Activism

Wichita city council public agenda needs reform

Wichita city council public agenda needs reform

Recent use of the Wichita City Council public agenda has highlighted the need for reform. At meetings of the Wichita city council, non-council members generally have two opportunities to address the council members. One is as each agenda item is considered. There is (usually) an opportunity to speak only on that topic. If you want to speak about something else, there is also an opportunity near the start of the meeting called the public agenda. The council has policies regarding the public agenda, particularly the need to sign up before the meeting, and far in advance: "Members of the public…
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Wichita has examples of initiative and referendum

Wichita has examples of initiative and referendum

Citizens in Wichita have been busy exercising their rights of initiative and referendum at the municipal level. The Kansas Legislature should grant the same rights to citizens at the state level. What recourse do citizens have when elected officials are not responsive? Initiative and referendum are two possibilities. Citizens in Wichita have exercised these rights, but Kansans are not able to do this at the state level. Initiative is when citizens propose a new law, and then gather signatures on petitions. If a successful petition is filed, the matter is (generally) placed on a ballot for the electorate to decide…
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‘Activate Wichita’ illustrates city approach to citizen involvement

‘Activate Wichita’ illustrates city approach to citizen involvement

A City of Wichita outreach system is lightly used, and risks gathering only positive feedback. Activate Wichita is touted by Wichita city officials as an "online conversation about the future of the Greater Wichita metropolitan area." Described on its companion Facebook page as "Activate Wichita is an innovative new way to be heard on the issues your passionate about. Whether your passion is local arts, the environment, or employment creation, you can log on and voice your opinion and local leaders will respond. Together communities come up with solutions and vote on the best course." For a system designed to…
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Using your smartphone for political activism

Using your smartphone for political activism

In this excerpt from WichitaLiberty.TV: Your smartphone is a valuable tool for activism. Here are two ways to get involved. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. For more on this topic, see Your smartphone is your activism toolkit.
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Kansas campaign material repository

Kansas campaign material repository

An accessible collection of campaign material will help hold candidates and campaigns accountable. I've started a collection of Kansas political campaign material such as mailers, palm cards, handouts, and door hangers. This collection could be valuable in holding candidates of all parties accountable for their words. Independent organizations may advocate for or against candidates and ballot measures, and these need to be held accountable, too. It can be difficult to gather campaign material. Some is mailed or distributed only to small geographic districts. Or, material is mailed only to voters with certain characteristics, such as party registration or voting consistency.…
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Your smartphone is your activism toolkit

Your smartphone is your activism toolkit

Your smartphone is a valuable tool for activism. Here are two ways to get involved. Many people wonder how they can be involved in helping to improve government as a citizen activist. It may be that you have a valuable tool that's in your pocket, and that you take everywhere you go: Your smartphone. You may have seen me showing photographs of street lights burning in downtown Wichita during the middle of sunny afternoons. Have you ever spotted government waste like that? I’m sure that you have. I think people forget they have a fairly high-quality camera with them at…
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Susan Estes of AFP and the upcoming summt

Susan Estes of AFP and the upcoming summt

On the Joseph Ashby Show, Susan Estes of Americans for Prosperity-Kansas appeared on August 7, 2014. Bob Weeks is the guest host. We discuss the the goals of AFP and the upcoming Defending the American Dream Summit in Dallas. There are bus trips available from Wichita.
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Vampires on the prowl in Wichita and the city council’s treatment of citizens.

WichitaLiberty.TV: Vampires on the prowl in Wichita and the city council’s treatment of citizens.

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: The City of Wichita urges citizens to take steps to stop "vampire" power waste. But before hectoring people to introduce inconvenience to their lives in order to save small amounts of electricity, the city should tackle the real monsters of its own creation. Then proceedings of a recent Wichita City Council meeting are instructive of the factors citizens should consider if they want to interact with the council and city government at a public hearing. Episode 49, broadcast June 29, 2014. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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ALEC should stand up to liberal pressure groups

ALEC should stand up to liberal pressure groups

From April 2012. Today's Wall Street Journal explains how left-wing activists are using fear of the racism label to shut down free speech and debate. The target of their current smear campaign is American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Liberals can't stand ALEC because it is a strong and influential advocate for free market and limited government principals in state legislatures. Liberals accuse ALEC of supplying model legislation which may influence the writing of actual state law, or even become state law in some cases. Of course, liberal advocacy groups do this too, but they don't let that get in…
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Wichita school board reacts to criticism

In the following video, USD 259 (Wichita public school district) board member Betty Arnold reacts to concerns that citizens expressed at a recent meeting. It's common that citizens who disagree with governmental agencies -- especially the Wichita school board -- are told that they have the wrong information, or that they simply don't understand the complexities of running government. A few years ago when board members dismissed the input of an elected official because he disagreed with the board, I wrote in my coverage: "Certainly these three board members were dismissive of Chappell and his input. This is characteristic of…
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Defeated Kansas Republican Chorus

Joseph Ashby and friends created a funny parody song about the recent primary election in Kansas, where many so-called moderate Republicans were defeated by conservative challengers. It's described by Ashby as "The Defeated Republican Chorus sings about their recent election loss in the Kansas Republican primary." Ashby hosts a morning radio talk show on KQAM 1480 AM from 6:00 am to 8:00 am Monday through Friday. You can also listen through the station's website. I often listen using tunein radio on my Iphone. Find out more about the Joseph Ashby Show on Facebook at Joseph Ashby Show or on Twitter…
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SWATing a threat to political speech

Conservative bloggers are being targeted with an illegal and dangerous tactic with the aim of silencing or moderating their voices. The tactic is SWATing (from the police special forces often named Special Weapons and Tactics). The perpetrator makes a telephone call to police falsely reporting that a crime -- usually a violent crime -- has been committed or is in progress at a blogger's home. Erick Erickson of the prominent conservative blog RedState relates the story of his SWATing: "Sunday night as my family and sister’s family were around the dinner table and playing outside, sheriff’s deputies pulled into my…
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ALEC should resist liberal pressure groups

Today's Wall Street Journal explains how left-wing activists are using fear of the racism label to shut down free speech and debate. The target of their current smear campaign is American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Liberals can't stand ALEC because it is a strong and influential advocate for free market and limited government principals in state legislatures. Liberals accuse ALEC of supplying model legislation which may influence the writing of actual state law, or even become state law in some cases. Of course, liberal advocacy groups do this too, but they don't let that get in the way of…
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Sedgwick County should reject planning grant

Update: The county decided to participate in the grant, with Republican commissioners Dave Unruh and Jim Skelton joining with Democrat Tim Norton to pass the measure. Today the Sedgwick County Commission considers whether to participate in a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. One reason we ought to reject this grant and the planning process it funds is the attitude of planners. A recent example comes from the planning process for downtown Wichita, which is characteristic of government planning processes and planners. Consider the attitudes of Goody Clancy, the Boston planning firm the city hired to lead us through the…
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Left-wing sincerity exposed

It's often alleged by the political left that conservative and libertarian activists are nothing more than Astroturf, meaning false or fake grassroots activism. The charge is that the activists are duped into -- or paid for -- engaging in political activism. Which makes the following video from the Koch Industries Koch Facts site all the more interesting. Here's the description of the video on YouTube: "Robert Greenwald's Brave New Foundation is paying people like Jesse Lava to make harassing phone calls to Koch Industries as part of their 'Koch Brothers Exposed' propaganda videos. But when he fails to properly hang…
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