Wichita 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.

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…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Confusion about corruption in Wichita, regulation in Wichita, and the lowly pencil

WichitaLiberty.TV: Confusion about corruption in Wichita, regulation in Wichita, and the lowly pencil

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Citizen activists were concerned about unleashing a corrupting influence in Wichita City Hall, but they didn’t know it’s already there. Then, the regulatory landscape in Wichita. Finally, what can a pencil teach us about how the world works? View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 121, broadcast June 12, 2016. Shownotes Wichita city council campaign finance reform Regulation in Wichita, a ‘labyrinth of city processes’ I pencil, the movie
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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…
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Wichita city hall falls short in taxpayer protection

Wichita city hall falls short in taxpayer protection

An incentives agreement the Wichita city council passed on first reading is missing several items that city policy requires. How the council and city staff handle the second reading of this ordinance will let us know for whose interests city hall works: citizens, or cronies. This week I presented the Wichita City Council my concerns about an inadequate developer agreement for a TIF district development project, the Mosley Avenue Project. My presentation centered on the lack of an agreement by the developer to forgo appeals of the tax valuation of the property. The applicant had done this in the past,…
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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…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: The harm of cronyism, local and national

WichitaLiberty.TV: The harm of cronyism, local and national

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Does Wichita have a problem with cronyism? The mayor, city council, and bureaucrats say no, but you can decide for yourself. Then, from LearnLiberty.org, the harm of cronyism at the national level. Episode 48, broadcast June 22, 2014. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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Is there a problem in Wichita?

Does Wichita have a problem with cronyism? The mayor, city council, and bureaucrats say no, but you can decide for yourself. View below, or click here to view in high definition at YouTube.
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WichitaLiberty.TV: For whose benefit are elections, school employment, wind power, unions, unemployment

WichitaLiberty.TV: For whose benefit are elections, school employment, wind power, unions, unemployment

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: The controversy over the timing of city and school board elections provides an insight into government. Then: Can a candidate for governor’s claims about Kansas school employment be believed? Wind power is expensive electricity, very expensive. A Wichita auto dealer pushes back against union protests. Finally, what is the real rate of unemployment in America? Episode 36, broadcast March 23, 2014. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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Wichita campaign finance reform, and local elections in Kansas

In this excerpt from WichitaLiberty.TV: An illustration of the need for campaign finance reform in Wichita and Kansas. A related issue is the need to change the timing of local elections in Kansas. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. In January 2013 candidates for Wichita City Council filed campaign finance reports, and the filings illustrate the need for campaign finance reform in Wichita and Kansas. Two incumbents, both who have indicated their intent to run in the spring elections, received campaign contributions in 2012 from two sources: A group of principals and executives of Key Construction, and…
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WichitaLiberty.TV January 5, 2014

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A look back at a few problematic issues regarding ethical government in Wichita in 2013. Topics include: Campaign contributions, the timing of city and school board elections, Mayor Carl Brewer’s integrity and threats, the need for campaign finance reform, the firing of a television news reporter, the apparently non-transparent way the city formulates policy, and the useless feedback systems the city relies on. Episode 26, broadcast January 5, 2014. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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Wichita does it again

Wichita never seems to learn. Its government, that is. The last time Key Construction was awarded a no-bid contract for building a parking garage in Wichita, it almost cost Wichita taxpayers an extra 27 percent. Now the Wichita City Council has done it again, awarding Key another no-bid contract for a project paid for by taxpayers. In August 2011 the Wichita City Council voted to award Key Construction a no-bid contract to build the parking garage that is part of the Ambassador Hotel project, now known as Block One. The no-bid cost of the garage was to be $6 million,…
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WichitaLiberty.TV July 14, 2013

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV, host Bob Weeks explains the attitude of the Wichita City Council regarding ethical behavior and reports on incidents that illustrate the need for campaign finance reform and pay-to-play laws in Wichita and Kansas. Also, Bob notices a document produced this year titled "Wichita Area Future Water Supply: A Model Program for Other Municipalities" and wonders why the city boasts of expensive water projects and long-term planning at the same time it's forcing an austerity campaign on its citizens. Episode 4, aired July 14, 2013.
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Joseph Ashby Show: Mayor Carl Brewer and cronyism

Today on the Joseph Ashby Show, the host had a few comments regarding a television news story about Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer. An excerpt follows. [powerpress url="https://wichitaliberty.org/audio/joseph-ashby-show-2013-04-23-excerpt.mp3"]Joseph Ashby Show, April 23, 2013 (excerpt) The KAKE TV news story referred to may be seen here. Background on this issue is here.
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Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, incorrectly, deflects attention

When Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was asked to refrain from voting on a matter when he has a relationship with one of the parties that will benefit from his vote, here's what the mayor said: "What you're basing your information on is basically what's been disclosed on Mr. Weeks' website, and for his information I think he needs to get it correct. I've never been to the Caribbean, and most people ask me can't he tell that that's Lake Texoma. So I start questioning those types of things." (Video is here.) On his radio show, Joseph Ashby deconstructed Brewer's remarks.…
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Joseph Ashby on Wichita city government and Mayor Brewer

Today on the Joseph Ashby Show, the host had a few comments on Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer. An excerpt follows. [powerpress url="https://wichitaliberty.org/audio/joseph-ashby-show-2013-04-17-excerpt.mp3"]Joseph Ashby Show, April 17, 2013 (excerpt) The video Joseph played audio from is here, and a longer video of the issue is here.
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Ambassador Hotel Industrial Revenue Bonds

The City of Wichita should not approve a measure that is not needed, that does not conform to the city's policy (based on relevant information not disclosed to citizens), and which is steeped in cronyism. This week the Wichita City Council will consider authorizing industrial revenue bonds (IRB) for the Ambassador Hotel project in downtown Wichita. In most cases, the major benefit of IRBs is exemption from paying property taxes. Since the Ambassador Hotel is located within a tax increment financing (TIF) district, it's not eligible for property tax abatement. (Because of the TIF, the developers have already achieved the…
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Is graft a problem in Wichita?

Is graft a problem in Wichita?

In his paper History and Constitutionality of Pay-to-Play Campaign Finance Restrictions in America Greg Schmid explains the problems that result from the "soft corruption" that pay-to-play laws combat. Is this a problem in Wichita? Is it possible that "Graft takes the collective wealth of working taxpayers and transfers that wealth to the benefit of corrupt government officials and their private sector accomplices" in Wichita? Yes. Absolutely. As explained in In Wichita, a quest for campaign finance reform, we have a problem. An example: In August 2011 the Wichita City Council voted to award Key Construction a no-bid contract to build…
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Kansas local office campaign finance reports

It's hard to obtain and use local office campaign finance reports in Kansas. In Sedgwick County, for example, candidates for local offices file reports on paper with the county election office. These reports are scanned and made available online. That sounds good. But the online system is very difficult to use. It's hard to find the reports you want to view. Until recently the system didn't support modern browser programs like Firefox and Chrome. I kept a Windows virtual PC on hand and maintained with an old version of Windows and Internet Explorer for the sole purpose of using the…
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In Wichita, Jeff Longwell has the solution to cronyism

At a recent Wichita City Council meeting, Council Member Jeff Longwell (district 5, west and northwest Wichita) was critical of topics broached by two speakers, admonishing them to "take a different approach." The speakers had mentioned votes made and actions taken by the council and the appearance of influence or linkage to campaign contributions. Longwell's concern is understandable. As perhaps the most accomplished practitioner of cronyism on the council, he's dished out millions in taxpayer subsidy to his significant campaign contributors. His acceptance of campaign contributions last summer from a Michigan construction company that had business before the council lifted…
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Campaign contributions show need for reform in Wichita

Candidates for Wichita City Council have filed campaign finance reports, and the filings illustrate the need for campaign finance reform in Wichita and Kansas. Two incumbents, both who have indicated their intent to run in the spring elections, received campaign contributions in 2012 from two sources: A group of principals and executives of Key Construction, and another group associated with theater owner Bill Warren. The incumbent candidates receiving these contributions are Wichita City Council Member James Clendenin (district 3, southeast and south Wichita) and Wichita City Council Member Lavonta Williams (district 1, northeast Wichita). Except for $1.57 in unitemized contributions…
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