Boeing’s closure was no surprise
The employees at the Boeing Wichita plant shouldn’t have been surprised by the decision to close. Having worked since 1975 as a union-represented hourly employee and an ex-manager at what is now Spirit AeroSystems, I can tell you that the Boeing Wichita division has never been well-liked by any of the Puget Sound divisions.
It was a corporate decision to close Wichita. Company officials get to use budget cuts, contracts, prospects and future work as excuses. If they could have rid themselves of the defense part when the commercial divestiture took place in 2005, they would have done it then. Talk about moving out of Wichita took place long before that.
No one can blame the union, Democrats, Republicans, Gov. Sam Brownback or anybody else. The closure was a corporate decision that Boeing has been wanting to make for a very long time.
Most of the aging workforce will be left with a nice severance package and good retirement benefits to fall back on. Others can relocate to other Boeing facilities and could do well for themselves. But after Boeing has been in Wichita for more than 80 years, I hate to see it go.
Kansans rejoiced when the tanker contract was awarded to Boeing, thinking our community would feel a surge economically with the coming jobs and job security spilling into the general populace. Now our city is trying to make the most of what I would call a microcosm of the fundamental changes happening in America.
Long gone are the days of civic pride and integrity of corporate leaders who lived in the communities where they did business. Now corporations are beholden to their stockholders, many of whom are reading this right now. Many will place blame, but everyone will share in the pain.
Americans disagree about much, but many of us see that such corporate decisions foretell a future in which the next generation will not have it as good as the previous one. We feel less secure and less optimistic. That’s not a recipe for fueling economic growth – when you are looking over your shoulder constantly waiting for the ax.
As long as jobs are outsourced to other states and eventually out of our country – in the name of the lowest labor costs, the lowest regulations and the least oversight – we will not be looking for the American dream, Instead, we’ll be arming ourselves for the American nightmare to come.
Exit, stage right
Boeing has been shuffling off the stage in Wichita since at least the early 1970s. Does anyone remember the signs back then? It just “turned off the lights.”
COLETA R. McNAMARA
No Bob Doles
It would have been impossible for Boeing to leave Wichita in the political climate we had when our senators were Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum and our congressman was Dan Glickman. They had the type of respect in Washington, D.C., that carried back to their constituents, and they were not taking orders from the Koch brothers’ secretive Americans for Prosperity, a bankroller of the tea party folks.
Now, we have Sen. Pat Roberts, who is looking over his shoulder at Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and Rep. Mike Pompeo and Sen. Jerry Moran, who fell into the tea partiers’ arms in their campaigns during the past GOP primary. Consequently, the lobbyists know they already are committed to causes that affect only the periphery of Kansas’ needs.
Turning Kansas into a one-party state was not a boon to our economy. Continuing that political outcome will hasten the 4th Congressional District’s slide toward political irrelevancy.
Guests pay tax
Regarding “Stop giving away taxpayer dollars” (Jan. 1 Letters to the Editor): How many times must it be said that the vote on the Ambassador Hotel project is not about city taxpayer dollars? The vote on Feb. 28 is to allow the use of guest taxes for the hotel development. These are funds to be paid by guests who stay at the hotel, and they are funds that do not ordinarily go toward funding police and fire departments, golf courses, public parks or any of the other items outlined in the letter.
I frequently stay in hotels all over the country and pay lots of different taxes; it is a part of doing business in other cities. Why wouldn’t we want our city to benefit in the same way?
It is my hope that people will have a good understanding of this issue before we vote on it. We are only talking about fees paid by guests, not taxes that go into the city’s general fund for these types of services. We need to vote “yes” to keep downtown moving forward.
The drought this past year has shown farmers the value of the Ogallala Aquifer and the need to make sure it is available into the future.
The governor’s 2012 water legislation package is a big step in offering more flexibility and stakeholder control. These proposals are fundamental in changing from a culture of consumption to a culture of conservation in order to conserve and extend this vital resource that supports the entire western third of Kansas. They also create an environment of positive change to support future economic growth.
Kansans living and working in these areas have provided valuable input in the policy development, as more than 400 attended the governor’s economic summit on the future of the Ogallala Aquifer last summer. Two consistent messages taken from the summit were that “something needs to be done” and “locals need to have control.”
While some may suggest the governor’s proposals don’t go far enough in water savings, the results could be significant. Local Enhancement Management Areas provide the opportunity for locally defined water savings. A current proposal led by locals in northwest Kansas is an example that would reduce water use by 20 percent.
The governor’s proposed expansion of the Kansas Water Banking Act can provide for locally developed water markets that will, by law, have a built-in 10 percent water savings. This is also a step in placing a value on water.
Kansas Water Authority
Ogallala Aquifer Advisory Committee
Whenever there is an excessive concentration of wealth – whenever a minority (10 percent or less) of a population owns more wealth than the entire remaining population – there will be an inevitable power struggle between ordinary citizens and the excessively wealthy.
For most of Western history, land was the basis of wealth, and the land was owned by a minority who declared themselves to be noble, and who governed by uniting into a self-proclaimed aristocracy. They even claimed that the aristocracy ruled through a divine right of kings.
The landed aristocracy was not destroyed by the development of democracy. It was destroyed by the industrial revolution, which gave rise to a form of wealth independent of the land. Industrial wealth soon outstripped land wealth, and industrial wealth was shared by a larger segment of the population.
That segment, while still a minority, constituted well more than 10 percent of the population. As a result, the newly wealthy were unable to unite into a cohesive repressive political movement, thereby making a democratic movement possible.
For a complex set of reasons, that widespread sharing no longer exists. Currently, less that 10 percent of the population controls more wealth than the entire remaining 90 percent. As a result, the inevitable power struggle between ordinary citizens and the very wealthy is again occurring, and has been for at least the past decade. To date, the wealthy are winning this struggle.
GERALD H. PASKE