Archive for Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rally to save SRS office set for Saturday at South Park

July 13, 2011, 1:22 p.m. Updated July 14, 2011, 12:42 a.m.


A rally to try to save the Lawrence office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has been scheduled for Saturday.

The event will be at 9:30 a.m. at the South Park gazebo, 1141 Mass.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has called for the closure of the office as a cost-cutting move. Advocates for the poor and people with disabilities say many will lose assistance and be endangered if the office is shut down.

More than 600 people attended a meeting on the issue Monday night at Plymouth Congregational Church, and more than 150 attended another meeting last Saturday at Lawrence Public Library.

Lawrence officials are hoping to persuade Brownback and SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. to change their decision.

“Nearly 10,000 people in Lawrence depend upon SRS for critical services,” said Jacob Beaumont, an organizer of the event. “These are among our most vulnerable citizens — children, seniors, and the disabled — who are at risk of slipping through the cracks, should they not receive needed and often life-saving services from SRS,” he said.

Supporters of the SRS office also are asking people to sign a petition opposing the closure. The petition is available online at

Another public forum on the issue will be at 10 a.m. July 23 at the library, 707 Vt. This one is sponsored by the League of Women Voters, United Way of Douglas County and numerous other groups.


shadowbox66044 6 years, 9 months ago

9:30 am! Oh man! That means I can't drink to late on Friday.

Brock Masters 6 years, 9 months ago

Oh be a real Lawrenthian and drink all night and just sleep in the park so you'll be there bright and early :)

Maracas 6 years, 9 months ago

As sad as it that the SRS office is closing, does anyone really think that having a rally at South Park is for any other reason than to make people feel good about themselves? I'm sure Brownback will be quite moved by videos of people at South Park holding up signs that say, "Save our SRS" and what not. If they start any chants beginning with "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho ..." all bets are off, however, as that is a sure winner.

Lisa Rasor 6 years, 9 months ago

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 9 months ago

It might not change his mind but it at least has a chance to accomplish something. You know what has zero chance of accomplishing something? Doing nothing.

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 9 months ago

I hear the same lame excuses when it comes to voting as well. Why vote when my single vote won't make a difference? Well when the majority of the population does the same thing, it makes a big difference.

Voting is the best way to get these crazies out of office. Next time there is an election, vote!

Lisa Rasor 6 years, 9 months ago

No, it should not be in Topeka. Then Sidekicky and Co. would look at the folks from Lawrence and say, "Gee, all these people got here from Lawrence, guess we were right about those four-lane roads."

Keep the rally in Lawrence. Keep the focus on the Lawrence community.

Lisa Rasor 6 years, 9 months ago

I know that not all the folks attending the rally are the ones using SRS services. But Sidekicky wouldn't care about that. He'd see lots of people from Lawrence and say, "Well, I guess it 's not that hard for folks to get to Topeka after all."

Sidekicky and his staff were invited to the meeting at Plymouth, and I have no doubt they'll be invited to the rally as well. The fact that no one shows up from the SRS state office just highlights their indifference to what the people, the constituents, really want.

Liberty275 6 years, 9 months ago

hey hey, ho ho, srs has got to... no, wait, I'll have to rethink that one.

Tara Painter 6 years, 9 months ago

yeah and if Martin Luther King Jr said lets not rally because it's pointless, where whould we be! Never doubt the what the people can do, and say postive!

boxers_or_briefs 6 years, 9 months ago

Oh boy. Which pair of Birkenstocks should I wear?

Liberty275 6 years, 9 months ago

Did you know that song isn't really about a dragon? Also, I find it suspicious that McCartney sings he "had a smoke... and went into a dream" in A Day in the Life.

Sue McDaniel 6 years, 9 months ago

While I don't like it, NO ONE wants any of these cuts, they are the result of spending money we did not have and now it HURTS to balance the budget!!! Everyone also wants the cuts to be on someone else's dept. or watch....

deec 6 years, 9 months ago

Or...they could have repealed the corporate tax breaks given over the last decade that were going to create just oodles of jobs.

notanota 6 years, 9 months ago

Man, it's amazing how well people have learned to ignore the idea of raising revenue.

somedude20 6 years, 9 months ago

Good thing old Sam has enough money to hire private attorneys at $300 an hour who also represent the Koch bros to defend the state from the Planned Parenthood lawsuit due to old Sam's dastardly policies. The state has its own staff to do this but he is spending state what were you saying spending money we don't have?

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

Where are the news outlets in Kansas? Why isn't there a story about this? Come on LJWorld. Show some guts. Call KCStar and get them involved. People need to know what is going on. They will end up giving these jerks as much money as it would take to keep the SRS open. More money for Brownjerk's rich friends. Do the Koch's get a kick back?

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 9 months ago

Dunno about the news outlets in Kansas but it's picking up steam nationally. Huffington Post and Salon have both reported on the use of state funds to hire the Koch attorneys in the PP lawsuit. I really think it's just a matter of time before it hits CNN. It may take a child death or children getting lost in the system, just as what happened in Florida, before it does, but given the conditions that Brownback and Siedlecki are setting up in SRS either one of those scenarios is not only possible but probable. It's heart breaking to me that a child will very likely have to lose it's life to create the scandal that will actually make the news but we live in a world where Sooki gets more press for breaking a heel than disabled people and children losing their lifeline. Hmm. Maybe somebody should call Nancy Grace? :P

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

First, let's eliminate waste and make things more efficient.

Then, let's use humane priorities when deciding what needs to be cut - I'd rather wait on the SLT, saving hundreds of millions, than cut education and social services.

allamerican4ever 6 years, 9 months ago

bla blah blah boo hoo boo hoo omg get a life things come and go

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

are they the 1/4 lb. Kosher Sinai's and will there a Central American coca cola (has sugar....not high fructose corn syrup)?

sad_lawrencian 6 years, 9 months ago

This rally would be more effective if it's held in front of the capitol building. Yeah, you need to get within earshot of Brownback.

notanota 6 years, 9 months ago

We need to get in earshot of non local media outlets. National embarrassment is probably the only language he'll speak.

discussed 6 years, 9 months ago

Why would folks lose benefits if it closes? There's the internet and free use of computers at the library. Electronic technology is here to stay.

notanota 6 years, 9 months ago

Try applying for benefits on the SRS website. Go ahead. It's not easy, and not all the services are available from it.

Now try doing it if you're blind. Ok, now try doing it if you're homebound. I'm sure there are endless variations on this theme.

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

You have to print these forms and printing is not free at the library. And I understand that not all the forms are on the website. So now what?

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

The only form that requires printing is the signature sheet----one page. However, SRS is going to have to find a way to allow for a "digital signature" because unless that signature page is turned in, no application exists. One could take that signature page and simply drop it off, but if there's no office to drop off at....well.....there's always the U.S. Mail. And that's a different kind of problem....particularly in the Topeka Area Office.....lots of mailings to that office get "lost".

Anybody who turns anything in to an SRS it in person or via mail needs to always request and be given a receipt for what was turned in. Sending something via Certified, Return Receipt mail is a good idea, but that's $6.00 for a simple envelope. If it's packed with the documenting data SRS requires, it'll be more. Too, who wants to mail in the required documents? If you're applying for medical assistance, you're going have to provide proof of citizenship and such; birth certificates; social security cards, rent receipts; wage receipts; tax receipts, etc., etc., etc., etc. Foolish to mail in the originals....costly to photo copy all that stuff.

The ofice is going to close.....I believe that is a done deal......but what's the plan to make it work? People need to be asking for the nuts and bolts of this electronic highway.....and it wasn't Brownback that started SRS on that route. Here we havea a quote from, now, the ever loved Don Jordan:

“We are really focusing on the idea of universal access – of being able to serve our customers in non traditional ways. In many instances, customers can contact their caseworkers online or by phone to apply for or manage services,” said SRS Secretary Don Jordan. “The physical location of an office does not hinder our ability to provide services.” (4/13/2010):

Bradley Kemp 6 years, 9 months ago

What if you're a child whom someone reports as being abused? Today, law enforcement and SRS officials will go that day to the child's school, evaluate the situation, and take steps to prevent the child from being returned to his abuser if that's appropriate. That's a lot less likely to happen if the SRS official has to come from Topeka or Kansas City.

That kid isn't going to get much help from the internet, even though he does have free access at the library.

SRS isn't exclusively about distributing Vision cards and helping people get health care or other similar benefits.

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

How do you think it's done in other states or in western Kansas for that matter?: There's gonna be a lot of windshield time and nice little drives between Topeka and Lawrence; between Ottawa and Lawrence; between Overland Park and Lawrence; between Leavenworth and Lawrence; between Kansas City, Kansas and Lawrence. Don't trouble yourself about these small things.

Currently, the Lawrence social workers aren't really used to doing too much work. With this change, they're going to have to adapt....the profession of social work prides itself on adaptability.

And since we've brought up the concept of "profession".....where is the KU School of Social Welfare what with all this mess. Kinda funny how one hasn't seen word one from that joke of a "professional" school....all them fancy dressed types up there must be ascared they're going to lose SRS contracts so they're keeping their mouths shut. It doesn't really matter to them is the sad truth....

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

So you'd have to include all the extra costs associated with all of that extra driving time - gas, wear and tear on cars, etc.

Which cuts into any savings quite a bit, I'd think.

Unless they'll just require employees to pay for all of that.

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

Yup. And the employee's already pay for it, for the most part, although they're re-imbursed for the mileage. Nonetheless, no amount of re-imbursement is going to make up for the wear and tear on a personally owned vehicle. The state did away with most of it's motor pool quite a while back. Also, the toll driving takes on the human body and spirit isn't factored into the equation one bit

Many stupid state employees think they're enhancing their personal income by using their own car and getting a mileage reimbursement, too. Idiots. the Topeka office, there HAD been a system that you could obtain a rental car if there were no state cars available (there's fancy paid state job within the Topeka Area Office (not to be confused with SRS Central Office) that assigns workers cars to use.....sign up on a first come....first served basis.....

jafs.....reads to me like you're a Johnny-come-lately when it comes to knowing how a state agency....and particularly Perhaps had people been paying closer attention and complaining about the slow but ever present erosion of services and staff over the past 1- years....."Do more with less"; "Work smarter, not harder"; blah, blah, blah...this situation wouldn't be happening. Also, since "social workers" do not case manage.....that's what B. Wayne's outfit over a Kaw Valley does.....;'s a thought....why don't you go find out how much money ole B. Wayne's Kaw Valley receives from the state of Kansas? Ever wonder about that? Stop worrying about dinky stuff and take a look at the large picture; Don't worry about LAWRENCE so much....worry about the children who get stuck in that outfit's care...Do only "Lawrence children" matter?

However, Lawrence, fraught with it's own arrogance and uppityness was too busy fiddling as Rome burned. shrug

allamerican4ever 6 years, 9 months ago

hell he dont care douglas county didnt vote for him

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

This happening is taking place at the park (on the other side of the street from the band stand) that was once known as the "fire engine park" where a little kid could pretend she/he was driving a fire engine because there was acutally one in the park.

However, said fire engine was removed because the "progressive" soccer mom types were convinced climbing about a fire engine was "dangerous" and beat up City Hall until it was removed. Perhaps these "soccer moms" may want to remember how they did that and use a similar strategy as it relates to this SRS office: TAKE IT TO THE STAGE: throw tomatoes....don't just grow 'em. Tsk, tsk, tsk.......

Lisa Rasor 6 years, 9 months ago

Actually, the article states that the rally is taking place at the South Park gazebo (also known as the bandstand), which is opposite the side with the play equipment. I do remember that old fire engine though. It was pretty cool.

Kerry Altenbernd 6 years, 9 months ago

The action the Brownback Administration has taken against the SRS Office in Lawrence has nothing to do with the economy or lack of revenue by the state. They are using the current economic problems as an excuse to push through their ideological agenda. Wait for an economic downturn, and then take advantage of it. This is not the first time in history that extreme ideologues have done this. Check out the history of Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s for a frightening example of where this kind of thing can lead.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

Disaster capitalism.

And disaster capitalists don't care if the disaster is a natural one, or if they have to create it.

Maracas 6 years, 9 months ago

It's just sad that the Brownback administration can't show any sort of objective analysis to justify this closure. What they've shown looks like after-the-fact criteria that doesn't show any comparisons to other offices or counties.

If that is what they used then it's really not a stretch to call this politically motivated. The Dem House leader is from this area, along with Brownback's opponent in the election, and Lawrence/Douglas County is one of the most, if not the most liberal counties in the state.

I'm not buying this cheesy and bush league move, Sam. You had better show a more objective and comparative analysis. Otherwise, you're political nastiness has been put out there for all to see. You can't be gone from office soon enough.

Maracas 6 years, 9 months ago

So you're saying that invoking "state budget" is all the objectively needed to do whatever the governor wants? Really?

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Fiscal responsibility like hiring expensive outside attorneys instead of using the AG?

Or spending hundreds of millions on the SLT?

Or $3 million and counting on an expensive state house renovation?

Also, see Alceste's post above - if SRS employees will now have to travel much more to serve their clients, all of those extra travel expenses will cut into any savings on rent quite a bit.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget the creation of an entirely new office on "Faith based initiatives" and a plan to save and stimulate marriages in the state.

Jean Robart 6 years, 9 months ago

ain't gonna happen--srs is closing in Lawrence. Face the facts.

Sadiejane 6 years, 9 months ago

The lack of transparency in Topeka is appalling and I am truly frightened by what I have been hearing. Closing offices is only the beginning of major changes that I feel will shock and embarrass Kansas citizens. Meetings are currently taking place in Topeka to implement changes to the TAF program that will hurt the neediest - changes that only serve to further Sam Brownback's religious agenda. With the office closures that hurt the disabled and poor, those most in need of help, it's appalling that SRS can find the money to pay for a director of "Faith based initiatives". Perhaps even more upsetting, is the new director of Economic and Employment Supports (who was handpicked by Sam Brownback). Her name is Kathe Decker; her husband is Clint Decker, preacher of the evangelical "Great Awakenings" church in Clay Center. She is now responsible for all the policy changes to programs like TAF, Food Assistance, and Child Care. In his 6/10/11 news update ( Mr. Decker says about his wife: "SHE DOESN'T JUST SEE THIS AS HER JOB, BUT AS HER MINISTRY." I think it's outrageous that a State employee plans on using her SRS appointment to further her 'ministry'. She is also affiliated with a religious fundraising organization - Just for fun, you can go to their website and take the test to see if you are going to heaven or hell. I do hope someone in the media investigates this further, as I have a feeling she isn't the only person with no credentials and a full on religious agenda, who is working on Brownback's 'team'. Just one more thing. . . I've heard rumors that Brownback's new groupies have morning prayer meetings. I hope they are ethical enough to do this before the workday starts and not on the taxpayer's dime.

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

What is really scary are those posters on this forum who really think that Brownback's lame excuses are real, because he said it. What a crock. He is a liar and an uncaring lowlife. I hope the Republican presidential candidate does pick him to run as VP, then we can demand he resigns during the campaign.

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for providing this information on Decker. It's very useful. While Alceste knew about her religious swing....Alceste had no hard print as you have provided. Alceste did have the hard data about her being a card carrying Republican Party wannabe big whig and had information about her religious bent. Several of her underlings within SRS are bible thumpers, keep same in their desk, and frequently pull 'em out instead of the state of Kansas Public Assistance manual to figure out eligibility issues. Seen it happen. is the direct web link where Decker discusses his wife. Many are too lazy to click on links. Here is the data:

A New Ministry Opportunity for My Wife I wanted to pass along some information regarding a major transition my wife, Kathe, has made.

When Kathe and I married she was a Kansas State Representative until she stepped away in 2006 to take a run at Kansas Lt. Governor. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out so she began praying about the future. In time, she came on staff with Great Awakenings and the two of us worked full-time together until 2009. Then her mother’s health began to fail so she stepped away from ministry to care for her. She is doing much better as I write. Over the last year, Kathe started back to work with another local ministry, Kingdom Promotions.

When Senator Sam Brownback began his general election campaign for Kansas Governor last year, Kathe began thinking about serving in the Brownback Administration in some capacity. He was elected, but God opened no doors. Kathe simply released it into God’s hands and was very content with where God had her.

Then in March there was a turn of events. She received a call from the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) in Topeka offering her a position. After much discussion, prayer and waiting upon the Lord, Kathe and I felt the assurance it was God’s plan for her to take the opportunity.

She will be Director of Economic and Employment Support and serve on the SRS leadership team. It will be a full-time job, based in Topeka. She has already found a temporary place to stay throughout this year. We know there will be difficulties in the road ahead, but knowing we are walking in obedience to God will make it easier to handle them.

This transition with Kathe should have no affect on Great Awakenings. God’s call on my life to preach the gospel remains. Since 2011 started, myself, along with our board of directors have been planning and implementing a new set of aggressive ministry plans. (Cont.):

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

(Cont.): A few weeks ago we confirmed The Rick Webb Family, a successful southern gospel group from North Carolina, to lead our new looking annual Celebration of Ministry this fall. Our new podcast ministry will be launched shortly, we will be filming the pilot for a new Sunday morning gospel preaching television program soon and we are retooling our LifeFest ministry and hope to begin discussions with multiple cities this year.

Please keep Kathe in your prayers as she travels back and forth, for our marriage and for success in her new position. She just doesn’t see this as a job, but as a ministry. For years God has given her a heart for troubled youth and families and has also given her tremendous talents to operate comfortably in the political arena. God has a exciting future for my wife along with countless ways to make a difference in families across Kansas, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11).

I think Kathe is now filling out her Opus Dei application form. She'll probably get rejected because she is not a Catholic, but that conversion is simply soon come.....

Sadiejane 6 years, 9 months ago

By the way, here is the direct link to Mr. Decker's post about his wife's new job:

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

She will rot in hell with Brownback and his Sidekick from Florida. Her husband better pray a lot.

ForThePeople 6 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Sadiejane for this info. While I am appalled and saddened that Brownback is closing our SRS office, I am terrified by the religious agenda and his blatent "spitting on" of our constitution with regards to religion and state. Honestly I am very surprised he has been allowed to get away with what he has thusfar. Hopefully the press will bring these issues into the light. This man needs to be stopped NOW!

Sadiejane 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm also very surprised by what Brownback has been able to get away with in the few months he's been governor. I can't believe there hasn't been more attention from the national media. As I read the comments from angry Kansans, it does seem that momentum is building and I'm glad the local media outlets are starting to devote more space to these issues. . . Kansas has a proud history of tolerance and compassion for the disenfranchised. . . I am saddened by what I see happening now and fearful of what else is to come as he tests the limits of his power.

situveux1 6 years, 9 months ago

Only 10,000 are on SRS in Lawrence? I would have thought it would have been higher.

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