To the editor:

In response to Dr. Ruth J. Heflin’s letter to the editor, I am appalled at the viciousness in which she attacks Byron Maduska. I do not know Mr. Maduska personally. I have met him only twice and have read several of his articles. I will not attest to his character nor defend it. 

However, his letter of Oct. 20 simply informs the public that Jermaine Wilson was a no-show to a public forum that was scheduled several weeks in advance. He suggests Wilson did not show because he would have faced questioning about his past. Race, white privilege and President Trump have nothing to do with the matter. 

For many, the fact Wilson is a felon would not be an automatic disqualifier of a vote. But evading the question is. If Wilson can’t handle a few questions from the public concerning his life, how can we trust him to handle making tough decisions concerning the safety and advancement of Leavenworth?

Dr. Heflin’s injection of race into the matter is shameful. Her assumption that both male incumbents are white is stereotypical and ill informed. For her to insinuate the moderator, Dr. Ernest Evans, is in some way conspiring to set Wilson up by inviting him to participate in the forum is ridiculous.

Maduska is not alone in asking Wilson for clarification. The only written mention of his crime I can find from Wilson is he served three years for a non-violent felony. Three years served to me means as much as a six-year sentence. Wilson could have earned time off for good behavior which in Kansas ranges from 15-50 percent of a sentence. If true, that translates to four to six years for a first-time possession charge. Kind of excessive.

If Dr. Heflin were present for the public forum, she could have seen the email Wilson left. I found it very telling he sent it at 4:50 a.m. on the morning of the forum with the excuse of “prior engagements” for not participating. Most people would acknowledge a pre-planned conflict sooner than 13 hours before an event. If he simply forgot, that’s not good either. What else would he forget about or not put priority toward?  

I'm sure Dr. Heflin would like to see Trump release his tax records. Why not Wilson’s prison records? If he wanted to clear the issue from discussion and if his crime was truly a minor drug possession, then open the records and dispel the rumors. He has no legal obligation to comply. But the voters don’t have to buy his bill of goods either.