Letters to the Editor

June 3, 2014

KCI, light rail, capital punishment

For the past year the city and Aviation Director Mark VanLoh have indicated to the people of Kansas City that the airlines at Kansas City International Airport wanted a new terminal.

KCI adjustments

For the past year, the city and aviation director Mark VanLoh have indicated to the people of Kansas City that the airlines at Kansas City International Airport want a new terminal. They also said that if a new terminal were to be built, airlines would flock to KCI and existing airlines would add flights and more destinations.

This is clearly not true. According to Southwest Airlines, it might decrease service because of increased costs.

Thank you, Mayor Sly James, for forming this fact-finding panel and asking the airlines for their input. We have a great airport now. It just needs some tweaking to make it better — not a new terminal.

John Dembski


Light-rail battle

Light rail in Kansas City is fighting for its life against a government trying to subvert it because its ideas threaten the government’s plan, and few are paying attention. But distractions are everywhere:

Stupefaction over the daily eruptions that invade and overwhelm our futile grasps at tranquility such as the Nigerian girls’ abduction, Syrian children, Santa Barbara slayings and Kansas City violence.

Preoccupation with sports, Hollywood’s fantasy, social media chatter, mayhem and people trying to make it in this lousy economy.

It is under this cloak of commotion, distraction and public indifference that Kansas City’s government operates. It explains how city officials have managed in three years and five courtrooms to block a vote on a constitutional initiative with nary a protest on light rail.

Don’t ask about it; therefore it doesn’t exist. Or, as Mayor Sly James likes to say, “Next question.”

Judge Sandra Midkiff thinks the initiative exists and will ask questions, and the judge has set an evidentiary hearing for June 12 to decide the fate of a democratic process participated in by 5,000 citizens of Kansas City for light rail.

We pray this judge understands that democratic truth comes in the free expression of ideas and not by way of suppression.

Clay Chastain

Bedford, Va.

National Guard, guns

Curry Kenworthy’s June 2 column, “Mobs are the problem, not guns,” encourages us “to oppose any effort to take away (our) God-given rights.” Because his commentary deals primarily with the right to own guns, I’m guessing he believes God endorsed gun ownership.

If he can cite chapter and verse, I’m betting it’s out of context, just like his reading of the Second Amendment, within which he and the National Rifle Association conveniently overlook the phrase about a “well regulated militia.”

I suggest that if Mr. Kenworthy wants to own weapons he join the National Guard.

Robert Powell


Swift law vs. justice

Kansas Sen. Jeff King, the Senate vice president, had wanted to impose restrictions on death-penalty appeals, including deadlines for filing briefs and limits on the number of pages in those briefs. Really?

Is the page count the problem?

Since 1973, 144 death-row inmates have been exonerated.

The average number of years between being sentenced to death and exoneration has been more than 10 years.

Many exonerees served decades before innocence was proved.

How many of these innocent U.S. citizens would have been put to death for crimes they did not commit under King’s proposed post-conviction deadlines?

How many more factually innocent people would never live to see their names added to the list of exonerees under a system where swiftness takes precedence over justice?

What if evidence of factual innocence is not discovered until after the new, abbreviated filing deadlines have lapsed?

If we as a nation are willing to sacrifice the life of even one factually innocent, wrongly accused citizen in order to achieve some hollow sense of vindication, then our moral compass has lost all sense of direction.

We will have become the angry mob.

Paul D. Cramm

Overland Park

Peer into future

The stock market plunged in 2009, the first year of the Obama administration, but later came back to surpass the 16,000 mark. Many investors saw their savings and retirement accounts increase substantially.

Inflation and taxes have remained relatively low while interest rates are still near zero. Foreign nations continue to buy massive amounts of Treasury paper.

The wars are ending, as the president promised, which pleases doves but infuriates hawks who demand further intervention. Gun sales and ownership have soared, which should please National Rifle Association supporters, but probably doesn’t.

The number of abortions has substantially decreased, which should please pro-lifers, but probably doesn’t. The Bill of Rights stands supreme, and Americans still enjoy the right to savagely criticize the president.

Unemployment is a worldwide problem. Sophisticated computers and robots are making human labor obsolete as they perform more tasks better, faster and cheaper.

Candidates for higher office must discuss plans for the future rather than dwell on the past. Scientific advances such as fusion energy and quantum computers will open new and undreamed-of fields to explore, which will require government to either participate or step aside.

Kenneth Lee


Benghazi overblown

Hidden beneath the GOP’s Benghazi campaign is the fact that House Republicans voted to cut nearly $300 million from the U.S. embassy security budget. The Republican politicians are now staging a partisan political circus instead of focusing on the middle class, and this is simply a bad decision.

The latest allegations come from a hawkish, disgruntled, retired brigadier general and not the several layers of commanding generals above him, including the U.S. Africa Command four-star Gen. Carter Ham. He complained in his testimony that something should have been done, even though it probably would not have resulted in any help to the Benghazi embassy.

A Senate Intelligence Committee report presented in January 2014, a bipartisan effort that included Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Marco Rubio and Saxby Chambliss, found no evidence of the kind of political cover-up that Republicans have long alleged.

One of the biggest backers of an investigative panel, Rep. Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, commended Fox News’ reporting, saying, “In the case of Benghazi, much credit goes to Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Bret Baier for their tenacious commitment to this story and investigation.”

Victor Dietz

Kansas City

Overcoming prejudice

More than 25 years ago, I was practicing music with a friend in his living room. I asked him about the Menorah that was on the living room wall.

He said, “I’m Jewish. Didn’t you know that?”

I said, “No, I never thought about it.”

In the years since, our families have learned much from each other. We have shared Passover and Easter meals, Hanukah and Christmas dinners.

My husband was in the hospital on Christmas Day, and my friends offered to stay with him so I could have dinner with my family. They have since moved away, but we keep in close touch with them.

I don’t understand the prejudice that still exists in our country. We have grown in many ways, but that age-old problem still exists.

When will we ever learn to accept each other as friends and children of God?

Esther Kreek

Overland Park

Advice for Royals

Why do the Kansas City Royals draft a good hitter and then try to change him? An example is Bubba Starling. Let them do what the Royals hired them to do.

The team is overloaded with pitchers. Leave more space for fielders who can hit. It’s not necessary to keep the other teams from getting runs. Just get more than they do.

Get pitchers who can pitch a whole game. Whoever decided a pitcher can throw only 100 pitches?

I don’t like to watch no-hit games. That’s not real baseball.

Molly Coole


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