain Newspaper Political Pundit and News Correspondent Gary Groman aka Ole Seagull attended the meeting. According to Clevenger the Branson Chamber of Commerce is the only entity that qualifies.

Can someone tell me what happened here?

Moods for Moderns to Perform at Club 57 Wed. Night

Miss Missouri and Miss Branson Crowned - Competing for Miss Missouri

Ozarks First ran the story.

Charlie Harris Appointed Supreme Ruler of Missouri's Judicial Branch

You have to serve somebody.
The most powerful elected officials in Missouri must pay alms to the almighty Missouri Bar. Without bar acceptance, elected officials of the third branch (Judicial) cannot fulfill the will of voters.
We ran the story of Charlie Harris the new president of the Missouri Bar last week. His agenda is to increase propaganda (public perception) about how wonderful the Missouri Plan is. He plans to reimburse tuition for attorneys who choose to enter public service.

Original Story
Missouri Media Ignorant of Judicial Branch

Attorneys seem to love this site. Either they like to be abused, generally enjoy dialogue on the topic or disagree with the "status quo" when it comes to Bar Politik.

Missouri Gambling Lobby Gearing Up For 2008 Session

Missouri's gambling interests seem to have found some new friends - Republicans. At least they're looking for some Republican support as they gear up for the 2008 session.
Republican Senator Matt Bartle broke ranks with Senate Republicans opposing any leeway for Missouri's gambling interests.
The Southern Missouri Anti-Gambling strategy, led by Pete Herschend intends to create a "Great Wall" blocking new gambling operations from spreading to the southern parts of the state. Herschend calls gambling a cancer and said he's willing to compromise with Missouri's gambling lobby on loss limits to stop the spread of casinos.
Missouri's Gaming Commission provided some foreshadowing a couple weeks ago saying Missouri's loss limits make Kansas City and St. Louis casinos uncompetitive.
The Kansas legislature loosened gambling regulations earlier this year and Illinois is moving rapidly on the same path.

ACLU Steps Into Christian County Case

A 23 year old woman says that authorities in Christian County violated her rights when they would not allow her to have an abortion.

Summer Blackman was charged with possession of a controlled substance last year. When she returned to court to learn her sentence last week, she was locked up because she failed a recent drug test. Blackman wanted to have an aboriton, but authorities wanted to keep her in custody until a bed in a rehab facility could be secured.

Blackman had been in lock-up about six days before she contacted the American Civil Liberties Union this week. While Blackman was attempting to contact the ACLU on the phone at the jail yesterday, jail personnel told her over the intercom to gather her things because she was being released.

Blackman returns to court on November 2nd for sentencing. She says she believes that she will not go back to jail if she completes rehab. (Report Submitted by Kathee Baird)

Claire McCaskill Raking in Bucks For 2012 Run

It's never too early to negotiate political favors. The Federal Election Commission reports Claire McCaskill's 2012 coffers are already being filled.
See contribution amounts and contributers at Branson Agent:Claire McCaskill 2012

Image originally posted at Pub Def

Taney County Assessments - Tax Rates to Increase 12%

James Strahan is placing an ad in a Branson area newspaper this week and as Strahan said, "I'm not paying 750 dollars to send a greeting card."

Strahan said the State is increasing assessments 12% which represents a substantial tax increase for certain districts.

The cartoon above was created by John Logan. It would appear John Logan is standing in opposition to increased taxation including Proposition A.

Proposition A is a tax increase two corrupt reporters worked behind the scenes to put on the November ballot.
The money lines the reporters pockets through a Historical Organization the two "supposedly competing news organizations" control through seats on the board.