Letters to the Editor

August 19, 2013

Half-cent sales tax, First Amendment, KCI

I am disappointed in still another effort to raise the sales tax in Kansas City. Anti-tax is not my mode as I have voted for previous proposals, but enough is enough.
No on new tax

I am disappointed in still another effort to raise the sales tax in Kansas City. Anti-tax is not my mode as I have voted for previous proposals, but enough is enough.

Medical research is wonderful, and Children’s Mercy and other medical facilities are worthy, as are the business leaders backing the proposal. They just need to get the revenue from sources other than a sales tax, which is the most regressive of all taxes with its greatest burden on those least able to pay.

A starting point would be the $1 million that is intended to be spent on selling the proposal or another try at increasing the lowest-in-the-nation tax on tobacco products.

The current sales-tax rate of 8.35 percent came to my attention with a recent auto trade and a bill of $1,343.23 when registering the auto, which is far from a luxury vehicle.

The proposed half-cent sales-tax increase would have boosted the cost even higher.

Being the easiest source of new revenue for governmental units does not justify the added cost to families for school supplies, groceries or even a family dinner outing.

Don Biggs

Kansas City Councilman’s affair

The first thing I have to ask in the Michael Brooks affair is Who’s the boss (8-16, A1, “Kansas City councilman admits online relationship”)?

Since when does a city councilman demand money from City Manager Troy Schulte, in this case, without going through proper channels?

Regardless of the cause, Schulte should never have provided Brooks with $15,000 without Brooks submitting the proper paperwork and having staff verify the event to include its merits.

There are plenty of issues to examine. Not only do Brooks and Schulte have some tough questions to answer, but others owe Kansas City a complete explanation. In addition, a grand jury needs to look at this in detail.

I would hope that Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté will have his fraud unit reopen its investigation and that Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker would reconsider the case if there is enough evidence to warrant charges.

Finally, it is apparent that there should be more safeguards on Kansas City’s purse strings.

To Mayor Sly James and the rest of the City Council, that is something you need to make a priority.

Who is really calling the shots in City Hall?

Donald Pickard

Kansas City 1st Amendment shield

Please, journalists, realize that public officials are not your friends or peers. They are your job.

Tell us what they are doing in our names.

Tell us how they are abusing their power. Tell us how they are profiting from the public and at the expense of the public.

Stop protecting them. They hate you when you really do your work for us.

The press is protected in the Constitution because when journalists are doing their jobs properly they need that protection from the government.

Please, from now on be worthy of that protection.

Dan Carmack

Liberty Limbaugh, Obama

I wonder what the reaction would have been if the Missouri State Fair’s rodeo clown had worn a Rush Limbaugh mask (8-14, A1, “Supporters defend skit mocking Obama”).

Allen Maty

Smithville Investigate KCI

It is hard for me to believe that the existing Kansas City International Airport terminals have as many structural problems as the backers of a new airport terminal want us to believe. If the foundation is really as bad as they say after only 40 years, we did not get our money’s worth when it was built.

I see two solutions. One is to build a central check-in in the center of each of the two terminal buildings, thereby reducing the check-ins from nine to two and reducing the operating cost by a similar amount. That could save a billion dollars or more.

If the city is going to spend more than a billion dollars, I think city officials should investigate alternate sites for the airport. Very few fliers now live less than 45 minutes from the airport, and maybe a more central or southern location would be better.

Perhaps the downtown airport could be rebuilt and expanded. Maybe a bridge over the river to the central bottoms or into Kansas is feasible. Maybe Belton or Lee’s Summit would be better locations.

Before spending more than a billion dollars, we need more investigation.

Ken Landes

Blue Springs Heartland Theater

My husband and I have attended the American Heartland Theater since 1988 (it opened in 1987). Although not all of the productions may be your cup of tea, they deliver 100 percent of the time.

“The Bikinis,” the last-ever production, was fun. It was campy; it was meant to be.

What the Heartland audience has come to expect is what we got show after show — good productions with excellent actors in an atmosphere that was always warm and welcoming.

And our audience stood at the end of the production, too.

Loretta Mathews

Overland Park Design-change flaw

The new H design airport terminal has a major design-safety flaw.

The planes are in a parking area blocked on three sides. They must back into and drive around each other to enter or leave the gate. Corner areas are unusable space. Maneuvering a plane on the ground is like driving backward with no mirrors.

Taxiing collisions, mechanical breakdowns, larger planes and emergencies like fires could shut down half the airport.

Aluminum planes are repaired by drilling the rivets and replacing a panel. I do not know how they are going to repair carbon-fiber planes after an incident.

The current airport design is a premium design for plane handling and safety. Any size plane can be handled at any gate with a compatible ramp. A little push and pull and the plane is out and moving with no tight maneuvering or gridlock.

Kansas City International Airport was designed in the time of 707s but has proved it can handle any size plane with only modifications of the passenger ramps.

If KCI needs renewal and replacement, this is not the design for it.

Brad Lieffring

Prairie Village Liberal gun laws

I have some questions about the new gun law in Kansas.

If weapons are allowed into buildings that presumably cannot afford security, including metal detectors, who in these buildings is going to check to see whether the person carrying a weapon has a permit?

Or is it just that all persons with guns are allowed in? If yes, and someone starts shooting, how is anyone to know whether the gunman is aiming at an unlicensed gun bearer or whether the shooter is just taking aim at whomever?

If there is someone to check permits, doesn’t that person have to be armed?

What if the security officer finds a person with a gun but no permit? Is the guard just to extend his or her hand and hope the unlicensed gun-wielding person hands it over?

Exactly how then can any building do without security, whether it is to check for permits or to check for guns?

Michele Elliott

Overland Park Omaha riverfront

I recently returned from a weekend visit to Omaha, Neb. I was absolutely amazed by its vibrant, active and beautiful riverfront.

We took a ride on the Missouri River on a commercial riverboat. We also saw many pleasure boats, canoes, speedboats, fishing boats and jet skis on the river.

On land we saw a marina, a boat ramp, a grill and bar, high-rise condos, an auditorium/arena, a baseball stadium and hotels. We also saw well-landscaped gardens, fountains, manicured terraces and miles of bike-hike trails.

Oh, yes, there were hundreds of people enjoying this beautiful place with myriad activities. In addition, there were tourists taking photos.

Omaha has truly embraced its riverfront roots. Back here in Kansas City, we have trouble locating our tiny riverfront. And when you find it, there isn’t even a bathroom to use.

What a shame.

Andy Fisher

Pleasant Hill

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