Branson Leaders Fiscal Irresponsibility Results in Fee Increases - New Taxes Inevitable

The massive spending spree and new expenditures initiated by Mayor Raeanne Presley have leaders scrambling for new revenue sources.

A massive boom from the Branson Landing and its accompanying windfall of income hasn't offset the spending patterns and increased debt since a transition administration took office in 2008. Millions of dollars in consultants, some of which were contracting with the Mayor of Branson prior to her taking office, new categories of expenditures, litigiousness and "mayor fun trips on the public dime" have created a deficit unmatched by previous administrations. Branson's perspective of fiscal conservatism has gone to the wayside and the savings these policies have brought to the municipality have been rapidly squandered over the last three years.

The broken promise of fiscal restraint will be highlighted at tomorrow nights meeting at city hall. Three years of record income have Presley's appointed finance committee currently discussing strategies for raising taxes.

Citizens in Missouri have a defense with Missouri's Hancock Amendment which restrains government entities from rapidly raising tax rates when mismanagement occurs.

Lobbyists funded by Branson taxpayers are being told to fight against the limitations. In other words, public funds are being used to enable higher levies against Branson's residents.

In the meantime new business is coming to a halt. An anti-business and anti-growth policy is successfully being posted with new green initiatives aimed at permanently stopping new development and the accompanying new income. Prior to taking office Presley complained that the new growth in jobs, while the rest of the nation experienced a recession, were forcing her personal business to pay higher wages - poverty benefits some.

Last month the city dished out a $250,000 check to an entity that is helping to create buy-in for furtherance of the anti-business agenda. Carefully constructed questions are designed to give the inevitable answer that economic prosperity is bad for business which will eventually yield catastrophic results on the economic health of the community.

MSU Instructor Linnea Lantria will lecture city officials tomorrow as a plant to assist in the battle against free market economy and individual land rights. The lecture will boast the benefits of eco-tourism and will feature such examples as Egypt and other third world economies as an example for Branson with a presentation entitled "Developing Sustainable Destinations.

Though Gaia or earth worshipers may find the idea appealing, sustainability ignores economic realities. The new Convention Center and Branson Landing were built to increase land values; however, statements and actions taken by city leaders appear to promote the intentional devaluation of city property.

Last nights meeting asked for new fees across the board. The get gain is estimated at $62,000 less than a tenth of Presley's legal battles this year which blatanttly contradict public statements made to the national press.

The public funds given to a handful of law firms to battle in the courts for our mayor have not been openly discussed. While a brief period of openess occured when a new mayor took office, the commitment to open government quickly receded. Even Branson's own consultants have noted the lack of fiscal oversight of tax funds.

A commitment to the Sunshine law has darkened and active efforts to thwart free market principals, essential land rights and economic growth have frightened new businesses from coming to Branson. While Planning and Zoning meetings once dragged to midnight; they are now be canceled.

In the video above both Chris Jordan and Bob Huels note the problems associated with new fees, heavy bureaucracy and an active effort to regulate businesses.

Jordan seems to express regret for not opening a business across the street from Tijuana Willies where fees are substantially less and government less burdensome.

Huels notes that the new policies are emulating less fiscally successful municipalities and discourages new business and the new revenue they bring to the area.

Though the meeting appeared to be a discussion, Presley revealed they were going into effect as soon as possible. Raising fees doesn't require a vote and appears to be a strategy of governance as opposed to a hard look at cutting the new financial burdens recently brought to the city.

Branson Leaders Plot Massive Fee Increases

The pile of documents is two months of packets distributed to a small group of media outlets by Bransons City Leaders. Several hundred pages of legislation have been implemented this year.

Obama's health care proposal is dwarfed by the costly changes city leaders have been implementing monthly. The legislative changes this summer triple the entire size of the health care agenda. It's so vast city leaders have little idea what the repurcussions of the massive changes actually mean to the public but the cost to taxpayers is clear. The malfeasance was documented two years ago to no avail. Call it prophesy, fortune-telling or common sense, fiscal irresponsibility at Branson City Hall has taken a major toll and citizens are paying the bill. We've seen tax hikes, utility rate increases and a massive fine increase that will take effect in days as a result from derelict of duty and a "mean girls" club where vital documents are concealed, private businesses are subsidized and finaincial malfeasance has run rampant.

Last week a small piece of land  assessed at 9,000 dollars was purchased by the City of Branson for over $200,000. The payment, which was over 2000 percent of the assessment had both journalists and real estate investors wondering how such corruption was able to occur. The journalism community remained silent except in the backrooms but political pressure and a press release where run as opposed to exploration behind the fool-hearty action. It's my belief that the public deserves better. We have a right to know and we deserve city leadership which serves the people not their private interests. Though the message is becoming clearer, if the citizens demanded open government and integrity from our leaders; this type of rediculousness would never occur.

Commercial Real Estate Broker Bob Huels speculates on the intent of Branson leaders irresponsible spending practices suggesting there may be a gold mine on the aforementioned property we don't know about.

City leaders certainly have a gold mine - the treasury -  which has been drained to subsidize the lifestyles of politicians who are supposed to be protecting our interests.

The press has also played a vital role in allowing corruption to continue. KY3, the largest area media outlet has teamed up with our corrupt leaders to assist with Sunshine Law violations through a financial relationship with the Mayor, helping propagate fraudulent press releases and failing to hold their business partner accountable.

Dishonesty continues throughout the halls through propaganda where departments are told that the Branson Landing is causing a deficit rather than the massive financial windfall that brings new revenue that has been sent through the back door. The Branson Chamber polling estimates 72% of tourists are going to the Branson Landing. Though the Branson Landing will generate $200,000,000 in sales, very few people in Branson are aware. The facts are hidden and propaganda is published at will. Sadly, the Branson Independent has chosen a policy of not labeling "government issued" documents which is tremendously disrespectful to the public. People have a right to know the difference between journalism and regurgitating government issued propaganda.

The paper has a silent partner which is widely believed to be a financial partner of the mayor's personal business.

While the Mayor has raised taxes, utility bills and regressed on open government commitments we've seen an increase in personal trips financed by the city. Though she may enjoy partying across the country on the government dime, the new expenses hardly seem responsible.

 Prior to Raeanne Presley's election, we were building our savings. This war chest has been rapidly drained. Since we've had several years of record revenue, due to the success of the downtown development, this hasn't been an easy task.

In conjunction with wasteful and frivolous spending, we've seen the implementation of an anti-business agenda. I'm certain it's difficult to decide whether competition should be allowed to occur. After all, new businesses may mean less sales for an older theater. Theaters and venues that bring new people to Branson don't necessarily help some of the older more outdated businesses. They also help eliminate poverty which means some businesses can't pay the low wages they have in the past.

The newest attack on business is in the fee department. In an effort that could discourage new business, fees could be raised several hundred percent. A meeting scheduled tonight will help identify those in opposition to the business tax. Notice was posted exactly 72 hours in advance, the minimum allowed by law.

Business leaders that don't want to see the furtherance of an economy crushing agenda might want to show up. It's unlikely that your presence will make a difference in stopping the new wave of business tax increases , but you could get a nice bribe via donation to your business or through one of the Mayor's lobbying groups, funded with tax dollars without all of those pesky ethics barriers. 

If nothing else, you can see Branson's top show featuring the most expensive production and art of illusion first hand. The show starts at 5:30 at Branson City Hall tonight.

Branson Charity Surveys Motel Population

As the ever pressing social and political issue of religions role in society has become a national obsession. Sort out the rhetoric and the American ethic of justice remains.

To the political right Glen Beck theorizes it's the job of the church to provide a social net.  To the political left President Barrack Obama dedicates funds to address the issues Beck claims people of faith have an obligation to conquer. It's likely neither matter to a family of four living on 800 dollars a month with a 600 dollar bill owed to a motel on the 76 strip. It's unlikely they ponder the complexities of national ideology, but they probably know what it's like to be hungry. Mother Theresa said, true poverty is "feeling unloved", and a sack lunch distributed by volunteers once a week likely does more to cure true poverty than the logistics of solving poverty in the community. Some would venture to say, "God is love".

Stalling admits his original ambitions of ending homelessness in Branson were naive but his vision remains vivid.
Perhaps the hipster slogan, "Jesus was way cool", would attract more support than the shocking mantra embedded on the t-shirts Bryan Stallings sells me from the back of a van with the identical slogan, "Jesus was homeless".  On the opposing side of the garment St. Francis of Assisi wisdom is engraved, "Preach the gospel always and if necessary use words".

Branson's peak occupancy has waned as a lull in the tourist season reduces motel occupancy. Still, Stalling attempts to gauge the expanse, reasons and details regarding the population of residents who live in motel rooms often without access to laundry facilities, kitchens and other amenities most of the civilized world takes for granted.  A total of 45 volunteers assembled throughout the day working two shifts in an attempt to generate data so politicians, churches and civically minded individuals can understand the reality of a portion of Branson's workforce living in weekly motels.

The issue is close to many in the communities heart including Mayor aPresley and her political ally Karen Best who has taught workshops on poverty.

Some fiscal conservatives blame Presley's anti-growth agenda with propagating poverty arguing free market restraints and section 8 housing will only grow the problem.

The facts are being tabulated and the arguments will follow. Should we build public housing projects? Should we create a public transportation program?

Location was a common answer to the question , "Why are you living in a hotel?" where natives and tourists compete over jobs in a tightening market.

Of all the questions asked one question had a common response, when asked what they were best at they uniformly answered, "I don't know.

The survey comes a day before an estimated 40 social service organizations gather at a Methodist church to help meet the needs of a commonly unseen component of our culture.

Commentary on City of Branson Loss of Branson Landing Precursor to Appeal Filings

The Editorial published below is a precursor article to several stories and documents that will be published over the next few days in regards to the Branson Landing case involving Empire District Electric, the city of Branson and Doug Coverdell. The case has many interesting components that make it unusual. The most interesting is the coverup. Stories about the court filings and eventual jury verdict granting a large portion of the Branson Landing to Doug Coverdell have been uncovered despite the efforts of officials.

Seven years passed before a Taney County Jury ruled Doug Coverdell was the rightful owner of nearly a third of the Branson Landing. Neither the city of Branson nor Empire District Electric could have imagined a private individual could fight off a machine willing to spend millions to deter justice.

Branson city officials have made a choice.

Instead of saying, “I'm sorry for trying to steal your land, here's a  reasonable sum for the property you own, thank you for your generosity and kindness in the wake of our massive perversions” they have chosen to give the finger to Coverdell and to the citizens of Branson at a cost of an assumed million dollars. With each act of arrogance the check citizens will have to pay rises.

Well funded giants do not fear acting wickedly knowing a massive pocketbook can punish men of humble means through extended appearances in our halls of justice.

Heroes like Erin Brockivich are rare. More common are the citizens who suffer at the hands of mighty corporations and governmental bodies. Real politic dictates the most powerful make the rules whether right or wrong.

The case of Coverdell Vs. Branson is truly a Cinderalla story. As midnight approaches the spell is fading. The Southern District Court of Appeals has had its patience tested rejecting thrice the incompetent filings from the finest legal counsel money can buy.

For the city of Branson time is running out, their only hope is to reset the clock.

As if in a contest to see how much of the city coffers Presley can spend, Missouri Supreme Court Justice John Holstein has been hired by the city of Branson.

Former Chief Supreme Court Justice John Holstein was once the most powerful man in the state. His dissertations read like poetry as he advised Missouri's Senate and House of Representatives in 1997 about the sacredness of a jury's suppositions asserting:

"The jury trial has served us well. It is a marriage of the best of our legal system and of democracy”

But even with his unmatched highly priced legal knowledge; It's hard to grasp why Holstein cannot seem to prepare a proper filing with the Court of Appeals.

It is a testament to the integrity of Missouri's Southern District Court of Appeals that rule of law trumps the status of a man. True justice is blind - no respecter of men. The court was unwilling to compromise principal for a modern aristocrat.

But Holstien's role as a father is of curiosity and perhaps should come into question among Branson's citizenry.

It is well known that Raeanne Presley attempted to sue the city of Branson several times for a variety of reasons before becoming mayor. Her hatred for Branson made Holstien's son-in-law a target. Presley's waterboy Gary Groman wrote many endearing public statements about Holstein's son-in-law which were published weekly by Ozark Mountain Newspapers. One of the more reverent statements made suggested Holstien's son-in-law Paul Link “pissed on Branson's citizens daily” with cohort Branson City Manager Terry Dody. Presley could never beat him as a citizen fighting against the city of Branson.

In fact, it was a campaign promise of Presley to fire Holstein's son-in-law, which she made good on after repeatedly exposing Link to public humiliation.

While Holstein is being payed by Presley, at taxpayers expense, to orchestrate a divorce of the, “marriage of the best of our legal system and of democracy, ” the city's liability traces back to Holstien's family who his client, Presley, has treated with little respect.

So herein lays the question, to whom does Hostein's loyalty prefer – his daughter and her husband or Presley?

Either way, Branson taxpayers are footing the bill.

Justice moves slowly when its execution depends on judicial remedy.

Citizens inexperienced with litigation I would advise this: Settle your differences quickly, seek peace and submit your quest for justice to the almighty who gives freely as even the most righteous position comes at a great price when sought through action in the courts of the United States.

Darin Codon

Outsourcing Strong Component to Ending Corruption at Branson City Hall - Stopgap to Presley Failure (Op-Ed)

Since Raeanne Presley took her oath of office Branson City Hall looks more like a money laundering operation than a public body that serves the people. The consequences of malfeasance will be felt for years to come despite nearly $200,000,000 in new sales from the Branson Landing - a property which our "launderer-in-chief tries to degrade at every opportunity.

Last week the Branson Chamber of Commerce was thwarted from spending $5,000 on booze to lure tourism leaders. Of course, the watchdogs that stopped the expense will soon be released from duty to be replaced by bankers which - as the new standard dictates - exchange cash on a regular basis with our mayor.

Outside of a 50 mile radius the "Presley Cave Show" isn't well known. Tourism marketers note there is very little demand for the venue unlike well known names such as Andy Williams, which unlike the "Cave Show" actually have some national name recognition.

While tax revenue is flowing at record highs we continue to invest money marketing venues that don't give a return on investment. That is, our older venues aren't attracting a new audience. The aging bus-touring senior market continues to be a cash cow for the older theaters such as the Mayor's private business which is dictating how we spend millions of tax dollars promoting Branson. In the long term this is a failing proposition. While blue-hair-bus travel may be key to income for the mayor's private business for a few more seasons, it's a dying mode of travel waning with each tourist season.

In an article titled, "Local Government Privatization 101" published in a  zine named after the main component lacking at city hall "Reason" states:

"All forms of privatization are simply policy tools—they can be effective when used well and ineffective when used incorrectly. The reason privatization works is simple: it introduces competition into an otherwise monopolistic system of public service delivery. Governments operate free from competitive forces and without a bottom line. Thus, program structures and approaches often stagnate, and success is not always visible and is hard to replicate. Worse, since budgets are not linked to performance in a positive way, too often poor performers in government get rewarded as budget increases follow failure."

The key word is monopoly. Tracking tax money is a fairly easy thing to do. If the mayor is on the board of private business they're sure to get payment.  Oversight of the Branson Chamber of Commerce has decreased and regulations regarding proper use of tourism tax dollars are disregarded without consequence.

Three of Presley's lobbying partners received land contracts last month. Record revenue is matched with record spending and city departments are told, "the Branson Landing debt" us forcing us to cut back.

The Branson Landing is generating new business; its Presley debt that is forcing every other office to cut back. For instance a million dollar line item titled "Mayor and Board of Alderman" and another "Million Dollar - Sue Competitor Fund" (legal expense) are ultimately ignored to build distaste for the massive economic expansion which ignores the show our mayor boosts with public funds. 

We owe a lot to Branson's founding families, but we don't owe our children.

In fact, we owe it to our children to look into the future because maintaining the subsidies to a few private businesses that provide poverty wages doesn't provide much of a future. We need to let these businesses compete in a free-market and allow new businesses to arise. Its not about hate, disrespect for certain families contribution; but rather allowing the same opportunities that allowed families to succeed in Branson to begin with. None of the businesses would be successful today if their was an existing hierarchy fighting against the basic free market principles.

The Presley's weren't the first show on the strip. They just moved down the street (main street) to escape corruption of a former city leader. They fought hard to refrain from being a part of Branson and ensued in several lawsuits against the city right up until they finally got one of their own in office. As the song dictates, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

Dismantling the strong economic engine and draining the budget is much easier from the inside - the marker of success of our current administration..

We need to take a hard look at the impact of the past few years, the economic failure that has arisen from corruption, failure to acknowledge free-market principals and common sense ethics that have evaded our leaders as they move tax funds to their partnering interests. 

Accountability is key. If the organizations which now receive multi-million dollar handouts are forced to be accountable, we'll see better performance and a higher return on investment. 

Competition is good. Free speech is good. Equality is good. Fiscal responsibility is good. None of these American principals are practiced at city hall to the detriment of the honorable. Perhaps it's time to take a hard look at the direction we're heading instead of fake meetings and surveys designed to push an anti-free market agenda with no future assuring Branson will one day be a ghost town.

Branson Collector Car Auction Fall 2010 (Video of Owner Jim Cox Following Fall 2009 Auction)

In four days the Fall 2010 Collector Car Auction will commence.
The video posted above was filmed after the Fall 2009 Collector Car Auction at the Candlestick Inn.

Proprietor Jim Cox grossed $3.2 million and sold 52% of cars listed for bidding.

Branson's Commercial1Brokers Pays Price For Political Speech.

A sign begging the question to those who voted for Barack Obama asking, "Are you embarrased yet?" didn't generate a great deal of direct interaction from the public until KY3inc. published a story on the matter.

Owners Bob Huels and Steve Critchfield received a barrage of phone calls, death threats and a variety of taunts with language not listed in standard dictionaries. In response, Bob Huels penned a post titled, "The Billboard"

The consequences of political speech are often high for businesses and it's uncommon that even a week goes by where I don't here the words of a citizen begging to keep their opinion off the record. After all, they're scared about what the repercussions might be.

The generic word "corruption" seems to have lost meaning but a recent Forbes article, "The New American Corporate State" elaborates on the type of corruption that kills free enterprise and the reason why many businesses are afraid to excersize their constitutionally protected right to speak out when government bodies breach public trust with unholy bonds to private business entities. Unfortunately this trend isn't just occurring in Washington but has infiltrated the policies of Branson's Board of Alderman.

Commercial 1 Brokers made a conscious decision to broadcast a political opinion.  They estimated the cost to their private business for making a conservative stance. Although the billboard on 65 is highly visible, they also serve the community by challenging infringement on private property rights that has been occuring since an anti-business and anti-free market business owner took control of Branson City Hall.

It's been said that the true mark of a man is what he does when no one is looking. Without knowledge of whether a petitioner is Republican or Democrat, Huels makes a point to stand up against anti-business matters at Branson City Hall. In fact, he's the only person who regularly attends Branson's Planning and Zoning meetings serving as a watchdog against overreaching and often illegal legislation.

As for allegations that Commercial1Brokers political statement is racially motivated, when Branson's board of Alderman voted to disallow a black performer (Nelly) from singing outdoors; Huels was one of six citizens with the courage to stand against the unfair infringement on property rights.

District 7 Democrat Congressional Candidate Tim Davis in front of painting of Republican Presidents playing cards at Commercial 1 Brokers office in Branson