Letters to the editor on quality of life, valuing nature, Doctors’ Day, ALEC agenda, Common Core, gays

03/30/2014 12:00 AM

03/28/2014 6:09 PM

Invest in city’s quality of life

Corporate headquarters of many companies have left Wichita for Dallas, Chicago, Oklahoma City. Why? Who wants to live in a city that is not willing to invest in a decent public transportation system, a new library, an updated sewer system that inhibits street flooding, street repair, an updated Century II or a secure water supply?

The League of Women Voters-Wichita/Metro has studied and lobbied for all of these things. The league position supports a vital downtown and an improved quality of life.

Quality of life is one of the main reasons that people and companies locate in a community. If Wichita does not believe in itself enough to take the risk and invest the necessary dollars, how can it expect others to take a chance on the city?

Politicians run scared of raising taxes, perhaps because even they do not believe in Wichita. Taxes are the dues we pay for living in a vital democracy and a caring community. The League of Women Voters-Wichita/Metro believes in our community and supports its growth via increased taxes. The league urges the City Council to step up to the plate and make Wichita the best it can be.

SHARON AILSLIEGER

CAROLE NEAL

Co-presidents

League of Women Voters-Wichita/Metro

Wichita

Value nature

Bills in the Legislature are reversing decades of conservation of our natural heritage. House Bill 2118 proposes to reverse state law protecting our plants and animals, including 60 endangered or threatened birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Senate Bill 276 would make it illegal for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work to conserve nonmigratory threatened or endangered Kansas species. Senate Bill 323 would stop people from creating perpetual conservation easements. This bill will hamper all private groups working to save the state’s species and force land development to fund new tax burdens added by the law.

Some argue anything that hampers immediate economic development is inherently bad – money is all that matters. Less overtly stated is a current hostility toward any protection of nature. The natural wonders and beauty of our state are treasures for all her citizens now and into the future. These laws will open the door for selfish opportunists to profit at the expense of our shared natural legacy.

In a state where 98 percent of the land is private, destroying the ability to work effectively with private landowners to conserve our heritage is a death sentence for many of the unique plants and animals we have shared our state with until now.

Please contact your state senators so they hear from those Kansans who appreciate the value of our natural heritage.

WALTER DODDS

Manhattan

Thank physicians

Over the course of our lives, few people will touch us as profoundly as physicians. They help us stay healthy, treat us when we are sick, deliver our children, perform surgery to improve or even save our lives, and often are with us when our loved ones are at the end of life.

Via Christi is blessed to have more than 1,000 physicians on our medical staffs in Wichita, Pittsburg and Manhattan, in our Via Christi Clinic, and serving the residents of our Via Christi Village senior communities across Kansas and in Oklahoma. We also are fortunate to have a strong partnership with the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Throughout Via Christi, physicians are training and mentoring the next generation of doctors, many of whom will choose to make their homes in Kansas.

As we celebrate National Doctors’ Day, all of us at Via Christi want to thank physicians for their dedication and commitment to providing outstanding medical care in Wichita, Pittsburg, Manhattan and all of Kansas.

At Via Christi, we are particularly thankful for our physicians’ commitment to learning to use the new electronic health record we are installing to improve the quality and safety of our care. Many physicians are now in key leadership roles as Via Christi becomes a physician-led health care system. We are committed to physician leadership because doctors lead the teams that care for our patients and are in the best position to make sure the needs of our patients always come first.

JEFF KORSMO

President and CEO

Via Christi Health

Wichita

ALEC agenda

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the Legislature must equalize funding of public education. Under the leadership of Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, Democrats presented a solution that would restore the $129 million and provide property-tax relief.

Meanwhile, Rep. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, presented a bill with anti-public education proposals attached (March 26 Eagle). It included allowing charter schools to receive public education funds but no regulations or rules, expanding “innovative schools,” and lowering teacher-licensure requirements for science and math.

This is an agenda item of the American Legislative Exchange Council and its plans to weaken public education and create an environment of private, for-profit schools. Many members of the House and Senate belong to ALEC and vote its agenda, not that of their constituents. Should we remind Rhoades, a member of ALEC, that we are already struggling to adequately fund public education?

LOUISE SMITH

Hesston

Standards needed

There has been a lot of brouhaha lately about Common Core and the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards. Unfortunately, a lot of the claims are misleading or just outright false.

The belief that Common Core is the U.S. government trying to take over education is 100 percent untrue. The Common Core math and English standards were developed by state and education leaders from across the country who decided to work together to develop baseline standards that every child in America should know at certain grade levels. This was and is a state-led initiative.

There also is some confusion on the difference between standards and curriculum. Standards are the “what” and curriculum is the “how.” Local schools are the only ones that determine the “how.” Local districts, schools and teachers select what textbooks they want to use, what methods of teaching they will use, and what reading material will be taught.

There are some great resources for parents on the Kansas PTA’s website. There is information on the history of Common Core, the damage that would be done if we tried to go back to the old standards, and guides to help parents understand not only the standards but also what to expect with the new assessments.

TAMMY BARTELS

President

Kansas PTA

Topeka

Gay by birth

A married status does not assure the person is heterosexual. Gays’ closets are occupied by many who have taken the conventional wedding vows as “male and female, now one.” My acquaintance with three such exceptions, while anecdotal in number, complements reliable research findings of this truism.

The gay individuals I have known chose to be married knowing they were living an untruth, but bowing to pressures and threats presented by family, friends and clergy. The primary message they wilted under was theological in nature, with an interpretation of Scripture that soundly demeaned homosexuality. When they pressed for clarification, the rationale seemed always to lump the gay lifestyle in with the other cardinal sins.

Clearer critical thinking would produce a more accurate differentiation. Those who lust, are sloths, practice greedy and excessively proud behaviors, and show anger and envy choose these “sinful” acts in their lifestyles; gays are gay by virtue of the birth event.

Those in the Christian community who insist upon heaping guilt on those who are gay, quoting select Scripture to reinforce their convictions, have succeeded in contributing to the diminishing enrollments in churches today. Not just the gays are leaving, but also those of us who find such an exclusive environment hateful, disinviting and inconsistent with what Jesus Christ has taught.

JOHN H. WILSON

Wichita

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