Sedgwick County Commission candidate Hugh Nicks again falsely criticizes his opponent for living up to the values Nicks himself proclaims.
On July 23, 2018, Hugh Nicks wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page: “Richard Ranzau has spent the last 8 YEARS saying ‘NO’ to our safety. Voting against support for law enforcement.” An article from the Wichita Business Journal is then linked. 1
Nicks is a candidate for the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners, District 4. His opponent is the incumbent Richard Ranzau.
The article the Nicks campaign uses reports on deliberations on the new Law Enforcement Training Center in the spring of 2016. 2 But: There are some problem with Hugh Nicks’ presentation and interpretation of this matter.
First, the action described in the article is “tabled.” This merely postponed a decision to another day. No one voted either yes or no.
Second, it wasn’t postponed for long. The next week the Sedgwick County Commission held a joint meeting with the Wichita City Council to discuss the training center. 3 The result of this meeting was unanimous approval, as reported by the Wichita Eagle: “Sedgwick County and the city of Wichita unanimously approved a letter of intent Tuesday to build a new training center at Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus.” 4
The next day, at the regular meeting of the Sedgwick County Commission, the training center was considered. 5 In his remarks from the bench, Commissioner Ranzau summarized: “I do believe this is the best deal we can get given the circumstances, certainly for the county, law enforcement and fire folks, it’s a tremendous step forward. I appreciate our legal council and all the work they did as well on this and the County Manager. I know there’s been a lot of discussion, a lot of stuff going on, so appreciate that, and I’ll be supportive of this motion today.”
When a vote was taken, all commissioners voted in favor.
Now that you know the entire story, reconsider the claim that Hugh Nicks made regarding Ranzau and the law enforcement training center: “Voting against support for law enforcement.”
That simply isn’t true. Not even close.
So: Why is Hugh Nicks critical of Ranzau on this matter? Why is he creating lies?
Consider some of the values listed in Nicks’ campaign literature:
“Be conservative with finances”
“Decisions have consequences. Make them wisely.”
This is what Richard Ranzau did. He favored, as you can read below, a less expensive option — the fiscally conservative option — but voted for the compromise position so that the project could proceed.
Furthermore, the Wichita Business Journal article that Hugh Nicks relies on as a source holds this: “On Wednesday, commissioners — particularly Chairman Jim Howell and Richard Ranzau — expressed concern about selecting a bid that wasn’t the lowest. MWCB has the second-highest cost of the four proposals, county documents show.”
Here, Ranzau was concerned about a potentially unwise decision, that is, not accepting the lowest bid. That’s fiscally conservative and wise.
So exactly what problems does Hugh Nicks have with Richard Ranzau?
Following, an excerpt from the minutes of the meeting of the Sedgwick County Board of Commissioners on May 18, 2016:
Commissioner Ranzau said, “As Commissioner Peterjohn alluded to, this particular attempt started basically back in July of 2015 when the mayor informed us that they would be willing to work with us on an RFP (Request for Proposal) together to move this forward. This particular effort has lasted 10 months. Now, that’s about four months longer than what I had anticipated, but never nevertheless, compared to the 30-year process that’s been going on overall, you can consider this almost lightning speed for government actions. Nevertheless, we are finally here at the point that we’re going to make a decision on the Law Enforcement Training Center, and I appreciate the effort of staff both here at the County and at the City, as well as all the Law Enforcement personnel who participated in getting us to this point.
“I think we have two options that will fit the needs. The WSU option would fit the need so would, I believe, the Commerce Building, which is over $3 million cheaper. That would be the particular one that I would have preferred to go to, because I think it does meet all of our community needs at the lowest cost possible for the taxpayers. That being said, while this may not be the most cost effective option that we could have gotten, it’s certainly probably the best we can get given the circumstances. The City of Wichita made it very clear they would not proceed with the Commerce Building. They would start all over and do it again if we selected that, so we’re left in the conundrum of what do we do? Do we say we aren’t going to do anything or do we say that we are going to work with them and see what we can do? Fortunately, we had a Chairman who had some vision and followed the big picture and said, well, if we’re going to spend more money on this facility, then what can we get for the extra expense for the taxpayers, and so we entered into discussions about the Fire Training Center, and while he was criticized for this, I think it’s an example of having a vision and not having tunnel vision.
“You’ve got to see the big picture, and he addressed two very important issues for this community in a very effective way. And so we’re not just here today to celebrate Law Enforcement Training Center, but we can celebrate the Regional Fire Training Center as well and the new partnership between the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County, and I think he should be congratulated for his vision and leadership in that area for our community. Sometimes, if you want to be a leader, have you have to be prepared to be criticized. But you continue to march forward and do the right thing because you know it’s the right thing. That’s what leadership is. Despite all the detractors and all the nay-sayers, you have a vision, you have a goal, and you execute a plan to reach that goal, and that’s admirable in this day and age.
“For those reasons, as stated, I do believe this is the best deal we can get given the circumstances, certainly for the county, law enforcement and fire folks, it’s a tremendous step forward. I appreciate our legal council and all the work they did as well on this and the County Manager. I know there’s been a lot of discussion, a lot of stuff going on, so appreciate that, and I’ll be supportive of this motion today.”
When a vote was taken, all commissioners voted in favor.
- Nicks For County Commission Facebook page, July 23, 2018. Available at https://www.facebook.com/NicksForCountyCommission/photos/a.1633354576739927.1073741832.1591968844211834/2019318654810182/. ↩
- Heck, Josh. Sedgwick County Commission tables vote on law enforcement training center at WSU. Wichita Business Journal, May 11, 2016. Available at https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/blog/2016/05/sedgwick-county-commission-tables-vote-on-law.html. ↩
- Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners. Meeting detail, May 17, 2016. Available at https://sedgwickcounty.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=486352&GUID=99EB8331-86AD-48CD-B8E5-743F2FF28AA6. ↩
- Salazar, Danial. Sedgwick County, Wichita agree to build law enforcement training center at WSU. Wichita Eagle, May 17, 2016. Available at https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article78051732.html. ↩
- Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners. Meeting detail, May 18, 2016. Available at https://sedgwickcounty.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=485988&GUID=ABD59669-B2C6-409F-8978-049DEF903C56. ↩