Tax Lid – Please keep Rui updated on the challenges the City may or may not have with the new legislation.
Budget Surplus – State collected $162M more than expected: 20% more than expected and 20% more than 2020 during the initial year of the pandemic. Legislators need to be cautious: some will push for additional corporate tax credits, but we should be careful of spending, and look to more things that will help residents and younger Kansans like the child tax credit and increasing reimbursement rates in the Medicaid system. Even though Medicaid expansion is in a quagmire, we can still look at ways to improve the program overall.
2022 Session – Expect a divisive session and a tough year in 2022. Rui anticipates spending a lot of time on vaccine mandates and “overreach”, which is quite a broad term. Of course, the #ksleg majority worries about federal and local overreach, but not state, how interesting…. 😏
Rui will be keeping his head down and keeping up the fight for the issues that are most important to his constituents: economic prosperity, the environment, reproductive rights, etc….
Finally, Representative Xu encourages residents to reach out to him if you have any thoughts or ideas. Call or text at 913-535-8691 or email at: Rui.Xu@house.ks.gov .
Racial Equities in Communities Pilot Program
Councilmember Inga Selders gave the update for this. She and I attended the kickoff meeting for this pilot program from UCS, in conjunction with the Kansas Leadership Center, along with several City staff members and three resident representatives. We talked about difficult conversations we’ve had in our lifetimes and brave spaces vs. safe spaces. Our next meeting is October 20th, and we’ll start digging into white culture and equity.
Arts Council – State of the Arts 2021 Winners Announced!!!
State of the Arts 2021 is online and the winners have been announced!
View the full show of EIGHTY beautiful and provocative artworks at www.artspv.org/sota-2021. See the eight award winners (sans the People’s Choice) IN PERSON at City Hall! Every pieces IS for sale!
Local Shawnee Mission East High School graduate, and daughter of Arts Council member Trudy Williams, Sydney Williams put together this short, fun video with our SotA 2021 juror, and former Arts Council member, Ada Koch, to tell you a bit more about her jurying process:
Teen Council Members Announced
Councilmember Piper Reimer announced that she has notified the 5 new Teen Council participants, and they will begin their orientation and programming soon.
- SME students: Ayla Ozkan, Michael Newbold, Kate Whitefield
- Norte dame de Sion student: Amalia Millard
- Whitefield Academy student: Emma Jones
Public Art in the Park with JCPRD at Meadowbrook Park Update
Councilmember Ron Nelson updated Council on this new program with JCPRD. The committee received 143 submissions from around the country specifically for Meadowbrook Park. The three finalists presented to the committee the morning of Monday, October 4th, so the committee will be discussing those and putting out the submissions for public comment soon at the MBP Clubhouse. (Comments are being received now!) See more info here. One local artist, Amie Jacobsen, is from Overland Park! And the two others are from out of state. (I’m partial to local artists in general and the local proposal here in particular myself. 😜 I’m intrigued by the “tee” concept, but can’t quite visualize the “foliage”.)
- COVID update
- JoCo is STILL a high transmission area classified by CDC
- Booster shots are now becoming widely available for 65+ and anyone immunocompromised or other
- A new Pilates studio, Kitch meal prep, and CYL laser service all opened this last week.
- There is a new altitude marker at Mount Meadowbrook in Meadowbrook Park (the snow hill)!!
- Woolford Farms’ Kentucky Derby Winner Lawrin (the only Kansas-bred winner of the Kentucky Derby) is commemorated in a new pocket park within the boundaries of the new Corinth Quarter. First Washington also reclaimed wood from the original barn on that site for benches in the park.
- October is National Arts and Humanities Month, and the mayor signed a proclamation celebrating the month.
- October is also National Dyslexia Awareness Month.
- We’re also wrapping up Hispanic Heritage Month on October 15th.
Update from Columbia Capital regarding the Meadowbrook bonds refinancing
Even though there’s been sizable movement (upward) on interest rates on the taxable side of bonding, there hasn’t been so much on the exempt side, which is the side we’re working on for this refinance. Without making any promises, Columbia expects the market to level out pretty much before we go to market in December. Rates would have to rise very considerably over the next few weeks for us not to still see significant savings.
Mask Mandate Review
Councilwoman Sheila Myers made a motion to rescind the mask mandate at the earliest publication date. (It currently runs through October 31st.) There was no second, so this motion failed.
Sheila asked what the Council’s measure of success will be to allow us to remove the mandate. The Mayor indicated that every councilmember surely considers this on their own even if they don’t speak out at every meeting about it. He also indicated that he’s trusting the JCDHE and they are still supportive of mandates. Councilmember Courtney McFadden looks to MARC‘s dashboard. Councilmember Tucker Poling agreed with both Mayor and Mrs. McFadden, as well as emphasized the recommendation of our JCDHE experts and the CDC metrics.
As for me, I may not repeat my stance at every council meeting, but I’ll reiterate here what I shared previously and in my 8/16 recap: that I never wanted to vote for a mask mandate but felt we had no choice. When we’re no longer a CDC hot spot and when the JCDHE no longer recommends masks, I’ll feel like we made an impact.
Consider an ordinance banning conversion therapy of minors
Council voted in CCOW (committee) 11-1 to move this ordinance to City Council for a final vote with the second presented option of penalty: “penalty prescribed in Section 1-116 of the Prairie Village Municipal Code (a fine of not more than $1,000.00), but in no instance shall a violation of this Section be punishable by imprisonment.”.
This ordinance is modeled after Roeland Park’s ordinance, with aspects of Lawrence, KS’s with these differences:
- Match our own definition of terms from our non-discrimination ordinance from 2019. (The NDO does NOT already cover this issue.)
- penalty – options
There are still court of appeals decisions pending in the nation on this topic, though not in the state of Kansas. So ultimately SCOTUS may decide if these types of ordinances are constitutional and enforceable.
Councilmember Chad Herring says this therapy has contributed to the toxicity that our LGBTQ+ children have to endure. Whether people are actually practicing it or not, bans have a prescriptive message that this therapy is not welcome or allowed in PV.
Consider committing to the “Cities Race to Zero” climate initiative
Council voted unanimously to sign on to this initiative. The purpose of this non-binding agreement is to prescribe an aggressive timeline and additional layers to our efforts to help curb global warming to a compromised but reachable reduction with an eye toward cost effectiveness.
So that’s it for last week. Between myself and Tucker Poling, our other Ward 3 councilperson, one of us will try to always be in person for the hybrid City Council meetings. Tucker attended this meeting in-person, and will again for the second meeting in October. Future meetings will be TBD.
Some things I’ve been up to:
- Watched more SME volleyball matches. Volleyball is the best, most fun sport to watch ever. Fight me. 🤣
- Kicked of the the Racial Equities in Communities pilot program with UCS and the Kansas Leadership Center along with Lenexa, Mission, Roeland Park, and Johnson County Government.
- Made progress with Senior Girl Scouts out at Camp Tongawood in Tonganoxie for their Silver Award project. They continued their “glow-up” by painting the exterior of the latrine, painting trim inside, adding fun GS green trefoils and facts, and adding a curtain to separate the two commodes.
- Made progress on two upcoming PV Arts Council calls for entry with their respective committees. Watch for more info!
Nov 2nd Election References
- I also began knocking doors and dropping literature in Precinct PV O3-03 to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) for SMSD school board, JCCC Trustees, WaterOne Board members, and PV City Council. Here are the folks who I personally, as your neighbor, recommend on your November 2nd ballot:
- SMSD Board of Education:
- Mary Sinclair, SMSD SME seat – 20+ year education researcher and advocate, incumbent
- Heather Ousley, SMSD At-large seat – public education activist for over a decade with children in SMSD and civil rights attorney, incumbent
- April Boyd-Noronha, SMSD #4 seat – educator, advisor on emerging trends of the future workforce (today’s students), vying for vacant seat
- JCCC Trustees:
- WaterOne Board:
- Visit Vote411.org for more information on all of these races and/or the ones specific to your precinct if you’re not in PV O3 with me!
- Go to KSVotes.org to request your mail-in ballot if you haven’t already and want to make voting as easy and convenient as possible.
- If you have any questions about the races, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. 😁
- SMSD Board of Education:
If you’re still concerned about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, please read this article that includes how the vaccine was rolled out (seemingly) so quickly and this article on myths vs. facts, both from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Please be well and have a great weekend.