Genius by design?
To the editor:
The City of Marion, Marion Police Department, and the Marion County attorney recently created a public relations coup in promoting the city’s image with a “raid.”
Thanks to their efforts, they have generated tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of free, world-wide publicity for the city.
It appears the City hired not only a new police chief but also a marketing genius who helped the town achieve prominence on all news channels, both local and national.
But genius by design? Probably not. This is now a marketing disaster and a financial liability for the City of Marion, Marion police, and the county attorney.
It has brought world-wide concern to a haunting story about a massacre of rights of the press in a small town in Kansas and an unfortunate death resulting from it.
For those following this story who don’t live in our state, please be aware that most small towns in Kansas don’t operate in this fashion, and most folks in this town don’t support what’s occurred.
It’s poor decisions like this and the many other blunders that have led the city to this point.
Last year, the city council created a liability for the city when it signed a binding contract to sell a parcel of city land that later was discovered never to have been platted and that had no clear title.
This and numerous other foolish situations go all the way back to when the current mayor was city administrator.
He replied to a citizen’s request to change some zoning by producing an agreement to change the zoning without properly going through the Planning and Zoning Commission.
In a lawsuit that followed, a district court judge said the city “didn’t have any authority” to enter into that zoning change agreement and there was “no enforceable contract” in regards to the agreement.
Through all of this, the vast majority of the community sat silent as they witnessed what was occurring in front of them.
Some thought that if they ignored the problems, then there weren’t problems. Others believed there were no problems, as the end justifies the means. And then there were the many others who spoke of concerns quietly among friends but never in public.
You see, in a small town like this, silence is golden if you don’t want trouble and wish to stay socially acceptable.
Sadly, the current situation is the result of the lingering sounds of silence for the need of competent, intelligent, and respectful government in Marion, Kansas.
Roger Schwab, Topeka
Former chairman of Marion
Planning and Zoning Commission Hiding
Last modified Aug. 24, 2023