Letters to the Editor

Letters on county cuts, public health, vote rigging, Cecil the lion hypocrisy

Core services must come first

I publicly applaud the Sedgwick County Commission’s efforts to reduce spending on unnecessary budget items.

My wife, daughters and I enjoy our memberships at the Sedgwick County Zoo and Botanica. The support those entities receive from the taxpayers has been tremendous. However, core services must come first.

As a private-sector business manager, I think it is unfair to our company that the county is helping pay for employee training of another private-sector business while my company has to pay all training costs directly from our bottom line. Government support for education is needed, but publicly funding glorified employee training programs is offensive to the taxpayers.

Are there good programs having funding reduced? Absolutely. But we’ve never believed it is the government’s job to fund charity or our good times. It is the government’s job to provide core services that benefit the entire tax base. Roads, Emergency Medical Service, firefighters, law enforcement, etc., are crucial to the taxpayers’ “quality of life.”

The funding cuts proposed by the commission are reasonable considering the economic times in which we live. When election time comes, the people will remember the commissioners as officials who did the right thing when it would have been much easier to cave.



Grateful for two

Kudos to Sedgwick County Commissioners Tim Norton and Dave Unruh, who understand the County Commission’s responsibility extends to Wichita citizens who make up three-quarters of their constituency and provide 75 percent of the county’s property tax revenue. Their colleagues appear to believe they are responsible for persons who live outside the city limits only.

In Kansas, the provision of public health services is a core responsibility of counties. Unruh and Norton have been supportive of the Sedgwick County Health Department and voted to fund prevention, assessment, immunization and treatment services for all county citizens who qualify. They seek to improve the health of low-income and uninsured citizens throughout the county in partnership with many health providers who donate their services.

They also understand that arts organizations, most of which are located within the city of Wichita, bring tourists to the area, provide economic development and jobs, and are critical to the quality of life for both city and county residents.

Unruh and Norton believe it is both irresponsible and dangerous to suddenly cease funding these services with no time to arrange alternative funding. Moreover, they are motivated by facts and fairness, not an ideology that ignores both.

I am grateful for their presence on the County Commission.



Don’t disinvest

Nationwide, communities are changing the way they care for their health, as public health efforts are equipping Americans with the knowledge, tools and resources necessary to take command of their health. City designs that encourage physical activity, access to vaccines, plans for emergencies and programs that support healthy food options are all contributing to a framework that will help build a healthier nation.

However, our progress has become tenuous, as we head down a path of disinvestment and unstable funding for these proven and cost-effective community-based health programs.

Funding for the public health system is critical to Americans’ health and results in millions of saved lives. The future of our nation’s health today and for the next generation depends on a strong public health infrastructure at the community level.

The Kansas Public Health Association urges reconsideration of proposed county budget cuts that would significantly impede the work of the county’s health department in promoting and protecting the health of the people it serves. We can’t afford to disinvest in the future health of our communities.



Kansas Public Health Association


Vote rigging

Secretary of State Kris Kobach claims his voter suppression is necessary because of massive voter fraud, but the evidence for the claim is practically nonexistent. At the same time, there is overwhelming statistical evidence that wholesale rigging of electronic voting machines has been taking place for many years now, skewing results nearly always in one direction.

As concerned Republican technology expert Chuck Herrin put it: “It takes a long time to change 10,000 paper ballots by hand. It takes three seconds to change 10,000 votes on a computer.”

Voting should be private, but counting the vote should be open and observable and subject to legitimate checks like statistical audits so the voter can trust the results.



Cecil hypocrisy

Those sanctimonious individuals so outraged by the death of Cecil the lion should visit a slaughterhouse and witness beef cattle getting a steel rod pneumatically punched through their brains. Cows may not be as “noble” as lions, but worrying about a lion while enslaving a species to satisfy a craving for hamburger is the epitome of hypocrisy. And you vegetarians simply prey upon living creatures incapable of defending themselves.

Cecil killed many herbivores, eviscerating and eating them while they still kicked. He slaughtered cubs sired by rivals just to make the lionesses more receptive to his amorous advances. The cute fawns and cubs died violently while screaming in terror. Cecil didn’t care, and neither should you.



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