To the editor:
I am peeved. No, I am really peeved.
Here I am, almost 78 years old, suffering from L4 and L5 lower back pain, sciatica in both butt cheeks, having to ride my lawn mower to get around the block, traipsing through yards in my neighborhood, stumbling over mole hills and water hoses, knocking on doors and asking folks to sign a petition. Why? To force the Leavenworth County Commission to do something they could and should have been done months ago in five minutes: publish a resolution on the ballot for the November 2018 general election: Shall the following be adopted: Shall the governing body of Leavenworth County, Kansas, increase the number of commissioner districts from three to five?
In the absence of this simple five-minute action by the County Commission, ladies of the Leavenworth League of Women Voters and other volunteers, are now working hard to collect 2,500 signatures on a petition to force the resolution onto the ballot. Volunteers are manning petition tables and booths at community events and gatherings such as parades, farmers markets, church, grocery market entrances, etc.
Leavenworth County has five distinct and disparate areas: rural north and northwest around Easton, Leavenworth, Lansing, southeast around Basehor, and the southwest area of Tonganoxie. Each area has its distinct public issues and need its own district representative at the county: a sitting member on the Board of County Commissioners.
The issue of increasing the County Commission from three to five commissioners has been cussed and discussed for 20 years. The basic reason to increase the commission to five members is to better the ratio of each commissioner to the people in their district. The 2016 estimated population of Leavenworth County was 81,100. Thus, the current ratio with three commissioners is one commissioner for each 27,000 people per district. Increasing to five districts and five commissioners results in each commissioner representing only 16,000 people. This a much better representation ratio. There is a better chance that voters will know their commissioner and that their commissioner lives nearby in their town or area and not at the other end of the county.
The signed petitions have to be turned in to the Leavenworth County Clerk by June 30. We currently have around 1,500 signatures and we need at least another 1,000.
The volunteers are now pressing to collect the remaining 1,000 needed signatures. Volunteers will be canvassing your neighborhood asking you to sign the petition. Look for one of these volunteers in your neighborhood.