Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Shannon, Joseph B., 1867-1943; Pendergast, Tom, 1870-1945; Murray, Matthew S.; Bulger, Miles, Jr., 1877-1939; McElroy, Henry F., 1865-1939
County government; Roads; Political affairs

Longhand Note of Judge Harry S. Truman, Not dated. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.


The Zoning Bills introduced into the 1931 Legislature by Kirby.

In December 1928 a Regional Planning Association was formed and a part of its policy was the creation of a zoning and planning law for the Region both in Kansas & Missouri.

A bill was introduced in the 1929 session of the Mo. Legislature but failed to pass. This bill and its associated bills were House Bill 197.198.199.

Along the latter part of January Mr. Prescott, Mr. King, Frank Davis and the Presiding Judge of the County Court of Jackson County had a luncheon and discussed the advisability of introducing a zoning bill into the 1931 session at Jefferson City. Davis had collected a set of zoning bills from Wisconsin, Ohio, California and other states. These laws were turned over to the assistant County Counselor from Independence and he was instructed to draw a bill for introduction.

He took the old bill the Wisconsin and Ohio laws and drew the present bill. He was sent to Jefferson City by the court and the bill was introduced.

More about government as it is administered these days.

There's Tom and Joe and Cass and the Star and Newman and among the small fry Koehler and Richardson and a host of others. What chance is there for a clean honest administration of the city and county when a bunch vultures sit on the side lines and puke on the field. The Star does as much puking as the rest. If we only had Tom to deal with the public might have a chance, but Tom can't operate without Joe & Cass. Cass is a thug and a crook of the worst water he should have been in the pen twenty years ago. Joe hasn't got an honest appointee on the pay roll. Tom's worst influence is Mike Ross who is just a plain thief. His son Willie had his dad backed off the boards in that hire and he was also a rival of Casimer as a thug. He's dead and I suspect his sales of rotten paving have disrupted the government of hell by now. He brought Mathew Murray here from the State Highway Dep't. and there hasn't been an honest letting of paving contracts since he's been here. McElroy said he'd "forced" old man Gary to let him have Murray from the State Highway Dept. but "Willie" recommended him to McElroy and that's how Mc took him away from Gary. Gary no doubt heaved a big relief sigh.

Take the director of water for instance. He's a crooked building contractor who was formerly president of the old upper house of the council and was one of the "split up" men. He built a negro home for boys for Bulger (who made a 1/2 million as County Judge) at a cost of $167,000.00. Worth probably $80,000.00 but Miles got a house out of it. He tried the same tactics on the Negro Girls Home. There was an honest inspector who held his feet to the fire. He nearly died when he had to build by specifications. No wonder water bills go higher and the dept has a deficit. Of course Tom Boyle helps that out too.

Mr. Koehler is in a class by himself. His ethics were acquired in a north end precinct. He and Miles were partners in all Willie Rose's road contracts. He gets a rake off on road oil from the Standard Oil Company: he gets a rake off from the same outfit on asphalt. He is a partner of the Creosote Culvert Company. He can't be stopped. He is a partner of Dyer and Tim Thompson. He hated Truman but is very fond of Vrooman Barr & Bash.

John Barker, expert fixer. He failed to fix the Supreme Court in the police business and out he went. He got Mr. Tiete to allow a crooked contractor Oreily by name to collect some $60,000.00 on a sewer contract against the engineers advice. I wonder how good a fixer this gentlemen's successor is.

Why oh why can't we get some old Romans who are fundamentally honest and clean up this mess? It will take a revolution to do it and it is coming in about ten generations. That or a real race will appear and take charge.

We teach our boys to worship the dollar and to get it how they can. The above situation is the result. And we have an extra ordinarily clean local government. Chicago, Pittsburg, San Francisco, Los Angelos [sic] make us look like suckers. The State of Kansas and the State of Illinois are also in the hands of money and money makers. Missouri is harder to get at and is not so bad. However we have the crookedest Secretary of State the world has ever seen.

Someday we'll awake have a reformation of the heart to teach our kids honor and kill a few sex sychologists [sic] to put boys in High Schools and themselves with men teachers (not sissies) close all the girls finishing schools, shoot all the efficiency experts and become a nation of Gods people once more.

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