Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunflower activists acquitted

I commented (here, here, and here) on the travesty of leaders of Sunflower Community Action being prosecuted for leaving a few signs at the home of Wichita City Manager George Kolb in a protest about the city's failure over years to clean up a lot in Wichita.

This week, a jury acquitted them of the charges.

After the group protested at his house, Kolb asked the city to charge Perry Fisher and Sunflower leaders J.J. Selmon and Louis Goseland with trespassing and illegal dumping, accusing the group of more than a dozen of leaving protest signs scattered across his lawn on Dec. 9, 2006.

After testimony on Monday and closing arguments Tuesday morning, the Sedgwick County jury of three men and three women found them not guilty.

"We can all sleep tonight, finally," Perry Fisher said after the verdict. "I am happy, happy, happy.
Meanwhile, Kolb resigned in a mutual agreement with the City Council, which gave him an extremely generous severance package. Eagle columnist Randy Schofield had some germane comments

Council members cited "philosophical differences."

Philosophical differences?

What's that supposed to mean? Did they argue about Kant's categorical imperative? Bicker about the symbolism of Plato's cave?

Schofield rightly points to problems with Wichita's city manager form of government. It seems that the city manager view themselves as being the real boss of the city. The mayor and council members like corporate board of directors are to do what the manager wants. And the citizens are just an awkward encumbrance. When Kolb resigned he wished the "organization" well in the future. The ORGANIZATION? As if the city of Wichita were a corporation or a non-profit.

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