Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

I know I haven’t posted in a while. It’s been a really, really long time. Honestly, I was starting to get tired writing about the same stuff over and over again. The elections, KS school funding formula, taxes – it was hard to come up with creative ways to say the same thing so I just stopped for a while. After 400+ pages of content, I thought I could take a little break, spend some time on twitter and get back to it when I was energized.

Just when I was starting to get jazzed to write again, disaster hit.  And then hit again. To make matters worse, I can’t escape it. Disaster is literally in my air.

Background

Two years ago, I purchased a condo for my family. I thought a condo would be a great investment for us. After a divorce and some time in an apartment, I was ready to buy my first place on my own. I found the perfect place at 103rd and Nall. It was a great size, had a lot of green space and was in walking distance to Nall Park. We are one of the middle units of a four-plex. The pool is right across the street. I don’t have to rake or mow a lawn. Amelia and I were happy and felt settled.

Disaster #1

Thursday, July 27 – it rained all night. I think the final count was about six inches of rain. I woke up about 6 am to what I thought was the sound of a fan. It wasn’t a fan. It was water pouring into my basement. I ran downstairs. I found about a foot of water. Indian Creek was over the banks. Normally, you can’t see the creek from my unit. You can see by the images that morning how high the creek was. It was coming into my basement from my basement toilet, shower drain and floor drain. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these picture are after the water starting going down.

I immediately started cleaning up. I realized that the unit next to mine, 10435 Ash was vacant and had been for months. I emailed and called my HOA management company telling them what happened.  I told them that the unit next to mine was vacant.  If I had water like this, then everyone in our four-plex had water. My neighbor on the outside unit confirmed.

Clean up took place immediately. All wet items were disposed of. Fans were running. A dehumidifier was going non-stop. I continued to send messages about the unit next to mine. Was it cleaned up? I didn’t notice anyone over there.

About a week later, I smelled mildew. The smell was in my garage, in my kitchen on the main floor and in the basement. I thought maybe the flood water had left that smell so I continued to mop and mop again with bleach water. I lit candles to cover the mildew smell. I continued to inquire about the unit next to us with the condo management company.

My daughter came down with an upper respiratory infection. Kids get sick. I didn’t think much of it. Then I got sick. Asthma attacks, sinus infection, ear infections. It wouldn’t go away.  It lasted weeks. I continued to ask about the unit next door.

I finally received an email back from the management company. “We entered the unit”, the email said.

“What did you find?”

No answer.

I showed up at our monthly board meeting a week later. My agenda item was at the end.

The management company spoke first.

“We weren’t sure who owned the unit and that’s why it took us so long to figure out what to do. We (the board) entered the unit last week and it’s not safe for you and your daughter to be there anymore. The unit was covered in mold.”

My head was spinning. Not know who owned the unit? Not sure how to handle it? You knew last week and I’m sitting here today just hearing about this?

“There are pictures, but they are so bad you probably don’t want to see them,” said a board member.

We got out that night. I alerted the neighbors in my four-plex of the findings.

Then the phone calls started. Within 2 calls, I knew who owned the unit. James B Nutter took possession of the property in June. I called them repeatedly explaining how bad the situation was. We had been sick and weren’t able to live there. What were they going to do to help us?

I called Johnson County – emergency management, the health department, the environmental department. There are no mold standards so nothing they can do to help.

Multiple calls and emails with Johnson County Wastewater. Why did their sewer system back up into our basements? Did we qualify for a back up prevention unit to help prevent this in the future? After assessments, it turns out we do not. It’s a four-plex unit and they told me that they can’t install a back up unit because units are on one sewer line. I have a sewer ejection pump that was installed in 2005 by JOCO Wastewater as an alternative. I wasn’t aware of this. I replaced it last year for $1500. It was fully functional. It could not keep up with the sewer water. According to JOCO Wastewater, that is my issue not theirs. My issue? I had the sewer line assessed. It’s clear to the county line. It’s still my issue according to Johnson County even though Indian Creek overflowed into their sewer system and backed up into our condo. The damage claim I submitted was denied.

 

Disaster #2

Same issue, different month – August. Inches and inches of rain fell. Indian Creek overflows. All of our drains back up into our unit. Again, working ejection pump and sump pump and it couldn’t keep up with the water.  Clean up begins immediately. This time it’s easier because I had gotten almost everything off the floor for fear this would happen another time. Again, I reach out to the management company and James B Nutter saying how concerned I was about the vacant unit. Again, nothing.

I test for mold in my unit. It’s positive for mold in the basement and kitchen.

Multiple insurance calls and assessments.  The mold isn’t from my unit. It’s from the unit next door, therefore, insurance claim denied.

Mold Remediation

With no communication from Nutter, I decide I have to move forward on remediating my unit. I hire a company do clean up for mold. In come the air scrubbers. Out goes my basement kitchen and bathroom, most of the drywall, anything porous in the basement like my dresses, purses, Amelia’s art projects, my wedding album, my grandmother’s jewelry box. I refuse to throw away my prom and wedding dress. They are currently sealed up in a bag in my garage. I was advised not to open them.

Amelia and I were living with family for months. Our cats were living with friends. It’s exhausting and stressful not to be at home. Our condo started to appear abandoned. We traveled every other day to check on it -get the mail, water what’s left of the houseplants. I make jokes that we aren’t homeless, but instead “displaced” to try to make light of this horrible situation. I hire an attorney.

Nutter’s attorney said they will make it right. We almost never hear from them. My expenses are racking up. Mold tests $350 x 3, remediation $3600, lawyers fees, doctors bills, prescription medication costs, food bills from eating out so much, paying a mortgage for a place I can’t live in. We are tired and sick. My bank account is empty and our lives are in crisis.

We finally hear from Nutter in mid-October. They cleaned up. That is what is communicated to my attorney.  Amelia and I can’t move fast enough to get our family back together in our home. The cats moved back in. We unpacked.

And then it starts. Amelia complains of severe headaches. She has a sore throat. Something is wrong. She goes to her dad’s. Her symptoms clear up. We decide she needs to stay there. I stay in the house thinking if I’m on the top-level with the windows open, I can stand it. Not long after, I come down with a double ear infection.

I have to get out again. The day I was moving out, there was a contractor at the vacant unit. I introduced myself and told him we were suffering from mold problems.

“I bet you are.”

“Can I come in and take a look around?”

He invited me down the basement.

“Did you ever receive an order to remediate for mold,” I asked.

“No. We were just told to pull up the carpet.”

The carpet was sitting in a pile in the corner.

On my way out, water is pouring from the ceiling on the 2nd floor onto the main floor. I can’t get out fast enough.

These are some of the pictures of what I found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We move out again, but leave our cats. They adapted during the first move, but I couldn’t bring myself to move them again. It’s too upsetting. We go back and check on them almost daily. This goes on for November. We start noticing behavior changes. Gus doesn’t come to greet us like he normally does. I’m concerned they are depressed.

In the meantime, we hear that Nutter had contractors over the vacant unit to “clean up” after a story aired on WDAF Fox4.  They said they didn’t realize how bad it was. There were pictures from the board in August. I called and pleaded with them multiple times when this began.

My attorney says they are ready to walk around the empty unit with me for inspection. I ask for a mold test of the unit. I am not a mold expert. Walking around will not confirm there isn’t mold.

No response from James B Nutter. No date of a scheduled inspection.

My cat’s behavior was so concerning that I risked it and move back in temporarily the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Both cats perk up. I had a minor sore throat before I moved back in and almost immediately had a diagnosis of bronchitis and asthma flare ups. Urgent care visit for a breathing treatment, more steroids and antibiotics. My second round in 3 months.

I could still tell something is wrong with the cats and I couldn’t stand to leave them again. Last Wednesday night, Gus, 2 years old, jumped off the couch and couldn’t stand on his left side. He wasn’t seeing out of his left eye. His left side was limp. He died 11/30/17.

I wasn’t going to share this whole story via blog, but telling my daughter about her cat has left my family heartbroken.

To date, we have moved the remaining cat out. We are back with family. We still have not heard from James B. Nutter.

James B Nutter – there are no words.

Young Management – I couldn’t have reached out any more with my concerns. Days went by when you discovered the mold and when I was alerted. If I wasn’t at the board meeting, what was the plan?

JOCO Wastewater – sewer water in residential homes IS an issue for our city, county and state. This is a serious health problem. It is not a homeowner issue. If your sewer system can’t accommodate a creek, work with the city and the county and FIX IT.

Indian Creek – I am calling on city leaders to DO SOMETHING about this creek.

State and Federal Officials – we need mold standards. People and animals are ill. Homes are unable to be lived in.

What now? You will have to ask James B. Nutter that question.

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Dear friends at the Sentinel,

 

You and I have something in common. I know it’s shocking, but hang on and I’ll get to it. Every time I click on your website to read your latest trashing of the KC Star, KCUR, moderate Republicans, all KS Democrats, any common sense legislation or to read your lovefest for Kobach and Brownback, a link pops up asking me for money.  Turns out I’m ALSO asking people for money.

Can you guess what for? A hint. You wrote about it today.

That’s right! It’s for the KS Mainstream Coalition’s Walk to Raise Hell in 2018.

First, I’m not the official spokesperson for the group, but I do belong and support what they stand for.  I’ve been attending their events for the past few years.

You were clever to point out the irony in how our group is trying to “raise hell” when we call ourselves “mainstream”.  First, I don’t think we have to raise hell since it’s going to be as hot as Satan’s living room tomorrow with a heat index of 101 for the walk – thanks Mother Nature.

Let’s explore that anyway.

Why does a group that is mainstream need to raise hell?  I wouldn’t check the “Kansas Truth Caucus” social feed for any hints, but Kansas is digging our way out of budget crisis the size of the Grand Canyon from disastrous tax cuts (still waiting on trickle down) and trying to establish constitutional funding for our public schools.  The legislature made big strides this last session.

Why?

Democrats and Moderate Republicans.

Who are supported with help from groups like….

Starts with an “M”

Mainstream Coalition!!!! Ding! Ding!

From the Sentinel, “Truth be told there is nothing “mainstream” about the coalition, never has been. The soft-core progressives who run the show now mimic the alleged “stealth candidates” they set out to expose twenty-four years ago.”

There is nothing “mainstream” about the coalition? Really? Nothing “mainstream” about wanting strong public education?  Nothing “mainstream” about supporting separation of church and state?  Nothing “mainstream” about fiscal responsibility?

Fiscal responsibility and a walk that has the word “hell” in it sounds ppprrrreeettttyyy radical.

I guess Kansans can decide if they like what Mainstream stands for and the candidates they support or if they want to go back to the failed tax experiment and that got us into this mess and had everyone asking, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”

Signed,

A “soft-core progressive” who is excited to Raise Hell in 2018

 

It’s Sunday afternoon. My plan was to curl up on the couch with the new best seller “Shattered” to understand what went wrong with Hillary’s campaign. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4405698/Inside-Hillary-Clinton-s-doomed-campaign.html

Every day since Trump won, I’m like…

I went up to the local Barnes and Noble to buy my copy.

“I’m here for Shattered,” I said at the info desk.  I always head right to the info desk. because I’m not one to browse the Barnes and Noble in a hunter/gatherer type of mode.  Right or wrong, I treat the info desk more like a valet service.  Don’t judge.

I got more Barnes and less Noble from Miss Help Desk.

“That sold out almost immediately. Do you want to be put on a list? What’s your name?”

A list? I have to wait? I’m cool with lots of four letter words, but w.a.i.t. isn’t one of them.  I’ve already binge watched Girlboss on Netflix and it’s Sunday.

“Add me to your list.  Trust me, there isn’t a list, good or bad, in KS I’m not already on.”

Here we are. I’m caught up on Netflx, no book to read and it’s a rerun of Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel.

Idea! Let’s do a Sunday Summary!

Here. We. Go.

1. Big news this week that SMSD Superintendent Jim Hinson is “retiring” – I shouldn’t have put that in quotes because he really is retiring.  The quotes are that it came out of the blue, midweek and everyone was like…

Retiring. Sure.  I think he’s my age. My age being “29”. <cough> <cough>.

Why the sudden announcement?  I think the best source is the Shawnee Mission Post. They have reported all the dirt.  Was it the CBIZ contract? Was he on the wrong side of school finance? Was he pushed out? Probably all of the above. To be honest, I don’t think we will ever really know, but I’m glad he is gone.

Confession: I can’t stress enough how much damage this guy did to the Shawnee Mission  School District. I follow politics, but I don’t follow school boards or superintendents. I can’t name another KC superintendent or previous superintendent in Shawnee Mission. Some days I can barely sign permission slips and remember soccer practice.  #momlife The fact that I know about the Hinson dirt bothers me. My passions are state and federal politics. You know it’s bad when I’m regularly logging on to watch school board meetings and skipping the Real Housewives.  Sorry Andy. It’s Jim’s fault. The hottest ticket in town is the Monday night SMSD school board meeting. Follow along on twitter #SMSD or log in to watch.  All eyes are on you Shawnee Mission to clean up this mess.

2. #KSLEG is on recess until 5/1.  There have been a lot of great events around town to meet with your representatives. Smart to hold them at bars. Reason #1 why I show up. I hope you have been taking advantage of them.  http://www.mainstreamcoalition.org/

When break is over, they will be tackling school finance, the bleak budget, campus carry and expanding medicaid. It is…

 

Hello Ryan…

It is very exciting IF IT WASN’T THE SAME THINGS THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT WHEN THE SESSION STARTED. Tick toc my friends.

3. Speaking of things on repeat in Kansas, Jay Sidie is back raising money for the KS 03 to run against Congressman Kevin Yoder.  That will be a race to watch.  I’m sure there were lessons learned from the last race and as much as Yoder would like you to think he isn’t vulnerable, he is.  How do I know?  I’m a political genius. HA! Nope. He’s running around talking to anyone who will listen about how he’s not vulnerable. It’s not hard to figure out. #OverYoder

Everyone remembers Yoder supported Trump, people are frustrated with Yoder’s town halls that are l-a-m-e and I’m sure Sidie learned a lot from the last election (psst..go TV and radio EARLIER).

That is the Sunday Summary.  If anyone has a connection to a copy of the Hllary book, message me! I’ll be your BFF.

Have a great week everyone.

Thanks for reading.

Aimee

 

Last week’s close race between Thompson and  Estes in KS 04 has all of Kansas buzzing about the future of other seats.  Paul Davis announced he’s throwing his hat in the ring for Lynn Jenkin’s 2nd district seat http://cjonline.com/news/local/state-government/2017-04-12/democrat-paul-davis-initiates-campaign-rep-lynn-jenkins-2nd

Loved this announcement.

The Governor’s race – buh-bye Brownback.  Can’t come soon enough.  So who’s running?  Everyone.  Hell, for all I know I’m running.  I can’t keep up with the list of names.  My question, who wants to inherit this hot mess?  The state is bankrupt, the school funding drama deserves a reality show on Bravo, our college kids aren’t only going to be raging at the local frat house – they will be armed.  #CampusCarry Good times.

And then there is Congressman Kevin Yoder.  After the Thompson/Estes race, all eyes turned to his seat.

From the KC Star,

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article144290479.html

“If we start to see Republicans consistently underperforming … then someone like Kevin Yoder, who is in a much more politically balanced district that Hillary Clinton actually won, needs to be concerned,” said Patrick Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas.

Yoder’s office declined to comment for this article.

Of course they declined to comment. I’m not a political scientist, but let me break this down for you in suburban, mom-speak.

Remember the Women’s March?  That small gathering?

 

KC had a strong showing. A large percentage of the people there were from Yoder’s district. If Thompson can pull numbers like that in KS004 with a grassroots effort and almost no support from the national party, imagine what can happen in a more liberal district like Yoder’s?

Combine that with the fact that Yoder USED to be a moderate.  Heck, I used to like him back in the day. I know! Shocking! He has inched or should I say galloped to the right with the popularity of the Tea Party.  It’s  hard to pin him down on issues (healthcare vote) and has decided to phone in his recent Town Halls. #NoEyeContact

Yoder wants you to believe that everything is just a-ok.  He isn’t sweating it.  His camp finally released a statement-

 

Kev’s got lots of money. Whoopie. I’m not political spin doctor, but watch this…”Congressman Yoder has served his constituents well, will continue to until the election and welcomes an opponent to discuss issues important to Kansans.”

Translation – Yoder is really, really worried.

We all know the slogan #YoderVoter. Think about how easily it can change to #OverYoder.  Wouldn’t that be terrible if it gained momentum?

 

Hey everyone,

I know it’s been a while.  Sorry I haven’t been writing more.   What I’ve been lacking in blogging, I’ve been making up for in tweeting!

There have been numerous articles analyzing the KS04 election.  I had to chime in here with my top four takeaways from this special election.  In no particular order!

  1. The swamp ad –  Estes stood in a swamp – an actual green, disgusting swamp with a mid-belly campaign sticker to prove a point about the disgusting DC swamp and then paraded the swamp to campaign for him.  Cruz, Pence and now swampy Trump all came out to support Ron Estes. Was the snake supposed to represent the liberals or Cruz?  Thinking back without reviewing the ad, I’m not exactly sure.

Estes

2. The postcards

Who is paying for the postcards? Oh the drah-ma! SOMEHOW I knew that there was bickering between the state party and Thompson over paying for campaign postcards.  This came out at a critical time during the election.  My advice – ZIP IT! Both sides are at fault. Look, every family has dirty laundry, the point is to fake it like everyone does on Facebook. Pretend to be happy.  I could care less if the money was offered, if the postcards were purchased, if the party didn’t pay for the postcards, if there even were postcards. It DOESN’T matter!  I do remember hearing about this and thinking, “there must be some serious problems in this campaign.” REMINDER – I am 175 miles away from this campaign. I shouldn’t even know about the damn postcards.

3. Silence from the DNC

Oh Bernie.  He came out for Thompson.  He would say something nice at my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah if I asked him to.  Of course Bernie showed up, but Bernie can’t be everywhere.  Where were the others?  Warren?   Biden? Anyone? The response – “That does not escape the attention of voters,” said Ian Russell, who served as the DCCC’s political director last year. “If national Democrats come in, that becomes a campaign issue.” http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/election/article144157229.html

This excuse is such crap! See point #1 – the guy was standing in a swamp!  It was already a campaign issue.  You were represented by reptiles in a campaign ad.  Game on.  If you are worried about your leadership being a campaign issue, take a look at your leadership.

4. The DNC social game – sigh.  Where are you my friends?  I thought the twitter feed was @DNC.  I went crazy at their lack of involvement (no tweets since 4/4) and was corrected to the twitter feed of @thedemocrats.  I kinda apologize.  Only kinda, because twitter is my favorite social platform and EVEN I WAS CONFUSED.  How are others going to follow and figure this out, if I couldn’t?  You have a feed that connects people to another feed in the profile?  Who reads profiles?

Even on the correct feed, the tweets of support for Thompson are weak.  Post election, there are mentions of the race.  See below. Am I inspired?  Are you serious?  How many resistance shirts have I purchased?  How many protest signs have I drawn?  How many times I have I shown up at rallies and made my voice heard for you to barely phone it in to this important race.  AND now you have the balls to ask me if I’m “inspired?” Show me how you are going to step up YOUR game and then we will talk.

tweet

There is a grassroots movement out there and it is strong.  Listen to it.  Mobilize it.  Let it work WITH you.  Real change can happen, but you need to LISTEN.  Congratulations Thompson and your grassroots supporters who came out with a respectable showing and Estes on the win.

Moving on,
Aimee
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