What’s ahead in 2014?

Lee's Summit JournalDecember 31, 2013 

Someone asked me recently for my Lee’s Summit predictions for the New Year.

Of course, we know some of the obvious – city council elections, a no-tax bond issue for improvements on 291 and 50 highways, likely more snow and ice (and more griping about snow removal) and ongoing Wal-Mart drama.

It’s tricky to drill down on any of those for a specific forecast on my part.

I have a hard enough time trying to figure out what the Kansas City Chiefs are going to do (or not do) on Sundays or predict how sweet or insane my 3-year-old is going to be on any given day, much less who may win a local council election or how a ballot measure will turn out.

What I do know is that some of the negative vibes coming from certain interest groups around town are increasingly showing up around town.

Call them Agenda 21 or what you will. This group may be small, but they are gaining traction with their actions. So much so that they’ve stalled a perfectly legitimate Wal-Mart project in south Lee’s Summit.

And while I do not know who will win our council races, I think we will see some of this influence creep into the campaign platforms, either with known candidates or with those that have yet to file.

And there is one prediction I feel good about making – I don’t think we’ve seen the end of filings for council seats coming open in April.

This coming year on city council we will be training one or more brand new elected officials. The learning curve is sharp and quick.

It’s easy to predict we will have some growing pains at the city council level in 2014. What’s more difficult to analyze is how the new components will work with current council members and what priorities – economic development, tax incentives, arts or others – will be important to each of them.

City leaders in 2014 will need to do a better job of educating residents on what is expected and what is realistic about snow removal after ice and snow storms. Social media exploded after our first major storm of the year with tales of untreated roads and impassable areas.

Some people got around just fine; many seemed agitated about what "major" streets around town – namely Todd George, Chipman, Scruggs and Tudor – didn’t get the attention they felt it should have by 24 to 48 hours after the storm.

Of course, 2014 will also be filled with rain, heat, wind and maybe even spring thunderstorms, so, stay tuned for obligatory complaining about those topics, too.

Mid-term elections, health care battles, political maneuvering – yes indeed, 2014 is certain to be a fun ride.

Just make sure you buckle up. Because, I’ll admit it, I don’t every single time. That’s gonna change in 2014, too.


John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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