Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on water use, city investments, abortion protests, Brownback tax plan, Coronado, wolf shooting

Need strategy for reducing water use

Recent articles on the prolonged drought and Wichita’s water use were very timely and reinforce that a long-term strategy for reducing Wichita’s water use is needed.

Wichita’s outdoor water use has been excessive for many years. The ratio of maximum day usage to average day usage has been about 2.0 in most years. This same ratio for most cities is about 1.6, which is considered by many in the water industry to still be too high. This means that Wichita uses about 25 percent more water for outdoor use in the summer than most cities.

One of the primary reasons for this is the use of landscaping that is not intended for this region. The worst culprit is fescue grass for lawns. This grass is not appropriate for this part of the country, and it requires excessive irrigation during the hot, dry Wichita summers.

The use of more appropriate landscaping needs to be encouraged and even mandated in some cases. This and other conservation measures will need to be adopted to ensure a more drought-tolerant city.

It is time for city leaders to step forward, just as was done in the 1950s with the development of Cheney Reservoir and in the 2000s with the aquifer-recharge project, and ensure an adequate supply of water for Wichita’s future.



Ready to ante up

No need for a survey. I am all for the improvements for the city that Mayor Carl Brewer suggested in his State of the City address – with the notable exception of a new library (who uses it exactly?). Water pipes, streets, bridges, buses, bike paths and support for the arts are things that make living in a city worth living in a city, and I’m all for them.

Unlike our governor – whose route is to slash the budget, hurt the arts, and let some people not pay taxes while others make up the difference on the hope something good happens – our mayor understands that concrete long-term investment comes at a cost. I appreciate Brewer’s no-smoke-and-mirrors approach.

Lay it out there. Tell me where you need the revenue. I’m ready to ante up.

Gov. Sam Brownback wants us to become Texas – God forbid – the state with the highest percentage of the uninsured, and which ranks among the states with the greatest inequality between rich and poor and has the dirtiest air in the nation.

Let’s build our own road – literally – to something a lot better: a city we can continue to be proud of in a state that has lost its way.



More than Model T

The remarks by Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn regarding the community survey were quite revealing (Jan. 31 Eagle).

He talked about citizens wanting a “Cadillac” but being unaware of its cost. I would counter that what citizens want are well-maintained streets, not 50 percent of them substandard. We want bridges that are not deteriorating to the point of being unsafe. We want water and sewer lines that are adequate, not antiquated. We want a transit system that allows people of all incomes to access their workplaces, doctor offices, etc.

I don’t believe any of these are unreasonable, and all are the responsibility of government. This requires that we pay sufficient taxes to support that government and its responsibilities.

We don’t want a Cadillac, but we expect more than a Model T.



Cause of disruption

My mind is boggled. As I understand the petition drive reported in the Jan. 30 Eagle, the group trying to gather 20,000 signatures and persuade the city to rezone the South Wind Women’s Center property on Kellogg is justifying its efforts by claiming the neighborhood will be disrupted when the clinic opens this spring. But this same group, the so-called Kansans for Life, has freely admitted that its members are the ones who will be causing the disruption, showing up at the clinic with signs and lots of traffic, both foot and vehicle.

Where’s the logic in that?

The women coming to the clinic – a comprehensive medical facility specializing in women’s health care (family planning, urinary incontinence, sonograms, prenatal care, well-woman exams and, yes, abortion care) – do not deserve to have to put up with the behavior those circulating this petition are threatening. As their leader says, his group won’t stay away from the clinic.

This blatant attempt to politicize, yet again, women’s health care will show itself to be just that. Common sense will prevail. This effort should and will fail.



Illinois thanks you

I live in Illinois, but I own land in Kansas. As a resident of Illinois, I pay Illinois income tax on all of my earnings, but the income tax I pay in Kansas is credited against my Illinois taxes.

Under Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to do away with Kansas income taxes, I will still pay state income tax on my Kansas income, but it will be to the people of Illinois, not to the people of Kansas. Since I don’t live in Kansas, I will not be paying much of the increased sales taxes Brownback will have to collect to make up for the lost income tax.

In my case, the people of the state of Illinois thank Brownback.


Oak Park, Ill.

Coronado who?

Though I agreed with some aspects of the well-written letter “The Hispanic/Latino reality” (Jan. 31 Letters to the Editor), I must take umbrage with the writer’s assertion that Francisco Vasquez de Coronado y Lujan was the first Hispanic/Latino immigrant to set foot in Kansas.

Coronado was born into Spanish nobility in Salamanca, Spain, in 1510. In 1540-42 he invaded what is present-day Kansas as the commander of an armed military expedition composed of about 400 Spanish and other European soldiers and four Franciscan monks. He also used the forced labor of about 1,500 Mexican Indians to carry the baggage.

En route to Kansas, his expedition pillaged villages and killed hundreds of Native Americans, most notably in the Tiguex pueblos. He left no cultural influences but did leave a swath of destruction and depredation.

To call Coronado the first Hispanic/Latino immigrant is not only historically inaccurate, it is also an insult to the millions of Hispanic/Latinos who have immigrated to the United States and who have contributed a rich cultural heritage to our ethnically diverse nation.



Extinction of life

Henry David Thoreau once said that “in wildness is the preservation of the world,” and there is nothing more symbolic of wildness than the wolf. So it was deeply saddening to read that hunters in Trego County shot a western Great Lakes gray wolf, a species still protected outside of the western Great Lakes region.

In his short essay “Thinking Like a Mountain,” Aldo Leopold poignantly tells about the death of a wolf shot by his hunting party. He confessed that it was unheard of in those days to pass up a chance to kill a wolf. Leopold added, “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain.”

We’re in the midst of an epic extinction spasm of life on Earth due to climate change, illegal poaching, overfishing and habitat loss. If, as Thoreau said, in wildness is the preservation of the world, we must be the exterminators.