By Bill Wilson
In the midst of a routine debate over the refinancing of the Old Town Marriott, the growing disconnect between City Hall and a group of free-market proponents erupted Tuesday morning.
Council member Pete Meitzner, one of three new councilmen on the Wichita bench, went after two frequent critics of the city’s economic development policy, accusing them of hiding their motives and of misstating the truth on the projects they criticize.
Meitzner unveiled his tough stance as the meeting opened. Susan Estes, the field director for Americans For Prosperity-Kansas, who was continuing the group’s criticism of the Ken-Mar development revisions approved last week by the council, had just concluded her remarks when Meitzner asked her bluntly if she was speaking as a private citizen or representing a private group. Estes outlined her association with AFP, a free-market group which appears weekly at the council to voice its opposition to public funding for private development projects and has been vocal in its opposition to Project Downtown, the city’s downtown revitalization plan.
But the new councilman reserved his strongest criticism for blogger Bob Weeks, whose Voice for Liberty in Wichita blog trumpets the same values as AFP. Read More