Letters to the Editor

September 23, 2012

Letters to the editor on Sedgwick County officials, drainage problem, vote, conflicting rights, 47 percent, older drivers, flip-flopping

Kudos to The Eagle for shedding light on the issue of trying to work with elected officials within Sedgwick County government (“County organization leads to tension,” Sept. 16 Local & State).

Officials need to work together

Kudos to The Eagle for shedding light on the issue of trying to work with elected officials within Sedgwick County government (“County organization leads to tension,” Sept. 16 Local & State).

In a Republican state, in a Republican county, with a Republican-majority County Commission, and elected Republicans in the offices of register of deeds, county clerk and treasurer, one would assume these elected officials would advance the basic party tenets that call for reducing the size of government and lowering taxes, and assist the county in balancing its budget. It appears that is not the case.

As the article pointed out, none of the elected officials, except Sheriff Robert Hinshaw, offered any suggestions on how to reduce his or her department’s budget. The officials cite their responsibility to carry out state statutes as the reason that their departments must remain untouched and their processes unimproved.

We need cooperation, innovation and experienced management to get the most bang for our county tax buck. The practice of installing unqualified elected officials as department heads for core county services is an antiquated model that’s not working.

If these folks need to be rewarded for being good and loyal Republican Party operatives, then give each a job at the state or county party level at a reduced salary and leave the operation of the county to the professionals.



Pay to fix drainage

Regarding “County debates drainage solution” (Sept. 20 Local & State): I live in the Willows addition just north of the area in question. I moved there in the spring of 2008.

I lived in the area of 79th Street South and West Street from 1993 to 2001. There were never any issues back then.

There are no problems in my immediate neighborhood. But I have learned that as this addition was expanding, existing homes along 79th Street South started having major overflow issues.

You cannot build residential pad sites 4 to 5 feet higher than the surrounding area and not expect problems.

When are developers, engineers and the city and county that approve, sign and stamp these construction documents going to be held accountable for their actions? I’ve already had one special assessment shoved down my throat for a lift station.

I work in the electrical industry. If we design something incorrectly, we pay to fix it. Those who screwed this up need to admit it and use their own money to fix the problem.



New chance to vote

In the primaries last month, our governor got what he wanted. Now, they say, he will control the Legislature. If he has his way, he’ll get to pick the state Supreme Court.

The people have spoken. But what people? Not quite all of them: Only 22.8 percent of us showed up to vote. Now, in the general election on Nov. 6, we’ll have another chance to vote. And this time, who wins is in.

We can vote for the candidates we want. We can check out a few things, think about it and decide what we want. Koch Industries will spend big dollars to let us know what it wants us to want. But we get to decide – we are in charge, and that means we are responsible. But if we don’t vote, we are irresponsible no matter who wins.

If you are not yet registered to vote, do so. The deadline is Oct. 16. Exercise the power you have in this democracy. Use it or lose it.



Conflicting rights

Gwyn Mellinger well-presented opposing views about discrimination concerning gays and lesbians (“LGBT rights on two cities’ ballots,” Sept. 16 Opinion). I conclude she is a proponent for these rights. So am I.

But she neglected the rights of most others, for whom I also am a proponent under the right circumstances, to discriminate against whomever they choose – even gays and lesbians. What are the right circumstances? When a person, or organization, is making decisions in a situation that is solely within their own jurisprudence.

No level of government has the right to dictate behavior of individuals making decisions when their own income and wealth are the only fiscal elements involved in the activity. If duly elected officials, reflecting the wishes of their constituents, make laws restricting discrimination, they should only apply when public funds from that jurisdiction are contributing to the individual’s or organization’s financial well-being – a library or an arena, but not a shop or apartment building or church.



Part of 47 percent

As a lifelong Democrat, I would like Mitt Romney’s supporters to know that I have always worked and paid taxes. I have paid federal and state income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and many other taxes.

I have never thought of myself as a victim. Instead, I have felt exceptionally fortunate to be able to enjoy the many liberties and opportunities we have in America.

I am now working only part time and receive old-age Social Security benefits and have some income from savings. Apparently, Romney begrudges me and other senior citizens our Medicare and Social Security. Many of us are part of the 47 percent of Americans Romney condemns for dependence on the government.

People should realize that they or members of their family are probably dependent on some form of government assistance such as Social Security for the elderly and disabled and benefits for veterans.



Simulate driving

I am one caught up in the octogenarian angst of losing the keys to our car (“Older drivers face confusing array of state licensing laws,” Sept. 18 Eagle). May I make a suggestion?

Since all who fly airplanes check out their skills by way of a flight simulator that replicates all the stresses of flight from takeoff to landing, how about an earthbound “auto simulator” that would check out all drivers, especially those of us who are older, to ensure our ability to safely navigate the streets and highways?

It would seem to me that both the state of Kansas and the various auto-insurance companies have a vested interest in safe driving and could jointly fund such simulators and oversee their use. I, for one, would welcome such a “check drive.”



OK to flip-flop

As the old song goes, “it’s a long, long time from May to December.” But this year, that long, long time began months ago and won’t reach its crescendo until November.

No matter which way you lean, your candidate had better not change his position on any issue or he’ll be branded a flip-flopper. And that’s no compliment.

But since when is it a crime to modify one’s view based on compelling new evidence? Who pronounced it heresy to listen to more than one side of an issue? Dare we question opinions carved in mental marble?

History provides a foundation on which to build a sturdy structure, a nation of law and the order we cherish. History records numerous U-turns on the road to fact.

If we cannot permit our political people to modify their stance based on observation of cause and effect – or, forgive the expression, common sense – aren’t we already in deep mire? And shouldn’t that same rule apply to our own personal, inherited, party-sacred loyalties? Can’t we at least listen to “the other side” without getting belligerent? Or confrontational?

Oh, it’s a long, long time from May to November.



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