Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday January 16, 2011

Wichita swoons over Boston attention. The self-congratulatory back-patting by a group of Wichitans over attention paid by a Boston Globe travel writer is starting to be embarrassing for us. The Wichita Eagle article on this topic mentions chicken-fried steak and biscuits and gravy in its opening sentence, a sure sign that the article will attempt to draw a contrast between our image and our purported reality. Which is, if I understand, mostly street statues, the Old Mill Tasty Shop, and Exploration Place. … As it turns out, Geoff Edgers, the writer, has a financial motive in his praise of Wichita. On his initial visit: “Festival directors put up Edgers, his wife and two small children at the Hotel at Old Town.” Now Wichitans are raising money to help the writer, who is also a filmmaker, get his movie on television, and “the Wichita groups offered to raise money to help Edgers’ get his film shortened and syndicated for public broadcasting. … If he raises $2,500 while in Wichita next month, Edgers intends to include a ‘thank-you’ to Wichita in the credits of his syndicated film.”

Harm of expanding government explained. Introducing his new book Back on the Road to Serfdom: The Resurgence of Statism, Thomas E. Woods, Jr. writes: “The economic consequences of an expanded government presence in American life are of course not the only outcomes to be feared, and this volume considers a variety of them. For one thing, as the state expands, it fosters the most antisocial aspects of man’s nature, particularly his urge to attain his goals with the least possible exertion. And it is much easier to acquire wealth by means of forcible redistribution by the state than by exerting oneself in the service of one’s fellow man. The character of the people thus begins to change; they expect as a matter of entitlement what they once hesitated to ask for as charity. That is the fallacy in the usual statement that ‘it would cost only $X billion to give every American who needs it’ this or that benefit. Once people realize the government is giving out a benefit for ‘free,’ more and more people will place themselves in the condition that entitles them to the benefit, thereby making the program ever more expensive. A smaller and smaller productive base will have to strain to provide for an ever-larger supply of recipients, until the system begins to buckle and collapse.” … Phrases like “smaller and smaller productive base” apply in Wichita, where our economic development policies like tax increment financing, community improvement districts, and tax abatement through industrial revenue bonds excuse groups of taxpayers from their burdens, leaving a smaller group of people to pay the costs of government.

10 Comments

  • Heaven forbid someone says something nice about Wichita. While every other city of some size in this country tries to attract visitors by the promotion of tourism, only Wichita is apparently the proto-communist spending monster that is so tyrannical and evil to spend a tiny amount of taxpayer dollars to promote itself. Shame on you, Wichita! The only public dollars that should be spend are apparently for PBS, since Bob Weeks apparently likes that kind of government spending. Except, now he probably doesn’t, now that he is appearing on a commercial station.

    It must be the columnist’s comment about city development that caught your eye, Mr. Weeks. You dismissed the other attractions of downtown Wichita, but what else is new.

  • Hey Bob,

    Your opinion’s your opinion, but are you going to correct your blog post? I wrote a travel story on how much I enjoyed Wichita during our visit. (Incidentally, it is standard for a film festival to pay a filmmaker’s way when he or she is showing a film – for which they receive no revenue – at the film festival.)

    As for the correction: The travel story ran because we enjoyed our visit. The idea of coming back to Wichita emerged later, largely because (my opinion) folks there appreciated the story and Tallgrass wanted to help us out.

    Feel free to write with any question. And hope you can make it to the Orpheum on Feb. 18.

    Best, Geoff

  • I wish Bob was more direct in forming a conclusion instead of letting the facts speak for themselves. Wichita shows itself again to be a sucker for any outside attention. And here, despite Edgers’ unfounded attempt to dispute the facts, there is a financial motive for the outsider to take advantage of the rubes in Wichita. Mr. Edgers, please find another gullible town to prey upon and leave us alone.

  • Interesting … I would have assumed that when travel writers’ expenses are paid by someone in the city they write about, that would be disclosed as part of the article. I guess not with Edgers.

  • Once again, Bob and his merry band of obtuse followers show their simple-minded selves.

    Mr. Edgers, an artist and writer, visited our city and wrote a very nice article about his experience. There was no quid pro quo. (For you simple minded folk, that means, “something for something”. It’s Latin. Try to keep up.)

    So instead of questioning his integrity and forthright response, I would suggest that you instead show a little class and thank him for his nice words about our community.

    Mr. Edgers, THANK YOU for your kind words about our community. It is greatly appreciated.

  • I’ll have to agree with the criticism of the ethics of Edgers and the Boston Globe newspaper. Not disclosing the free trip is a problem.

  • Hi

    As long as it’s not MY $2500 that’s going to Geoff to pay him to write a nice article about it, that’s fine. I’d like to see our government do what it’s supposed to do, and otherwise keep its nose out of our business. I’m hesitant to believe that mentioning Wichita in the Boston newspaper will in any way benefit Wichita.

    Ah Wichita, more class than NYC, more laid back than LA, and more fun than Vegas, just ask the Chamber of Commerce…

    Later

  • It’s troubling to me that Wichita so desperately seeks outside notice and redemption that we’ll fall for anything like an article written by an apparently unethical travel writer and published in a newspaper that doesn’t care.

    We need to stand on our own merits! Which is not the pumping up of Wichita by organizations like the conventions and visitors bureau. Or the downtown boosters. It’s the private sector greatness of Wichita that makes our economy work and makes us desirable, not our government.

  • Hi other Anon. You’ve jumped over and hit the nail on the head. Wichita is lead by a large group of wannabe’s. Unfortunately, they can’t even all agree on what they wannbe. We have the party capital wannabe’s (more bars in old town), the high class wannabe’s (more funky art shops in downtown), and others.

    Wichita’s downtown sucks in most ways. Most of the buildings are vacant, or nearly so. There are some nice bars, and if you frequent them, you’ll meet our nice policemen who’ll give you a nice DUI. We have a new arena, that we’ll be paying on for the next 50 years, and no where to park close to it. We nave a nice water walk, but if you try to get to the water from the ONE business on the water, the fire alarm goes off. What part of town does our esteemed leadership mention most often? DOWNTOWN.

    We have a nice nature center at Chisholm Creek park, a great zoo, a decent Western themed park (cowtown), and nice restaurants on both the east and west sides (MILES AWAY from the DUI traps downtown). We NEVER play up our strengths. If our esteemed leadership would quit buying crap we don’t want with our tax money, Wichita would be a great place to live again.

    Later

  • “We have a new arena………………. and no where to park close to it.”

    Are really as ignorant as you seem to be? ‘Cause that’s what this statement would sure indicate. I’m sure you’re not. Just sayin’.

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