2014 in editorials


Here is a look back at 2014 with excerpts from some of The Wichita Eagle’s editorials:

Stolen ring – Good work, Wichita Police Department, in making arrests in the shocking crime in which a wedding ring was stolen off a dying woman. And thanks especially to whoever passed along the tip that led to the arrests. (Jan. 8)

Farm bill – Five of the six members of the Kansas delegation just voted against a farm bill – a stunning abdication of leadership in a state in which agriculture is 25 percent of the economy. Only Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., voted Tuesday for the $956.4 billion, five-year farm bill. (Feb. 5)

Religious freedom bill – Though officially “concerning religious freedoms with respect to marriage,” House Bill 2453 sure looks like a license for governmental employees as well as businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples. Kansas doesn’t need such mean-spirited legislation. (Feb. 11)

WSU – The men’s basketball team is receiving a lot of national media attention – and deservedly so. But WSU’s success isn’t just on the court. The university as a whole is rising like Tekele Cotton going to the rim. (Feb. 28)

Ike airport – The Wichita City Council should act Tuesday to rename Wichita Mid-Continent Airport after Dwight D. Eisenhower, timed to the 2015 opening of the $101.5 million terminal. It’s a “great idea,” as former Sen. Bob Dole has said, and a fitting way for Kansas’ largest city to honor a Kansan of unparalleled distinction. (March 4)

School ruling – The Kansas Supreme Court’s long-awaited Gannon decision rivaled the school-finance formula for complexity, disappointing districts impatient for a fix and partisans itching for a fight. But Kansans can hope Gov. Sam Brownback and other state leaders will take seriously the court’s 110-page ruling and the responsibility it lays out for them to address the inequities in state K-12 funding between rich and poor districts. (March 9)

Health compact – Kansas senior citizens need to rise up and demand that Gov. Sam Brownback veto a bill that could put the state in charge of Medicare. This bill is not the serious, careful policymaking that is necessary when dealing with the lives and well-being of vulnerable citizens. (April 9)

New bishop – It’s fitting that Carl Kemme is hosting a luncheon at the Lord’s Diner before his ordination Thursday afternoon as the new bishop of Wichita. The diner reflects the humility and service that Kemme plans to emphasize and emulate. (May 1)

Legislature – The session will stand out for how lawmakers and the governor used a Supreme Court order on school-funding equity as an excuse to take away teachers’ rights to challenge their termination and to force passage of unvetted ideological education policy reforms. As reflected in Moody’s Investors Service’s decision last week to downgrade Kansas’ credit rating, 2014 also may be fondly remembered as the last time Kansas had the money to pay its bills. (May 6)

Boys ranch – If only the 53-year-old Judge James V. Riddel Boys Ranch at Lake Afton inspired as much political will as it does praise. That high regard makes its imminent closure all the more tragic, especially because there are no reassuring answers for what will happen to the young offenders who could benefit from the program next year and beyond. (May 8)

Voting law – With the Aug. 5 primary approaching, the voting rights of more than 18,000 Kansans are snagged on the law requiring proof of citizenship to register as of 2013. Yet Secretary of State Kris Kobach acts as if all is well. As for the governor, attorney general and legislative leaders – cue the crickets. (June 26)

Carrs’ case – The Kansas Supreme Court’s decision overturning the death sentences for Reginald and Jonathan Carr was a tough reminder that the justices’ job is not to be popular but to hold lower courts accountable – a responsibility at its most serious when the issue before the high court is whether the state should end somebody’s life. (July 29)

Former chief – Trust in the police must start at the top. So it was alarming to learn last week, after the fact, that then-Police Chief Norman Williams was on a list of police personnel who could have credibility issues should they be called to testify in criminal cases. (Sept. 14)

GOP wins – Though the mud slung getting to Tuesday disqualifies the use of the word “clean,” the Kansas Republican Party again pulled off a sweep of the state’s major races. Even Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Pat Roberts prevailed, after unexpectedly difficult campaigns that had people across the country wondering what was going on in our reliably red state. (Nov. 5)

Sales tax loss – So that’s that – Wichita voters overwhelmingly nixed a citywide 1 percent sales tax for water, buses, streets and economic development Tuesday. Except that can’t be the end of it, because the needs aren’t going away. (Nov. 5)

Budget truth – During this past election, Gov. Sam Brownback told Kansans that job growth would prevent budget shortfalls. Less than a week after the election, new official revenue estimates exposed the ugly truth: The state needs to cut at least $280 million in planned spending before next July, and it could need an additional $436 million in spending reductions or revenue increases next fiscal year. (Nov. 12)

Same-sex marriage – Though confusion persists, along with denial, Kansas became the 33rd state with marriage equality on Thursday and Sedgwick County one of the first counties issuing marriage licenses. The result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s move Wednesday to lift the hold on same-sex marriages in Kansas, the historic change can be celebrated as an expansion of rights in the state. (Nov. 14)

Police body cameras – By planning to have body cameras on every police officer by the end of 2015, City Hall is showing that it’s listening to citizens and stepping up accountability. It’s also trying to avoid a Ferguson-style conflagration – something no one wants for Wichita. (Nov. 16)

Park attack – A heinous crime turned even more tragic Saturday when Letitia Davis died. Wichitans’ thoughts and prayers go to her family and friends. Wichita is a lesser city because of Davis’ death. (Nov. 25)

Earthquakes – The earthquakes that had been a fun curiosity turned serious for many at precisely 3:40 p.m. Nov. 12, when a magnitude-4.8 quake centered near Conway Springs gave the Wichita area a major shaking. Gov. Sam Brownback’s appropriate initial responses to this unsettling phenomenon, including a task force and better monitoring, should lead to more attention and perhaps action at the Statehouse but also regionally. (Dec. 3)

Budget cuts – The announced $280 million in allotments signal quite a change from the “sun is shining” theme of the governor’s successful re-election campaign. And these are not the “efficiencies” that budget director Shawn Sullivan had insisted would fix the state’s finances. Many are real cuts that will undermine legislative commitments as they affect programs and personnel. (Dec. 10)

Koch gift to WSU – Talk about a formidable partnership – the generosity of Koch Industries and its founding family, and the expansive vision of Wichita State University president John Bardo. The result is the largest single-time gift in WSU history, announced Tuesday, and an unprecedented boost to the university’s entrepreneurial spirit. (Dec. 17)