Streetcars are relics
When I was but a child, streetcars were a normal mode of transportation. Many people had no personal cars, and buses and the streetcars were our only way of getting from place to place.
The streetcars were eventually retired and removed. Why does anyone want to bring them back?
History proved them unfeasible. Does no one remember this?
Pressing KC needs
First of all, let’s clarify the distinct difference between a business traveler and someone relocating for business reasons. As an ex-businessman/frequent flier, I can assure you travelers want convenience.
They want to get in and out of the airport as quickly and painlessly as possible. For example, virtually all my coworkers and I chose whenever possible John Wayne/Orange County airport over LAX (Los Angeles), Midway over O’Hare (Chicago), Love over Dallas-Fort Worth and Newark over JFK (New York), and we tried to avoid Denver and Atlanta altogether.
Someone looking to relocate might consider the above, but it would most likely be lower on his or her list of priorities. In considering Kansas City, what would be more important? Having:
One of the highest per-capita murder rates in the country?
A decades-old failed school system?
The earnings tax (one reason I moved to Parkville)?
A crumbling infrastructure (water lines, roads, bridges)?
Few sit-down restaurants at Kansas City International Airport?
Politicians always like their names on big projects, such as the Kit Bond Bridge, the Wheeler Downtown Airport and Berkley Riverfront Park. How about spending the money on repairing water lines, calling it the Sly James Aqueduct and just upgrading KCI?
Universal flat tax
Our present tax system should be abolished. Basically, our purchasing power is diminished, hurting small business.
Instead, leave the current sales tax as is to support our local and state governments and put in place a flat tax of about 15 percent.
The only exemptions to this would be those who live below the poverty level and someone who has had a catastrophic health problem that has bankrupted that person.
Other than that, all people and corporations pay a flat tax on all income with no deductions for anything.
Ask yourself why corporations pay tax attorneys six figures, and we all know the answer is because they save them seven figures. Our present system is so full of holes it’s pathetic.
Businesses and farmers will decry the fact they can’t write off new purchases or associated expenses because the old system allowed them to pay no tax.
Hey, join the real world. How about evening the playing field and they pay their fair share of 15 percent?
Over the years, the federal government has taken away many exemptions that us little folks used and added exemptions to business.
KCI nonstop flap
I think I have waited long enough to hear both sides of the Kansas City International Airport terminal issue. If I had counted, I am sure the cons against a new terminal would win any vote.
As a Federal Aviation Administration employee in the 1990s, I and many others of FAA, architectural and engineering firms, financiers and others worked on the possible creation of a new parallel runway at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The mandatory study included the environmental impact on the surrounding area, such as housing, traffic, roadways and air and noise pollution.
There had to be adequate justification that the local demographics would support the cost and impact on the area and that demand for a new runway could not depend solely on aircraft flights.
Probably a third justification not thought of that far back was the fact that, as with KCI, most passengers from the West will be put on large, non-stop aircraft flying to East Coast airports to ultimate European and African destinations or overflying the East Coast airports altogether.
Aircraft the size of Boeing 737s and smaller Airbus aircraft would continue to be the main users, with loads not demanding a larger terminal. Airlines surely will not want to bear the cost of a new terminal.
In any case, I recommend a review of a January Time magazine article on what has happened to airports when hubs were closed and they lost most of their traffic.
Albert R. St. Germain
Fix 2nd Amendment
Let’s face it, the daily genocide occurring in the United States is mainly caused by the way the Second Amendment is written. It entitles everyone to own a gun.
None of the work by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence or other major groups against guns seems to be effective. In no other civilized country are thousands of people killed every year.
History tells us it is possible to amend amendments. Let’s strive for that.
It seems the only way.
Openness to others
We’re prone to confirmatory bias. That is, seeking out only information that jibes with our own beliefs.
To truly be a successful politician and conscionable citizen, we need to embrace contradictory viewpoints. Warren Buffett agrees.
When writing about a shareholder meeting, he said: “We will again have a credentialed bear on Berkshire. We would like to hear from applicants who are short Berkshire.”
Why bother? Because entertaining critics’ opinions and analysis serves a vital purpose.
It either strengthens our convictions or, more important, it reveals the error of our own analysis, allowing us to exit the position without suffering a major loss.
The same holds true when it comes to governing this country.
Confirmatory bias has no purpose in government, sans getting re-elected or to bolster one’s ego. It’s time to govern by keeping an open mind toward compromising.
Such an opportunity should avail itself in the budget talks.
I won’t hold my breath, however, knowing full well that confirmatory bias will prevail with midterm elections coming this November.
I hope and pray this will not be the case.
Charles (C.K.) Baber
Village of Loch Lloyd
GM quality glitch
General Motors, like any other auto manufacturer, can talk about the sophisticated features in its cars, such as anti-lock brakes, air bags and touch screen, etc.
Then there is the ignition switch that fails if there is more than one key attached to the key ring.
Really? The ignition switch? And GM made a few million more after it knew about the problem?
So much for the quality-assurance program GM requires of its suppliers.
Help after storm
With so many negative stories in the news about teenagers, I wanted to pass along something good.
Since the roadblock has been moved and proof of residency is no longer required to enter Orrick, there has been a barrage of vehicles — some filling trucks and trailers with scrap, others looking for a quick way to make a dollar and still others just gawking, cruising slowly down our streets, stopping to pull into driveways, pointing and then backing out and on their way.
Last week was no different. Until I heard laughter and conversation out front. I looked out the window, and walking along the street were five teenagers. They were picking up debris from front yards and along the roadside.
They weren’t here to gawk at others’ misfortune. They didn’t knock on the door to ask whether there was something they could do.
They just came and started picking up debris.
I know nothing about these kids, except that they set a fine example for all those who just came to see.
Don’t ask what needs to be done so you can feel better about yourself. Many don’t know; they are devastated by their loss.
Just come — and do.