Letters to the editor on simple laws, Southwest subsidy, KPERS, new citizens

02/09/2014 6:43 AM

02/09/2014 6:44 AM

Legislature should keep it simple

Looking at the various bills introduced in the Legislature, it would seem the members are suffering from “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” syndrome.

The 1960 Doris Day movie was based on a family’s four children who had to have very detailed rules in order to corral their enterprises. It appears the members of the Legislature fear Kansans are like Doris Day’s fictional children, needing every possible regulation spelled out in extreme detail.

Jesus, the Rabbi of Nazareth, reprimanded the leaders of his day for their punctiliousness and for forgetting justice, mercy and faith (Matthew 23:23). The Apostle Paul, himself a trained rabbi who was acquainted with the hundreds of commandments of Judaism, opined that their very details suggested unlawful acts (Romans 7:7-8).

Kansans are not Doris Day’s fictional children. Most Kansans are quite able to fulfill the spirit of just laws needed to forward our society. The success of our national Constitution is twofold: simplicity and its trust that the people will follow its spirit.

Our Legislature would do well to follow its example.



Subsidy sense?

Let me get this straight. Southwest Airlines has been serving Wichita since June and has received $2.52 million in subsidies and will probably apply for more (Feb. 4 Business Today). This is an airline that was about the only one in the country to make any money over the past several years. In the meantime, American Airlines has served Wichita for years, has had financial difficulties, went into bankruptcy and has never received a dime in subsidy from Kansas. Does that make any sense?

Why don’t we set up a food bank serving only the wealthy and well-to-do? Let the poor and homeless fend for themselves. It makes just as much sense.



Lords of land

I hate to add another issue to “the war on …” list, but this is an accurate depiction of what is happening to public employees.

Kansas House Bill 2533 (Feb. 4 Local & State) would decrease from 5.25 to 4 percent the interest that public employees receive on their contributions to their pensions. The 5.25 percent rate was enacted by legislation in 2013 and was to go into effect in 2015. We have to assume our legislators knew when they passed the 2013 legislation that revenues would be vastly depleted by their reckless tax cuts.

Most public employees, particularly unclassified employees, have not had a pay raise in six years. They have seen the cost of their health care benefits go up year after year and were forced to take a 1 percent cut in pay to increase the amount they put into the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System in 2014 (pre-2014 employees). Now this.

State workers’ KPERS benefits are based on actual earnings, whereas legislators’ KPERS benefits have been bloated by the legislators to include all kinds of add-ins, such as a calculation based on 372 days in a year. KPERS benefits should not be given to legislators in the first place.

Legislators are supposed to be our representatives, not the lords of the land.



America’s beauty

The juxtaposition in the Feb. 4 Eagle of the article on the bigoted tweets against non-white Americans and the great photo of the new Americans naturalized as citizens would be humorous if it weren’t so tragic.

The photo represented what’s best with our country: Peoples from all over the globe, peoples of varying hues of color, peoples with differing native languages, whose eyes were shaped differently, were now our “fellow Americans.” These onetime aliens were now equals to all other Americans.

A young woman’s tweets condemned as un-American an ad by Coca-Cola shown during the Super Bowl because “America the Beautiful” was sung in various languages. How ludicrous.

Hello, out there. We are a nation of immigrants. Though our landscape is awesome, it is that mosaic of people that truly makes America beautiful.

I’m planning to drink more Coca-Cola in the days ahead. At least that company has the vision and the courage to proclaim the truth of America the beautiful.



Yea, new citizens

I sat in the cheap seats at Intrust Bank Arena last week watching 88 people from 36 countries get their U.S. citizenship (Feb. 4 Local & State). At times during the ceremony, my eyes became watery. I was amazed at how stoic yet proud the new citizens appeared. Each has a story. Each has endured much. Each has gone through the rigors of becoming an American citizen. They came here for freedom – the freedom to love, the freedom to work and grow, the freedom to just get a chance.

How many of us homegrown citizens know the Oath of Allegiance? Here it is:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Yea, new American citizens. I salute you.



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