Editorials

No shortage of opinions in 2009

Here is a look back at 2009 with excerpts from some Eagle editorials:

New day in D.C. —The nation's 233-year history had never seen an Inauguration Day quite like Tuesday in the size and diversity of the crowd, the depth of the emotions and the echoes of the past. For the sunny January day at least, petty partisanship stepped aside and unity and optimism took over. (Jan. 21)

Tough time — Wichita is throbbing along with an economy in a world of hurt. That is the Wichita that City Manager Robert Layton will find on his first day on the job Monday. But Layton should also take seriously the Wichita of Mayor Carl Brewer's dreams, and help the mayor and council keep Wichita from falling behind. (Feb. 1)

New superintendent — John Allison is a solid choice for Wichita's new school superintendent and should be a steady, competent hand in guiding USD 259 through the many difficult challenges that lie ahead. One concern about Allison is that he's worked in districts less diverse than Wichita. But he said at the public meetings that the district's job is "to educate all children," and he seems committed to that mandate. (March 4)

Jet bashing — President Obama should accept the Wichita City Council's invitation to tour Wichita's aircraft industry. But if that doesn't fit his schedule, he and members of Congress at least need to stop bad-mouthing business jets. They've done too much damage already. (March 12)

Tiller's trial — It seems likely that George Tiller will remain both in business on East Kellogg and under siege from anti-abortion groups. His "trial of the century," as advertised in the anti-abortion community, was barely a case at all, judging from the testimony of the prosecution's single witness and the jury's quick verdict. In the end, it was clear that Tiller took care to ensure he kept his legal and financial distance from the second physician who signed off on his late-term abortions. (March 31)

Sebelius' new job — After nearly five months of controversies and delays, President Obama at last has his secretary of Health and Human Services. Kathleen Sebelius should be remembered in Kansas for her professionalism as an executive and savvy as a politician in bad times and good. She has served the state with dedication and distinction. (April 29)

Parkinson's turn — It's more than a point of trivia that Kansas' 45th governor is the first to have been born in the state's largest city and the first in 54 years to have been a Wichitan. There is a special pride in seeing someone who grew up in Wichita and graduated from Wichita Heights High School and Wichita State University go on to lead the state. (April 30)

Coal plant deal — The fight over the coal-fired plant expansion near Holcomb had become more about political power than electric power. What a relief to see it find common ground, to the credit of Gov. Mark Parkinson and officials of Sunflower Electric Power Corp. Western Kansas can look forward to the project's construction and operating jobs. Kansans can see an end to both the legislative fight to approve the two plants and to the absurd politicking and lobbying the coal fight had inspired. (May 5)

Tiller murder — Is it too much to hope that people now might learn something from George Tiller's monstrous death and act accordingly? Any chance we can communicate about abortion civilly and productively, in ways that both promote life and respect women? Might we find a path down the middle, and stop casting those who are pro-choice as pro-abortion and those who are anti-abortion as anti-women? Can't we work together to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and support unwed mothers? (June 7)

Health reform — The need to do something big on health care, great as it is, does not justify steamrolling the minority Republicans — and, in the process, setting aside the concerns of the millions of Americans they represent. It will be just as disappointing if Kansas' Republicans in Congress pass up true opportunities to contribute to the debate and finished product. Kansans will have to live with whatever reform emerges, whether or not their lawmakers voted for it. (June 28)

Memorial plan — If the Wichita City Council votes Tuesday to place a Vietnamese-American community memorial on riverfront land just beyond John S. Stevens Veterans Memorial Park, it will be a welcome end to a botched process that bruised feelings as it needlessly called into question love of country, respect for U.S. citizens of Vietnamese descent, and appreciation of the service and sacrifice of U.S. military veterans. Meanwhile, Wichita must resolve to newly treat Veterans Memorial Park as sacred ground that must be maintained, safeguarded, treasured and visited. (July 19)

Near firing — If any Sedgwick County commissioners doubted whether County Manager William Buchanan was valued by the community, they no longer should. Word of his possible dismissal inspired a public outcry, including an e-mail campaign by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. The public and its leading business professionals sent an important message to the commission's leaders. (July 24)

Gitmo closing — Given a choice, most Kansans would probably agree with members of the Kansas congressional delegation that it would be preferable if the Guantanamo Bay detainees went elsewhere. But the fearmongering continues to be over the top. It's time to consign the Gitmo prison — and all it stands for — to America's past. (Aug. 5)

Slain deputy — The community expects its protectors in law enforcement to answer and follow the call for help, to rush toward danger as the rest of us run from it. Because they do their work so well, we have the luxury of thinking too little about the risks that come with it. Then a day comes like Monday, when Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy Brian S. Etheridge lost his life while doing his job. And all we can do is ponder the photo of his smiling face, take in the stories about his bravery and work ethic, ache for his wife and child, and wonder how such a horror could happen. (Sept. 30)

H1N1 virus — A lot of good people are working hard to guide the nation through the H1N1 flu epidemic as safely as possible, from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on down through state and county health departments and school districts. But the outbreak has taxed the public health system, generating questions and complaints as well as — we can hope — lessons for next time. (Oct. 30)

Lord's Diner — What began as polite resistance to the idea of opening a satellite Lord's Diner in central-northeast Wichita had turned defiant in recent days. So it seemed inevitable, if regrettable, when the Lord's Diner dropped its proposal. But the diner's decision still leaves the central-northeast neighborhood with a hunger problem. City and neighborhood leaders should continue to try to work through churches and perhaps other partners to find ways to feed the hungry without undermining the central-northeast area's economic progress. (Nov. 15)

Schools lawsuit — The Kansas Constitution does not say that the state must suitably fund education only when times are good. That said, given that the state's budget is facing a near crisis, it's not helpful for school districts to be threatening another lawsuit at this time. (Nov. 17)

Arena's success — Setting aside the Taylor Swift ticket-sale controversy, it is impressive how many top acts are already booked to perform at the Intrust Bank Arena next year. If you built it, apparently they will come. (Dec. 9)

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