Letter: Where are our city leaders?
To the Editor:
A group of concerned citizens representing Edwardsville and Bonner Springs showed up at a special meeting to address proposed tax increases by the Unified Government last week. Initially, a 75 percent increase was to hit Edwardsville resulting in a $200 plus increase in yearly taxes for the owner of an assessed $100,000 home. The Edwardsville City Council discussed this forthcoming meeting in a council session 48 hours earlier and was aware of the future consequences if such an increase passed. It was surely an important time for our leaders to show up in force and represent the concerns of our community.
Unfortunately, our leaders were nowhere to be found with the lone exception of Stephanie Eickhoff. Where was Edwardsville Mayor Luther Pickell? Where were council members Ed Gillette, Tim Kelly, Bob Lane or newly appointed Kent Docking? Where was our legal team of attorneys? Where was our city administrator?
Bonner Springs Mayor Steve Breneman was there and spoke. County Commissioner J.J. Swanson was there and spoke. County Administrator Dennis Hayes was there and spoke. County Commissioner Butch Ellison was out of town, but was represented by his brother, Nolen Ellison, who addressed the crowd of more than 100 people in attendance at the West Wyandotte Branch Public Library.
Who really represents Edwardsville? In this case it was townspeople, like Karen Trent (who spoke), John Altevogt (who spoke), Betty Waldo (former council member), Jennifer Burnett, and smart group of others. The people elected and appointed to represent the citizens of Edwardsville did not show. I repeat, the people elected and appointed (and paid) to represent Edwardsville did not show
The meeting began at 7 p.m., so a work conflict is highly unlikely. Chances are this meeting was not a priority item for those who failed to show. Newspaper reporters were there. Television coverage was present and broadcast that evening. This was an opportunity for our leaders to step up to the plate and hit a home run for the citizens of Edwardsville. Instead, our leaders struck out. No runs, no hits and too many errors.
Granted, there may be reasons why Edwardsville was not represented by elected and appointed officials. There may have been conflicts with social events. After all, many of our appointed officials do get together socially. Perhaps one was out of town, or another had a sick spouse or child at home. There may be reasons for being absent, but there are no excuses for not representing "we the people" of Edwardsville.