My recent Email. Click here to read the following message as a Web page.
Friday, February 4, 2011
The Citizen, Kansas City: "We are a much-needed balance to the regional media landscape and a provocateur. We are not passive -- nor should you be."
The 1st edition: Available online and in print
A great new source for news just arrived in the Greater Kansas City area: The Citizen, a monthly print newspaper that will be distributed at many of the same places where you will find papers suchasInk or The Pitch or The Metro Voice. An estimated 35,000 Kansas Citians will read the print edition.
You can read all the articles at the great-looking Web site: KC.Citizen-Publications.com.
KCPT's Nick Haines (right) talks about The Citizen on this weekend's "Kansas City Week in Review." Click here to watch "Week in Review" atKCPT's Web site (scroll about 23 minutes into the show).
If you want to see exactly what the print edition looks like,click here or on the image at right to view a PDF version of "the real thing." You can "right click" and choose "save as" to download the document to your computer.
Its mission, from the "About" page:
- The Citizen provides news, opinion and a voice for readerscommitted to liberty and freedom.
- We are a much-needed balance to the regional media landscape and a provocateur. We are not passive - nor should you be.
- We think for ourselves and understand that independencecarries responsibility - to help create a more educated, more active civic conversation. We want our readers to read, to learn, and, ultimately, to act.
- Finally, we report using all the facts available, but we don't stop there. We intend to motivate our readers and our electedofficials to action. We are in this to change things.
I encourage you to connect with The Citizen on Facebook by clicking here or on the image at right.
In this edition of The Citizen, I've written a column about the newly-formed Johnson County Charter Commission (think of the county charter as a Constitution for Johnson County). You can click here to read the column online.
Here is part of my column:
"Thirteen people may dramatically shape a county of 550,000 residents in the coming months. Thirteen is amajority of 25, the number of people on the Johnson CountyCharter Commission, which begins to meet in February.
The county charter - think of it as a constitution for the county - was put into effect by voters in 2000. A 25-member Charter Commission is legally required to meet every 10 years. After a series of public meetings, the group can vote on virtually any idea. Charter amendments approved by amajority vote are placed on the ballot - in this case,November 2012.
The commission is a mixed bag for taxpayers, with a lot ofpotential, both good and bad. Among policy-makers andpoliticians - I've been one - there's a common tendency "to do things for the voters," whether these things need to be done or not. I doubt this group will choose to keep the charter exactly how it is today.
The question, then: Will charter changes make county government more accountable to voters?
Good news: My understanding is that all Charter Commissionmeetings are subject to the provisions of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. Also, the commission is required to hold at least one publichearing to receive input from citizens. Contact the Johnson Countygovernment at 913-715-0450 for constituent services."
Hodge's goals at Johnson County Community College:
- Protect free speech and other student rights, including privacy rights.
- Change the election format to seven districts, from the current at-large method. State law allows community colleges to choose their methods of election. It merely takes a majority vote by the seven-member board to change to seven districts (six districts and one at-large). This would provide for better representation for voters in this populous county.
- Restore the college's regional and national reputation.
- Open budgets and open bidding. This is the taxpayers' college and the taxpayers' money.
What Others Are Saying About Hodge
"We applaud you..." -- Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a national First Amendment rights group
"Mr. Hodge, thanks for being on the right side..." -- Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor"
"Hats go off to Ben Hodge for having the courage to not back down in the face of elitist criticisms and for pressing forward." -- Regional editorial news site " Kaw and Border "
A "Champion of the Taxpayer" -- Americans for Prosperity
"Good job, Ben Hodge...." -- Kansas City Star editorial board member Yael Abouhalkah, after HodgechallengedJCCC's leadership on following the state open meetings laws
"A first-class political mind." -- Johnson County Commissioner Michael Ashcraft, 5th District
A "champion of open meetings and open records" and "committed to transparency" -- Gardner News editorial board
"Benjamin Hodge deserves support" -- former JCCC employee Tammy Clem
A "Pro-jobs Legislator" -- Kansas Chamber of Commerce
"Every governing body from top to bottom needs at least one member who will stand up for the taxpayers, and Benjamin Hodge is that person [at JCCC]." -- The Gardner News editorial board
91% Lifetime Rating -- Kansas Taxpayers Network
Hodge served a four-year term on the JCCC Board after receiving in April 2005 what remains a record high total number of votes for the community college election. 2005 was the year in which the typical 10% voter turnout in April elections expanded to 30%, and on the ballot were the state-wide marriage amendment and Overland Park Mayor's election (without former Mayor Ed Eilert, for the first time in 25 years). He narrowly lost re-election in 2009, when the voter turnout was 9.4%. Hodge has also served in the Kansas House of Representatives and as a delegate to the state Kansas Republican Party.
Hodge graduated from Shawnee Mission East high school, Kansas State University, and has completed the Master's Degree in Business program at UMKC. You can learn more about Hodge at the "Background" section of his Web site.
You're encouraged to connect with Hodge online:
- On Facebook, at either his personal page or his political page.
- On Twitter.
- At the Johnson County section of the national site RedCounty.com,
- Or at KansasProgress.com.
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters,the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Kansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).