Rhonda Holman

Brownback derangement syndrome on display

A newspaper op-ed illustrates some of the muddled thinking of Kansas newspaper editorialists, not to mention Brownback derangement syndrome. Recent discussion about restricting the ability to spend welfare benefits has lead one newspaper editorialist to compare elected politicians with welfare recipients. The writer is Dave Helling of the Kansas City Star, and his target is Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Attempting to paint the governor as a government-paid freeloader, Helling wrote: "He’s earned his living from taxpayers almost all his life. He’s worked in state government, the U.S. House and U.S. Senate and now as governor, where he earns around $100,000…
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Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2014 is $5 million

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2014 is $5 million

The depreciation expense of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita recognizes and accounts for the sacrifices of the people of Sedgwick County and its visitors to pay for the arena. But no one wants to talk about this. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters promote a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing…
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As lawmakers, Kansas judges should be selected democratically

As lawmakers, Kansas judges should be selected democratically

While many believe that judges should not "legislate from the bench," that is, make law themselves, the reality is that lawmaking is a judicial function. In a democracy, lawmakers should be elected under the principle of "one person, one vote." But Kansas, which uses the Missouri Plan for judicial selection to its highest court, violates this principle. A 2012 paper by Kansas University School of Law Professor Stephen J. Ware explains the problem with the judicial selection process in Kansas. The paper is titled Originalism, Balanced Legal Realism and Judicial Selection: A Case Study and may be downloaded at no…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: The Wichita Eagle fails the city and its readers

WichitaLiberty.TV: The Wichita Eagle fails the city and its readers

In this excerpt from WichitaLiberty.TV: In its coverage of the recent election, the Wichita Eagle has failed to inform its readers of city and state issues. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. For more on this topic, see In election coverage, The Wichita Eagle has fallen short and For Wichita Eagle, no immediate Kansas budget solution.
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Wichita arena sales tax not a model of success

Wichita arena sales tax not a model of success

Supporters of a new sales tax in Wichita use the Intrust Bank Arena as an example of successful application of a sales tax. As Wichita debates the desirability of a sales tax, a former sales tax is used as a model of success. Let's take a look at a few of the issues. Ongoing vs. capital expenses A portion of the proposed sales tax will be used for operational expenses, and the demand for this spending will not end when the sales tax ends. The sales tax for the Intrust Bank Arena was used to build a capital asset and…
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Intrust Bank Arena: Not accounted for like a business

Intrust Bank Arena: Not accounted for like a business

Proper attention given to the depreciation expense of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita recognizes and accounts for the sacrifices of the people of Sedgwick County and its visitors to pay for the arena. It's a business-like way of accounting, but a well-hidden secret. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters promote a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true…
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Kansas school finance reporting and opinion

There's a range of opinion, that's for sure. Republicans concede bill would let teachers be fired without cause (Wichita Eagle) "Statehouse Republicans are having to abandon a key talking point in their effort to defuse teacher anger over an anti-tenure bill the Legislature passed a week ago, conceding the bill would allow school districts to fire veteran teachers without having to give a reason why. If Gov. Sam Brownback signs the bill into law, teachers would essentially be at-will employees of their school districts and able to challenge termination only if they allege the firing violates their constitutional rights." Click…
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Shame, says Wichita Eagle editorial board

Shame, says Wichita Eagle editorial board

The Wichita Eagle editorial board, under the byline of Rhonda Holman, issued a stern rebuke to the Kansas Legislature for its passage of HB 2506 over the weekend. (Eagle editorial: Shame on Legislature, April 8, 2014) Here are some notes on a few of Holman's points. She wrote that the legislature should not "undermine teachers’ rights and meddle in education policymaking." First: There's controversy over what the bill actually means to the relationship between teachers and their employers. Courts will probably have to intervene. Second: Should the Legislature have a say in policy, or just pay? Then, she criticized the…
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In Kansas, the Blob is worked up

In Kansas, the Blob is worked up

"Education reformers have a name for the resistance: the education 'Blob.' The Blob includes the teachers unions, but also janitors and principals unions, school boards, PTA bureaucrats, local politicians and so on." (John Stossel, The Blob That Ate Children.) In Kansas, we're seeing the Blob at full activation, vigorously protecting its interests. The source of the Blob's consternation is a bill in the Kansas Legislature that would add charter schools and tax credit scholarships to the educational landscape in Kansas. (Kansas does have charter schools at present, but the law is so stacked in favor of the Blob's interests that…
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What is the import of the farm bill to Kansas?

Correcting the Wichita Eagle's facts will place the importance of the farm bill to Kansas in proper perspective. In criticizing five of the six members of the Kansas congressional delegation for voting against the farm bill, Rhonda Holman of the Wichita Eagle editorialized this: "Five of the six members of the Kansas delegation just voted against a farm bill -- a stunning abdication of leadership in a state in which agriculture is 25 percent of the economy." (Eagle editorial: AWOL on farm bill, Wednesday, February 5, 2014) The Eagle editorialist didn't specify what she meant by "percent of the economy"…
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