What’s your role in changing world?
The new year is almost upon us, and the world needs to hit a giant “reset” button. What is your role?
If you are proud of your U.S. citizenship, volunteer more. Believe workers should be compensated based on the value they add? Support increased compensation and respect for public school teachers. Are you pro-family? Be more supportive of immigration reform. Pro-life? Be more supportive of the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency to protect innocent people from industrial pollution.
Believe the Founding Fathers had it right? Fight for an end to tax breaks, lobbyists and entitlements for large corporations. Don’t vote? Vote. Believe in justice and liberty for all? Acknowledge that something has gone very wrong when the U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world by any measure, and most for nonviolent crimes. Believe we talk too much about race? Ask why it is that minorities are systemically incarcerated at disproportionately high rates. Believe in biblical grace? Reject three-strikes laws and mandatory sentences, and let judges do their jobs. Feel privileged to go to the doctor and be protected from large medical bills? Desire that blessing for your neighbor as well.
Think these ideas are crazy? Don’t be disappointed when nothing improves.
The Legislature will go back into session in January to consider laws that govern our daily lives. All colleges in Kansas should be teaching a three-hour credit course, while high schools conduct workshops, to motivate students and parents to participate in the Legislature.
Follow what is going on in the Legislature by reading The Eagle each day. Discuss the issues with your family and friends. Notify your state senators and representatives on how you want them to vote. Obtain their names and addresses by calling the Sedgwick County Election Office at 316-660-7100.
Lawmakers receive many e-mails but very few handwritten letters with a postage stamp. So your letter will really count if you write it.
Either you run government or government runs you.
WILLIAM T. DAVITT
Perhaps enough time has elapsed since the vote, followed by the latest in an unending series of price increases for city water, that we can take an objective look at Wichita’s water situation.
It is entirely possible that a majority would have voted favorably on the sales tax proposal had not the water plans been so poorly conceived and articulated. The plan would have allocated $250 million to a business-as-usual approach – no mention of accessing El Dorado Reservoir’s water supply, and not a word of intentions to market the 30 million daily gallons of available gray water.
The current approach is not a long-term solution. Cheney Reservoir, a shallow lake by definition, is losing capacity through silt accumulation. Wichita’s costly effort to recharge the Equus Beds with water pumped from the Little Arkansas River has yet to meet expectations. And it is only a matter of time until desalinizing the Equus Beds water becomes uneconomical.
The obvious long-term solution is twofold. First, Wichita should access raw water from El Dorado Reservoir and process it in our own water plant for domestic use. Second, we should develop an infrastructure to market the gray water we now dump into the Arkansas River or into Four Mile Creek.
Neither of these projects is inexpensive, and perhaps they cannot be taken on simultaneously. However, the long-term dividends from both are huge.
JAMES C. REMSBERG
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, alleges the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act is a commonsense solution to keeping food affordable and improving crop yields (“GMO bill keeps focus on science,” Dec. 14 Opinion). But there is nothing safe or accurate about it.
He maintains that genetically modified organisms really are needed to feed a hungry world. Many countries have already proved that you don’t need GMOs to feed the world.
A growing body of peer-reviewed studies in scientific literature suggests genetic engineering is linked to adverse health effects and increased pesticide use. Leaders such as Pompeo have concluded that U.S. consumers are too stupid to understand GMO food labels. We’re smarter than they think. Until there are long-term human safety studies done on the consumption of GMO foods, GMO foods must be labeled so that those of us who don’t trust that there is a scientific consensus can choose to avoid eating them.
GMOs are safe
On our farm we work hard to grow food that’s safe and affordable. Just as new technology has changed almost everything in our lives, it also has changed the way we grow our crops. Biotech crops, commonly known as genetically modified crops, are at the top of the list of innovations that enable farmers to grow more with less.
Unfortunately, there are some who ignore the safe science of biotechnology. They spread misinformation and fear in states around the country.
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, has introduced legislation that will reaffirm the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the sole food regulatory body in the country, just as it has been for more than 100 years. If Congress adopts the legislation, consumers would not have to worry about anti-GMO activists dictating what should be labeled – a prospect that could lead to confusion, higher grocery prices and hardships for American farmers.
My farming family applauds Pompeo for his leadership on this issue, and we encourage all Kansans to stand up for proven-safe innovation at the farm level.
After reading a letter by state Rep. Dennis Hedke, R-Wichita, I set about checking the validity of his claims (“No basis in facts,” Dec. 21 Letters to the Editor). What I found was that he employs a logical fallacy called a straw man to justify his position.
No competent scientist has ever made the claim that carbon dioxide alone is the sole cause of changes to the climate. The reputable scientists who have analyzed the data and have taken more than simply CO2 levels into account have overwhelmingly agreed that carbon dioxide emissions due to human-related activities will have an effect on the global climate resulting in an overall warming of the planet.
When I form an opinion on a complicated subject outside my area of expertise, I rely on qualified people working in fields that they understand. I use their conclusions to come to my own conclusions. I don’t ask a plumber when I need advice on my health, and I certainly wouldn’t ask a politician, whose top campaign contributors in 2008 and 2012 included the Kochs, to educate me on what causes the climate to change.
The shame is that Hedke is in a position of power that affects the lives of millions and yet continues to cling to his ill-reasoned position.
Let others be
If there is one thing that infuriates me, it’s the fact that many people don’t care if people different from them have the right to indulge in something they like to do. My philosophy is that as long as your activities do not infringe on the rights of others, you should be allowed to carry on.
Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t marry someone of the same sex. Don’t like guns? Don’t buy one. If you despise large corporations, shop elsewhere. If marijuana is against your beliefs, say “no” to it.
My four examples are despised by fundamentalists, statists, socialists and police unions, to name a few. They all adore solidifying their ideology as the only one recognized by the law that comes with restricting these rights.
There are some activities I despise, but since my rebirth as a libertarian I put aside childish grudges I once held and want others to do as they please. Stand with me and voice your opinion on how a more transparent government is needed.
Letters to the Editor
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Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202