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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday November 9, 2010

Wichita city inspection staffing. Sunday’s Wichita Eagle carries a story detailing problems some southeast Wichita homeowners have with their homes. I’m not sure whether the story is being critical of the city inspection process, so I’ll quote the article: “[Central inspection superintendent Kurt] Schroeder said he can’t say for sure that the city did everything possible to prevent these problems. City inspectors granted building permits and conducted inspections at the houses at various stages of building. But he said the city has no records of final approvals for two houses in the neighborhood. It could be that the inspector signed off but didn’t enter it into the computer system, Schroeder said, but he can’t be sure.” … It’s not as though city inspectors are in short supply. In July, Wichita real estate developer Colby Sandlian spoke to the Wichita Pachyderm Club. As part of his talk, Sandlian said that during the 1950’s, when he started in the real estate business, Wichita was building about 2,600 to 3,000 houses per year, in what he described as some of the nicest neighborhoods in the city. At that time, there were three people in the city’s zoning department, and seven in the building inspection department. Today, Sandlian said Wichita added 1,568 houses in 2007, 1,032 in 2008, and 752 in 2009. Despite the small number of homes being built, staff has swelled: Sandlian said today there are seven in planning (up from three), and 61 in building inspection (up from seven). “Those people, in order to justify their existence, have to find problems with what you’re doing,” he said. But it appears that even with greatly increased numbers, inspectors may not have been looking hard enough, at least in the cases of these southeast Wichita homes.

Kansas Prosperity Summit. This Friday (November 12) FairTaxKS is holding an event designed “to create a collaborative environment to create awareness, express support, offer solution, and launch the passing of the Kansas Jobs Plan 2011.” The main event is from noon to 4:00 pm at the Topeka Performing Arts Center (TPAC), 214 SE 8th Ave., and will feature speakers Kris Kobach (Kansas Secretary of State-Elect), Jonathan Williams (co author of “Rich States, Poor States“, Arlen Siegfreid (Speaker Pro Tem of the Kansas House of Representatives), and Dave Trabert (President, Kansas Policy Institute). An optional morning session will observe a meeting of the Special Committee on Assessment and Taxation. See Kansas Prosperity Summit 2011 for complete details.

Government cheese. “When sales of Domino’s Pizza were lagging, a government agency stepped in with advice: more cheese. This is the same government that, for health reasons, is advising less cheese.” The New York Times continues in While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales: “Domino’s Pizza was hurting early last year. … Then help arrived from an organization called Dairy Management. It teamed up with Domino’s to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese, and proceeded to devise and pay for a $12 million marketing campaign. … Dairy Management, which has made cheese its cause, is not a private business consultant. It is a marketing creation of the United States Department of Agriculture — the same agency at the center of a federal anti-obesity drive that discourages over-consumption of some of the very foods Dairy Management is vigorously promoting.” I’m starting to lose track of the contradictions here: Government promoting the very food it blames for health problems it often ends up paying for, and an agency partly funded by tax funds developing marketing programs for a private firm. When the New York Times complains that something is amiss with a government program, you know it’s really bad.

Kansas budget profiled. John Hanna of Associated Press takes a look at the Kansas budget and issues surrounding. Key facts: For the next budget (fiscal year 2012, which starts July 1, 2011, and is the budget the legislature will work on during the upcoming session), there is no more federal stimulus money. That money was a key part in balancing the last two budgets. The deficit for FY 2012 is projected at $492 million. Tax collections are projected to grow by 4.3 percent in FY 2012. By transferring highway funds and gambling revenues to the general fund, the state could balance the budget without cutting services by much, but there will likely have to be some cuts.

Kansas judicial selection. Foundation Watch, a publication of the Capital Research Center, features an article titled George Soros’s Plan to Seize State High Courts. Kansas is mentioned several times in this article. As readers may remember, Kansas judicial selection gives extreme power to members of the bar, more so than does any other state. The state’s elites — outgoing Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson, newspaper editorial writers, and of course the lawyers — are fine with this undemocratic system. But we should be cautious. The article’s summary is: “In some states supreme court judges are elected by the people. In others the governor appoints judges from a list of recommendations compiled by a commission composed mainly of lawyers. Arguments can be made for either process. But George Soros knows what he wants: appointed supreme court judges recommended by lawyer-driven commissions. Call us knee-jerk, but that may be one good reason why this is not a good idea.”

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2 Comments

  1. Republican Mom November 9, 2010

    Interesting info about the city building inspection department.

    Anyone who’s ever had their house or business hit by a tornado can tell you: it’s better to be completely wiped out than to have to repair & re-do with the various city inspectors popping by & contradicting each other one after the other.

  2. Anonymous November 10, 2010

    The same people who are clamoring for more government oversight are often the same who want less taxes. Can’t have it both ways.

    With all due respect to Colby Sandlian, building homes in the 50s is way different than today. The growth in staff is directly attributable to ever increasing regulatory requirements that are for the most part driven by the public crying about things such as the sad situation in southeast Wichita.

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