Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2004

Letters to the editor

March 11, 2004

To the editor:

A number of caring Baldwin City residents are excited about this spring's construction of the first Baldwin City Habitat for Humanity (HFH) home. Providing HFH housing for needy recipients, who could never afford their own home, takes a caring community. The Baldwin First United Methodist Church, Baldwin City area banks and area residents have made significant commitments in support for the HFH home effort. All area residents are invited to join hands in support of this humanitarian effort. Area patrons can support the HFH efforts financially (by making a check out to HFH -- designating the money for the Baldwin house) or by showing up to help at the home construction site located on west High Street. Construction workdays will be announced in the paper.

Recently, the Baldwin City Council voted to not support HFH by providing a financial break for the utility hook-up. It is understandable that city council members felt that a decision to give a financial break to HFH would either set a precedence for future requests, provide governmental support for a non-governmental program, or be an excessive burden to other taxpayers. Ironically, the council's vote not to give HFH a financial break does set another less positive precedence, and perhaps makes a statement about what a few residents care most about. Baldwin City is now the first Douglas County city, and one of the few northeastern Kansas cities, to reject support for HFH housing. However, with the help of the many caring people in this community, we can raise the additional funds necessary for the utility hook-up. We invite all community members to join in the HFH effort. Thank you in advance.

It might be important to note that two persons who now work in Baldwin City live in Lawrence HFH homes. In addition, the most prestigious annual award that HFH gives out is named after a Baldwin City resident, the late Tom Church, who committed hundreds of hours helping build HFH homes for less fortunate people.

Bill Neuenswander

Baldwin City

To the editor:

With reference to the Forum/Our View column in last Thursday's paper, the question is not so much "how" such "material" was present in the public works office (though that, too, is relevant), but rather "where have you been?" Wasn't it Hugh Hefner (or some such mogul) who said, and I paraphrase here ... that whenever two or more men gather, there will be pornography!

A mere passing acquaintance with male-dominated media, technology and history reveals that there appear to be three (3) compulsory obsessions and conversations for men ... 1) sports ... which seems to indicate a fixation with round objects from golf-ball size to the beach ball, 2) hunting/killing and war ... all which indicate a pre-occupation with death, mutilation and murder of innocents, 3) sex ... which clearly exposes their agenda. Again with reference to his story, it seems that for most men, most of the time, all three of the above are not only synonymous, but also readily interchangeable! Why, then should "Baldwin" be any different?

If Ms. Mitchell says there is pornography in the workplace, then I, for one, believe her. Just as I believed then, and still believe, Anita Hill.

Kristine Furlought

Baldwin City

To the editor:

You were right as far as you went, Mr. Editor. The sexual harassment suit against the city is indeed a black eye for Baldwin City. But on the same page was another one -- the council turned down Habitat's request for a waiver of fees. Black eyes are lovely -- how nice Baldwin City's came in a matching set.

And the reasons?

More negative phone calls than positive ones. Of course. That's the way it's always been and always will be. Who has ever heard of someone phoning a council member to say "Things are going nicely. Keep up the good work." The gripers and grousers will always outnumber the boosters. It means little or nothing.

And as for the dangerous precedent? The Douglas County Habitat for Humanity has been in operation for 15 years and in that time has found property in Baldwin once and once only. And what is this dangerous precedent? In another 15 years we property owners may be asked to pony up another three cents each. I shudder at the thought.

I'm told there were many angry citizens at the meeting, citizens in favor of the waiver. Don't they count? Instead of staying home and phoning, they showed up in person. If the council members think of themselves as pollsters rather than community leaders, let them poll the people who cared enough to attend that meeting. Why wasn't I among them? I was practicing with Attune for Swingtime & Coffee, a benefit for Habitat scheduled for March 28 in First United Methodist in Lawrence.

When Habitat built a home in Eudora, the city of Eudora, sold them the property -- for $1. Since when has Baldwin City been left in the shade by Eudora?

Yes, by all means let's have a Habitat fundraiser in Baldwin City. But it should be not instead of but in addition to the waiving of the fee.

Don Mueller

Baldwin City

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