Letters to the editor on city online fee, Southeast decision, Riverfest button, Pompeo, concealed-carry, liberty, watermelon Oreos

06/30/2013 12:00 AM

06/28/2013 6:44 PM

Why charge a convenience fee?

The city of Wichita is now charging a “convenience” fee for the new “streamlined” online payment service. However, it would appear the “convenience” is more for the city.

Does it really cost $1 to have money debited from a checking account? Even the utility companies do not charge a fee when you pay online by check. And the Sedgwick County treasurer is waiving fees to renew online. I’m sure part of the reason is because staff can’t handle all the people coming to the office.

When I worked for the state, we were told to encourage people to file online to save money on wages paid to keypunch staff. Anyone who pays his bill online is saving the city money and now paying a surcharge as well. Is this just a new way of raising water rates without going through the regular channels?

I will now be dropping off my water payment so it can go through the person who sorts it to the person who opens it to the person who puts the information on the computer to the person who puts the money in the bank. I think that will cost the city more than $1.

JANET KADEL

Wichita

Right decision

Some believe that the Wichita school board’s decision to build a new Southeast High School was wrong. Though I respect their opinions, I believe it was the right decision.

When Southeast opened, it may indeed have been “the shining new jewel of the Wichita district,” but it no longer is. In 1957 it may even have been a state-of-the-art building for its time, but education and the world were very different then. Even if a 56-year-old building could be adequately retrofitted to meet the needs of today’s students, it most certainly cannot meet the needs of students who will walk its halls for the next 50 years.

Some believe that if Southeast is closed, the neighborhood will deteriorate. Though board members are not happy to see any neighborhood deteriorate, it is not their job as school board members to maintain or improve any neighborhood.

Some of their constituents may be unhappy with the decision, especially those who are Southeast graduates with a sentimental attachment to the school. That’s understandable, as it’s sad to think one’s high school is closing. However, sentimentality couldn’t be a factor in the board’s decision, either.

The board’s job is to see that our schools provide the highest-quality education possible and that our young people enter adulthood prepared to succeed. I believe the decision to build a new high school will help create an environment where that can happen.

Unlike members of the Wichita City Council and the Sedgwick County Commission, Wichita school board members serve without compensation. I appreciate and thank them their continued service and willingness to make the decisions they believe best for our students.

SIGRID TROMBLEY

Wichita

Better button

I would like to add my thanks and expressions of joy for a great Wichita River Festival.

One more change needs to be addressed for next year, and that is the consistent lack of art on the Riverfest buttons. Enough of the kindergarten-style entries, please.

Look back to the river horse in ’86, the hot-air balloons of ’84, the Kokopelli of ’97, the riverscape of ’07 and even the butterfly of ’11. Please treat us as intelligent adults and provide button art for us from the ranks of the many well-known and admired local Wichita artists. This is “public art” – let’s be proud of it.

JOHANNE PACHANKIS

Kechi

Speaking out?

Muslim leaders in Wichita have clearly, publicly and repeatedly condemned acts of Islamic terrorism. If Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, is interested, he could find such strong condemnations by local Muslim leaders in back issues of The Eagle.

In the face of such evidence, both locally and nationally, Pompeo is “not backing down” from his false charges that Muslim leaders are silent in the face of terrorism (“Pompeo’s claim about Muslim leaders ‘irresponsible,’” June 16 WE Blog excerpts).

Meanwhile, we wonder if Pompeo has spoken out about terrorist acts against Muslims. In October 2011, arsonists torched a mosque in Wichita, causing an estimated $120,000 damage. Did Pompeo publicly condemn that act of terrorism in his own congressional district?

On Aug. 6, 2012, arsonists in Joplin, Mo., burned that city’s mosque to the ground. Did Pompeo denounce that act of terrorism?

Has Pompeo denounced the bombings and violent attacks on Muslim mosques and construction sites in Oklahoma, Florida, Oregon, Tennessee, Michigan and Texas?

Is it possible that bogus invented charges against Muslim leaders have the effect of fostering more violence across America against Muslims and their houses of worship?

We need responsible leadership, not misinformed accusations.

JAMES JUHNKE

Wichita

Why I carry

“Why packing?” (June 13 Letters to the Editor) really riled me. The writer said that the reason law-abiding people carry guns may be because the guns make them feel tough and powerful, or that maybe they were “cowards desperate for defense from shadows in the night.”

The reason I carry a concealed weapon is not because I want to feel tough and powerful. And I am not a coward, although I am scared of clowns.

I carry because I want a chance to defend myself if madness confronts me. I do not want to become a helpless victim if confronted by the insanity that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School or the theater in Colorado.

It’s a simple reason, and everyone I know has the same mindset. It seems people who are against guns want to make us out to be demons who can’t wait for the chance to draw our guns and start shooting.

I truly hope my gun stays holstered and never gets drawn. But if insanity does raise its ugly head, I’ll have a better chance to survive than the unarmed person hiding under a table.

FRANK WEST

Wichita

Toast to liberty

I’m wondering where the outrage is from our senators and representatives about the surveillance and our right to privacy and free speech, along with the guarantee of no illegal search and seizure. I think Edward Snowden is a hero, just as Daniel Ellsberg was.

Ben Franklin was right when he said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

He was also right when he said, “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”

Franklin was a wise man. I choose wine and liberty (although if given a choice, I’ll go with beer over wine). If I drink enough wine or beer, I don’t worry about surveillance at all.

CHARLIE SNOOK

Newton

Not interested

Initially, watermelon-flavored Oreo cookies sounded refreshing to me. However, when the picture showed the filling to be half reddish-pink and half green, my pleasant feelings waned.

I am aware that many years ago many households saved the watermelon rind and made pickles out of it. “Waste not, want not” was the attitude. I have never personally known anyone of my own generation or younger who actually eats the green and white skin of watermelons.

Sorry, I am not interested enough to even buy one pack just to experience it.

BERNY F. ALBRIGHT

Wichita

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