Category Archives: Carl Brewer

Mayor defends Sister Cities trip to France

WICHITA — Facing criticism of City Council member Janet Miller’s planned Sister Cities trip to Paris, Mayor Carl Brewer launched a long defense, saying that such trips can draw business to the city.

Brewer’s response today comes after Bob Weeks, a local blogger who has pressed the city on the issue, called the International Sister Cities Conference a “junket” that the city should not pay for in a tough economic climate.

“Even in good budget times, I would argue these trips should be avoided,” Weeks told council members this morning.

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Word cloud from Brewer’s State of the City speech

Here is a word cloud of Mayor Carl Brewer’s third State of the City speech, which he delivered Tuesday night. The Eagle created it using the text of Brewer’s speech and (You can double-click it to get a closer look.) Click here to see the word cloud from his 2008 speech and to read more about word clouds. Or click here to read this year’s speech as it was written.

Brewer backers get their donations back — and convictions

At least one of the men convicted yesterday of underpaying Wichita Police detectives for scrap metal during a sting operation also gave a maximum $500 contribution to Mayor Carl Brewer’s campaign on Feb. 27 while he was awaiting his court date. Louie Marks is one of five men from Kansas Can who gave Brewer $500 campaign contributions on that day in February. Not all of them faced charges, but Sheryl Wohlford, Brewer’s campaign treasurer, tells The Hall Monitor that all five maximum contributions from Marks and his family members were returned “several weeks ago.” (See a PDF of Brewer’s campaign report)

Louie and John J. Marks face probation when they are sentenced on May 18. Another family member who apparently did not donate, Bobby Marks, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for stealing scrap metal and selling it back to the family business. (For more on the scrap metal case, see a story in today’s Wichita Eagle by Tim Potter and Ron Sylvester.)

Black men examined, local examples shine

While many organizations in the nation are examining the state of black men in America, Wichita has several examples of black men succeeding in the highest levels of government.

Carl Brewer was sworn in today as mayor at the Wichita City Council meeting. He adds to the diversity of local government officials. African-Americans are serving as city manager, assistant city manager, city spokesman, chief of police, assistant county manager and director of the city’s visitors and tourism department.

It’s a line-up that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

The swearing-in comes days before the National Urban League plans to release its State of Black America report, which will focus on the status of black men in America. Sen. and presidential hopeful Barack Obama even wrote the forward to the report, which is set to be released April 17.

“Although many black men are doing well, glaring gaps continue to exist between black men and their white counterparts,” a press release for the report reads. “These gaps are caused and aggravated, in large measure, by the underperformance of a disproportionate number of black men in a variety of areas and for a variety of reasons.”

A long night… and it’s not getting any easier

It was 2 a.m. by the time Mayor-elect Carl Brewer got out of his election party at the Courtyard by Marriot in Old Town. And he was up before sunrise and working by 7:30 a.m. today to figure out how he’ll leave his post at Spirit AeroSystems in the next few weeks and responding to a batch of congratulatory e-mails.

At his neighborhood city hall, he got hit with TV interview after TV interview after Hall Monitor interview this afternoon. He even picked up a cold somewhere along the way. It’s not getting any less hectic. He’s setting up meetings with the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce (to talk about bringing in new businesses), City Manager George Kolb (to talk about a citywide wireless internet system), newly elected Council member Jeff Longwell (to get to know him better) and others.

Saturday morning, he’ll be at Ryan’s Grill Buffet & Bakery, 3323 N. Rock Rd. (See map.), for his monthly breakfast with community residents — only this time near record attendance is expected. Some of them are likely to be people who want to fill the District 1 seat Brewer is leaving. “I think you’ll see who’s interested if you come there,” Brewer said.

(People interested in petitioning for Brewer’s seat can learn how the city fills vacancies here. See the full city ordinance here.And see a map of District 1 here.)

Who should fill Brewer’s City Council position?

As people sipped Coronas and sodas and mingled among the crowd at Carl Brewer’s campaign party Tuesday night, I was working the scene, trying to find out who’s going to fill Brewer’s shoes in District 1. We’ve got a list of potential contenders and we’re hoping you’ll add to it by clicking on the “comments” link below. The right person will need 100 signatures from district residents, an affirming vote from the District Advisory Board and a majority vote of the City Council.

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Mayans doesn’t like polls, polls don’t like him

Ask Mayor Carlos Mayans about polls, and he’ll tell you he hasn’t taken any in six campaigns (five for state representative, one for mayor). A self-described populist, he says there’s only one real poll — Election Day. Mayoral candidate Carl Brewer, meanwhile, spent $14,000 on polling and phone banks.

Now a poll has been taken by KWCH Channel 12 and The Wichita Eagle. It shows Brewer up 22 percent over Mayans in the race for mayor. The automated phone survey polled 470 likely voters and was conducted by Survey USA a week before the April 3 election.

Of those asked, 58 percent plan to vote for Brewer, 36 percent plan to vote for Mayans and 6 percent said they were undecided or planned to pick someone else, presumably a write-in. There’s a 4.6 percent margin of error. In the poll, Brewer leads among all age groups as well as among men, women, black and white voters.

Wireless in Wichita? Brewer hints at it

He’s not giving details. Not about who he’s talking to. Not about what type of wireless system they’d try to bring in. But mayoral candidate Carl Brewer has said he’s in discussions with an undisclosed company about a wireless internet deal that could allow Wichitans to browse the web while having a picnic at the park or sipping coffee at home.

And he’s not just talking about the wireless that City Manager George Kolb has discussed with the Council to allow city workers to do work on the road. (See the PowerPoint here.) The Council decided against that plan with Sedgwick County and the Wichita School District. But Brewer says this idea would allow access for anyone with a computer — not just government employees.

It’s a popular idea nationwide. For example, the Los Angeles Times recently reported that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to make L.A. the biggest wireless network around. Also noteworthy, a story in The Eagle this week pointed out that large wireless networks also have their problems with privacy.