Posted by & filed under advocacy.

Observer Corps members are the eyes and ears of the League at public. We attend virtually and hopefully soon in person, identifying ourselves as LWV Observers, to watch and report on issues related to League positions and priorities.

If you can help out by reporting on Wichita City Council, Sedgwick County Commission or any other public meetings, we need you! Your time commitment could be just a couple of hours a month to involvement every week. Contact Pat at patinwy@gmail.com.

Previous reports:

Metropolitan Area Planning Commission

WAMPO Transportation Policy Board (TPB) Meeting, May 11, 2021

Relevant issues & actions taken:

  • Bel Aire is continuing a project to expand pedestrian and bike paths. These improvements will include connecting to Wichita’s bike paths – on Woodlawn.
  • Board is looking into what it costs to operate WAMPO. Board members will be working with the executive committee to gather data needed to decide what the TPB will choose to fund as far as operations. They have hired 2 new people and are in process of hiring a third.
  • Correction from comments made in the last meeting on the possibility of having a citizen member of TPB. After seeking clarification on the state and federal level and reviewing federal requirements, TPB members were told it is possible for them to have a citizen member of the TPB. It is not mandatory. Findings will be brought to executive committee meeting to decide if they want/need citizen members.
  • Active Transportation projects – about 10 projects going along metro highways.

Recommended follow up:

  • Stay up-to-date on other cities in the metro area planning to connect to Wichita’s bike paths.
  • Follow up on board’s decision on whether or not they will open up a position for a citizen member of the TPB.

Information and agendas are on the MAPC website. Observed online and reported by Michelle Vishnefske.

Sedgwick County Commission Meetings

Regular commission meetings are live on KPTS Channel 8 at 9 a.m. each Wednesday, except for the last Wednesday of the month, and can also be viewed on YouTube and Facebook. Links, past videos, and agendas are at Sedgwick County.org.

Reports focus on items that relate to LWV positions and priorities.

County Commission Meeting, May 12, 2021

Discussion relevant to LWV positions on Criminal Justice:

  • Glenda Martins, Director of the Department of Corrections, presented updated information on Sedgwick County recidivism rates. The Commissioners had asked for more detail during recent budget discussions. She reported that “our recidivism rate was for … all of our programs, with a total program rate of 7 percent, … the lowest it’s ever been. And it’s extremely low for the state. The state’s recidivism rate is around 33 percent” and that Drug Court has improved from a 52% success rate in 2019 to a 96% success rate now (based on successful completion of program and no new convictions).
  • Commissioner Howell commended Ms. Martins for her current work and for past work with the Boys Ranch that the County closed in 2014. He is concerned that some “kids fall through the cracks” under the current system and that this continues to concern him.

County Commission Meeting, May 19, 2021

  • Topics discussed were zoning, Citizen Advisory Board appointments, COVID-19 recommendation.

County Commission Meeting, June 2, 2021

  • Mr. Akeam Ashford, Director of Strategic Communications, reported on legislative issues. Of importance, SB 273, the bill mandating property tax reimbursement to businesses, that could have had a devastating impact on our county budget, was passed, then vetoed and there were not enough votes to overturn Gov. Kelly’s veto. This was good news for the County.

Agendas, minutes, and videos of meetings are online at SedgwickCounty.orgObserved live on YouTube and reported by Pat Reinhold