While the term “stakeholder” is vague and means different things to different people, you might think that such a gathering might include representatives from the community at large. In an effort to achieve diversity, you know.
Instead, the meeting was stacked almost exclusively with those who have an interest in extracting as much economic subsidy as possible from the city.
There are a few exceptions, notably Wichita developer Johnny Stevens, who is outspoken in his belief in market-driven development. Stan Longhofer is an academic at Wichita State University, and the last time he offered advice to the city council (at least publicly) the council didn’t take his advice, even though they paid him well for it.
There may be a few other exceptions, but most of the people on this list have benefited from various forms of taxpayer subsidy. Some are presently applying for more.
One name that is surprising to see on this list is Dave Burk. Earlier this year the Wichita Eagle reported this: “Downtown Wichita’s leading developer, David Burk, represented himself as an agent of the city — without the city’s knowledge or consent — to cut his taxes on publicly owned property he leases in the Old Town Cinema Plaza.”
After this, I don’t know why the city would be interested in anything Dave Burk has to say.
When ordinary citizens of Wichita wonder if their voice is valued, or when they wonder if Wichita city hall is overrun by a “good ol’ boy” network of insiders who get what they want from the city, this meeting is additional evidence to help them decide.
Here’s the list of invitees to the stakeholder meeting:
Cathy Erickson, Dave Burk, Dave Lundberg, Doug Rupe, Grant Tidemann, Jerry Jones, Johnny Stevens, Larry Weber, Brad Saville, Christian Ablah, Greg Ferris, Jeff Fluhr, Calvin Klaasen, Jay Maxwell, Jeff Walenta, Jim Korroch, Korb Maxwell, Mert Buckley, Robert Snyder, Stan Longhofer, Tim Austin, Wess Galyon, Gary Oborny, Darryl Crotts, David Leyh, Lea Firestone, Troy Farha, Gene Gutschanritter