Postal Service fumbles
I was in a post office recently on a Monday to purchase stamps and witnessed several people shipping packages. Each time, the U.S. Postal Service clerk offered only “Express delivery tomorrow by 3 p.m. or priority delivery for expected delivery on Wednesday.”
There was no mention of the less-expensive option of parcel post, or as they call it now, “standard.” No one complained or even asked for a less costly option.
People just paid the priority mail rate. Private carriers always offer all of the options at their counters and service locations. How can the Postal Service be so inefficient to burn through these extra billions of dollars, and how can the clerks not offer the less-expensive choice?
Also, I noticed they say “expected delivery,” not guaranteed like the private-sector carriers. I think this is a calculated deception by the Postal Service.
The customer receives no guarantee, no insurance and no free tracking. And as a matter of fact, the Postal Service does not perform as well at any level as the private-sector carriers so it can’t guarantee its products.
I guess even at the post office it is buyer beware.
Fighting City Hall
Residents of the Swope Ridge Neighborhood have a serious concern. Twenty-plus years ago, the Winchester TIF, or tax increment financing, was established.
The Swope Ridge Neighborhood was the “but for” argument to allow the Winchester development to happen, granting TIF concessions that were given to the developer. The original plan and the subsequent five amendments provided for remediation of the residential portion of the TIF plan and promised basic infrastructural improvements that would not otherwise have been made.
Because of the development, more than 3,000 parking spaces have been added in this small residential area, creating undeniable wear and tear and traffic on the neighborhood.
We started our conversations with the TIF Commission and city staff with an attitude of cooperation and compromise.
We were asked to consider septic-tank replacement instead of a sewer system. We have been asked to participate in an invasive inspection/income-dependent home-repair program.
We have come to the conclusion that the needs and priorities of the neighborhood are not a primary concern. We are no longer interested in a compromise that does not meet our infrastructure needs.
Brownback’s bad plan
Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax plan has a $267 million hole. Yet he’s pushing to raise the sales tax by not allowing the current tax to sunset.
Within five years we’ll have a $781.5 million shortfall. This is not the direction Kansas should be going. It wouldn’t be if we weren’t under the irresponsible governor’s tax plan.
The Legislature, by law, must balance the budget. Cuts will occur.
Cuts so far: no new money to public education, which is operating at the 1990 level; $50,000 from programs training the disabled; $225,000 Entrepreneurship Program; $250 million from the Kansas Department of Transportation, which defunds the largest jobs program at 175,000 jobs because it must fund Brownback’s plan to create 33,000 jobs; $1.5 million sexual-predator treatment program; 24 positions at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex; and seven positions from the Department of Corrections.
The biggest impact is on young families juggling mortgage, work and child care. Retired seniors won’t have an offset of income-tax reductions but will see increases in sales taxes and property taxes.
They will see a decrease in available funds. Young families will see mortgage and property-tax deductions disappear.
Council Grove, Kan.
In the book I am currently reading, “Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul,” I came across the word “antinomian,” which is defined as “one who is against the law.”
The timing seems perfect, what with Justice “Antonin” Scalia (same root) proclaiming from the bench that voting is not actually a right, but an “entitlement” (2-28, A1, “Voting Rights Act gets tough questioning”).
Where have we heard the word “entitlement” recently? It is intentionally misused by the Republicans in their cut-cut budget rants to mean government payments of all kinds to American citizens, whether earned and paid for or whether granted to alleviate the broadening crush of poverty.
It came into overuse as a Republican budgetary talking point just after the market crashed in the last quarter of the George W. Bush presidency when it became obvious they were going down.
I suspect Justice Scalia heard it at one of those ultra-right meetings he regularly attends and adopted it as his own.
Guns, U.S. history
I must disagree with the opinion expressed by gun-control advocates that the founders of this nation had no concept of firearms beyond the muzzle-loading flintlocks of their day or that they had no wish for the citizenry to have near-military-grade weapons available.
We must remember that among the founders were some of the greatest minds of the age.
The Founding Fathers included the world’s foremost inventor and scientist, Benjamin Franklin; inventor, philosopher, architect and conceptualist Thomas Jefferson; and military strategist and entrepreneur George Washington. These men were aware that firearms technology had progressed within their lifetimes, and they had no reason to believe it would not continue to do so.
They knew the flintlock was not the ultimate form of firearm, so it is condescending of some to assume they would be shocked by modern firearms.
As for civilians having a degree of firearms equality with the government, we must remember that they had won their independence from England thanks in part to civilian parity in firearms, and they knew that an unarmed population would be at the mercy of the government and didn’t wish future Americans to be disadvantaged.
Study your history please, before dismissing their words.
Kids, abortion, guns
In his speech on gun-control initiatives, President Barack Obama said that we have an obligation to do something if even one life can be saved and that keeping our children safe is how we will be judged as a nation.
It’s a curious concern for little ones from an administration that provides almost half the funding for the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Planned Parenthood provided more than 300,000 abortions in 2011 alone. Those little lives were not considered worthy of saving.
As we contemplate violence in our society, let’s remember the violence done to the unborn and realize we will be judged as a nation for that also.
Term limits for Congress. Term limits for Congress. Term limits for Congress. Term limits for Congress. Term limits for Congress. Term limits for Congress.
White House tours cut
With all the controversial moves made by President Barack Obama such as Obamacare, appointments made when Congress was not in session and challenges to the Constitution, the president now is banning tours of the White House because of lack of funds, also known as sequestration.
This is not a case of lack of funds, but a president who is acting like a spoiled brat.
It’s as if he’s saying, “Play the game my way or you can’t play in my house.”
Leader of the free world?
Maynard J. Mitchell
Threat to area wildlife
On behalf of Missouri Department of Conservation staff for the Kansas City Region, our opinion is that the trap, neuter-and-release programs for feral cat colonies threaten wildlife.
Although the Missouri Department of Conservation does not yet have a formal policy or position statement on free-ranging, outdoor, stray and feral domestic cats, our agency’s mission is to restore, maintain and enhance native wildlife and ecosystems.
Scientific studies show that domestic cats are a threat to natural habitats, native wildlife and biological diversity. Free-roaming cats kill songbirds, including young of the year in nests and migrating birds trying to reach summer nesting habitat. Feral cats can also be a nuisance and health threat to pets and humans.
Our opinion is that trap, neuter-and-release programs for feral cats are detrimental to the wildlife resources of Missouri.