Archive for Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brownback under fire at rally

Group gathers at Capitol to protest cuts to arts, schools, social services

September 17, 2011


— About 250 people on Friday rallied at the Capitol, upset with Gov. Sam Brownback’s agenda and vowing to do something about it.

“Our Kansas way of life is in jeopardy,” said Crystal McComas, of Lawrence. McComas, a social worker, and Tamara Werth, a psychologist from Lawrence, organized the event to protest recent Brownback decisions.

They formed a group called Kansans United in Voice & Spirit and said they hoped the rally would initiate local chapters across the state.

Speakers at the rally criticized Brownback, a Republican who took office in January, for cutting funding to public schools, social services and the arts.

Mark Desetti, a lobbyist for the Kansas National Education Association, said Brownback’s cut of $232 in base state aid per student amounted to a nearly $110,000 cut to Quail Run School in Lawrence.

He asked how cuts like those across the state would affect schools’ abilities to replace textbooks and to hire teachers and paraprofessionals. He said the state has shed nearly 1,300 teacher positions and 935 support-personnel positions between the 2008-09 and 2010-11 school years.

And he warned that Brownback’s plan to cut income taxes would further erode the state’s ability to pay for needed services.

“The state will have no choice but to enact massive cuts,” he said.

Brownback has defended his budget cuts as necessary in tough economic times. And he says reducing the state income tax would attract more businesses to Kansas and grow the economy.

Diana Gibson said budget cuts and policy changes under Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. have hurt her 85-year-old uncle, who is a World War II combat veteran.

Gibson said her uncle lives with her brother and sister-in-law in south-central Kansas and receives home-based care with her sister-in-law being designated as the caretaker.

But the state has cut the hours of care that it will pay for from 34 hours per week to seven hours per week and doesn’t want the sister-in-law to be the provider, she said. The state has said it will pay for Gibson’s uncle to go into a nursing home, which will cost three times as much than if he stayed at home, she said. And her uncle wants to stay home.

“In less than nine months, they (the Brownback administration) have pretty much destroyed the program,” she said.

John Divine, of Salina, and former chairman of the Kansas Arts Commission, said Brownback’s veto of funding for the arts has sent a negative message throughout the country.

The message is, he said, “If you want to be creative, go to Colorado, go to Nebraska, go to Missouri. Don’t come to Kansas.”

Brownback has said arts funding is not a core function of state government, and the funding loss can be made up through private donations.

Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman, who attended the rally, said of Brownback, “He is not representing Kansas values.”

Thellman agreed that the state economy was in tough shape, but said Brownback’s moves were part of his “commitment to corporate America.”

In response to the rally, Brownback’s spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said, “In the past eight months, Kansas has added more than 13,000 private-sector jobs and turned a budget deficit into a $100 million surplus, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Total unemployment, however, has increased. The Kansas jobless rate increased in August for the first time in more than two years, going from 6.8 percent in July to 6.9 percent.


SnakeFist 6 years, 2 months ago

+5. But ultimate responsibility is always with the short-sighted, uninformed people who vote crazies like Brownback into office.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 2 months ago

Vote for BB is saying "yes" to Jayzus,,,and "No" to brown people.

WHY 6 years, 2 months ago

Why is he an idiot. BB is a jesus freak who doesn't care about poor people. Like Jesus said "blessed are the rich for they deserve to keep what they take, and screw all you little people."

chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

In the Book of Brownback, where Jesus also said, "Blessed is the fetus until the moment of birth, at which point we no longer care about its wellbeing."

hujiko 6 years, 2 months ago

"Shrinking our bloated government."

So Brownback's campaign to end abortion with several bouts of legislation counts as "shrinking our bloated government"?


Scott Drummond 6 years, 2 months ago

Vote your own economic interests, not the social issues that right wingers use to divide the middle and working classes. They NEVER deliver on those issues and yet ALWAYS find a way to steal you blind.

think_about_it 6 years, 2 months ago

250 moonbat lefties from one snobby little town show up to try and impose their socialist programs on the rest of us real Americans. This is news.

beatrice 6 years, 2 months ago

Really? You couldn't have said it better than a sorry attempt at insulting fellow Americans for practicing their freedom of speech by calling them childish and silly names? That is just sad.

We should have a kids section on here, so the adults could converse like ... well ... adults.

beatrice 6 years, 2 months ago

Apples and oranges, unless you are suggesting that those who attended this rally are comparable to felps. However, I would call felps a misguided individual who is driven by his hatred of others not like himself (or possibly exactly like himself). There are many ways to describe him without resorting to calling him non-descriptive terms like "moonbat."

voevoda 6 years, 2 months ago

Government funding for the arts and for needy citizens isn't "socialism," think_about_it, coryweber, ksfbcoach. Governments have been doing that for centuries, long before socialism appeared as a philosophical system. Most people think that it's important to provide charity and promote beauty, and they want their government to share this value.

Beth Ennis 6 years, 2 months ago

If unemployment has increased since he took office, what he is doing isn't helping, it's hurting! If he keeps cutting schools, kids are not going to get the education they need. They are our country's future and if they aren't educated, what's going to happen when we are old? Who will be running the country? Uneducated folks? My husband said today he doesn't think we will come back from this. The divide is just going to continue to grow between the have's and the have not's. We are going to lose our middle class, we are quickly on our way to becoming another 3rd world country. If you think this is going to be good for the country, you are sadly mistaken. The thought of that scares the crap out of me. My children are old enough that they will hopefully be ok, but my grandkids? I am worried about what is in their future. It's not looking good. And if you think that taking away these "socialist" programs as you consider them is going to save you money, think again. When all of these uneducated, poor folks need healthcare, they will still get it. You and I will still pay for it, in the form of our insurance premiums. When our premiums get so high we can't pay them, then what are you going to do? Health care is quickly becoming so expensive it is going to cost more than your mortgage soon, if it doesn't already. I have a friend whose health insurance does cost more than their mortgage. Can you afford that??? As for the arts, a lot of that goes to children, and even though you don't think it is necessary, it is teaching them about things that they can do that will keep them out of trouble as they get older. Learning to dance, paint, build things with clay, wood or other materials, it is all things that make people well rounded and attributes to mental health also. It's so much more than just "art".

Erin Graham 6 years, 2 months ago

Ohhh, my dear troll... There were in fact people that drove from other corners of the state to be there, farming communities and such, that weren't there to stuff socialist programs down anyone's throat. Rather, that were fed up about BB's two-faced wishy-washy policy making and nutso 'values' he tries to impose.

PS, I hope if you hate Lawrence so much, you don't live here. Plenty of the rest of Kansas would LOVE to have you (ha...ha)

think_about_it 6 years, 2 months ago

250 moonbat lefties from one snobby little town show up to try and impose their socialist programs on the rest of us real Americans. This is news.

Jimo 6 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, but most of us don't speak Wingnut-ese. Would you restate this in English, please?

I got the part about Average Joes and battling against government for the interests of the wealthy but I didn't catch the rest of your brain fart. Something about Ayn Rand devotees posing as Christian-ists cheering on the deaths of human beings? Please be more clear.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

"Sorry, but most of us don't speak Wingnut-ese. Would you restate this in English, please?"

250 people who live off the government lobby the government to give them even more. This is news.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

In other shocking news, disappointed progressives are disappointed.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

Ummm they didn't just come from "one little town". They came from "little towns" all over Kansas. Towns like Pratt, Hays, Fort Scott and bigger towns like Wichita and even Topeka itself. I actually think a crowd of 250 was pretty impressive for only a couple of weeks of organization. I have family in Pratt and word on the street there is that their PTBs are none to pleased with the Govelytizer since they had to cough up 60K of their tax dollars to keep their SRS open.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 2 months ago

Spoken like a truly disconnected, ignorant, uniformed, hateful jerk who thinks that social problems are like a fabrication of imaginary "socialists" who are just out to get on the public dole. You obviously have no family members who are born with disabilities or who are living in abject poverty because of circumstances beyond their control. A pox on you and all your kind.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

If ksfbcoach had a disabled relative, he would shove them in a closet and hope they died quickly. I'm real sure he is tired of having to see people with disabilities in public, heaven forbid. I mean they just aren't as beautiful and healthy as he is. They should be hidden from view in institutions.

chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes, those pesky liberal progressive socialist policies like not letting disabled people die and making sure abused kids can get help.

Erin Graham 6 years, 2 months ago

...and even map-dot towns most people haven't heard of :o)

deec 6 years, 2 months ago

It is not just Lawrence that is unhappy with the direction of Kansas, contrary to the fantasies of some posters here: Kansas Citizens for the Arts is a "grassroots organization dedicated to ensuring widespread bipartisan support for public funding for the arts in Kansas." Similar session have been in Lawrence and Emporia and Johnson and Wyandotte counties. Upcoming sessions are planned for Wichita, Garden City and Iola. or this: or this More than 200 people, including 40-plus Wichitans, rallied on the steps of the Capitol on Friday morning, calling on Kansans to unify against many of Gov. Sam Brownback's initiatives.

Read more:

xm75 6 years, 2 months ago

More than 250 show up for local Tea Party rallies, over 1000 at the recent Salina Tea Party rally, and they don't usually talk about social issues they talk about spending, the debt, inflation, and taxes. Such as last year's sales tax increase.

Brownback clearly is supported strongly by rural Kansas and as a Governor is the best representation of rural Kansas values in over 30 years, and not just for his social issue stands.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

The rest of the progressives were at work. Can we help it that Tea Party members are either wealthy enough they don't have to work, or just don't work. I would have been there, but I have a business to run. I'm glad you have so much time on your hands.

xm75 6 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, I'm sure 30 mins on a Saturday is to much for anybody.

We know where all the progressives leftists in Kansas were, protesting Browback at the capital, all 250 of them.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

The rally was on Friday. Try reading the article.

chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

Looking at the Salina tea party pics, they were mostly either students or retirees. Those retirees don't want no socialized medicine, so don't you dare touch their medicare.

evilpenguin 6 years, 2 months ago

xm75: For rural Kansans, a tea party is an event you go to for free cookies and cups of tea. There was obviously some confusion as to the real agenda of the event.

chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

Really? That's 1000 people? In what universe? Also, most people would define "recent" as something within the last year. Forgive me if you're referring to something that happend after 2009, and tell Salina to update their website.

funkdog1 6 years, 2 months ago

What if it were? What does it matter?

Jan Rolls 6 years, 2 months ago

If this nut ksfbcoach is really a coach then why doesn't he refuse his pay because federal dollars are involved? If he is not a coach he and his other tea baggers are just plain old nuts who if you put their brains in a bird's head it would fly backwards.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 2 months ago

Fido, see my response to "coach" above. We have plenty of these types among us who have never had family or friends in great need due to no fault of their own. He is a true jerk.

voevoda 6 years, 2 months ago

If Kansas government now has a surplus of $100 million, why not spend .2% of that to keep the Kansas Arts Commission running and keep Kansas eligible for external funding, too? Why close down SRS offices that serve thousands of needy people when there's money to keep them open? It's strange how the Brownback administration claims financial crisis when it wants to cut out certain services, and claims a healthy state budget when it wants to brag to the business community.

ResQd 6 years, 2 months ago

Well, about 3 million people live in the State of Kansas. He needs to just split that surplus up and send us all a check :D

voevoda 6 years, 2 months ago

Well, ResQd, it would cost a large chunk of that $100 to give the money back, just in administrative costs. But if it all went to the Kansans with the lowest incomes, I'd agree with you. Problem is, Brownback would give most of it back to the megarich. Incidentally, ResQd, your use of a nasty emoticon just makes you look immature. Why should anyone take seriously the opinion of someone who ends a comment that way?

ResQd 6 years, 2 months ago

By the way, Mr. Voevoda, it was my sense of humour. Sorry, if I offended your intelligence and used my "nasty" smiley face to upset your entire day. Get a life and a sense of humour!

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes, both sides have shown a disturbing tendency to not manage money (our money) very well.

But, the state of KS should be funding the educational system adequately as determined by their own studies and required by the KS Supreme Court.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

"adequately" (or rather "suitable") was determined two ways. First, Augenblick and Myers looked at what others were spending, then they asked educational professionals how much they needed to do what they were tasked with. Sum, divide by 2, and add in a fudge factor and there you have it.

There's perhaps no better people to ask, but it's self-serving and it's not objective - there is no dollar figure that can be used to guarantee a "suitable education." Hell, we cannot even define what it is or contains.

That said, it's still based on a misreading of the state constitution. Article 6 says that "The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state." That mean the legislature determines, by votes, what the subjective dollar amount shall be and how it's raised, just like they determine what the subjective content of the education shall be. If you don't like what they vote for, vote 'em out. But the court is out of line trying to determine an amount that the legislature is elected to determine.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

Except that the court ruled that the legislature must fund the system adequately as determined by the legislature's own studies.

So, the legislature has the responsibility of determining what an adequate level of funding would be, which they did, and then didn't fund the system at that level.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

The legislature is under no legal compulsion to follow any specific study. The study was done by a private consultant on their behalf, but they do not have to accept its advice (which is all it is) nor anyone else's. The A&M study is one way of determining the numbers, but it's not the only way. That's why we elect legislators in our government rather than just having the supreme court appoint consultants to govern us.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

That's rather silly.

The legislature hires a consultant to determine the correct level of funding for the education system, and then simply decides to ignore them.

What's the point of spending that money on the consultant exactly?

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

"to determine the correct level of funding for the education system..."

You must have missed the earlier point: there is no "correct" level of funding. There is no objective number that can be proposed. All there are are opinions and tradeoffs. This is not engineering, it's politics.

If I ask you what the 'correct' price of a car is, can you tell me? Of course not. One has to include not only what I want in a car and what cars are available, but what I can afford to spend. You can give me an opinion, just as Augenblick and Myers can give an opinion. But it remains an opinion, an input into a process. It's not a constitutional mandate.

We elect legislators to make choices among many inputs. A&M is one input among many. It's one way of measuring a problem among many. But let me ask, if the legislature funds another study which comes back proposing that education funding be halved, are you fine with that because it's the legislature's study?

Even more important, do you suppose those who sued the state over A&M will be fine with it?

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

Again, what's the point of spending money to hire a firm to do a study if you're simply going to ignore the results?

I'm not sure you're completely right about the subjective nature of this either - certainly there is some subjectivity, but there must also be some objective criteria used.

If the legislature does a number of studies, all of which come back with different numbers, what's your suggestion? I suppose we could just ignore them all.

Somebody else posted that there were in fact a number of studies done, and that the legislature wasn't funding the system adequately according to any of them. I don't know if that's true or not.

If the legislature is just going to decide on it's own, I'd like to save the taxpayer money that's being spent on consultants, wouldn't you?

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

"If the legislature is just going to decide on it's own, I'd like to save the taxpayer money that's being spent on consultants, wouldn't you?"

It depends. The legislature does not "decide on its own" if by that we mean they ignored all inputs. They asked for expert opinions, which cost money. Then they considered and rejected (or more accurately, modified) those opinions. I really have no problem with that; this is why we elect people rather than simply appointing consultants.

But on the question of objectivity, fine. Let's decide if you are correct. What are the objective attributes of a suitable education? And what is the objective cost of ensuring (not hoping) that every single student graduates high school with a suitable education?

JerryStubbs 6 years, 2 months ago

I saw on TV something about Brownback swinging a deal with AMC theatres to move their headquarters from KCMO to Leawood, kS, with a $47Million incentive.

I guess this is moving jobs into the KS tax base somehow, but can it really make any jobs?

overthemoon 6 years, 2 months ago

The AMC people are also big supporters of Catholic causes development of Catholic only communities.

kawrivercrow 6 years, 2 months ago

Can some of my liberal friends help explain why we are entitled to take our fellow taxpayers money and spend it on the arts when we could instead use private donations?

I will gladly give to the arts for the purpose of education for my niece and nephew, but it feels like stealing when we force others to give to causes they don't support. I don't think it's right.

"Put up or shut up" I say. I am sometimes embarrassed by the egocentric and infantile attitude by my peers in the NPR crowd.

sci4all 6 years, 2 months ago

Can some of my TeaParty friends help explain why we are entitled to take our fellow taxpayers' money and spend it on CEO salaries and corporate tax breaks?

I would gladly give to the corporations for the purpose of employing my niece and nephew, but it feels like stealing when we force others to give to causes they don't support. I don't think it's right.

"Put up or shut up" I say. I am always embarrassed by the greedy attitude of my peers in the FoxNews crowd.

Cuts both ways.

kawrivercrow 6 years, 2 months ago

Because my neice and nephew will need those jobs when they gow up. They can't eat papier mache sculpture and play the piano to each other for a living.

Does that answer your question?

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

"but how does taxpayers money end up being paid to CEO's?"

One way it does is through GSEs like Fannie, Freddie and Sallie - which have been guilty of using "cookie jar reserves" to manipulate earnings and thereby augment CEO bonuses while living off the goverment tat.

A second way is by the government bailing out companies like Chrysler, GM, AIG, Citi, and the like rather than letting them fail like they ought*. Of course, that's not what the Tea Party is fighting for, so they are off the hook for salaries.

  • Props to Obama for pushing the first two through bankruptcy, a step el presidente pasada would not take, his support for "free market capitalism" aside.

overthemoon 6 years, 2 months ago

Funding for the Arts has the biggest impact in education programs that augment public education. Exposing children to the arts increases their comprehension of all other subjects and makes them more successful not only in school but later in life.

If you think educating our children is only the interest of parents, consider the fact that EVERY encounter you have with another person is affected by the quality of their education.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

That's fine, as long as we apply the same criteria to much more of our government's spending.

I'd like to spend a lot less on the military, for example.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

Conservatives think that education is only the three "r's", reading, riting and rithmetic. Of course, they can't spell very well. Never mind they will have to be ready for a world of technology, and a world that must compete globally. Never mind they won't have critical thinking skills and the creativity that made our country great in first place. Destroy arts, rewrite history, make little robots who will follow whatever lies that are sent out on facebook and email.

Mike Ford 6 years, 2 months ago

socialism the catchword for dimwits who had no answer in 2008. They had to make up something as they were left behind and now they try and drag the state and country back to the time when archie bunker ruled and couldn't spell socialism.....

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm pretty sure 2010 was a sufficient answer for 2008

Andrew Reeves 6 years, 2 months ago

Thus, 2012 a sufficient answer for 2010. Sorry dude, Obama's a repeat. The only chance we have is if we get a majority in the house and senate as well. I don't mean Blue Dog majority. But, yeah, run your "Let's kill all government, including Soc. Sec., medicare, etc.....That'll play well.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

Mine? Surely you jest. I'm not a Republican and thoroughly enjoyed their well-deserved beatings in 2006 and 2008, which I both called and called for. 2008: 2006:

That said, 2012 is 2010 on steroids. The economy will tank this fall. The Dems, who are guarding twice as many Senate seats as the GOP, will panic. You can already see it in their eyes and read it in their frantic email appeals. The Little Dutch Boy is running out of fingers. Even odds say Obama is not even the Dem nominee.,0,622512.column

But that is not my doing. I merely foretell.

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