The city’s response to letters written by me and a gentleman from Party City regarding the construction delays at 21st and Wanamaker, published on August 21, confirms the main point of my original letter. Officials blame everything except their ineffective project management for why things don’t get done. They use words like “powerless” and “have no control.” That pretty much says it all about how city officials view themselves.
The city granted Cox a franchise, allowing it to use the public right-of-way and sell its services to local residents, not the other way around. Accordingly, there has to be a franchise agreement detailing the responsibilities of both parties. I don’t believe the lawyers left to chance what would happen if Cox failed to respond to reasonable requests for moving utility lines in a timely manner. I’d also be surprised if that agreement specifies that Cox can move lines whenever they get around to it, and that the city is “powerless” to do anything about it. If that’s the case, we’ve got even bigger problems in this town than slow construction projects.
Finally, I would like to comment on the Public Works official who said people “just need to be patient” and that road projects will eventually get done. Actually, citizens have been too patient for too long. That’s why we get such a poor level of service from our Public Works department. The city recently paid for a study that told officials what many of us could have told them for free. Lots of people are dissatisfied with Topeka as a place to live. Perhaps our officials would do well to address the issues raised by the local residents, rather than make lame excuses.
Instead, they will waste more of our tax dollars on a public relations campaign that will do absolutely nothing to fix the real problems that make people want to move out of this city.
LEO HAFNER, Topeka