Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on online fee, immigration reform, citizenship requirement, Obama, IRS scandal

Don’t charge for online payment

When I received my July water bill from the Department of Public Works I went to pay it online, as I have since online became available. I pay most of my bills online and find it convenient, without any extra charges.

When I saw that there was a $1 charge for paying online, I called and, after 20 minutes on hold, was connected to a representative. When I asked about the extra charge, I was informed that it was for the charges from a third party, and with the mailed checks, the water department just deposits them in the bank. I then e-mailed my City Council member and, after two exchanges of e-mails, I was told that this is a charge for the software that is incorporated in the bill-paying process.

With other utilities and corporations, paying online is a zero cost to the consumer. They have found out that it is cheaper to have people pay online than to write the checks, open the checks, process them and finally deposit them.

In this age of computers, smartphones and awesome software for processing checks, it is disappointing to see the city sticking it to the consumers. There has to be a solution to this in which the city can save money by electronic processing of payments in lieu of processing checks manually.



Push for reform

As the nation last week commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the March on Washington, I joined with immigration advocates to harness the same spirit of activism and advocacy to push for immigration reform. The struggle for equal rights for immigrants continues across the nation so that the foreign-born living among us are not deprived of justice (Malachi 3:5).

Thank you, Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and 31 other Kansas mayors, for coming out in support of immigration reform (“Heed call for reform,” Aug. 25 Eagle Editorial). I am an immigrant from Africa and a naturalized U.S. citizen, and the mayors have my support and the support of the nearly 200,000 immigrants in Kansas, more than 65,000 of whom are naturalized citizens and eligible to vote.



Hard to prove

I have an aunt who is 76, has been married four times, and has never had a driver’s license. Over her lifetime – birth, four marriages, two husbands’ deaths, one divorce – she has lived in seven states.

My cousin was taking her on a cruise, so she had to apply for a passport. All documentation had to be obtained in proper order to prove identity at the time of the name changes. This was extremely costly.

Getting a free Kansas birth certificate to register to vote proves nothing for a woman who has changed her name. Also, my aunt was a home birth. What does even her birth certificate prove?

Kansas’ voting restrictions not only disenfranchise minorities, they discriminate against women.



Not going well

My, how things have changed for President Obama. Four years ago, he was the international darling. Now Singapore and Russia have snubbed his request to hand over National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Ecuador offered us foreign aid to improve our human rights. Libyans attacked the American embassy and killed our diplomats. Egypt’s new leader lasted less than a year. And now, Great Britain and Germany have ignored Obama’s call to retaliate against Syria for crossing his “red line.”

One look at our president’s face tells me that he might demand a recount on the last election, in the hope that Mitt Romney wins.



No new scandal

Sen. Jerry Moran’s current news-letter warns of a new “IRS scandal,” complaining that the Internal Revenue Service is demanding that VFW posts submit DD-214 forms for every member. Outrageous – an invasion of privacy, the Kansas Republican declares.

Moran is incorrect to label this as the newest IRS scandal. Newspapers have been reporting on this for years. In December 1995, the Baltimore Sun reported that the local VFW had to “kick out a couple of hundred ‘social members.’” Many posts, the Sun reported, had initiated a new and illegal membership category for nonveterans as a means to address declining VFW membership.

The DD-214 simply documents military service, demonstrating that the person meets the membership requirements. Any VFW post following the law will have required the form before issuing a membership card.

The trigger for Moran’s sudden interest appears to be the cries of outrage that began to appear recently on tea party websites – corresponding with the attempt by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to extend his hearings on “IRS scandals.” Otherwise, the VFW is merely being asked to comply with existing law. I am sure that most posts within this honorable organization will be able and willing to do so.



Will pay forward

To the unknown person who paid my bill at the Village Inn: Thank you and God bless. I will pay it forward.