My office has notified hundreds of Kansans that their requests to visit the White House have been declined. The White House has informed Congress that White House tours are canceled indefinitely due to sequestration.
It is a demoralizing time to be a teacher in Kansas. Not everyone knows about the anti-union bills moving through the Legislature, but these bills would limit collective-bargaining rights and restrict funding of the teacher unions.
The article about the new sculpture of Rosa Parks in the U.S. Capitol reported that the designers portrayed her sitting on a rock “to represent the rock of the civil rights movement that supported her” (Feb. 28 Eagle).
Can it be justly proclaimed that truth is stranger than fiction?
Andrew Young – former U.N. ambassador, close associate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a principal drafter of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – weighed in recently on the U.S. Supreme Court case questioning the validity of Section 5 of the law.
While modifications have been made to the bill to merge the Kansas Turnpike Authority with the Kansas Department of Transportation, its current wording allows turnpike equipment, staff and “other resources” (whatever that means) to be used on state highways. Legislators can say what they want, but there is nothing in this bill to prevent future administrations from indirectly or directly using toll revenue.
Throughout our state’s history, Kansans have proudly supported education. We have been known as a state with excellent public schools and universities. We did not shy away from our responsibilities as a state to educate our young. We understood that we were making an investment in the future of our communities and state.
March is Women’s History Month, and the League of Women Voters Wichita-Metro asks the public to remember the achievements of women in the past and celebrate the successes of women today.
I recently attended a hearing on House Bill 2241 to roll back the renewable portfolio standard. I was very impressed when Rep. Scott Schwab, R-Olathe, asked supporters of the bill why it was only out-of-state organizations trying to change a successful Kansas energy policy.
In the fourth quarter of last year, staff and volunteers of Wichita Festivals transitioned into the detailed planning phase for the 2013 Wichita River Festival. As a longtime volunteer and former Admiral Windwagon Smith, I am looking forward to May 31.
Kansas wind power and other energy industries have meant well-paying jobs for Kansas workers and millions of dollars in private investments in our state. So why are our elected officials in Topeka fast-tracking bills to take away these benefits?
Mere spending cuts are not enough to ensure this nation’s financial security. Nor are new taxes, although both are needed.
It was interesting to read the copious amounts of statistics concerning traffic violations in Wichita (Feb. 24 Eagle). The biggest violation I observe is by drivers who speed through red lights at the massive six-lane intersections in town. This activity has increased to alarming levels, and the violators expect the opposing drivers to count a few seconds before proceeding.
In choosing to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment that would grant the Legislature exclusive authority to determine school funding (Feb. 21 Eagle), conservative state senators have participated in the kind of legislative overreach they claim to stand against and attempted to upset the fundamental system of checks and balances our government relies on to function democratically. Further, by actively casting a vote against the interests of public schools, students and teachers, they’ve alienated Kansans who believe deeply in public education.
Davis Merritt was spot-on with his thoughts on term limits, at least in theory (“Term limits, at-large elections are bad ideas,” Feb. 5 Opinion). He correctly believes that if elected public servants only served one term, they would not have time to learn the ropes and would have to rely on their professional staffs and cabinet appointees. The unelected bureaucrats would be running things.
Legislative leaders need to abandon their efforts to “improve” local school board elections.
I got back Monday evening from Washington, D.C., where I participated in the largest climate rally ever held in the United States.
How much taxpayer money is being spent lobbying the Legislature? That is a figure that no one in the mainstream Kansas media seems interested in discovering or taking the effort to compile.
Thanks to The Eagle and reporter Dion Lefler for the great article about Gov. Sam Brownback and company cooking the books (“Governor’s numbers come under question,” Feb. 17 Eagle). I have been telling people to read between the lines when the governor explains his programs and to ask lots of questions and not to believe everything they are told. This article simply reinforced my suspicions.
The members of our congressional delegation need to get busy and do the work of the people they have sworn to do. They need to stop the partisan politics, and compromise with the president and the Democrats to stop the draconian cuts that are a requirement of the sequester. They need to agree with a balanced approach to our fiscal problems – cutting spending (President Obama has proposed $4 trillion in cuts over 10 years) and raising revenue by closing loopholes that the wealthiest Americans and big businesses enjoy.
I oppose Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to bring the Kansas Turnpike Authority under the state’s control. As a quasi-private entity, the KTA has enjoyed the freedom to operate in an efficient manner throughout its life. It provides an excellent, safe roadway for users, while not burdening nonusers with the expense of its upkeep. Its tolls are low compared with other turnpikes in the country, and the quality of service is a frequent topic of patrons.
Rabbi Moti Rieber, director of Kansas Interfaith Power and Light, believes that mandates are needed to make wind energy “competitive” (“Don’t roll back renewable-energy standard,” Feb. 12 Opinion). The thing is, the wind industry has already been given multiple chances to succeed through a little thing called the free market. Furthermore, federal subsidies for wind energy are very likely to remain in place for years to come. But apparently this isn’t enough for the special-interest groups that continually demand expensive “clean-energy” boondoggles under the guise of fairness and competition.
With all due respect to Mike King, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, I am very concern about all the talk in Topeka about transferring funds out of KDOT’s budget and into other departments.
If you have ever had a toothache, you know how miserable it can be. This year, the Kansas Mission of Mercy free dental project will be held March 1-2 at Kansas Pavilion II. Once a year in a Kansas community, volunteers – including dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, pediatric dentists and oral surgeons – come from all parts of the state to provide free dental services to those who cannot afford care. They donate their talents to provide treatment for the most urgent dental needs – extractions, fillings, oral surgery and dental hygiene for both children and adults.
I was selected to participate in the community survey being conducted by Wichita and Sedgwick County, but will not be returning it. Every time I pick it up and look at how the questions are worded, I get angry.
It would appear that Derrick Sontag, state director of Americans for Prosperity, does not have much faith in Gov. Sam Brownback’s initiative to reform Medicaid, which is now called KanCare in the state (“State shouldn’t expand Medicaid,” Feb. 7 Opinion).
Regarding “Bill would delay renewable-energy mandates in Kansas” (Feb. 7 Eagle): Now is not the time to back away from Kansas’ successful renewable-electricity standard. The standard is the main reason Kansas ranked third in the nation for new wind-power capacity installed in 2012, creating new jobs and investing $1.5 billion in local communities.
Upon making a new acquaintance I proudly introduce myself as an elementary educator, to then hear three highly predictable responses: “I can’t even imagine how elementary teachers do what they do.” “Elementary teaching is surely one of the most important careers in our culture.” “Teachers are the most underpaid professionals of all.”
I continue to praise The Eagle for its outstanding coverage of local, area and state issues. Just such an issue is Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to merge the Kansas Turnpike Authority and the Kansas Department of Transportation (Jan. 27 Eagle).
The Kansas Turnpike is the best single part of our highway system in Kansas. It is the “jewel in the crown” of our state. Every few years there is a proposal to merge the Kansas Turnpike Authority with the Kansas Department of Transportation under the guise of realizing significant “savings.” No concrete financial details are ever put forward to demonstrate that any such “savings” will in fact be realized and that the turnpike will not be adversely affected.