Letters to the editor on city budget, Bob Weeks, racial profiling, abortion, ‘Fruitvale Station’

08/13/2013 12:00 AM

08/12/2013 6:16 PM

Better places to cut city budget

For 2014, city of Wichita staff has proposed delaying the start of the 2014 police recruit class by three months and eliminating six firefighter positions (the equivalent of cutting two positions for each of the three fire operations shifts). The staff has said that such reductions would not affect public safety. But this means that fewer police patrol officers would be on the streets for three months. We need all the patrol officers to reduce crime and to ticket all the speeders and the red-light runners in Wichita.

I have no problem with replacing Fire Engine 6 with a squad unit at the joint city/county fire station in east Wichita, as the county (Sedgwick County Fire District No. 1) has an engine at this station. I do have a problem with moving Squad 2 from downtown to South Hydraulic at Station No. 22.

If Station No. 22 needs a squad unit, then use the six suggested firefighting positions scheduled to be cut to staff this squad. As the vast majority of fire responses are medical calls, the citizens need squad units to respond and not a 100-foot aerial platform truck, which should only be used for fire and rescue calls and not for medical calls.

I suggest the city delete many of the items listed on Page 325 of the proposed 2014-15 budget and use these funds to restore any police and fire cuts. Do the citizens really need to spend $70,000 for community relations and information and $75,000 for research and development?



Weeks needed

Wichita would be very lucky if our City Council members had the integrity and intelligence of Bob Weeks (“Blogger rejected for airport board role,” Aug. 7 Local & State). He is only against projects in which there are questions about how well they have been researched or there is an appearance of favoritism in the bid process.

It seems as if only one company or group is considered for approval by the council for many projects. Surely we have more than one group capable of handling large projects in a city the size of Wichita.

It is very rare that anyone on the council votes against the mayor’s preference. Do any of the council members research on their own, or is it just easier to vote the way the mayor does? There is the appearance that this is the case on many items on the agenda.



Why stopped?

On Aug. 6 at about 4:45 p.m., I was on my way to my second job as a GED instructor when I was stopped by a trooper near the intersection of Hillside and Ninth Street. When I pulled over, he said that my tag was not in the system’s registry and asked to see my registration paper.

After seeing it, he said I should call the Division of Vehicles and let them know I was not on the system. I did call. They said everything was OK and that officer didn’t have any reason to give me that warning.

Only then I started thinking: Why did he check my tag if I didn’t commit an infraction in the first place? Are officers permitted to do that?

I am now all confused about what to expect of our law enforcement officers.



Both ways?

People have been charged with criminal homicide of unborn children. Probate law provides that an unborn child “of issue” has inheritance rights.

Yet one has the legal right to abort an unborn child. Where is the logic? Is the unborn a child or not? You can’t have it both ways.

Suppose a pregnant lady on the way to get an abortion is shot, but only the unborn child dies. Is the shooter guilty of criminal homicide, or just assisting in an abortion?

If a pregnant lady aborts her unborn child, is she guilty of depriving the unborn child of his or her inheritance rights?



Film challenges

As I left the theater weeping over the film “Fruitvale Station,” I knew it was going to be an extraordinarily successful movie (already winner at several film festivals). It forces us to confront feelings and stereotyped thinking (conscious and subconscious) shaped by consistent feeding at the trough of hate and fear. Also, for those who are simply ignorant of history and present-day reality of racism, racial profiling and police brutality, director Ryan Coogler’s purpose lies in the belief that the most powerful way to bring about change is to begin changing people’s perceptions.

The Eagle’s GO! item said: “This devastatingly powerful drama recounts a random and needless death, that of 22-year-old Oscar Grant.” What also needs to be known is that Grant was black. At the time of his murder, he was facedown on the pavement, handcuffed and then shot in the back by an officer with the Bay Area Rapid Transit police.

I hope we are moved to dispel stereotyped, intuitive versions and ask for root causes. Why the drug dealing, the violence and self-destructive behavior? Perhaps we’ll understand how feelings of inferiority are introjected by those subjected to generations of being treated as inferiors by powerful whites.

I hope we will accept the challenge brilliantly provided by the writing, acting and directing of this film.



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