Change of support a slap in the face
It was a great disappointment to me when I heard that the Wichita City Council withdrew its support for a bill in the Legislature to grant driver’s permits to undocumented immigrants (Jan. 28 Local & State).
When the City Council voted in December to support such a bill, it gave a sign to the Latino community of Wichita that its presence is of value. It was a recognition that, whether documented or undocumented, these parents of families contribute to the well-being of all Wichita through the services provided, the jobs worked, the money spent and the cultural diversity provided. But Tuesday’s withdrawal of that statement of support was a slap in the face of that same Latino community.
As a person of faith who believes in the unity of humanity as one family under God, I share in the disappointment and anger of those who are now left with shattered trust in the city of Wichita. I thank Mayor Carl Brewer and the council members who voted to keep the gesture of support.
Sister BERNADINE WESSEL
The headline “Scientists: No direct fracking-quake link” (Jan. 27 Eagle) was extremely misleading. As a result of that misleading headline, elected representatives and others connected to the industry are claiming that there is no link and that no action is needed. In fact, the opposite is true.
Disposal of produced brine and other waste fracking fluids is an integral part of the fracking/production process. Therefore, anything caused by the disposal of those wastes is effectively connected to fracking. To claim that these are separate activities is disingenuous at best. And the state scientists make it clear that there likely is a connection with disposal.
According to The Eagle article, “the biggest jumps in production and waste disposal came in 2013 and 2014, years that saw record increases in quakes and their magnitudes.” Studies in other states have drawn the same conclusion – the overall fracking/production process has led directly to an increase in frequency and severity of earthquakes.
The industry needs to address this issue rather than trying to hide it. If officials do not do so, litigation will likely drive them to action. There are already cases working through the court system to our south in Oklahoma. It is likely that if litigation has not already been started here in Kansas, it soon will be.
The industry – and the state – would be much better served by proactively addressing this issue rather than waiting for litigation and then reacting.
BEN T. HUIE
From the article “Scientists: No direct fracking-quakes link” (Jan. 27 Eagle):
“The dramatic increase in both the number and magnitude of earthquakes in south-central Kansas correlates to increased oil production activity – but not directly to the controversial extraction process known as ‘fracking’– agency officials told the committee. State scientists said it’s likely that increased reinjection of salty wastewater from oil and gas drilling is linked to the earthquakes.”
From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
“Fracking: the injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources (such as oil or natural gas).”
If we can discover to whom the salty wastewater belongs and how it got down there, we could begin to figure out our new earthquake problem. I would offer to help, but it’s just too complicated for me.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but competition is the father. And this is as true in the realm of education as anywhere else.
The dialogue in Kansas and Washington, D.C., about education has always been more heat than light. Tempers and tantrums run high and wide as accusations about “everything education” belie the quietly unavoidable fact that, except for the educational establishment, just about everyone is feeling the pressure to discover how to produce better educations for lower costs.
But rather than turning aspiring educators loose to see what they can do, we are locked in endless, actuarial debates over confusing, arcane formulas that turn on bureaucratic momentum, legislative force and judicial direction as if some mixture of these will set us on the right path.
Education does not need answers from courts, legislatures, regents or even school boards but rather sound policies that promote the favorable conditions for and reward the successful production of superior-quality low-cost education. It should then be up to the individual schools (public, private, parochial and home) to innovate.
We are faced with the necessity to change. What we lack are policies that give to all educators the opportunity to compete for scarce resources. Because wherever necessity and competition are free to marry, wonderful little innovations are bound to follow very soon.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has a top-down, secretive business model based on the premise that citizens do not have a right to know, and that the business of government should transpire behind closed doors.
This attitude was best demonstrated when Brownback and his GOP legislative cronies violated the open-meeting laws when they were putting together backroom deals at the governor’s mansion.
State budget director Shawn Sullivan’s explanation for using private e-mail to inappropriately share confidential budget information with lobbyists (that everyone was home on holiday) insults the intelligence of voters (Jan. 28 Eagle). Either Sullivan is incapable of using the state e-mail system offline (that wouldn’t inspire confidence in his budgeting skills), or he did it deliberately to avoid public scrutiny and then lied about it (demonstrating a lack of ethical standards, which would mean he has no business being involved in sensitive fiscal matters).
Every company I have worked for in the past 15 years has specified the use of personal e-mail accounts to conduct company business activities as a basis for termination. Perhaps Brownback should take note.
I believe God calls us to be peacemakers, and so I am shocked when our society’s leaders facilitate the carrying of weapons that harm and kill God’s children. The faith our society places in the carrying of guns is a false security and not the blueprint for a better world in which peace and justice flourish.
Even carrying guns – without firing them – is a threat of violence that frays our social fabric. I urge my fellow brothers and sisters of faith to speak out as our state leaders seek to enact laws that expand the use of weapons in our state. May we also raise our voices to promote policies that build justice and peace in our society and support the common good.
As a 12-year-old, I’d like to offer my perspective on screen time for children (Jan. 22 WichiTalk).
It’s hard to set limits with electronics, but not impossible. I am allowed to have 30 minutes per day of screen time, and only after I’ve practiced my music lessons. School-related projects don’t count against this. This has been the limit as long as I can remember.
Many kids may want to have a phone, computer or iPad, but they rarely need them. I only have an iPod, and I manage just fine.
Kids aren’t the only ones with electronic addictions. I can’t count the number of adults I see on iPhones every day. There’s a simple solution for this: Limit your own screen time, too. Books provide great entertainment, and you don’t have to recharge them.
Parents may want their kids to be “cultured.” Does playing “Candy Crush” increase your knowledge and connections? If culture is “what everybody else is doing,” culture needs to change.
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