Karl Peterjohn

Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn

Sedgwick County Commission Chair to speak

On Friday April 30, Karl Peterjohn will address members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club. Peterjohn is the chair of the Sedgwick County Commission. His topic will be "A view from the county commission." All are welcome to attend Pachyderm club meetings. The program costs $10, which includes a delicious buffet lunch including salad, soup, two main dishes, and ice tea and coffee. The meeting starts at noon, although it's recommended to arrive fifteen minutes early to get your lunch before the program starts. The Wichita Petroleum Club is on the ninth floor of the Bank of America Building…
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Kansas legislative ratings posted

I've come into possession of some of the Kansas legislature vote ratings that Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network produced. I've made available the annual ratings of both the Kansas House of Representatives and the Kansas Senate back to 1996. Only the ratings for 2002 are missing from this collection. These ratings are valuable because they record what legislators actually do, which is in some cases very different from what legislators say they do. The ratings can be found at Kansas legislative scorecards and rankings. A related project is my Kansas Economic Freedom Index.
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Kansas legislative scorecards and rankings

Kansans need to know the true voting record of members of the legislature. Legislative scorecards or ratings can be a valuable resource for learning about the actions and record of legislators. These ratings are valuable because they record what a legislator actually does. Sometimes that's different from what legislators say they do. Producing a meaningful rating is not a simple matter. You need to find votes that discriminate between political positions, as including a bill where the vote was 115 to 3 provides little discriminative value. Sometimes there are procedural votes leading up to final passage, and it may be…
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Karl Peterjohn elected Chairman of Sedgwick County Commission

At a reception for county commissioners, new chairman of the Sedgwick County Commission Karl Peterjohn answers a reporter's questions. A note to readers: I served as co-manager of Peterjohn’s campaign in 2008. Yesterday members of the Sedgwick County Commission unanimously elected Karl Peterjohn to be their chairman. Citizens of Sedgwick County should appreciate Peterjohn's first year of service, just concluded, where he often asked questions from the bench that no one else asks -- or even thinks of asking. In the coming year we should benefit from Peterjohn's leadership, which will be especially important as the county navigates what is…
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Kansas legislative scorecards, rankings

Kansans need to know the true voting record of members of the legislature. Legislative scorecards or ratings can be a valuable resource for learning about the actions and record of legislators. These ratings are valuable because they record what a legislator actually does. Sometimes that's different from what legislators say they do. Producing a meaningful rating is difficult. You need to find votes that discriminate between political positions, as including a bill where the vote was 115 to 3 provides little discriminative value. Sometimes there are procedural votes leading up to final passage, and it may be these somewhat obscure…
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Intrust Bank Arena’s missing name

A note to readers: I served as co-manager of Peterjohn's campaign in 2008. The commemorative plaque on the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita, Kansas. On the commemorative plaque outside the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita, there's a missing name. The names of eight Sedgwick County commissioners appear, including all who were members of the Commission when the arena sales tax passed in November 2004, all who have served since then, and all present commissioners. Except for one: current third district commissioner Karl Peterjohn. In 2004 Peterjohn led opposition to the sales tax ballot measure that funded the arena.…
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Peterjohn’s Kansas taxpayer protection platform recognized

Last week, Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn lead a successful effort to add strong protection for taxpayers to the county's legislative platform. My coverage is at Peterjohn presses taxpayer protection platform through Sedgwick County Commission. Following is a short op-ed from Americans For Prosperity-Kansas on this matter. I was pleased to learn of the Sedgwick County Commission’s new legislative platform regarding property taxes. It reads, "All local sales tax increases must be approved by voters under Kansas law. All property tax increases that raise the mill levy should also be required to receive voter approval." This is a significant step…
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Peterjohn presses taxpayer protection platform through Sedgwick County Commission

At today's meeting of the Sedgwick County Commission, commissioners revised the county's 2010 legislative platform, adding important and groundbreaking taxpayer protection to the platform. The split vote lets voters know without a doubt where commissioners stand on taxpayer protection issues. The legislative platform is Sedgwick County's "wish list" for the legislature. The items in the platform are not laws, but instead indicate the desires of the county commission. Commissioner Karl Peterjohn proposed new language to add to the legislative platform: "All local sales tax increases must be approved by voters under Kansas law. All property tax increases that raise the…
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Betty Arnold’s Sedgwick County Commission race: running uphill

Last week Betty Arnold, a member of the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, declared her intent to be a candidate for the Sedgwick County Commission. She'll be running for the spot currently held by Republican Dave Unruh, who has already filed for re-election. Arnold, a Democrat, faces an uphill battle, based on registration figures. In this district, my analysis of a recent voter file shows voter registration runs 29% Democratic, 45% Republican, and 26% unaffiliated. (The remainder are Libertarian and Reform party registrants.) Considering recent voters -- I defined this as those who voted in an…
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More local government 101 in Wichita

Here's a message from John Todd about additional training provided by Americans For Prosperity. Tuesday, September 22, 2009 & Wednesday, September 23, 2009 Local Government 101: Learn how to get involved in Sedgwick County Government and how to influence public policy as a citizen activist. With Special Guest Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday September 22, 2009, at the Wichita Area Builders Association meeting room, 730 N. Main, Wichita, Kansas 67203 Then, a follow-up event: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Wednesday September 23, 2009 Attend a Board of Sedgwick County Commission Meeting Sedgwick County…
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Wichita Eagle reporting, headlining discussed by commissioners

In today's meeting of the Sedgwick County Commission, Wichita Eagle reporting and editorializing was the subject of an off-agenda item. Commissioner Gwen Welshimer used this opportunity to read into the record part of a press release she issued yesterday. The entire press release, as well as video, is at the end of this article. Commissioner and Chairman Kelly Parks mentioned that he has been disturbed with some headlines in the Wichita Eagle recently, and that the media has "not checked out some of the headlines they've put out." Commissioner Karl Peterjohn shared his concerns with misleading Wichita Eagle headlines, referring…
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Wichita downtown arena parking problem

This week the Wichita Eagle printed a letter submitted by Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn. The printed letter is quite a bit shorter than what Peterjohn submitted. The unabridged letter follows. The Wichita Eagle editorial written by Rhonda Holman on June 29, 2009 now claims that the new Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita lacks adequate parking. This is a major change by the Eagle editorial board’s position. I have repeatedly asked county staff about the available parking in and around this soon-to-open facility since I became a commissioner in January. I have been repeatedly told by county staff that…
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Wichita Child Advocacy Center still in business, despite headline

A headline in the Thursday August 6, 2009 Wichita Eagle is a little bit misleading: "Sedgwick County budget saves pavilions, denies site for abused kids." Recognizing that the reporter who wrote the story probably didn't write the headline, the fact is that the Sedgwick County Commission didn't deny a site for the Child Advocacy Center. This Center is still operating. What happened at the meeting is that the county commission declined to grant a last-minute request for funding that would improve the Center's office quarters. The request for funding was sprung on the commission at the last moment, with Wednesday's…
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Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanan should be dismissed

Last year a political science professor, a keen observer of Kansas politics, told me that city or county managers shouldn't be in office more than four or five years. After that, he said, they gain too much power. They know too much: all the secrets, where the bodies are buried. Think of J. Edgar Hoover and his reign. If managers are to serve their councils or commissions -- instead of the other way around -- sometimes a change needs to be made, just for the sake of change. This alone is enough reason for change in the Sedgwick County manager's…
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Sedgwick County solid waste fee criticized

Today's Wichita Eagle column by Rhonda Holman is a two-fer. Two issues for the price of one column, and two issues she's wrong on. The first issue is explained in Wichita water economics. She criticizes Commissioner Karl Peterjohn and Board Chairman Kelly Parks for the opposition of a solid waste management fee that would add a relatively small amount to property tax bills. (When writing about Peterjohn, do I need to disclose that he and I are friends, and that I helped manage his campaign last year? I'd feel more compelled to do so if Holman would start writing editorials…
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Lack of information clouds Sedgwick County industrial park plans

At yesterday's meeting of the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners, questions about a proposed industrial park development reveal that there's still a long way to go before all issues are uncovered, much less understood. At the meeting, Chris Chronis, Chief Financial Officer for Sedgwick County, presented information and responded to questions. While Mr. Chronis was thorough in some areas, even some basic information and understanding is missing. For example, questioning by Board Chairman Kelly Parks revealed that it is unknown at this time who owns the mineral rights to the property. Commissioner Karl Peterjohn asked Chronis about the relationship between…
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On the wall of Karl Peterjohn’s office

Earlier this week I stopped by the Sedgwick County Courthouse to visit with newly-elected commissioner Karl Peterjohn. Next month I'll have a feature about Peterjohn's first few months in office. Until then, here's a photograph I took of a cartoon that hangs on the wall of his office (click to view a larger version):
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