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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 can’t be bought with a few gifts and eerily flattering emails?

October 18
Mayor Jeff Longwell, I have a question regarding the use of cash as an economic development incentive. You’ve said that the city does not, and will not, give cash as an economic development incentive.

Here’s a passage from December 2017 regarding the Spirit Aerosystems expansion in Wichita. Specifically, this is from the Memorandum of Understanding for Project Eclipse, Section I.B. It was contained within the agenda packet for Wichita City Council meeting for December 12, 2017.

“The COUNTY participation of $7 million US is anticipated to be available cash; the CITY participation would consist of cash in the amount of $3 million US, forgiveness of $3.5 million US in future COMPANY payments associated with the CAPITAL COMPONENT and an agreement to make additional capital improvements relating to the WATER AGREEMENT in an approximate cost of $1 million US.”

Am I reading this correctly: The city gave Spirit $3 million cash, and forgave a debt of $3.5 million?

Can you tell us how this is different from using cash as an economic development incentive?

October 21, 2019
A question for Mayor Jeff Longwell and Mayor Jeff Longwell for Reelection:

Where do we go to find the city’s checkbook spending? Posting this elementary and fundamental data is something that almost every governmental jurisdiction mastered years ago.

I ask because you have said you champion transparency, but I can’t find this data on the city’s website.

October 22, 2019
A question for Mayor Jeff Longwell and Mayor Jeff Longwell for Reelection:

Earlier this month the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University issued this forecast for Wichita:

“For 2020, growth is expected to be more modest, as the Wichita economy is projected to add approximately 1,600 new jobs and grow 0.5 percent.”

Do you agree with this forecast, and if yes, how do we reconcile this with your desire to “keep the momentum going?”

October 23, 2019
A question for Mayor Jeff Longwell and Mayor Jeff Longwell for Reelection:

Last night during the debate on KAKE, you said, “We have a diversified economy now that’s not just centered on aviation, although aviation is still important to us.”

One way to measure the diversification or concentration of an industry in a local economy is location quotients. These are calculated and provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 2014, the concentration of employment in NAICS code 3364, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, hasn’t changed much. Can you tell us the basis of your claim that the Wichita economy is diversifying?

More about this topic is at:
Wichita aerospace manufacturing concentration

October 30, 2019
A question for Mayor Jeff Longwell and Mayor Jeff Longwell for Reelection:

There was unusual interest in Michigan about the Wichita airport contract decision in 2012, and the campaign bank account of Wichita City Council Member Jeff Longwell benefited financially. The Michigan party that was interested in Longwell’s political future was Walbridge, a Michigan-based construction company that partnered with Wichita-based Key Construction to bid for the airport job.

Here’s an abbreviated timeline of events:

July 16, 2012: John Rakolta, Chairman and CEO of Walbridge, and Terry Rakolta contribute $1,000 to Jeff Longwell’s campaign for Sedgwick county commission.

July 17, 2012: Wichita City Council on 5 to 2 vote found Dondlinger Hunt bid to be non-responsive. Key/Walbridge is presumptive contract winner.

July 20, 2012: Other Walbridge executives contribute $2,250 to Jeff Longwell’s campaign.

Walbridge made no other political contributions to city council members.

Mayor Longwell, do you think it is proper to accept campaign contributions that are so closely linked to a decision you made?

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One Comment

  1. Anonymous October 31, 2019

    Thank you, Mr. Weeks. Your questions put to Mayor Longwell – and his failures to respond – go a long way towards forming fair & objective voters’ judgment on the credibility & good faith of Mayor Longwell’s candidacy.

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