More Under Reported Kansas News
By Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network
There are at least two stories that have not received the mainstream news media attention that they deserve in Kansas. Kansans need more information than they have received and the readers should decide whether the following is unreported or just under reported in their daily, mainstream newspaper coverage.
It was headlines across Kansas when Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison announced his candidacy for Attorney General. Morrison, a liberal Johnson County Republican prior to his announcement, bailed out of the GOP said he was going to run as a Democrat. This announcement and the headline news stories that followed led to analysis pieces discussing the split in the Kansas Republican Party and the “problems” facing Attorney General Phill Kline’s 2006 campaign for reelection.
What is fascinating in seeing the mainstream Kansas press’ bias was a couple of weeks later when Attorney General Kline announced that 89 of 105 county sheriffs were endorsing him for reelection. Even more remarkable was the fact that 8 of 13 Democrat sheriffs were among the 89.
There has been very little news media coverage of this announcement in the Kansas press. In a few cases the information has been grudgingly and belatedly provided. There have not been any â€œanalysisâ€ articles discussing the weakness in Morrison’s candidacy when over half of the sheriffs in his new party are already rejecting his candidacy. These endorsements have been filling the internet sites with comments about the 89 endorsements. It is noteworthy that the Kansas City Star did not mention this until over two weeks after the news conference where the Attorney General Kline made this announcement. This belated mention of this story in early December in the Kansas City Star is likely due to the pressure from internet bloggersâ€™ commentaries.
This reflects more badly upon the news coverage in the Kansas City Star, the Wichita Eagle, and the other daily papers that are trying to skew state news coverage the way the New York Times and Washington Post have been caught skewing national news.
A second story that has been ignored involves the Texas Supreme Courtâ€™s decision on school finance. Texasâ€™ highest court threw out their statewide property tax but specifically told the legislature that additional funds were not a solution needed to make their stateâ€™s school finance system pass constitutional requirements.
This case is similar to the ongoing Kansas litigation in terms of subject but not in terms of remedy or violating the separation of powers provisions. So, the Texas case is not only timely but is also quite relevant since it contrasts with the Kansas courtâ€™s $853 million in new spending demands. The Texas court ruling is going to set the stage for that stateâ€™s 2006 legislative session. However, this ruling specifically avoids the ongoing spending edicts being issued by the top Kansas courtâ€™s school finance edicts. Kansas is awaiting more edicts from our judicial masters.
Thatâ€™s a notable judicial difference. Kansans should know that five of the seven members of the Kansas Supreme Court are registered Democrats. Kansas Chief Justice Kay McFarland may complain about the fact that citizens are restless about her courtâ€™s edicts and activism on school finance, the death penalty, the courtâ€™s support for eminent domain abuses, and other hot button social issues. There are consequences to judicial short-circuiting of the political process to arrive at the politically correct conclusions of our new judicial oligarchs.
The Kansas Supreme Court needs to be seen as the Sebelius court with her appointments, her campaign managerâ€™s family ties to this court, and the Democratic domination among its members. The contrast, as well as the similarities, between Kansas and Texas in this school finance litigation is an important story that deserves more attention than it has received.