Letter to the editor: County ignoring voters
To the editor:
The Douglas County Commission continues to ignore the will of the electorate in regard to the jail expansion through an opaque and questionable process. According to data from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, crime is down while arrests and jail population are up. Nonetheless, this commission has threatened to defund social services and increase property taxes, held the Crisis Center hostage, and continuously misled the interested public. They have stated throughout the year that their actions, hiring a construction manager at risk, for example, don’t mean they are progressing. Yet their timeline indicates preconstruction began in May. They have leaned heavily on the success of re-entry, but are now delaying that aspect. The timeline indicates a groundbreaking date that is before the payment agreement has been signed. We have no idea how we will fund operations or how much they will cost. They have paid Treanor Architects hundreds of thousands of dollars to date, paid a consultant whose findings they primarily disregarded, and ignored several of our own district attorney’s recommendations. They hold meetings near major holidays, during work sessions with no public comment.
Their stated rationale is the conditions for the inmates, specifically those farmed out and the female population. However, at the work session on Nov. 27, Sheriff Ken McGovern stated that building the south tower would not necessarily alleviate the women’s issue.
This project is clearly being used for purposes that do not promote public safety. The people have raised very serious questions into the nature of this expansion and have been continuously rebuffed. This must not proceed until our questions are addressed.