Voters in Wichita are deciding on who should fill three city council district positions. Here’s some information to help make a decision.
In district 1, voters can choose between the appointed incumbent Lavonta Williams and businessman James Barfield. There’s quite a contrast between these two. In my opinion, Williams supports increasing government intervention and intrusion into the lives of Wichitans. This comes in her support of policies such as a smoking ban and TIF districts, but also even in things like the city considering to start providing computer tech support to citizens.
Barfield is opposed to many of these things, in particular TIF districts. I appreciate enough of Barfield’s positions — and as a liberty-loving Wichitan I am so opposed to many of Williams’ — that I have provided volunteer service to the Barfield campaign. I encourage district 1 voters to vote for James Barfield.
In district 3, incumbent Jim Skelton faces Charles Dahlem. Skelton has worked hard for his district. He is often the only council member to ask some tough questions of city staff. Sometimes he has frustrated me, as he will express concern or even disagreement with a matter before the council, but he votes for it in the end. I’d like to be able to persuade him that there’s nothing wrong with being on the short end of a six to one vote.
Also, sometimes when asking city staff members a tough question, instead of sitting still and letting staff answer the question, he may talk over his question, giving staff an easy out. Despite these reservations, I believe Skelton can grow in a second term, and if I lived in district 3, I would vote for him.
In district 6 voters can choose between Bob Aldrich and Janet Miller. Both have a history of involvement in civic affairs. In endorsing Miller, the Wichita Eagle noted her effectiveness and leadership during her service on various boards. But her positions are wrong. A recent letter in the Eagle got it just right when the writer called her a “Sharon Fearey protoge,” meaning that there are few government programs that she would not be opposed to starting or expanding.
While I do not agree with Bob Aldrich on all issues — TIF districts and economic development, for example — he would provide a fiscally conservative voice on the city council from a district that doesn’t often send such representatives to the council. I recommend that district 6 voters vote for Bob Aldrich.