Letters to the Editor

June 19, 2013

Licensing improvements, Gov. Sam Brownback, farmers

There has been so much negativity about the Johnson County computer systems that I’d love to share some good news.
Licensing improvements

There has been so much negativity about the Johnson County computer systems that I’d love to share some good news.

Recently when renewing my driver’s license, I used the QLess Wait Line Management System found on the Kansas Department of Revenue Web site, which enables cellphone users to send a text message to the management system that issues them a place in a virtual line.

It was seamless and even gave opportunities to extend the time in reporting to the Mission Division of Vehicles. I was in and out in nine minutes. Additionally, I’d earlier called the office with a question and reached a very kind human being.

A week later, my daughter, Jacia Humiston, and I used the system to get in line to title and tag our recently purchased used vehicles. We were in the treasurer’s office no more than 25 minutes.

The staff was kind, efficient, congenial and professional. Our representative, Diane Persing, went out of her way to accommodate our requests, and we actually had a lot of fun and laughs (until Diane said, “Well, while you’re upbeat, here’s your sales tax total.”).

Expect the best. Most often, that’s what you’ll get; it’s the age-old law of attraction.

Connie Humiston

Shawnee Limits on bullets

If people are really concerned about their Second Amendment rights, they apparently want the same magazine limits people had in 1791. I don’t understand the need for more than that for any reason.

LeRoy Miller

Independence Brownback economics

Let’s not forget a recent demonstration of Gov. Sam “ALEC” Brownback’s frugal spending of our tax dollars. Sam forked over $47 million to AMC.

Not to mention large job losses in Topeka and the nation under his watch. Supply-side economics does not work.

Now Brownback is off to Paris to represent Kansas at an air show. What exactly is he doing flying to Paris?

How much does he know about air shows? How much does he know about airplanes?

Perhaps some of his large campaign contributors will be at this air show, which would allow him to travel incognito as a Kansas representative as he pulls the wool over Kansans’ eyes.

As for Sen. Pat Roberts, he has sat in on two Republican home-loan scams and who knows how many illegal spying projects. He is a member of the intelligence committee. There’s nothing frugal or fiscally conservative about this Republican.

Richard Heckler

Lawrence Need for farmers

The June 16 editorial, “Farm bill fails to trim fat for corporate interests,” expresses anger about subsidized crop insurance for farmers.

Agriculture is a high-risk means of earning a living. Insuring a crop for less than 75 percent of historical yields leads to being unable to break even. And that 75 percent is just production costs, not costs to market, transport and store a crop. Have you priced farmland lately?

Our government uses crop insurance to maintain control over our food supply. We spend the lowest percentage of household income on food of any developed nation.

The average farm size in Missouri is 287 acres; the national average 446 acres. Farm support helps some very large producers, but it is most helpful for those of us who have smaller operations.

The average farmer’s age in the U.S. is 57. With farming being such a high-capital, high-risk process, we need to offer support to new farmers or we won’t be able to maintain our safe food supply.

Sharing risk is actually a good investment when you consider how many people farmers feed.

It has been said you’ll need a clergy person, a lawyer and a physician at least one time in your life. You need a farmer three times a day.

Darlene Buckstead

Holden, Mo. Benghazi memories

President Barack Obama’s press secretary recently said, “Benghazi was a long time ago.” That’s like President Richard Nixon’s press secretary saying in mid-1973, “Watergate was a long time ago.”

Watergate was a two-bit bungled burglary. But it was a crime and was and should have been prosecuted, even though no lives were lost.

Whether Benghazi was a crime we do not yet know. But four lives were needlessly lost. And it shows either the utter incompetence or callous disregard of Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others high in the administration.

If this were a Republican administration, the press would be in full cry. But because it is a Democratic administration, most members of the press are saying little about it.

No doubt they hope this tragic situation will be forgotten.

Charles Frisbie

Kansas City State police control

Our city leaders continually raise the issue of the need for local control of the police department. Our City Council members even questioned whether citizens trusted their judgment.

Well, to answer that question, no.

Nor based on the council’s past performance should we. Our citizens, now at least, have a proven system of oversight and accountability.

We can look to the city’s takeover of Metropolitan Ambulance Services Trust for a glaring example of how council members violated our trust. They told the citizens that the MAST pension posed no financial burden, but after they got what they wanted, suddenly MAST’s pension obligation was an huge burden that they had no knowledge of.

Most members of the council have put the citizens’ safety on a back burner by considering cuts to the budgets of police, fire and MAST while continuing their frivolous spending and TIFs.

State control provides a level of oversight to ensure our citizens protection. Let us not forget the circumstances that brought about state control. Every time our city has had home rule, the actions of our city’s politicians have compelled our state legislators to step in.

Let’s not fix what isn’t broken.

Charles Porch

Kansas City Yoder’s words, deeds

In recent mail to constituents, Congressman Kevin Yoder of Kansas expressed alarm about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American’s phone calls and Internet activity.

Yoder writes that he is concerned about “the massive overreach of government power. … They (government officials) do not have carte blanche to blatantly disregard the Fourth Amendment protections of Americans and investigate every law-abiding citizen.”

The ACLU concurs with the congressman, but his concerns seems out of sync with his voting record.

In 2011, Yoder voted to extend Patriot Act provisions that give the government sweeping authority to spy on individuals inside the U.S. — in some cases, without suspicion of wrongdoing. He also voted against an amendment to protect library and bookstore records from suspicionless government searches under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

We hope that Yoder’s new-found unease about NSA surveillance will lead him to reconsider the wisdom of some of his past votes.

Gary Brunk

Executive Director

ACLU of Kansas

and Western Missouri

Lawrence Constitutional change

Several letters have argued that at the time the Second Amendment was written, “arms” referred to muskets. From that they have patted themselves smugly on the back for a intellectual bon mot and argued against basically any firearm designed after 1860.

We can observe from history that homosexuals were not able to marry in the colonies. We can also observe that at the time the nation was founded, marriage was between one man and one woman and was not contemplated in any other form.

So if the “at the time the Constitution was written” line of thought is applied in a logically consistent manner, there are no supporting constitutional arguments for gay marriage.

Unless, of course, we as a people would like to concede that society and technology change over time and we also apply that argument fairly, particularly to groups whose viewpoints we don’t agree with.

James Glackin

Overland Park

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