Topeka city officials discuss establishing process to fund affordable housing projects

June 5, 2018. The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Nine years ago, the question before Topeka’s governing body was whether to fix the city’s streets, and the community responded by implementing a half-cent sales tax to accomplish that purpose, Topekan Carol Babcock told the city’s governing body Tuesday evening.

“Today, the question is ‘Do we need to fix affordable housing?’ ” Babcock said. “I say ‘yes.’ ”

Babcock — a member of Topeka JUMP, a faith-based organization asking the city government to do more to deal with affordable housing problems — told city officials she felt pleased they were considering establishing a process through which a housing trust fund the city maintains could be used to target dollars toward affordable housing.

These are the 7 firms the city is considering for a racial bias study of the Charleston Police Department

May 31, 2018. Charleston City Paper.

The city of Charleston is forging ahead with a planned study of the the city’s policing tactics and whether or not they disproportionally affect African-American and minority citizens.

So far, eight consulting firms have responded to a request for proposal published by the city on May 1, according to city spokesperson Chloe Field. One of them, the Maryland-based firm Cook Ross, submitted a courtesy letter stating they were not interested in the contract.

At forum, public demands separate ballot question for behavioral health campus, services

May 30, 2018. Lawrence Journal-World.

At a public forum Wednesday, voters asked county leaders to end any plans to expand the county jail, as well as to pose a new ballot question that would only fund mental health and substance abuse needs.

The forum drew about 500 people Wednesday evening to Building 21 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. County commissioners scheduled it earlier this month after voters defeated Proposition 1, which, if it had passed, would have authorized a countywide half-cent sales tax to fund a $44 million jail expansion, an $11 million behavioral health campus and $5.1 million in additional behavioral health services.

Proposition 1 foes will urge county to move forward with behavioral health campus, hire consultant to review criminal justice system

May 23, 2018. Lawrence Journal-World.

A week after county voters rejected Proposition 1, two key groups in the fight against the referendum said they’ll push the county to move ahead with the ballot question’s behavioral health components while bringing in outside expertise to review the county’s criminal justice system.

The demands from the faith-based activist group Justice Matters and the social justice advocacy organization Kansas Appleseed are not new. The Jail No coalition, which consisted of those two groups, the Douglas County chapter of the NAACP and the taxpayer watchdog group Lawrence Sunset Alliance, made similar demands while it campaigned against Proposition 1.