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Archive for Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Statehouse Live: Brownback defends closure of Lawrence SRS office; local lawmaker says decision wasn’t data driven

In a six-month progress report on his administration at the Statehouse Wednesday, July 6, 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback answered questions about the closing of an SRS office in Lawrence.

July 6, 2011, 12:22 p.m. Updated July 6, 2011, 4:57 p.m.

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Gov. Sam Brownback provides a progress report on his first six months in office Wednesday, July 6, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback was joined by Cabinet secretaries and executive directors of state agencies and programs.

Gov. Sam Brownback provides a progress report on his first six months in office Wednesday, July 6, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback was joined by Cabinet secretaries and executive directors of state agencies and programs.

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— Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday said Lawrence’s location was a key factor in his administration’s decision to shut down the Lawrence office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

“Lawrence, in particular, has a proximity to several major SRS offices on four-lane roads,” Brownback said.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said Brownback’s reasoning was off-base.

“I’m not sure he has a very good understanding of the kind of clientele the local SRS office has,” Davis said. “Not a lot of them have access to transportation that can go to Topeka, Ottawa or Kansas City.”

SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. added that another major reason was that closing the Lawrence SRS office would produce significant savings — $300,000 — in the agency’s attempt to cut $1 million in administrative costs that was ordered by the Legislature.

“We definitely had to make some tough choices,” Siedlecki said.

Again, Davis disagreed with Siedlecki. Davis said he believes the closure of the Lawrence office wasn’t “data driven.” And while Siedlecki says the cuts were needed to satisfy a legislative mandate, Davis said, “I didn’t see SRS vigorously opposing potential cuts in front of the Legislature. I generally viewed their posture as being accepting of additional cuts.”

SRS changes

On Friday, SRS announced it was restructuring its offices by merging six regions into four and closing nine offices, in an effort to comply with a legislative mandate to cut costs.

The Lawrence office was by far the largest on the closure list. Public outcry over the decision has been intense from social service advocates and law enforcement officials who say it will diminish access to needed SRS services. A meeting is being set up by local leaders for next week in Lawrence on the issue.

SRS provides a variety of services for low-income children and families and people with disabilities. SRS officials have said that the office’s 87 employees would be reassigned to other offices.

During a Statehouse news conference Wednesday that Brownback called to highlight his first six months in office, the governor, flanked by nearly two dozen cabinet secretaries and other top administration officials, was asked about plans to close the SRS office in Lawrence.

Brownback said he hoped SRS clients would be able to access services on the Internet. He said if the Lawrence office hadn’t been closed, four or five others would have had to take its place on the closure list.

Siedlecki also said state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, asked if Siedlecki could send a couple of SRS employees to Lawrence a couple of days per week if free office space could be made available. Siedlecki said he would consider that.

Brownback’s agenda

Brownback, a Republican who took office in January, said that the state has made economic progress in the past six months and was on the right track after several years of recession.

But questions at the news conference focused on the possibility of more budget cuts to Medicaid, the state-federally funded health insurance program that serves mostly low-income children, pregnant women, elderly people and people with disabilities.

Brownback said that he is not ruling out a cut to payments to health care providers under Medicaid, but that he was waiting to see what recommendations would come from a series of meetings on Medicaid.

Brownback was also asked about his anti-abortion agenda — four bills that took effect July 1 increased regulations on abortion. Two of those bills are tied up in court challenges.

While supportive of the measures, Brownback said the abortion issue hasn’t deflected his attention from trying to improve the state’s economy.

“It hasn’t taken my eye off the ball,” he said.

The governor said his administration has created 3,163 jobs since taking office, and the state budget is improving.

“Our unemployment rate is ticking down, and our state revenues are growing,” he said.

Democrats disputed the claim, saying most of the job gains cited by Brownback had been in the works before he took office.

Instead they pointed to Brownback’s record cuts to public schools, killing the Kansas Arts Commission, and laying off hundreds of state employees.

“Brownback needs to stay focused on jobs and the economy instead of promoting an extreme, partisan agenda,” said Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon.

Comments

JM Andy 3 years, 1 month ago

His ignorance (or ambivalence, whichever the case) is frightening.

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TopJayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

Now that Audie is horse poop. Most that I have seen do have cars, and they all seem to have a better cell phone than I do. Plenty of internet access.

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kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

You don't even live or work in Lawrence, so perhaps you should share your comment at www.cjonline.com about Shawnee County SRS clients.

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shadowlady 3 years, 1 month ago

Did you not read all of autie's remark?? He said some cars are broke down, and yes you may have seen the cars, BUT the big question is are they road worthy to travel outside of town. Some are just able to get around here in town, others are not.

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Scribeoflight 3 years, 1 month ago

Hell, I have a car and a cell phone. I work and go to school. And MY car wouldn't make it to KC and back.

The world is not a soundbite. It is more complicated and nuanced than you have been led to believe.

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average 3 years, 1 month ago

Hmm. Seems like there are 4-lane roads between:

Goodland and Colby Newton and Wichita Manhattan and Junction City Leavenworth and KCK

At least he tried to come up with something. We'll see if Siedlecki can do any better.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

The most glaring case is Manhattan and Junction City. Combined, they have nowhere near the population of Lawrence.

Maybe they don't have the internet there.

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sourpuss 3 years, 1 month ago

The difference is, they have -Republicans- there. We can't lose votes now, can we?

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kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

If they didn't have an office there, clients would have to go to Topeka. They are further from Topeka than we are and Junction City has a lot of really down and out people who don't have any transportation.

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Bruce Bertsch 3 years, 1 month ago

Brownback to Kansans in need..."I don't care." The insidious result will be a savings as those in need are unable to request services. Note that nowhere does Der Fuhrer speak of better serving those in need.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

And he won't use the savings to balance the budget, he'll give it to his rich buddies, who won't go out and create jobs or give their people any raises.

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riverdrifter 3 years, 1 month ago

"...Siedlecki agreed to talk to a Journal-World reporter after Brownback's news conference, but then left without doing the interview."

Tells you all you need to know.

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johnnyreb 3 years, 1 month ago

Tells me that he has some stones! Without your pro-abortion Dear Leader Kathleen, a few loud mouth liberals in Lawrence can no longer stand in the way of reforming state government!

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 1 month ago

Kansans knew (or should have known) that this guy was a religious nut and out to establish a theocracy in Kansas and the country. There should be no surprises to the electorate who fawn and scrape to these slick Republican Terrorist Party members. He was a lousy senator and is a lousy governer. Lawrence is a hotbed of liberal thinking and should not receive any state benefits according to our facist governer. End of story.

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Progressive_Kansan 3 years, 1 month ago

Obviously people who utilize government services are back sliders and agents of Satan. If you are in need, you should be tuning to the RIGHT church for help.

/sarcasm obviously

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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angel4dennis 3 years, 1 month ago

This just ticks me off. How can he close down yet another business that is so badly needed around here? Newsflash- not everyone can get around to use a computer, not everyone knows HOW to use a computer, people don't have cars or the gas money to get to a more accessible building when this one CLEARLY IS ACCESSIBLE to Douglas county residents, and even more children are going to suffer because people can't get to another building to get help. So heads up Brownback, what businesses are you closing down next? The Missions?

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Deb Stavin 3 years, 1 month ago

Wouldn't it have made more sense to send some of the Lawrence SRS staff to other towns on a weekly basis, rather than the other way around?

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overthemoon 3 years, 1 month ago

Exactly. Why not have Ottawa residents come to Lawrence...they do anyway to shop at Walmart, etc.? Lawrence offers more services and support for people in need, so why not make it the hub office for the area???

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average 3 years, 1 month ago

They have a perfectly functional Walmart in Ottawa, you know. And in the same 30 minutes it takes to get to Lawrence, you can get to a fair bit of Olathe. Maybe some north-of-town Ottawa addresses come to Lawrence frequently, but most don't.

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trinity 3 years, 1 month ago

overthemoon did bring up a very good point; sure, ottawa has a wal-mart; however, a lot of ottawans make the trek to lawrence to also go to aldi and checkers in efforts to make that food dollar stretch further. the low income subsidized housing in ottawa is all pretty much located on the south end of town, anyway, so it's not just the northsiders who frequent lawrence.

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Linda Endicott 3 years, 1 month ago

But the poor in Ottawa have the same problem that the poor in Lawrence have...most of them have no car, and if they do it's old and in bad shape and they don't have money for gas, etc....how does closing any of them help the poor? Why don't they close the governor's mansion and make Brownback live in a regular house (paid for with his own money, too)? That should save a lot of money...

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mloburgio 3 years, 1 month ago

not just pious sam, if you want a republican to care about you, remain a fetus!

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crimsonking 3 years, 1 month ago

if you're preborn your fine, if you're preschool you're effed

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Jan Rolls 3 years, 1 month ago

They are just a bunch of lousy bums that could care less about anyone that isn't rich and can contribute to their campaign. Someone ought to sue them.

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Amesmb 3 years, 1 month ago

Which, in his world, means he answers to himself.

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Aimee Polson 3 years, 1 month ago

Goodland (Sherman County) - serves 10,449 and can be merged with Colby in Thomas County. Ottawa (Franklin County) - serves 26,513 and can be merged with Douglas and Miami counties. Barton serves 27,511 and can be merged with Pawnee, Reno, or Ellis counties. Cherokee serves 21,451 and can be merged with Labette or Crawford counties.

Not to pick on those four, but just looking at the map along with populations and surrounding SRS centers. Barton, Cherokee, and Franklin all serve single counties. Sherman covers three counties.

Those four centers combined reach a total population of about 86,000 (compared to Douglas County's 112,000) and they are all within one county of a service center. Of course, we don't know the case loads of any of these centers because SRS is electing not to share that information.

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overthemoon 3 years, 1 month ago

As taxpayers, we OWN the SRS. We can and should have access to information regarding services we pay for.

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mk9992 3 years, 1 month ago

You do. Is the Journal World your only option?

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sad_lawrencian 3 years, 1 month ago

I, too, have serious misgivings about what the governor and his administration are doing. However, calling the governor names on this forum (like "Der Fuhrer", etc.) is counterproductive. Seriously, people. We need to be civil, and some of you could learn to use spell check before you post this stuff. Brownback's policies won't be changed if we all look like raving idiots.

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overthemoon 3 years, 1 month ago

Agree. Taking the high road is a better route.

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Amesmb 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm being devil's advocate here, but I think a lot of people use boards such as these to vent rather than make an impression and tend to lose sight of the potential consequences. But I agree with your viewpoint that it doesn't do much good regardless.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 1 month ago

Seriously, I have to agree here, I am guilty of various slurs against this guy, and you are also right, most of it is the helpless desire to vent against the foolishness and disinterest that I see displayed by the current administration facing serious budget problems. But I feel there are far too many useless black holes that are fed with tax money and far too few considerations for what the real priorities should be. But that is determined individually on just who's ox is gored.

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Ken Lassman 3 years, 1 month ago

Once again, call off the name calling and call him what he is: incompetent.

This is an objective assessment of his behavior. Anyone can see his pattern of shooting first and asking questions later, if at all. This is not an exaggeration, but it is an affront to decent Kansans on both sides of the aisle--we deserve better.

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Catalano 3 years, 1 month ago

Incompetent is not the word I would use. I would have to use two. One starts with F and the other starts with A.

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notanota 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm not above snarky nicknames, but when you take it to Godwin levels, it loses its potency.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

There is likely a fair number of senior citizens that do not drive nor own a computer.

Then there are others who cannot afford either.

Four lane roads require cars and high dollar gasoline.

Brownback is unreasonable and out of touch.

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llama726 3 years, 1 month ago

Why do they let you just promote your blog on mostly unrelated stories?

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Shelley Bock 3 years, 1 month ago

Sometime in the past, the idea of closing Lawrence SRS was kicked around by the administrators. Obviously, wiser minds prevailed.

From a political viewpoint, I have the feeling Brownback is "playing" Douglas County. Putting it on the list of closures so he can comeback with a change to make it appear that he "understands the needs of the community" by saving the office from closing.

There was one comment from Siedlecki that seems to suggest another possibility. He indicated that there would be a chance of sending personel to Lawrence if free space was provided. Free space means a contribution from the City, County or other entity. Maybe a church so the poor can be saved at the same time? Brownback would be satisfying his goals that way.

I don't believe that SRS has properly evaluated how much time is spent by workers in court or investigating child-in-need-of-care matters. In addition to all of the time on the roadway, their overall effectiveness will be diminished. This is a ridiculous decision, but one which is typical of this governor and only the beginning of many to come.

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notanota 3 years, 1 month ago

He did this on the Friday of a holiday weekend, just like the KAC closing. I think he wanted to stick it to Lawrence and is surprised at the intensity of the backlash. He's not committing to anything, he's "considering it" which means the answer is no.

At some point, somethings got to give, and the people have to make it clear that he's not popular, not wise, and not serving his state.

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roadwarrior 3 years, 1 month ago

My hats off to Tom Sloan for making such a sound suggestion, can we find donated free space and use it to conduct SRS business. I believe our community is well suited to finding such an 'out of the box' solution. Thanks, Tom, for opening that door. Probably already has someone to step up. I love the old quote "can't go over it, cant go under it.....can't go around it.....might as well go through it." Well done Tom.

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notanota 3 years, 1 month ago

You're already proof that it doesn't work that way, Barrypenders.

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kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm not finding that particular article in Rolling Stones archives, just on the site you've noted. Rolling Stones archives do go back to 2006. There are other stories at rollingstone.com, but not the one at archive.org.

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dogsandcats 3 years, 1 month ago

I read the article through to the end and I am thoroughly frightened. I knew I didn't like him and I certainly didn't and never will vote for him, but I had no idea just how big of a whackjob he is.

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Ralph Reed 3 years, 1 month ago

The article is similar to what Jeff Sharlet wrote in "The Family"

@dogsandcats: If this article frightened you, the book will do more.

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goodcountrypeople 3 years, 1 month ago

From the Urban Dictionary:

Brownbackistan

a pseudo-Christian fascist state where the arts are not publicly funded, women's reproductive rights are relentlessly attacked, public school funding is drastically cut, voter suppression laws make it nearly impossible for new voters to register to vote, and social services are turned over to evangelical "Christian" groups, all done with the backing of the Koch brothers.

Brownbackistan is a place where civil responsibility takes a back seat to religious intolerance and corporate greed.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Brownbackistan&defid=5913664

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Patti Hadl 3 years, 1 month ago

When do "we the people" start insisting enough is enough and proclaim we're not going to take anymore so called "government policies" that only benefit rich republicans? When do we stand up and say "NO MORE"? When do we go back to the founding fathers of a government created by the people and for the people? How much further can we be crushed by gangster politics and corporate policies?

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JohnSickels 3 years, 1 month ago

I called Brownback's office and lit into the poor guy answering the phone, though I apologized to him and said it wasn't against him personally. I mentioned that Brownback's "four lane road" comment was insulting, and that the city feels like it is being punished for not being Republican enough.

He told me they are getting lots of calls about this, almost all of them negative, and that people are really angry. He said he is passing it up the ladder.

I don't know if that is true or not, but I did what I could. Also wrote letters to all my representatives.

Call Brownback, folks. Write letters. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Get angry, stay angry, but get organized and SAY SOMETHING.

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goodcountrypeople 3 years, 1 month ago

Look at that group off out-of-touch men on the video-- a bunch of corrupt old boys! So sexist, classist, and politically unaware!

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goodcountrypeople 3 years, 1 month ago

Look at that group off out-of-touch men on the video-- a bunch of corrupt old boys! So sexist, classist, and politically unaware!

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goodcountrypeople 3 years, 1 month ago

Not to mention Brownback and his posses of sexist, rightwing old boys are obviously completely clueless when it comes to ethnic sensitivity.

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lunacydetector 3 years, 1 month ago

we have an $18 million dollar library that will be coming online that will have 100 apple computers, we have freenet, free for the needy, they'll have people in town a couple of days a week if lawrence or the county has the heart to provide space....why can't the school district give the state one of their closed down schools? perhaps our local officials were contacted and they were not receptive.

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JohnSickels 3 years, 1 month ago

What about people who can't talk or drive?

My son is autistic. He is non-verbal. If he stays that way, what happens to him when he is an adult and my wife and I are dead? Does he end up homeless on the street if he has no one to advocate for him? There is a chance he may never BE ABLE to use a computer or drive a car, or arrange transportation.

This decision is just another way the Brownbackers are picking on the helpless and balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable. This is an inversion of Christ's teachings...Brownback is a Pharisee of high order.

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xclusive85 3 years, 1 month ago

I feel for that situation, I work with mentally disabled adults as a Cottonwood employee. We do have to advocate for such individuals. I do think that there is a way that this can all be worked out without having an SRS office here. I don't know what it is, but i think there could be some creative ways to at the very least minimize the effect this has on someone like your son and their families.

I would like to ask, however, what people that don't have an SRS office close to them do? Some people are like 3 counties away from an SRS office. Why don't people think they deserve the same level of service as people in lawrence?

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

I totally agree JohnSickels! I am a Christian myself. But what this man is doing to the most vulnerable of our state is nothing less that appalling!!

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LH3867 3 years, 1 month ago

As ususal polictical BS. I don't believe a word that comes out of Siedliecki's mouth. He is a Brownback puppet. He has his Harvard credentials but no sense whatsoever. He has proven himself to be nothing but a liar. He doesn't care about Kansas and the taxpayers. God forbid if you need SRS services because they are going to destroy them and never look back. He just thinks his next stop is Washington on the heels of Brownback. Good luck with that Rob. This administration is a joke. This voter thinks you better start praying to the real God. Not the power God you worship. What time is those prayer meetings at the Capital and are they open to the public? Transparency? What a joke.

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dpowers 3 years, 1 month ago

I am sure that the "gentleman" standing on the right side of the camer shot is one of the Koch brothers. Does any one else think it is?

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dpowers 3 years, 1 month ago

Center-right in the picture. That sure does look like David Koch!

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gudpoynt 3 years, 1 month ago

in the far back? No, his hair is parted on the wrong side (http://bit.ly/rkwvOY)

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dpowers 3 years, 1 month ago

The part looks the same to me. I swear that is David Koch!

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

There's no reason that most of my comments (with the exception of possibly one very short one) should have been deleted. What's up LJW??

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OldSoldier 3 years, 1 month ago

Notice in the video how Side-kickie's head bobs up and down when BB is speaking. Rather like a puppet, do you think?

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LH3867 3 years, 1 month ago

Old Soldier - my thoughts exactly!! Bobble head Siedlecki!

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Lawrence_Pilot 3 years, 1 month ago

The Chief Republican Extremist (or "Chief Redneck") wants to shut a key state office (that mainly affects people who don't vote...and never vote Republican) in one of the two counties which usually votes Democratic? I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you. Not.

I've said all along: This and his severe cuts at KU are payback for Douglas Co. voting blue in nearly every election. "Let's give those Lawrence Hippies a taste of GOP Justice! Those Commies have been asking for it since 1853." Expect more over the next 7.5 years (yes, the Chief Redneck will be re-elected.)

If Brownback and his ilk had been in control in the 1800s, Kansas would have been a Slave State. (And, if you're poor or an immigrant, it is today!)

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cowboy 3 years, 1 month ago

This is a reason for a press conference ? A questionable 3000 job gain. I could probably spend 3 minutes on Google and dispute this . This was the sorriest attempt at good PR that I have ever seen. Gee , let me toot my own horn for a half hour. Brownback has no clue what the heck is going on , he has to call in a flunkie to answer the simplest questions.

This reformed born again clown is trying to right the ship on the backs of the most vulnerable citizens of Kansas. KNI , women in need of health care , medicaid , uninsured , and pretty much anyone in eastern Kansas.

If saving admin costs is truly the answer we could cut a quick few million just by asking these a$$hats to stay home and not bother coming to work and screwing things up.

I'd like to see signs up at the city limits " Brownback not welcome here"

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justajoke 3 years, 1 month ago

Both Brownie and his Sidekick are cowards. Neither one of them care about the vulnerable population in Lawrence. Sidekick is a hypocrite that dosnt even see his own kids except when he gets let loose by Brownie for a few minutes when puppet shows aren't in session. The staff at SRS have been threatened not to talk to the LJ World about caseload counts but if we are talking about saving money, close the Johnson County SRS and that population can travel between Wyandotte, Douglas, and Franklin County.. The caseload is the same in the 3 bigger office per worker.. Oh but wait the majority of people there are Republicans???

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 1 month ago

If the SRS was located at the bottom of the ocean... many of you would figure out a way to get there.

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LogicMan 3 years, 1 month ago

When life gives you lemons -

Would the soon to be closed SRS office make for a good homeless shelter?

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Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

That's a good point. I'm sure that SRS has paid the owner of the property for the cost of the real estate many times over by now, and I'm even more sure that he's very disappointed that SRS is not going to be giving him even more money.

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Alceste 3 years, 1 month ago

Rich!! Siedlecki is a much larger puppet with a most limited vocabulary than I had initially thought. He's a little man. Very little, parroting the same "remarks" over and over. Something of a hot head, too, eh? Work on that polishing, Bobby.....

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meggers 3 years, 1 month ago

The fact that Brownback is using the number of highway lanes in a pathetic attempt to justify this decision confirms what many of us already suspected: a) this about politics and b) Sam thinks the people of Kansas are complete idiots.

I sincerely hope the Journal World is pursuing a Freedom of Information request to get the caseload numbers. If the state doesn't cooperate in a timely fashion, perhaps some of the recently fired SRS administrators might be willing to shed some light on the matter.

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lunacydetector 3 years, 1 month ago

SRS doesn't want to pay rent where they're at anymore....they want the county or city to give them a building for free...the county or city won't, so the SRS office leaves lawrence.

news at 11

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lunacydetector 3 years, 1 month ago

it makes more sense than anything else on here. get the local officials to propose a free building, then see if brownback closes the office. the school district has some empties.

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ToteAlongShaker 3 years, 1 month ago

the SRS you speak of = Sammy B SRS staff are desperate for any kind of solution that would keep them local because they recognize the detrimental affect this will have on the entire community. the clients, court system, law enforcement, other community service providers as well as themselves.

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irvan moore 3 years, 1 month ago

not data driven? does that mean uninformed and not studied?

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justajoke 3 years, 1 month ago

I am sure a lot of folks could find the SRS office if it was located at the bottom of the sea but remember our elderly and disabled population and the transportation they rely on. I know a lot use the T-lift and I haven't ever seem, Shawnee, Johnson or Franklin County on the drop off list...

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Catalano 3 years, 1 month ago

Okay, here's a question no one has asked: Schwada owns the buildings that house SRS. He wanted a two-year lease from a company that opted to move JoCo awhile back (sorry, can't remember the name of the company, but it was a big brouhaha as we were losing good jobs and the lease was part of the story). Is Sam going to pay the rent on these buildings until the leases are up? Will someone please investigate this? How long are the leases, for how much, and will they be paid after SRS exits?

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ToteAlongShaker 3 years, 1 month ago

the answer to your last question is no. as for the rest i absolutely agree about investigating it. i think the answers will be ... interesting ....

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JM Andy 3 years, 1 month ago

This tyrant needs to be stopped. Can the Nat'l Dems help us? Grassroots movement? Something needs to be done before he does anymore damage to our state.

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kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

We cannot ask others to help us, we must help ourselves.

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Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

That would be true in an ideal world. But many people are in bad situations that are not of their own making.

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notanota 3 years, 1 month ago

Write letters to the editor of newspapers. Call and write your senator and representative. Organize a protest, and let the media know you're going to be there. Pitch them human interest stories about people directly being hurt from these decisions.

Something can be done, but it's got to come from us. We've got to have had enough and not gonna take it anymore. If his popularity plummets, he might reconsider his presidential aspirations and get back to doing what's right for the state.

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justajoke 3 years, 1 month ago

Remember this will save the State and Taxpayers a lot of money. 1- no more money being spent on leasing two offices. 2- wait-- now we will need to make room and assemble new offices in the surrounding counties for the 87 workers being displaced. and hire movers... 3. Now we need to buy more State Cars for the 12 Social Workers to drive to and from investigations. And some of those workers serve 3 counties. 4. Or we will pay much more in travel reimbursement and overtime.. 5. We will need to pay for new business cards for all Lawrence Workers. 6. We will probably need to add Laptops in this too so they can be used in different locations in case a child might need to be removed . 7. I quit.. I am pretty sure this isn't going to save the Statevany money.. The list goes on and on...

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Linda Endicott 3 years, 1 month ago

Ottawa used to have a Social Security office...now we don't...have to go to Lawrence... Ottawa used to have an unemployment office...now we don't...have to go to Lawrence...

Those places are needed also for the elderly, poor, and disabled, and if you have no car here, you have no access to them...yeah, you can access unemployment online...but have you priced a good computer lately? Not likely that someone on SSI or receiving Medicaid is going to be able to afford one...

Cuts have been coming right and left for a few years now, and apparently no one is safe from them...

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roadwarrior 3 years, 1 month ago

the state has a re-store in Topeka (state surplus.gov) that sells us the used computers we bought after thier service is up. I got a good back up utilitarian puter for $ 3o bucks. Flat screen monitor for $ 15. The older behemoth monitors were only $ 5 bucks.

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Linda Endicott 3 years, 1 month ago

A lot of the older computers (which is what you're talking about here; someone else's rejects) don't work well with newer programs used online...they either don't have enough RAM or the processor speed isn't fast enough...and who on welfare can afford anything much but dialup, which is pretty useless when doing forms and things online anymore...

Not to mention that in order to get that used computer in Topeka, you have to be able to get there...not likely if you don't have a good car...

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k67 3 years, 1 month ago

LJ World - please find out how much money will be spent: on penalties for canceling the lease on the buildings early, for notifying clients of their new caseworkers, for the time spent entering that information into SRS' computer systems, for all of the notifications to the public that the building is closing, for moving all of the equipment and furniture in the buildings to their new locations, for any building or computer modifications in the buildings where all of these staff will be going, for installing computers and phones and whatever else they need in their new offices, and any other closure-related expenditures? Surely, this was calculated when determining that $300,000 would be saved? Also, by when will we realize those cost savings?

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Catalano 3 years, 1 month ago

Yes, please do this. AND can we get it itemized? Not just a stupid lump sum. Thank you.

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ENGWOOD 3 years, 1 month ago

Here we go again, The Looney Liberals of Lawrence whining and crying when it makes it Inconvenient for them or hits them in the pocketbook. But They would sure like everyone to bend to their belief when they stick their nose into the business of other areas of the State. Thanks Sammy!!!!!!!!!!!

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JayhawkFan1985 3 years, 1 month ago

Question, What's the matter with Kansas? Answer, People who vote for Republicans just because their great grandfathers did. Let's all bear in mind that Abraham Lincoln was a progressive politician. There is NOTHING progressive about Brownback. He wants the clock to turn back to the 1950s. The problem is that the 1950s were not like the Leave it Beaver TV show. Thank God 2011 isn't 1950. I believe we had segregated schools in Lawrence and Topeka still at that time. Women had the right to vote, but most didn't work outside the home. Brownback might as well be a member of the Taliban given his stated position on issues. Please keep in mind that the Taliban is a fundementalist religious group too just as is Brownback and his camp within the Republican Party.

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kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

Engwood, it's highly improbable that any of the posters on this story are SRS recipients. Think about it.

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

Are you saying that all SRS recipients are idiots and can't think, or have enough education to respond to political and social issues?? If so, YOU, kernal, are a blooming idiot!!!

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kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

Of course not, larrytowngirl. They are NOT idiots, brain dead and many of them have at least high school degress if not higher education (and by making that statement you insult all of them).

How many SRS recipients can afford to have computers? Not very many, believe me! Very few of them can get to the library to use computers, whether it's due to mobility problems, health problems or no extra cash for the bus.

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

I am one of those people! I apologize if I read something into your post thats was not intended. I thought you were the one downing "us".

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

Kernal.. after rereading your post, I now see what you were saying. When you said "posters", I thought you meant those posting in these comments.

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JM Andy 3 years, 1 month ago

I've received benefits. And I have a Master's degree and am gainfully employed. So bite me. Guess your ASSUMPTIONS are wrong. Imagine that. Brownback is taking $1M in TANF dollars to promote his concept of marriage. That is money intended for poor children. Tell me again why I'm "looney" to think that's wrong? He's forcing the closure of a very active SRS office that serves more than numerous office put together. Where am I "looney" in my thinking there? Oh, I see. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, is it you "Ridiculous Republicans"....

BTW, this SRS recipient wants you to know that "looney" is correctly spell "LOONY". Maybe a few dollars for our education programs, Mr. Brownback?

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batmanuel 3 years, 1 month ago

So because we care what happens to people who can't help themselves we are somehow whining about being "inconvenienced?" Those of us who actually work for the mentally ill, the homeless, the working poor, and all of the other people this office served will now have to work twice as hard. We are the ones picking up the slack and making sure the "service disruptions" don't happen. We will be driving them to the offices, filling out online forms with them, helping with phone interviews, etc. And I hate to break it to you Engwood, but we are not the ones making people "bend to" our "belief". We haven't shut down legal clinics that provide medical care for women. We are not instituting some ridiculous marriage "program" that excludes my gay friends and relatives because "ew, boys kissing, that's icky." We are not cutting programs for the poor and ill, nor are we cutting medicaid. We aren't shutting down KNI and shifting the burden of caring for profoundly mentally ill people to communities that are already stretched thin due to the above mentioned cuts. We are not the ones instituting blatantly racist immigration laws. We are not the ones who cry "voter fraud" in order to pass an ID law that will disenfranchise many voters of color, the poor, and the elderly (who happen to vote mostly democratic). But clearly I'm just a whiny liberal who is pushing my "beliefs" onto other people, so what do I know?

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

In addition to KNI, you can likely add Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Overland Park. It appears that they are making serious moves to make sure that IT goes down too, what with the firing of its administrators and other obvious, "shut 'er down" moves. Oddly enough, I get it from very reliable sources that KUMED has been wanting to purchase that property for many years. So, here is yet another mental health facility that will likely be forced go T..Ts up very soon! What Brownie is doing is PATHETIC!

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makief 3 years, 1 month ago

If you have 3 SRS offices , 1 in Topeka, 1 in Overland Park and 1 in Lawrence, wouldn't it make more sense to keep the one in the middle open, especially if this is the largest one? Do you think poor, mentally handicapped people have the ability to drive to these offices out of state or use the computer to ask questions, or even have the money to get out of town? Not ALL the computer programs are perfect or user friendly either. Why didn't Topeka give the money to SRS to keep the offices open instead of giving it to Sedgwick Co. , the money that they had from Planned Parenthood. Wouldn't that have made more sense as well? Stupid me, I'm talking about the government making sense! Like increasing the speed limit to 75 mph when we are trying to save gas, and people's lives, or putting a coal plant in KS for better health, I expect.!

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Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

"Lawrence, in particular, has a proximity to several major SRS offices on four-lane roads"

What the hell does four lane roads have to do with it? I would guess that perhaps 99 percent of the highways in Kansas are only two lane. Is he suggesting that your typical SRS client cannot navigate a two lane road, or that the 2 lane roads in Kansas are inadquate? Moreover, the four lane road(s) he is talking about is I-70, which requires a somewhat hefty toll if you are living on a few hundred dollars a month.

Nonsense. Utter nonsense.

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

Because his mind (or so called mind) is thinking about how he's going to spend all the "saved" money from SRS closings to fund all the highways currently under construction and those yet to come!! He would rather spend $ on asphalt and concrete than on the people who are suffering!!!

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

Maybe what SRS should really be explaining is why the Topeka office remains open.

That makes two SRS offices in Topeka, none in Lawrence.

That makes a lot of sense.

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keswin 3 years, 1 month ago

there is only one local service center in Topeka. the other addess you might find if searching is the state administrative office.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

There are two SRS offices in Topeka, one of them could easily be shut down.

Sounds like you folks in the "administrative office" don't want to have to see all the lazy bums getting help...

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JayhawkFan1985 3 years, 1 month ago

The T only provides service within Lawrence. It won't take people to Topeka, KCK or Olathe currently. The JO does operate the K-10 Connector service but that only links KU, Haskell, JCCC and KU Edwards Campus. I don't know where the SRS office is in Johnson Co but I doubt it is adjacent to either of those college campuses and Johnson County only operates commuter routes not the same type of service Lawrence operates.

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Scribeoflight 3 years, 1 month ago

Did a quick googling, because I'm able bodied, able minded, and have a computer.

There is a bus route that you can take. Total transit time, one way, is approx. 2 hours.

If you add in the buck at each end for JO and T fares, plus the three for the K-10, that's four hours and ten dollars, just to get to the office and stand in line.

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JayhawkFan1985 3 years, 1 month ago

One thing the Brownback Administration could do that might make sense would be to "co-locate" state offices in cities. Why is SRS's office on 15th Street on the east side of Lawrence when the Driver's License Bureau and Highway Patrol offices are located at Tanger Mall? I think that KDHE has an office just off 23rd Street behind Carlos Okelley's. Surely, there are other state offices in Lawrence. While we're on the topic, shouldn't state offices be located in downtowns where they are close to transit routes and other services? Having said all that, this is but the first of the shocks Lawrence will feel under the Brownback Administration. Redistricting by the Legislature won't treat Lawrence well. Why not close KU? After all, the state has universities in Emporia, Pittsburg, Wichita, Hays and Manhattan. Finally, if Lawrence is required to donate free office space to the State of Kansas, I think all other cities that have SRS offices should do the same.

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jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

That's a great idea - why not locate all the state offices in the Tanger mall, which has many vacant spaces?

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Leo Hawkins 3 years, 1 month ago

Co-locating state offices would be great. I've always wondered why all of these state offices are scattered all over town. You make a lot of sense.

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lunacydetector 3 years, 1 month ago

it's always a 'peace loving' leftist who commits the violence...ever notice that?

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jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Who killed George Tiller again?

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deec 3 years, 1 month ago

Timothy McVeigh ring a bell?

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Bob Forer 3 years, 1 month ago

I despise Brownback. But your somewhat benign suggestion of violence is way out of line.

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heath 3 years, 1 month ago

Only we the people can change this. Unfortunately, we're stuck with Brownback for a few more years. In the mean time, we can flood his office with phone calls, letters, emails, etc. and respectfully express our dissatisfaction. At the mid-term elections, we can elect legislatures who will stand up to the governor. Then during this last two years in office, he'll at least have to compromise a bit to get things done. Finally, at the next election vote him out!

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sad_lawrencian 3 years, 1 month ago

From Wikipedia: "Fascism is an authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists advocate the creation of a totalitarian single-party state that seeks...mass mobilization of a nation through indoctrination...and family policy, including eugenics.

"Fascists seek to purge forces, ideas, and systems deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration and produce their nation's rebirth. Fascists believe that a nation requires [a] singular collective identity. Fascist governments forbid and suppress opposition to the state."

This sounds a lot like what Brownback is doing. "Fascists advocate the creation of a totalitarian single-party state"...a theocracy, perhaps?

"Fascists seek to purge forces [and] ideas...and produce their nation's rebirth." Sounds like Brownback to me. If he has his way, Kansas will be a Christian State where most, if not all, social services will be privatized, and Christianity will be the State religion. Public social services, divorce, abortion, will all be outlawed, in favor of theocratic law. People who are not married will not have access to services.

In essence, we will all be forced to become Christians, and be forced to live our lives and conduct our business in a manner dictated by Governor Brownback. Never mind that theocratic government is in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which reads, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

For further reading, please see:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060207014424/http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/9178374/gods_senator/

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lunacydetector 3 years, 1 month ago

so sad, fascist ideals sound more like a modern day liberal.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

I see Tom Shewmon has snuck back on.

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lilygrace 3 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

So that's what the Brownback evil eye looks like. That look will surely make babies cry when he campaigns for the Presidency, 'cause it sure is making some adults cry.

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

I noticed that "evil eye" also. It really is no less that frightening!

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not_that_crazy 3 years, 1 month ago

Great! But this is only part of what SRS does. There is also child support enforcment and vocational rehabilitation caseloads. Of couse don't forget all the the child and family service social workers and visit homes and schools every day. There are probably more that I am missing.

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deec 3 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the link...fascinating. I hope the LJW reporters who can't get a straight answer from SRS mouthpieces take a look as well!

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ThomasWitt 3 years, 1 month ago

Someone should show Brownback and his henchmen that four-lane road that leaves Kansas.

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Thats_messed_up 3 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully there will be groups in Lawrence that will help to set up shuttles to the SRS offices for the poor and that the librarians will be trained to help people access the SRS site. But - what I'm most worried about is investigations into child abuse. The SRS work with the police on these matters. I'm all for raising a tax here to pay for at least 2 officers who are specially trained to work on these cases. Brownback wants to make Lawrence an unlivable community? We'll show him that we are a real community, that will pull together to help our needy. Vote Reputlican so we won't be "punished"? Never.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

Fact - Il Marrone's administration claims none of the Lawrence employees are being laid off.

Fact - any savings from closing the Lawrence office comes from operating costs of the building.

Fact - SRS operates two separate offices in Topeka

Still looking for a reason why Topeka gets two offices, why Manhattan/Junction City get two offices, why Crawford County gets two offices, but Douglas County gets none.

Close one of the two SRS offices in Topeka and gain the operating savings.

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allofyousuck 3 years, 1 month ago

That's Bull everyone of the offices "in proximity" to Lawrence have those same four lane road's to travel to get to Lawrence's office and when they say that it was not data driven and Siedlecki gets up there and the second thing to come out of his mouth is the amount of case loads that they were looking at. hypocrite's aren't there two SRS's in topeka and in some other surrounding area's

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nut_case 3 years, 1 month ago

To know why the Lawrence office was closed, you only have to look at the poll numbers. Lawrence is a liberal/socialist 'tax and spend' island in an otherwise fairly nice state. By closing the office in Lawrence, sure you make a few libbies mad, but it's not like you are going to vote 'more' democrat.

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JohnSickels 3 years, 1 month ago

So you admit this is about political retribution and a vendetta against the population of Lawrence, rather than a legitimate fiscal decision.

How very Christian of you....punishing the innocent for political reasons.

You and your governor are immoral thugs.

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justajoke 3 years, 1 month ago

So now you will relocate workers to Wyandotte, Johnson and Shawnee County... Well with that being said where will the files be stored at? Shawnee is not part of the KC Metro Region therefore they have a different set of private contractors. Have we talked to all the contractors involved and will we ( the bobbleheads) be re writing these and paying more money?? Also what is the SW to do when they have to drive from Wy to Dg county to remove a child?? Are they to just sit in the car with the kid for 4 hours while we wait on KVC or TFI to pick them up. Surely we wouldn't drive them back to Wyandotte and the back to Lawrence for a placement would we?? Sure try toting and infant around for that many hours.. Just another item they didn't think about.. Good job bobble head Rob

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Ray March 3 years, 1 month ago

Brownback is horrible.

He's the George W. Bush of Kansas Governors.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

Well he was a Bush "yes" man when he was in Congress, the one yelling "Amen" in the back of the Bush church. It was part of what got him elected as Governor. Despite the fact that Bush left office with the lowest approval rating in the history of the country, western Kansas still worshiped the ground Bush walked on. After reading the comments to a post out of Dodge City, they still do. It brought home to me that eastern and western Kansas are like two different states.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

The only reason resources are dwindling is that another Republican governor gave away all surpluses to the rich in tax cuts, and the Democrats following him didn't have the guts to turn back the tax cuts. I think I got all of $100 more a year. Couldn't create a job for that. But did any of the really rich people create jobs with the thousands they didn't have to pay in taxes? Maybe in China, but not here in Kansas.

Why not educate yourself on what has happened in the past to bankrupt us? Why did they promise if taxes were cut the economy would thrive? Why, when tax rates were high, the economy did just fine? Why was the economy booming in the past when the executives didn't make so much more money than the worker bees?

Now the money stays at the top, so the worker bees barely have enough to get by. The rich can only spend so much money. So if the worker bees don't have more money to spend, even cheap goods like at WalMart don't sell. The goods don't sell, they move their manufacturing companies to a country with cheap labor, putting even more people out of work. Then they get preachers to preach that corporations are good, poor people are bad. They convince their sheep that if they just sell Amway or are ambitious enough, and pray and vote right, they too will get rich. What a crock.

By the way, the Amway thing really did happen at a church. What did Jesus do to the money-changers in the church? Oh yeah, that part was edited out of the new Conservative Bible.

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verity 3 years, 1 month ago

x2

I do think that belief that "they too will get rich" is a huge part of the problem. I'll win the lottery, I'll find an antique worth millions, I'll get a really high paying job, or maybe there is no plan at all, just the dream that something will drop out of heaven on them.

Also there is a basic misunderstanding of how economics work. It's very simplistic to think that all this slashing is going to solve our economic problems. As you noted, it only makes them worse. Gov. Brownback knows this. He also knows that when people are struggling just to survive, they don't have time to fight back. This is absolutely a race to the bottom and we are the guinea pigs.

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dogsandcats 3 years, 1 month ago

What good are four lane roads if someone doesn't have access to transportation? What a crock.

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verity 3 years, 1 month ago

Why even bother looking for any sense in what Brownback is doing in this or anything else. This is all about his agenda---to serve the Kochs and God (maybe the same thing?).

What he probably doesn't realize is that as soon as he is in no position to serve the Kochs (these kind of people are so full of their self-importance, they rarely do), they will no longer have any use for him. When he is used up, they will throw him away like dirty toilet paper.

Like what Cait said on another thread, I feel like I'm living in an Orwell novel. I thought Brownback would be bad, but I never thought he would be cruel and have no heart.

He will N E V E R be persuaded to do the sensible, economically feasible thing. That is so not what this is about.

We need to plan ahead to the next election.

Educate

Make sure voters are registered and have the proper documentation

Make sure voters can get to the polls

Vote out the people who are doing this

But, most importantly, we need to find good people to run and then support them. Brownback won because he really didn't have any competition---not to say Tom Holland wouldn't have been a good governor, but he just couldn't compete with the money and name recognition.

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goodcountrypeople 3 years, 1 month ago

Notice the extraordinary( and confident) remark Brownback made about the close proximity of several offices to Lawrence via 4-lane roads? He really doesn't get. it Sort of like Katrina--when officials assumed everyone worth saving had the ability to get in their own cars and evacuate themselves. Brownback clearly doesn't recognize that non-drivers exist--especially among those of limited means.

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coleja 3 years, 1 month ago

Brownback is a clown and he is ass backwards. He's not interested in helping the poor or middle class succeed. He doesn't care about the welfare of the people he's more interested in making headlines and passing bogus legislation.

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verity 3 years, 1 month ago

Maybe this has been posted before---

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSfYJ2X_7XU

At 7 p.m. Monday July 11 local Lawrence Legislators will be holding a Public Forum at:

Plymouth Congregational Church 925 Vermont Street Lawrence, KS 66044

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 1 month ago

These were posted earlier today: At 10 a.m. Saturday, at a meeting of the Douglas County Democratic Party, Robert Harder, the first and longest-serving director of SRS, will talk about the recent changes going on at SRS and how it will affect Kansans. The program will be at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.

Then at 7 p.m. Monday, local legislators will host a public forum on the recent announcement to close the Lawrence SRS office. That meeting will take place at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.

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thinkaboutit 3 years, 1 month ago

Hey sam the no back bone! What kind of jobs have you created and where? I know that you have cut jobs on the state level. But those jobs were never filled and you just took them off the books! Your are just another republican full of BS.

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