Archive for Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Let the concrete dry

October 16, 2002

The newspaper provides an avenue for people to voice their opinions on issues through news coverage and mainly through letters to the editor. Sometimes not all letters are printed some letter writers don't sign their names or the content isn't suitable for publication. It's not easy to decide what letter is suitable for publication. Fortunately, those decisions have been infrequent.

The policy of the newspaper is usually not to publicly answer the letter back; we want the letter writer to have their say. Lately though, one issue has gotten out of hand sidewalks we should have ended it before it started.

Who would think that sidewalks would lead people to write letters accusing the city government of Bonner Springs, present and past, of conducting a great conspiracy? The conspiracy went so far as to drag the current mayor, a former council member the former owner of The Chieftain and Sentinel newspapers and his daughter into the fracas.

It started with one resident accusing Mayor Steve Breneman of having a great sidewalk-building agenda. His goal? To make Bonner Springs into Johnson County. Man, sidewalks are powerful.

Fact: the mayor has said he wants to cleanup Bonner Springs and make it a more suitable place to live, attracting business and spurring residential growth. This includes improvements to the streets, sidewalks and gutters. Yes, it costs money and sometimes governments make the wrong decisions. Yet, we're glad the mayor takes this stance because we don't want our streets, sidewalks and sewers to end up like Missouri roadways the worst in the nation.

The mayor is not conducting a secret agenda to turn the city into a concrete slab. There is an eight-member City Council to make sure he doesn't. To think the mayor is that powerful is ridiculous.

Mayor Breneman is trying to spur growth and expand the current tax base. Hopefully, in the long run, make the city run on sales taxes rather than property taxes. The only thing worse than a crumbling street is a stagnant city, and Bonner Springs has been stagnant for some time.

Yet, somehow the issue of downtown area sidewalks turned into the Whispering Woods subdivision issue, which is currently being discussed between city staff and residents who live in that neighborhood.

But it wasn't about Whispering Woods or sidewalks. It was about another great conspiracy the Ted Stolfus regime. Former mayor Ted Stolfus and half the council have been out of office for two years (the last election) so lets give it a rest.

The developers should have built the sidewalks in Whispering Woods 10 years ago. Yes, property owners are responsible for keeping their property up to code, but everything is not always black and white. Otherwise, most of the homes and businesses in Bonner Springs would be in violation. Yet, is this a public matter? Not really. This hasn't come to a vote before the City Council, although it has been discussed. And frankly, there is no paperwork, voting record or legal document to show anyone in city government or the neighborhood covered this up.

Give us the documented proof and we'll change our minds.

How this issue correlated into Jill and Allen Holder receiving preferential treatment because of her father, Clausie Smith, is beyond fact. How this issue correlated into Mayor Breneman plotting to overtake the city with concrete is mind boggling.

We should have stopped this before it started and to those involved, we're sorry.

What it did do is open the door for people to grind old grudges, not improve government or enhance public debate.

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