Letters to the Editor

Letters on judicial retentions, Easter, highways, Elliott, Norton

Judges honest, fair; should be retained

I practiced law from 1968 to 1978, and I served as a District Court judge from 1978 until 2007. During those years, I read thousands of Kansas appellate court opinions.

I don’t agree with all of the decisions, but I never believed that any of the judges or justices should be removed from office because of any of those decisions, nor should they have been removed.

On Nov. 8, we will be asked to decide whether to retain five justices of the Kansas Supreme Court and six judges of the Kansas Court of Appeals. When deciding to vote “yes” or “no” on retention, this is the test I use:

Does the judge know the law? Does the judge apply the law appropriately? Is the judge honest? Is the judge fair and impartial? Does the judge have integrity? Does the judge respect the rule of law? Is the judge independent from political pressure?

When the judges and justices on the retention ballot are evaluated using this test, it is clear to me they all deserve to be retained.

David Kennedy, Wichita

Justice for whom?

A recent commentary by two reverends and a rabbi said that “justice demands fair and impartial courts” (Oct. 23 Opinion).

Justice for whom?

Justice for the families whose loved ones were brutally murdered and who then faced, by order of the Kansas Supreme Court, a second excruciatingly painful trial?

Justice for the most innocent? The Kansas Court of Appeals upheld a ruling blocking a state ban on dismemberment abortion.

Even our anything-but-conservative U.S. Supreme Court has overruled the Kansas Supreme Court.

True justice demands that we speak for those who have no voice. God laid down His rule for civil government in Genesis 9:6.

Grayce Abel, Winfield

Re-elect Easter

Sometimes it feels as if elections are a choice between the lesser of two evils, but this year not every ballot decision is a compromise. On Nov. 8, the citizens of Sedgwick County have the opportunity to re-elect Sheriff Jeff Easter, a truly great man.

Easter epitomizes strong leadership. He has shown that honesty, transparency and accountability are core values of the Sheriff’s Office. He has made it clear that he will rid the Sheriff’s Office of employees who abuse their great responsibility, while he also vehemently defends the rights of his deputies to go home safely at the end of their shift.

I am honored to have voted for Easter in 2012 and would proudly do so again in November if I still lived in Sedgwick County.

A vote for Easter is a vote in the best interest of all citizens and law enforcement in Sedgwick County.

Jeremy Koehler, Topeka

Roads at risk

There is growing anxiety and concern among local communities in Kansas regarding the transfer of earmarked transportation funds (more than $1 billion this fiscal year and last year alone) to fill holes in the state budget. And while some have pointed out that the surface condition of our Kansas roads are in good shape, many don’t believe this will continue to be the situation if these huge transfers continue.

Kansas roads have received high marks as a direct result of significant investments in our state’s transportation system, dating back to 1989 when the Comprehensive Highway Program was passed, and most recently with the passage of the T-Works plan. But now, with the Legislature and governor having taken fully one-third of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s income this fiscal year and last, the state has begun to reduce T-Works’ scope.

If the Legislature and governor continue these highway transfers, KDOT will have no choice but to continue reducing the scope of its work, and the overall condition of the highway system will decline.

However differently individuals might characterize the current Kansas economy, everyone agrees that the current condition of the state highway system positively influences the economy. Conversely, if the system condition is allowed to drop to the minimum targets, one can only assume a corresponding negative effect to the economy.

Michael Johnston, Wichita

CEO, Economic Lifelines

Elliott qualified

I am writing in support of Roger Elliott for state representative for District 87.

Elliott is unusually well qualified to serve, having been a banker, a long-time Andover school board member, and a Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce economic development officer. He also “works well with others,” as they say, which will be a valuable asset in the new Legislature.

I believe picking winners and losers, as the elimination of state income taxes on selected businesses did, was not wise and should be corrected. Reducing the tax to zero for doctors, lawyers, CPAs and other professionals, along with many small businesses, was a mistake. The Legislature and the governor have been unable to reduce expenses to match the lost revenue.

They have not been able to balance the budget without extreme and unsustainable measures, including raiding highway construction programs. The goal should be lower but fair taxes on all, without compromising education, highways and other critical state services.

Elliott understands these issues and will work for responsible solutions to this serious Kansas challenge. The new Legislature will need to make difficult decisions, and Elliott’s abilities and experience will be sorely needed.

I encourage a vote for Roger Elliott in District 87.

Fred Berry, Wichita

Vote for Norton

I would like to congratulate Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton on running one of the few adult campaigns in the nation. His debate responses and campaign ads have retained focus on his accomplishments while in office and have bypassed the opportunities available to focus on the shortcomings of his opponent (inability to affect any real change as a Wichita City Council member or in the Kansas Senate, gifts from lobbyists, providing alcohol to a party with underage drinkers, less than truthfulness regarding a previous residence, and his obvious lack of maturity, to name a few).

His opponent, Michael O’Donnell, on the other hand, resorts to a smear campaign complete with spinning dollar bills and big cigars. Really?

I do hope that the voters in Norton’s district are paying attention. What he has accomplished for the district, often while working with other commissioners whose sole purpose seemed at times to be the accomplishment of their own personal agendas, deserves to be recognized and rewarded.

Vote for Norton, if your vote really matters to you.

K.W. Rivers, Wichita

Turned her back

As a woman, I greatly admired Nola Foulston for her work in the legal community, a field where few women once worked. I voted for her every time when she ran for Sedgwick County district attorney.

Unfortunately, she lost all my respect when she decided to turn her back on suffering families by starring in a TV ad against victims fighting for justice. I cannot imagine the pain and betrayal the Carr brothers’ surviving victims and the victims’ families must feel.

I will vote “no” on retaining Kansas Supreme Court justices this election, and I encourage everyone to do the same.

Vicky Blasi, Colwich

Retain justices

I subscribe to Nola Foulston’s theory that the effort to oust Kansas Supreme Court justices originated with Gov. Sam Brownback, so that he might control all three branches of government. He already has members of the legislature who say “how high?” whenever he says “jump.”

It greatly disappoints me that he would use the emotion of those hurting to get his trick started.

We should be very appreciative of the efforts of four of our past governors to serve as a resource – John Carlin, Bill Graves, Mike Hayden and Kathleen Sebelius.

Vote “yes” to retain our Supreme Court justices.

Earl Guiot, Wichita

Letters deadline

Letters to the editor regarding the Nov. 8 elections must be received by 1 p.m. Thursday to be considered for publication.

Letters to the Editor

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