Letters to the Editor

August 9, 2014

Letters to the editor on Kobach’s conduct, Brownback’s policies, property tax errors, police problem, new library

Kobach’s conduct is shameful

We take the strongest exception to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s words and to the actions and words of Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker as recently reported in The Eagle (Aug. 1 Local & State). We find Kobach’s disrespect of the members of the Greater Wichita Ministerial League offensive, and his cavalier disregard for the moral voice of the faith community unworthy of the office he serves. His conduct is shameful.

We also find ourselves opposed to Kobach’s blatant disregard for the voting rights of Kansas citizens. People who have moved or had a change of name or marital status, or who for a variety of reasons may not be able to secure a state-authorized photo ID, are nonetheless citizens. And as citizens, they do have the right to vote. Protecting their right to vote is a sacred duty.

Kobach said that he had not heard from members of the faith community who disagreed with his policies. He dismissed the voices and concerns of pastors, saying they did not represent their congregations. We would like to break the silence.

The letter was signed by the Rev. David Hansen and 30 members of Pine Valley Christian Church in Wichita.

Failed policies

Paul Krugman’s column “Kansas shows enduring power of bad ideas” (July 1 Opinion) apparently cracked the shell of economist Arthur Laffer’s colleague Stephen Moore, who opined, “Nothing the matter with Kansas’ tax policy” (July 10 Opinion), in rebuttal.

Given that supply-side economics was discarded as a viable theory at least two decades ago, even by Republicans, why is it now that Gov. Sam Brownback proudly advocates the interests of the wealthy (Kochs and others) and the oil- and gas-connected (Kochs, Americans for Prosperity, American Legislative Exchange Council)? Does he feel that they will propel him to the White House?

Given that a Guardian newspaper commentator described ALEC’s role as “almost a dating service between politicians at the state level, local elected politicians and many of America’s biggest companies,” the conclusion can only be that Brownback seeks financial support for some big enterprise.

So while I might use Match.com, he uses ALEC? For those who can’t get a date any other way, go for it. But don’t expect the people of Kansas to put up with Brownback’s retro universe in which failed policies endure, ruining the state’s economy and reputation in the rest of the country.



Fight the feds

With the rise of an administrative state and crony capitalism, Kansas needs a governor to fight increasing federal regulation and oversight. Gov. Sam Brownback’s record proves his ability to fend off the encroaching of the federal government. Brownback will not allow for bogus claims by government agencies that will hurt the Kansas economy.

The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing a green agenda that only hurts Kansans. Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species, jeopardizing economic development in rural areas. Along with that, new EPA proposals would transfer oversight of the state’s water resources from property owners to the federal government. The EPA’s regulations on energy production in Kansas have increased our utility bills.

To continue the theme of President Obama’s rule of law, the EPA will slowly begin to introduce more and more regulations without legislative oversight – disguised as related to something else like “clean energy” or a threatened species – that will reduce jobs and raise energy costs. Kansas deserves a governor who will not give in to Washington’s demands and who will fight for the Kansas economy and jobs. Kansas deserves Brownback.



Near bottom

Air Force Times recently ranked the 68 stateside Air Force bases. McConnell Air Force Base was ranked 66th, almost last. Here is what it said:

“Disappointing schools, higher-than-average crime rates, and high taxes combined to place McConnell Air Force Base, located near Wichita, Kansas, near the bottom of our list. The average GreatSchools.com ranking of schools within a 10-mile radius was 4 out of a possible 10. McConnell’s crime score was 3 out of a possible 10, lower than the nationwide average score of 6. And sales taxes there are 7.15 percent, higher than the usual 6 percent.”

Could this possibly be connected to the governor’s income tax decreases, which are reducing the amount of state funding available for schools and infrastructure and leading to higher sales taxes?



Beware of error

A 6.7 percent overage in square footage resulted in overcharges in my property taxes from 2009 to 2012. I protested this error and resolved it with the Sedgwick County Appraiser’s Office, and I am attempting to recoup my overcharges with interest.

The problem is that houses used to be measured on site by the appraiser’s office. Now the measurement is done by satellite and subcontracted via an agency.

If one error has occurred with me, most likely many have been made. The same error on a 3,000-square-foot house would be about $1,350 plus interest in overcharges from 2009 to 2014.

On a different subject: The president is in the executive branch of government and has nothing to do with the budget, or spending, or the economy. Any media that parrot this myth are spreading propaganda. We have a country of the corporations, for the corporations and by the corporations – media included.



Serve, protect?

Recently while at work, my wife encountered a shoplifter. When confronted, the shoplifter bolted, along with her partner. They ran into the parking lot, got into their car, and hit vehicles on their way out of the area – including my wife’s vehicle.

When the police officers finally showed up, they indicated it was too bad about the average $85,000 a year the store was losing to shoplifters, but that they are too busy to respond to these harassing misdemeanor offenses. They suggested that maybe my wife’s company should hire off-duty officers to be in the store to prevent crime (talk about a protection racket).

She was told we had to file a separate report on the hit-and-run. But when we went to station, the police indicated they would not even file a report number. The “accident” occurred on private property, so unless we could convince our insurance company to file a complaint, they would not even investigate. My wife had the incident on video and had the name of the passenger in the vehicle and the license plate number of the vehicle, along with the make and model, so their “investigation” would not have amounted to more than running the plate numbers.

And people wonder why the citizens of this country are losing faith in their government?



New library needed

We’re due for a new Central Library (as has long been planned for and promised). We have hired consultants and architects. We have long since claimed the land and determined the location. Every moment we linger in debate (and discourse about the obvious) just adds to the final cost of this project, which has already been deemed necessary and forthcoming.

This is not rocket surgery. We need a vital and current facility to house our resources and nurture our community. The library will be a place to gather and find information, find each other, create and commune. The digital revolution has not replaced the need for such a community resource. Rather, libraries are vital for well-rounded and vibrant citizenship.

We have been gifted with an excellent opportunity to plan for the future. We don’t even have to invent this wheel; we have road maps from innovative library models in Tennessee and North Carolina. Libraries are transforming into vital community spaces that also house books.

It’s time to put a little chop-chop behind this motion and let it be known that you care about the library and are paying attention.



Letters to the Editor

Include your full name, home address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are edited for clarity and length; 200 words or fewer are best. Letters may be published in any format and become the property of The Eagle.

Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202

E-mail: letters@wichitaeagle.com

Fax: 316-269-6799

For more information, contact Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.

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