Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on child welfare and the ballpark (March 8, 2019)

Child welfare

As an attorney who has seen Wichita kids’ trauma firsthand, I am deeply concerned by the recent actions of my state representative, Rep. Brenda Landwehr, and my state senator, Sen. Gene Suellentrop.

Our foster care system is in crisis. But my legislators are doing nothing to advance recommendations from the state’s Child Welfare System Task Force. Worse, they are blocking urgently needed services. Two bills introduced this year would have implemented one of the Task Force’s key recommendations – to restore Kansas families’ access to safety net programs.

Rep. Landwehr and Sen. Suellentrop wouldn’t even give those bills a hearing.

In February, Rep. Landwehr also convinced the House Appropriations Committee to eliminate funding requested by the governor for additional child welfare staff and for additional evidence-based prevention programs. The Task Force had recommended both. While arguing for elimination of that funding, Rep. Landwehr insisted she supports more child welfare staff and prevention programs, and she promised several times to restore the eliminated funding once the governor provides additional information about some of the technicalities of the budget request.

As your constituent, Rep. Landwehr, I want you to know I fully expect you to keep those promises. Kids in our foster care system can’t wait any longer.

Kellie Hogan, Wichita

Reject deal

I was appalled to read about the deal that has been negotiated with the New Orleans Baby Cakes. Not only are we building a new stadium for them, we are also going to give them land at $1.00 an acre. Also mentioned earlier was reducing McLean to one lane each way. This is went before the City Council with no prior transparency or public discussion. This is a blatant sweetheart deal tied to yet unnamed local investors.

The City Council should reject this deal and send the Baby Cakes back. The city should control the development around the stadium, not the team owner and unnamed local investors. We could use the future revenue from this land for the benefit of the taxpayers rather than to some fat cats.

I’m sure there is another team that is not as greedy willing to come to Wichita. Construction of the new stadium is already underway. We should not be forced to accept a new team with such a one-sided deal. If the Baby Cakes owner wants to develop the property around the stadium then he should be willing to pay fair market value.

Frank Maczka, Wichita

Kudos to city

Kudos for city leaders hitting a grand slam on bringing AAA baseball back to Wichita. When the rumors circulated back in 2017 about Wichita bringing back AAA baseball, numerous naysayers spoke: no AAA teams looking to move, Wichita will not support big time baseball, stadium will not support AAA, etc. Congratulations to our city leaders for making the unlikely happen. New stadium, big-time baseball and a continued development of the Delano District and downtown Wichita. Exciting stuff.

Fortunately, the opportunity wasn’t turned over to an advisory board, a community group or some other nonbinding committee that as with Century II went extra innings and reached a consensus of “No recommendation.” The baseball opportunity wasn’t going to be available for community vetting, discussions of realigning McLean, how much parking, should the filed be turf or grass, who develops surrounding area, etc. It was an opportunity that was most likely “now or never.” An organization wants to bring big-time AAA baseball to Wichita along with a substantial financial commitment to the community. I do not recall any local investors/developers bringing those options to the table.

So congratulations on your leadership, your vision and most importantly making a decision that will best serve Wichita for decades to come. Back back back, it’s outta here, a grand slam by our city leaders.

Greg Sevier, Wichita