Letters to the Editor

Letters on Bill Buchanan, city and county governments, WSU parking, Brownback, needy, drivers


Better for having known Buchanan

Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanan is retiring, and I am full of joy at his next journey with his wife, Lynn. But I certainly have an element of sadness for the loss to the Sedgwick County organization and community.

Buchanan has been a rock-solid champion of professional local government, organizational development and stability, and the core values that he often articulates and has infused into everything the county does.

I have had the privilege to work closely with him, observe his aptitude to lead in good times and bad, and see up close his abilities to recruit, coach and empower good people to give their best to local government service. He defines and embodies the fact that government can work for the people, be responsible with taxpayer money, and “deliver democracy” every day, as he often says.

Buchanan will be missed at the county, but the residual effects of his leadership – both at the county level and the international level, where he served as president of the International City/County Management Association – will linger for years to come. His presence and ability to network and connect was a strength that made him so effective in his life’s work.

I will miss Buchanan in my day-to-day work life as a Sedgwick County commissioner. I am better for having known him, worked with him and called him friend.

Commissioner TIM NORTON


Maintain course

Work together on jobs” (May 24 Eagle Editorial) was far too narrow and focused against the new leadership of the Sedgwick County Commission. There is no “us-versus-them” philosophy. The two main governing bodies in Sedgwick County are pursuing different philosophies of government: The new county leadership is practicing free-market capitalism, and the Wichita City Council is practicing state-capitalism. Neither should be considered a personal insult to the parties.

The county leadership is engaged in fiscal responsibility by controlling expenses and working within the budget. This causes discontent when the current system is challenged and the new leadership “goes its own way.” The free-market capitalism was exemplified when Commissioners Richard Ranzau and Karl Peterjohn disagreed with the staff’s recommendation to sell a cellphone tower in a no-bid contract. The county opened the asset to bids, and it received substantially more for the asset.

The City Council, which has been essentially the same for eight years, practices a philosophy of government-private partnership with no-bid contracts. An example of this practice was the leasing of the west bank for $1 a year. The same system was in place with the county before the new leadership.

The county leaders should continue the responsible course they are pursuing. The city and private sector may consider this a “slap,” but a new course is appropriate. State-capitalism has given us an inadequate water system, streets in need of repair, an inefficient bus system, a loss of substantial jobs, and the usual cry for more taxes.



Running amok

Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanan told a local GOP group that you can’t run government like a business (May 23 Local & State). Well, I can’t recall in my 54 years a time when Sedgwick County has run more amok than lately.

The county threatens to withhold funding on key road and infrastructure projects every time a Wichita City Council member hurts its feelings – like a spoiled child. Frankly, I feel that the county manager should thank his lucky stars that the city of Wichita sits in Sedgwick County.

It’s time for this county to stop its divisive tactics and work with the city.



Out of WSU loop

The ultimate relationship killer is bad communication. And that includes colleges.

Wichita State University made the decision to cut off the 24-hour shuttle transportation from its Shocker Hall dormitory (May 31 Eagle). Instead, it is letting students living there park on campus, if they pay for the $120 parking pass. All of that is good and fine, but why wasn’t the student body president told of the decision?

Joseph Shepard, student body president to more than 15,000 students, was left completely out of the loop. “I wasn’t brought to the table. I do not understand what’s going on here,” Shepard said.

Though Shepard may not have been able to change the decision, he might have been able to offer warning to the residents of Shocker Hall that they would now have to shell out extra money for their college experience. What point is a student body president if he is uninformed?

WSU needs to be including its student government in decisions. Even if the leaders only sit back and look pretty, at least they’re informed.



What name?

What is the appropriate name?

Consider someone who has done the following:

Provided leadership to pass the unfair tax to supposedly help the job creators (who haven’t created many jobs) and refuses to admit the plan isn’t working, forcing the legislators to remain in session extra time and costing the people of the state more than $600,000.

Takes direction from Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Policy Institute, and the Koch brothers rather than his constituents.

Used his influence to not allow levelheaded and fair-minded members of the Legislature to be re-elected.

Presented a confidential copy of his proposed budget to lobbyists before sharing it with the appropriate people.

Worked to decimate public education and discredit educators.

Raided the state highway fund.

Removed venerable members of society from the protected status as state employees.

Refused to expand health insurance to thousands of needy persons.

Seeks control of the state court system because it won’t go along with all his shenanigans.

Should the name be “czar,” “dictator” or “mob boss”? No, unfortunately, in Kansas the title is “governor.”



Public assistance

I stopped at my bank recently, and as I was leaving a woman passing on the sidewalk asked me if I knew where she could get food for her son and herself. I called two churches, with no answer. I told her I would drive to Dillons and buy food.

She was walking home from a job interview at Wendy’s. She got the job and was so happy. My car was packed, so I couldn’t give her a ride.

I got to her house before she did. She walked at least four miles round-trip to apply for and get that job. To the governor, she is obviously one of those lazy people who won’t work.

She told me that her 12-year-old had surgery and is now being dropped off state aid. Because she asked me for food, not money, I don’t think she can sell the oranges, milk, pasta, spaghetti sauce and vegetables I bought and then use the money to buy drugs. I didn’t throw in any lobsters just in case. I must confess – I also included a pound of ground chuck, pudding and multigrain cereal.

What did lobbyists in Topeka feed legislators?



Dangerous driving

My husband and I visited Wichita recently for our annual holiday. Everybody we came into contact with was so nice.

On the occasions we went to restaurants and bars, I was totally amazed at the people drinking alcohol who then got in their cars and drove. Is that legal?

Also, everybody (or so it appears) drives while using a cellphone. Is it legal? I hope not.

I can’t think that it is safe to do so. Why are the authorities not acting now?


Hamilton, Scotland

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