We have to step back and wonder why it’s necessary to occupy the time of the Sedgwick County Commissioners and the people of the county who pay attention to these meetings just so that Mr. Hanson can recite the history of his organization.
Here’s something that Hanson said to the commissioners:
“As you are well aware, we are certainly proud of what’s taken place in the development of the Intrust Bank arena. A big congratulations to all of you, past commissioners, and certainly the staff of Sedgwick county for the leadership you have provided for our community in development of this jewel and huge community project. I know you are aware of the important role the Sports Commission and all of our members played in bringing the arena campaign to fruition.”
I wonder if Hanson is aware that several of the commission members who supported the downtown arena were defeated in their bids for re-election. Their support of the arena played a role in that.
Further, the makeup of the current commission would hardly be favorable to passage of a project like the arena. For Hanson to thank the current members for their support of the arena is laughable.
Mr. Hanson and his organization have agitated for government funding of projects that benefit their special interests. The most notable of these is the downtown Wichita arena. That arena is likely to turn out to be a huge ongoing liability for the taxpayers of Sedgwick County. But the GWASC nibbles at the taxpayer in little ways, too. This year Sedgwick County will contribute $5,000 to the GWASC, just as it has in years past.
Tomorrow’s agenda for the Wichita City Council workshop contains an item titled “Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission 2008 Annual Report.” This will likely be a chance for city council members to be treated to the same presentation the county commissioners sat through. Looking at the city’s budget documents it isn’t possible to tell whether the city contributes to the GWASC. The “search” feature on the city’s website isn’t helpful, either. This lack of transparency is something we need to address.
But I think it’s safe to assume that Mr. Hanson and his organization will be asking the Wichita city council for a contribution. His history of asking taxpayers to support his pet projects — rent seeking is the technical term — is known.