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Home » Opinion » Dear Editor: Charter Commission

Dear Editor: Charter Commission

March 18, 2017

Submitted Letter to the Editor by 
Lenny Cacchio,
Lee’s Summit, MO

Dear Editor

Although a member of the Charter Commission, I am writing this letter as a concerned private citizen. What follows are opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of my fellow Commissioners. 
It is with some interest that I have read the various articles and opinion pieces in this newspaper regarding the Commission's work. I hope that others besides me have noticed that none of the articles have addressed any specifics on the proposed amendments. Instead the focus has been on alleged corruption and kickbacks related to eight of the twelve commissioners.

To those who are opposed to the charter amendments, you would provide a better service to the voters of Lee’s Summit by addressing which of the twelve proposed amendments are problematic, or, taking it to a higher level, which amendments are evidence of corruption.  I ask you to accept this challenge so that we can have some basis for discussion on the merits.  That is how the system is supposed to work, and it is something we should all want so that we can make informed decisions.

I don’t mean to insult anyone by what I am about to say, but given the vitriol directed against the Charter Commission, this needs to be addressed for what it is.  Ad hominem attacks as opposed to a discussion of the amendments on their merits are childish and beneath the dignity of Lee’s Summit. As a member of the Charter Commission I do not feel insulted by these attacks, but I do view it as an insult to the intelligence of the voters of this city.  What kind of people do you think our fellow citizens are? I challenge those who get their joy from slinging mud, whether in anonymous letters to the Attorney General or by-lined attacks in this paper, to address the City Charter based on what those amendments actually say. Make your case for your disagreement and allow for rational discussion. Tell us specifically about your objections. Spell out where you see evidence of corruption. Let’s have an adult discussion. It may be that you are right, and if the voters reject our work based on the facts, then the system has worked. That’s the way a healthy community is supposed to conduct itself.

Submitted Letter to the Editor by 
Lenny Cacchio,
Lee’s Summit, MO

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  1. Clark Patterson says:
    March 19th, 2017 at 01:10
    How about you explain why the charter needs changed. The language on the ballot is vague at best....
    For those of us not on the committee.
  2. Clark Patterson says:
    March 19th, 2017 at 13:02
    QUESTION 2- actually has 8 separate questions/recommendations in the body of the question.
    Question 4-actually has 7 separate questions/recommendations in the body of the question.
    Vote no on all 12 and start over! What is the hurry?
  3. Lenny Cacchio says:
    March 21st, 2017 at 14:10
    First, Clark, thank you for both your comments, especially your second one where you state your reasons for opposing two of the amendments. Your “yes” or “no” vote is your right as a citizen, and I have no qualms about that if it is based on an informed judgment. I view my role as not advocating for or against, but rather to inform the public on the pros and cons. Sadly, we haven’t seen as much of that that honest discussion, and I am glad that you explained why you oppose amendments 2 and 4.
    Without rehearsing all the detailed discussions in our Charter Commission meetings (which, by the way, were recorded and can be found on the city website), we spent the better part of two meetings on ballot language. After considering a number of different options, the Commission decided to combine some questions so that we would not have 25 different items to vote on. It is no more complex than that.
    As to your first question, the previous charter mandates that a review commission is to be appointed every 10 years. That was the reason we were convened. One thing we wanted to do was to clarify some of the language from the previous charter. For example, the current charter says that someone running for office must be a “qualified voter”. It does not require someone to live in the district from which they are running or even be a resident of Lee’s Summit. The proposed charter clarifies that.
    The point is, there are some things in the current Charter that need to be updated, clarified, and changed. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with the changes, and it doesn’t mean that you should feel compelled to vote for the changes if you don’t like them. You and I both have a duty to vote ”yes” on the amendments we like and “no” on those we do not. I am sure we are both going to do that.
  4. Clark Patterson says:
    March 23rd, 2017 at 10:02
    Lenny, Thanks for the response. So you gave one example of the need to clarify the language in the City Charter on question 2. I can agree with your concern about the language. My problem is if I don't agree with all 8 changes then the vote needs to be no. Each should be presented as it's own question. Not if I agree with 5 and disagree with 3 should I say yes to all 8. This is not the US CONgress (body famous for adding many items to a bill).
    I don't find it necessary that I review any or all of the video of the charter commission meetings. What I do read is the actual ballot questions as presented. I will write a letter to the editor about the 12 questions.
    Thanks again for your response.

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