Jeff Longwell

Wichita City Council Member Jeff Longwell

Wichita water plant contract

Wichita water plant contract

Wichita should consider discarding the water plant contract in order to salvage its reputation and respect for process. This week the Wichita City Council will consider approving a contract with Wichita Water Partners to build a new water treatment plant. It's a controversial matter that likely played a significant role in the recent mayoral election. Wichita Eagle reporting by Chance Swaim in the story Wichita’s mayor steered multi-million-dollar water plant contract to friends traces through the issues. The most important thing is that the city receives a reliable water plant that meets its needs. Currently, the city operates a plant…
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Longwell: ‘There is no corruption’

Longwell: ‘There is no corruption’

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell says there is no corruption involving him, but this is only because of loose and sloppy Kansas and Wichita laws. In an advertisement in the November 3, 2019 Wichita Eagle, Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell defended himself against charges of corruption. Referring to a recent investigation by the Sedgwick County District Attorney, the ad states: In 2018 and 2017, Bennett found I was 100% compliant. In 2016 he found only one instance where I was $21.33 over the annual $500 threshold allowed for "goods and services" received from local companies. Here's what the District Attorney found in…
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Questions for Mayor Jeff Longwell

Questions for Mayor Jeff Longwell

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell urges Wichitans to reach out to him with questions through email and social media. I've posed a few questions to Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell on Facebook, usually tagging both his personal profile and campaign page. But he hasn't answered any, despite urging citizens to contact him. Here are some recent questions: October 17 A question for Mayor Jeff Longwell and Mayor Jeff Longwell for Reelection: Mr. Mayor, the city may be looking at several large investments soon, like a convention center or performing arts center. How can you assure us that your influence over these items…
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Checking a Jeff Longwell for Mayor political ad

Checking a Jeff Longwell for Mayor political ad

An ad from the Jeff Longwell for Mayor Committee contains a false claim. An advertisement advocating the re-election of Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell contains a claim about economic development that is false. The ad appears in the October 20, 2019 print edition of the Wichita Eagle. Under the heading "Let's Set the Record Straight," we find this item: "Multiple large scale business development projects like the Cargill Downtown Headquarters which created 850+ jobs." It's the use of the word "create" that is false. It's wrong because Cargill's headquarters was located in downtown Wichita at the time it announced it would…
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The Making of the Wichita Mayor 2019

The Making of the Wichita Mayor 2019

The Making of the Wichita Mayor 2019 By Karl Peterjohn There are eight major lessons for Wichita voters when they cast their ballots on or before November 5, 2019, concerning the revelations of favoritism involving the mayor, apparently a majority of the city council, and a number of Wichita businesses and businessmen concerning a proposed massive city water plant contract that is close to half a billion dollars. The Wichita Eagle’s detailed reporting on this proposed contract, Mayor Longwell’s role deserves scrutiny at several different levels. Let me begin with full disclosure. Both Mayor Longwell and I are registered Republicans,…
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In Wichita, more tax increment financing

In Wichita, more tax increment financing

The Wichita city council will consider expanding an existing TIF, or tax increment financing district. Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will consider expanding the boundaries of an existing tax increment financing district in downtown Wichita. [1. City of Wichita City Council Agenda for October 8, 2019. Agenda Item No. V-1, Public Hearings Considering an Expansion of the Union Station Tax Increment Financing District and Considering a Development Agreement for the Union Station Project Area 3 Plan (District I)] According to city documents for this agenda item, Expanding the District would allow the Developer to capture the additional increment generated by…
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Contribute to a campaign, get (nearly) free rent

Contribute to a campaign, get (nearly) free rent

Citizens may not have noticed that a campaign contributor to Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell received a large benefit from the city this week. This Tuesday the Wichita City Council voted to amend an existing lease. In a nutshell, the city council voted to lease to a tenant 8,600 square feet of retail space for $1.00 per year. Not $1.00 per square foot per year, but $1.00 per year for all 8,600 square feet. That's for the first four years of the lease. Computed as rent per square foot, which is the common way to quote rent for commercial space, the…
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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…
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From Pachyderm: Wichita mayoral candidates

From Pachyderm: Wichita mayoral candidates

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club this week: Wichita mayoral candidates Jeff Longwell and Brandon Whipple. This audio presentation or podcast was recorded on September 27, 2019. Todd Johnson is the moderator. Shownotes Jeff Longwell campaign web site: www.jefflongwellformayor.com Brandon Whipple campaign web site: www.votewhipple.com
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Downtown Wichita jobs decline

Downtown Wichita jobs decline

Despite heavy promotion and investment in downtown Wichita, the number of jobs continues to decline. The United States Census Bureau has a program known as LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics, or LODES. According to the Bureau, “The LEHD program produces new, cost effective, public-use information combining federal, state and Census Bureau data on employers and employees under the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) Partnership. State and local authorities increasingly need detailed local information about their economies to make informed decisions. The LED Partnership works to fill critical data gaps and provide indicators needed by state and local authorities." Data is available by…
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Wichita mayoral debate

Wichita mayoral debate

Details of the Wichita baseball stadium land deal were an issue at the first Wichita mayoral debate. The Wichita first mayoral debate of the general election season between Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and Brandon Whipple was characterized by the Wichita Eagle headline, "Wichita mayor candidates accuse each other of lying in first debate." But I noticed a story told by the mayor that sounds like a good deal, but deserves scrutiny. It has to do with the four acres of land sold for $1 per acre to the owners of the new Wichita baseball team. The controversy is that the…
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Campaigning on Wichita as recession-proof

Campaigning on Wichita as recession-proof

The City of Wichita and Mayor Jeff Longwell shouldn't be using flimsy evidence that is contrary to actual economic data. Earlier this year Wichita city officials promoted an article that praised the Wichita economy. [1. Handy, Emily. The 7 Most Recession-Proof Cities in the US. Livability. January 22, 2019. Available at https://livability.com/topics/careers-opportunities/the-7-most-recession-proof-cities-in-the-us.] A tweet came from the official @CityofWichita Twitter account and reads "We have been named one of the top two recession-proof cities in the nation by @Livability. Wichita was praised for its ability to withstand turbulence in the national economy, steady job growth and the state's low income-to-debt…
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Can’t we have a literate mayor?

Can’t we have a literate mayor?

Mistakes on Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell's Facebook campaign page are troubling. On the Facebook campaign page for Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, we can read this in the "About" section: "Since 2015, Mayor Longwell has boldly lead Wichita into it's bright, better future. Undeterred by status quo or fear of change, he's helped poise Wichita to grab its limitless opportunity and prepare to take its place among the top cities in America." [4. Facebook. Mayor Jeff Longwell for Reelection. Available at https://www.facebook.com/mayorjefflongwellwichita/.] I see three errors or mistakes. First, an explanation from Professor Paul Brians: lead / led When you’re hit…
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On Wichita water, Longwell is right about one thing

On Wichita water, Longwell is right about one thing

A city hall news event sought to counter a news story that highlighted problems with Wichita's water supply, but it seemed more like a political campaign event. In yesterday's press briefing, Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell addressed concerns raised in a recent Wichita Eagle article regarding Wichita water infrastructure. [1. Swaim, Chance. Wichita’s water plant: ‘Every hour that thing is running, it could fail.’ Wichita Eagle, July 21, 2019. Available at https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article232826482.html.] Longwell pushed back against the article's reporting, perhaps the most concerning being: "Wichita’s entire water system has a 'significant risk' of failure and lacks redundancy, meaning if a major…
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Wichita population, according to Mayor Longwell

Wichita population, according to Mayor Longwell

It is unfortunate that Wichita city and metro populations are falling. It is unimaginable that our city's top leader is not aware of the latest population trends. In May, Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell told viewers of the KPTS Television program Call the Mayor that he was not aware of the latest United States Census Bureau estimates of population for Wichita. (A transcript of this portion of the program is below.) Mayor Longwell said he wasn't aware of the estimate, telling the audience, "census estimates are different than the census." Absolutely correct. The census, which is an attempt to count the…
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Naftzger Park, according to Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell

Naftzger Park, according to Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell

He had an opportunity to learn the true history of Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita. But Mayor Jeff Longwell didn't learn, or maybe he doesn't care. In March, Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell answered a question about Naftzger Park, telling viewers of the KPTS Television program Call the Mayor that: "Actually what we found out is when our city fathers put in that park years ago they put the park in on private development land and so the development's actually not on Naftzger Park. Naftzger Park used to be planted on private development land and so they had to change the…
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State of the City, Wichita: Employment strength

State of the City, Wichita: Employment strength

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell's State of the City video relies on flimsy evidence and plucks scant good news from a sea of bad. This is a problem. Recently Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell delivered the State of the City video. It was posted to YouTube on March 28, 2019, and may be viewed here. In this video, the mayor said, "The recent Livability.com study measured employment rates strength over time, affordability, and community amenities." This isn't the first time the mayor and other city officials have mentioned this study, if we can even call it that. [1. Weeks, Bob. Wichita, a…
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State of the City, Wichita: The bright future

State of the City, Wichita: The bright future

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell's State of the City video doesn't seem to be based on reality. Recently Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell delivered the State of the City video. It was posted to YouTube on March 28, 2019, and may be viewed here. Not long into the address, the mayor says, "... we must embrace the challenges we face and forge ahead into the bright future that is just around the corner." On that bright future: Since the mayor spoke, learned that the Wichita metropolitan area lost population during the year ending July 1, 2018. [1. Weeks, Bob. Wichita population falls;…
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