James Clendenin

Wichita City Council Member James Clendenin

The power and influence of the Wichita mayor

The power and influence of the Wichita mayor

When pursuing a large Wichita city contract, did the winning company lobby all council members, or primarily Mayor Jeff Longwell? The role of Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell in the awarding of the contract for the new Wichita water plant has been in the news. A recent Wichita Eagle article showed how the mayor steered the award to a company other than the company recommended by the city's selection committee. [1. Swaim, Chance. Wichita’s mayor steered multi-million-dollar water plant contract to friends. Wichita Eagle, September 29, 2019. Available at https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article234701932.html.] Central to the story is the relationship between the mayor and…
Read More
Starlite loan isn’t needed

Starlite loan isn’t needed

The Wichita City Council seems poised to enter an unnecessarily complicated transaction. This week the Wichita City Council will consider a loan to the operator of the Starlite Drive-In Theater in Wichita. According to city documents, the proposal is for a five-year loan of $200,000 with an annual interest rate of one percent. The city is requiring both a personal guarantee and a letter of credit, presumably from a reputable bank. [1. "The $200,000 loan from the City will be structured to be repaid over five years as an interest only loan with an interest rate of 1% per annum,…
Read More
On big contracts, Wichita has had problems

On big contracts, Wichita has had problems

As Wichita prepares to award a large construction contract, let's hope the city acts in an ethical manner this time. As the Wichita City Council prepares to make a decision regarding a contract for the new baseball stadium, the council's past reputation in these matters can't be overlooked. The controversy over the stadium contract has been covered by the Wichita Eagle: "The Wichita City Council hasn’t officially approved a design-build team for the city’s new $75 million Minor League ballpark, but there’s already been a protest over the recommended group. ... At issue in a protest by a competing team…
Read More
Wichita being sued, alleging improper handling of bond repayment savings

Wichita being sued, alleging improper handling of bond repayment savings

A lawsuit claims that when the City of Wichita refinanced its special assessment bonds, it should have passed on the savings to the affected taxpayers, and it did not do that. A lawsuit filed in Sedgwick County District Court charges that the City of Wichita improperly handled the savings realized when it refinanced special assessment bonds at a lower interest rate. The case is 2018-CV-001567-CF, filed on July 13, 2018, and available here. The suit names David L. Snodgrass and Leslie J. Snodgrass as plaintiffs, and a long list of defendants, namely: The City of Wichita, Kansas Wichita City Manager…
Read More
From Pachyderm: Local legislative priorities

From Pachyderm: Local legislative priorities

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Local government officials present their legislative priorities. Appearing are James Clendenin for the City of Wichita, Dave Unruh for Sedgwick County, and Sheril Logan for the Wichita Public School District. This was recorded December 22, 2017.
Read More
From Pachyderm: Legislative Agendas for 2017

From Pachyderm: Legislative Agendas for 2017

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club this week: Representatives of local governments presented issues important to them in the upcoming session of the Kansas Legislature. Presenters were: Sheril Logan, board member for Wichita Public Schools. The material she presented to the audience is here. James Clendenin, Wichita City Council. His presentation is here. Jim Howell, Sedgwick County Commission. A link to the county's legislative agenda is here. This is an audio presentation recorded on January 6, 2017.
Read More
CID and other incentives approved in downtown Wichita

CID and other incentives approved in downtown Wichita

The Wichita City Council approves economic development incentives, but citizens should not be proud of the discussion and deliberation. Today's meeting of the Wichita City Council saw the council discuss and approve economic development incentives for a project in downtown Wichita. The item contemplated economic development incentives for redevelopment of an empty building in downtown Wichita to become a Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. The incentives being considered were a Community Improvement District (CID), Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB), a parking agreement, and a skywalk easement. The discussion by the council was useful for revealing two members who are opposed to some…
Read More
WichitaLiberty.TV: News media, hollow Kansas government, ideology vs. pragmatism

WichitaLiberty.TV: News media, hollow Kansas government, ideology vs. pragmatism

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: New outlets for news, and criticism of the existing. Is Kansas government "hollowed out?" Ideology and pragmatism. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 124, broadcast July 17, 2016. Shownotes Kansas Memo on Facebook A short video on using Kansas Memo and other pages of Facebook The Honest Media on Facebook Renee Erickson's Facebook post Article: In Wichita, Meitzner, Clendenin sow seeds of distrust Article: Kansas government ‘hollowed-out’ Prager U: Free Courses for Free Minds
Read More
In Wichita, Meitzner, Clendenin sow seeds of distrust

In Wichita, Meitzner, Clendenin sow seeds of distrust

Comments by two Wichita city council members give citizens more reasons to be cynical and distrusting of politicians. In a recent Facebook post that someone sent to me, Wichita City Council Member Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita) wrote: "Hmmmm.....of note; Wichita is the only sizable city in Kansas that does not ADD any sales tax on top of the State and Sedgwick County sales tax rate." It is astonishing that council member Meitzner would brag of this -- that Wichita has no city sales tax. That's because Meitzner, along with all council members but one, voted to place the…
Read More
Wichita city council campaign finance reform

Wichita city council campaign finance reform

Some citizen activists and Wichita city council members believe that a single $500 campaign contribution from a corporation has a corrupting influence. But stacking dozens of the same $500 contributions from executives and spouses of the same corporation? Not a problem. On December 1, 2015 the Wichita City Council considered an ordinance regarding campaign finance for city elections. A Wichita Eagle article on the topic started with: "A proposed change in city ordinance would allow corporations, labor unions and political action committees to have a greater influence on Wichita politics. For years, city elections have remained insulated from the power…
Read More
WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita outreach, city council, and entrepreneurship

WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita outreach, city council, and entrepreneurship

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A look at Wichita community outreach and communications, rewriting city council history, and entrepreneurship. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 102, broadcast December 6, 2015. Shownotes Activate Wichita and Facebook page Video from Wichita City Council meeting and references Complete remarks from Joseph Ashby Show Kauffman Foundation, Video: Myth-busting Entrepreneurship
Read More
Campaign contribution changes in Wichita

Campaign contribution changes in Wichita

A change to Wichita city election law is likely to have little practical effect. Currently Wichita city code prohibits certain entities from making campaign contributions to candidates for city council and mayor: "Contributions by political committees as defined by K.S.A. 25-4143, as amended, corporations, partnerships, trusts, labor unions, business groups or other such organizations are expressly prohibited." The intent of this law is to limit the influence of businesses and unions on city elections. This week the Wichita City Council will consider striking this portion of city code. The contribution limit of $500 to a candidate for the primary election,…
Read More
In Wichita, bad governmental behavior excused

In Wichita, bad governmental behavior excused

A Wichita newspaper op-ed is either ignorant of, or decides to forgive and excuse, bad behavior in Wichita government, particularly by then-mayoral candidate Jeff Longwell. In a column just before the April 2015 Wichita election, Bill Wilson, managing editor of the Wichita Business Journal, reported on fallacies during the mayoral campaign, fallacies he called "glaring." [6. Wichita Business Journal, 2015. 'Bill Wilson: Campaign 2015 -- To Tell The Truth'. Accessed May 14 2015. http://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/print-edition/2015/04/03/bill-wilson-campaign-2015-to-tell-the-truth.html.] But only a juvenile interpretation of the facts surrounding the events could find them fallacious. This is especially troubling since Wilson covered city hall as a…
Read More
A Wichita Shocker, redux

A Wichita Shocker, redux

Based on events in Wichita, the Wall Street Journal wrote "What Americans seem to want most from government these days is equal treatment. They increasingly realize that powerful government nearly always helps the powerful ..." But Wichita's elites don't seem to understand this. Three years ago from today the Wall Street Journal noted something it thought remarkable: a "voter revolt" in Wichita. Citizens overturned a decision by the Wichita City Council regarding an economic development incentive awarded to a downtown hotel. It was the ninth layer of subsidy for the hotel, and because of our laws, it was the only…
Read More
WichitaLiberty.TV: The need for reform at Wichita City Hall

WichitaLiberty.TV: The need for reform at Wichita City Hall

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: An episode this week at the Wichita city council meeting highlights the need for campaign finance reform in Wichita. We’ll examine a few incidents and see if there’s a way we can reform Wichita city government so that it is capitalism friendly instead of crony friendly. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 69, broadcast December 21, 2014.
Read More
Campaign contribution stacking in Wichita

Campaign contribution stacking in Wichita

Those seeking favors from Wichita City Hall use campaign contribution stacking to bypass contribution limits. This has paid off handsomely for them, and has harmed everyone else. Not long ago a person who is politically active wrote a letter that was published in the Wichita Eagle. It criticized the role of campaign contributions in federal elections, noting “Corporations don’t spend money on politics because they are patriotic; rather, the companies expect a financial return.” Later the letter held this: “Locally, I understand that elections for the Wichita City Council underwent ideal, nonpartisan campaign-finance reform years ago, and that these limits…
Read More
In Wichita, the need for campaign finance reform

In Wichita, the need for campaign finance reform

Actions of the Wichita City Council have shown that campaign finance reform is needed. Citizen groups are investigating how to accomplish this needed reform, since the council has not shown interest in reforming itself. Consider recent actions by the council and its members: The council voted to give a movie theater operator a no-interest and low-interest loan, after having already received the benefit of tax increment financing. A minister dabbling in real estate development made a large contribution to his council representative just before he asked the city council for tax increment financing. The council voted to give a construction…
Read More
Wichita to consider tax exemptions

Wichita to consider tax exemptions

A Wichita company asks for property and sales tax exemptions on the same day Wichita voters decide whether to increase the sales tax, including the tax on groceries. This week the Wichita City Council will hold a public hearing concerning the issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds to Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. The purpose of the bonds is to allow Spirit to avoid paying property taxes on taxable property purchased with bond proceeds for a period of five years. The abatement may then be extended for another five years. Additionally, Spirit will not pay sales taxes on the purchased property. City documents…
Read More
For Wichita sales tax, concern over conflicts of interest

For Wichita sales tax, concern over conflicts of interest

Supporters of a proposed sales tax in Wichita promise there will be no conflicts of interest when making spending decisions. That would be a welcome departure from present city practice. In November Wichita voters will decide on a new one cent per dollar sales tax, part to be used for economic development, specifically job creation. "Yes Wichita" is a group that supports the sales tax. Language on its website reads: "Conflict-of-interest policies will prohibit anyone from participating in decisions in which there is any self-interest." The page is addressing the economic development portion of the proposed sales tax. It's part…
Read More
What the Wichita city council could do

What the Wichita city council could do

While the proposed Wichita city sales tax is a bad idea, the city could do a few things that would not only improve its chance of passage, but also improve local government. This week the Wichita City Council passed an ordinance that starts the process of placing a sales tax measure on the November ballot. The one cent per dollar tax will be used for several initiatives, including an economic development jobs fund. The city will need to gain the trust of citizens if the measure is to have any chance of passage. While I am personally opposed to the…
Read More