Paul Jacob of Common Sense with Paul Jacob and Citizens in Charge has been at the forefront of promoting citizen-powered democracy for many years. I happened to meet him a few years ago and started following his work. The initiative and referendum process is not common in Kansas, as there aren’t many opportunities for citizens to petition their government. So when I became involved in a referendum petition in Wichita last fall, I called Paul and sought advice. Without his helpful advice, I don’t know if we could have filed the successful petition that led to the election in Wichita this week.
Stopping Crony Capitalism
By Paul Jacob
Voters in Wichita, Kansas, went to the polls, Tuesday, to smash a measure that would have forked over $2.25 million in tax rebates to a downtown hotel project. Those supporting the giveaway spent $300,000 to promote the deal, while opponents ponied up a scant $30,000 against it. The vote nevertheless strongly weighed against the big money, 62 to 38 percent.
The Wichita City Council had enacted this “economic development” deal with the hotel developers, and that would have been the end of it … but for some pesky Wichita taxpayers.