Letters to the editor on turnpike, climate change, liquor monopoly, Senate inaction, snow delivery

03/06/2013 12:00 AM

03/05/2013 6:22 PM

Don’t use tolls for other roads

While modifications have been made to the bill to merge the Kansas Turnpike Authority with the Kansas Department of Transportation, its current wording allows turnpike equipment, staff and “other resources” (whatever that means) to be used on state highways. Legislators can say what they want, but there is nothing in this bill to prevent future administrations from indirectly or directly using toll revenue.

This greatly concerns me. The turnpike is completely self-funded through tolls. Those using the turnpike are the ones who pay for its upkeep. As a turnpike user, I want the resources – equipment, supplies, staff – that tolls provide to be used for the turnpike and not diverted to state roads.

What really got my attention, though, was seeing the 2012 numbers for the percentage of households in a community with a K-TAG, which allows tolls to be paid electronically. The percentage in my hometown of Haysville was 56 percent. In Andover it was 48 percent; Augusta, 35 percent; Derby, 31 percent; and Wichita, 15 percent. All of the people in these households would be directly affected by this bill.

Are you concerned? If you are, I urge you to let our legislators know.



Back in 1615

What a difference a day makes. I opened the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper on March 2 to see a short story about a 10-year-old girl planning to write a book about renewable energy and send it to President Obama during Renewable Energy Day at the New Mexico State Capitol.

The day before I had read the article in The Eagle about how our Legislature intends to treat renewable energy and climate change in Kansas (“Climate change has skeptics in the Legislature,” March 1 Eagle). One bill would require Kansas schools to teach climate science as a controversial topic in an “objective” manner.

Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but truth is not a matter of opinion. Ninety-eight percent of climate scientists say that climate change is real and due to human activities.

Sometimes it seems like we’re back in the year 1615, and certain members of the Legislature are the Inquisition trying Galileo for saying the Earth revolves around the sun.



Liquor monopoly

I’m a native Kansan, but my career has taken me to states where all retailers could compete in an open liquor market. There was no artificial Big Brother monopoly. There also were no cries from the public that the behavior of the citizenry meant they needed to look to Kansas as a model for new laws.

Now that I have happily returned to my home state, my perspective is that visitors and potential business transplants will shake their heads at silly laws that say they must burn gasoline to go multiple places for food and legal beverages (as well as ice and soft drinks in the case of the latter).

As you research this subject, check the online telephone directories of cities large and small in states that allow an open and competitive market. See the listings for liquor stores that are in business alongside whatever competition exists. When I lived in Illinois, I developed a relationship with a liquor store where employees provided great service and knew my name. This is why I reject the argument of the tiny fraction of Kansas voters enjoying the government-created monopoly.

Science and the Bible agree that alcohol in moderation, unlike tobacco, can actually be good for you. But you can buy tobacco anywhere. I do not believe that doing away with monopolistic Kansas laws will unleash a wave of abuse.



Fire the lot

If you were to go to your job and not be productive for four days, you likely would be fired. Yet we have a U.S. Senate that has not produced a budget in more than four years.

It is time to fire the Senate (and send senators home without their outrageous retirement packages).

We also have a president who runs around the country promoting class warfare. When it is pointed out that the president’s staff members brought out the idea of sequestration, we see what happens. Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward became one of the first to shed the light on this failed administration, and he was threatened.

Do you see the pattern emerging? Socialism is running rampant in this administration. Time to fire the lot of them.



Snow delivery

The recent snowstorms allowed me to make a couple of interesting observations. The once-heralded dedication of our U.S. Postal Service to deliver our mail in all kinds of weather “just ain’t what she used to be.” I have more than once failed to get mail after a snowstorm. Feb. 21 was one of those times.

Interestingly, my Wichita Eagle carrier, Paul Cox Sr., delivered my Eagle each morning in the snow as if it were business as usual. And Cox doesn’t have a halftrack or a four-wheel drive. I’ve only seen him in a small sedan.

Could it be that he still has something motivating him that our post office has lost along the way? Thank you, Paul Cox, for the great service.



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