Jim Skelton

Sedgwick County Commissioner and former Wichita City Council Member Jim Skelton

Wichita voters reject cronyism — again

Tuesday's primary election in Kansas was notable for the large number of victories by conservative challengers over Republican senate incumbents. Also important is that voters in Wichita and the surrounding area rejected, for the second time this year, the culture of political cronyism that passes for economic development in Wichita. On Tuesday incumbent Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn defeated a challenge by Wichita City Council Member Jeff Longwell. The contrast was clear: Peterjohn with his long-time, outspoken advocacy for limited government and free market principles, although perhaps tempered a bit based on some votes he's made. Longwell, however, advocates for…
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Skelton, Sedgwick County Commissioner, censured by party

Yesterday evening the Sedgwick County Republican Party censured a Sedgwick County Commissioner for supporting a Democrat in an upcoming election. Treatha Brown-Foster, who is chair of Kansas Black Republican Council, offered a resolution critical of Jim Skelton. The resolution read: "Whereas, Jim Skelton, an elected Republican official in Sedgwick County, who has benefited from the support of the Sedgwick County Republican Party, has publicly supported a Democratic candidate over a Republican candidate for election to the Sedgwick County Commission. Be it resolved that Jim Skelton be censured for this action." The resolution was met with applause. The motion was seconded…
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Sedgwick County will hold Southfork TIF hearing

Since the Wichita City Council passed a resolution authorizing the formation of the Southfork tax increment financing district, the affected county (Sedgwick) and school district (Wichita) have an opportunity to veto the district's formation. They don't have to take action to approve the district -- only silent assent is required. But they can take action, as Sedgwick County did in January, to cancel the formation of the district. At Tuesday's commission staff meeting, commission chair Tim Norton along with commissioners Dave Unruh and Jim Skelton didn't believe a public hearing was necessary the matter should not be placed on the…
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In Kansas, planning will be captured by special interests

The government planning process started in south-central Kansas will likely be captured by special interest groups that see ways to benefit from the plan. The public choice school of economics and political science has taught us how special interest groups seek favors from government at enormous costs to society, and we will see this at play again over the next few years. This week the Sedgwick County Commission voted to participate in a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. While some justified their votes in favor of the plan because "it's only a plan," once the planning process begins, special…
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Federal, United Nations planning imported to Wichita

Yesterday the Sedgwick County Commission voted to participate in a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. Republican commissioners Dave Unruh and Jim Skelton joined with Democrat Tim Norton to pass the measure. Below, Paul Soutar of Kansas Watchdog explains why this planning process is a bad idea. Local Planning Initiative Has Federal Strings, UN Roots by Paul Soutar, Kansas Watchdog The Sedgwick County Commission will decide Wednesday whether to give a consortium of South Central Kansas governments and organizations broad control over community planning funded by a federal grant and based on a United Nations agenda. The Regional Economic Area…
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A Wichita shocker

"Local politicians like to get in bed with local business, and taxpayers are usually the losers. So three cheers for a voter revolt in Wichita, Kansas last week that shows such sweetheart deals can be defeated." So starts today's Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook editorial (subscription required), taking notice of the special election last week in Wichita. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal is one of the most prominent voices for free markets and limited government in America. Over and over Journal editors expose crony capitalism and corporate welfare schemes, and they waste few words in condemning…
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Sedgwick County commissioners vote Democratic

This morning the Sedgwick County Commission voted to select member Tim Norton of Haysville as chairman for the upcoming year. Norton, a Democrat, received the votes of two of the board's four Republican members: Those of outgoing Chairman Dave Unruh and Jim Skelton. Commissioner Karl Peterjohn nominated Richard Ranzau for the position, but he received only two votes. It may be remarkable that a board with a four to one majority in one party elected a member of the minority party to serve as chair, or it may simply be a reflection of the actual ideological makeup of the board.…
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Wichita’s political class

From June. The discussion at yesterday's Wichita City Council meeting provided an opportunity for citizens to discover the difference in the thinking of the political class and those who value limited government and capitalism. At issue was Mid-Continent Instruments, Inc., which asked the city for a forgivable loan of $10,000. It received the same last week from Sedgwick County. According to city documents, the State of Kansas through its Department of Commerce is also contributing $503,055 in forgivable loans, sales tax exemptions, training grants, and tax credits. At the city council meeting Clinton Coen, a young man who ran for…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday December 7, 2011

Wichita petitions. At yesterday's meeting of the Wichita City Council, the invocation featured a Bible verse that contained the phrase "Petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be offered for those in authority." I don't think the speaker was aware of the irony, since petitions were delivered to city hall just the day before. These petitions seek to overturn an action of the city council, and city leaders are not pleased that citizens took to the streets to gather signatures in opposition to the council's action. Petitions being contested. Speaking of petitions, the developers of the Ambassador Hotel are calling those who…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Friday December 2, 2011

Wichita trip to Ghana. KAKE Television reports that Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer believes the recent trip to Africa by him and others may result in sales of beef and airplanes. I wonder, though: don't marketers of beef and airplanes know about Africa already? And who has the greater motive to sell, not to mention knowledge about the products that might meet African customers' needs: sales reps for these companies, or politicians? ... The most telling indication that this trip is more junket than anything else is that Brewer and Vice Mayor Lavonta Williams (district 1, northeast and east Wichita) paid…
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