Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on rate increases, debris removal, closed-minded leaders, DMV waits, WSU arts, attack on marriage

Citizens can’t normalize incomes

Westar Energy has requested 19 rate increases since 2009. Public and private utilities raise rates on customers in an effort to normalize revenues. The city of Derby is asking patrons to conserve water and “promises” rates won’t increase due to conservation measures.

Well, utility providers and government agencies, here’s something to consider: I need an income normalization program, too.

Unfortunately, sometime within the coming year my family’s source of income will stop when Boeing closes its Wichita facility. Do I get to contact Boeing’s corporate headquarters 19 times and explain my need (not want) for continued and increased income? Hardly.

Each government agency or utility needs to operate within current income provided by its customer base. If your income decreases due to conservation efforts (or, dare I say, repaying company coffers due to payouts to former corporate raiders), don’t whine to the Kansas Corporation Commission about it. Don’t tout conservation on one hand and in the other have a gun to customers’ heads in a shakedown for more money. If Sedgwick County experiences a documented decrease in property values, it should expect property owners to challenge valuation increases that look like an attempt to normalize county revenue.

Quit making excuses for endless requests for rate increases. Deal with it, as consumers have to. Accept the fact that customers are tired of being victimized by utility companies.



Help remove debris

My neighbors and I are very disappointed in the city of Wichita’s decision not to help its citizens with debris removal. I realize that citizens often have unrealistic expectations of what the city can offer, but I do not think this is one of them.

After the ice storm of 2005, the city helped with debris removal. I realize there was Federal Emergency Management Agency money available, but it did not cover all of the costs incurred by the city.

If memory serves, there was funding left over this year from the winter snow and ice removal budget. It would seem prudent and a great service to the citizens if these funds could be used for debris removal. This could make up for at least one time I am aware of that the city had to apologize for not treating the roadways in a timely manner. This would be a great public-relations move.



Be open-minded

I’m discouraged. We educators have taught the young learners the art of compromise when faced with differences, arguing that give-and-take results in superior decisions and more amicable results. If these same learners are paying attention to how our political representatives have been behaving, they must be questioning the wisdom of our instruction.

I will not elaborate on the several processes we have suggested for arbitrating even extreme polar positions on value-laden issues. Philosopher Karl Popper captures the essence of these approaches when urging those at odds to assume: “I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth.” The key here is to at least consider “wrongness” when hearing out our adversary – to be open-minded as discussion ensues.

I believe my state of discouragement with the present political decision-making process would be substantially relieved if I could be convinced that political adversaries are indeed open-minded, willing to even consider “wrongness.” That decision-making competence, a state of mind, would surely better serve the constituents of all those who represent the entire body politic.

Too many, like me, are discouraged and edging toward becoming cynical about the pro-cess of democracy that we have forever been taught to respect. Long live respect for democracy.



Atrocious waits

With some dismay, I read about the ordeal of the lady who had to spend six hours to renew her driver’s license (June 20 Letters to the Editor). That’s atrocious.

I moved here from Virginia in 2011, and the Department of Motor Vehicles experience is quite different there. Virginia had large facilities with a minimum of 15 stations that were usually manned. The testing and all other phases of the driver’s licensing happened in 45 minutes, maximum. They had a magic machine that printed your new “plastic” license, so you could leave with it in your pocket – not some silly piece of paper, and then have to wait two weeks on Topeka. It was the same with all functions pertaining to titles and plates. Another magic machine printed your new title on the spot.

Come up to the 21st century, Kansas. How many gallons of gas and man-hours are wasted every year here?



Remember arts

With all the exemplary forward thinking now going on at Wichita State University and in the business community, I want WSU president John Bardo and business leaders to remember the wonderful cultural arts that enrich our community and the surrounding area (“A president with a vision,” June 30 Business Sunday). That culture has been nurtured and encouraged over the years by the WSU College of Fine Arts.

How attractive would a job with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra be if there were not a strong music program at WSU to enable musicians to teach? When I attended WSU as a music major many years ago, I did so because it had the reputation of a top-notch music program. That has been maintained over the years. The past few years have been a cause for concern. It has been a struggle for the School of Music to maintain that excellence with all the budget cuts that have occurred.

Bardo and the business leaders he is working with need to remember that all the entertainment venues that Wichita is so well-known for bring in large numbers of people, and with them many dollars that are spent here. These rich cultural choices that we enjoy also make it easier to attract and keep new businesses.

But that is in danger of fading away if WSU’s College of Fine Arts is not supported with adequate funding by the university.



Attack on marriage

Periodically, concern is raised over the increasing number of children living in poverty (“Task force to tackle issue of child poverty,” June 25 Eagle). Not surprisingly, this rise is paralleled by the number of children born to unmarried mothers. These unfortunate children grow up without the support and benefit of a loving father. They are more likely to exhibit undesirable behavior and less likely to finish school and assume responsibility for the welfare of their own offspring.

Society, sadly, is sliding down a slippery slope toward ever-more children in poverty.

Marriage is under attack from the judicial and executive branches of the federal government. Ostensibly, they are seeking to obtain for gay couples tax-funded benefits designed to support a family raising children, our next generation. The declining next generation will pay for Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare. Our birthrate is now below replacement and likely will fall as marriage falls, making funding of these programs more in question.

Democratic societies that thrive have traditionally been built on the family as the basic unit. Societies that replace the family with an unmarried proletariat have not. Let us recognize the reasons why ever-more children are living in poverty, and set about building a just and family-friendly social order. It not only benefits these children; it benefits everyone.