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Archive for Thursday, April 5, 2007

Wichita mayor ousted

April 5, 2007

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— Wichita Mayor Carlos Mayans lost a bitterly fought bid for a second term Tuesday, while voters elsewhere approved a sales tax to build a new jail in Ford County and backed a $60 million school bond issue in Maize.

In other local issues on ballots around the state, sales of packaged liquor in Mulvane and of liquor on Sundays were approved by wide margins.

Wichita City Council member Carl Brewer, who had finished first in the mayoral primary, won 62 percent of the vote Tuesday to Mayans' 38 percent, according to complete but unofficial results.

"We're going to be a progressive city," Brewer told a packed room at his victory party, promising to build consensus, use ideas from throughout the city and employ business-style practices to make City Hall more efficient.

Mayans, a former state legislator, had polled just 25 percent to Brewer's 57 percent in the primary, foreshadowing an aggressive general election campaign by the incumbent.

Mayans remained positive after conceding the race. He left open the possibility he could seek elected office again, while adding that he has many other options, including teaching at the university level.

"I am OK. I'm really at peace," he said. "I have my family and my friends, and I have a record of success for the last four years that no one can take away from me."

Through mailings and a TV commercial, Mayans' efforts included criticism of Brewer's voting record as a council member on issues such as zoning restrictions for sexually oriented businesses, cameras in police cars and the sale of city-owned properties.

Brewer returned fire only occasionally, saying most of Mayans' campaign claims were misleading or false.

Wichita resident Marilyn Word, who voted for Brewer, said she thought Mayans' advertising may have been dishonest.

"It's politics, and politics is not always truthful," she said. "But you want to get as much truth and as much right as you possibly can."

Each candidate portrayed himself as the best person to lead the state's largest city; both listed economic diversification and work force training as their top priorities.

Wichita's mayor leads the seven-member City Council, with one vote and no veto power. The municipal work force of roughly 3,100 employees is overseen by the city manager.

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