Monday, June 18, 2018

Wichita now has to face its future, according to The Wichita Eagle, or dump its conservative ways

By SJ Otto
A recent article in The Wichita Eagle looks at the economic stagnation of Wichita and discusses what might be going wrong. Here is how the article starts off:

Amid an avalanche of sobering data that indicates Wichita's economy continues to flounder, one statement by analyst James Chung stuck with Fidelity Bank president Aaron Bastian.

"It was 'We’re starving our city,'" Bastian said. "That just hit me like a bucket of water."
Bastian and other community leaders left the analysis of Wichita's economy last week with a clear mission.
"We need to do more," Bastian said. "What we're doing is not enough."


"Among the numbers:
▪ While the gross domestic product for cities across the U.S. grew an average of 16 percent this decade, Wichita's dropped a percentage point.
▪ Every city in the central U.S. comparable to Wichita grew faster than the national average since 2010. Not Wichita.
▪ The U.S. labor force grew significantly over the past decade. Wichita's shrank."

One thing needs to be pointed out and that is that the economy doesn't really need growth to be successful. At some point the US and other countries needs to examine the idea of a "no growth" or "maintenance economy."
One thing we don't need is all the urban sprawl from the poorly organized development plans (or lack of) at the edges of Wichita. The present city leaders want to see a building on every piece of land at the edges of Wichita and that has created nothing but ugly clutter.
For years I have complained that voters in the city of Wichita have been unable to elect intelligent, progressive, forward thinking people who can move the city forward. Again, quoting the article:

Alex Pemberton tweeted that he wanted to see "a more-or-less wholesale change in leadership, in both the political and civic sectors."
"Get rid of all the leaders-in-title-only who care about their legacy or job security and replace them with real leaders, who will take bold action and engage in honest, critical conversations," said Pemberton, who two years ago founded the Yellowbrick Street Team, a grassroots movement known for drawing attention to urban-living issues until it went on hiatus early this year.

Conservatives and social conservatives have held Wichita back, with their supporters wanting social controls over such businesses as strip clubs and efforts to shut down Wichita's abortion clinics. The people elected tend to be political activists with no real leadership abilities. They have been conservative dolts who can't imagine how to move the city forward. Further in the article:

Others on social media voiced support for bringing better-paying jobs to the city and expanding Wichita's public transit system so it's easier for people to get to and from work in a cost-effective way.

The buss system in Wichita is a perfect example of people who should not run anything. They have a buss system that completely shuts down at 6pm. Many people have told me they would use the  buss to go to work if it didn't shut down so early. They could get to work, but the buss shuts down before they can use it to get home. Another need is for a bus to get people home from the bars and night clubs in Wichita's Old Town development. With all the emphasis on drunk driving, in the state and city, it would make so much sense to have a buss system people could use to get home after they have been drinking to avoid getting DUIs. For a city this size, not having a working bus system after 6pm demonstrates the small minded thinking of our small minded leaders.
Again in the article:

"(Mayor Jeff ) Longwell said the city is "working on a river corridor development that will be a game-changer," though he would not offer details.
"We shouldn’t lose sight that we’ve already planted the seeds of opportunity and we haven’t yet been able to harvest them," Longwell said."

That is an interesting comment considering that the last WaterWalk deal the City of Wichita made lost millions of dollars. According to a past The Wichita Eagle article:

"After 15 years and $41 million in taxpayer subsidies to the WaterWalk, the city of Wichita has gotten no money from a profit-sharing agreement attached to the development deal.
And it probably never will, the way the deal is structured."

In one of the worst rip-offs in the history of Wichita, the city council literally gave all that money away and the developers did absolutely nothing to justify that give-a-way. It was a disgrace. While conservatives wine about poor people getting welfare, a few developers got free money for doing nothing.
Longwell and any other council member who can't manage to do better than that should never be anywhere near a leadership position.
The Wichita Eagle earlier article mentioned one problem the city has and that is a fair and equitable system that pays men and women at the same pay:

One was business consultant Jill Miller, who was upset by research showing the pay gap for women is worse in Wichita than it is nationally.
"I knew that things were hard for women in business in Wichita, but that data smacked me in the face," Miller said. "The numbers are the numbers. It wasn't just a perception. It is the data."

While there are many solutions to Wichita's economic problems, the main one I see is getting rid of all the conservative dolts that keep holding the city back. As The Wichita Eagle articles says:

"Friends University political science professor Russell Fox says Wichita, with its conservative mindset, has "a 'no' mentality" that has limited what the city could have done.
"The truth of the matter is, Wichita is a city caught in the middle," Fox said. "It's a city that looks like it ought to be doing what other cities are doing but isn't."
Residents must ask themselves whether they want Wichita to remain a "steady state" city — not growing, not dying — or whether they want the city to reach the potential so many envision, Fox said.
Voters will say at the polls whether they want to keep things as they are, Fox said, or prefer a different future. To get that different future, he said, residents have to send the message to officials "they should be spending more, risking more, investing more."

And the main message I find useful is to vote out the dolts.

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