There’s a triangle of influence and connections that should raise flags of caution as voters decide the makeup of the Wichita city council.
At the center is Beth King, a Wichita public relations executive. She’s well known in city hall, having managed the mayoral campaign of Carl Brewer in 2007. She’s said to be a close advisor to him. Her name is so familiar that when her emails are forwarded among department heads in city hall, she’s referred to as simply “Beth.” No last name is necessary.
The connection that voters should be aware of is this: King is the campaign manager for Lavonta Williams, who is seeking election to the district 1 council seat she holds after being appointed to fill the remainder of Brewer’s term after he was elected mayor.
King is also the public relations consultant for Real Development. This firm — best known for its principals the “Minnesota Guys” — is a beneficiary of Wichita taxpayer dollars in the form of TIF districts and facade improvement loans paid back by special tax assessments.
Lavonta Williams voted for each of the programs the Minnesota Guys wanted. Enthusiastically.
The Minnesota Guys will be asking for more TIF financing, according to Wichita Eagle reporting.
Lavonta Williams, should she be elected to a new term on the council, will be voting on whether to give the Minnesota Guys access to more Wichita taxpayer funds.
Who will advise Williams how to vote? Beth King, her campaign manager, with financial ties to the Minnesota Guys?
It’s a relationship too close for taxpayer comfort.