Monthly Archives: May 2008

Magazine: Wichita is not walker-friendly

WalkSpring weather. Expensive fuel. Bulging guts. Time for a walk.

But while there’s plenty of open spaces in Wichita, it’s not a great place for a stroll, according to Prevention Magazine, which published its nationwide walkability ratings recently. Wichita was near the bottom of the list in Kansas and the nation. That distinction is also published in the latest issue of the Kansas Government Journal, the publication of the League of Kansas Municipalities.

“Although it does have a decent Walk Score — 89 out of 100 — it has the third lowest ratio of parks per square mile in the state, a huge hindrance to walkers,” the rating explanation says.

Want to know more? Check out walk scores for any given address online, and see an Eagle story about plans to improve walking.

Kansas Republicans launch a new blog

ElephantKansas Republicans launched a new blog today called The Kansas Tunkline. And judging from the first few posts, Congressman Dennis Moore and Congresswoman Nancy Boyda aren’t going to like it. The most recent post after they announced the new blog ripped the Democratic superdelegates for not declaring who they’ll support in the presidential race. “Who will Boyda and Moore support—the most liberal Senator in the nation who claims half of their constituents are bitter? Or the woman who has voted to raise taxes 230 times?”

Of course, the Democrats have had their blog — Buffalo Blog — for about a year and a half. Their most recent post takes a shot at Congressman Todd Tiahrt for delaying debate on critical issues by asking for a re-vote on a resolution celebrating the role of mothers. “Tiahrt then joined 177 of his Republican friends and voted against their mothers, and ate up 28 minutes of their day in doing so.”

Nothing like more strong dialog in the Kansas political blogosphere.

Instant replay: The smoking ban debate

Butts in an ashtrayFor anyone who hasn’t had enough of the smoking ban talk, the city announced today it will re-broadcast the Wichita City Council’s two-hour discussion that led to a 4-3 vote in favor of a smoking ban in all businesses that allow people younger than age 18 to enter. The debate, which features about 15 speakers who waited hours to voice their support or opposition to the ban, will air on cable channel 7 tonight at 8 p.m. Then the city will put it on at 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday.

You can also view it online. (It wouldn’t play in my Mozilla Firefox browser, but it worked on Internet Explorer.)

Expect a smokin’ debate on the smoking ban Tuesday

CigaretteThe two sides — for and against a smoking ban — have been sitting through the routine prayers and proclamations at City Council meetings for several months now just in case smoking comes up. And the pro and con folks have also filled up the public comment agenda — that slice of time the council dedicates to listening to just about anyone talk about just about anything at the beginning of their meeting.

Now it appears the Big Day has come. The Council is finally poised to discuss and vote on a smoking ban. And everyone seems to expect a showdown. Clean Air Wichita, for example, announced by e-mail that speakers from the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, a local health care group and their leaders will be at the meeting. They oppose the ban because they say it doesn’t go far enough — they want something that bans smoking at all businesses, not just food service businesses.

The votes line-up in favor of the compromised ban — the critical four votes being Mayor Carl Brewer and council members Lavonta Williams, Sharon Fearey and Jeff Longwell. But all things political can change. Some of those most actively opposing the ban couldn’t be reached early Monday afternoon for this post about who’s showing up at the meeting. But if history is a guide, those opposing the ban will show up in force as well.

The council meeting starts at 9 a.m. The ban is number 12a on the agenda, meaning the discussion probably (no promises here) won’t start until after 9:30 a.m. — if not 10 or 10:30 a.m. The proposal would ban smoking anywhere that kids under age 18 are, which means most restaurants will be smoke-free unless they have a smoking room that, among other caveats, has its own ventilation. The bars, meanwhile, could just card folks at the door to make sure they’re older than 18 and post a sign outside to warn folks that the air may not be so pure inside.

The full proposed law can be found on page 269 of the PDF council agenda.