Monthly Archives: October 2010

Flashing sign is latest flashpoint in 4th District race

Rep. Raj Goyle’s 4th District congressional campaign and the state Democratic Party are vowing to file a federal complaint over an electronic billboard that they call “bigoted and illegal.”

The campaign for Goyle’s opponent, Republican National Committeeman Mike Pompeo, denied any involvement in the billboard and the campaign manager said he didn’t even know it existed until he was contacted by the Goyle campaign Sunday.

The messages at issue appeared for at least 24 hours on a programmable electronic billboard at the Eck Insurance agency, 540 S. Broadway, Wichita.

One image carried the message, “Vote American, vote Pompeo” overlaid on a stylized U.S. flag. Another flashed an image of cowboy movie star John Wayne with the wording “True Americans vote for Pompeo.”

Goyle, who is of Indian-American descent, said: “We’re all proud to be Americans and the implication of ‘Vote American, vote Pompeo’ is pretty clear. What the implication is is that one of the candidates in the race is not American.”

Goyle was born in Cleveland and moved to Wichita in infancy with his parents, who are both Indian-born physicians. After college, law school and working in the Washington, D.C., area for several years, he returned to Kansas and has represented an east Wichita district in the Statehouse for almost four years.

The Goyle campaign contends the sign violated federal laws requiring disclosures on election communications.

John Eck, the owner of the insurance agency, said no insult was intended. He said he used the term “American” in his sign because of Pompeo’s military service, but considers Goyle an American also.

“Nothing was intended other than I was showing people who I supported,” said Eck, who has made the maximum allowed contribution to the Pompeo campaign.

Eck pulled the plug on his billboard, which also carried messages supporting several other Republican candidates.

The sign touched off a terse exchange between the competing campaign managers.

“I am writing to request that the Mike Pompeo for Congress Campaign put an end to all bigoted and fear-mongering attacks and tactics,” Goyle campaign manager Kiel Brunner wrote to Rodger Woods, his opposite at the Pompeo campaign. Brunner said it harks back to an incident early in the race when the Pompeo campaign apologized after sending a Twitter message linking voters to a bigoted online screed.

In a reply message, Woods urged the Goyle campaign to focus on issues “instead of outrageous accusations that have no basis in fact.”

“Kansans will not be fooled by this latest attempt from your campaign to distract them from the real issues,” he wrote.

County employee might lose hair for charity

Photo454MaryDavenport

A Sedgwick County employee might look a whole lot different soon.

To raise money for the United Way’s campaign, county employees are paying to be able to vote on whether Mary Davenport, a project manager for information technology, should shave her head. She’s agreed to if her colleagues raise at least $2,000 and more vote to shave her hair than keep it. As of today, they’re only $500 away from their 5 p.m. Friday deadline, said Carrie Seyam, an administrative assistant for the division of information and operations.

Seyam joked that most people are voting for Davenport to buzz her head.

Global’s Sumner County casino would be the WinSpirit

Global Gaming Solutions said today it has named its proposed casino near Wellington the WinSpirit Casino.

The name and a new logo was created by the company and Armstrong-Shank Marketing of Haysville.

Global Gaming, of Oklahoma, and Iowa-based Peninsula Gaming Partners, which has a proposed the Kansas Star Casino for one of two alternate sites near Mulvane, are competing to build and manage a state-owned casino in Sumner County.

The companies will present their plans to the state’s casino review board at a public meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Raymond Frye Complex, 320 N. Jefferson in Wellington.

Sedgwick County anticipates challenging financial picture next two years

Sedgwick County is bringing in less than it’s spending, forcing it to draw on its rainy day reserves, and that can’t be sustained for the long term, financial officials told commissioners this morning.

Deputy chief financial officer Troy Bruun said the county will have to make some tough decisions in the next few years as the area struggles with a recession.

The county plans to use $19.3 million of its reserves by the end of next year to avoid cutting services. Services as they exist today could be sustained through 2013 before reserves would drop below the county’s minimum amount.

Bruun said county manager William Buchanan has set August 2012 as the point where the county will have to make some tough decisions about services.

Commissioners say they remain hopeful but realistic about financial conditions and say the county has done a good job of planning for hard times by having reserves.

Sedgwick County finds Valley Center has provided services

Sedgwick County commissioners voted this morning that Valley Center has provided necessary services since annexing property into its city limits five years ago with the exception of services to two homes.

Some residents complained to commissioners that they had seen no benefit of being annexed by Valley Center and had seen their taxes go up.

Commissioners said it appeared Valley Center had provided services except for to two houses and gave Valley Center time to improve services.

County commissioners talk about future of Kansas Pavilions complex

Kansas Pavillions logoAt least 45 events are scheduled next year at the rebranded Kansas Pavilions, assistant Sedgwick County manager Ron Holt told county commissioners this morning.

The county this year rebranded the Kansas Coliseum as the Kansas Pavilions with the closing of Britt Brown Arena after the opening of Intrust Bank Arena downtown. (See the new logo.) The pavilions, popular for livestock, horse and dog shows, swap meets, gun shows and other events, will remain open through at least 2016.

Holt said the county’s financial goal for the complex off of I-135 in the northern part of the county is to eliminate any taxpayer-supported subsidy to operate it.

The county hopes to recruit new groups to use the pavilions and will pursue naming rights and advertising for events as well as sponsorship opportunities, Holt said.

Upcoming events the rest of this year include the Wichita Toy Run, the Wichita Farm Show, dog agility trials and two gun shows.

Skelton outraises Welshimer by $20,000

MoneyWichita City Council member Jim Skelton raised $20,000 more than current Sedgwick County commissioner Gwen Welshimer during the most recent campaign finance reporting period, records show.

Skelton raised $43,995 in campaign contributions, and Welshimer raised $23,946.

Both are vying for the District 5 seat in the southern part of the county now held by Welshimer.

In other county races, District 1 commissioner Dave Unruh, a Republican, raised $17,245 during this period but already had $36,384 on hand.

The report for his Democratic challenger, Wichita school board member Betty Arnold, was not available.

Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Democratic state senator, raised $6,715 during this reporting period.

Richard Ranzau, the Republican vying for the District 4 seat now held by commissioner Kellly Parks, raised $25,525.

UPDATED: Campaign finance reports due today for state races

TOPEKA – Candidates for legislative and statewide races have until midnight to turn in their campaign finance reports for the last three months.

The reports will show what candidates have raised since July 22.

The reports are available at the websites for the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission and at the Kansas Secretary of State.

One unusual revelation early in the day comes from Kris Kobach’s campaign to become Kansas Secretary of State.

According to his report, which was filed Sunday on the secretary of state’s site, Kobach has not raised any money since July 23. He started the reporting cycle with $89,342.63 and has since spent $95,560.49 – putting the campaign more than $6,000 in the red.

Most of that money, $46,127, went to The Singularis Group, a Johnson County-based political consulting group that has strong ties to the state Republican Party. Kobach is the GOP candidate for secretary of state.

UPDATE: While Kobach’s initial report, filed Sunday, showed him raising no money between July 23 and Oct. 21, a second report – filed Monday afternoon, showed a very different picture.

According to the second report, Kobach raised $136,810 since July 23rd and, after spending $95,560, has $130,663 remaining in his campaign coffers.

At 1:20 p.m., his rival, Democratic candidate Kansas Secretary of State Chris Biggs’ report was not yet uploaded to either website.

Check back later for more updates, or read Tuesday’s Wichita Eagle for a full list from the campaign finance reports for statewide, legislative and county offices.

Federal candidates run on a separate reporting cycle.

Parkinson campaigns for Goyle in Wichita

Parkinson

Parkinson

By Suzanne Perez Tobias

Gov. Mark Parkinson said Friday that Raj Goyle is “exactly what we need” in Congress.

The outgoing governor announced his endorsement of Goyle, a Democratic state representative running for the 4th District congressional seat, in a brief speech at Watermark Books in Wichita.

Parkinson praised Goyle’s accomplishments and his ability to work with people of different political parties.

“He knows how to accomplish things,” Parkinson said. “We need people that actually get things done, that are not up there just to vote.”

The governor noted Goyle’s sponsorship of a law that gives executives expanded authority to negotiate incentive packages to keep companies in Kansas, and another that bans protests near funeral sites.

“Raj was not satisfied with just being disgusted” at military funeral protests organized by the Rev. Fred Phelps, Parkinson said. “He wanted to do something about it, and he did.”

Surrounded by supporters in the College Hill bookstore, Goyle thanked the governor for his support.

“He’s been a role model for me . . . as someone who puts the partisan politics aside and gets things done for the people of Kansas,” he said.

Goyle faces Republican Mike Pompeo in the Nov. 2 general election.

Goyle and Pompeo in dogfight over jets and jobs in Cowley County

The battle for the 4th District congressional seat moved to Cowley County today, with Rep. Raj Goyle, D-Wichita, blasting Republican rival Mike Pompeo’s opposition to a military aircraft engine project that Goyle said supports about 800 jobs in the county.

Pompeo, meanwhile, announced his endorsement by the mayor of Winfield, the Cowley County seat.

Goyle quoted from a Wichita Eagle opinion piece, written by Pompeo, opposing the program for General Electric to develop an alternative engine for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Goyle said the program serves a necessary function by ensuring the nation’s fighter fleet won’t be dependent on a single engine manufacturer and that it supports jobs at Strother Field, a GE facility between Winfield and Arkansas City.

“The GE engine is supported by members of Congress from both parties, retired generals, GE and labor unions,” Goyle said in a written statement. “The F-35 Alternate Engine Project at GE’s Strother plant in Cowley County will help protect more than 800 Kansas jobs, support our military force in the field, increase competition and can save taxpayer money down the road.”

In his newspaper opinion piece published in September of last year, Pompeo criticized the program as a waste of money.

“Despite recommendations from the military and both the Bush and Obama administrations, Congress continues to spend billions of dollars for the alternate engine for the F-35,” Pompeo wrote. “The Pentagon estimates a cost savings of as much as $5.2 billion by eliminating the alternate engine.”

Pompeo also announced that he had landed the support of Winfield Mayor Tom McNeish.

In a Pompeo campaign statement, McNeish hailed the candidate’s business experience and said Pompeo understands that high taxes and increasing regulation are “destroying Kansas jobs.”

“Mike’s knowledge and experience of actually creating jobs will be good for Cowley County businesses – for example the G.E. Engine Services facility at Strother Field – and the hardworking Kansans who work in the aviation industry in Cowley County,” McNeish said.

Late Thursday, Pompeo issued a statement saying: “Having created hundreds of aircraft manufacturing jobs here in Kansas, I am committed to helping create an economic environment that will allow Strother Field — and General Electric’s facility there — to succeed and grow. I am humbled by the enormous support our campaign has received from throughout the aviation industry all across the 4th District of Kansas.”