Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday December 28, 2010

Hawker Beechcraft deal breaks new ground. When asked by KAKE Television’s This Week in Kansas host Tim Brown if the Hawker Beechcraft deal was good for Kansas, Wichita State University professor H. Edward Flentje said that while the deal was “great news” in the short term, it raised policy questions in the long term. He said he didn’t think the state has invested in a company that is downsizing, with Hawker shrinking by one-third over the past few years. He added that he believed this is the first time the state has a provision of state law to retain jobs, rather than recruit new jobs. Flentje said that other aircraft companies and other businesses will be looking at this. He didn’t use the word “precedent,” but setting one is what has happened. Flentje has issued similar warnings before when he was interim city manager for Wichita. When Bill Warren, a theater owner, asked the city to make an interest-free loan to him, Flentje warned: “There are in this community much larger businesses with much larger employment who may see this opening as something that will open a door for those businesses to come and say, ‘You’ve done it before, you can do it for us.’”

TSA as fine literature. He grasped me firmly but gently just above my elbow and guided me into a room, his room. Then he quietly shut the door and we were alone. He approached me soundlessly, from behind, and spoke in a low, reassuring voice close to my ear. “Just relax.” Without warning, he reached down and I felt his strong, callused hands start at my ankles, gently probing, and moving upward along my calves slowly but steadily. My breath caught in my throat. I knew I should be afraid, but somehow I didn’t care. His touch was so experienced, so sure. When his hands moved up onto my thighs, I gave a slight shudder, and partly closed my eyes. My pulse was pounding. I felt his knowing fingers caress my abdomen, my ribcage. And then, as he cupped my firm, full breasts in his hands, I inhaled sharply. Probing, searching, knowing what he wanted, he brought his hands to my shoulders, slid them down my tingling spine and into my private area. … Although I knew nothing about this man, I felt oddly trusting and expectant. This is a man, I thought. A man used to taking charge. A man not used to taking “no” for an answer. A man who would tell me what he wanted. A man who would look into my soul and say … “Okay, ma’am,” said a voice. “All done.” My eyes snapped open and he was standing in front of me, smiling, holding out my purse. “You can board your flight now.” (Source unknown, but obviously a brilliant person.)

Love, not yet seated in House, moves to Senate. In what must be one of the most rapid political promotions in history, Garrett Love, who just won a position in the Kansas House of Representatives, is selected to fill a vacancy in the Kansas Senate. The Hutchinson News reports. Love defeated incumbent Melvin Neufeld in the August primary election. Neufeld campaigned for the Senate seat, but lost to Love by a vote of 101 to 38. It would have been — unseemly? — for Neufeld to have lost to Love in an election, but yet be promoted instead of Love to what most would consider to be a better position in the legislature. … This action leaves the House position that Love won but never filled vacant. Will Neufeld attempt to win this seat, the one he lost? The precinct committeemen and committeewomen of that district will decide. Kansas House District 115 includes Dodge City and counties to the south and west.

Wichita historic preservation board. A governmental entity that few may know much about is the Wichita historic preservation board. The agenda for an upcoming meeting is here. On the agenda, there are many items like this: “HPC2010-00350 415 N Poplar Re-roof on commercial. ENV Johnson Drug Store.” In this case someone wants to put a new roof on their building. But, it is located within the “environs” of a property that is listed either on the National Register of Historic Places or the Register of Historic Kansas Places, so they need the permission of this board. For properties within a city, the “environs” is any property within a distance of 500 feet of the listed historic property. If you want to do much of anything to your property, you’ve got to get the permission of this board if it’s within a stone’s throw of a historic property.

Bureaucrats will do what Congress doesn’t. Promises from Congress mean little when the bureaucratic state simply does what it wishes — or what the President wants it to do. Thomas Sowell explains: “The Constitution of the United States begins with the words ‘We the people.’ But neither the Constitution nor ‘we the people’ will mean anything if politicians and judges can continue to do end runs around both. Bills passed too fast for anyone to read them are blatant examples of these end runs. But last week, another of these end runs appeared in a different institution when the medical ‘end of life consultations’ rejected by Congress were quietly enacted through bureaucratic fiat by administrators of Medicare.” Portland Progressive Examiner has more: “Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat, is celebrating a quiet victory: Under new health regulations recently issued by the Obama administration, Medicare recipients will be offered voluntary end-of-life planning, and an opportunity to issue advance health care directives.” The New York Times is blunt, starting its story this way: “When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over ‘death panels,’ Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.”

Brownback to focus on core. Incoming Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says his budget priorities the “core functions of state government,” specifically “Medicaid, K-12 education, higher education and public safety at the top, in that order.” In an interview with Kansas Reporter’s Gene Meyer and Rachel Whitten, Brownback also said consolidation of agencies may be in order, and that repeal of the one cent sales tax that started this year is “not an option.” He also said he wants to defend the school finance lawsuit more aggressively than the last suit.

Schools sue again, and again. Parents in Johnson County have sued the state asking that the local option budget cap be lifted. Essentially, the plaintiffs are asking for permission to raise their local property taxes so that more money can be raised for schools. But now Schools for Fair Funding, the coalition of school districts that are suing the state for more money, has intervened in that suit, saying it wouldn’t be fair to let the wealthy school districts raise this tax money. Kansas Reporter has coverage.


2 thoughts on “Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday December 28, 2010”

  1. Love had a great campaign, but anyone who actually attended a debate or asked him serious questions in person probably voted for Neufeld.

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