Letters to the Editor

Letters on Ferguson, driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, investing in highways, budget disaster, global warming, environmental degradation, tax deadline

Don’t teach mistrust of system

I thank The Eagle for showing both sides of the Ferguson issue in the Dec. 14 edition.

I have come to know several officers personally in the past six years I’ve served as a pastor in north-central Wichita. They are hardworking, honorable, unbiased and genuine. Furthermore, they suffer great personal and familial stress by addressing bad behavior daily.

Though protesters may achieve some good in showing solidarity and heightening sensitivity to occasional racial profiling, their efforts are counterproductive. Their children may learn to oppose “the system” – “those in courts or with uniforms on the streets are not your friends but out to get you.”

Growing up in this biased environment against civil authority, young people may naturally be noncompliant, making situations escalate automatically. As a result, law enforcement would also grow more and more frustrated and on the defense.

More minority cops may help, but more important is how children are taught. Many children need parents (especially fathers) to model honor, mutual respect and abiding fidelity. Let’s teach children to aspire to uphold the law rather than mistrust it. We should thank and support Wichita and Sedgwick County law enforcement.



Wrong stand

My thanks to Wichita City Council members Jeff Longwell, Pete Meitzner and particularly James Clendenin for being the voices of reason on the council regarding the recent vote to officially disrespect the law and put the concerns of illegal aliens ahead of the citizens they were elected to represent (Dec. 17 Eagle). I know the excuses for doing this, and I don’t buy any of them.

Those who entered our country illegally need a legal right to car insurance when their presence is illegal and it is unlawful for them to drive? Employers are subject to huge fines and even imprisonment for employing illegal workers, and the City Council wants to be sure these people can get to work? Actively encouraging a number of illegal activities instead of encouraging enforcement of the law?

Someone has not thought this through.

I’m ashamed for Kansans to be misled in this way and very disappointed with Mayor Carl Brewer and the council members who supported this misguided, shortsighted plan. I sincerely appreciate their efforts to serve this community, but they’ve taken a very wrong stand on this issue. The consequences would be considerable.



Invest in highways

Transportation in Kansas has long been the envy of other states. With a series of comprehensive highway programs, our transportation system has aided in fulfilling economic development projects, enhancing safety and preserving critical highway infrastructure.

As state budgets have grown tight, funds dedicated to the highway program have been shifted to fund shortfalls in other areas of government.

More than $600 million has been taken from the Kansas Department of Transportation since T-WORKS was passed in 2010.

T-WORKS is funded primarily through a 0.4-cent sales tax. The T-WORKS program stipulates that at least $8 million be spent in each county. This dedicated funding source is imperative in funding multiyear projects.

The T-WORKS program is set to have a $10 billion impact on the Kansas economy and is a proven job creator, with 175,000 jobs directly attributed to the initiative.

Current budget shortfalls are putting the program at risk. It will be tempting for some to “take from the bank of KDOT.” I urge caution. Kansas cannot attract new business and grow our economy without investments in infrastructure.



Economic Lifelines


Budget disaster

Gov. Sam Brownback pushed through income tax breaks for the rich of Kansas that have resulted in a $279 million shortfall for fiscal year 2015, which ends June 30. Is he going to reinstate those taxes and start putting the brakes on this disaster? Fat chance.

Instead, Brownback proposes pulling $96 million from the state highway fund and an additional $7.8 million from highway department operations. He would pull $40.7 million from Kansas Public Employees Retirement System contributions. He would put a 4 percent across-the-board cut on all state agencies.

See any pain for the rich here?

So who is responsible for this fiasco? Those who voted him in – not once but twice. But there is an additional, much-larger group equally responsible: Those who didn’t even bother to vote, whose input could easily have stopped the bleeding. Now we have four more years. And fiscal year 2016 is looming, when we will face an even larger shortfall.

What a miserable state of affairs.



No basis in facts

Regarding “Present facts” (Dec. 14 Letters to the Editor): Ice core data from Greenland, Antarctica and other global locales provide us with some of the most reliable proxies in an attempt to unravel Earth’s temperature history. With these tools we can postulate that temperatures have varied by as much as about 12 to 13 degrees Celsius (about 22 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 425,000 years. The relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide concentration over this time frame indicates that temperature conditions may relate to CO2 concentration, where temperature changes lead CO2 changes by about 600 to 700 years.

When the time frame is limited to the past 10,000 years on Greenland, the relationship between these parameters varies in a virtually disconnected fashion. Within this period, the warmest “moment” occurred about 8,000 years before present with a temperature of about minus 28.5 C, when the CO2 concentration was near its local minimum of 260 parts per million. In the midst of the Little Ice Age, the temperature was near its minimum at about minus 32 C, and CO2 concentration was near its local maximum of about 280 ppm.

In the United States from January 1895 to the present, CO2 concentration has increased from 295 to 400 ppm, or about 36 percent. The warmest monthly average temperature occurred in July 1936 (76.5 F), while the minimum average occurred January 1979 (22 F) – further support of the disconnect between CO2 and temperature.

Theoretical speculations on CO2’s greenhouse effect cannot take precedence over the empirical data available. Attempting to modify CO2 concentration with the goal of controlling Earth’s temperature is a futile effort that has no basis in good science and virtually zero chance of success.


District 99


Marx a prophet?

All those who advocate for fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline, deregulation of coal, and opening more pristine federal wilderness lands for oil and gas exploration must love Karl Marx. One may recall that Marx, not to be confused with “Marxism,” predicted the eventual end of capitalism because of its own inherent practices and tensions. It hasn’t happened yet, but in the 19th century, Marx failed to account for environmental degradation and resource depletion. His error, though, might well make him a prophet, albeit by default.



Tax Grinch

I’ve heard it said that having Dec. 22 as a due date for real estate taxes is the worst possible policy imaginable. Others see it less dramatically and think it is merely a friendly kick in the stomach.

What were policymakers thinking? Maybe this:

▪  An avalanche of tax mailings concurrent with Christmas mailings will give postal workers a warm and satisfying feeling of accomplishment.

▪  Paying taxes at Christmastime will remind taxpayers that we are more blessed when giving than receiving.

▪  Those anxiously hoping to hear from someone at Christmastime can always count on hearing from the county.



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