Archive for Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hundreds rally against closing SRS office

Hundreds of people converged on South Park on Saturday July 16, 2011 to protest the closing of the SRS office in Lawrence. Speakers talked about the importance of SRS to the Lawrence community and surrounding area.

July 16, 2011


Sen. Tom Holland rocks out at SRS rally

State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, entertains the crowd with "This Land is Your Land" Saturday at South Park. Hundreds showed up Saturday for a rally to protest the announcement that the state would be shutting down the Lawrence branch of SRS. Enlarge video

Ray Cho, of Lawrence, works at a local engineering firm, somewhat removed from the social services community.

But he said he values the services provided by the Lawrence branch of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, and he joined hundreds Saturday morning to protest the local office’s announced closure.

“I see the need,” said Cho, holding a sign that read, “10,211 use the Lawrence SRS office.”

Since the recent announcement by Gov. Sam Brownback and SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. that the Lawrence office would be closing as a cost-saving measure, many in Lawrence have expressed shock and disbelief at the decision. More than 600 people attended a town hall meeting Monday to discuss the closure, and community members have started a Twitter and Facebook campaign to “Save Our SRS.”

According to state officials, closing the Lawrence SRS would save $413,000. In the future, those currently receiving SRS services in Lawrence would need to travel to other offices, such as SRS facilities in Topeka, Ottawa or Overland Park.

Advocates and consumers of SRS services — which include food stamps, general assistance and vocational rehabilitation — expressed determination at the rally that they would fight the closure.

“We will not sit back,” said Peter Luckey, pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church. “We will not stop.”

Despite the recent controversy about the closure, Siedlecki has not backed off of the decision, said rally organizer Abbie Hodgson.

“Secretary Siedlecki is holding strong,” she said.

Numerous local politicians, including State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City; State Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence; and Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson, spoke at the rally in support of keeping the Lawrence SRS office open. The speakers highlighted the hardships many in Lawrence will face if the local branch shuts down. A date has not been set for a possible closure, but a general timeline of several months has been given by state officials.

Still, organizers remained optimistic that the office will be saved.

“I’m hopeful,” said organizer Jacob Beaumont, who along with volunteers scoured South Park with petitions. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe we could save the office.”


Hudson Luce 2 years, 9 months ago

By the way, it costs at least $52 per day to house a person at the Douglas County Jail, that's $1560 per month, almost $19,000 per year... so it might be cheaper to figure out a different way to deal with this.


Hudson Luce 2 years, 9 months ago

For the mentally and physically disabled people who get cut, if they haven't got a network of family or people to look out for them, they'll end up dying sooner, in pretty horrible conditions, maybe dying from the heat because they can't afford air conditioning, or freezing to death in the winter. Maybe a lot of them will end up in the Douglas County Jail, because they can't afford their meds and they'll act out and do crazy stuff - and there'll have to be more tax money to house them and feed them in the jail. Before the cuts, they're able to have houses to live in, not have to steal food, and have meds to control their behavior. Cut out the meds, put them out in the streets, and make it so that they have to steal food or starve... It'll be a transformative experience for Lawrence, I'll guarantee it.


Centerville 2 years, 9 months ago

"Under the reorganization...Kansas City, Lawrence and Overland Park would be in the same regional office" Oct 10, 2003 "SRS already has closed 26 of its 105 offices and plans to close another 37 by July 1, 2005, leaving 42 to operate as "service centers." Oct 10, 2003 "The...announcement also is part of Gov. Kathleen Sibileus' efforts to portray her administration as making state government more efficient." Oct 10, 2003 and: "Hundreds Rock Out at Protest of SRS Office Closings" Oct 12, 2003 (just kidding about this last one)


LHS56 2 years, 9 months ago

Some good....some not so good...opinions. However, the question is how do we keep the SRS Office open. First we need to determine if the SRS biggies will keep the office open in Lawrence if a facility if avaiable for $1.00 per year. (SRS will still need to pay utilities, upkeep, etc....a triple net lease.) If SRS will, then will they allow the public three months to raise the necessary funds and enter into a contract for a facility. Perhaps the landlord where SRS is currently located....I'm sure the owner has already recovered his investment four fold and another 120% profit shoud be satisfactory to him. Or there are other locations.
We need an SRS office in Lawrence. I'm willing to help with the fund raising. Any others????


Centerville 2 years, 9 months ago

Cato, thanks for the reminder. On Oct 10, 2003, Sebelius announced her intent to consolidate eleven regional SRS offices into seven. In order to save several million dollars and to streamline services.


handley 2 years, 9 months ago

I have a better idea send all the appointees back to Florida and Brownback to wherever because he is not Kansan anymore.


Centerville 2 years, 9 months ago

$413,000, instead of paying for office space, could pay for a lot of direct benefits.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

What is Brownback up to?

ALEC Exposed: State Legislative Bills Drafted by Secretive Corporate-Lawmaker Coalition

This week the Center for Media and Democracy released 800 model bills, legislation that is straight out of the corporate playbook and drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The group’s membership includes both state lawmakers and corporate executives who gather behind closed doors to discuss and vote on draft legislation.

ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months for its role in crafting bills to attack worker rights, to roll back environmental regulations, privatize education, deregulate major industries, and pass voter ID laws.

Thanks to ALEC, at least a dozen states have recently adopted a nearly identical resolution asking Congress to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop regulating carbon emissions. We are joined by Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media Democracy.


gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm curious... there were hundreds at the rally, right? Surely there was someone who owned a building that is in good shape and could be used for the office. Surely if this many people feel strongly about keeping the office open then a building could be found and donated - for the good of all, you know - to the state or rented to the state at $1. That would radically reduce the cost of keeping SRS in Lawrence because most of the savings will be realized by reduction in rental costs. So which one of you is going to step up?


Alceste 2 years, 9 months ago

Child Hunger in Kansas Number of children who receive food stamps 84,907 Percent of eligible persons who receive food stamps 57% Number of children in the School Lunch Program (free and reduced price only) 166,121 Number of children in the Summer Food Service Program 17,225 Number of women and children receiving WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) 73,238

Child Poverty in Kansas Number of poor children (and percent poor) 121,395(17.6%) Number of children living in extreme poverty (and percent in extreme poverty) 46,790(6.8%) Number of adults and children receiving cash assistance from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 37,771 Maximum monthly TANF cash assistance for a family of three $429

A MERE 37,771 people are involved with respect to getting cash assistance in this state. 37,771. And we're talking about a dinky $429 MAXIMUM for a household of four????? Good grief.....

Kansas Ranks: 17th among states in percent of babies born at low birthweight.

These are DAMNING statistics that document the reality Kansas is a hillbilly, backwater, ignorance laden state and my remark is meant to include Lawrence and Douglas County. In fact it's more applicable to Lawrence and Douglas County because it's citizens promote themselves as so "progressive".

There should be no statistic for "child hunger in Kansas". Why is there one?

Oh, is the data source. It's difficult to disregard the Children's Defense Fund as they don't lie nor do they seek to cover up the truth, nor do they have a political agenda. Just the facts.


demonfury 2 years, 9 months ago

Wow, a whole park full of sweaty morons exercising their right to assemble and voicing their opinion. Well, here's my opinion. What an absolute waste of time. Protest that which you CANNOT change? It's done people. You can deliver all the petitions you want, you still won't win. The office will not be re-opened. Because if you do, by some means, get this decision over turned, it will cost far more to fix it and we don't have the money. Hence the reason for the closing in the first place. It's over 100 degrees out there, you might find something smarter to do with your time. This will actually help Lawrence in the long run, but the bleeding heart liberals just can see past their own "entitlements" to recognize that. I say good riddance to the SRS office and take the professional system dwellers with you. Send them all to Topeka, that place is an absolute toilet already from this exact thing, giving people everything they need to stay just as they are, idle. Until the welfare system is overhauled to ensure it's recipients are in fact unable to work, I support the Governor in these closings. Besides, I don't think this won't be the only major blow that Brownback delivers to the people of Lawrence. I feel the man gas a really big ax to grind from the election and he will grind it every chance he gets. Brace yourselves Lawrence, political retaliation is an evil double edged sword. Let the cutting begin !!!!


workmama 2 years, 9 months ago

I heard a rumor that the employee's of the Lawrence SRS office are being told not to say anything about the closure. If they do they stand not being offered a job to another SRS office. The deadline is everyone within the SRS office will be relocated to another office by October 1, 2011. Everyone don't be fooled the service that SRS gives isn't to deadbeats. Yes there are some and there will always be those who choose to take from the system but most are just looking to make sure their children can survive until they can make an income to support them. I am ashamed of the ones that say these people are deadbeats. Are we now becoming a state that doesn't care. The ones that are claiming these people are deadbeats then I hope one day your parents stop taking care of you and force you to go out into the real world or you lose your job and have to have medical coverage for your children so that you can afford to make sure they are not in the hospital every other day. You guys are fools.


Alceste 2 years, 9 months ago

Where a LOT of the REAL WELFARE money goes in Kansas:

Kansas ranking: 6 of 50 States

Kansas Summary InformationAverage

$14.5 billion in subsidies 1995-2010.

$8.76 billion in commodity subsidies. $2.48 billion in crop insurance subsidies. $2.15 billion in conservation subsidies. $1.07 billion in disaster subsidies

32 percent of farmers in Kansas did not collect subsidy payments - according to USDA.

That means, here in Kansas anyway, that 68% of all farms in Kansas collected some form of subsidy. That, my good fellow is representative of an entrenched, ain't going nowhere, welfare "give me mine" system.

Welfare rolls are down around 60 percent since the mid-1990s, when welfare was switched from an entitlement to a work program that requires recipients to have jobs, said Ron Haskins, who drafted the so-called welfare-reform bill of 1996 as the Republican staff director of the U.S. House Ways and Means committee.

I understand why the poor get blamed for everything in hard times. The larger question is do you?

Here's the deal: In Hard Times, Americans Blame The Poor (and public employment as well....).


Wendy magillicutty 2 years, 9 months ago

I have a friend that used SRS funds to go to school online. She got her nursing license finished up. Now she's middle class and a tax payer. I can see how getting her lazy ass off welfare really would have helped more. She could be a much better off low wage tax payer who cant eat or buy goods and services. Education is a pain in the ass. Oh and all those lazy ass welfare kids who should already have a job by 4th grade.


George_Braziller 2 years, 9 months ago

His last name is Chao, not "Cho"

"Ray Cho, of Lawrence, works at a local engineering firm, somewhat removed from the social services community."


edjayhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

By increments make the dispensing of public assistance more and more difficult and eventualy only those that truly need it will put up with the hassle to get it.

Totally faulty reasoning. Why would the ones who need it be more inclined to avoid the hassle?


edjayhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm looking forward to more crime and more mental illnesses including increased suicide as a result of Brownbut's actions. Hope Headquarters is well staffed.


skinny 2 years, 9 months ago

Well folks, you have only seen the begining of what's to come!!

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it." Dr. Adrian Rogers


grammaddy 2 years, 9 months ago

Why hasn't Brownback shown up for any of this. Tom Holland was his opponent but he's the one showing up? Why is that? Is Brownback scared, or too busy licking the Koch brothers' boots?


Trouble 2 years, 9 months ago

We give Billions of dollar to other countries to help them out... but the thought of trying to help our own people.. it is unthinkable! What is wrong with this picture?


Lawrence_Pilot 2 years, 9 months ago

Attack the poor! Attack the unfortunate! They don't vote, so you've got a green like, Chief Redneck, to continue with your crusade against those who didn't vote for you and will never vote for you.

What an embarrassing state.


meatandpotatoes 2 years, 9 months ago

Before any assistance is rendered, an auditor should check each and every moocher for his spending habits, questioning every frivolous expenditure----tattoos, cell phones, cars, hairdoos (even checked that on Palin), booze, dope, cigs etc etc etc before a single penny is dispensed to them.


Sigmund 2 years, 9 months ago

Did they shout "This is what democracy looks like?" cause I would have hated to miss that!


love2fish_ks 2 years, 9 months ago

Option A: Close Lawrencer and force the community served to drive 20 mi for services

Option B: Close 5 other locations and force the same number served to drive 50 mi for services.

Seems like tthose in favior of Option B are self serving and not thinking of the statewide needs of all Kansans. Indeed Option A is not prejudiced against rural kansans. We need equality and not selfishness.


Godot 2 years, 9 months ago

Lets just shut down all SRS offices west of Topeka to make sure that Lawrence residents don't have to drive 25 miles for assistance.


cato_the_elder 2 years, 9 months ago

Not_left_not_right, thank you for a good post. Sebelius announced a big push in 2004 to close quite a number of SRS offices in Kansas. Strange how the left-wing moonbats on this forum have blocked that out of their non-existent minds.


Brock Masters 2 years, 9 months ago

Where are the performance measures the governor promised us? How can we know if closing this office was the right decision if there is no way to evaluate it? Performance measures just like what the governor promised is what is needed.


snitty 2 years, 9 months ago

Did you write in to complain about spending the hundreds of billions for the military? Didn't think so. Yet you are here to whine about even the pittance we provide to the poor. Look, it's Sunday. Why not try some compassionate conservatism for a change . . . ?


konzahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

WE DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY. Why can't people understand this? What would happen if these deadbeats put this much effort in to getting off the government dole?


notleft_notright 2 years, 9 months ago

By increments make the dispensing of public assistance more and more difficult and eventualy only those that truly need it will put up with the hassle to get it. To me this appears to be a good start in culling the freeloader herd. I'm tired of both parties giving away freebies that aren't free, our children are paying for them. Next year we need to close another bunch of SRS offices. In fact local, state and federel governments need to close a lot of facilities and cut a lot of positions. There should have been another protest, "Brownback, You Didn't Close Enough SRS Offices"


moot 2 years, 9 months ago

where do they all come from.


kathyslobb 2 years, 9 months ago

iam a person that has a disabitliy and works &lives in the community and pay taxes hee in Larence


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