Letters to the Editor

Letters on blighted properties, presidential election, Palestinians

Blighted properties harm neighborhood

I am an active member of the Matlock Heights Neighborhood Association, representing an area just northwest of Wichita State University. I have been a homeowner in my neighborhood since 1965. We are a quaint neighborhood of retirees and hardworking families who value our property.

Sadly, in recent years I have watched my neighborhood decline, primarily because the original homeowners moved – due to their growing families, job changes or death. Some of these former homeowners sold their homes, and others have rented them out. Recently, homes have been sold to investors who fail to make the proper repairs in accordance with city codes.

Our property value continues to decline because the houses and abandoned properties around us look like a jungle. At the many forgotten properties, the city uses taxpayer money to cut the grass and the police must monitor the unkempt buildings.

The blight bill that Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed (April 12 Eagle) is very much needed for all the abandoned properties in neighborhoods. Why should we, as taxpayers, pay for other property owners’ responsibilities?

We are doing our very best as a neighborhood association, but strict enforcement of housing codes by the city and judges is needed. Also, the state needs to be more accountable, and shorten the time to pay taxes on such properties.

Mearlin Overton, Wichita

Similar history

It has been interesting watching coverage of the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump this year. The conventional wisdom is that this election is unprecedented in U.S. history. But in 1935, just six years after the Great Depression started, the upcoming presidential election was shaping up to be very much like this year.

A senator and former governor from Louisiana was taking the nation by storm with a “Share the Wealth” campaign that looked very much like what Sen. Sanders is proposing now. Huey Long started Share the Wealth clubs all across the country and had a radio following of an estimated 25 million (about a quarter of the U.S. population). The details of his plan sound very similar to Sanders’ ideas.

Long, who was assassinated before the 1936 presidential campaign began, proposed capping allowable wealth at between $5 million and $8 million and limiting the top salary of anyone in the country to 300 times the average wage. Like Trump, he was completely outlandish and incurred the ire of President Franklin Roosevelt as well as the Republicans.

It is very interesting that Sanders and Trump have come along at almost the same distance from the Great Recession as Long did from the Great Depression.

Don Edwards, Wichita

Be aware of the Nakba

In 1947-48, about 800,000 Palestinians were violently assaulted, killed or expelled from their homes and their villages to make way for the establishment of the state of Israel. These refugees expected to return when the war ended, but Israel has never allowed them to return, even though international law requires it.

The expulsion of the Palestinians – called the Al-Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe” – is remembered on May 15. This history is little known in the United States because of the prevailing Zionist myth of “a country without people for a people without a country.”

It is important for Americans to be aware of this history, because the ethnic cleansing continues to this day, in the form of land theft for military bases, settlement expansion, “price tag” attacks by right-wing settlers, arbitrary imprisonment of children and adults, and other forms of occupation and repression.

Much of this illegal occupation, as well as military aid used in the slaughter of thousands of Gazan Palestinians, is paid for with U.S. money.

In my opinion, it is a good idea, as we remember the Jewish Holocaust, to acknowledge the other truth – that of the Nakba.

Michael Poage, Wichita

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