Hello again, fellow followers of the Leavenworth Times opinion page.
I would like to start my letter on a positive note. I want to salute our Leavenworth city and county commissioners. These folks deliver for our community without being influenced by special interests or political dogma.
If I may, I want to single out the dedication over the years of city commissioner Larry Dedeke who always, and I mean always, votes for what is in the best interest of Leavenworth’s citizenry without regard to outside pressures. I should also salute Mayor Mark Preisinger's leadership alongside of the rest of the city commission for bringing new development and jobs to our community.
These efforts include pushing to persuade Washington, D.C. to build a new federal prison in our community as well as bringing new hotel projects in to accommodate all the visitors that end up patronizing our local businesses. These commissioners represent and produce what we as voters expect of our elected officials.
Now, let’s do a contrast with those politicians who hold office in Topeka that aren’t interested in truly delivering for the average citizen. Their political views are always in lockstep with special interest groups with extreme ideology or those who are looking for favoritism and special treatment on tax policy.
These politicians have their fingerprints all over reducing the average citizen's rights, mismanagement of our state budget, lowering our bond rating, increasing our local property taxes, diverting our highway and road funds to cover their budget shortfalls and giving sweetheart deals to those who heavily finance their political campaigns at the expense of the average taxpayer.
Perfect examples of the type of politicians that poorly represent the average citizen and have made a mess of things in Topeka are Senator Steve Fitzgerald and his sidekick, State Representative John Bradford. If you have seen all of those fancy Fitzgerald and Bradford signs across town since 2012, ask yourself, who is paying for these fancy signs and what do they expect in return?
Now, let’s shift gears a little and expand the conversation on poor representation to the upcoming 41st district race that affects most of the citizens of Leavenworth. It wasn’t long ago that we common folk had the perfect candidate to run that always voted with what was best for the citizenry of our city.
I am speaking again of Dedeke.
Unfortunately Dedeke withdrew gracefully from the race. Most people that I have talked to say that the real reason he isn’t in the race is because our local far right politicos decided that he couldn’t be relied upon to toe the far right line dictated by the power structure in Topeka. Voting for what was best for his community wasn’t good enough, so he was pushed to step aside. The big dogs got their way is the consensus.
So now, readers, who is the chosen one to run in the 41st district, certain to follow the lead of the far right extreme’s lockstep, two-step dance perfected by Fitzgerald and Bradford?
Well, mainstream readers and voters, ask yourself if you have ever heard of Pastor Tony Barton of New Life Fellowship until very recently? If you ask across town, few have ever heard of this guy. I know some far right types have written into the newspaper trying to build up his image as being the best thing since the introduction of sliced bread.
Heck, Barton has even had a bonafide Angell spelled with an extra L give him a glowing endorsement as Pastor Karen Angell of Angell Ministries in a recent letter to the editor.
She told us she had discovered Barton at a breakfast she attended the previous week, where he was the featured speaker. She left no doubt that she was mesmerized by his argument that we should get God back into our politics. The right wing God. of course.
The problem with her letter unfortunately is that she really pushed the envelope on bearing false witness. The reality is Angell didn’t recently discover Barton. Actually, she was part of his election committee for several months. She even had made public announcements on his behalf months earlier.
So, readers, I think it would be safe to say that we need further information on Barton because few know him in the mainstream. That’s where Byron Maduska’s endorsement letter to the editor comes in, where he practically gives Barton a kiss as he begs readers to look up candidate Barton’s website.
As a curious reader, I went to the site and found typical boiler plate promises and platitudes with a theme that Barton will go to Topeka to save all of us citizens in the 41st district from ourselves.
My reading of his website is that Barton intends to legislate the sin and mainstream values right out of us. That should make all Maduska groupies jump for joy because they have finally found their candidate. What a team.
Now, I am sure there are plenty of you readers who still might say that you lack the necessary information on candidate Barton. Again, few seem to know him except those from the extreme right. To you inquisitive types, I would invite you to drive by Barton’s New Life Ministry at 403 N. Fourth St., in Leavenworth. If you pay close attention to the sign out front, not the Realtor's sign, but the church sign, you will notice Barton is blessed by a second angel spelled with one L.
I am referring to the Angel Food Ministries host site on the sign. I was curious about Angel Food Ministries, so I Googled it. I found that Angel Food Ministries was located in Monroe, Ga., and was started by a Westly Joseph Wingo, also known as Pastor Joe, his wife Pastor Linda, and their son Andrew Wingo.
This was a tax exempt ministry that secured $7 million in low interest loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2009, Angel Food Ministries was raided by the FBI and IRS. The Wingos were charged with fraud and tax evasion because they were living the high life off the funds they were skimming off the top of the operation.
Our tax dollars went for private jet flights, jewelry, luxury homes and fancy cars. Long story short, the Wingos pled guilty rather than face the 49 counts that could have given them a sentence of 85 years.
Joe and Andrew Wingo are now in the slammer. Who knows, they could be living in that big house up there on Metropolitan. As for their so-called ministry, the doors were closed in 2011.
It is now 2014, and it appears candidate Barton continues to keep Angel Food Ministries on his New Life Fellowship sign. I bet since Barton is running for state representative, his far right wing friends and handlers will waste no time in removing Angel Food Ministries off his sign even though it’s a little too late.
Voters with inquiring minds might like to know why Barton chose to keep advertising a scam ministry headed up by felons on his sign for several years after it was closed down. The answer from candidate Barton that he forgot won’t pass the smell test.