Letters to the editor on storm victims, tax mailer, Brownback visit, union bashing, sustainable power, found dog

11/07/2012 12:00 AM

11/06/2012 8:09 PM

No money for storm victims

In September, a beloved mimosa tree split down the center and almost caused costly damage to my house. The trunk had begun to rot, and it was obvious the tree would have to be removed. It was not easy to write the $1,200 check to the tree-removal service, but I was glad we had the money on hand for this “emergency.” I was grateful we didn’t have to put it on a credit card.

With the terrible damage caused by Sandy, and the devastation and suffering upon the people on the East Coast, I have been thinking a lot about the tremendous costs of cleanup and rebuilding. Certainly, the people affected by the storm are not capable, physically or financially, to fix everything. Ideally, their states should be in a position to put things back the way they were and help return people’s lives to pre-storm days. Sadly, not many states are financially capable of this overwhelming task.

A financially sound government, federal or state, is ready to write a check for natural disasters, ready to spend money on green energy, ready to ensure domestic tranquillity for ourselves and our posterity. Sadly, the federal government and many states lack the money for anything other than basic, essential services. Someday we may not be able to pay to help those who suffer from natural disasters. There simply won’t be any money.



Mailing political

Despite Gov. Sam Brownback’s assertion that the mailer sent out last week by the Kansas Department of Revenue was “strictly educational,” the appearance of the misuse of a department of state government for political purposes is unavoidable (Nov. 3 Local & State). If, indeed, the mailer about the state’s tax cuts was meant to be “strictly educational,” the timing could hardly have been more inappropriate, arriving as it did just when we were already being inundated with political ads and mailings. Also, the material it addresses is hardly relevant at this moment, other than for its obvious political purpose.

Despite Brownback’s protestations to the contrary, the mailing, if not illegal, was at the very least unscrupulous. When considering an action, it is incumbent upon us – and this includes our government officials, especially – to consider not only the fine points of legality of that action but to also weigh at what point an action might have an appearance of conflict of interest or dishonesty. On this count, the mailing fails absolutely.



Brownback lost?

I saw an Eagle headline, “Governor wheels through Wichita,” and a picture of Gov. Sam Brownback standing behind a sign that read, “Republicans: The Roadmap for Growth” (Nov. 3 Local & State). I can only conclude that the only reason he was in Wichita was because he was lost.



Plutocrat mantra

Recently, I’ve noticed a number of letters to the editor and Opinion Line comments denigrating union workers for not being satisfied with their present wages.

Are these folks not aware of the disparity between what the average CEO and the average worker is paid? In the 1950s, the ratio was about 20-to-1, and there was no shortage of millionaires. Today, the gap in that ratio has widened to 200-to-1.

During this past political campaign, I also heard a lot of talk about the necessity of maintaining low taxes for the rich, because they are “the job creators.” Other talking points decried oppressive regulations for the same reason.

The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, by the way, made possible the banks that are “too big to fail,” leaving the folks who pay taxes at a rate higher than 15 percent to bail them out. And none of these CEOs of the bailed-out banks is in jail. In fact, some gave themselves bonuses on top of their outrageous salaries, and now they have the gall to ask for even fewer regulations.

Anti-union, anti-taxes for the rich, anti-regulations for the big banks and corporations – this is the mantra of the plutocrats. When will we wise up?



Sustainable power

Why is so much being made of the apparent poor performance of wind-generated power when compared with that of coal and oil? Is the cost of damage to the environment factored into the equation of the comparison? Why are few people talking about the finite status of petroleum?

We’ve fouled our air and water with the cheap and low-hanging fruit of coal and oil. Many of those in the petroleum industry are determined to block any sort of environmental protection regulations, and they’re willing to spend huge amounts of money to buy the responses they want in Congress. Ethical business does not pursue profit without regard for the harm it does.

We need to be working on a gradual change to the next generation of power production – one, we can hope, that is less polluting and more sustainable.



Found dog

Somewhere in Wichita is a heartbroken dog lover. An older male cocker spaniel with a blond-gray muzzle and reddish-blond back and feet was found near 61st Street North and the river. We are afraid the owner may be temporarily ill or injured. If you know anything about this little fellow, please call me at 316-838-8437. This little lost boy is someone’s beloved dog.

Elections come and go, but life and concern for those in our community go on.



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