Opinion Columns & Blogs

April 21, 2013

Rod Stewart: City Council should keep up the good work

I read with dismay the article about last week’s Wichita City Council meeting (“Tempers flare at council vote on hotel financing,” April 17 Local & State).

I read with dismay the article about last week’s Wichita City Council meeting (“Tempers flare at council vote on hotel financing,” April 17 Local & State).

I have been involved in our city’s government to a greater or lesser degree for nearly 38 years. I have served as “kitchen cabinet” for many of our elected council members and on what seems like an endless series of boards, commissions, ad hoc task forces and outright formal appointments to both executive and advisory bodies. I have also been active in raising campaign contributions for many elected officeholders and a few unsuccessful candidates, and have lobbied for different organizations.

Never in all those long years of service and involvement have I seen what amounts to any scandal involving favoritism or cronyism on behalf of elected officials.

Wichita is a medium-sized city, and the number of citizens willing to involve themselves in its elections and governance is actually quite small. Even so, there is more than enough competition in the marketplace of ideas and actual competition for appointments, awards and work.

We are blessed with citizens who exercise their First Amendment right of free speech and give voice to those rights by choosing to make very limited campaign contributions to our civic election campaigns. Just how much influence is $500 per person per election supposed to buy?

I am sick to death of the constant carping of those groups and individuals who are against everything the council or the government tries to do to better Wichita.

Yes, they too have a right to be heard, but they abuse their privileges and subject our leaders and all the rest of our citizens to the same line of political drivel week after week. It doesn’t matter whether it is the new airport terminal, Intrust Bank Arena, the Hyatt Regency Wichita, the riverbank improvements, downtown redevelopment, Waterwalk or the Ambassador Hotel. They’re against it.

Nothing makes me more upset than their accusations of favoritism and cronyism leveled against council members who serve at such a financial sacrifice. Please remember that these constant critics do not represent the vast majority of our citizenry. They are the loud, vocal minority we pay far too much attention to just because they make so much noise.

The Eagle, starved for controversy to write about, should ignore these ideological dissenting voices except on very rare occasions. They are not worth the time it takes to listen to their rantings.

I am certain I speak for most in encouraging our leaders to keep up the good work. All of them are doing good work for Wichita, our government and our area.

Any astute observer can see the progress our city has made in the past five years. I constantly have friends of business acquaintances, relatives and other visitors who admire what we have built – no thanks to those who only complain, undertake “witch hunts” and find fault.

The proof is truly in the pudding, and Wichita is much better under the stewardship of our present leadership. Keep up the good work.

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