Archive for Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Supporters of Kansas Arts Commission vow to overturn Brownback’s decision to eliminate agency

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka criticizes Gov. Sam Brownback for shutting down the Kansas Arts Commission. Hensley called the move "a step backward."

May 11, 2011


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— Supporters of the Kansas Arts Commission said Wednesday they would try to overturn Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to eliminate the agency.

“There is no reason for this,” said Sen. Roger Reitz, R-Manhattan. “That's a real tragic statement for the state of Kansas,” he said.

On Tuesday, Brownback’s Kansas Department of Administration Secretary Dennis Taylor had layoff notices issued to KAC employees.

Earlier in the legislative session, Brownback issued an executive order to abolish the commission and put arts fund-raising in the hands of a non-profit group. He said the elimination of the commission would save the state money.

But after an outpouring of opposition, the Senate rejected the executive order. And House and Senate budget negotiators had agreed on funding the agency at $670,000.

Brownback then implemented the layoffs.

He has refused to comment on the layoffs, but his spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said, “Gov. Brownback stands by his budget recommendation as the best way to cause the arts to flourish privately in Kansas while saving taxpayer dollars.”

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka disagreed, saying, “I believe this is a step backwards.”

Hensley said thousands of arts-related jobs will be jeopardized, and many rural communities will lose arts programs. Supporters of the commission say its abolition would also hinder the flow of federal arts dollars to Kansas.

“I’m pretty sure there is still some fight left in the Senate and the senators who support the arts commission,” Hensley said.

But the Legislature’s options are limited. If legislators approve funding of the commission, Brownback could line-item veto the funding. Overriding a veto would require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, the state’s poet laureate, blogged that when she read what Brownback did, “I felt like I was punched in the stomach. No process. No notice. No way, and yet it’s happening.”

She urged supporters to contact Brownback and legislators to try to overturn Brownback’s move.


Multidisciplinary 2 years, 11 months ago

Ah, my friend Pianoman. You remind me of the saying 'You can't put an old head on young shoulders". Perhaps more knowledge of what the commision supports would help. ( and that doesn't mean attaboy contributions to everyone who learns some artistic skills and wants funding to use their skill for whatever reason) IE:Millions of people write books. It doesn't mean there's a reason to publish every book written. Or that your state government owes their individual writers a boon.

Similarly, I know someone who was a scientist, in charge of a gov agency that could lend great amounts of grant money. Lots of skilled people applied. It was his decision (from a lot of skilled experience and education), to decide IF that agency had any foreseeable NEED for what the applicants wanted to research. Then his job was to see if they had thought out all areas of what would be needed to use that money wisely. (People needed, processes, equipment, etc) Many steps necessary to actually do what they intended to do, and have useable results. With as little waste as possible.

Sure, many thought they had a great idea. But sometimes, others can see the plan isn't something needed, or well prepared. Perhaps, the information has already been found, demonstrated, performed. No need to do it again at this time.

Best to all artists, Multi


deec 2 years, 11 months ago

How about they take the 32 million they're using to reclad the capital roof, put that in 46 safety deposit boxes, and then once a year go get the money out to fund the Arts Commission?


tange 2 years, 11 months ago

It's interesting what people show of themselves, when they show themselves.


Shane Garrett 2 years, 11 months ago

Government has no buisness in "the arts." period! Good one piano man! But, where would Government get all that good propaganda? And apparently the children in Kansas can find no chior to sing in unless it is funded by a government agency. Children should not have to attend a free church chior. Heaven forbid. How much money does it cost to sing? I want paid to talk. LOL. Government for and by the people said "Cut the Budget"! that is why Brownshirt got elected. Oh.. wait... don't cut my budget.


not_holroyd 2 years, 11 months ago

My, my, my. Don't Alceste's posts say a lot about him. He doesn't even talk about the outcomes of arts programming be they valued or not....he instead derides the employees, and accuses everyone of having clubs he can not join.

He has posted similar comments in the past... evidently anyone who works for the schools, city, county, state or federal government has a cushy-gravy job, and he includes his relatives. Then he derides both the city and state in which resides, not realizing that this sounds identical to his friend oneeyed_wilbur.

And like oneeyed_wilbur, he has his fingers into that Oread Neighborhood Association, so he must just be one more greedy Oread landlord who has lined his own pockets feeding off of the students attracted by public investments (read taxes) in the State and University.

I personally think that both these gentlemen did not get picked first or second during recess in elementary school to join the kickball team and are now just getting even with the world by spewing their negativity and self-centered judgements. The forums are therapeutic for them, I guess. I wonder if they will have "art therapy" opportunities in their senior living center.


Alyosha 2 years, 11 months ago

"I'm an artist.... No wait....I'm not a stuck-up, self-absorbed, snotty liberal elitist"

So, you think the elderly citizens who take part in KAC funded programs in western Kansas, or the kids all over the state who take part in programs made possible because of KAC funding, are "stuck-up, self-absorbed, snotty liberal elitists"?

Because that's who gets KAC funding.

But don't let facts stand in the way of your fantasies.


thepianoman 2 years, 11 months ago

As a pianist, artist, musician, etc, I SUPPORT Brownback, 150% on this move. Get rid of the KAC.

Government has no buisness in "the arts." PERIOD!

Do you realize that in order to receive funding, you have to meet their guidelines?? So only those who meet their criteria for "art" receive funding. So what is "art".....Apparently the State of Kansas (KAC) will decide what "art" is and is only giving the money to those they believe create "art." Hell KAC, I'm a pianist, give me some money....I'm an artist.... No wait....I'm not a stuck-up, self-absorbed, snotty liberal elitist....

Happy Tails KAC....


irvan moore 2 years, 11 months ago

i wonder how many of the arts people laid off were republicans who voted for brownback? that would be interesting to find out if any of you guys are smart enough to figure it out, i'm not.


Shane Garrett 2 years, 11 months ago

I think Sam said they could keep KAC if it were funded at 200,000.00 not one penny more. "Budget negotiators had agreed on funding the agency at $670,000." Sam is now the Govenator. See ya later KAC. I like a man of his word. Even though I never have and never will support Sam.


Lane Signal 2 years, 11 months ago

An effort should be made to overturn Brownshirt's order, but I think it's key to send a message to our state congressional representatives that if the governor is going to refuse to work with congress, then congress should not work with him. If Brownshirt sees consequences for his unreasonable behavior, maybe he will back off.


Steven Gaudreau 2 years, 11 months ago

Why not abolish the ABC and quadruple the license fee to serve alcohol. The fee is only $1,000 a year. Make it $4k or $5k a year. I think the city of Lawrence should raise their fee to $1,000 a yr from $250 as well. Fire all the agents and let KDR process the licensing. Let local police do the job of enforcement, they already do anyway. The ABC is a redundant agency and a waste. I don't like how it is always the schools, handicapped or the arts that get attacked first. Our system is corrupt. Our reps are bought and paid for by lobbyists from the president to local govt. The whole thing is disgusting.


Jimo 2 years, 11 months ago

What's interesting is that so many prospective employers for Kansas ask directly about art and culture in Kansas, along with other lifestyle and family-focused questions. Brownback has to know that since I know he's been there when those questions have been asked. Outside employers usually assume there is none. Now, they'll be right.

I can think of a lot of localities in this country with a high level of economic investment and activity, some with high taxes, some low, some with lots of regulation, some that say do whatever the hell you want. I can't think of single one though that lacks a vibrant cultural scene (even if it was just Vegas kitsch). Not. A. Single. One.

I think our new motto now is:

Kansas - more podunk than you already think.


DaBellaDaBall 2 years, 11 months ago

Someone sarcastically mentioned yesterday that maybe we should sell the murals in the capitol building as well. I believe Brownshirt should next saw off the statue of the Native man from the top of the capitol and sell it too. In fact, let's sell off all of the art in all tax-funded public buildings, including schools. Let's fire the visual art, literature and music teachers. Now we are on a roll! Let's not stop until we've reduced the tax burdens of the Nazi-cons to near zero. Let's move all state offices to unused barracks and warehouses at Ft. riley. The feds would probably accept a pittance for rent. Of course, this would include our esteemed Governor's office as well. And why should he live in a mansion? Shouldn't he live in one of those unused Army barracks? There are all kinds of ways to allow for REAL tax cuts. Those state troopers are surely over-paid and we probably have too many. And the cars they drive? Why wouldn't used Hyundai's work. And then we can.....


dwendel 2 years, 11 months ago

"Art and literature are often the first targets of tyranny because they are the most prominent features of a free, creative and open society." George W. Bush


jimmyjms 2 years, 11 months ago

"Seems like pretty nice pay for a stressless job."

Oh, do tell us about your experience running an arts commission. Obviously you a) have experience in doing so, b) you've met one or more of the staff of the KAC, and c) you understand the work involved with their jobs. Right?

Or perhaps you are speaking directly out of your posterior?

You do (inadvertently) highlight an actually important issue, which is that at least some Kansans consider jobs that pay from the low-30's to the mid-50's "cushy" jobs.

Up is down, black is white, smaller govt except in the case of reproduction, marriage, what you can put into your body, so on and so forth.


homechanger 2 years, 11 months ago

Why does the state of Kansas have to provide art and art programs? Why do artists need the government to create art work. Art is a personal endeavor. Without art life would be rather dull but keep it out of the governments hands. All who complain about the now defunct arts commission should band together and fund those jobs privately. Problem solved.


autie 2 years, 11 months ago

This plan should bode well with the economic development folks over at commerce. Come to Kansas and build your breaks galore and no cultured diversions to confuse your workers......


mloburgio 2 years, 11 months ago

good ole pious sam is quite the physical conservative.

former senator sam brownback paided his staff of 44 people in washington and ks. $1,278,495.00 from 10/01/2009 to 03/31/10 pay period.

the pay period 04/01/2010 to 9/30/2010 his staff of 43 people was paid

$1,517,451 that's a $238.956 raise. average of $5.557.12 per person.

so from 10/01/2009 to 09/30/2010 the taxpayers paid his staff $2,795,946 not including the rent for at least 4 regional offices in ks. plus sams salary of $174.000 per year.


homechanger 2 years, 11 months ago

I'll bet golberg the state poet felt like she was punched in the stomach. Where else can you get a paycheck for writing poetry. The commission is non essential. We do not NEED it. It's not the function of the government to provide art and jobs for people who like art.


Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Let's take a look at the gravy train jobs over there at the Kansas Arts Commission:

Chris Howell Public Service Ex. II $55,583.20

Robyn Horton Kansas Arts Commission Public Information Officer I $47,296.02

Leslie Garwood Kansas Arts Commission Senior Administrative Spec $32,011.25

Raena Sommers Kansas Arts Commission Program Consultant II $43,906.40

Margaret Weisbrod Morris Program Manager, Arts in Education: Not in the data base provided by:

Seems like pretty nice pay for a stressless job.

Brownback is helping Kansas become even moreso the backwater, hillbilly laden, Right Wing theocracy it really is.....but it's hard to "feel sorry" for the people losing employment for a pretty cush gig. shrug Them tea and crumpet meetings; all the hobnobbing with the elite of the state, mixed with the earthy and vicarious living opportunities via the wafty aroma of burning rope amongst the, my, my......tsk, tsk, tsk.....

Meanwhile, I'd like to see the "art" Brownback has which adorns the walls of his residence as well as office. Is it velvet Elvis? Christ on the Cross? The Virgin Mary in alabaster? What?


Not_Bamboozled 2 years, 11 months ago

Svelte artists in their lofts, sitting cross-legged on their futon, gripping their oversized Starbucks coffee mug tightly with both hands and those sleeves that go all the way down to the tips of their fingers worrying about their futures. I don't like the thought of it at all.

Why do back-woodsy ignorant Republicans hate artists?


GardenMomma 2 years, 11 months ago

It seems to me that Gov. Brownback has some plan in mind for that "private funding" non-profit group. There seems to be more to this decision than meets the eye. What a sneaky, underhanded thing to do.

Please visit and learn more about the Kansas Arts Commission. It sounds like they do a lot for a little amount of money. $670,000 a year got a whole lot of work done!


Crazy_Larry 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't understand why everyone is complaining so much...Maybe you haven't heard the good news? We have a new state logo!


RuralWanderer 2 years, 11 months ago

I'd say this will have an impact on less than 1 percent of Kansans so I support the cut. Before this particular budget cut came up in the first place, if you asked anyone about the Kansas Arts Commission, I bet they wouldn't be able to explain anything the commission did. I imagine this cut will actually be a benefit to the arts in Kansas because arts supporters will use this to rally fundraising efforts and probably end up with more money to support their unknown efforts than before.


BigPrune 2 years, 11 months ago

If Liberals actually donated money to anything, this wouldn't be an issue. Open your wallets and help out your fellow man or woman.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 11 months ago

I knew Brownback was a creiten when he was senator. Several letters to his office were never answered, I did get responses from Senator Pearson and Represenative Moore on each occasion I contacted their offices.

Brownback has only one thing on his agenda, to jump into the White House race. Kansas can go rotate as far as this guy is concerned.


toe 2 years, 11 months ago

There is no right to tax dollars. I am sure someone in the art community is creative enough to figure out a way to raise private capital for investment in the arts.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 11 months ago

Now the liberals have to get a real job. Next thing to eliminate are the jobs at the State Historical Society which is nothing more than a big paper pushing mill of mumbo jumbo.

Even one Mr. Nimz quit when the paid position he had was eliminated. All this talk of preservation and only if they are paid.


situveux1 2 years, 11 months ago

Good luck getting 2/3rds in either the House or Senate. The executive order was reversed with only 24 in favor, they'd need to pick up 3 votes plus who knows how many in the House. Never gonna happen. They should have worked with Brownback on getting more transitional funding before going private.


Jan Rolls 2 years, 11 months ago

What more proof do you need that brownback is rotten. I'm sure there is a lot of buyer's remorse by the people that voted for him and thought he would be fair minded.


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