Thursday, April 19, 2007

Have Wichita and Sedgwick County found peace?

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the day Wichita and Sedgwick County made peace.

On April 17, 1987, city and county officials gathered in the middle of Central Avenue dressed as American Indians, laid down the hatchets they were carrying and signed a peace treaty to symbolize a new era of govenrment cooperation. The event was the brainchild of former Commissioner Dave Bayouth who said the newfound peace would help bring jobs to the area, the Wichita Eagle-Beacon reported at the time.

"The event, billed as the 'Central Street Summit', began with the 10 officials moving up to a table draped with Indian blankets. There, they put down their hatchets - a symbol that city-county strife is now buried in the past. Truman Ware, the chairman of the board of the Mid-America All-Indian Center, presided over the passing of the peace pipe, reminding officials of its significance," the paper reported on April 18, 1987.

Click the "read more" link to see The Eagle's full front page story from that day.

GOVERNMENTS LAY DOWN HATCHETS
CITY, COUNTY SUMMIT FEATURES SYMBOLISM, PROMISES

ALISSA RUBIN, STAFF WRITER

It was a grand show for the city and the county.

In front of about 2,000 city and county employees and guests - including the governor - the five City Council members and the five county commissioners stepped up to a table in the middle of Central Avenue on Friday, laid down the hatchets they were carrying, passed an Indian peace pipe and signed a treaty with pens passed out by the acting county administrator.

The ceremony, the brainchild of County Commissioner Dave Bayouth, was to symbolize what government officials say will be a new era of cooperation between the city and the county and commitment to work together to bring jobs to the Wichita-Sedgwick County area.

Employees from both sides of the street agreed it was great to spend some time outdoors on a beautiful spring day, but as for long-term cooperation, well . . . time will tell.

It's nice; it lets the public know that we're willing to stand across the table from one another and smile at each other," said County Commission Chairman Tom Scott.

It does show people we're willing to sit down and talk about our differences," he added.

Councilman Sheldon Kamensaid the celebration showed the community and state legislators that we're willing to work together."

The event, billed as the Central Street Summit," began with the 10 officials moving up to a table draped with Indian blankets. There, they put down their hatchets - a symbol that city-county strife is now buried in the past. Truman Ware, the chairman of the board of the Mid-America All-Indian Center, presided over the passing of the peace pipe, reminding officials of its significance.

Wichita was always a place of peace for all the Indians of the plains," he said.

Mel Kahn, professor of political science at Wichita State University, who served as master of ceremonies, gave a brief speech complete with biblical references. He said the city and county were fingers of the same hand and had to work together for the greater good of the community.

After Kahn spoke, Gov. Mike Hayden sounded the gong of economic development with comments of the mutual interests of the state and local governments. Our plans for economic development will fit with your plans for economic development . . . we want to work with you hand in hand," Hayden said.

After the ceremony there was a free lunch for all city and county employees and the guests. Food and soft drinks were donated by Skaggs Alpha Beta, Burger King, Wendy's of Wichita, Long John Silvers, New York Hotdog Company, 7-Up Bottling Company, Rainbo Bakery, Pizza Hut, Ohse Meat Products and the Canteen Corporation; other services were donated by Browning Ferris Industries and Superior Sound.

All content © 1987 WICHITA EAGLE-BEACON
and may not be republished without permission.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Short answer: No.

Anonymous said...

It's easier to steal our money when they work together. That is all.

Anonymous said...

No. In fact, the county seems to be putting some fuel on the fire again. Let's see what the BCC has done lately: spearhead an arena they know the majority of people don't want, oppose gambling knowing a majority of people do want it, and charge the cities for using a jail they already pay to use. The other half is up for election in two years.

James said...

sedgwick county, working for you... with a motto like that how can you go wrong.

Anonymous said...

When Wichita and Sedgwick county lay down the hatchet you can be sure it will be on the necks of the taxpayers and citizens of this area.

Anonymous said...

Just say NO!!! to all incumbants when it is election time. It's time for fresh faces with fresh ideas.