Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten's Jokes Draw Critics

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten's jokes at Monday's (4/23) State of the Community address are drawing critics.

Bunten told a number of jokes in his speech, as he usually does, but this time, Topeka attorney Pedro Irigonegaray says Bunten should apologize. Irigonegaray called the jokes inappropriate, and said they don't help Topeka move forward.

In one joke, Bunten was referencing Commission Chairman Ted Ensley's graduation date. He said the woman Ensley dated must have been a great magician, because she told him she charged $25 per trick.

Bunten also joked about Ensley dating a Native American. He said every time the two danced, it would start raining.

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Bunten and Shawnee County Commission Chair Ted Ensley joined a who's who of community leaders for the state of the community address. Bunten and Ensley both took the podium, looking back at the last year in the Capital City, and looking forward to more growth.

Bunten says he's happy with the Capital City's progress, that the Topeka City Council is working to make Topeka safe, attractive, and growing responsibly.

"All the bills are paid and there's money in the bank, so we're in good shape," Bunten said.

Bunten cited major projects in the works, such as a 10-year, $135-million program to repair more than two-thousand lane miles of city streets, and the effort to grow the NOTO Arts District, and revitalize downtown.

To improve the city, Bunten called for an expanded police force, and said the city should consider curfews in high-crime areas.

Ensley chose to tell the county's story in a video, produced in part by WIBW-TV. He says it shows how county offices are connected and how they work together.

"I think it's an excellent opportunity for all of us to sit down together once a year to talk to each other in a meaningful way, and that's what this day is all about," Ensley said.

"There's always opportunities to work together on a number of things, particularly in the area of economic development," Bunten said.


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