Letters to the Editor

February 17, 2013

Letters to the editor on KDOT money, Medicaid expansion, abortion, liquor sales, voter suppression

With all due respect to Mike King, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, I am very concern about all the talk in Topeka about transferring funds out of KDOT’s budget and into other departments.

Stop giving away KDOT’s money

With all due respect to Mike King, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, I am very concern about all the talk in Topeka about transferring funds out of KDOT’s budget and into other departments.

King has said that in the short term, KDOT has enough money to meet all of its commitments and that there are extra dollars because of lower bids and bond-financing savings. But it is foolish to think KDOT can afford to give away its money to other state departments. Any dollars saved from bids and bond financing need to be held in reserve for the day when things will not be so favorable.

It is my impression and opinion that King is too willing to give away KDOT money. Though he may feel that his actions are for the good of the state’s budget woes, don’t think that other state departments are going to volunteer to give up their money when KDOT gets into a budget shortfall. Nor will the governor come to KDOT’s rescue.

We do not want a transportation secretary who wants to solve everyone else’s problems. We want a secretary who is stingy, controlling, protective of our funding – who will do everything in his power to protect the transportation programs and promises that have been made.

King needs to do his job and protect KDOT’s money, for we will surely need it.


Bel Aire

Wants status quo

Derrick Sontag, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Kansas, claims that we should not expand Medicaid to cover Kansans who cannot otherwise obtain any kind of medical coverage (Feb. 7 Opinion). Sontag argued that Medicaid provides “less than other insurance plans.” He went on to say that “health outcomes for Medicaid patients lag those on private insurance.”

Sontag’s commentary made it seem as though the choice facing Kansans is between expanding Medicaid and private health insurance. However, that is simply not true. Sontag is fully aware that the primary population that would be covered in this proposal is currently not covered at all. Therefore, the choice is not between Medicaid and private insurance but between Medicaid and no coverage.

Sontag’s position would maintain the status quo, with thousands of working Kansans lacking any kind of coverage. These people are the ones who all too often end up in hospital emergency rooms, where the cost of treatment is extremely high. Making matters worse is that what might have been minor and easily treatable ailments are allowed to fester to the point that treatment is much more difficult and outcomes vastly inferior. It has been documented that in many cases people die as a result of not obtaining treatment in a timely fashion.

This is the status quo that Sontag wants to perpetuate.



Reject clinic

I am not sure when Wichita became the Air Capital because of many hardworking people and the great leadership from the Cessnas and the Beeches, among others. Until May 2009, Wichita also was known as the Abortion Capital.

Currently, some want to return our great city to being the Abortion Capital by reopening the facility at Kellogg and Bleckley, once more bringing turmoil to this currently quiet neighborhood. Wichita is a family-friendly city, and we should encourage those on our local government board to reject this facility by rezoning this area to residential (Feb. 6 Local & State).



Move on

It is long past time for those in the pro-life movement to accept the Roe v. Wade decision. They’ve now had 40 years’ worth of protest. Objection noted. Let’s move on.

It’s also time to silence the absurd notion that “pro-choice” means “pro-abortion.” I am a pro-choice woman, and my husband and I will welcome our fourth child this summer. That is our choice. What other choices would the pro-lifers like to control?

I don’t get to tell men what they can and cannot do with their male parts; they don’t get an opinion on what I do with my female parts.

This insipid rezoning effort (Feb. 6 Local & State) is yet another blatant attempt by zealots to flout the constitutional rights of women and to legislate their idea of morality on my uterus. Abortion is legal during the first trimester, which is prior to viability, and folks like David Gittrich of Kansans for Life need to quit looking for creative new ways to criminalize it.



Put a cork in it

One organization lobbying Kansas legislators during the 2012 session spent $72,000, ranking second among all lobbying organizations. It was Uncork Kansas, which is composed of Dillons, Kwik Shop, QuikTrip, Walmart and Hy-Vee, to name a few. This group spent that money on food, beverage, recreation, entertainment, gifts, etc. – in essence, wining and dining legislators trying to buy a new law that could wipe out 3,000 small-business jobs in Kansas. It also could hurt enforcement of our liquor laws, as well as cut selection to only the 100 top-selling wine, beer and liquor items in their stores and the one-on-one personal service and knowledge you find in a small business.

The current system works well, and the public has a wide selection of adult products in an adult-only store.

Our legislators are hardworking people from all areas of our state. They should ignore these large corporations that are not even based in Kansas and are throwing this large amount of cash at the Legislature to try to buy their proposed law.



Adapt, compete

As debate in Topeka kicks off regarding the Uncork Kansas bill, I’m not surprised that liquor stores are vehemently contesting the idea of opening the market to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell “their” products.

The fear of change is a powerful motivator. There’s no doubt that liquor stores are scared of adapting and want to protect the monopoly they’ve unfairly had on the market since Prohibition days.

But it’s not right. Nor are their claims accurate.

In other states where the government isn’t dictating where alcohol is sold, liquor stores are still part of the landscape. The advantage is that they can also sell ice, wine-bottle openers and any other products they think their customers want to buy.

Here in Kansas, we have independent flower shops, pharmacies and bakeries. Having those same options available in the grocery store didn’t mean the end for niche businesses.

So the next time you hear a liquor-store owner complaining that business is doomed if the Uncork Kansas bill passes, remind him that the liquor-store industry has long enjoyed a monopoly. Now owners are going to have to do what other business owners do every day – adapt and compete.



Losing strategy

The GOP has a problem. There are simply too many Democratic and minority voters for it to expand its base and win elections. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the past presidential campaign and still losing, something had to be done to rectify the situation.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been pushing a different approach: If we cannot add to our voter base, why don’t we find a way to reduce theirs? Just to get started, expand voter-ID laws across the country. Explore other measures needed to “protect the vote” and reduce Democratic turnout.

It didn’t work in 2012, and it is unlikely to work in 2014 or 2016. They just don’t seem to understand that you cannot legislate against minorities in this country and then expect them to vote for your candidate.



Letters deadline

Letters to the editor about the Feb. 26 election must be received at The Eagle by 3 p.m. Thursday in order to be considered for publication.

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