Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 198
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for July 17, 2003

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

There are some things I just don’t understand. For example, why is it good for the United States to intervene to stop genocide in geopolitical backwaters like Bosnia, Kosovo or Liberia, yet wrong to overthrow a genocidal dictator in a geopolitically significant Iraq? I guess to some people it’s somehow nobler to put troops at risk in an altruistic endeavor than in one where we may actually have strategic and economic interests.

Why is it evil to take someone else’s property for your own use, yet good when you can get the government to do it for you? Eminent domain, the taking of private property for public use, was originally intended for public buildings and highways. Now, it’s used to help developers, such as the Kansas Speedway, shopping centers and upscale auto dealers get land at below-market prices under the pretext that the development will increase tax revenue.

Why does the legislature have to pass a new law every time a town or county wants to rip off overnight guests to pay to “promote tourism”? Why can’t they just pass a blanket authorization, but put a sunset clause on all of the room taxes? Speaking of legislative antics, when the new minority party whines about how they’re mistreated by the new majority, why doesn’t the media point out that they treated the other party just as cavalierly when they controlled everything. And why did both parties pass on the budgets of so many departments like Natural Resources and Economic Development, saving their squabbles for education and health. Could it be that none of them have the pull to get people to vote for tax increases, so are non-controversial?

Locally, why is it important to have a scheduled bus although OATS and local taxi companies can meet many needs? The Johnson County Board of Services owns a fleet of handicapped-accessible busses, as well. And why is it good to provide services to the developmentally disabled yet bad to demand accounting for taxpayer dollars? Why is a $300,000 per mile hiking trail the responsibility of the government, while property owners are responsible for sidewalks? Why must every city have a fancy community building, even if it’s a drain on the rest of the city’s revenues?

The answer, of course, is in whose ox is being gored – who gains political advantage.

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