Letters to the editor on wind power, limited government, abortion clinic, Magic Slim

03/01/2013 12:00 AM

02/28/2013 5:26 PM

Don’t back off on wind power

Kansas wind power and other energy industries have meant well-paying jobs for Kansas workers and millions of dollars in private investments in our state. So why are our elected officials in Topeka fast-tracking bills to take away these benefits?

House Bill 2241 and Senate Bill 82 are aimed at weakening our state policy that has set moderate requirements for our state utilities to provide electricity from wind power and other renewables. If such legislation passes, thousands of jobs across Kansas will be put in jeopardy. Workers and their families will take a direct hit. What is more, many farmers who have been hit hard by the drought are being able to stay afloat because of wind farms being built on their land.

According to a Synapse Energy Economics report last May, adding more wind power in the Midwest would lower overall energy costs for consumers, saving each ratepayer $63 to $200 per year.

Wind power has generated $7 billion in private investment in our state over the past decade. This is much-needed economic development that we all can cheer. We produce clean, homegrown energy and, in turn, workers get jobs and our electric bills stay low.

Our lawmakers need to vote “no” on this legislation. Let’s keep clean energy and well-paying jobs in Kansas.

ERNESTINE WILLIAMS KREHBIEL

President

League of Women Voters of Kansas

Wichita

Fire with fire

The Eagle editorial board’s complaint that the Topeka Republican Legislature has “gone wild” (Feb. 24 Eagle editorial) raises a serious question: What is the editorial board’s position on the proper demarcation line between individual freedom and responsibility on the one hand and government sanctions and entitlements on the other? To put it another way, is the board concerned about the Legislature simply because it takes contrary positions on the substance of the legislation being proposed or because the board is genuinely concerned that the Legislature is usurping rights and responsibilities that should be reserved for individuals?

Before we ask what government should do, we should ask whether government has any business doing anything at all. Many in Topeka who are arguing about what government should do actually believe in limited government. Unfortunately, they have been roundly and repeatedly admonished by big-government proponents to “get involved” or “quit complaining.” Well, now that they are getting involved, the criticism has changed to how they have “gone wild.”

If we had a way to give people a real and honest choice to opt out of big government and take more responsibility for themselves, I believe many productive folks who believe in limited government would opt out, leaving those who want big government to slug it out with each other. But as long as big-government proponents demand the inclusion and participation of those who want limited government, they leave limited-government proponents with no option but to fight fire with fire.

Big-government proponents are getting a taste of the compulsion they believe in, and they don’t like it.

BOB LOVE

Wichita

Didn’t cave

I was pleased to see six of the 10 people on the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission keep their heads and not cave to the demands of Kansans for Life to rezone George Tiller’s former clinic (Feb. 22 Eagle). It’s particularly just since the folks who asked for rezoning, citing that the clinic is disruptive to the neighborhood, are the very people causing the disruption. Under their ridiculous argument, we should never allow zoning for another graveyard in the city limits and we should shut down all existing ones to further burials on the chance those zealots at the Westboro Baptist Church may show up and start a ruckus.

David Gittrich of Kansans for Life complained that the snowstorm kept some crowds away from the vote. That’s poetic justice, considering the storm of paperwork anti-abortion groups already have thrown at the South Wind Women’s Center, a legal business getting ready to use a legitimately zoned facility. Let’s hope Wichita City Council members keeps those facts in mind when Gittrich inevitably shows up at their door.

KATHLEEN BUTLER

Wichita

Blues giant

I was saddened to hear about the death of bluesman Magic Slim. He was one of the last among a dying breed of Chicago bluesmen who migrated from the rural South to electrify the blues.

Born in Mississippi in the late 1930s, he switched from playing piano to the guitar after losing his finger in a cotton-gin accident. At 6 feet 6 inches, he was not only large in life but a giant on the stage with his intensely powerful performances of raw gutbucket electric blues.

As we celebrate our cultural heritage, we need to never forget the great contributions of unique artists such as Magic Slim, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King and the like. Although not as famous as some of the others, Magic Slim belongs on that short list of elite American creative artists who brought the raw emotion and soulfulness of American blues to a worldwide audience. They are not only national treasures but respected around the world.

JOHN MARK NICKEL

Wichita

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