Letters to the editor on water rate, schools, patient safety, voting, gun culture
06/24/2014 12:00 AM
06/23/2014 5:28 PM
Raise water rate, not sales tax
“Council OKs four projects for 1-cent sales tax” (May 28 Eagle) reported that even with the proposed sales tax increase, water rates would increase 1.3 percent. Without the sales tax increase, rates would go up 6.2 percent, for a net difference of 4.9 percent. This means my $50-per-month average home water bill would increase $2.45 per month to pay for what Wichita City Council members have said is the most attractive option for a new water source. I’ll take this type of increase anytime over a 1-cent sales tax on everything I purchase each month including groceries.
It strikes me that people and businesses that use water should pay for the water they use, including the costs of needed water resource upgrades, in their monthly water bills. A sales tax allows public officials to charge different rates for different groups of water users and is not as transparent and fair.
By paying for the water I actually use, I can control my individual cost for this valuable resource. Paying for water usage through a sales tax reduces any incentive individuals and business users might have to conserve water, unlike if they are writing a monthly check to pay for the water they actually use.
Two factors that are important in any community are good schools and employment opportunities. These are complementary, not separate from each other.
Educational endeavors in school systems prepare young people for the wave of the future. High-quality instruction is necessary to assist individuals to achieve more optimally in the classroom setting. The curricular offerings need to be broad in order to assist pupils to progress adequately, as well as find their individual niche in life.
Along with subject matter knowledge, teachers need to emphasize pupil interest and purpose in learning. It takes a skillful teacher to engage all pupils in achievement so that no one falls through the cracks. Each must develop feelings of belonging to the group as well as have esteem needs met. A wholesome self-concept is necessary to do well in school and in society.
Schools need adequate funding to do justice to each pupil. The materials of instruction, including technology, cost money to help learners attain vital school objectives.
The business world needs a well-educated workforce. Highly motivated and knowledgeable workers are needed to improve society.
My daughter and I had the honor earlier this month of taking part in the Telluride Patient Safety Roundtable and Summer Camp in Colorado. The purpose of this annual event is to foster conversations about patient safety and transparency and to help train the next generation of health care leaders in the skills they will need to create patient-centered environments.
One of the core values of the organizers of this conference is that the patient and family voice is critical for improvement. My daughter and I were asked to attend and were sponsored by Patient Safety Education Partnership. This group was aware of our advocacy in Kansas because of my daughter’s blog, disclosemedicalerrors.wordpress.com.
For me, the Telluride conference exposed the tremendous gap between the mind-set of the health care leadership in Kansas and what true leadership in health care is. It is time for the Kansas Hospital Association, the Kansas Medical Society and the Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Co. to redirect their misguided efforts from protecting themselves and promoting secrecy to promoting patient-centered care by setting expectations for timely and authentic conversations when harm occurs.
Are we playing Russian roulette with our future by “letting it ride” on the same politicians, just because they are Democrats, Republicans, independents, liberals or conservatives? Isn’t this about what they have done for the constituents in the past term?
For years I just voted for the same politicians, and I never checked out what they accomplished. Many people take more time selecting and gathering information on a new cellphone or vehicle than they do selecting the individuals governing our lives.
We need to get our heads out of the sand, or wherever we put them, and take responsibility for the future.
One more thing: How about a lie detector test for politicians after each speech on the campaign trail?
“Retire army” (June 16 Letters to the Editor) suggested that we follow the Second Amendment and dispense with our military and create a militia. This is worth pondering in the light of recent overseas conflicts such as Iraq, where hundreds of thousands died and no victory was achieved.
The use of that amendment by those who are desperate for guns has roots in our culture. We have a black president; Latinos as individual politicians and voters are showing strength; feminism is potent with a female president likely in 2016; and gays and lesbians are widely accepted. This loss of power is the worst nightmare of some white males.
Little wonder that a recent national survey indicated that 29 percent of all polled (44 percent of Republicans) agreed that “in the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties.” That is a nightmare for the rest of us.
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