Government transparency

Wichita legal notices an easy start on the path to transparency

Wichita legal notices an easy start on the path to transparency

Kansas law requires publication of certain notices in newspapers, but cities like Wichita could also make them available in other ways that are easier to use. As Wichita's new mayor takes office, there are a few things the city could do to increase the availability and distribution of government information. An easy project to accomplish would be placing legal notices on the city's web page. Kansas law requires that many legal notices must be printed in a newspaper. That law needs to be changed. Newspapers resist this reform, as it might mean a loss of revenue for them. (That's right.…
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Wichita checkbook updated

Wichita checkbook updated

Wichita spending data presented as a summary, and as a list. As part of an ongoing transparency project, I asked the City of Wichita for check register data. I’ve made the data available in a visualization using Tableau Public. This visualization is updated with data through August 31, 2018. To learn more about this data and use the visualization, click here.
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For Hugh Nicks, a return to the backroom deal?

For Hugh Nicks, a return to the backroom deal?

Remarks from a candidate for Sedgwick County Commission call for presenting a unified front to the public. Speaking to the Wichita Pachyderm Club, Sedgwick County Commission candidate Hugh Nicks called for leadership to end what he called "divisive behavior:" "We can’t have -- we can’t have the kind of divisive behavior that we have going on right now -- we just -- it’s just not -- it’s just not acceptable." His opponent in the August Republican Party primary election is Richard Ranzau, who currently holds the office. The "divisive behavior" that Nicks objects to takes several forms, but it's clear…
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Lawrence has it. Wichita doesn’t.

Lawrence has it. Wichita doesn’t.

Despite promises, Wichita fails to inform citizens on important activities of its government. For several years, the Kansas city of Lawrence has published an economic development report letting citizens know about the activities of the city in this area. The most recent edition may be viewed here. The Lawrence report contains enough detail and length that an executive summary is provided. This report is the type of information that cities should be providing, but the City of Wichita does not do this. It's not like the City of Wichita does not realize the desirability of providing citizens with information. In…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Kansas Senator Ty Masterson

WichitaLiberty.TV: Kansas Senator Ty Masterson

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Kansas Senator Ty Masterson, a Republican from Andover, joins Bob and Karl to update us on happenings in the Kansas Legislature. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 192, broadcast April 14, 2018. Shownotes Senator Ty Masterson at Kansas Legislature Ty Masterson campaign website SB 424: AN ACT concerning education; establishing the office of education inspector general within the office of the state treasurer; providing the duties and functions thereof. SB 393: Legislative committees; all votes of each legislator on motions or other action recorded in minutes. SCR 1611: Making application to…
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Kansas government data may not be available

Kansas government data may not be available

There is a movement to increase the transparency of government in Kansas, but there's much to be done, starting with attitudes. One of the major economic development programs in Kansas is PEAK, or Promoting Employment Across Kansas. [1. Weeks, Bob. PEAK, or Promoting Employment Across Kansas. Available at https://bobw7.sg-host.com/kansas-government/peak-promoting-employment-across-kansas/.] It provides benefits to companies when they expand their operations in Kansas, or sometimes when they merely threaten to leave. The recent expansion by Spirit AeroSystems is reported to benefit from $23.5 million in PEAK cash. [1. Jerry Siebenmark. New facility part of Spirit’s new jobs, expansion plan. Available at http://www.kansas.com/news/business/aviation/article201082884.html.]…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Danedri Herbert, Editor of The Sentinel

WichitaLiberty.TV: Danedri Herbert, Editor of The Sentinel

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: The Sentinel's Danedri Herbert joins Bob Weeks to discuss the upcoming gubernatorial debate, the Kansas Legislature's website and transparency, and accountability in government. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 184, broadcast February 17, 2018. Shownotes The Sentinel Inside Kansas GOP The debate rules and Garden City Telegram editorial The Kansas Legisature website
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Wichita check register

Wichita check register

Wichita spending data presented as a summary, and as a list. As part of an ongoing transparency project, I asked the City of Wichita for check register data. I’ve made the data available in a visualization using Tableau Public. Click here to access the visualization. Analyzing this data requires a bit of local knowledge. For example, there is a vendor named “Visit Wichita” that started to receive monthly payments in March 2015. What about payments for January and February? Those were made to a vendor named “Go Wichita,” which changed its name to “Visit Wichita.” Similarly, there are payments made…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita school board member Joy Eakins

WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita school board member Joy Eakins

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita school board member Joy Eakins joins Karl Peterjohn and Bob Weeks to discuss important issues facing the school district. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 170, broadcast October 28, 2017. Shownotes Op-ed by Joy Eakins in Wichita Eagle: Transparency indeed an issue with Wichita school board Wichita Eagle reporting on this issue: Wichita school board member speaks out about closed-door dealings. The Eagle has other articles and op-eds on this topic.
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Too much on the consent agenda in Wichita city hall

Too much on the consent agenda in Wichita city hall

The Wichita city council will consider an item that, I believe, is of sufficient interest and controversial enough that it should appear on a regular agenda, not a consent agenda. Update: at Tuesday's meeting, the council passed the consent agenda without discussion of this agenda item. Meetings of governmental bodies like the Wichita City Council may contain a consent agenda. That's a collection of agenda items that are voted on in bulk, with one single vote, unless a council member requests an item be "pulled" for discussion and possibly a separate vote. Generally, items on consent agendas are not controversial,…
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