Letters to the Editor

Letters on water vision, police abuse, Pakistan killings, global warming

Budget threatens vision on water

On Nov. 12 Gov. Sam Brownback announced his long-term vision for the future of the water supply in Kansas. Though I believe the “vision” is too narrow, it is the only document available for guiding the development and implementation of future water policies for resolving water issues in Kansas.

On Dec. 9 the governor announced his plans for filling an estimated $279 million hole in the general fund budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30. An even bigger hole is estimated for the next fiscal year. Additional holes exist in future fiscal years. Two bond-rating services have cut Kansas’ bond rating.

The governor’s “vision” and my research and testimonies show the criticality, complexity and difficulty of Kansas water issues and policies for resolving them. I believe water issues are the most important public policy issues in Kansas.

Budget holes and lowered bond ratings threaten achievement of the “vision.” It calls for establishment of a blue-ribbon task force to develop a method to finance achievement of the “vision.” Ultimately, the Legislature will have to appropriates monies and strengthen laws for water.

Without these measures, the “vision” becomes an illusion. That should not happen to Kansans.



Police abuse

As the Wichita Police Department undergoes its structural reorganization with the goal of improving community relations, the top brass should abandon unrealistic stances.

According to the Racial Profiling Advisory Board, the department has denied 100 out of 100 allegations of profiling, adopting the implied position that profiling simply does not occur in Wichita. The department almost never fires or arrests its own officers for misconduct, giving the perception that misconduct by officers is virtually nonexistent.

Though this may be deceiving people who live in upper-class neighborhoods where officers tend to be courteous and professional, the people who live in areas where abuse remains rampant know better.

The department cannot improve relations with the community while pretending that a lack of effective communication is the department’s worst misdeed.

Though most of the officers serve the community with honor and integrity, the lack of transparency and accountability is a systemic issue that requires immediate attention. The department will not build trust within the community while stonewalling the public on the very issues that have led to the mistrust we currently see. The mismanagement of misconduct within the department should be the centerpiece of the reform that is taking place.



Let me fight

OK, enough is enough. I was too young to serve in Vietnam. I was too old to serve in Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, etc.

I am 57 years old. I am strong and tough-minded. I have raised my children – the oldest is an officer in the Navy, as is his wife. After what just happened in Pakistan at the school, I am offering my service to our country (“Taliban hit school, kill at least 141,” Dec. 17 Eagle).

I have a feeling that a lot of other men my age would be up for it, too. Why not? I am sort of fit. I can pull a trigger and would not mind doing so.

I am sad that the protests still go on about a few unfortunate killings of young black men. The killings are bad, and cops are often to blame. But this is not even close to what is happening in Pakistan.

No parent should lose a child to death. I cannot even imagine it, but we have it good here. If children are taught to believe that, they will be safer.



Full of hot air

When it comes to the facts about climate change, Rep. Dennis Hedke, R-Wichita, is full of hot air (“No basis in facts,” Dec. 21 Letters to the Editor).

Just because the highest monthly average temperature in the United States since 1895 came in 1936, many years before the lowest monthly average temperature, that in no way means the temperature is getting cooler, any more than those two averages would have meant the temperature was getting warmer had they happened the other way around.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2012 was the warmest year, by a full degree Fahrenheit, since national records began in 1895.

The center also says that, despite some cooler years from 2008 to 2010, the decade of 2000-09 was the nation’s warmest on record, with an average temperature of 54.0 degrees. In contrast, the 1990s averaged 53.6 degrees, and the 1930s averaged 53.4 degrees.



Mitigate warming

The letter by Rep. Dennis Hedke, R-Wichita, was largely an obfuscation of the debate about global warming to avoid discussing what is occurring now (“No basis in facts,” Dec. 21 Letters to the Editor).

No one disagrees that temperature and carbon dioxide cycles have occurred during the history of the Earth. The current issue is not whether all climate change has been man-made but whether the current climate change resulting in warming of the planet is man-made.

If the changes occurring in our environment and weather patterns are man-made (and evidence certainly seems to indicate they are), then we should do what we can to mitigate them and not hide our heads in the sand.



Letters to the Editor

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