Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on Rachel Corrie, ethanol, city giveaway, school lunches, fluoridation

Corrie case is bigger news

The news has been full of stories about the junket by U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, to Israel and his naked swim in the Sea of Galilee. But revealing as that is, a more instructive story about Americans in Israel is the verdict expected Tuesday in the lawsuit that Rachel Corrie’s parents brought against those responsible for the death of their 23-year-old daughter.

Corrie, of Olympia, Wash., was crushed to death March 16, 2003, by an Israeli military Caterpillar D9R bulldozer while nonviolently protesting demolition of Palestinian civilian homes in Rafah, Gaza. The lawsuit charges the state of Israel with responsibility for Corrie’s death and failure to conduct a full and credible investigation in the case.

The trial has exposed serious chain-of-command failures in relation to civilian killings and indiscriminate destruction of civilian property at the hands of the Israeli military in southern Gaza. The family’s attorney said: “This trial is an attempt to hold accountable not only those who failed to protect Rachel’s life but also the flawed system of military investigations which is neither impartial nor thorough.”



In the tank

Well, it’s finally happened. Apparently Charles Koch has started doing editorials for The Eagle. His latest opinion piece was just what we might expect: promotion of petroleum to solve all our problems by advocating the elimination of ethanol in our gasoline (Aug. 24 Eagle Editorial).

Of course, the elimination of ethanol in gasoline implies the return to the carcinogen MTBE, which is a petroleum product. That ought to warm the hearts of Koch and his brothers as well as U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and all of Big Oil. Just remember that droughts and heat waves come and go every 20 years or so and that the price of corn will stabilize next year, if not earlier.

Too bad The Eagle editorial board had to go in the tank for these guys. I thought it was more independent and decent than that.



City giveaway

It was bad enough to see the mayor and his cohorts spend an extra $2 million so a favored builder can build the new airport terminal. Now they are leasing a valuable piece of downtown property to WaterWalk’s owner for $1 a year for 93 years so he can build apartments and make money (Aug. 22 Business Today). They should be leasing the land for a minimum of $1,000 per month for 93 years.



Feed own kids

“Getting kids to eat healthy at school” (Aug. 22 Eagle) was beyond appalling.

First of all, it is not my responsibility as a taxpayer to feed children lunch at school. That is the responsibility of the parents. Those parents who choose not to pack lunches for their children should give the children lunch money to purchase food in the school cafeteria. For those families who do not earn enough money to buy all the food their family needs, I contribute some of my tax dollars to the state’s food assistance program. Plus, I donate to food banks where they can get free food.

Secondly, school cafeterias should have been serving healthful food all along. Children never should have been put in charge of deciding what foods and drinks will be served in school cafeterias.

Thirdly, schools are usurping the roles of parents. This is damaging to children and the entire family. In both the short term and long term, we damage children and society by expecting school personnel to be substitute parents and by neglecting to address those few families in which parents are not fulfilling their responsibilities to the children they have brought into the world.



Fluoride is safe

I attended the Wichita City Council meeting on Aug. 21 in which adding fluoride to our water supply was discussed. A flier distributed by those opposing fluoridation was based on a study of China related to very high amounts of fluoride. It is not applicable to the proposal to add small amounts of fluoride to Wichita’s water supply to reduce tooth decay.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, just as iron is a mineral. When we don’t have enough iron, it can lead to severe anemia and even death. Too much iron can be harmful as well. In small amounts, such as what’s being proposed, fluoride is safe and will markedly decrease tooth decay in our community.

Simply put, the argument by those in opposition to adding fluoride to Wichita’s water supply is rubbish. I agree with Vice Mayor Janet Miller: Wichita should join the 21st century for this measure.



Test fluoride

Let’s compromise on the fluoride issue. Get several dentists to collect data on the numbers of cavities, then fluoridate the water. Collect data from the same dentists a year later. If there is no significant improvement, we can stop fluoridation and save about $570,000 per year.