10/30/14

Vote "Yes" . . .


I don't typically like to use this blog for political soapboxing (yes - that is a joke) but there is something very important happening here in Wichita next Tuesday that I felt compelled to nudge all my Wichita-based readers on (the rest of you can read or not, no worries either way).

Tuesday, nationally, is election day. Millions of Americans will head to the polls (many under false pretenses if our Secretary of State is to be believed) and they will decide on leadership and ballot initiatives and the future of many things. Wichitans will vote on OUR future.

Here's the thing - I LOVE this city. I am proud to call Wichita home. I don't ever pretend to really know the future but I don't have any plans to ever not live in and consider Wichita home. I have a daughter who was born here and, after a short stint in Connecticut, returned here. It is the only home she has ever known.

I moved to a town called Groton, New York when I was nine-years-old. Groton, with a population of 3,000ish was once a proud, bustling town. We used to make Smith Corona typewriters and just about everyone in town worked the company. The rest of the town was agriculture-driven or people drove to nearby small cities Ithaca and Cortland to work in various industries - many blue collar, hard working jobs and companies. It was apparently great!

Then . . . Smith Corona shut down its Groton facility. While many folks started working at the Smith Corona facility in Cortland (which also, not long after, closed) the town has truly never recovered. Today - on the lot that once employed hundreds and hundreds, sits a gas station/convenience store/pizza place that employees maybe a dozen total folks. The rest of the lot is just empty. Still.

My parents still live in Groton but they all-but insisted my brothers and I leave. We had to go away to college and, while we were welcome to come back after, we realized that there were no jobs for our chosen professions for us in Groton. The three of us still go "home" and still love the years we spent there - yet, for me, I have to feel guilty for leaving . . . more specifically . . . for feeling like I had to.

What am I rambling about? I want my daughter to see the world. I want her to have the opportunity to go anywhere and be anything. I want her to find her passions and follow them. I want her, frankly, to feel like if that means Wichita . . . she can have that option.

The opponents to the tax initiative say we should "wait" but I can't figure out why. There is no indication that Wichita will soon be blessed with flood-like rain nor a population drop or usage drop so significant that water is not precious. We are a metropolitan area of 500,000-ish. There is no reason for our roads to not be paved (every inch) nor to think we don't need to improve our roads and enhance them for bikes, buses, and hoverboards. There is no reason to think we should not protect our mass transit system. We should grow it. There is no reason to believe we don't need to figure out how to create more jobs. THOUSANDS of Wichitans have lost their jobs these last several years. Aviation is not going to reboot itself in this town (without help). The amazing incubator and entrepreneurial community is not going to flourish without help.

One penny. One cent for every dollar spent. Yep. A 14% boost from our current taxes.

For me, it is a small price that I will happily pay if it means that my daughter will have a vibrant home, should she chose, for life. I will pay it if it means a better future my city. I will shell  out every last penny I have it means my beloved Wichita doesn't go the way of my beloved Groton.

If you want to learn more, check out the site built by the "Yes Wichita" campaign or go to the horribly misleading-in-name "A Better Wichita" site to read the opposition (fair warning, there is very little there beyond fear language).