Kevass Harding

In Wichita, the need for campaign finance reform

In Wichita, the need for campaign finance reform

Actions of the Wichita City Council have shown that campaign finance reform is needed. Citizen groups are investigating how to accomplish this needed reform, since the council has not shown interest in reforming itself. Consider recent actions by the council and its members: The council voted to give a movie theater operator a no-interest and low-interest loan, after having already received the benefit of tax increment financing. A minister dabbling in real estate development made a large contribution to his council representative just before he asked the city council for tax increment financing. The council voted to give a construction…
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Could Wichita be the next Detroit?

That Detroit has declared bankruptcy: Does this mean anything for Wichita? From time to time we see news stories wondering if there is a parallel between these two cities -- one known as Motor City, and the other as the Air Capital. The similarity is the concentrated nature of the economies of the two cities. Both have, as can be seen in the nearby chart, a greater percentage of jobs in manufacturing than does the United States as a whole. Furthermore, when considering the dominant manufacturing industry in each city, we see that Wichita is more concentrated in aviation than…
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Wichita school board reacts to criticism

In the following video, USD 259 (Wichita public school district) board member Betty Arnold reacts to concerns that citizens expressed at a recent meeting. It's common that citizens who disagree with governmental agencies -- especially the Wichita school board -- are told that they have the wrong information, or that they simply don't understand the complexities of running government. A few years ago when board members dismissed the input of an elected official because he disagreed with the board, I wrote in my coverage: "Certainly these three board members were dismissive of Chappell and his input. This is characteristic of…
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Wichitans have choices; perhaps not information

The Wichita Eagle publishes a voter guide before each election. While this is a useful civic service, readers of the newspaper might wonder what is the point of allowing candidates to make statements and claims without being held accountable. Here are two examples of candidates responding to the question "Assess the city's success in downtown revitalization so far. How do you see that role evolving in the future?" Council Member Lavonta Williams (district 1, northeast Wichita) responded as follows: The trend in downtown redevelopment is showing a definite payoff in private investment exceeding $250 million since 2009. People are moving…
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In Wichita, a quest for campaign finance reform

Actions of the Wichita City Council have shown that campaign finance reform is needed. Citizen groups are investigating how to accomplish this needed reform, since the council has not shown interest in reforming itself. Consider recent actions by the council and its members: The council voted to give a movie theater operator a no-interest and low-interest loan, after having already received the benefit of tax increment financing. A minister dabbling in real estate development made a large contribution to his council representative just before he asked the city council for tax increment financing. The council voted to give a construction…
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