Over the last week or two we have been hearing a lot about Theresa A. Garza-Ruiz.
Make no mistake about it, since taking office in 2007, the legislator representing Jackson County's 1st District-At-Large has become the quintessential pain in the backside for some of the good ole' boys who walk the county hallways--which has indubitably been a good thing.
But taking on some of the county's knavish sycophants sometimes comes with a cost. This year, Henry Rizzo smacked Jackson County residents in the face when he took Garza-Ruiz off of The Justice & Law Enforcement Committee, eventhough she chaired the committee for three years and holds two degrees in Criminal Justice, and to no surprise gave the post to convicted felon James D. Tindall --a move that leaves us all ill regardless of who you support.
This week, in her Independence Examiner Column, Garza-Ruiz not only finds herself having to defend a vote that most of the county supports during these tough times, but also calling out Legislator Henry Rizzo for cheating the system and allowing Garza's primary opponent to cut in line and land first on the ballot.
Take a look:
Shenanigans continue in Jackson County
By Theresa Garza Ruiz
Special to The Examiner
Posted Feb 24, 2010 @ 12:39 AM
Blue Springs, MO — I was going to write about the MyArts program, but two items have occurred since my last article that I would like to address.
The first item deals with a recent vote regarding funding for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Due to our current budgetary constraints, I have indicated that I will continue voting against any non-county functions. We have laid employees off, cut department budgets, and made cuts to outside agencies that provide needed services and programs to our residents. It passed 5 to 3 with one absent. Yet, we continue funding events that do not even fall under county services.
Additionally, one of my colleagues indicated that the funding goes to Harvesters. There is nothing on the request for proposal that states the money does in fact go to Harvesters. Instead, the RFP states that the money goes to the Kansas City Police Department for security along the parade route. If that’s the case, then why doesn’t the county use our own law enforcement agency? I can’t imagine the Sheriff’s Department not wanting additional money due to the cuts they’ve already received.
The second item deals with candidates filing for office. On Tuesday, I officially filed for re-election. Over the past three years, folks have shared with me their frustration with the shenanigans of county government, especially with the candidate filing process.
In the past, candidates would camp out all night on the steps or in their cars; sneak into the building after hours and camp out in an office or their own office if they are the incumbent; or be escorted through security early in the morning before official filing hours started by county staff or politicos. On Monday at our legislative meeting an announcement was made that a new procedure would kick in at the close of business.
Starting at 5 p.m., a sheriff’s deputy would be located at the west entrance to take the names of candidates filing for office. The list would determine the order of filing for Tuesday morning. No 24-hour notice was given to the public. Plenty of time was not given for everyone to know how the process would work so questions could be asked or concerns raised.
A few years back, I filed a bill that would have changed this entire debacle. It would have moved us to a lottery system similar to what they use at the state level. A large percentage of states, counties, and municipalities utilize the lottery system for first-day filers in order to present a fair process and level playing field. It was defeated in a 7-2 vote. The shenanigans known as county government continue.
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