Monthly Archives: June 2010

New poll shows Moran,Tiahrt tied in Kansas GOP Senate battle

The Republican Senate contest in Kansas could be tighter than recent polling would indicate, the Tiahrt campaign is suggesting.

Republican Congressmen  Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran are “statistically tied,” according to an internal Tiahrt campaign poll.

The telephone survey this week of 400 likely Republican primary voters showed Moran ahead, 37 percent to 34 percent, with 26 percent undecided. The margin of error was 4.9 percent.

Read More »

Judge bars smoking ban from applying to private clubs; most of Kansas goes smoke free at midnight

smokingbanTOPEKA – Shawnee County District Court Judge Franklin Theis issued an temporary injunction barring the statewide smoking ban from applying to 31 private clubs.

The rest of the state — except for Wichita — will go smoke free as of midnight when the state’s indoor smoking ban takes effect.

Attorney General Steve Six called the ruling a “victory,” saying that Thursday most of Kansas will go smoke free.

The latest ruling, which is available on Shawnee County Court’s website, applies only to private clubs whose licensed were issued after Jan. 2, 2009.

Under the law passed by lawmakers, private clubs licensed Jan. 1, 2009 or before were exempted from the smoking ban. The law also does not apply to long-term elder care facilities and gaming floors at state-owned casinos.

Also exempted from the smoking ban are bars and restaurants in Wichita, which fall under a temporary restraining order. There will be a July 15 hearing to determine the outcome in that case.

For more on the smoking ban, and other laws taking effect tomorrow, read Thursday’s Wichita Eagle.

Panel of governors calls on Congress to pass medical assistance extension

Warning that the loss of a $25 billion extension of the Federal Medical Assistance Program could send states into a double dip recession, several governors called on Congress to pass the program.

The bi-partisan group of speakers said Wednesday that their state’s had build the money into their budgets after the extension had passed the House twice and Senate once.

“We expected and I think rightfully so that we were going to get this FMAP,” said Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat.

It was the worst time for state’s to be losing the money, she added.

“This is not the time to suddenly discover fiscal restraint, when we are in the depths of a recession and starting to recover from it,” said Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, speaking by conference call.

For Kansas, losing the medical assistance money would mean cuts to schools and the loss of about 3,600 teachers, he said.

“We have cut the waste that can be, cut we have cut beyond the waste and any more cuts will be beyond pain,” Parkinson warned.

California has the most to lose – some $1.8 billion according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican.

“Like all states California has been hit very hard. Over the last three years we have been forced to make more than 60 billion in spending cuts,” he said. “The federal money is critical to preventing deeper pain and deeper job losses.”

He called his own budget cuts “absolutely devastating. They break my heart.”

Mayor and council salaries were on a pretty steady climb, until recently

City HallBefore City Manager Robert Layton laid out his preliminary budget recommendations this year, which includes significant cutbacks, Mayor Carl Brewer took the unprecedented move of calling for a vote to forgo salary increases for elected officials.

The message was pretty clear: In a year of likely wage freezes, layoffs and furloughs for city employees, the big bosses are not getting any bumps either.

No vote was necessary — they need only decline raises with the human resources department. But the move led to each council member to publicly decline a raise. It was the first time they’d done that in recent history. Here’s a look at the much quieter raises council members got in recent years.

Keep in mind, council members are technically part-time and the mayor is full-time. Their increases are based on the Consumer Price Index, though you may notice that when the CPI went down in 2009, there was no salary decrease — just no increase.

Year      Council salary                  Mayor salary

2003                   $29,845                                   $70,272

2004                   $30,532                                   $71,889

2005                   $31,601                                    $74,913

2006                   $32,707                                   $77,535

2007                   $33,557                                   $79,551

2008                   $34,866                                   $82,654

2009                   No change                               No change

2010                   Declined                                   Declined

Kansas Chamber endorses legislative candidates

TOPEKA – The Kansas Chamber Political Action Committee released its endorsements for the 2010 Legislative races.

All of the endorsed candidates are Republicans. Below is the chamber’s statement and candidate list.

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Update: Anderson, Rutschman weigh in on debate flap; Pompeo campaign manager responds

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo

Four of the five Republican candidates in the 4th District congressional race are calling foul on opponent Mike Pompeo, over a letter proposing one-on-one debates between himself and supposed fellow frontrunner Wink Hartman.

Hartman, state Sen. Jean Schodorf , small-business owner Jim Anderson and engineer/rancher Paij Rutschman joined in criticizing Pompeo’s proposal, saying he was trying to boost his chances by turning a five-candidate Republican primary into a two-man race.

Pompeo’s campaign manager said Pompeo is not trying to limit debates involving all the candidates, but proposing additional, deeper debates between himself and Hartman as the frontrunners.

The letter, signed by Pompeo campaign manager Rodger Woods, cites a recent KWCH poll of 4th District voters showing Pompeo and Hartman with 39 and 37 percent — with Schodorf, Anderson and Rutschman in single digits.

“In light of the separation between groups of candidates, both in the polls and in other areas such as fundraising and volunteers, I believe voters would be well-served by the opportunity to compare the top two candidates side by side,” the letter said.

The letter goes on to propose a series of four debates between Pompeo and Hartman only.

In a statement, Hartman’s campaign strongly rejected the proposal. “Mike Pompeo’s plan to anoint himself as the ‘real’ candidate while excluding others is a page straight out of the Washington, D.C. playbook,” Hartman campaign manager Scott Paradise said.

Woods replied that Pompeo has been in a dozen all-comers forums and plans to participate in at least three more before the Aug. 3 primary election.

He said he proposed the one-on-one debates so the two frontrunners could discuss issues in greater depth than is possible with four to five candidates on stage.

Hartman wants “to hide behind other candidates,” and “is not interested in the deep debate that you get when you narrow the field down,” Woods said.

Read More »

Hartman, Schodorf denounce debate exclusion proposal by Pompeo campaign

State Sen. Jean Schodorf and fellow congressional candidate Wink Hartman are calling foul on opponent Mike Pompeo, over a letter proposing one-on-one debates between Pompeo and Hartman.

The letter, on Pompeo for Congress stationery and apparently signed by Pompeo campaign manager Rodger Woods, cites a recent KWCH poll of 4th District voters showing Pompeo and Hartman with 39 and 37 percent — with Schodorf, small-business owner Jim Anderson and engineer/rancher Paij Rutschman in single digits.

“In light of the separation between groups of candidates, both in the polls and in other areas such as fundraising and volunteers, I believe voters would be well-served by the opportunity to compare the top two candidates side by side,” the letter said.

The letter goes on to propose a series of four debates between Pompeo and Hartman only.

In a statement, Hartman’s campaign strongly rejected the proposal.

“Mike Pompeo’s plan to anoint himself as the ‘real’ candidate while excluding others is a page straight out of the Washington, D.C. playbook,” Hartman campaign manager Scott Paradise said.

Schodorf called a news conference, where she denounced the proposal as “elitist.”

“The people should decide who represents them in Washington, not good-old-boys making clandestine agreements about which candidates voters see and hear,” Schodorf said.

Woods could not immediately be reached for comment.

Moran leads Tiahrt in SurveyUSA poll

Moran

Moran

A poll conducted for KWCH shows Jerry Moran holds a 20-point lead over Todd Tiahrt in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Kansas, according to results released today.

With a little more than five weeks before the Aug. 3 primary, 53 percent of those polled said they would vote for Moran. Tiahrt drew 33 percent.

In the Republican primary race for governor, Sen. Sam Brownback leads Joan Heffington 76 percent to 17 percent. Seven percent were undecided. There isn’t a Democratic primary for governor. Read More »

Be heard on city budget issues at 6 p.m. today

coin pinchLet’s face it, city budgets can be a bore if you’re not part of the municipal government realm. Heck, budgets in general are a drag to slog through for most of us.

But this year — not to mention last year — is different because of the major changes that could be forced by budget deficits.

Below are a few reasons Wichitans should consider viewing and commenting on tonight’s preliminary budget presentation on cable Channel 7, online at www.wichita.gov or at City Hall at 6 p.m. (Arrive early to get through security.) Read More »

Tiahrt wins Olathe GOP straw poll

Tiahrt

Tiahrt

Olathe Republicans endured the humidity Saturday to come out and meet candidates for this fall’s elections.

In between hot dogs, candidate stump speeches and a Patrick Henry impersonator, the 800 or so Republicans who braved the heat cast ballots in a straw poll. Todd Tiahrt won big over Jerry Moran in the U.S. Senate straw poll, 315 to 112. Kris Kobach easily dispatched his more moderate opponent, Libby Ensley, 298 to 98, with 25 votes for J.R. Claeys.

And for president in 2012? Sarah Palin all the way.