Wichita city hall parking garage closes

Today the Wichita city hall parking garage closes, as far as citizens are concerned. All members of the public, including those who qualify to park in handicapped spaces, will park outside and farther away.

The reason given for the change is security.

Unlike Wichita city hall, most businesses go to great effort and expense to make parking convenient for their customers. But the city is not a business. It is not concerned about matters such as calculation of profit and loss. It is not concerned about the attitudes of its customers, except perhaps at election time. Even then, it’s only a handful of elected officials that are concerned.

We might also ask why business firms are not generally concerned with terroristic attacks being made upon them, but government is. Could it be because business operates on voluntary exchange with its customers, while government operates on coercion?

On the Wichita Eagle editorial blog, a commenter observed: “Many shopping centers, retail stores, medical offices, hospitals require their employees to park back out of the way. The idea is to preserve convenient parking for their paying customers … the people who make it all possible. But Wichita’s city hall has developed an elitist attitude towards the citizens and public.”

Another summed it up succinctly: “This simply puts an exclamation point on the City attitude toward the citizens of Wichita.”

John Todd contributes the following observations, making the case for a free market in security, letting the parties who have the greatest interest in being safe provide the security service.

I notice that effective Monday, November 8th, the public will not be allowed to use the parking garage at city hall due to “security” considerations.

Of all the battles I can recall reading about in history, I can’t think of anything that compares to the economic harm, havoc, and hysteria that has resulted in our country that tops the 9/11 attack on us by a small handful of people and airplanes. The sad result of this tragedy is the overreaction of government that has allowed government to mandate greater and greater intervention into our lives in the name of “security” while many of us witness and are horrified by the loss of liberty that has resulted at the hand of our own government!

Several years ago in an economics seminar presented at Jean Garvey’s Independent School, a class leader shared this story with us. He said, that in the earlier years of seafaring, the lighthouses that dotted the seaboard for the protection of ships and sailors, were privately owned and operated. Families of seamen, seaman associations, and other private groups supplied this important function for their own vested interests. What a novel idea this is!

Congressman Jerry Moran stated at a recent Wichita Pachyderm Club luncheon that the Federal government currently employs over 100,000 people in airport security as a result of 9/11. After the meeting I shared the lighthouse story with him and suggested that the U.S. government get out of the airport security business and turn it over to Delta, United, Southwest and other airlines with a vested interest in protecting their customers. The private market would then control airport security.

If Delta did a bad job of protecting passengers, they lose market share to their competitors. I believe this system would work, and I believe more favorable public relations skills for airline passengers would result. I can’t help but think it would cost less and work better than the mandated government security now in place. And besides that, the airline companies, with a vested interest in airline market share, would pay for the security, and leave the public treasury out of it.

7 Comments

  • Jason Wood -

    Most of the time I agree with what is posted here, however on this issue I disagree. The people who work at City Hall can normally be trusted not to bring a bomb in their vehicles to work. Yes, someone who works for the city could but that is probably much less likely than a member of the general public. If someone with a grudge against the city or a city employee brought a bomb, it could kill hundreds and even bring the entire building down, causing untold chaos for the entire city for years. In this case, I believe it is probably the safer and wiser course to limit parking in the garage to employees.

  • The City of Wichita’s garage was build with taxpayer’s dollars, but they can’t use it. Many citizens come to City Hall for meetings, municipal court appearances, to pay their water bills, etc. Some of the citizens that come to City Hall are disabled and will now have to suffer when they come to access City services. This is more about the arrogant behavior of the City’s elected officials and bureaucrats that believe that the people work for them and not the other way around.

  • Anonymous43 -

    Marcus, you got it right! The people in city hall are our employees, not the other way around.

    Since our employees in city hall don’t need to drive from one city office to another & won’t need to access their vehicles during the workday, perhaps they should park their vehicles further away & let the people who come & go more often have better access to their vehicles.

    Businesses haven’t closed their parking garages to the public. Why should the city?

  • Anonymous -

    I used to park in the city deck once or twice a week as part of my work, and I agree that closing the deck makes little sense. The deck, although mostly full, is usually never completely full. I know because sometimes I liked to park on the top level. There is a need for some security measures at city hall, even recent history shows us that. There was the famous “drive through” incident that you can see all over youtube, and on another occasion someone angry in municipal court bashed out a window pane on the third floor. Sometimes the people that come to the city building might be there because of violent behaviors, or problems with drugs or alcohol. I understand the need for security, but it must be balanced with the citizen’s ability to easily interact with their government.

  • A nony mous -

    The State is great at protecting itself. Closing the parking garage does not protect any of us taxpayers, just city employees. If the Federal Government had not outlawed airlines from arming pilots or other agents aboard flights back in the late 1950’s, 9-11 most likely would have never happened!

  • This is one of the more ridiculous things the city has done recently. The county has added to their handicapped parking spaces and the city has placed theirs farther away and out in the cold and snowy or rainy weather. I would like to remind Jason above that most of the shootings at government offices have been disgruntled employees, not disgruntled citizens.
    This was certainly a dumb idea!

  • Knifesedge -

    I agree with the comments regarding the elitist attitude the city has taken toward its citizens (read: “billpaying sheep”). The process of shutting the garage to citizens began long before 9/11, of course; gradually, city employees have gotten more of the choice slots, out of the sun and rain. But this latest nonsense of sticking us out in the open with a longer walk (and past the smoking lounge at the edge of the garage) is simply ridiculous. Furthermore, what gives with those security guards at the X-ray machines? Talk about your lazy doofuses…the guy with the stick is something to watch. And get this: the last 3 times I’ve come in I did not put my metal goodies in the tray; I cleared the machine even though I was carrying my cell phone, keys, and a large pocketknife in my jeans! (Over at County I’m more cautious, as they apparently know how to read a screen.) Every time I ask this bunch of city sharpshooters a question about security I get a canned pitch about “There’s a lot of people in the building.” Duh. Oh, well, maybe all that expensive “landscaping” it’s taken so many years to install will give our blockheads at City Hall a better sense of security. Heaven forbid, however, a city employee ever goes postal and they realize they have met the enemy — “and he is us.”

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