Archive for Thursday, April 7, 2005

Letters to the Editor

April 7, 2005

To the editor:

I do not live within the city limits of Baldwin City, ergo I do not pay city taxes and I cannot vote on city issues. But, I still consider Baldwin City my home. Letters blasting the city council are, to me, very disturbing! It is one thing to support the position of certain elected officials but it is another to caste demeaning remarks about educated, hard-working officials just because your views may differ from theirs. Smear campaigns serve no one.

The closing of Fremont Street is just one of many "do not change my town" issues that have come before the city council over the last few years. The arguments against most issues seem to stem from a desire to keep Baldwin City as it is -- to impede all efforts for growth. I don't presume to be right about everything, but this seems extremely short-sighted. I sympathize with the concerns that many voice about raising taxes -- but tax payers have a responsibility to educate themselves on the true financial impact that each proposal would mean for them. Refusing to grow, to develop, to improve, to accommodate, has written the death notice for many small towns. A trip across the state of Kansas, viewing the skeletal remains of once thriving communities, should be a required activity of everyone concerned in community decisions.

Citizens of Baldwin City have a responsibility to the future generations of Baldwin to pass on a community that is viable and thriving. Many of us look back with nostalgia about how simple life was in the '50s -- but, frankly, as wonderful as it was growing up on my aunt's farm in Russell County "way back when," I am glad to have moved into a time that offers cell phones, e-mail, central air, paved roads, running water, electricity, pace makers, freeways, bridges, hospitals, Habitat for Humanity and the list goes on and on. I am grateful that those who were making the decisions for me at that time, didn't say "no" to everything because they wanted everything to remain the same for them. They had vision, they had foresight and they recognized their responsibility to go forward with the times -- for our generation.

Cleo Langley

Baldwin City

To the editor

On March 31, a letter was published in the Signal which was written by Phyllis Hobson. In this letter Mrs. Hobson referenced the city council as "one of the dumbest." She also said "I hope that we have some people run that have some intelligence" implying that the current council has none.

First of all, I support the fact that Mrs. Hobson has an opinion about what is going on in the city and that she expresses it freely. That is one of the many freedoms that we enjoy. What I do not appreciate is when those opinions turn into personal attacks on my family and friends. These people that you are insulting spend endless hours working to try to make a difference in the city in which we live. Personal attacks on a group of people that are truly dedicated to working hard and helping the city of Baldwin is not appreciated.

So, Phyllis, I encourage you to try to express your opinions in a more productive and mature manner. I applaud the fact that you have opinions and choose to share them; however, the manner in which you have done so is unacceptable.

Jennifer L. Hayes

Baldwin City

To the Editor:

I am concerned at the recent degree of acrimony leveled against some members of the Baldwin City community who have chosen to dedicate their time and efforts to public service. Whether it is the anonymous spitefulness that has recently been displayed on the "SpeakOut!" forum or the careless and rude remarks made by Mrs. Phyllis Hobson in the March 31 issue of the Signal, it is this kind of imprudent unrestraint that will cause many good and sincere people to steer away from public service in the future.

I am well aware of how much time our public officials devote to the city. It often comes at the expense of personal and family time. Others may not always agree with the decisions they make, but I know they are made after much thought and consideration to all viewpoints.

Mrs. Hobson, have you ever attended a city council meeting or committee meeting to voice your concerns? Have you tried to contact those public officials with whom you disagree and engage in a thoughtful dialogue? Have you ever suggested positive and workable alternatives?

I respectfully request Mrs. Hobson and similar bomb-throwers consider becoming involved in the process and openly work for the changes they wish to see implemented rather than the drive-by insults in which they seem to take such delight.

Diane Wagner

Baldwin City

To the editor:

I hear I ticked some council members off. So be it. I only write what people talk about and I agree with them. Blocking off a street pretty well iced the cake. If everyone wrote a letter with their complaints, the paper wouldn't have room for anything else. They know that I have never been impressed with anyone and I will sign my letters and they want things to be said. Also, we will vote for the other people. We just wish more were running. Maybe the next time more will enter the race.

I am going to write more than I planned. We have committees that tell the council what they have decided but somehow this council feels they don't have to listen to them. That is one of many reasons we (the people) plan to get a new council and mayor that will listen to the people when they speak.

Not to have the police department feel left out, they need to pay attention to do their job. We all see people run stop signs, roll through them and make illegal turns. They use up an awful lot of gasoline just cruising. Most of the places they go would call them if they needed them. Of course, that doesn't mean they would do anything. That department isn't too great. It needs a big work over and when someone makes a complaint, tend to it.

Also, the stop sign at Eighth and Dearborn streets means for college people to stop, too. The students need to be taught to walk in the crosswalks and not jay walk all the time.

So many of us are simply fed up with this council and hope to have someone chosen with sense. We, of course, can't get them all off in one election, but another comes along and I hope people with sense will run. If there ever was a good time, this is it.

Giving our streets away doesn't make a good impression. If you (the council) want to do right, override your vote. It may be the last good thing you ever did. We wouldn't have minded the street blocked off during games, but somehow they don't listen to the committee. Also, they (the council) don't realize how many agree with what's said.

This all has been the feelings of an awful lot of people. I don't think I have ever seen the people so riled up as they are now. A lot of them are behind me.

Phyllis Hobson

Baldwin City

P.S. Since election is over, I believe I will retire my pen and let the other people write letters. I will stand with them as they have all been behind me. Maybe when the election comes up again, if I am still here, I will remind people what has been done. I will admit, it's been fun to let others know what is on people's mind.

To the editor:

I would like to take issue with the letter of last week regarding our city council. I am not writing to take issue with the writer's opinion on the street vacation (we'll save that response for another day), but with her irresponsible berating of our public officials. Where does this writer gain authority to label this city council as "one of the dumbest?" I have always believed that in order to criticize another you had better have walked in their shoes. Has this writer or those that "told" her to write the letter ever served in public office or in any public capacity of any kind? Furthermore, she "hopes that we will have some people run that have some intelligence." Well, I ask her, who are they and where are they? Is the writer or any of her supporters willing to run? They probably do not want to put up with ridiculous abuse like this.

The writer is correct about one thing; they are supposed to abide by the voters and taxpayers. I certainly believe that the council members do poll the voters on issues prior to voting in a council meeting. Maybe she would know this if she were to actually be asked for her opinion.

Although we may not agree with all of the decisions or opinions of our city council members, we must admire their commitment to this office and the sacrifices that they make with their jobs and families to serve in public office. Let's face it, it is essentially a volunteer position; they do not do it for the money. Yet there are those that want to sit back and do nothing but throw stones at those that are trying to make a difference. I wonder if the writer or her supporters would like to explain to the children of our council members what she meant by calling them "one of the dumbest?" This is certainly not a model for our children or our community, which I am proud to call home.

I would challenge anyone that shares the opinion of this writer to run for city council and find out what a difficult job it really is. By the way, I would not want her vote so, maybe I am as dumb as the rest.

Rob Cleavinger

Baldwin City

To the editor:

June 1 marks the beginning of my seven-year stretch of helping with the aluminum can recycling for the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society at Allen Park.

The money we get helps offset the cost of cutting the grass at the park. However, since I started, it has never exceeded the cost.

I would like to thank all the faithful people who put cans in the two bins, one at Allen Park and the other one by the post office. I prefer to get the cans uncrushed, so I can make sure excess liquid is dumped out as well as cigarette butts, etc.

I would like to see all the people who throw their cans away in their weekly trash start throwing the cans our way. Besides we all need more uses for our Wal-Mart, Dollar General, Target, BC Market, HyVee, Dillon's, etc., plastic bags.

What really upsets me is when someone decides to steal our cans from our bins, before I can go through them like what just happened Monday, March 28, at Allen Park. I can't be there 24/7, but I didn't think someone would steal our cans. Also, I would like to remind people who bring out their plastic and newspapers that the recycle dumpster is for tin cans only and the aluminum cans go up by the bin, near the green shed.

Hopefully the person will stop stealing our cans and for once, the cans will cover the cost of cutting the grass.

Robert Schachtner

The Can Man of Baldwin City

To the editor:

In record time, Kansas' new right-wing legislature has presented a constitutional referendum on gay marriage. If you print this it will be only after a vote is taken. In some senses, it doesn't matter. Many in the public may not be aware that the cause of this initiative was the decision, almost two years ago, of the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas. So, even if the measure is adopted, it will only reestablish some of the legal context struck down by the high court.

So, I write not to influence the outcome of this vote, but to correct what are, in my view, some misperceptions and outright lies about homosexuals and their perceived intentions or effects on heterosexual marriage.

Begin with the widespread perception that it is unwise to write publicly "as" a homosexual. That would confirm a sense that such a quality harms my credibility, that the word of such persons carries less weight or is inherently unreliable. For over 20 years, I have lived in and around Baldwin. Without having lied to anyone, I nonetheless live in many ways apart from full participation in the community. An educated, middle-aged man without a spouse necessarily inhibits such a space.

How, then, are persons of marginal influence construed as a threat to heterosexual marriage? This mantra of "protecting marriage," repeated ad nauseum by the spin-meisters of the right, only underlines the problems of marriage in America as the beam in the eye of zealous hypocrites. While it is true the institution of marriage is in decline, perhaps in crisis, the connection to the lives or aspirations of homosexuals is a lie. By the above definition, homosexuals are often absent from the crisis of heterosexual marriage. Certainly they are not consulted for advice in the conduct of such matters. If homosexuals within straight marriages are blamed, then the rule that such marriages are the only acceptable course is the obvious cause of their disharmony. I must say that I know individuals who entered marriage in vain attempts to follow the rules of society. Often, as you may imagine, those attempts resulted in painful failures.

The truth is that many of the religious "leaders" pushing this issue rely on stigmatization to command loyalty and bolster a false sense of superiority among their adherents. So, finally, it seemed necessary and perhaps helpful to "come clean." When the bald-faced liars of Topeka, Olathe or Wichita sketch out their caricatures of "homos" slavering to destroy the institutions of Christian society, you will be faced with me and my quiet, often ineffectual attempts to engage in this community for the last two decades. Make no mistake. I wish you the very best in all your relationships. If, by misfortune, you find yourself in conflict despite all the approbation and support of all social institutions, look in your own heart and ask yourself: "What in the world does the homo have to do with this?"

Chris Hamill

Baldwin City

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