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Fly, fly away…...
Posted: 28 January 2014 03:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Well, our City Commission, in their constant and consistent goal to spend tax dollars decided to initiate an expansion of our airport terminal facilities.  Something on the order of $16 million is being spent for this project. 
The flights to DFW and O’Hare has been relatively successful.  Those flights allow regional business people and travelers to fly out of Manhattan vs. driving to Kansas City.  Connections can be made from DFW or O’Hare to any point in the U.S. or the world.
The last couple of times I’ve been in the exisitng airport terminal, the maintenance and upkeep of the facility has been pathetic.  Damaged walls have been left unrepaired.  Carpets have appeared dirty.  But, why maintain what we have?  The Chamber will tell the City Commission to build us a new, larger facility.  We can let that one deteriorate.  And, they will build us an even bigger one.
The elite of Manhattan decide they want flights for golf vacations and weekend getaways to sunny Arizona.  No connecting flights out of Phoenix.  And, the Commission decides to give away a bundle of money to get a carrier here for those “tanning flights”.  The ladies who they pay to jump on hotel beds in promotional videos can spend thousands of tax dollars jetting to quasi conferences at resorts and spas in the Arizona area.  It’s just tax dollars.  And, it’s not something like local public transportation or social services that can be construed as a “liberal” cause. 
Well, the airline that was promised tons of money if they came here has already pulled out of Manhattan.  Allegiant Airlines announced they will no longer have flights out of Manhattan.  Guess the promised subsidization with tax dollars and the few jaunts by the privileged of the community didn’t provide the revenue to keep them here. 
My questions are… Was Allegiant paid anything up front to come to Manhattan?  Were tax dolalrs invested, under the guize of economic development, to bring Allegiant here?  Even with Topeka now having flights to O’Hare and competing directly with Manhattan… and the “loss” of Allegiant… are we still going to dump the $16 million into the Airport?  Does the Airport Director now live in Manhattan?  Or, are we still giving him a City vehicle and fuel to drive back and forth to Clay Center each day?  Will the brass plaque in the new airport terminal be engraved with the names of the “fiscally responsible” commissioners who tossed millions at this project?  Inquiring minds….........

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Posted: 28 January 2014 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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My kids and I have been flying in and out of Manhattan for the last year.  Nothing wrong with the facilities.  They’re refreshingly simple and convenient.  Now we can look forward to years of navigating construction!  And start paying those “airport fees” that the bigger airports add to tickets, rental cars, etc.

Let me guess… we’re going to have to start paying for parking as well?

Now, THAT’S what someone who calls himself “conservative” calls PROGRESS!  Strip malls!  State of the art swim meet facilities!  Shiny new buildings and traffic cones!

I notice that the backlash against MCI renovations has grown so strong that it’s now in doubt.  It, too, was far too convenient and logical.  So, the boys in the high-backs railroaded some construction edicts through some back doors.  But, KC has a lot of regular patrons, and they’ve made a lot of noise.

I doubt Manhattan could muster anything like that.

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Posted: 29 January 2014 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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As we both know…and appreciate…Randall, is the simplicity of the Manhattan airport. I go through airports that are absolute nightmares…DFW is one of them, but not the worst by any means. Try Milan…or Rome…or Heathrow…The only similar airport I have been in was in Rockhampton, Queensland. ..a small, one room airport. Quite refreshing. The service we have now should be quite sufficient. I never saw the need for flights to Phoenix. I liked it when we had that little airline that flew to Denver…helped me get to San Diego without DFW or Phoenix.

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Posted: 29 January 2014 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Johannesburg tops my list. Absolute madness in a sea of desperate people.  But I was there before the World Soccer thing, so it was under expansion as well.

Manhattan… always trying to keep up with the big boys when it comes to tax-grab construction, yearning for the horse and carriage days when it comes to actual quality of life issues.

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Posted: 29 January 2014 06:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Randall,
Route some of these people through those airports and they might be more appreciative of MHK. We don’t need a giant airport here…not enough traffic. I would like to see a cafe but that won’t happen because the layovers are generally very short, and the flight times are weird. Although, the old airport supported a restaurant. If I am not mistaken, they even had beer.

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Posted: 29 January 2014 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Larry:
Here is the data on the Allegiance Airline Subsidy:

$28,800 Direct Payment for cost of ground service, fueling etc.  This money did go to local business.
$12,343 in waived fees for landing etc that are normally paid by airlines using the airport.
$20,601 in terminal modifications/inaugural cost
The city gained $15,092 from passenger facility charges.

So the business loss in total to the airport was - $46,652

Actual ECO DEVO dollars spent is $34,303 as the waived fees are payment in kind as opposed to actual dollar incentives.

The City press release stated that only $13,000 was used to subsidize the operation.  The City did not include the Terminal modification cost.  The logic was that the expanded hold room and TSA area was part of the terminal expansion anyway, and the cost is covered 90% by FAA.

The bigger better terminal is supported by many people.  The key finance numbers are the FAA funding, it picks up the lion’s share of the cost.  Without that funding phase three does not happen.  The city portion of the funding has been Eco Devo dollars.  That seems to be a reasonable use of those funds. It is not funded by property tax.  I support having more air service.  I am not on board with giving subsidy and lucrative incentives to the airlines.  Any deal made with the airlines needs to be in favor of the city.  For example the total subsidy of the Allegiance deal should have been no greater than the actual PFC charges gained by the airport.  If that had been the case then the Allegiance pull out would have been a wash.  Subsidy should always be tied to PFC, makes it a bit like profit sharing.
You mention that the Airport is not a liberal cause like busing.  I supported the terminal build because of the funding source – it was not property tax.  ATA is directly tied to the 21 million in property tax that is raised by the city each year.  Fund them out of something else and they will get more support.  Example MAC got its funding last year through Eco Devo.  DMI also got its funding through Eco Devo.  It is less about the specific project and more about the funding source.  If buses like planes are key to economic development, well then we have a funding source.

I voted against the Allegiance Airline deal, not because I am against air service or bringing in more airlines, I voted no because of the subsidy contract.  It gave away too much.

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Posted: 29 January 2014 11:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Buses are not a “liberal cause”, Wynn.  Public transportation is not a “liberal” endeavor, any more than getting Parks and Recs. some new offices is a “conservative” one.

Or, maybe I’m mistaken.  Please explain how buses for public transportation can suddenly be “liberal” after a century of practical application around the GLOBE?  I’d also love to hear how spending 3 million on new offices is “conservative”.

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Posted: 30 January 2014 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Randall… I’m the one that tagged the public transportation issues as a “liberal” cause, not Wynn.  Just seems, over the years, that public transportation has been viewed much like soical services, etc.  Locally, support for ATA has come from the more left leaning commissioners and opposed by the right.  Much of that does have to do with how it is funded.  If I ruffled some feathers with the “L” tag, it’s my fault.

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Posted: 30 January 2014 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Then, Larry, you’re the problem, not the solution. You enable the good ol boys with your tagging and separating things up front.  “Wah, ahm a cornseravative!  So, I MUST be agin this!”

Do you agree that buses have been an integral part of transportation for about a century?  So, how in the hell can you label it as “liberal”?  You need to look up the definition of conservative.  Also liberal.  Then, you MIGHT have a clue.  Have YOU really thought about it?  You spend a lot of time in your car.  Would you rather be sitting at a stoplight behind 20 people in their cars… texting. spilling coffee, putting on their make-up… than behind a bus?  Have you tried to imagine how many school buses could be replaced by public buses?  What the savings of THAT kind of thing might bring?  Bus drivers, insurance, maintenance, liabilities…

Conservative?  I guess it depends on what your definition of “is” is…

These dittoheads have been patting themselves on the back for goosestepping down the party line, with parameters established by talkjowls and politicians, for so long, they actually step to one side of an issue the minute it’s labeled.  No thought, no consideration, no reason.  Just jump in the box provided for you and start shouting down the debate. It’s ignorant and counter-productive.

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Posted: 30 January 2014 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I think one of the main problems is that Americans are not used to public transit. We have a love affair with cars and many view public transportation as beneath their dignity. Not so in foreign countries. In Thailand, I rode…with people in suits…the tuk-tuks…basically Chevy Luvs. We sat in the back. In Italy when I lived there, it was unsafe to drive…a lot like Manhattan now.
Singapore has a fast rail and limits the number of cars…and so on. This is old hat conservative stuff to them, although I never heard anyone in these countries classify public transport as either conservative or liberal. It is a way of life. Rich and poor alike use it. Americans simply seem to have a bias regarding it.

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Posted: 30 January 2014 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Randall:  Fine call the buses something other than a liberal cause.  As Larry stated he labeled the bus issue liberal.  You label many things as conservative.  You tend to put a slant on the use making conservative sound negative.  So maybe we should just lump the category of causes that those supported or does not supported.  Forget about Liberal, Conservative, Moderate or Libertarian.  Buses work well in some places.  Our system is subsidized at a 97% rate and that is the problem.  As long as that is true I will not support it.  The pools are subsidized at a 23% rate; the data demonstrates the difference between the two.  Parks and Recreation is currently a Core Service, busses are not.  The Parks Office has been in a temporary garage for 30 years.  Your priority seems to be to fund busses and eliminate pools and parks and recreation.  I do not agree.  You favor building a stage; that data shows has not been used; as a priority over Parks and Recreation.  Again I do not agree.  The funding for the Parks and Recreation office space will not increase the mil levy.  If the stage takes priority it might.  So the definition of conservative is to do what we need to do to stop the increase in the mil levy.  It was zero increase last year.  This year it needs to be reduced.  That is conservative as narrowly defined within the realm of Manhattan Kansas property taxes.  If we can subsidize pools and built a Parks and Recreation building without raising property or sales tax it fits the definition.  That is the goal.  ATA/bus funding is still tied to property tax.  If funding comes another way then maybe it gets put in the category of causes one supports or at least will not oppose.

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Posted: 30 January 2014 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Michael:  I agree with your assessment on American Bias for buses.  I spent over 50% of my time overseas.  The public transportation systems in places like Europe and Korea are excellent.  They are heavily used and supported.  That is a result of geography, cost, traffic, parking and culture. I used the public transportation in Washington D.C. – because of traffic and parking.  It was a good thing.  The cost of car operation, plus convenience outweighed the total cost of public transportation making it viable. I think we are close to those equation factors in regards to KSU.  Parking cost, convenience and traffic snarls make KSU student bussing very attractive.  A plan to achieve some sort of busing hub to serve the campus is a good idea.  A busing hub to serve the campus is however not the same thing as fixed route to Wamego.  A KSU busing project with KSU as one of the key players, and key sources of funding will be successful and can function much like the bus system that we all used in foreign locations.

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Posted: 30 January 2014 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Wynn` you label many things as conservative. 

What, pray tell, have I labeled “conservative”?  I’m simply calling out the preposterous practice nowadays of labeling everything.  It’s ignorant and counterproductive. 

“You tend to put a slant on the use making conservative sound negative.”

Not at all. I haven’t seen anything that could be construed as truly conservative out of ANY politician of any stripe, you included.  You champion the most expensive option for P&R offices. You represent a religious PAC.  For you, they are the fund from which all blessings flow.  I don’t blame you for this.  I just don’t think you can label yourself, like so many of these issues inherent in a growing city.  It’s ignorant and counterproductive.

“Our system is subsidized at a 97% rate and that is the problem.” 

Is it?  If, as you say,  a quarter-million for a private swim meet facility comes to only 5$ and change on the average tax bill, then this bus development can’t amount to more than a couple dollars, right?  So, which is more “conservative”?  Hanging a 5 dollar bump on the taxpayers or 2 dollar bump.  I really look forward to this answer. 

“As long as that is true I will not support it.” 

I think you “will not support it” because you’ve labeled it “liberal”.  From your post to Michael, you’re familiar with buses.  Can you really,with a straight face, say that ridership won’t increase with availability?  Can you say that buses, integrated into the school busing system, wouldn’t be a savings of possibly MORE that this amount you’re so adamant about?

“The pools are subsidized at a 23% rate; the data demonstrates the difference between the two.”

  No, the different between the two is a quarter million vs. 120 thousand. 

“Parks and Recreation is currently a Core Service, buses are not.”

That, in no way implies that they SHOULDN’T be.

“The Parks Office has been in a temporary garage for 30 years. “

So, of course, this justifies the most expensive option on the table.

Like I said. It depends upon what your definition of “is” is..

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Posted: 30 January 2014 09:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Wynn Butler - 30 January 2014 12:20 PM

You tend to put a slant on the use making conservative sound negative.

I can’t imagine why anyone would do such a thing.

But, I think the bigger point here is that, if someone is talking about the trends amongst a politically conservative city commission, for example, it makes sense to call some of what they do “conservative.” The same would apply if they were liberal or Libertarian or whatever.

It doesn’t make any sense to say public transportation is a “liberal” cause, though, unless we’re at the point where anything that might help citizens on lesser incomes is automatically “liberal” and to be distrusted. Which, now that I think about it, pretty much is the basic rightwing complaint on public transportation.

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Posted: 02 February 2014 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Randall: As I stated earlier, we can toss the labels agree on that one.

You continue to publish information that is not factual.  I am not championing the most expense Parks and recreation office plan. Our Manhattan is not a religious PAC and neither is the FlintHills TEA party, both of which I have joined.  You might be referencing Awaken Manhattan which is a good organization that is based on religion.

The bus issue is pretty simple – they lose 97 cents on the dollar.  When their business plan gets to the point where they only lose 25 cents on the dollar, then they have a starting point for making a case for public support.  That case has to be driven by a true need.  Ridership is not proof of need.  If you give away free rides sure it will be used.  We could do the same with the pools.  Make it free and for sure we could demonstrate use, that would then give us the data to allow 100% subsidy.

I have no problem with your stated position that buses should be a core city function, I will just not agree on that one unless many things change.

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Posted: 02 February 2014 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Stacia:  The disagreement with the current public transportation model is the cost. The federal government will shell out the lion’s share of any effort. Local government seems to view that as free money. But as individuals we send that money to the Feds every April.  When and If aTa comes up with a viable business model they can make a case for support.  But as long as the system is designed to operate on a 97% tax subsidy base it is fatally flawed as the solution for those that need transportation.  If the issue is folks that need help in transportation, then let us work on that problem.  Document the numbers and figure out an alternate plan other than fixed routes.  It may be cheaper to provide on call cab rides.  That was done on many military posts.  The post taxi, free service to take soldiers on official business or to work.  Support for safety net features for the needy is present and that should be labeled an American Concern.  The argument between political groups comes in play when we turn the net into the hammock.

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