Letters to the Editor

Letters on sales tax vote, Brownback mandate, shortage of game wardens

Leave issues to new mayor, council

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer should not be looking for ways to finance his solutions to Wichita’s problems. The voters overwhelmingly shot down the Wichita City Council plan, and we have an election coming in April. The voters will soon have an opportunity to select a new mayor, based on that mayor’s plan for water, transit, jobs and street maintenance, among other issues.

None of the projects that would have been funded by the failed sales tax increase requires immediate action. The real message behind the “no” vote appears to be completely lost on Brewer. If the voters trusted Brewer and the city to handle these problems, the tax would have passed.

Brewer seems content to ignore calls for increased transparency at City Hall, and for increased transparency in the groups used to organize development in Wichita. This city does not need more plans designed to line the pockets of certain developers and construction firms.

Brewer has been in city government for nearly 14 years. After this stunning defeat, he needs to bow out gracefully rather than use his final days in office to push an unwanted plan on the public.



No mandate

Gov. Sam Brownback’s re-election was no mandate. Statistically, 50 percent of the votes is not a majority. Because only about half of registered voters cast ballots, Brownback actually got votes from only about 25 percent of all registered voters.

We will see how “continuing the course” deals with the fiscal crisis Kansas is in. The administration earlier claimed it had identified $100 million of savings in state expenses. How many of those savings are being implemented? How much will be realized? (In business there are costs associated with implementing actions to achieve cost reductions.) If legislative action is required to implement savings action, less than six months of savings could occur in this fiscal year.

Meanwhile, state tax revenue is already $46 million less than planned for this fiscal year. According to new estimates, the budget shortfall could be $279 million by July.

Let us see the administration’s real final plan for the rest of this fiscal year, and how it affects the functions of government for the people: education, highways, law enforcement, judicial system, prison system, Medicaid (KanCare in Kansas), fiscal administration and all the rest.

Hang on, everyone. It won’t be pretty.



Divide agency

The problem of a shortage of game wardens (Nov. 2 Eagle) started with then-Gov. Mike Hayden sticking parks into a new agency with wildlife. It was compounded when tourism was added.

Gov. Sam Brownback ignored the mandate requiring the director have a degree in biology when he appointed Robin Jennison as wildlife and parks secretary. It won’t get better until they separate parks and tourism from wildlife, as it should be.

It is sad. I can recall pain in the eyes of some of our finest game wardens who retired early or moved to other states. Our wildlife is not well-served. I am surprised that the wildlife commissioners aren’t screaming their heads off.



Letters to the Editor

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For more information, contact Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.