Letters to the Editor

October 14, 2012

Letters to the editor on neighborhood cleanups, wind tax credit, truth in campaigns, tax cut to consumers, fluoridation, child abuse

A few months ago, the Wichita City Council voted 4-3 to take $50,000 from the neighborhood cleanup fund. This money was to be used to fund cleanups in any neighborhood of the city that organized a project and brought out volunteers to work within the neighborhood.

Restore money for neighborhoods

A few months ago, the Wichita City Council voted 4-3 to take $50,000 from the neighborhood cleanup fund. This money was to be used to fund cleanups in any neighborhood of the city that organized a project and brought out volunteers to work within the neighborhood.

Two or three cleanups happen all over the city each Saturday from April through October. Hundreds of tons of trash, furniture, brush, tires, appliances, etc., are removed and the city improved. Removal of this material reduces breeding areas for insects and rodents and safety and fire hazards, and it helps to keep or improve property values for all citizens, even if they do not directly participate.

That $50,000 translates to about 13.1 cents per citizen.

The money taken from this activity was combined with funds taken from other sources and reallocated to fund a bus route faced with shutdown. Though I support having a good public transportation system, the route in question has fewer than 100 users.

The proposed replacement program for cleanups is a logistical nightmare. It will be fiscally impossible for neighborhoods to fund and will result in the destruction of a program that has benefited the city for more than 20 years.

Are there four City Council members who think Wichita citizens are worth 13.1 cents each? Restore the cleanup funding.



Sunflower Neighborhood and Business Association


Renew tax credit

A letter from the Kansas state director of Americans for Prosperity was a direct attack on my job, hundreds of others in Kansas, and tens of thousands across the United States (“Let credit expire,” Oct. 4 Letters to the Editor).

Wind power and the wind production tax credit (PTC) have kick-started an economy-boosting and job-building industry in Kansas. Because of increased wind-power production, nearly 500 American manufacturing plants build wind components, towers and blades.

Also thanks to the PTC’s success, the equivalent number of homes that Kansas wind farms now power is more than 430,000. Also, wind power’s costs have declined 90 percent since the 1980s, with improved technology and U.S.-based manufacturing making it competitive with other energy sources. Instead of losing jobs overseas, wind power is behind a boom in generating jobs in Kansas and other states.

That means we not only are saving money but also are running our homes on a clean, renewable and domestic energy supply that will keep the lights on for years to come.

I used to be a mechanical assembler at Siemens’ Hutchinson plant. I welcome wind power in Kansas and strongly support the renewal of the wind PTC.



Truth takes hit

The lies and half-truths fly between candidates – and they get away with it. For example, Mitt Romney has distorted President Obama’s record on welfare and immigration, while Obama has misrepresented Romney’s record on immigration and abortion.

They get away with it because we voters want to believe that our party’s nominee always tells the truth and the opposition lies through his teeth. We want to believe in the candidate who seems to hold the same views of the world that we do.

To remain in a comfort zone, we go to the political programs on TV or radio that seem to espouse the same values we do. Some of us get our “news” from talking heads on Fox News, and some of us get the whole “truth” from MSNBC.

Competent fact-check organizations have not been really successful in weeding out falsehoods, because so many people don’t want to believe what the fact-checkers discover about their truth-distorting candidate. When a political adviser announces, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” we should know that truth will take a real hit – and so will we.



Target consumers

Our market economy grows when spending grows. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. Yet the bulk of the tax cuts passed by our Republican leaders in the state government are going to businesses. It would have been smarter to give the bulk of the tax breaks to the 70 percent.

The Republican ideology has it wrong. Businesses are not the job creators. They hire in reaction to the increased demand for their goods and services. The real job creators are the American consumers. When consumers buy more, businesses hire more. Why would a business hire more employees when it doesn’t have the need for new employees?



Put health first

As a mom of three great kids, I am stunned by all the debate surrounding the issue of fluoridating Wichita’s water. The health of my children is my top priority, and fluoride has been proved again and again to be safe and effective in the fight against tooth decay.

I will, of course, take other steps to ensure my children have good oral health, such as teaching them how to brush properly and getting them to the dentist on a regular basis. But drinking fluoridated water just adds another layer of protection. Studies show dramatically reduced rates of decay in kids who live in towns with fluoridated water. Why haven’t we taken this step for our children here in Wichita?

Why is Wichita the last city of its size in the United States to not sign onto this?

If fluoridation is good enough for the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, then it’s good enough for me.

I think it is time that Wichita put the health of its children first.



Xylitol safer

Good oral health is safely accomplished using a natural product named xylitol instead of a fluoride by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry.

Xylitol was discovered during World War II in Finland when there were sugar shortages. The Finnish researched it for 30 years. They discovered that xylitol reduces cavities, remineralizes teeth, reduces ear infections, promotes healthy gums, increases saliva in dry-mouth sufferers, and is safe for diabetics.

As an elementary teacher concerned about children’s teeth, I co-designed the xylitol project in 2000 at Stanley Elementary School with Wichita physician Phil Allen and his wife, June. Our project entailed giving my students and two other classes a piece of xylitol gum and mint every day for the entire school year. The Allens provided the xylitol. The project was approved by the school principal, the district’s director of health and all parents. Our results clearly supported research findings of the Finnish. The xylitol project was in place five years until I retired.

Xylitol is safe, has many health benefits beyond healthy teeth, and is far more cost-effective and physically safer than fluoridating in Wichita’s water. It is used worldwide. Health food stores carry xylitol.



Report abuse

Many times in the past we have heard about terrible cases of child abuse in our community. Sometimes death is the result. Sometimes people go to prison and sometimes not. This is a huge load for our community to bear.

The results are depressing for our city, especially when the surviving victims grow up with serious problems. An abuse victim often doesn’t do well in school.

We urge our community’s citizens to have the courage to quickly report any abuse you observe or hear. The signs often are obvious. Call the police right away or call the social services.

Let’s not let this problem become a blight. There is too much pain for our precious, vulnerable little children.



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