Beef up mass transit
The public transportation system we have here in Kansas City is one of the worst in the country. It is nearly impossible to get anywhere in the city without a car.
Yes, we have the Metro routes, but they are slow and inefficient.
The problem is the city is so spread out. This makes public transportation difficult to fund. The majority of public transportation is used by those living in the inner city.
The majority of Kansas City area residents live in the suburbs. Many would argue that there is no reason to have a better mass transit system, saying that we have an efficient highway system and most people have cars.
For those living here in Kansas City, yes the system we have probably works fine. We need an efficient mass transit system to increase the mobility of tourists and travelers while they are in Kansas City.
We don’t have any way to transport people around the city if we were to get a major event such as the Super Bowl. We’re trying to promote urbanization, but this won’t happen if we don’t have a better system for transporting people around our beautiful city.
Hot air in wind data
The Kansas Policy Institute is lobbying the Kansas Legislature to end the Renewable Portfolio Standard, employing a study estimating utilities will pay 18.4 cents per kilowatt hour by 2020 for wind energy. Facts dispute the institute’s study, as Westar Energy states that wind costs have fallen 30 percent since 2009, down to less than 3.5 cents — one-fifth of the institute’s estimate.
The institute estimates rates increasing 45 percent, yet the Renewable Portfolio Standard statute the Kansas Policy Institute wants repealed caps the number at 1 percent. Westar estimates the actual cost of the Renewable Portfolio Standard to residential customers as $13.80/year (with some utilities reporting zero), while the Kansas Policy Institute’s model says $660.
It’s unfortunate the Kansas Policy Institute uses a questionable study to lobby the Legislature because it does exceptional work in other areas.
Given Kansas’ ambitious plan to build the economy by lowering taxes, it seems untimely to risk losing economic growth responding to an effort based more in political ideology than fact.
After hearing about the Transportation Security Administration’s relaxed rules regarding passengers bringing knives onboard flights, I fully expected the next international headline to read “Small knife sales and flight bookings soar in the Middle East” (3-6, A1, “At the airport, no more big deal over little knives”).
Healthy Social Security
Elected officials fail in many ways, but the restoration of taxes owed for Social Security retirement benefits is not a failure. That previous 2 percent cut in Social Security should never have occurred.
Rather than stimulating the economy, it was a transparent effort to obtain short-term votes to the detriment of the very retirement fund that people will later enjoy. The restoration of the 6.2 percent tax rate was, in fact, an example of political compromise.
That Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA, tax is not “lost money” but will be returned in Social Security benefits many times over.
Break church silence
Where are the churches? They are loud about abortion.
But when children and young people are killed with guns, many churches are strangely silent.
It is becoming epidemic that people are being killed with guns when they gather for peaceful purposes.
It seems that churches would have the wisdom and grace to offer the nation some help in dealing with this continuing crisis.
The Obama administration along with the ultra-liberal media are screaming, “The sky is falling,” because of the sequester. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan indicated that some teachers were receiving pink slips, which was untrue.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said travelers faced delays at some major airports. A check showed none could be found.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released 1,000 illegal immigrants, with thousands more to come. Napolitano’s policies are doing more to degrade our national security than keeping us safe.
The Navy’s Blue Angels have been grounded. The plane that should be grounded is Air Force One.
President Barack Obama is flying around in campaign mode making untrue statements in order to destroy the Republican Party and take control of the House in the next election.
Secretary of State John Kerry just gave millions of dollars to the Syrian rebels and millions of dollars to Egypt. Bring Kerry home and cancel his debit card.
White House politics
My office has notified hundreds of Kansans that their requests to visit the White House have been declined. The White House informed Congress that as of Saturday, White House tours are canceled indefinitely because of sequestration.
Every spring and summer, thousands of students, families, veterans and other groups travel to Washington to enjoy the history and sights in our capital. To arbitrarily deny access to a taxpayer-funded, historical building such as the White House is seemingly political and clearly cynical.
Sequestration has affected every branch of government. My office is facing operating budget cuts.
Yet we’ve found ways to do more with less rather than cutting benefits to constituents. My staff will continue to provide free tours of the Capitol.
Ending White House tours has all the appearances of a political move designed to cause public pain.
We all need to work together to improve this country’s fiscal outlook. Political games like this have no place in responsible governing or constructive debate.
The White House’s decision to close public access to the residence of the U.S. president is not a solution. It is just an example of another problem.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts
Dodge City, Kan.
Vote for Question 3
There are 890 — make that 890 times two — reasons to vote yes on Question 3 on April 2 to limit Kansas City’s future financial involvement in building nuclear weapons components.
As of June 2012, the Department of Labor identified 898 toxins used at the old Bannister Road facility potentially or actually contaminating air, soil or water.
A Kansas City television news station lists a strikingly similar number of workers whose illnesses or deaths are thought to be associated with environmental exposures at the plant — 892.
The Bannister plant was notorious for environmental and safety hazards. Why on earth (or in Kansas City) create a hazardous mess at a second site?
As a test of good faith, did the Kansas City Council follow through on the one citizen initiative it passed, finding productive and safer ways to use both plant sites? Or was it tossed in the waste bin, assuming no one would check back?
The wording of Question 3 is confusing. Vote yes to say no to nuke financing. It is a crucial vote.
Vote yes on Question 3.
Aiding homeless people
Jesus says to love one another, take care of one another, feed the hungry and help the homeless. Kansas City doesn’t want us to listen to Christian teachings.
Just not in City Hall’s backyard.
Is it too inconvenient? Unsightly?
We must have a food license? I go buy/make a sandwich for lunch and decide to give it away to someone on the street? Do I need a license?
We don’t need elected officials who think this way. Perhaps it looks better for Kansas City to see people who are homeless dying of hunger on the streets, under bridges and in cardboard boxes in alleys?
Let’s take a lesson from the cop who removed his shoes and gave them to a homeless person with freezing feet.
Where is our compassion and mercy? Unite and fight this thinking before it goes any further.
What have we turned into if we stop feeding a mere sandwich and water to others? What does that make us?
Police in some cities in America take the homeless to urban areas and dump them. This doesn’t make the problem go away.
Good, clean exercise
For people who walk daily for exercise, might I suggest a way to add a complement to your exertions: Take a trash bag with you and gather litter.
The bending and gentle stretching will keep you supple.
You will feel far more refreshed at the end of the walk, and the satisfaction will more than make up for the little bit of stiffness you will feel the first two or three days.