The Process Should Be Most Important

Rhonda Holman’s editorial from yesterday’s Wichita Eagle (Parking plan finally coming together) contains this paragraph:

A confusing move last week by the Wichita City Council didn’t help build public trust, unfortunately. Without time for public consideration, city leaders added up to $10 million for parking structures to the proposed tax-increment financing plan for the 16-block area around the arena; the council unanimously approved the plan Tuesday. There are good reasons for the council’s action, which simply puts parking in the mix of things that up to $10 million in TIF money can fund in the future along with street improvements, sidewalks, lighting, signage and other basics. But the last-minute handling left much of the public out of the public hearing, raising suspicions that the council sought to slide in the parking dollars under the radar.

Look at the language here: “confusing move … didn’t help build public trust, unfortunately.” “left much of the public out of the public hearing,” “raising suspicions,” “under the radar.”

This type of action is corrosive to the democratic process. I think that Ms. Holman realizes that, but she won’t call for the city council to take the proper action, which would be to hold a proper public hearing. No parking facility — indeed, nothing the city could ever build — is so important that it should be approved through this type of process.

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