This district covers a wide swath of central-west Wichita. The seat is open; incumbent Janet Miller cannot run again because of term limits. Only residents of this district can vote on this race.
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Occupation: Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning & Professor of Marketing, Wichita State University
Education: Bachelors of Business Administration, Wichita State University; Masters of Business Administration, Wichita State University; Ph.D. in Marketing, Oklahoma State University
Political experience: Have not held political office
Community involvement: Park Board President; Chair of Downtown Wichita board of directors; board member for Botanica, District Advisory Board 6, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Wichita Partnership, Wichita State University Alumni Association; Past: Wichita Bicycle Master Plan Steering Committee; City of Wichita Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces Technical Advisory Group; Clean Air Wichita Campaign co-chair
How long lived in district: Over 13 Years
Occupation: Once nurses aide, medical assistant, waitress, homemaker, teacher, latchkey worker
Education: North High
Political experience: None
Community involvement: Safety patrol, PTO, PTA
How long lived in district: Since 1984
Why are you the most qualified candidate?
Cindy Claycomb: I’m at a place in my career where my skills & experience can make a difference in moving Wichita forward. My background encompasses business, education & community service. I worked in industry for over a decade & at Wichita State University for over 20 years (Marketing Professor; Interim Dean, Barton School of Business; Director, WSU Ventures; Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning).
Sybil Strum: I can make better deals than do now. And I will help the disabled, mentally challenged, veterans, military, poor, homeless, working class and so forth.
What do you see as the city’s role in creating and retaining jobs?
Cindy Claycomb: Support programs that 1) ensure talent/workforce development at Wichita State University, Wichita Area Technical College, & other regional colleges/universities to create a pipeline of workers for expansion/location of companies in Wichita; 2) improve the ease of doing business for small businesses; 3) encourage the efforts of regional entrepreneurs, including the growing makerspace community.
Sybil Strum: I would ask the employers to hire persons that are qualified and give them high wages, health benefits and stocks.
What, if anything, do you think needs to be done to strengthen the city's industrial base and how would you go about that?
Cindy Claycomb: Support the industry clusters identified in the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG) to ensure innovation in the region. Support the Wichita-South Central Kansas Regional Export Plan to bring about national & global export trade. Collaborate with County elected officials to provide infrastructure for economic vitality of the region.
Sybil Strum: Well, we need check the way the running the factories and the safety of the places and also give health benefits and let them have stock and safety. Pay their wages.
Most pressing issue
What is the most pressing issue for the city and what do you think city leaders should do about it?
Cindy Claycomb: The budget is the most pressing issue. City revenues are decreasing because we are relying on 20th century revenues to fund 21st century services (City Manager Layton). Online purchases reduce sales tax revenues, the shift to cell phones reduces landline franchise fees & cord cutting reduces cable TV franchise fees. We must grow a larger tax base to fund the services residents & visitors expect.
Sybil Strum: They should listen to persons, not theirselves. And also, it’s not their money, it’s taxpayers’. And also they need quit buying things they need not have.
Top district issue
What is the most pressing issue in your district, and how would you address it?
Cindy Claycomb: Lack of resources to provide all the services citizens desire is the most pressing issue in District 6. We must grow jobs to expand the tax base to fund the services residents need & want. To grow jobs we must support programs that ensure talent/workforce development to create a pipeline of workers for expansion/location of companies in Wichita & encourage the efforts of regional entrepreneurs.
Sybil Strum: Well, I would tell them that the business pay their own way, their own safety, their own grounds. Stop using taxpayer for frivilous things. They should pay their own things, not ask the taxpayers. Help veterans, miltary, working class and so forth.
Proposed tax increase
What do you think of the proposal to increase the property tax mill levy to pay for more police officers? How would you vote on it in next year's budget?
Cindy Claycomb: Public safety is of prime importance to the sustainability/viability of any city. In general, Wichita Police Department staffing levels are the same as 10 years ago, even though Wichita’s needs have changed. Time available for officers to spend on proactive activities (community engagement, problem solving) is below national targets. I would vote to increase funding through some funding mechanism.
Sybil Strum: I am against because I pay my property. No the police don’t need a lot of money. I would say no to both of these issues. We don’t need that library.
What should the city do about Century II?
Cindy Claycomb: Hold public engagement sessions to physically show the public the problems with Century II. Engage problem solvers in the community (e.g., engineers, artists, architects) to determine the best way to solve the problems with Century II faced by performing arts groups & the convention business, recognizing that the answer may be to renovate or replace the existing structure.
Sybil Strum: Keep it. Don’t touch Century II because it’s historical. And it’s everyone’s Century II.
Managing Century II
Do you favor keeping the managing of Century II (or a replacement facility) as a government responsibility, or would you favor privatizing the operation as Sedgwick County has done with the Intrust Bank Arena?
Cindy Claycomb: I would be open to exploring privatizing the operation of Century II (or a replacement facility). I would need specific details of an agreement before I could make this decision.
Sybil Strum: I was against the Intrust Arena and voted against it! And I think the persons running should pay for it not taxpayers. After all, they pay for tickets and at the arena it is expensive, so is Century II. Parking is hard to do. And getting food is expensive.
The city has spent millions of dollars on redeveloping downtown. How do you see the balance of spending between downtown and outlying areas? Is too much going downtown, not enough, or about the right amount?
Cindy Claycomb: According to the Wichita Downtown Development Corp., since the adoption of Project Downtown, over 80% of downtown investment was made by the private sector. In 2017, the sale of a downtown investment – $20 million sale of the Hyatt Hotel – resulted in funds being spent on Wichita’s outlying areas for quality of life items such as roads, parks & neighborhood programs. Downtown Investments benefit all.
Sybil Strum: Yes, because in the other areas, they don’t have stores, grocery stores and laundry places, hospitals and other places for everyone to go. Need more parks and restrooms at the parks. And make them pay for their own.
What do you think about the city's plans for Naftzger Park? What would you advocate doing there?
Cindy Claycomb: I am in favor of the city’s plans to redesign Naftzger Park. I advocate an urban park that is welcoming & inviting for all Wichita residents & visitors to enjoy.
Sybil Strum: Well I think okay as long as they use their money instead of taxpayers’.
The talk of redeveloping Naftzger Park has highlighted the city's homeless problem. Is it the city's role to provide a safe and reasonably comfortable place during the day? Why or why not? If yes, what would you do as a council member to provide such a place?
Cindy Claycomb: The city’s role is to partner with local non-profits who serve individuals experiencing homelessness. The city should continue providing police officers, dedicated to helping homeless people find services such as shelter, housing, jobs, transportation & funding the Housing First program that houses chronically homeless people in their own apartments, at no charge until they have income.
Sybil Strum: Yes, because they have to be responsible for the homeless by making places for them to go. Such as Option house, Open Door, Interfaith Ministry, Lord’s Diner, Catholic Social Services and other places made safe for them.
What is the current state of relations between your district's community and the Wichita Police Department? And what do you see as your role in that relationship as a council member?
Cindy Claycomb: Generally there is a good relationship between District 6’s residents & the Police Department. The police regularly attend neighborhood meetings & District Advisory Board monthly meetings. My role is to maintain a good working relationship with police, ensure that citizens know how to contact community policing & beat officers & assist citizens when they have questions about the Police Department.
Sybil Strum: Well, I don’t get along with some. And some police won’t do their job.
Do you think your district receives its fair share of city funding? If not, how would you propose to change that?
Cindy Claycomb: I think it is bad policy to pit districts against each other. We need to grow the pie rather than redirect funds from one district to another.
Sybil Strum: Well, no we don’t get as much. But that clock in Delano is a nuisance. It’s almost caused accidents. Big lights are just plain dumb, and the library, we didn’t need that. Because of safety issues.
With some pools having closed this year and others due to close next year, what is your overall view for the future of the city aquatics program and how would you intend to affect the system as a council member?
Cindy Claycomb: The decision has been made to close some pools. We need to ensure that we get the best replacement facilities we can within the budget allocated.
Sybil Strum: Well, not good. Because we need pools opened. Because they bring in money, and all peoples can enjoy the pools. Yes I would get them all opened. Being in sprinklers isn’t good.
Do you favor restoring the existing McAdams Park pool, replacing the pool with another in the northeast Wichita community, or replacing McAdams with a "splash pad" for children to play in?
Cindy Claycomb: I am in favor of renovating the existing McAdams Park pool or replacing it with another pool in the northeast Wichita community. I want to listen to the community to see where it makes sense to locate a pool in northeast Wichita.
Sybil Strum: I think McAdams the pool not a splash pad. Charge people the amount they can pay.
How would you address problems with blight and abandoned and/or dilapidated housing in your district?
Cindy Claycomb: I would take measures to ensure that neighborhood inspectors are working with property owners to address problems with blight & dilapidated housing. We need to assist people in finding ways to eliminate blight. I support efforts for the State of Kansas to allow cities more freedom in addressing these problems.
Sybil Strum: Well, I think the housing authority can give grants to owners to have help fixing up instead of tearing down.
Is your district adequately served by public transit? If not, what would you propose to improve it?
Cindy Claycomb: No district in Wichita is adequately served by public transit. The buses don’t operate late enough in the evenings or long enough on the weekends. People who need transit the most need access for work during evenings & weekends. Funds from the sale of the Hyatt are being invested to reinvent transit. I will listen to the community and study the findings from the additional investment.
Sybil Strum: No, I am dissatisfied with busing and some of their people who cause the riders misery. They are never on time and the prices are unbearable.
What other priorities do you have and how would you address them?
Cindy Claycomb: Strong local economy – support business growth & new, good paying jobs; neighborhood vitality – ensure citizens’ voices are heard on issues of concern to them; quality of life initiatives – support parks, recreation, arts, culture & vibrant core initiatives that attract & retain Wichitans.
Please state, in detail, your position on open records, open meetings and transparency in government.
Cindy Claycomb: I support open records, open meetings & transparency in government.
Sybil Strum: I think they should have open records and also open meetings and communicate better about having in the evenings. Some persons can’t attend the meetings because they’re at work.