Holland & Murguia Clash on Issues and Flyers in Final Debate
April 1, 2013

Kansas City, Kansas mayoral candidates clashed a final time over the basic issue of the campaign, taxes.
At a debate and question and answer session at the downtown public library, candidates Mark Holland and Ann Murguia, both current members of the City Commission, clashed about votes in 2011 and 2012 raising the property tax rate slightly.
Holland said the city had no other option. Without the rise, he claimed, the city would be faced with lay-offs.
“And 30 of those would be police officers, and 30 would be fire fighters. And it’s very important we not make cuts to our public safety,” said Holland. He said he voted for both measures.
Murguia did not vote for either measure. She said it hurt KCK homeowners whose homes were declining in value.
“To charge them more when their homes are worth less, is a contradiction,” said Murguia.
Murguia said the city had other options they could have used.
And she claims even after raising the rate, the Commission went ahead and approved other budget increases.
Holland said he thought the tax rate increase can pulled back off the tax rolls as the economy improves. He also said that in several years, the city will get between $12-15 million dollars when Kansas STAR bonds, used to develop western Wyandotte County and KCK will end and the city will get full tax revenues from that district.
The debate was broadcast live on KCUR radio and the ‘Up to Date’program with Kansas City Star political writer Steve Kraske.
Kraske asked both candidates about the third-party flyers popping up in voters’ mail boxes in the final days of the race.
One flyer attacks Holland. It is from the Americans For Prosperity group, a conservative organization lead by the Koch Brothers of Wichita.
Holland called Americans For Prosperity a group that is involved in “union busting”. He said it was a mystery that he should get attacked at Murguia’s benefit when she claims to have union support.
Murguia said she had nothing to do with the flyer.
Murguia was also the subject of another flyer suggesting she was a Republican. That’s a serious charge in heavily Democratic Wyandotte County.
Murguia says the flyer is confusing. On one side it associates her with Republicans like Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. The other said complains about her voting for tax increases.
Murguia said during the debate it is like the flyer can’t make up its mind.
The polls in Kansas City, Kansas open at 7 Tuesday morning. They close at 7pm. Final results are expected before 10pm Tuesday night.

KC Star: Bough Dropping Bid to Stay on Sports Authority
January 25, 2013

Steve Bough, the well-connected former chair of the Jackson County Democratic Party, will not be confirmed to serve on the county Sports Authority, according to Kansas City Star political reporter Steve Kraske.
Sources tell The Star that Bough’s name will be withdrawn in the next couple of weeks. Bough, a lawyer, has served on the panel that oversees the Truman Sports Complex for about six months and was awaiting Senate confirmation.
Said Bough:
“I enjoyed my service on the Sports Authority, and I think I did a good job for the taxpayers.”
Bough is said to have run into opposition from his own party in the form of new state Sen. Paul LeVota of Independence.
“It’s a senator’s prerogative to do this,” Bough said. “It’s Sen. LeVota’s prerogative to stop somebody’s nomination.”

Read more here: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/bough-out-sports-authority/#storylink=cpy

Freedom Inc. Could Face More Fines, Can They Afford It?
March 29, 2012

Steve Kraske has put this on the Prime Buzz blog:
Freedom Inc. may face more sanctions
Freedom Inc., the prominent east-side political club, apparently is still in hot water.
Sources tell Midwest Democracy that the Missouri Ethics Commission is considering thousands of dollars in additional penalties against the organization that could threaten the club’s financial viability.
Any announcement of those sanctions could still be months off.
The talk comes just a week after the Ethics Commission fined Freedom’s former secretary for pocketing potentially thousands of dollars in club funds. In addition, the former president of Freedom Inc., Craig Bland, was fined for signing club checks he was not authorized to sign.
And former treasurer Carl Evans was penalized for failing to keep accurate records.
Political insiders say the possible fine against Freedom could range as high as $250,000, although the number most often mentioned is $200,000. Clinton Adams, a lawyer representing Freedom, declined comment.

Read more here: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/freedom-inc-may-face-more-sanctions/#storylink=cpy

Some KC Local Politicians Already Are Elelcted for 2013, No Opposition Files Against Them
March 28, 2012

KC Star Political Columnist Steve Kraske has a wrap-up of some Kansas City area politicians who face no opposition to re-election. Filing for Missouri elected offices closed Tuesday.
“Former House Minority Leader Paul LeVota will be returning to Jefferson City next year, this time as a state senator.
LeVota, an Independence Democrat, ostensibly won the 11th District seat Tuesday when no other candidates filed for the seat.
“I miss serving the public,” said LeVota, who’s been out office for two years because of term limits.
State Sen. Kiki Curls, a Kansas City Democrat, also appears to have won a full term when she went unchallenged Tuesday in the 9th District in the eastern part of the city. Curls, a former House member, won the Senate seat in a special election last year.
No major surprises surfaced for statewide offices as the filing deadline passed at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
In perhaps the premiere area primary race this year, two Kansas City Democrats — state Rep. Jason Holsman and Jackson County legislator Crystal Williams — are set to square off in the new 7th District in south Kansas City. Filing for that office was extended until Friday, because another candidate recently withdrew from the race.
In the 17th District in the southwest corner of Clay County, state Rep. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City, a Republican, is being challenged by former Democratic state Rep. Sandra Reeves of Liberty.
In the 21st District east of Kansas City, incumbent Sen. David Pearce of Warrensburg is being challenged by fellow Republican Mike McGhee of Odessa.
In the 31st District south of Kansas City, Scott Larget of Clinton, Ed Emery of Lamar and Dave Morris of Peculiar, are running in the GOP primary. Democrat Charlie Burton of Drexel was the only Democrat to file.
The Missouri Supreme Court upheld new boundaries for state House districts based upon the 2010 census. The high court issued a one-sentence ruling Tuesday upholding the new districts.”
Here is the link to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Elections office where there is a full list of all candidates who filed for state office in 2012:

Read more here: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/some-local-lawmakers-are-unchallenged-for-missouri-races/#storylink=cpy

Star: Kansas Govenor Sam Brownback’s Big Agenda
February 5, 2012

KC Star’s Steve Kraske and Brad Cooper take a look at the big plate of issues Govenor Sam Brownback is serving up to lawmakewrs this session:
Gov. Sam Brownback roared up to the Statehouse last week on his Big Dog motorcycle.
“A real sweet machine,” Brownback said of his Wichita-made bike.
It was a grand entrance for the Republican governor attempting to make a grand impact on Kansas. With just a year under his belt, Brownback has proposed a 2012 legislative agenda that’s already been labeled the nation’s most ambitious for any state.
Some lawmakers are recoiling from it, calling it too much too fast. Others are praising it as a bold, new conservative vision.
Medicaid reform. A new school-finance formula. Pension reform for state workers. Paying down state debt. A new, flatter state tax code aimed at lowering income taxes, but one that wipes out popular deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions.
It’s all happening as lawmakers grapple with the intensely political once-a-decade task of redrawing state House, Senate and congressional boundary lines.
Call it a big, meaty lineup for a governor who insists the state has little choice.
“I don’t know what I’d take out of the agenda,” he told The Kansas City Star during a recent interview in his office. “That’s the problem. Take the school finance out? You’re staring at a monster lawsuit. Take the tax plan? No. Because we’ve not been growing. Growth is what we desperately need.
“It’s a lot,” Brownback conceded. “There’s no question about it. But all of it ties together.”
The sheer magnitude of the package has led to grumbles from members of both parties and may have contributed to weak poll numbers. There’s another risk: The legislative load could wind up crushing lawmakers.
Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican and the chamber’s leading moderate, acknowledged that the Legislature is grappling with so many big topics
Some lawmakers wonder that the entire Brownback agenda could collapse under its own weight.
“There’s always that chance,” Morris said. “No matter what kind of session we have, you could lose the main focus of the big issues and have nothing get done for a year or two. Sometimes you have to work things over for a longer period of time.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/02/04/3410267/brownbacks-big-agenda-is-off-to.html#storylink=cpy

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