Besides a ridiculous estimate of attendance, Science City was in the beginning a big disappointment. It was a flawed concept perpetrated by another so-called expert, who held a PhD from M.I.T. and had been No. 2 at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. He had all the credentials but he didn’t have a clue as to what kids would want to do in his ill-conceived “city.”
Gov. Sam Brownback was asked several times in several different ways about his unpopularity in Kansas and whether he thought the recent sweeping successes by Republican moderates were a repudiation of his tax policies. Brownback smiled broadly and explained, they were not repudiation, and, no he didn’t think his extremely low approval ratings were justified. It was the media’s fault for beating the drums with false information, and also he had not done a very good job of getting the real story out to the public.
Let’s be clear. Teachers everywhere are underpaid. They are among our most crucial professionals. Ditto for Shawnee Mission teachers. But as we all know too well, there are two factors that determine teachers’ wages: The marketplace usually plays a major role, and so does state government.
It was a revolution by Kansas GOP conservatives in 2012 and a counter-revolution by moderate Republicans in 2016. And Johnson County was at the epicenter. It was in that one county where a bloodbath for conservatives took place.
It was August 1992 when I wrote a column that has stuck with me ever since. It must have stuck with some of my readers because every now and then someone will send me a photocopy of the column with a nice remark. This is an entirely new column, but the key part of the story has not changed one iota.
Attention! This is for the 116,539 unaffiliated registered voters in Johnson County and the 175,924 registered Republicans. It is meant only for those interested in saving Kansas from Gov. Sam Brownback and his legions.
Some Johnson County deputies are thrilled with overtime. It is not unusual for a master deputy to earn $75,000 in overtime in one year. And there is great incentive to pile up as much overtime as possible, especially in years right before retirement. Under the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, lifetime retirement income is based on an average of the final three earning years.
Here’s the dirty little secret as to why so many moderate Republicans in Kansas, especially in Johnson County, will not bother to vote in the August primary. Despite the fact that approval ratings for Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature are in the toilet, the direct impact of their sins has not yet been felt. And if the impact has not yet hit home, all the headlines about mismanagement of the state’s budget may seem like a distant dream, or maybe a distant nightmare.
The Kansas “Fallacy” Institute, er, I mean Kansas Policy Institute, headquartered in Wichita, is called a think-tank. But that is a misnomer because the folks who crank out numbers there don’t really think about issues at all. Rather, they take a preconceived notion that government and schools are enormously wasteful and inefficient, and then concoct absurd calculations to make it seem so.
Aug. 2 may be one of the most important elections for Republicans in modern Kansas history. On that primary election date, Republicans will decide whether the Brownback “bad guys” will continue to rule the Legislature or turn over to the “good guys” the keys to the Capitol.
Are the Kansas Supreme Court justices — except for the conservative appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback — villains or heroes? A million dollars — or even more — could be spent by conservative groups, both inside and outside the state, attacking four of the justices up for retention in November.
Those who don’t know Ben Craig may think his request to throw a portion of his ashes in the air along Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park is a bit odd. But this 87-year-old civic leader, who has cancer and been given three months to live, has rational reasons for this unusual request.
The Kansas Legislature, or governor, or both will comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. But the outcome is likely to be ugly. The Kansas Supreme Court just dropped the first of what is likely to be two shoes on the Legislature. The justices predictably declared the disparity between state funding for poor school districts and wealthier districts to be unconstitutional.
The plan to redevelop the Metcalf South Shopping Center in Overland Park is a substantial improvement over the empty mall that sits there now. And it is a plan that probably will pass muster with city officials.
No one will be in a better spot to win the governor’s seat than Kris Kobach, unless he wants to waits for a U.S. Senate run. The Kansas secretary of state since 2011 has enormous statewide name identification. Not only that, but he has considerable name recognition and a following nationally because of his crusade against illegal immigration. Money would pour into his campaign from all over Kansas and all over America.
On the overall view of the Kansas economy and the budget, Nick Jordan and columnist Steve Rose sharply disagree. Even when they largely agree on the same set of facts, Jordan presents a picture that is pretty rosy, while Rose see things as very bleak.
As executive director of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, Brian Newby appears to have helped increase voter restrictions. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach aided in clamping down on voters.