Sedgwick County solid waste fee criticized

Today’s Wichita Eagle column by Rhonda Holman is a two-fer. Two issues for the price of one column, and two issues she’s wrong on. The first issue is explained in Wichita water economics.

She criticizes Commissioner Karl Peterjohn and Board Chairman Kelly Parks for the opposition of a solid waste management fee that would add a relatively small amount to property tax bills.

(When writing about Peterjohn, do I need to disclose that he and I are friends, and that I helped manage his campaign last year? I’d feel more compelled to do so if Holman would start writing editorials using her entire name.)

Holman pokes fun at Peterjohn and Parks for “operating on anti-tax autopilot” and at Peterjohn specifically for fulfilling a campaign pledge.

Anti-tax ought to be the first instinct of politicians. To me, that’s axiomatic and not a basis for criticism. There are always plenty of people in government like Commissioner Dave Unruh who are nuanced enough to recognize — as Holman reports — “with an admirable lack of exasperation: ‘It’s 69 cents.'”

The problem is that little amounts here and there add up to real money. I think that’s something like the argument Wichita City Council members used in rejecting a $2.00 per month increase in water and sewer bills. Holman supported that action.

Then, keeping a campaign pledge — what a novel concept! How refreshing!

We should also look at the public policy aspects of this waste management fee. One of the things it was used for is to fund a Christmas tree recycling program. Here’s a few questions: Is it wise economics to fund recycling projects? Specifically, if natural Christmas trees as such an environmental nuisance that they must be recycled, shouldn’t people who buy them pay for their recycling? Perhaps through a tax — wait, let’s call it a “surcharge” or a “pre-paid environmental mitigation fee” — levied at the corner tree lot?

Here are comments left to this post that were lost and then reconstructed:

Wichitatator: What is Rhonda Holman’s legal name? Why doesn’t she use it when she signs her editorials? The Eagle should not have mystery editorial writers without fully disclosing this salient fact.

Ms. “Holman” could be married to an attorney who is suing the state over school finance or some other public issue. Ms. “Holman” is a public person who wants to enjoy the perks of her editorial position in influencing public policy in this community without assuming the responsibility of publicly disclosing her name.

For an editorial board that regularly fulminates about “full disclosure” this is an odd position to take. The Eagle regularly criticizes folks who do not fully disclose a lot more than their names in their paper.

LonnythePlumber: What is her entire name? You imply mystery and wrong motivation if revealed.


3 thoughts on “Sedgwick County solid waste fee criticized”

  1. Funny how the con’s want full disclosure except when it comes to groups like Kansas for Prosperity, KTN, or other 3rd party groups who like to pour money into politcal races but hide behind “free speech” when not disclosing who’s money is behind their efforts.

    Cowards!

  2. It’s almost as funny as say, Roj Goyle sponsoring legislation to force more disclosure. Didn’t he work for the Center for American Progress? Do they disclose their donors?

    Anyway, just because Rhonda Holman won’t use her full name is no reason to deny Americans their right to free political speech.

  3. Not going to deny anyone their right to free speech, Bob. Just have the political courage to stand behind the money.

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