Letters to the editor on abatements, Ike airport, Southwest Chief, Kobach, voter ID, letter caution

11/01/2013 4:47 PM

11/01/2013 4:47 PM

Abatements are corporate bribes

The wealthiest 1 percent have garnered 80 percent of all economic growth since 1980, and 95 percent of it since the recent recession. They now own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. It was gained in part through tax abatements, whereby cities and states are beguiled into bidding wars for the privilege of paying corporations for jobs.

Corporate tax abatements are bribes given to corruption, blackmail payments to extortion, ransom delivered for hostages, tribute rendered to feudal overlords, homage paid to insatiable greed, and plunder seized from the 80 percent who have 7 percent of the wealth.

Win-win cooperation is more rational, just and sustainable than win-lose tax-abatement competition.

We the people have the power, imagination and courage to create our own jobs. We could give ourselves grants and loans and other support to establish democratic labor cooperatives and small businesses. Cities and states could coordinate to avoid the negative consequences of competition, then agree to assess departing corporations significant exit taxes and early withdrawal fees, forbidding the removal of facilities, inventories and equipment until paid in full.

We can reclaim our government and our democracy starting by refusing to pay predatory corporations for undemocratic jobs.

EARL DILL

Valley Center

Ike’s roots

On the subject of naming the Wichita airport for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, some say that Eisenhower had nothing to do with Wichita and that the sharing of state boundaries is about the extent of the relationship. Hogwash.

Eisenhower’s tenacious defense of freedom is well-known and is common ground that bonds all Americans. His leadership ended the Korean War and introduced an era of postwar peace and prosperity that allowed the country to focus on things like civil rights, building an interstate highway system that would be the mortar of the economy for generations, beginning space exploration, and starting the transition to wider use of jet-powered aircraft.

Eisenhower’s appreciation of aircraft, something common in this community, is evident throughout his career. He was the first president to have a pilot’s license.

As his “The Chance for Peace” speech demonstrates, Ike knew the costs of war, and because of that, his emphasis on peace and prosperity was deliberate. The campaign slogan for his second term became “Peace and Prosperity With Eisenhower.”

His concern for humanity resonated with all Americans and with people worldwide. The roots of his wisdom and the principles that guided him stem from his Kansas upbringing. It is the soil that has produced numerous world-class leaders, which is a message to be proud of and one that should greet every visitor who comes through the new airport terminal.

JAN HARRISON

Chairwoman

Citizens for Eisenhower Airport

Wichita

Save SW Chief

Regarding the possible elimination of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief route (Oct. 28 Eagle): The vacuum created by such a massive pullback would degrade the entire Amtrak system, not to mention the intercity Amtrak service between Kansas City, Mo., and St. Louis. This would occur at the exact moment when Wichita is leading an initiative to resume passenger-rail service between Kansas City, Wichita and Fort Worth via the Heartland Flyer Extension, and when construction is beginning on Kansas City’s streetcar system.

This threat is on our doorstep, yet our congressional leaders appear complacent. Similar apathy resulted in the loss of passenger-rail service (known as the Lone Star) between Chicago and Houston, through Kansas City and Wichita, in 1979. Though it was promoted as an economic efficiency by the Carter administration, can anyone point to a tangible improvement to the economy resulting from the elimination of that train?

Committed state and local partners are needed to save the Southwest Chief. Without the Southwest Chief, the Heartland Flyer Extension to Newton is no longer a possibility. In fact, extension of the Heartland Flyer to anywhere becomes much more difficult.

DEBORAH FISCHER STOUT

President

Northern Flyer Alliance

Overland Park

Kobach nonsense

Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s attack against The Eagle editorial board was wrong and intellectually dishonest (“Kansas is safeguarding integrity of elections,” Oct. 26 Opinion).

The decision, like a few other U.S. Supreme Court decisions, included language that was inconsistent and difficult to reconcile. It said what both the editorial board and Kobach reported. But in the end, the court decided Kobach’s position at the time was wrong.

Kobach, a Harvard-educated lawyer, knows the opinion said what The Eagle editorial board reported. Yet he wrote his commentary as if other language in the decision, which did not yet reject his position to change the law in the future, was the only thing the Supreme Court had said.

Such a one-sided presentation is not an honest way for Kobach, presenting himself as an attorney and a public official, to provide information to the public. It’s political gamesmanship, just like using Kansas as a guinea pig to advance his personal agenda to grab more power and make it harder for some elderly and poor to vote. These are people who do not have driver’s licenses or easy access to prescribed forms of identification, people who do not have bank accounts or credit cards – solid American citizens he believes would not vote for him and his colleagues.

One more year of this nonsense to go.

JOHN HENDERSON

Wichita

Preventing voters

I have been following the whole voter-ID issue since its inception. I finally decided to write after reading Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s commentary (“Kansas is safeguarding integrity of elections,” Oct. 26 Opinion).

For a good number of years, I worked for a credit union that had a large Hispanic membership. The credit union had services that they needed. These included savings accounts, a place to cash checks and the ability to send money to Mexico to their families. When illegal immigrants came in to join the credit union, the very minute any of their credentials were questioned they were gone, never to be seen again. They want to stay under the radar.

To think large numbers of these people are going to register to vote with various government officials and have a chance of being discovered as undocumented is highly unlikely. They know all too well the stories of families being torn apart with either a mother or a father being deported. The point is that they don’t need to vote and possibly do themselves harm.

The whole voter-ID push is part of a national Republican strategy. The country’s demographics are or have changed. Republicans know they can’t win elections straight up. So they are trying to prevent minorities, the “low-information voter” and anyone else they deem unfit from voting to level the playing field.

DAVE ZELE

Wichita

Write carefully

Many years ago in freshman English class, I had an excellent student teacher for six weeks. Oh, how I wish I could find out her name to thank her. She taught a whole unit on letter writing that I thoroughly enjoyed.

One of the “slogans” she shared was, “Never write anything in a letter you wouldn’t want placed on a bulletin board for the whole world to read.” Wouldn’t that be a great rule for tweeters, e-mailers, etc., to follow? People following that rule would certainly not consider cyberbullying.

I am particularly disgusted and sometimes shocked at the hateful comments in the Opinion Line, where people don’t have the courage to speak out openly. But no wonder – could they be ashamed?

I certainly would urge everyone to watch what is written in any form. You never know who might read it – maybe your mom or dad even.

MARY ANN RIEDEL

Wichita

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