Letters to the Editor

April 10, 2014

Letters to the editor on Shockers, Legislature, kidnapped values, health-club bill, abortion

You can count me among those who had hoped to see an undefeated Wichita State University basketball team in the NCAA championship game.

Shockers, coach a joy to watch

You can count me among those who had hoped to see an undefeated Wichita State University basketball team in the NCAA championship game.

This year’s Shockers and their coach were a joy to watch – even in their only loss, to the national runner-up. Their record-setting 35-game win streak was exciting and impressive. But there’s something else about the Shockers that impressed me even more: the way they won.

This was a team that shared a vision for how the game should be played, worked hard, played tough and showed an unselfishness that is so uncommon in this age of one-and-done players.

I congratulate head coach Gregg Marshall, who continues to earn well-deserved national recognition, and this year’s WSU men’s basketball team on their record-breaking accomplishments. You are a credit to the university and a great reflection of the culture in this city. That culture is one of the reasons my family and Koch Industries continue to call Wichita home.



What they do

Although “our” (I use that term loosely) governor and state representatives have managed to make it possible for certain wealthy business owners to pay no state income tax, we should all remember that the rest of us still pay federal taxes. We should also realize two important facts: “Our” state representatives have spent most of their time making sure as little as possible of the federal taxes we pay ever come back to Kansas to support programs that would benefit the greater population. “Our” state representatives have spent the rest of their time making sure we spend our state funds to defend the constitutionality of vindictive, restrictive and seriously stupid legislation that many of them, by their own admission, had not read after it was handed to them by the American Legislative Exchange Council and that probably will be rejected by the courts eventually.

Remember: It’s not what they say. It’s not even what they said they would do, or even what they say they are doing. It’s what they actually do.

So, how is “your” representative doing?



Kidnapped values

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has said that there is no cap on total campaign contributions in federal races, and Kansas legislators are being threatened by being “primaried” (Republicans will back someone to run against you in the primary, and you will not make it to the general election), I am even more disillusioned with our “democracy.”

I knew a long time ago that if you didn’t vote Republican in the presidential election in Kansas, your vote didn’t count. Then it became: If you didn’t register as a Republican, your primary vote didn’t count either. Now I’m not sure registering as a Republican will get you a vote that counts.

Our governor and the Republican Party have kidnapped our state values and introduced a political machine that we have never seen. That machine elects representatives who go to Washington, D.C. And we want to introduce democracy to the rest of the world?



Bad precedent

The justifications given by proponents of a special tax break for private health clubs are unconvincing. Proponents claim that private health clubs face “unfair” competition from nonprofit health and fitness organizations, such as the YMCA, that are tax-exempt. But the Greater Wichita YMCA earns its tax exemptions through community programs for children and the disadvantaged, and through subsidized memberships for low-income people that are sponsored by donors.

And the hackneyed idea of “fairness” being advanced with this bill sets a bad precedent. I’ve long been involved as a volunteer at the Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Center, whose programming includes dance classes. There are private, for-profit dance studios across the city that are in some sense in “competition” with our classes. Does that mean all dance studios should be exempt from property tax?

The logic of the health-club amendment imposes an unacceptable burden on remaining taxpayers.

It’s well-known that Genesis Health Clubs owner Rodney Steven has been loudly advocating for this bill, from which he stands to reap a monetary windfall that likely would dwarf the $45,000 he has poured into campaign contributions. The 22 senators to whom Steven made contributions represent 86 percent of the votes that were used to pass the Senate bill, and only two senators who did not receive contributions voted in favor.

The House or, failing that, Gov. Sam Brownback must prevent this embarrassing tax measure from being passed into law.



Reach out

Regarding “South Wind clinic marks one full year in business” (April 3 Eagle): When did 1,200 dead babies become something to celebrate? I stand outside the gate of South Wind Women’s Center and see the downcast faces of those mothers coming out. And my heart aches for them. Some will be struggling to get over it 10 or 20 years from now.

Help us be there to reach out to them before they go in. We offer any help they need to spare them from abortion. You also can help us financially support those who have chosen to give birth and need our help. Call the Kansas Coalition for Life. And pray for us.



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