To the editor:
In the article, “Attorney questions city’s authority to issue no-bid contract for Rock Chalk Park” (Journal-World, July 2), Mike Amyx is quoted as saying that when he voted for Charter Ordinance 19 back in 1984, he had no idea the city would use it to circumvent the bidding process in the future. I think I know how he feels. Some of us who voted for the 1994 sales tax initiative had no idea that our good intentions — to support improved public health services in the county — would be hijacked nearly 20 years later to justify building a $25 million sports complex without public approval.
The City Commission has apparently grown fond of exploiting ambiguities in our old legal documents. This may seem clever, but it is terrible for representative government; it is divisive and sows voter distrust. Personally, I was so disgusted by the way the sports complex was handled I almost voted against the latest school bond issue. Why? Because I could only guess at what legal fodder I might be providing for irresponsible commissioners in the future. As Mr. Amyx found out, if you vote for anything in Lawrence, your vote becomes free game for reinterpretation decades later.
This has got to stop. If the city wants to maintain public trust, it needs to bid out the Rock Chalk project. Sure, it may take longer. Doing things the right way generally does! There isn’t a law on the books that can negate that simple truth.