Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on wind industry, education funding, Boeing truths, online commenting, long marriage

Don’t turn back on wind industry

Kansans have a lot to look forward to in 2014. Our economy has seen a boost recently with the Mars plant opening in Topeka, the Siemens wind-turbine facility in Hutchinson and the intermodal rail facility in Edgerton. These developments happen because of lower taxes, a strong workforce and our renewable portfolio standard.

Surprised? Companies these days evaluate states on many variables, but most all consider renewable energy a must.

Critics warned that the renewable portfolio standard would increase rates. But a study by the Kansas Corporation Commission proved that wind energy had a minuscule impact. Instead of seeing higher rates, Kansans are seeing new jobs, new revenues and rural economic development because of wind.

The wind industry has already invested more than $7 billion in Kansas and created 13,000 jobs. Kansas landowners have received more than $13 million in lease payments, and Kansas counties are receiving more than $10 million annually in agreements with developers.

These are just some examples of why we cannot turn our backs on the wind industry. At the Kansans for Wind Energy website, thousands of Kansans have signed up to show support for wind. Please join us at kansansforwind.com, and let’s keep the economic wind at our back.



Kansans for Wind Energy


At crossroads

We are at a crossroads on public education funding. If the Kansas Supreme Court upholds the ruling of a three-judge panel, Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature will have a $440 million decision to make. If the Legislature chooses to defy the court order and there are no ramifications, democracy in Kansas will cease to exist. The executive branch will have all of the power, and Brownback will become the first dictator of Kansas. The judicial consequences will be immense.

If Brownback wants to increase jobs, he needs to fund public education. The students who graduate from high school and move on to higher education will be our future workforce. He needs to invest in them.

If the Legislature continues to defund public education, who in their right mind would want to come to Kansas? The quality of public education in Kansas is one of the biggest draws in bringing new employment to our state.

It is clear that most Kansans are unhappy with Brownback, whose approval rating was 34 percent last fall. If he wants to raise his standing, he needs to start taking care of the people who already live here, and that includes our schoolchildren.

Voters: Be sure you make that message clear when you vote next November for governor.



Boeing truths

Hedrick Smith argued that in recent labor union negotiations concerning production of its 777X, Boeing was greedy and stingy by arbitrarily reducing health and retirement benefits to its prospective employees (“Boeing’s power play,” Jan. 12 Opinion). He stated that Boeing profits are at record levels. But for the past five years, investors would have done much better by putting their money into restaurants and retail stores in their neighborhood instead of into Boeing.

Smith also indicated that competitor Airbus is much more generous in dealing with its workers, ignoring the fact that the World Trade Organization concluded that Airbus and its parent, the former European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., had received billions of dollars of subsidies from European countries.

And how did the union employees get those benefits that Boeing is reducing? If Boeing gave them to the workers, isn’t changing them a prerogative of the company? And if they were obtained by collective bargaining, isn’t that the procedure by which the union agreed to having them reduced? Are benefits once received entitled, and thus not subject to change except in the upward direction?

I think Smith started with a foregone conclusion, which is contradicted by inconvenient truths.



Indirectly censored

Lately I have noticed that many newspapers have found a way to indirectly censor opinions that their online readers might have. You have to sign in to Facebook or other social-network sites. If I try to show a like or dislike for some readers’ comments, I can’t do so. If I click on a “like” or “dislike” on the comments for an opinion, a pop-up appears that says I must sign in to one of these silly social sites.

I am reading less and less of these newspapers because I don’t want to be indirectly censored. Mainly, I use my computer for e-mail and online shopping and research. I don’t use any social sites. I can’t see any point to them.



Fine example

What a wonderful story about Irving and Vira Paschal (”Pair still going strong after 70 years of marriage,” Jan. 12 Local & State). My hat goes off to these two fine folks. What a fine example they have set for future generations.

I was a bit saddened to read that, for whatever reasons, they are forced to live apart. I wish them both long lives, and the best to their families. Thanks, Eagle, for a story that inspires. And thanks to the Paschals. God bless.