Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Back in August, the city council in Topeka, Kansas, voted to expand a redevelopment district and purchase Heartland Park Topeka, a “multi-purpose motorsports facility” featuring drag racing, dirt racing and more.

Chris Imming wasn’t keen on the notion. He put together an initiative petition calling for a public vote. Topeka townspeople eagerly signed it.

Taking this as a cue, did the city officialdom welcome this vibrant exercise of basic American democracy? Did they ready themselves for that election?

Afraid not.

Instead, the city sued to block a vote on the issue.

A local judge sided with the insiders, ruling in the city’s favor. The development decision was administrative in nature, the Robed One determined, not legislative. That made it beyond reach of the citizen initiative process.

Both the judge’s designation of “administrative”  and his rationale for exemption from a citizens’ veto seem more than dubious. Clearly, “the people” should be able to overrule any decision made by the city council, which is established for the express purpose of representing the views of “the people.”

Kudos to Mr. Imming for appealing that lower court decision. Thank goodness for folks like him, folks who stand up against the powerful public and private forces always looking for a bailout or a subsidy.

“We’re bailing out the city,” argues Doug Gerber, Topeka’s administrative and financial director. He cites the city’s previous redevelopment district, which annually costs a cool million dollars in bond service, while bringing in only a fifth of that in sales tax revenue.

So politicians want to double down, to cover their past rotten wheeling and dealing by . . . expanding it.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Drik says:

    The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous._Joseph Goebbels

  2. Pat says:

    What will Topekans do in response? Will they vote out the council members at the next election and replace them with people who will do the people’s bidding or will they just shrug and let the privileged and the connected have their way? Time will tell.
    Elections have consequences.

  3. Business as usual.

    When I lived in St. Louis County, Missouri and the St. Louis Cardinals asked the city and county governments (and the state government) to build them a new stadium, opinion in St. Louis County ran 80% doing so.

    A group got up a ballot petition for an initiative forbidding the county to issue bonds for it. So the county council passed the measure the week before the election (the measure passed, but it had already been done).

    Then said group got up a petition to put an initiative on the ballot forbidding the county to PAY OFF the bonds, and the county council sued to keep the measure off the ballot and won.

    So the Cardinals got their new stadium at taxpayer expense, with 80% of taxpayers opposing it. But I never heard of any drop-off in game attendance, merchandise sales, etc. Nor do I recollect that a single politicians lost his or her next race over it.

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