Letter to the editor – April 24, 2024

Dear editor,

My wife and I just got back from a walk after attending Monday’s Iola council meeting where they voted against accepting the chicken ordinance. 

It was much talked about in the paper the last few weeks so I figured I’d give my two cents.

We were very saddened to see the result. It seems like every year or so, a vote comes up to give Iolans the freedom to have chickens in their yards. 

It’s disheartening that although a large group of people bring something like this to the city council every time, it always gets voted down. The people obviously want this and the city council should be representing the will of the people in their rulings. That’s how a representative government is supposed to work.

I lucked into a great deal on the house I bought here last year or I wouldn’t have moved to Iola because of this very issue. 

A family I know chose not to make offers on houses in Iola and instead bought a house in a neighboring town with less restrictions. 

They have more eggs than they can eat and their chicken-fertilized gardens look beautiful. 

I was driving through Humboldt this weekend and saw some goats in a fence. GOATS! 

How my wife and I would love goats for milk and meat but if four chickens gets denied, it’d take an act of God. 

Food nowadays is expensive and unhealthy so the freedom to peacefully secure a source of great nutrition at a great price is rare and valuable. 

Free fertilizer for the garden also helps food security and increases the production of delicious veggies. It seems like there’s no other choice for the small-time gardener and backyard homesteader but to move somewhere where they can do what they want with their property. 

It seems ridiculous to err on the side of restrictions in lieu of freedom for the citizens of this town. Is the argument really to restrict the rights of responsible citizens because of the possibility of irresponsible ones? Is it the imposition of the aesthetic taste of a few citizens on the rest? That’s not the spirit of America.

I personally know of 10 or 12 families watching this very closely, excited to get chickens. Now I’m not sure if it’s worth it to plant trees here in Iola, let alone roots. 

My wife and I will have chickens. We’d love to stay in Iola and have them here, but without basic self-determination, somewhere else would love to have our taxes I’m sure. 

I guess we’ll just have to continue paying for farm eggs and fertilizer from our freer neighbors for now.

Judiah Hawley,

Iola, Kan.

Editor’s note: Cole Herder, Humboldt city administrator, confirmed Wednesday that goats are not allowed within Humboldt’s city limits. 

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