Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hidden Agendas & Conflicts of Interest

The following was first submitted by Jason Dinges, resident of Hays, Kansas, to the Hays Daily News as a letter to the editor in May 2007:

This letter is a follow-up to the wind farm zoning issues addressed in the Sunday edition. In regard to conflict of interest and hidden agendas, I believe the following -

(1) Lance Russell and Jo Kraus knew that industrial wind farms in Ellis County were a high probability when they accepted their positions on the planning committee.

(2) Because of family connections, Lance Russell knew he had a conflict of interest when he accepted his position on the planning committee. He should have disclosed his conflict of interest at that time. Withdrawing now is just a smokescreen as the damage has already been done.

(3) Based on prior meetings, the county commissioners knew that Lance Russell and Jo Kraus had a conflict of interest when they appointed them. This conflict should have been disclosed from the beginning.

(4) The county commissioners knew that large industrial complexes would not come to a county without zoning in place. They know that these firms need the protection from lawsuits that following the zoning rules give them. They make the excuse that it gives the people a voice, when in fact the people had no voice in the zoning procedure. They know that the huge firms would never have come to county without the protection of zoning. In the planning meeting I attended, Lance Russell basically said we do not care what you people think, the commissioners are going to pass it and if you do not like it you can vote them out. One has been voted out and we have two to go.

(5) The commissioners and the committee members constantly justified the rush to zoning by stating they needed to protect the constituents from large industrial complexes popping up in their backyards. Not once did they address the possibility of large industrial wind farms, which they knew were a high probability. Again this was a hidden agenda.

(6) Little to no time was spent on the wind farm issue at the zoning meetings. The wind farm-friendly zoning issue was slid through under the radar.

(7) Had this all been disclosed up front, it could have all been addressed months ago and we would not have this impression of impropriety that exists now.

In closing, I believe the wind farm is a good thing; I like and respect the people that will benefit from it. On the front end, it will be a great financial boon to the local economy.

But there is something wrong with the system when it allows conflicts of interest and hidden agendas to go unaddressed.

All zoning should be taken off the table and a new committee should be formed. The two commissioners should resign their positions and this should all be addressed by a whole new group that will allow the public to see all the facts.

Hidden agendas are a thing of the past and have no place in our society.

Jason Dinges
Hays, Kansas
May 2007

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

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