Editorials

2010 in editorials

Here is a look back at 2010 with excerpts from some of The Wichita Eagle's editorials:

Arena's debut — With all due respect to Brad Paisley, Jan. 9 was not just "another American Saturday night" for Wichita. It was the night when, with Paisley's high-spirited help, Sedgwick County finally opened its long-sought downtown arena. Five years after Sedgwick County voters approved the 30-month arena sales tax and two years after that tax finished raising $206.5 million — yes, a new tax actually went away — the time at last had arrived for the inaugural concert at the Intrust Bank Arena. (Jan. 13)

George Fahnestock — For so many causes over so many years, George Fahnestock was the fearless, enthusiastic guy who could lead the way and get it done. In the wake of his death, it's hard not to wonder what civic improvements Wichita might miss in the future without Fahnestock around to dream them up and pull them off. (Jan. 17)

Scott Roeder — Good people on either side of the abortion debate should be able to agree that Scott Roeder wasn't serving God when he murdered George Tiller, but rather playing God. That's why a jury swiftly convicted Roeder of first-degree murder and other charges and why Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert gave him the harshest sentence available — a Hard 50, meaning 52 years before he has a chance of parole. (April 2)

Statewide smoking ban — The absurd, hypocritical exemption for state-owned casinos needs to go next session. But it was time for Kansas to join the states that protect the quality of the indoor air we share against the proven health threat of secondhand smoke. Proponents didn't take several years of inaction for an answer, and public health finally won. (April 4)

Sales-tax hike — The majority of legislators ultimately understood what the GOP House leadership, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and others did not — that $1 billion in cuts over the past two years was enough, making Gov. Mark Parkinson's proposed temporary sales-tax hike the best of the bad budget options. (May 12)

KU ticket scandal — Nothing feeds greed and invites wrongdoing like success. And in Kansas, few things have been as successful for as long as the University of Kansas men's basketball program, which recently had some top-ranked company from KU's football program. That explains why a handful of people within the KU athletic department were motivated to allegedly skim millions of dollars worth of tickets from 2005 into 2010. Greater transparency, along with better accounting and oversight, will be crucial to recovering from this scandal. Too bad they weren't in place to prevent it. (May 28)

Downtown plan — Boarded-up storefronts and deserted sidewalks do not say, "Welcome to a community that cares about its identity, quality of life and future." They make people and businesses say, "Let's get out of here." The downtown master plan can work. With the right leadership, it will work. (June 20)

Tiahrt vs. Moran — As if there were no real issues to talk about, the GOP primary races in Kansas for U.S. Senate and Congress have turned into ugly slugfests. It's especially disappointing in the cases of Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, and Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, both seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. (July 13)

No strike — When Machinists union members rejected Cessna Aircraft's contract but fell short of approving a strike, the broader community escaped what would have been a painful blow to an already ailing economy. Avoiding a strike keeps workers and union leadership off the picket lines and allows them to be key partners in charting the company's future. (Sept. 21)

More layoffs — Just as the community seems to catch a break, it takes another blow. It will be painful to see another 1,050 families (of Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft workers) go through the stress, worry and instability of joblessness. (Sept. 26)

Louisiana beckons — Louisiana reportedly has raised its offer from $100 million to $400 million in an effort to attract not just one of Hawker Beechcraft's product lines but all of its operations and jobs. The response from Wichita and Kansas to Baton Rouge and Louisiana must be unequivocal: You can't have them. (Oct. 5)

Incentive mania — With the downtown master plan forecasting the need for at least $100 million in public investment, the city must ensure its use of special taxing districts is strategic, fair, farsighted and defensible. Because the Legislature has made the methods available to the city, developers will keep asking for them. But that doesn't mean it's in the best interest of the public for the City Council to keep saying "yes." (Oct. 10)

Fallen soldier — As Kansans keep the family of Army Spc. Tom Moffitt in their thoughts and prayers, we should commit to remembering and helping all our service members and their loved ones. The nation may no longer give war its undivided attention, but we do our military men and women a great disservice if we become so accustomed to war that we take our war fighters and their sacrifice for granted. (Oct. 29)

GOP sweep — As Kansas Republicans claimed all the statewide offices and congressional seats, and made dramatic gains in the Kansas House, they appeared to put a stake through the state's famous "three-party system" of conservative Republicans, moderate Republicans and Democrats. There is one big, happy conservative Kansas GOP now, led by Gov.-elect Sam Brownback, and it has complete control of the state's agenda. Kansas is counting on its success. The sweeping mandate presents Republicans with a remarkable opportunity to not only promote conservative principles but to live and govern according to them. (Nov. 7)

Schools suit — School funding is best handled by the Legislature and local districts, not by lawyers and judges. So it was depressing to see the 63 districts in the Schools for Fair Funding group, including Wichita, file suit against the state in Shawnee County. (Nov. 11)

Trash plan — Wichita City Manager Robert Layton is on the right track with his trash-collection proposal, except for one key component: price. Wichitans would still pay too much for trash collection. As proposed, homeowners would continue to throw away money along with their trash. (Nov. 28)

Coal plant — For those who still believe compromise is a virtue, the state's issuance of an air-quality permit for a 895-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Holcomb came as a long-awaited relief. After four years of paralyzing political fights in Topeka, the state at last is on a path to help ensure its future baseline electricity needs are met — and in a way that tries to address some environmental concerns while serving the need for rural economic development. (Dec. 19)

Hawker deal — Wichita could finally exhale upon learning that a $45 million incentives deal would keep Hawker Beechcraft and at least 4,000 jobs in its hometown for another decade. It was a wonderful surprise, especially as the community gets ready to welcome Christmas and a new year. (Dec. 22)

  Comments