Letters to the Editor

Light rail, drug testing, Bieber fever

Updated: 2014-01-30T00:58:59Z

Light-rail benefits

There has been a lot of talk about what light rail may or may not do for a city. After returning from a monthlong trip to South Carolina and the gulf side of Florida, we came home via Memphis, Tenn.

I am not sure how much the downtown rail system of New Orleans-style rail cars contributed to Memphis, but let’s say it couldn’t hurt. Downtown Memphis, though small, was extremely alive with a historic-style rail system to a blues section that was jumping.

We went to B.B. King’s place, and what a place it is. The staff at our hotel later assured us that this was a jumping and hopping area 365 days a year.

Memphis’ downtown was alive, and the people were friendly and having fun. If nothing else, maybe our upcoming downtown rail system can bring some life and give a boost to our downtown.

Once this type of downtown gets going, the word spreads, and people come from all over to be part of it.

Tom Spath

Lenexa

Expand drug testing

Missouri Rep. Rick Brattin seems to think that the drug-testing program for welfare recipients is worthwhile, despite the nearly $500,000 that the program costs. That’s about $25,000 each for the 20 who tested positive.

Even if the 200 who refused the test were positive, the price would be almost $2,300 apiece. This is an interesting position for a Republican watchdog of our tax dollars.

I think the cost of the program should be amortized over a bigger sample. We might consider extending this benefit to the members of the legislature inasmuch as many bills it passes seem to indicate a drug-induced haze.

Jim White

Pleasant Hill

Steve Rose column

Kudos to Steve Rose for his exposure of the massive tax and budgetary hoax on the people of Kansas, “A fiddle-dee-dee attitude in Kansas on the budget” (1-26, Opinion), thanks to Gov. Sam Brownback and the ruling reactionaries in the Kansas Legislature.

Who can escape the facts here? These fiscal killers designed this fraud to get them and the state past this fall’s elections before Kansas goes bankrupt from the absurd butchery they did on the state income tax.

That tax was a responsible path to revenue and a fair distribution of it to Kansas schools and other local government units trapped in tax-base poor areas of the state. It embodies the logic of any healthy society, namely, that those who profit from it most can’t escape obligations to other members of it.

Brownback’s selfish me-only economics undermines social cohesion and the intellectual and moral basis of the very pro-life ethic he promotes to religious conservatives. As a pro-life Kansan myself, I can’t comprehend why the religious conservatives don’t see in this whole approach anything but manipulation and exploitation.

David A. Lee

Ottawa, Kan.

TV’s Bieber fever

I get that not too much sometimes happens in the news. But even that, however, does not make it right to publicize such news as Justin Bieber’s arrest (1-24, A2, “Bieber charged”).

All over TV news on Jan. 23 and 24 were news stories and updates about Bieber’s arrest. It’s something, in my humble opinion, that should not be given so much media coverage. Surely there was something else going on that was more important than a pop star’s arrest. I think the news during the day should be spread over a variety of topics and not just hover on one or two topics as in Bieber’s case.

I think The Star does a great job of varying coverage. But as a whole the media could do better.

Steven Madigan

Leawood

Capital punishment

The last paragraph of the Jan. 29 article, “Missouri execution halted,” states “The prospect of being put to death with a drug whose origin remains sealed ‘terrifies’ Smulls, his attorney said.”

How does he think his victims felt? Weren’t they terrified?

I am so tired of these inmates getting their death sentence halted because they think it is cruel treatment. They knew the real meaning of cruel when they killed their victims.

The two inmates who killed Ann Harrison are still alive 25 years later and claiming the same excuse to have their lives spared. Let’s get justice for the victims and their families.

If we are not going to execute them, then get rid of the death penalty because we can’t seem to apply it, and just give those convicted of murder life in prison.

Diane Page

Kansas City

Obamacare fudges

Many times our president stated, “If you like your insurance you can keep it.” He said this numerous times in the days leading up to passage of his health-care system and also many times since the passage of it.

It seems to me that this was a very erroneous statement from him, if not a deliberate lie. What bothers me most is the liberal news media claiming that these were statements made on the campaign trail, either while President Barack Obama was seeking re-election or during the passage of his agenda.

The liberal media state that everyone lies during these elections and in the push for legislation. It is too bad that our great country’s leaders and wannabe leaders cannot be trusted to state their beliefs very clearly and truthfully.

Why aren’t we all holding their feet to the fire and requiring them to be forthright and truthful? Why do we allow these untruths and half-truths to continue with our elected officials?

George E. Hook

Lee’s Summit

Toxic tar sands

Although I was glad to see Enbridge’s Flanagan South tar-sands pipeline finally get front-page coverage, the greatest danger from this pipeline wasn’t even mentioned (1-26, A1, “Pipeline work pumps energy into economy”).

Yes, a major spill from a pipeline pumping more than 25 million gallons of diluted tar sands bitumen every day would be disastrous, particularly if it occurred where the pipe is buried under the Mississippi River or the Missouri River or in the Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge.

As bad as that would be, however, the effect would be regional.

If Enbridge gets its way, Flanagan South will have a massive effect on the global climate because it’s the vital link Enbridge needs to more than quadruple the amount of bitumen it ships to the Texas Gulf Coast, where it is refined and sold on the world market.

It takes significantly more energy to produce synthetic crude oil from bitumen than to produce conventional oil, which means more carbon is pumped into the atmosphere for every barrel. And the tar sands are the second biggest pool of carbon on Earth.

If we’re to preserve a livable climate, we need to leave as much of the tar sands in the ground as possible.

John Kurmann

Kansas City

Light up Kauffman

I would love to see dramatic, attractive night lighting added to the north facing shells of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts downtown. How has this been overlooked? The Kauffman Center is one of the crown jewels of the area. It is a new icon for the city.

And yet the gleaming stainless steel shells are dark and barely noticeable most nights, when they could be a dramatic and attractive beacon for our newly vibrant urban core.

There is no excuse to let such a powerful architectural and civic statement sit so quietly once the sun sets over Kansas City.

Alexi Kontras

Kansas City

Facebook habits

Being a fairly new resident of the Kansas City metropolitan area, I enjoy reading the letters to the editor to get to know people’s ideas about everything. However, when I read something I really enjoy, I have this urge to click “like” and write a “comment.”

Jane Fallek

Lenexa

Thanks for care

I want to thank the medical and administrative staff at the University of Kansas Cancer Center in the Northland. Its treatment of my lymphoma has always been done with my best interest in mind.

I especially want to thank Dr. Jeremy Flanagan and the nurses in the infusion room. I’m sure I’m not always the best patient, but I’m certain I’m the most appreciative.

Ron Golden

Kansas City

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