Kansas' open meetings law turned out to be not as open as most thought. Congressman Kevin Yoder got in hot water for skinny-dipping. Those and other top stories of the week on KCUR's Saturday News Review.
Akin Won't Quit Senate Race
Once again, on Friday, Congressman Todd Akin announces he will not drop out of the Senatorial race against Claire McCaskill. Akin told a group of reporters in St. Louis that the matter of his candidacy was determined by the outcome of the Missouri Republican primary and he intended to stay in the race and win.
Akin had drawn heavy criticism since his comment weekend that “legitimate rape” rarely resulted in pregnancy because a woman's body could prevent that. Backlash over the remark prompted many top
Incumbent opponent McCaskill called Akin's remark ignorant and insensitive, but was critical of the party higher-ups who wanted him to quit. McCaskill said it was “kicking sand in the face of those who voted for him in the primary. Many observers said she wants Akin in the race because he is the Republican who is easiest to beat.
Akin just won't throw in the towel, despite polls showing the backlash was affecting other key races... and even had Mitt Romney trailing President Obama in very Republican Missouri. National GOP committees have pulled millions of dollars from his campaign.
Yoder Swims Naked In Sea Of Galilee
It was the same week Kansas Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder faced the bare facts about a late night skinny-dip he took in the Sea of Galilee. Yoder said he had been drinking wine, but was not drunk. He said it was more of a spontaneous thing because the Sea of Galilee is such a special place and he somehow :wanted to be a part” of that.
Yoder is unopposed in November. He apologized to constituents for embarrassing them.
Satisfaction Numbers Up For Kansas City, MO
Kansas City's city council got a citizen satisfaction survey showing improved ratings. The most improved was the public impression of quality of “leadership at City Hall” under the new mayor and council. Satisfaction with emergency services also continued among the highest. The number one priority for those who responded was maintenance of streets, buildings and facilities. It was also the one that produced the most dissatisfaction.
Only Judges Retirement Age Goes to City Ballot
After advertising executives threatened to go to court if the city passed a proposed revenue tax on billboards, a city council committee to backed off on the tax, which was to go toward billboard ordinance enforcement. But a compromise billboard permit fee idea that was substituted sparked the longest floor debate yet for the current Kansas City city council.
The billboard measure will not go to the voters in November. Neither will an initiative barring any additional city incentives for nuclear weapons manufacturers. But the council did put raising the retirement age for judges on the ballot.
Repayment Ruling For Charter Schools Reversed
An appeals court reversed a lower court's ruling that charter schools had to chip in on the Kansas City school district's bond indebtedness costs. Thy had been ordered to refund a total of around $6 million. Doug Thaman, executive director of the Missouri Charter School Association explained that no money will change hands. It just means the charter schools don't have to send any back. He also said the legal battle has cost all the districts a lot of money, and that it is “time to return their attention to the business of educating the children.”
No Sunshine Citations, But Law Is Flawed
A Kansas District Attorney finished his investigation of meetings Governor Sam Brownback had with Legislators... and found they violated the Sunshine law... but out of ignorance, not intent. The Kansas Press Association's executive director, Doug Anstaett expressed disappointed that the law was broken but only mild reprimands resulted.
The investigation also revealed that in Kansas, legislators are required to give notice of meetings only to persons who have requested notification in advance. Attorneys said the discovery of that will curtail investigations under the law in the future because persons and organizations that did not file the advance requests cannot file complaints.