Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday October 14, 2010

Wichita mayor to lead LKM. City press release: “Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was elected as the 81st president of the League of Kansas Municipalities (LKM) during the organization’s annual conference Tuesday morning in Overland Park. … He also urged his fellow local leaders to restore the public’s confidence in government. ‘We need to have our citizens recognize the value of competent government, and why our freedoms and security depend on it,’ he said.” As noted a few days ago on these pages, the League of Kansas Municipalities is a special interest group working in favor not of the citizens who live in Kansas towns and cities, but the politicians and bureaucrats that run them — and their cronies — who benefit from the LKM’s advocacy of things like TIF districts, STAR bonds, tax abatements, and eminent domain for economic development. So I don’t know if we should be proud that our mayor is the president of this group.

Goody Clancy in Topeka, too. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Goody Clancy, the planning firm working for Wichita is also working in Topeka.

FactFinder 12: Pompeo campaign ad. Analysis of an advertisement by Kansas fourth Congressional district candidate Republican Mike Pompeo by Michael Schwanke of KWCH 12 Eyewitness News concludes that Pompeo used some of the techniques that he and Republicans strongly criticized Democrat Raj Goyle for using. Schwanke concludes: “Goyle made those statements, but the ad doesn’t provide complete context.” This is the same issue that got Republicans riled up a few weeks ago.

Pompeo poll released. The Pompeo campaign has released a poll that was commissioned and paid for by the campaign. The results are Pompeo with 58 percent of the vote, and Goyle with 31 percent. Two minor party candidates get three percent each, and undecided voters are at 16 percent. In its analysis the polling firm notes “the confrontational attacks by Goyle have backfired and have resulted in Goyle’s negative rating increasing substantially.” Candidate-produced polls need to be considered carefully. Goyle’s campaign has released their own polls in August and September which showed a smaller Pompeo lead than public polls. FiveThirtyEight indicates it flags polls which meet its definition of a partisan poll, which it defines as a poll conducted [on behalf of] any current candidate for office. It also says “Nevertheless, they are included in the ratings. If a pollster releases a poll into the public domain, we assume that they are interested in doing their best and most accurate work, regardless of whom the poll is conducted for.” The firm that conducted this poll for Pompeo conducted a poll for the same campaign July 6th through 8th, about a month before the August primary election, with results of Pompeo leading Wink Hartman 27 percent to 21 percent. The actual results were Pompeo 39 percent, Jean Schodorf 24 percent, and Hartman 23 percent. Public polls underestimated Pompeo’s actual vote total, too.

Kansas legislator Merrick honored. American Legislative Exchange Council, described as a “nonpartisan individual membership organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions” has recognized Kansas Representative and Majority Leader Ray Merrick with its highest award. “The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is pleased to announce that Representative Ray Merrick of the Kansas House of Representatives recently received the highest honor that a setting legislator can receive from the organization — Legislator of the Year. Rep. Merrick received the award at ALEC’s 37th Annual Meeting, held in San Diego, Cal., August 5 — 8, 2010. Nearly 1,500 state legislators, policy experts, and private-sector leaders from across the United States attended three days of intensive discussions on the critical issues facing the states and our nation. This award is given to state legislators who are ALEC members in good standing and have distinguished themselves by advancing, introducing, and/or enacting policies based on the fundamental Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.”

Education reform setback. Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook: “Michelle Rhee described her decision yesterday to step down as Washington, D.C., schools chancellor after 3½ years as ‘heartbreaking.’ We share the sentiment. That one of the nation’s most talented school reformers was forced out does not bode well for students … Ms. Rhee’s resignation ‘won immediate support from the Washington Teachers’ Union,’ a strong signal that her departure is a victory for the adults who run public education, not the kids in failing schools. … One reason education reform is so difficult is because unions believe their political influence and money will outlast even the bravest reformers in the end — which is why they’re cheering today in the District of Columbia.”

Wichita Eagle voter guide available. Click here. You can get a list of the candidates, along with their responses to questions, customized for your address. The first advance voter ballots were mailed yesterday.

Kansas Jackass blogger guilty. Kansas Watchdog reports: “Former blogger Jason Croucher entered a plea of guilty to 3 counts of child pornography on Wednesday morning at the U.S. Court House. Croucher’s progressive ‘Kansas Jackass’ blog was widely read by members of the Kansas Legislature and others in Kansas in 2009. The blog is no longer online.” Croucher operated anonymously until “outed” by Earl Glynn and myself, although he planned to become known on his own at some time. His style was to poke fun at his opponents, using anything negative about them as material for his attacks. Rarely was public policy discussed in a meaningful and serious way.

Wichita Eagle Opinion Line. “Gov. Mark Parkinson: I have six employees. I need to expand my business or quit. Please loan me $1 million to be paid back with my employees’ income tax. Thank you.” A fine example of government intervention crowding out private investment and initiative.

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