Dilts drops campaign for city council. Jason Dilts has announced that he is ending his campaign for a position on the Wichita City Council. He had been running for the district 4 position currently held by Paul Gray, who is precluded from running again by the city’s term limit law. While Dilts’ politics are liberal and might have been expected to depart from those of the incumbent, Gray voted for nearly every spending measure that came before the council. … Dilts’ departure leaves this district without any publicly declared candidates. The filing deadline for city and school board elections is January 24, 2011. The primary election is March 1, and the general election is on April 5. These elections are non-partisan, meaning that candidates run without party identification, although everyone who cares knows who belongs to which party. In the primary, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election.
OTB: One-term Barack. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics predicts a dim future for President Barack Obama and his chances for reelection. Sabato’s most recent “Crystal Ball” column starts off with “The wreckage of the Democratic Party is strewn just about everywhere. President Obama’s carefully constructed 2008 Electoral College breakthrough is now just broken, a long-ago memory of what might have been a lasting shift in partisan alignment.” After presenting the evidence, Sabato concludes: “There’s only one logical conclusion to be drawn: President Barack Obama is down for the count, will have an early lame duck presidency, and will be out of the White House in two years.”
Project Downtown: The Master Plan for Wichita. The “final draft” version of the plan for the revitalization of downtown Wichita is now available. Click on Project Downtown: The Master Plan for Wichita. Perhaps after the “final draft” comes the “first permanent version?” Next week the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider adoption of the plan. The meeting is at 1:30 pm Thursday Nov. 18, in the tenth floor conference room at Wichita City Hall, 455 N. Main. This is an opportunity for the public to comment on this project. I’m thinking I’ll be there.
Wichita city hall garage closing. Letter to Wichita Eagle, in part: “The bureaucrats reserve for themselves convenient services, while those they are supposed to serve do without and are exposed to parking-meter violations and parking fines. Wichita government has a history of poor service to its citizens. Recent examples include the mismanagement of the Wichita water utility and resulting increases in our water bills, and the increased fees assessed to homeowners for home protection alarms. Yet we see good-old-boy deals on below-market rate loans and tax incentives to every project that comes before city officials, worthy or not.”
Some Kansas counties voted against judges. Last week’s elections in Kansas offered voters the opportunity to vote whether several Kansas Supreme Court and Kansas Court of Appeals justices should be retained in office. Voters decided to retain all by roughly a two-to-one margin. But some Kansas counties voted against retaining the judges. In particular, some western Kansas counties, Cherokee county in extreme southeastern Kansas, and Coffey county in east-central Kansas voted against the judges. A Kansas Watchdog story asked Fort Hays State University political science professor Chapman Rackaway for his analysis. He said “I think you’re seeing more an expression of a philosophy than a particular agenda against these particular justices.” He noted “A more libertarian streak runs strong in western Kansas, and along with that comes a philosophy of ‘throw the bums out.'” He also says that “I think if you ran a correlation of votes you’d find that the strongest Libertarian and Republican results would come from some of the counties you’ve pointed out. In the end, then, this is more about general change than it is a specific policy or judge.”
Health insurance profits. Watching liberal media so you don’t have to: Cenk Uygur, who appears on the liberal television network MSNBC, reported on the profits of health insurance companies. He said that health insurance companies earned $9.3 billion in profits for the first three months of the year, up 41 percent in the last year, adding “Do we really want to leave decisions about our health and our lives to a corporation whose sole purpose is to make money off of us? They get billions in profits by taking in more money from us than they pay out for our care. I’m not sure that makes a lot of sense.” First: citing a number like these profit figures without providing context means very little. Health insurance company profits — in terms of the industry’s size — have been low in recent years. Second: Have the insurance companies figured out how to the “game” the Obamacare plan? It wouldn’t be the first time large companies have co-opted government regulation for their own profit. Third: Do you — as does Uygur — trust the government to make decisions regarding your health care? The idea of a benevolent government paternally caring for our best interests is dangerous. Profit is a more reliable motive. The problem is that health insurance companies compete in a highly regulated market, where the profit motive is not fully able to express itself. Contrast the market for automobile insurance, where companies compete vigorously for business. In that industry, complaints of companies refusing to pay legitimate claims are rare. That’s because with auto insurance, consumers have a wide variety of companies to select from. That’s not the case with health insurance, where the choice for many people is made by their employer. Dissatisfied consumers have little ability to switch to another company.