Category Archives: Council Elections

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.

More on cameras on police cars

We reported in The Eagle today about Mayor Carlos Mayans and City Council member Carl Brewer supporting cameras in police cars. Both men supported it in their comments. But, as Sunflower Community Action members are pointing out this morning, that’s not the full story.

Mayans asked Brewer to make a motion on the cameras during budget negotiations last year, but Brewer didn’t. Later, Mayans made a motion of his own to shift $150,000 from the city’s long-term spending to start a pilot project. Brewer voted against that. Only Mayans and Paul Gray supported it. See the full minutes in a PDF file here.

Mayans still supports WSU football

WSU football isn’t Carlos Mayans’ favorite topic these days, since it’s led to such outcry from other City Council members. But Mayans still stands behind Wichita State University football as a way to boost the school’s lagging enrollment.

“It’s no secret that Wichita State University has lost students, in part, because of not having football,” Mayans said, responding to a question at a voter forum Sunday. “This is not a true, full university. The football would bring a return of… more African American students,” he said. When he said that, someone in the crowd at the Tabernacle Baptist Church said “that’s stereotyping.”

“Football is economic development to the city,” Mayans said. The 1.5 mills of tax money was intended to pay off buildings and now those buildings are paid off, he said.

Mayan’s opponent, City Council member Carl Brewer, has criticized the idea from the start. He response to the question was to say a mayor has “more things to do” instead of trying to convince a university’s president to start a football program. “We have other things to be doing,” he said.

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.

Brewer and Mayans on their favorite topic: Business, business, business

It’s the opening line of every mayoral forum between Mayor Carlos Mayans and Carl Brewer, and it sounds something like this: “we need to diversify the economy, train our workforce and keep young people from leaving Wichita.”

It’s certainly a key issue. But how does government pave the way for something that hinges so much on the private sector? The candidates have a similar line there, too — keep doing what we’re doing. Continue to take on some risk for the businesses by issuing bonds to pay for expansions and give tax breaks — even though recent studies at Wichita State University show tax exemptions (state and local) have shifted tax burden from business and other special interests to homeowners and consumers. (Check out that study in a PDF file) Then, candidates say, cut down on regulations — though no one is saying which regulations.

Need more? Check out how candidates responded to the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce questions.

Fearey has had enough

Sharon Fearey, the north-central Wichita City Council member, has had enough of Mayor Carlos Mayans’ campaign claims. And, The Hall Monitor has noted, she’s had enough of people putting words in her mouth.

She penned an editorial that ran in The Eagle this week, scolding Mayans for claiming that Council members are never in their offices. She countered too, saying that Mayans misses his share of city meetings. The tension also showed last Tuesday when Fearey didn’t get a chance to explain her ‘no’ vote on move to overrule the city’s historic preservation board decision that the proposed downtown Kelly Hotel and Conference Center doesn’t fit in with nearby historic buildings. (See The Eagle’s story here.)

In the meeting, Fearey said she hit her button, indicating to the mayor that she wanted to talk. But Mayans wrapped up the hearing quickly and called the vote. Fearey, a former preservation board member, never said ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but went on record as a ‘no’ vote because, she said, architects and city planners could have come to a better compromise.

Brewer, Harding and the African American vote

Since city council member Carl Brewer announced his run for mayor, many have asked if he would be the city’s first African American mayor. He would not. A. Price Woodward Jr. (see photo on the left) was a city commission member from 1967 to 1970 and mayor from 1970 to 1971.

But Brewer would be the first African American elected by citywide vote — like Carlos Mayans was the first Hispanic elected by popular vote. The historic possibility could galvanize African American voters more than in previous city elections, Ken Ciboski, a political science professor at Wichita State University said.

“Poor African Americans who often do not vote will vote,” Ciboski said. “I think people see a possibility for him to pay attention to their needs and their concerns. They see this as an opportunity to be recognized and have their voices heard.” And, Ciboski said, if the city at large again has low turn out in April, a strong showing in the African American community could make it easier for Kevass Harding, an African American, to beat Karl Peterjohn in the race for at-large school board. As a total, African Americans make up 11 percent of the city’s population, according to 2005 Census estimates.

Brewer took the top 33 precincts

Not only did city council member Carl Brewer win big in Tuesday’s primary, he won almost every major precinct in town. That means Mayor Carlos Mayans did not have any significant strongholds in the city — at least among the 23,892 people who voted for a mayoral candidate. Mayans’ best showing Tuesday was in precinct 524, according to a quick spreadsheet analysis this morning. Mayans had 134 votes there, but Brewer had 205.

But, it’s worth noting that Mayans logged nearly 29,000 votes in the general election in 2003, which means the potential for him to gain significantly in the April vote is there. But it would probably take a 32 percent turnout like 2003 when there were big name write-in campaigns. This year, it appears no big names are jumping into the race. So turnout could again be a problem for the incumbent in April.

Mayans may be right that many of his would-be supporters stayed home, contributing to Tuesday’s dismal 13 percent voter turnout. And it’s likely that Brewer’s Democratic support brought the party faithful out to the polls. But it appears Mayans will need significant Republican party help to boost him enough to compete with Brewer in April. And it’s not yet clear if the county Republicans are going to push hard on Mayans’ behalf.

Party with the candidates

Want to stand around and drink punch and exchange gossip while the primary election results roll in?

Here’s where to do it — at least with the big campaigns.

Carl Brewer: Courtyard by Marriott in Old Town, 820 E. 2nd St. Starts at 7 p.m.

Carlos Mayans: Broadview Hotel, 400 W. Douglas. Starts at 7:30 p.m.

Let the campaign ads begin

While the direct mail from city council and mayoral candidates have been hitting mailboxes for more than a month and signs are popping up all over town, the TV ads are just beginning.

Carl Brewer’s ads started running this morning and you can expect to see more in between TV newscasts, Sunday morning political talk shows and even between snippets of Ugly Betty, the ABC show that airs before Grey’s Anatomy (one of the most popular shows on TV).

The ad features a female voice over talking about Brewer’s community activities and military career. Hitting TVs is probably the quickest way to develop name identification, which is, right now, the biggest problem for the Brewer camp since Mayor Carlos Mayans is well-known after four years as mayor and 10 years as a Republican state representative. No word yet on any Mayans ads. But stay tuned.

Brewer’s ad debuts just a day before candidates are required to file their latest campaign finance reports. The reports will likely show how many more TV ads viewers can expect as campaigns go into full speed after next week’s primary.