Letters to the editor on VA oversight, Howell mailer, Kochs

07/28/2014 12:00 AM

07/25/2014 5:50 PM

Where was the oversight of VA?

Someone asked in Opinion Line what the congressional panels responsible for oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs have been doing. That is a fair question.

H.R. 241, the Veterans Timely Access to Health Care Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives on Jan. 14, 2013. It was referred the same day to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and on Feb. 8, 2013, it was referred to the health subcommittee, which held hearings on May 21, 2013. I found nothing after that. This bill was addressing some of the issues the VA is now facing.

I contacted the office of Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, who is on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. His staff did not know anything about the disposition of this bill. The staff of Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, didn’t know anything either.

If this bill had been considered, could this major problem have been corrected? What has the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations been doing? According to a May 28, 2014, report from the VA Office of Inspector General, the issues identified in current allegations are not new. The inspector general has issued numerous reports over the years that identified deficiencies in scheduling resulting in lengthy waiting times and the negative impact on patient care. Those reports were issued to the VA secretary and Congress. What has Congress done over the years to alleviate these deficiencies, to keep this from being the problem that it now is?

WAYNE AMMERMAN

Arkansas City

Inaccurate mailer

I recently reviewed a mailer that was sent out by Sedgwick County Commission candidate Jim Howell. I was shocked by his version of what he has “accomplished.”

As a local elected official, I take issue with Howell’s statements. In no way does a new state law require the mill levy to go down if property valuations increase. It merely requires a majority vote and public notice to use those increased funds if they exceed the rate of inflation.

When he was challenged on this, his response was that he did not want “to get into the weeds” (“Candidate’s tax claim is overstated,” July 18 Local & State).

I want someone with local government experience who understands the issues, is truthful about what he says he has done and, more important, who looks out for my interests, not his own. That man is Dion Avello. Please join me in voting for Avello for County Commission.

CHERYL BANNON

Derby

Money speaks

The biggest money speaks the loudest.

That’s the takeaway in the movie “Citizen Koch,” which played to a sold-out crowd in Wichita recently. “Citizen Koch” showed the 2012 Wisconsin election that Gov. Scott Walker narrowly won despite a recall petition that had collected 900,000 signatures. How did Walker win? By outspending opponents 8-to-1.

And almost all of that massive money came from outside Wisconsin. Great out-of-state wealth financed the winning of dozens of other state elections in 2012. Throughout America, groups associated with the Koch brothers spent at least $400 million.

Then the Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council took over. It wrote bills that its electees passed. Those legislators and governors did not bite the hands that fed them.

It seems hard for Wichitans to connect the dots from Koch Industries’ fine jobs and buildings to the company’s global pollution problems and the brothers’ political intrusions.

But know that when the big money wins, real folks don’t. Follow the big money: Beware of expensive TV ads and glitzy enticements. Find out who funds candidates’ ads and creates their sound bites. Ask all candidates if they belong to ALEC.

Please vote for folks, not for big money.

JANE BYRNES

Wichita

Letters deadline

Letters to the editor about the Aug. 5 primary election must be received at The Eagle by noon Thursday in order to be considered for publication.

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