To the editor:
I have long been totally dissatisfied with the quality and knowledge base of those elected to the Leavenworth County Commission and have voiced that many times. Their lack of knowledge of government, economics, infrastructure, public safety and myriad other important matters has been glaring. They’ve made incredible mistakes, and some have buffooned themselves badly.
The only county commissioner with highly credible qualifications, knowledge and gravitas in the last many years was Clyde Graeber, and we only got his services in his senior years when his health and vigor were waning. Even Clyde can’t defeat the ravages of time.
But this notion that expanding our commission to five seats, as presented by Mrs. Crow in the Times, will bring us better qualified people and better representation is totally illogical. Let’s cut through the chaff and get to the central points.
First, the notion that expanding the commission to five, thus diluting the authority and clout of the positions while also reducing the pay, will attract better qualified candidates is simply ludicrous.
Second, expanding the commission to five, thus reducing the population of each district, will create a better pool of possible candidates, is also thoroughly illogical.
Any political scientist or statistician would tell you that the larger the pool of possible candidates, the higher probability that many well qualified people exist there. The more populated the district, the larger the number of possible candidates with the necessary knowledge base will be, not the other way around.
Third, creating smaller districts makes each commissioner responsible to fewer voters, not more. It lessens representation, not the other way around.
Perhaps the better way to get better candidates and make them responsible to more voters is to make the county commission seats at-large positions like our city commission. No commissioner would be beholden to any particular geography, and each would be responsible to all county voters for their actions.
That might attract the kind of people with the knowledge, reputation and gravitas to run for the votes of the whole county, not just one small part of it. Knowing they have to display that level of qualifications and trust would tend to reduce the lesser qualified candidates. But, again, dropping the pay won’t accomplish that.
It’s long been known that some power brokers around Tonganoxie and Basehor have wanted to establish their own fiefdoms. It appears to me these new districts will be drawn for just that purpose.
So far, the arguments in favor of this notion are incredibly weak, thoroughly illogical and not convincing at all.