Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on taxes, ballpark, death penalty, WaterWalk and colorblindness (March 10, 2019)

Tax cut

I read with interest Rep. Ron Estes’ op-ed piece “Changes in tax law put more in your pocket” (March 3 Eagle). If he were interested in total transparency, he would have also mentioned that the tax cut did its share in leading to a one trillion dollar deficit in the Federal Budget.

It is somewhat like acquiring a new Rolls Royce and then realizing that you will need to pay for it.

Martin Perline, Wichita

Ballpark land

So again the city is giving away public property! Where is my $1 an acre property to purchase? I suppose that when this developer decides to leave Wichita, and they will, it'll be sold for full market value and the proceeds not shared with the city or the taxpayers. Must be nice to get such a sweetheart deal.

Bill Brown, Wichita

Death penalty

A Kansas House legislative committee recently recognized the extra costs of administering the death penalty. However, the extra expense of trials, appeal after appeal, attorney fees and procedures to fulfill the requirements of fairness in capital cases was brushed aside. It was suggested that the assumed “closure” for victims’ families and the deterrence effect of such harsh punishment were worth the added expense.

Not arguing for now whether there is evidence that executions bring closure or deter crime, we need to face the priority question: Is spending scarce state funds on likely ineffective executions more important than using that money for adequate salaries to attract good prison officers, for desperately needed inmate vocational training and youth crime prevention? A Legislature with big budget problems should think of the most important ways to use our tax money.

Stanley Bohn, North Newton

WaterWalk lease

The WaterWalk lease set out about 17 years ago for a $1 a year deal needs to be canceled immediately. Jack DeBoer has had his chance. Forgive the last $83 and take the space back to build a proper public theater space, one that meets needs and still gives room for river viewing. If Gander Mountain needs to be razed, so be it. That gives the city time to slowly change Century II and A. Price Woodard Park into a useful quality-of-place location downtown for everyone.

Hoyt Hillman, Wichita

Colorblindness

Paul Manafort received a 47 month sentence for lying and multiple, serious white collar crimes, with credit for time served reducing that sentence to three years, and a possible presidential pardon.

According to Michelle Alexander in her book, “The New Jim Crow,” “marijuana possession — a drug less harmful than tobacco or alcohol — accounted for nearly 80 percent of the drug arrests in the 1990’s.” Alexander adds that, “By the end of 2007, more than 7 million Americans — or one in every 31 adults — were behind bars, on probation, or on parole.” They are disproportionately people of color.

Compare Manafort with some poor kid with a few ounces of marijuana on his possession who: is randomly stopped; doesn’t know he has the right to refuse being searched without a warrant or probable cause; is arrested; gets incompetent legal representation, or none at all; pleads guilty, thinking he will avoid a longer sentence; receives 3-5 years as a first offense; and, as a felon, is subject to discrimination for the rest of his life.

The subtitle of Alexander’s book is, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Does anyone really believe our society is colorblind?

William Skaer, Wichita

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