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Letters to the editor on renewable-energy standard, ADA, Common Core, violence, abortion, gridlock

  • Published Sunday, March 17, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Letters to the Editor

Include your full name, home address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are edited for clarity and length; 200 words or fewer are best. Letters may be published in any format and become the property of The Eagle.

Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202

E-mail: letters@wichitaeagle.com

Fax: 316-269-6799

For more information, contact Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.

Energy standard good for state

Every day, rural communities across Kansas benefit from a law that provides needed income, good jobs and steady investments in our state. This law, the renewable portfolio standard, has helped Kansas become a national leader in developing, generating and exporting renewable energy.

Kansas’ standard requires investor-owned utilities to generate 20 percent of peak demand electrical capacity from renewable sources by 2020. Our state is poised to make this happen. Kansas is ranked second in the nation for wind-energy potential, and Kansas City leads the nation in the shipping and distribution of biomass for bioenergy production.

As a rural resident, taxpayer, farmer and citizen, I believe Kansas must continue to encourage energy investment, and not discourage it with attempts to roll back beneficial state policies. Delaying this plan may mean significant job loss and decreases in disposable income and business investment, while hampering homegrown development.

Our legislators should continue advocating for the prosperity of Kansas’ farm and ranch families by standing by the law that encourages renewable-energy development. It provides jobs, attracts new businesses and invests in infrastructure for the state.

STEVE BACCUS

President

Kansas Farm Bureau

Topeka

ADA pro-business

I would like to address comments made by Wichita City Council member Paul Gray about the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) during a meeting (“Gray lashes out at 23-year-old ADA,” March 12 WE Blog excerpts). The ADA is, in fact, a very pro-business piece of legislation, especially in regard to mom-and-pop small businesses.

Gray failed to mention numerous provisions provided to business owners within the law. Businesses constructed prior to ADA requirements have an obligation to remove barriers when doing so is “readily achievable” – meaning it is easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense. The ADA also allows for alternatives for barrier removal where doing so isn’t readily achievable or is structurally impracticable.

When an alteration is undertaken in an existing business, the ADA considers expenditures for barrier removal disproportionate when the costs exceed 20 percent of the cost of the alteration. Using Gray’s example of an $80,000 alteration, anything more than $16,000 would be deemed disproportionate under the ADA. Furthermore, mom-and-pop small businesses would qualify for tax credits and deductions that would cover 95 percent of the $16,000.

This is by no means “driving our economy into the ground.”

Putting a price tag on equality may be easy for some, especially if they’ve never been the ones who have been denied access. Appreciation of such issues does not obviously correlate to being sensitive to the individuals the law is designed to protect.

JEFF FARNEY

Haysville

Keep standards

As a registered and informed voter, I am writing to express my concerns about efforts by state Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, and others to prohibit the implementation of the Common Core state academic standards. These standards were approved for adoption by Kansas educators. I know because I am one of the Kansas educators on the State Standards Review Committee.

When the Kansas review committee members were first given access to the draft versions of the standards, we were not impressed. We did see that the standards were research-informed, but they were not in an arrangement that was easy to use and there were some concerns about content placement. We were able to give feedback to the writers of the standards, but since we are not a large state, we did not anticipate that our feedback would warrant much discussion among the writers. We were very wrong.

Our feedback was valued and given much thought by the writers of the standards. There was discussion between our state and the committee. Several of our suggestions were evident in the next few drafts. We continued to study the research and give feedback until the final version was unveiled to the public.

As Kansas educators, we were very excited about the process and satisfied that the standards that we helped to mold into a usable form were informed by years of sound educational research both in content and instructional strategies.

DEBBIE THOMPSON

Derby

Reject violence

Many in the media want to restrict gun ownership to combat gun violence. Yet their own networks televise a prolific cacophony of violence and immorality, and even advertise for their sponsors the violent content seen in many computer games. What an inconsistency that is. Their monetary self-gain is at the expense of people finding themselves in an increasingly and heavily promoted violent culture.

What we need are more mentors who teach and promote principled self-discipline to our youths. We need youths to be self-confident in their moral upbringing and to help others with a sense of uplifting compassion and understanding. If we are to be a true world leader, then we must be and act as a respectable, principled, caring nation to all people.

The violence includes that committed with the weapon of the surgical scissors used in abortion. The most innocent of human life is being taken from what should be one of the most sacred places on this earth, the womb of the mother. Abortion diminishes the respect for life in all ages and conditions.

May we all look to truth and turn away from all violence to make this country better for the generations to come. The alternative is a cultural sickness that is unimaginable.

ART GENTRY

Clearwater

Privacy needed

The writer of “Dr. No Name” (March 13 Letters to the Editor) must suffer from memory loss if he can’t understand why the doctor who will practice at the South Wind Women’s Center wants to keep her identity private.

It has not been that long since Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller, who did not keep his identity hidden, was murdered in his church by an anti-choice zealot. Julie Burkhart, who is opening the clinic, already has faced harassment from anti-choice zealots who picketed her house with ugly pictures. Who knows what other threats and harassment will be faced by people connected with the clinic?

Those of us in the pro-choice community want to keep our families and homes safe from attacks by zealots. While most anti-abortion advocates are peaceful, there are those who are determined to intimidate abortion-rights supporters into giving up their quest to keep abortion legal, safe and, yes, private for women who choose to have an abortion.

People in the pro-choice community will not cave to this pressure. However, they will do what they can, including keeping their identities private, to protect themselves.

The letter writer needs to worry less about this doctor’s identity and more about those among the anti-choice community who pose a threat to people with whom they disagree.

DIANE WAHTO

Wichita

Source of gridlock

Charles Koch gave a clue for the gridlock in Washington, D.C., in his Eagle interview (“The Kochs’ quest to save America,” Oct. 14 Eagle). While speaking about his ideal for a truly free society and economic freedom, Koch said that Republicans “don’t have a fundamental philosophy on how to create a better society.” That’s a big-time problem for the GOP.

The rich controlling members of the Republican Party choose to remain muddled in the mentality of exploitation and victimization. They support social-welfare programs that give money to businesses instead of unfortunate individuals.

These business-welfare programs help the funding of big bonuses for company leaders while the company forces its workers to make concessions in wages and benefits.

These same business-welfare programs help to pay off the rich who invest in the businesses, through payment of bigger dividends on the company’s stock.

When the Republicans stop worshipping the almighty dollar, maybe then they can help devise a solution to our country’s financial problems.

GARY L. BARNES

Wichita

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