Letters to the Editor

Letters on county budget, Westar rate hike, police shootings, machine gun rental

Proposed county budget is a joke

What’s happening to our county? Based upon the proposed Sedgwick County budget, no one can trust the county to keep its agreements.

I don’t want the proposed $1 to $2 reduction in my property taxes. Such a small amount will never be noticed in my household but might help the county keep its commitments.

Will the reduction of taxes be some kind of economic stimulus to the county? I suggest that there will be more of a negative impact on our economy when we fail to fund places such as the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Does the county no longer want to fund things within the city limits, believing that funding should only come from the city? If so, as a resident of the city, why am I paying taxes to the county? Let my tax dollars only pay to support things in the city.

Some commissioners think we need to start paying for street repairs, etc., with cash rather than via bonds as in the past. Big-ticket items often need to be paid for through borrowing – just like in my household, where cars and houses are purchased on loan with affordable monthly payments.

The proposed county budget is a joke.



Ranzau’s attack

I was at the Sedgwick County Commission meeting when Commission Chairman Richard Ranzau launched his outrageous, personal attack on Suzanne Scott, director of global human resources for Spirit AeroSystems, and then turned his tirade on Spirit for a business decision the company made that had nothing to do with the commission’s proposed unnecessary budget cuts.

Though most citizens of Sedgwick County appreciate Spirit’s good-paying jobs, donations to numerous local charities and current hiring of even more workers from our community, apparently none of this is important to Ranzau. Given his behavior, I doubt prospective employers will be willing to locate in our community.

I concluded that Ranzau’s ignorance is exceeded only by his arrogance.



Westar red flags

As a Westar Energy stockholder, I felt bad about the recent rate hearing in Wichita. Speaker after speaker, including several ministers and AARP representatives, testified about how the proposed increase in rates would affect the poor and elderly.

The timing of the rate increase seems inappropriate. Morningstar reported that last year the company’s top five executives received 23.5 percent in salary increases. Westar’s CEO now receives $3 million in compensation, more than 30 times that of our governor.

Many people also testified that the proposed rate structure would discourage private investments in energy efficiency, energy conservation and solar panels. A poll by Magellan Strategies found that 76 percent of Westar’s customers oppose the tariff on solar panels, agreeing that Westar’s position was based on increasing its profit. Westar is also requesting a 10 percent return on investments.

Although Westar says it is committed to renewable energy and reduced carbon emissions, the proposal, if approved, would have just the opposite effect.

There are a number of red flags for investors evident in the rate proposal and in Westar’s actions over the past several years. Many investors are now looking for long-term investments in environmentally and socially responsible companies. Westar may no longer fall into that category.



Rate hypocrisy

The Eagle editorial board is up in arms in opposition to a Westar Energy rate hike (July 23 Eagle Editorial). But wait – isn’t the editorial board rabidly supportive of all the government-initiated environmental mandates that are causing these hikes? Most moderately intelligent people can see the hypocrisy and stupidity of the editorial board’s position.

This is simple: Cut back on these mandates, and Westar will need less of a hike. All the other things the editorial stated in its assessment of the situation were an irrelevant side note.



Police shooting

I watched the video of University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing shooting African-American Samuel DuBose in the head at a routine traffic stop for not having a front license plate on his car. It is hard to believe a man lost his life over this.

The police officer was even wearing a body camera and still had the gall to try to blame the victim for his actions.

I don’t know what it is going to take to put an end to all this trigger-happy policing we see on the news. There are some bad police officers out there who seem to be hell-bent on slaughtering innocent African-American men, with a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality.

I just hope an answer comes quickly, because my black life matters to me, and I don’t want to be some police officer’s accident or mistake.



Rent machine gun?

Los Angeles is a smart city (“LA City Council bans large-capacity ammunition magazines,” July 29 Eagle). So why does a Wichita business have a neon sign advertising machine gun rentals? With all the violence in our country and shootings in our own city, why does anyone think it is OK to rent machine guns?



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