Pete Meitzner

Wichita City Council Member Pete Meitzner

For Wichita, no election news is good politics

After last week's election results in Wichita in which voters canceled an ordinance passed by the city council, I noticed there was no mention of the election results on the city's website. So I dashed off a note to several responsible authorities, writing this: "I notice that the city's website carries no news on the results of the February 28th election. Is this oversight unintentional? Or does the city intend to continue spending its taxpayer-funded news producing efforts on stories with headlines like 'Valentine’s at Mid-Continent Airport,' 'Rain Garden Workshops in February,' and 'Firefighter Receives Puppy Rescued at Fire Scene'?"…
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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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Carl Brewer: State of the City for Wichita, 2012

Last night Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer delivered his annual State of the City Address. The text of the address may be read at State of the City Address. In his speech, Brewer several times criticized those who act on "partisan agendas." This is quite a remarkable statement for the mayor to make. Partisan usually refers to following a party line or platform. The mayor didn't mention who he was criticizing, but it's likely he was referring to myself and others like John Todd, Susan Estes, and Clinton Coen, as we appear regularly before the city council, usually in disagreement with…
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Meitzner clarifies: I’m not opposed

In my coverage of the December 20th, 2011 meeting of the Wichita City Council, I noted the opposition of many council members to the upcoming hotel guest tax election, and how they wanted a quick election date so as to dispose of a citizen uprising as quickly as possible. I had nominated the remarks of Council Member Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita) as perhaps the worst, writing: "Perhaps the worst impression to come out of this meeting is that many Wichita city council members simply don’t care much for what citizens think. It’s hard to pick the most telling…
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In Wichita, disdain for open records and government transparency

Despite receiving nearly all its funding from taxpayers, Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau refuses to admit it is a "public agency" as defined in the Kansas Open Records Act. The city backs this agency and its interpretation of this law, which is in favor of government secrecy and in opposition to the letter and spirit of the Open Records Act. In the following excerpt from the KAKE Television public affairs program This Week in Kansas, this issue was discussed. Randy Brown, who is chair of the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government and former opinion page editor of the…
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Wichita City Council sets hotel tax election date

In response to a successful petition effort aimed at overturning a Wichita charter ordinance, the Wichita City Council last week considered an agenda item that gave the council two choices: Rescind the ordinance, or set a date for an election. The charter ordinance concerns rebating a portion of the Ambassador Hotel's guest tax collections back to the hotel for its own use. The most important issue to the council seemed to be holding the election on a date convenient to the hotel developers. The recommendation from Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman was that the election, if the council decides…
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Open records, rights of Kansans disrespected at Wichita City Council

Yesterday the Wichita City Council decided to issue another contract to Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau. I appeared to recommend that the council not issue this contract until an issue regarding the Kansas Open Records Act is resolved. Explanation of why Go Wichita should be considered a "public agency" and comply with records requests is found in Wichita open records issue buried. A few notes from the meeting (video may be viewed here or at the end of this article): Discussion of this matter at the meeting reveals that city staff believes that the annual reports filed by Go…
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Wichita City Council campaign contributions and Douglas Place/Ambassador Hotel

Many people make campaign contributions to candidates whose ideals and goals they share. This is an important part of our political process. But when reading campaign finance reports for members of the Wichita City Council, one sees the same names appearing over and over, often making the maximum allowed contribution to candidates. Their spouses also contribute. Looking at the candidates these people contribute to, we find that often there’s no commonality to the political goals and ideals of the candidates. Some contribute equally to liberal and conservative council members. At first glance, it's puzzling. But then, when these people appear…
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At Wichita City Council, facts are in dispute

Some Wichita City Council members, including Mayor Carl Brewer criticize people who speak at council meetings for using inaccurate information. Although most citizens who speak are willing to take questions at the time they present their testimony, most council members will not engage in dialog with them, instead choosing to level their criticism at a time when the speakers are not able to defend themselves. So let's take a look at some of the statements made by city council members at the September 13th meeting, where the council approved by a six to one vote a package of incentives for…
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In Wichita, private tax policy on the rise

In a free society with a limited government, taxation should be restricted to being a way for government to raise funds to pay for services that all people benefit from. An example is police and fire protection. Even people who are opposed to taxation rationalize paying taxes that way. But in the city of Wichita, private tax policy is overtaking our city. The Douglas Place project, a downtown hotel to be considered tomorrow by the Wichita City Council, makes use of several of these private tax policy strategies. By private tax policy, I mean that the proceeds of a tax…
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