Wichita city government

How to decide arts funding

Writing from Miami, Fla. In an editorial in The Wichita Eagle on August 9, 2005, Randy Schofield wrote, explaining why government should support culture: "Because cultural amenities make Wichita a more desirable place to live, work and visit, and thus help realize Wichita's quality of life and economic development goals." We might examine some of the ideas and reasoning behind this statement. Do cultural amenities make Wichita more desirable? That's quite a judgment to make. Personally, I enjoy many of the music events held at Wichita State University. I look forward to attending the recitals in the Rie Bloomfield Organ…
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The misplaced morality of public officials

In Wichita some public officials, particularly mayor Carlos Mayans, are seeking to eliminate adult businesses and stores selling pornography. This focus on private morality lies in sharp contrast with government's large-scale acts of public immorality. If government allows people to gamble, look at nude dancers, or buy pornography and sex toys, it is not government that is "sinning" or acting immorally. Government is not requiring that we do these things. Government is merely allowing those who wish to do so to engage in these activities. But when government -- say the Wichita City Council -- takes the property of one…
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Privatization is good for Century II and Wichita

Opponents of privatization of Century II, including the website www.savecenturyii.org, seem to think that the operating procedure of a profit-making business is to place so many restrictions on the use of their product, and to raise the price so high, that no one uses it anymore. The reality is quite the opposite. For a business to make a profit and survive, it must provide a product or service that people want to pay for, and provide it with costs less than its price. What could be wrong with that? A few examples from www.savecenturyii.org illustrate common misperceptions: "These private management…
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Tax Abatements For All

Recently I wrote about the Mississippi Beef Plant (The Mississippi Beef Plant Has a Lesson For Us) and its spectacular costs to the taxpayers of Mississippi. I wondered if there were less spectacular failures that we didn't know about because they weren't reported in the news media. Failures in this context could mean a situation where the taxpayers have to make good on a bond or debt that the benefiting company didn't pay, or it could mean a situation where the company doesn't default, but fails to deliver on the promised economic development activity. In an article in the June…
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Where Is Our Public Access Cable Television?

This is a letter I am sending to Cox Communications, plus government officials who I think can help. Recently I was in Portland, Ore. I happened to notice that there was true public access cable television. I watched several talk shows covering a variety of topics. There were locally-produced music shows, featuring local bands. This experience caused me to wonder why Wichita doesn't have this type of community cable television access. I seem to remember that when cable television was new, that local governments were granted public access channels as part of the franchise agreement. In Wichita we have a…
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Because Government Should Have Accountability

Because Government Should Have Accountability Paul M. Weyrich, Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation (Click here to read the article.) In an article from The Wichita Eagle published on May 3, 2005 titled "Ice rink figures don't add up, records show" we find this quote: "Ice Sports Wichita has been on a downward slide longer than the city staff admits in a report the City Council is scheduled to act on today, records show." These records were obtained through a request filed under the Kansas Open Records act. My understanding of this news story is that City of…
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Revolving Door Between Press and Government Turns Again

Mr. Van Williams, Wichita Eagle city hall reporter for the past three years, will become Wichita's public information coordinator. I believe there needs to be a tension between the press and the government officials it covers. The press needs to hold officials accountable. It needs to dig deep to uncover facts officials don't voluntarily concede. It needs to ask them tough questions. It needs to make them angry from time to time. Would the City of Wichita hire someone who had been doing that?
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Wichita City Council Meeting, April 19, 2005

Some quotes and my remarks from the April 19, 2005 meeting of the Wichita City Council, where the AirTran subsidy was considered. Representatives from Delta attended and spoke. Allen Bell, Economic Development Director for the City of Wichita: Previous contracts had a dollar amount cap on them. The new contact, we refer to it as a no-cap contract. There is not, in the terms of the agreement, a specific dollar amount that is the not-to-exceed amount. In place of that there is a termination clause that allows the City to terminate its contract with 75 days notice for whatever reason.…
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AirTran Subsidy Remarks

Following are remarks I am delivering to several groups, including the Wichita City Council, in April 2005. AirTran Subsidy is Moving in Wrong Direction We were persuaded to accept the AirTran subsidy in 2002 as a temporary measure, to allow AirTran to build a presence here, and that the subsidy would no longer be needed at some time. But now we see that the situation is moving in the opposite direction, as AirTran asks for even a larger subsidy. Economic Impact Overstated The argument that many Fair Fares supporters make is flawed. They are grossly -- I would say even…
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Poetry: Welcome New Council Members

Contributed by Kenneth Kindler WELCOME NEW COUNCIL MEMBERS I AM OLD AND SICK AND GETTING GRAYI DON'T KNOW WHERE I WILL GET THE MONEY THAT THE CITY WANTS ME TO PAY. I WONDER ABOUT THIS TOWN THAT WE LIVE IN. WHERE THE MAYOR SPENDS HIS TIME DOWN IN OLD TOWN FIGHTING SIN. WE SUBSUDIZE A AIRLINE THAT MANY OF US CANNOT AFFORD TO FLY. WE HAVE SPENT MILLIONS DOWNTOWN, I WONDER WHY. HOW MANY OF US CAN AFFORD TO PAYFOR PLACES THAT ONLY A FEW CAN PLAY. DO WE NEED A DOWNTOWN ARENA? A WATER WALK. NOW WE ARE GOING…
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