Letters to the Editor

Letters on election, sales tax vote, ugly campaign, funeral cuts, elephants

Nothing really ever changes

Should we conclude that the 99 percent have spoken in the midterm elections, or that money really does talk (and even lies when necessary)? Where is the “change” our past politicians promised when we last elected them? Or is it now up to the Republicans to bring it on? But scariest of all: What happens next?

As the same lobbyists line up to “welcome” the winners to Washington, D.C., the people whose candidates lost feel a sense of despair for a myriad of reasons. The people whose candidates won want to celebrate, but deep down inside they wonder if betrayal is coming as their “representatives” leave Main Street (which they so recently pledged to love) to do business with Wall Street and K Street in hopes of sustaining a career in politics. And the special interests? They pursue their own agendas regardless of the names (new or old) on the doors.

In reality, those who did vote mostly voted against something worse, rather than for something better. The political pendulum continues to swing back and forth marking time for the country’s fragile life, which everyone senses is slipping away. Time is running out.

America seems to have few if any shared principles left to both inspire and anchor us as willing citizens and free individuals. Partisan manic and panic sweep over us in alternating waves. It was simply time for a change – again. But nothing ever changes, just more promises and betrayals. Regardless of who wins, America loses.



Will move on

Most of us thought the political discourse would never end. But do we realize what has happened? In spite of the bent truths and implied danger if the various opponents were elected, no one was arrested for her views, no one killed for his advocacy, and the losers will not be imprisoned or executed. The winners will be installed in their respective offices, and the nation will move on.

It is a wonderful thing that that occurred.



Trust us?

On Tuesday the community rejected the request from Wichita’s city government for $400 million with the request to “trust us.” The government seems shocked that it was rejected, because it is so efficient and has all the answers to our needs. So let us reason together.

In 1970 I was in San Antonio when city leaders visited to look at the River Walk in the city. Fast-forward to today and what do we have in Wichita? A WaterWalk with a fountain, no water, no shops, no restaurants and a sidewalk along the river. Wow.

Now let’s look at the new Lincoln Street dam. The fish and boat passage was damaged and had to be repaired. Then a retaining wall washed out last year. The wall is now fixed, but city officials discovered the dam gates needed to be resurfaced. What were they doing for a year and a half? What efficiency.

We pay all these city workers to take care of millions of dollars of property, equipment and infrastructure, and the best they can come up with is: We want $400 million to do our jobs. Then they are shocked when we say “no.”



Move forward

I am sorry that so many of those in Wichita are so shortsighted that they voted “no” on the sales tax.

You want reasonable water bills? You have to have the water resource to survive droughts. You want jobs? You have to grow your city and promote new job development. Speaking of jobs, some who may be willing to accept a job can’t because no bus transportation is available when they need to get to work. You want to have businesses interested in locating in Wichita? That is less likely to occur if property taxes have to go up.

We could have had all citizens of Wichita, and those outside of Wichita who shop here, contribute via the sales tax. Instead, these costs will be put upon property taxpayers and our water bills.

Yes, these are difficult times for many, but Wichita must move forward to help its citizens move forward.



Campaign how-to

My observations about how political campaigns now work:

▪  Inundate a person’s mail with fliers and his phone with messages stating half-truths and outright lies about the opposition.

▪  Contribute to a political action committee so you won’t be associated with the deceitful and hateful ads.

▪  See how low you can get bad-mouthing the other guy. Really show our children how to be great at bullying, and then discipline them when they do the same.

▪  Don’t talk about our visions for the country and state, but rather how horrible the opposition is.

What happened to respecting that the other person is willing to stand up and get involved, whether you agree with him or not? What happened to the days of getting the word out about a candidate’s platform?

What happened to people giving their dollars to a candidate they believe in, and helping that candidate get the word out, instead of giving money to PACs so they can hide?

There are more than 5,600 various PACs, which is roughly one PAC for every two candidates running for office in the country. Isn’t this ridiculous?

I take pride in voting, but I’m ashamed of what “campaigns” have become. Are you?



Tasteless cut

My family laid to rest a beloved family member last month at White Chapel Memorial Gardens. He was 95 and had lived a long and productive life in Wichita.

As a young man, he participated in the Normandy Beach invasion of World War II. He was a member of the 397th Antiaircraft Artillery Provisional Machine Gun Battalion that sustained 50 to 60 percent casualties that day. For its heroic actions, it was awarded a presidential unit citation.

The service was moving. The honor guard from Fort Riley was outstanding, and the flag ceremony and haunting melody of taps were unforgettable.

However, we were told that, as a cost-cutting move, the honor of a fired salute over the casket was no longer being done except for current military members killed in action.

What kind of person would even suggest such a thing, and who would OK such an action? It seems there is nothing that we, as taxpayers, can do to stop such mindless, tasteless decisions coming from our government.



Lonely place

The death of Cinda, one of the Sedgwick County Zoo’s elephants, is saddening, especially considering the plight of her species worldwide (Nov. 6 Eagle). Zoo director Mark Reed has said that elephants will be gone from the wild in a few decades. The problems of poaching and habitat loss due to human encroachment and climate change are driving them, and many species, to extinction.

Almost 20 years ago my wife and I had the privilege of accompanying Mark and Mary Reed on a zoo-sponsored trip to southern Africa. At that time, wildlife was abundant in countries such as Botswana. One of the most exciting times on the trip was when several wild elephants made their way through our tent camp. The alarm was sounded when someone shouted, “Elephants in camp!” We all dove into our tents for cover, as if that was going to save us. You don’t realize how alive you are, and your real place in the scheme of things, until something like that happens.

They say this past election was a victory for the fossil-fuel industry in this country; there will undoubtedly be a concerted effort to repeal the renewable energy standards in Kansas and elsewhere.

There are a series of travel guides called the Lonely Planet. The Earth would indeed be a lonely place without Cinda’s kin providing enlightenment to a vagabond group of Kansas travelers in their dusty tent camp in Botswana.



Letters to the Editor

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For more information, contact Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.