Letter to the editor — September 20, 2018

Dear editor,
There was an interesting exchange of ideas Tuesday at the Allen County Commission meeting of which I had 15 minutes to discuss an option for the commissioners to gather citizens’ opinions regarding the possible acquisition of the Iola Industries property commonly referred to as Elks Lake, which is included in the 270-acre parcel.
Rather than being receptive to gathering the opinions of their citizens, the officials sufficed to take as truth what they had heard, what the phone callers were saying and generally just the rumor mill information everyone hears. The commissioners were also quick to remind me they were elected by the citizens of this county to make these decisions. That is what a representative government is all about.
First, my suggested method of gathering information was and maybe yet, quite simple: You ask the same question to the people who would visit the city offices of Iola, Humboldt, Gas, LaHarpe, Moran and Savonburg all on the same day. These towns represent 69 percent of the total population of Allen County and therefore a statistical inference could be concluded by the choice of each town, which represents a certain percentage of their group. For instance, Humboldt represents 14 percent of the county’s population, but of the five cities would represent 20.3 percent of the responses to the question, “Should Allen County acquire the 270 acres from Iola Industries, which includes Elks Lake?” A simple yes or no answer is all that is to be required, without conditions.
To me, this information would help our elected representatives in reaching a decision.
Also begging to be answered is whether our current commissioners truly represent the people of Allen County. According to voter registrations today, we have 3,983 registered Republicans, 1,428 registered Democrats, and 2,197 unaffiliated voters (independents). That’s 7,608 registered voters in Allen County, of which the Republicans represent 100 percent of the county commission, but only 52 percent of the voters.
Now, let us look at our representatives per district: Jerry Daniels won his seat by a flip of a coin, which means he represents only 50 percent of the people in his district. Bill King was appointed to two-plus years, filling a vacated seat. John Brocker was appointed by the same Republican committee as Bill King, but has subsequently lost that seat in August’s primary election.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, no I don’t believe this commission represents the citizens of Allen County today and you should take all the advice and information you can glean from the citizens trying to help you.
Larry H. Walden,
Iola, Kan.