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The future of this, The Mercury on-line discussion board…
Posted: 02 July 2013 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Well, the die is cast for the next couple of years.  For the forseeable future, the Chamber of Commerce will run the City Government, spend tax dollars building whatever monuments they dream up, and pull puppet strings to have this Commission push things through with little or no public discourse.  The Fieldhouse project will be moved forward.  Three Commissioners think the CVB walks on water and will do whatever necessary to build this facility.  Rather than have the City as for proposals from numerous qualified consultants to perform the feasibility study, we allow the CVB to toss tax dollars to a hand-picked consultant… hand-picked by the Fieldhouse Committee.  No bias there….
Many of those on the Fieldhouse Committee don’t even live in Manhattan.  Yet, they will be there with hands out for Manhattan tax dollars to build and operate it.  In all likelihood, the facility won’t even be located in Manhattan.  It probably won’t even be in Riley County.  Manhattan taxpayers, however, will be asked to fund the project even if it is located in Pott County or Geary County.  And, three Commissioners will applaud that idea.

This Commission moves forward with building in the flood plain, even though homes and apartments have suffered upstream flooding.  This Commission will move forward with the Chamber’s plan for a ‘Visitor’s Center’ at I-70 and 177.  Utilities will cost a small fortune to run to the site.  The facility is not even in Riley County so only Geary County will benefit from any sales tax dollars or property tax assessment.  We talk about how tight budgets are, yet are going to pay over appraised value for property requierd to widen a half-block of 17th Street.  Why does that project have to be constructed, if we are looking at cutting budgets? 

We are back in a spend, spend mode.  You dream it… this Commission will build it.  If the Chamber wants it… this Commission will drool to do their bidding.  Businessmen say excessive property taxes are burying them.  Bernie says “Don’t sweat it.  Move on.”  Home owners are being taxed out of Manhattan.  Bernie says, “Be grateful that we allow you to pay these high taxes.”  Parents of kids who CHOOSE to participate in sports on traveling teams want a facility closer to home.  Commissioners think this is a wonderful idea.  Get out your checkbooks.  We have kids living in rural Riley County, rural Pott County, Geary County, Morris County… all wanting to use a facility funded by Manhattan tax dollars.  We’re rich.  We can afford to build a playground so the elite of the region can watch their kids play sports.  It’s “tourism”.  It’s “economic development”.  Just shut up and pay more taxes.

There’s no longer any reason to have a “discussion board”... at least the component that discusses local politics.  The public has no control.  If the Fieldhouse decided is wants tax dollars, will that go to a vote?  Of course not!  Property taxes will be levied to assist to whatever extent they request.  If the Chamber wants more dolalrs for their Visitor’s Center, will that go to a vote?  Nope!  This Commission will hand over money quicker than grass through a goose.  Toss hundreds of thousands at a Library expansion when the use of print media is declining.  Toss a couple million at remodeling an existing structure for a new Parks & Rec office.  Manhattan residents will pay the bill.  Don’t sweat it.  Consider charging non-Manhattan residents a little more to use the facilities since the citizens are paying the exhorbitant property taxes?  Of course not!  Too many valued political cronies live on the outskirts of town and might be inconvenienced if their kids pay their own way.

Nope.  It’s done.  At least until the next City election, spending of tax dollars will not warrant any discussion.  Three commissioners is the majority required to make sure Manhattan is an even less affordable place to live.

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Posted: 02 July 2013 10:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Larry,
It’s good that you purged yourself before this forum dies.
There are still readers, but they don’t respond.
Now, I got an e-mail from Randall, who was trying to sign up but the system apparently was down and he was not allowed to register.  I wonder if that is true with others. The Mercury has made it so difficult to sign up that many folks just don’t think it is worth the time to try.
I believe that it is time for The Mercury to revisit its sign-up policy.  I don’t know if this was a deliberate attempt to tube the forum, but, that has been the net effect.
This is not a discussion board anymore.  It is you and I and Stacia and Brad chatting.  We could do that in some fru-fru coffee house. Of course, it would be more expensive.

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Posted: 02 July 2013 10:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Larry;  I hope the spend situation is not as grim as you predict.  We are still going to work on that minus mil levy for this year.  For sure the County and School Board will provide an increase.  The City can in fact produce a minus mil levy this year without doing any damage to services.  It all depends on Rich, Usaha and Karen.

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Posted: 03 July 2013 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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“It all depends on Rich, Usha and Karen.”
Therein lies the problem.  Two out of the three are heck bent on “improving the quality of life”... no matter what the cost.  The third is a huge fan of the Chamber and is a fan of anything that can be construed as sports for kids to participate in… no matter what the cost.  Your prediction of a minus mil levy is a pipe dream.  I believe there are three votes that will be quite pleased with somewhere in range of a 2 mil increase.

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Posted: 06 July 2013 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Looks like we will start discussion Tuesday with around a .3 mil increase, so I think it will actually be under 1 mill.  But it can still be zero.  Will make the case for that on Tuesday.

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Posted: 09 July 2013 09:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I thought this might be a legitimate topic.  What has happened to the forum?
However, it has turned into a discussion of mill levies and politics.
Larry, you started it off wrong.  If you wanted to talk about your tax burden, why didn’t you say that up front?
I think a legitimate discussion of the future of this message board would be a good topic, but, that wasn’t really what you wanted to talk about, was it?  No, you wanted to put in your perpetual whine about your tax burden and the irresponsibility of the city commission…blah, blah, blah

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Posted: 10 July 2013 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Yes, look at all the people who have flocked to the message boards as a result of requiring the use of real names and the perception that that will produce more civil discussion.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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This is still, and always will be, the proverbial ‘red-headed step child’ for The Mercury.  It’s interesting to occasionally note how the Topeka Capital Journal or the Lawrence Journal World handles their websites.  Folks can read entire aritcles and comment on them.  There seems to be substantial dialogue from numerous people… most all using monikers instead of real names.  I honestly believe The Merucry is stepping of a dollar to save a dime.  They are so afraid someone might read on-line articles in lieu of purchasing a subscription.  Isn’t it all about advertisers?  If The Mercury had a site that was visited… and read… and had numeorus comments to articles on, wouldn’t the be attrative to advertisers?  Instead, the bulk of the citizenry is locked out from reading articles and, now that full identification is required, locked out of the discussion board.

KMAN published full articles on their site… and fairly promptly.  If KMAN would even enhance their site to include the ability to comment to articles or include a “real” discussion board, perhaps that would fill the void.  With KMAN under the same ownership as The Mercury, it’s probably not going to happen.

Ned, you have seen the change in participation on this board since the requirment of full identification.  Is there any possibility of going to a format similar to the two newspapers mentioned above?

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Posted: 10 July 2013 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Kathy,
If civility was their goal, I would say they achieved that part.  The six or seven of us who still participate seem to be, for the most part, civil. 
Of course, most of us who are left already used our real names.
The Mercury can say what it wants…the requirement of real names essentially killed this forum. Now, basically, those of us remaining write mini-blogs.  People do read them, but do not express their own opinions.
I have a suggestion for the Mercury.  Allow free access for two weeks using whatever moniker you want.  Just a little study, if you will. I will be willing to bet that participation here will increase dramatically.
Now this must be accompanied with a dropping of all those sign-up requirements, and it must be advertised.
Another option is just to give the few of us a blog…or a column in the print edition. If they print Jim Suber, they could certainly print any one of us.

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Posted: 11 July 2013 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I like the new forum.  It may not have as many postings, but almost all of the posting are worth a short read.  The old forum contained much that was not of value and I do not miss it at all.  I still believe that this particular forum many gain some new participation over time, as folks gain confidence in dialogue process. 

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Posted: 11 July 2013 04:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Wynn,
Did Ned write that for you?  “will gain participation over time”...It has had plenty of time already, and, it is losing participation. I am sure that most who are addicted to politics, as are you, love the new forum.  People are not going to call you out for what you really are. Sadly, some folks have jobs and are frightened about losing them should they disagree with the boss-man.  Lucky for me, I am gainfully unemployed so I could care less about whether or not anyone likes me.  That gives me the freedom to speak the truth.  Refreshing, if not a bit tedious.

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Posted: 11 July 2013 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Michael:  Dialogue is the goal, not calling necessarily calling folks out. Especially if calling folks out gets into the nasty arena that was the old forum.  I agree though with your assessment that some folks are in fear of participation due to the fact that some groups may attempt to inhibit or hinder a business.  I have heard of a few instances where that was actually advocated by selected groups.  The other reason could be apathy.  Folks just may not care, too busy looking at IPADS and Smart Phones.  I saw a news story today about the plane crash in California.  Seems a lot of passengers immediately dialed 911 asking for help, when maybe it was time to jump down the emergency slides instead.  The letters to the editor in the Mercury today had a further comment on the Indian Statue at the roundabout.  Could also start a new topic on that jewel.  No Ned did not write the forum comment for me.  I was wondering if you noticed that the Mercury almost never refers to Commissioner Matta with his title of Mayor.  They seemed to always do that for Mayor Sneed and Sherow. 

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Posted: 11 July 2013 09:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Wynn,
There is no dialogue here.  You talk, I talk, Kathy talks, Larry talks.  The only dialogue is among us. There are people who read, but, for one reason or another, they do not respond.  The participation in this “forum” is down to next to nothing. The old forum had a bunch of garbage…granted, but it was a more active and vibrant discussion forum.  It was interesting and, at times, entertaining.
Ned keeps insisting that there has been no change.  That, of course, is delusional. It has changed a lot.  Most notably…no one is here.
Even Estabrook, who craves attention at every opportunity, does not post here.
Oh, why did you call Matta “Commissioner Matta” instead of Mayor Matta?

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Posted: 14 July 2013 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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G’day, ladies!  I’ve checked this forum every once in a while, and I’m always reminded of the time my dad pointed out the two hometown fellows who could always be found sharing a drink on the steps of the old farm implement dealership fire escape.  “You see those guys?  They’ve figured out that drink is the world’s biggest problem, and they’re out to get rid of it.  Even if it takes them the rest of their lives.”

Lots of platitudes… and some outright lies… from our local pols.  The obligatory Fox flavor-o-the-week from (apparently) our resident dittohead. A string of “never-say-in-a-sentence-what-you-can-say-in-a-paragraph posts from the road warrior… and Michael’s “what’s up in Hooterville”.  Did I miss anything else?

I see the Republican Chamber of Commerce still has the commission genuflecting and forking over huge chunks of our tax money so they can pick a few winners from the Good Old Boy’s Club.  I trust the Marlins are still swimming free in our public pool (a paid pleasure for the rest of us), and I’ve notice builders are still tearing down houses willy-nilly and slapping up ticky-tacky. 

But, you gotta love progress… and PROGRESSIVES!  Say what you will about these boys, they are progressive.  It takes a biblical set of blinders to hold on to the illusion that there’s anything “conservative” about them.  I’ll give you a ferinstance… Mr. Shultz said recently that he might have to cap enrollment.  This is MUSIC to Sam Brownback’s ears, and the goal of his recent assault on education in Kansas.  BUT, the good old boys who’ve been tearing down these houses and building ticky-tacky?  You think THEY are going to stand for a cap on clients?  They are not.  And, just like the immediate slew of “exemptions” for defense contractors following the recent federal sequester, the rules WILL be changed enough to accommodate the bottom line of the good old boys.  Mark my words.  No matter how many public high schools close, how many teachers laid off, how much of our tax money is funneled to religious institutions via “vouchers”, there will never be a cap on enrollment at KSU.  The good ol boys will have none of it.

 

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Posted: 15 July 2013 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Randall! A pleasant surprise!

Unfortunately, I think you’ll find no one willing to discuss the more difficult issues nowadays. The politicians are using their real names, just like the rest of us, and don’t want to say anything that might come back to haunt them. I do like to think some of the people reading the forums are our old pals from the previous board, though.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Welcome back, Randall!!!!  Are you still located in the D.C. area?  Can we still refer to you as a “slum lord”?  :>)

I must agree with you.  Brownie won’t let KSU cap enrollment.  He’ll feed that pig as long as the State’s monied are pouring dollars into the athletic programs and Repubs like Dole are getting buildings named after them.  Of course, the Kochs are big benefactors of Wichita State, even though they attended MIT.  So, if the Kochs want Brownie to concentrate on WSU, he’ll do whatever they demand.  In the meantime, Brownie will continue stripping funds from public education until they all have Chaplins on site and teachers must spend at least two years attending a seminary. 

Brownie’s Texas buddy, Perry, recently announced he wouldn’t seek re-election.  That means he’s probably going to make a run for the White House, supported by the religious right.  If Perry would even get the nomination from the Repubs, I could see Brownie being his VP running mate…. either Brownie or Bachman.

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