By ratifying the City of Wichita’s defective public hearing, notice is given that it’s open season on citizens. Their concerns are shoved aside. Commissioners say they were constrained by a very narrow range of action permitted by law. The reasons they voted against this TIF district in August are still there, though present in smaller measure.
The problem is that these politicians want something so badly that they’re willing to overlook major problems in procedures that are designed to give citizens a voice. Newspaper editorial writers aren’t helping. They’re usually at the forefront of “good government” efforts. But not the Wichita Eagle’s Rhonda Holman, who wrote this in today’s lead editorial: “Yes, as some argue, the city should have done a better job of allowing public input on the arena TIF district. The late changes to the Dec. 2 City Council agenda left the public and at least one council member unfamiliar with the plan to add $10 million for future parking needs, arming critics and fueling public distrust of local government generally.” But, she’ll go along with this action anyway.
Nothing that this TIF district can build is as important as destroying citizen confidence and procedures designed to give them a voice.