Letters to the editor on turnpike, guns, moochers, Kansas politics

02/19/2013 12:00 AM

02/18/2013 7:05 PM

Don’t move KTA to state control

I oppose Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to bring the Kansas Turnpike Authority under the state’s control. As a quasi-private entity, the KTA has enjoyed the freedom to operate in an efficient manner throughout its life. It provides an excellent, safe roadway for users, while not burdening nonusers with the expense of its upkeep. Its tolls are low compared with other turnpikes in the country, and the quality of service is a frequent topic of patrons.

I fear that over time its existence as a state entity would result in a deterioration of service and a degradation of pay and benefits to employees. It is not ethical to take revenue from turnpike tolls and spend it on other state projects. Using turnpike maintenance personnel to work on non-turnpike projects is, in fact, shifting monies from toll collections to the state at large. This is wrong.

I am shocked and dismayed that the governor is opting for bigger government involvement. He needs to reconsider this course of action.



Lead on guns

I want to suggest a significant role that our state’s congressional delegation can play in reshaping the perception of the Republican Party and the gun-control issue. It will take conservative voices to lead in changing our gun laws, and I believe doing so would enhance the status of the GOP as more than “the party of ‘no.’”

It was conservative Dwight Eisenhower who integrated the high school in Little Rock in 1957. That took courage, because it infuriated those who resisted change.

It was conservative Richard Nixon who opened relations with China in 1972. It was conservative Ronald Reagan who engaged in nuclear disarmament with the Soviet Union in 1987. It is conservatives Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and John McCain, R-Ariz., who now are showing courage in leading an initiative for immigration reform.

Because these were seen as “liberal” issues, they are looked on with suspicion and opposition by conservatives. So it is now. But if conservative leaders came out for responsible gun control, not only would the country be well-served, I think the Republican Party would gain new and deserved respect in the eyes of the public.

I do not advocate “taking away the people’s right to bear arms.” But assault weapons, 100-round clips, no background checks at gun shows? These are simply asking for trouble.



Need drones, too?

Good grief. If people need to “be able to arm themselves with weapons comparable to those available to the military” in order to fight our own government (“Defend liberty,” Feb. 14 Letters to the Editor), it logically follows that we need to know where we can find the latest drones. A few nukes as backup threats could help, too.



Proud ‘moocher’

I was shocked and dismayed to read that I’m now a “GOP moocher” (Feb. 12 Letters to the Editor). I qualify as a “moocher” as a recipient of three of the letter writer’s top indicators.

I receive Social Security. After paying into Social Security since my first job at the age of 9, I’m now a “moocher” for collecting the “government” check. The same amount of money put into the stock market would be worth more than $1 million today, plus be part of my estate.

I also qualify for Medicare – or I should say I’ve been forced into Medicare due to my age. It’s another program that I have paid into my entire adult life. Now I have to pay premiums for the honor of allowing the government to help me decide my doctor and treatment.

I am retired military, one of the biggest “moochers” going. I served 21 years as a submarine sailor. I was at sea for months on end, except for “preferred” shore duty of working 60 hours a week. So now, after serving 21 years earning less than minimum wage, I am a “mooch” for taking a pension that the average school janitor would laugh at.

I am a “mooch,” and proud of it.



Political jolt

Checking in with Kansas political reality is a jolt. I had been out of the state for a week, but reading The Eagle Opinion page on Friday brought me back.

We had Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, letting us know that teachers in Kansas (who have freely opted to join a union) would rather opt out the amount of their union dues that goes to political action. Her research was based on the very right-wing James Madison Institute.

Then we had the eye-opening “dark spiritual areas” tweeting. We learned that there is a Capitol Commission, apparently responsible for this nonsense, that conducts Bible studies for lawmakers and launches other prayers to allow the governor to pick judges he likes.

Finally we had The Eagle editorial, “Don’t mute voices,” which revealed that the Legislature just doesn’t want to hear information from school districts and local governments, with the exception of very conservative comments by Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn. His constituents like to hear him talk, and they don’t mind if he does it on their dime.



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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