Anti-gay bill is a slippery slope
I have a great sense of trepidation regarding the state of democracy and the government’s willingness to protect all Kansans after reading “Bill shielding Kansans who refuse to serve gays advances” (Feb. 7 Eagle). This bill, if passed, would further marginalize the gay community by giving permission to private businesses to refuse service to gays, and would allow individuals, even as government employees, to refuse to serve gays.
This is a slippery slope. What happens when a police officer comes upon a gang of thugs beating an obviously gay person? If gays offend that officer’s religious sensibilities, can he or she just walk away or watch and wait until another officer, who does not have the same “religious” views, arrives to stop the beating? What’s next? Shouldn’t we prevail on our legislators to pass a bill that requires all gays to wear an armband or patch identifying themselves as such so our citizens, and particularly our government employees, do not accidentally serve someone they, if they knew, would be uncomfortable serving (from a religious position)?
As I understand it, according to our Constitution, governments are established by and for the citizens – including gays. Come on, Kansans. We are better than this bill makes us look.
THOMAS J. KIMBRELL
Joining the act
I read how the flat-earthers who run our state have decided to protect government employees who refuse service to their customers because the customers’ beliefs may conflict with the employees’ religious beliefs (Feb. 7 Eagle). Apparently it isn’t enough that our secretary of state is busily throwing up roadblocks to voter registration and our governor is working on new ways to defund our public schools and rig the judiciary. Now our elected representatives want to get on board with a bill to legitimize homophobic behavior by our government employees.
In what way does this behavior by our elected officials in Topeka attract new businesses? We should be encouraging people to vote, fully supporting our school system, and eliminating homophobic behavior in our workplaces if we want to attract thriving businesses to our communities.
Focus on students
A recent attack on the Kansas Policy Institute was reflective of one of society’s greatest problems – the inability to have a civil discussion of serious challenges (“Hired to promote,” Feb. 7 Letters to the Editor). It’s a standard tactic too often employed by people of all political persuasions – attack the messenger rather than discuss the facts.
KPI has been working to improve public education for many years; unfortunately, anything other than outright cheerleading for public schools is viciously attacked as being anti-public education. That’s simply not true.
KPI is focused on meeting student needs and closing achievement gaps for low-income students. Unfortunately, the wants of institutions have taken priority over student needs in Kansas.
Diane DeBacker, the Kansas commissioner of education, agrees with KPI that there is a very large achievement gap for low-income students –and the gap is getting worse. She also agreed that our data on student achievement and total funding are accurate. She has a task force studying the achievement problem in search of solutions.
However, more money isn’t the answer. The Legislature increased aid for low-income students by sevenfold between 2005 and 2013, yet the gap is getting wider.
Low-income students are just as capable of learning as others; they just haven’t had equal opportunities to learn.
Kansas Policy Institute
The group Americans for Prosperity has been running a TV ad implying that the past 15 electric-rate increases all resulted from Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ efforts to encourage renewable energy.
I have attended and spoken as a consumer advocate at at least the past 15 hearings in Wichita and never once seen anyone from AFP as a consumer advocate or anything else.
The public hearings have no effect on the actual testimony in rate cases. The residential consumer had no voice in the rate-making process until the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board was established.
The latest electric-rate case included a hike in the residential service charge of 33 percent. It also included an $18.1 million increase in residential rates while large business rates increased only $3.3 million. There was no increase related to renewable energy.
PAUL A. MILLER
Thanks for help
A heartfelt “thank you” to the community for coming out to assist in delivering Meals on Wheels after the decision to cancel meals on Feb. 4 and 5 due to weather and road conditions. The majority of our faithful volunteers are older, and their safety must be taken into consideration.
Our clients had two shelf-stable meals for emergencies such as last week’s weather event. But it was crucial that meals delivery resume on Feb. 6.
Prompted by a call to action by the media, the community responded in a big way. More than 150 people came forth willing to volunteer. New and wonderful volunteers were recruited to deliver meals. They helped brighten the day of nearly 900 homebound seniors in Wichita.
We are humbled by the generosity of our neighbors and proud to call Wichita home.
Senior Services Inc.