In my coverage of the December 20th, 2011 meeting of the Wichita City Council, I noted the opposition of many council members to the upcoming hotel guest tax election, and how they wanted a quick election date so as to dispose of a citizen uprising as quickly as possible. I had nominated the remarks of Council Member Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita) as perhaps the worst, writing: “Perhaps the worst impression to come out of this meeting is that many Wichita city council members simply don’t care much for what citizens think. It’s hard to pick the most telling example, but Meitzner’s concern that we need to ‘avoid community discourse and debate’ ranks right at the top.” (Wichita City Council sets hotel tax election date, December 26, 2011. The official minutes of the meeting record: “Council Member Meitzner asked if there is any way to have this election moved up to avoid any community discord or debate.”)
At yesterday’s council meeting, Meitzner sought to clarify his remarks in a portion of the meeting where members may offer corrections to the minutes. Meitzner said he didn’t dispute what he actually said at the December 20th meeting, but that what he meant to say was that “I support public debate, including when public discord occurs, as it provides a chance for factual information to be shared about any issue, including this one.”
That’s a good step forward, and I thank Mr. Meitzner for that. Perhaps he can work to change the attitudes of the mayor and some other council members. Then, he and the council can work on their hostility towards the Kansas Open Records Act. See Open records, rights of Kansans disrespected at Wichita City Council and In Wichita, disdain for open records and government transparency.