Bryan Derreberry and the Chamber’s goals for Wichita


When the head of a chamber of commerce speaks or writes, it pays to listen or read carefully. While chambers are nominally pro-business, that’s a long way from saying they’re pro-liberty. Instead, they increasingly exist to serve a narrow interest. Using words and language like “pride,” “community,” “investment,” and “economic development” — all words that people can agree with, their flowery messages hide their real agenda.

Here’s an example. In the Wichita Eagle on May 12, 2006, president and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce Bryan Derreberry wrote as follows:

If we are serious about advancing our community, then we have to invest in it and take pride in who we are. The Sedgwick County arena can boost excitement and economic development in Wichita, Sedgwick County and the region.

The arena initiative was a broad-based decision-making effort that offered everyone an opportunity to weigh in with a vote. Sedgwick County is now carrying out what the voters approved with an open and thoughtful process, allowing much input along the way.

There will always be those who resist change and look for ways to impede progress. But we have an obligation to take care of the community we live in today and make it better for those who come after us.

First, Mr. Derreberry is confused about the meaning of the word “investment.” In a recent article, Chris Brown tells us the true meaning of investment: “Investment signifies an accumulation of savings through lower present consumption, which will then be used to achieve (potential) profitable returns in the future.” None of this applies to the downtown Wichita arena. It was funded by transferring money from taxpayers to the government. Then, government has no ability to measure profitability, as it is not subject to the profit and loss system that private business must live by. Besides, how does government generate revenue? Through taxation, of course.

Then, the “broad-based decision-making effort” is certainly a misnomer. The arena passed with 52% of the vote. That’s hardly a mandate. Many people, seeing how the process has been handled since the election, have said they’d change their “yes” vote to “no.”

Finally, Mr. Derreberry slams those who say “no” to what he wants. That’s a mistake arising from the arrogance of those who believe that they know best how people should spend their money. By saying “no” to these government projects we are saying “yes” to entrepreneurship, limited government, and liberty. These goals, evidently, are not valued by Mr. Derreberry and his organization.


2 responses to “Bryan Derreberry and the Chamber’s goals for Wichita”

  1. Charles

    Mr. Derreberry middle name is arrogant. Steve Martens, Harvey Sorensen, Jeff Turner, Ross Meyers are the people that he listens too. His decision making is not based on a “broad base consensus” since only a few telling him what to do. Money does talk!

  2. The DT Arena was a far superior alternative than to renovate Britt Brown.

    The DT Arena is a viable community project that will see returns in the form of business, entrepreneurial and young professional retention.

    The DT Arena vote was no attack on liberty or represented expanded government. It is clearly an infrastructure project and one that was a smart move for our community. Strictly voluntary, from the vote to the tax payment to even you can choose to leave the community if you feel so strongly against it.

    The one thing is that the amount of young people leaving our area represents a loss of $500,000,000 a year in investment. That is not a good thing and you will never reduce the flight by having our area without venues such as multi-purpose arena, a zoo, parks, museums and etc.

    I do not understand why some of you are so strongly against it that you have to return to it as a whipping boy for our limited government argument. The DT Arena is bought and paid for with operation reserves to last it for 20 years and it will be ran by a private company. Also it helped keep a lot of young people to look at continue to staying in Wichita as a result. (Because I know a lot of them that would have left Wichita if the DT arena was voted down.)

    I don’t think you guys understand the importance of building a community. Low taxes and limited government; yes I agree with that. But knowing that as a community, for which we live and raise a family, we should agree that quality of life is one of the most important assets a community can offer. We will not do that by going against every infrastructure project in the name of keeping taxes low.

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