Streetcar for seniors
To those who claim the downtown streetcar is simply a boondoggle or a means for young adults to barhop, I have one thing to say. The downtown population includes gray hairs like me who will eventually have to give up our cars but will still need a way to get to the library, grocery store, pharmacy, medical appointments, government offices, restaurants, entertainment and home.
I’m one of the homeowners who voted in favor of the starter line and welcomed the property assessment because I recognized that it will be my lifeline as I grow older.
Good luck to those who wish to age in place and reject the expansion. Maybe you have a great support system and will be able to get around when it suits you. Not all of us do.
Dale Elizabeth Walker
Opposition to EPA
The Obama administration is at it again with its regulatory stranglehold on our economy. This time, it is targeting bodies of water, no matter how small, such as farm ponds and dry creek beds.
The Environmental Protection Agency wants to expand the definition of “navigable waters” to further regulate what you can do on your private property. Without federally approved permits, fines could reach $37,000 a day for non-compliance.
I am pushing back hard against this regulation, and we are winning. The EPA expanded the comment period for the proposal because of the sheer volume of comments already sent in.
This is how we killed proposed Internal Revenue Service regulations to limit free speech. Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, and I introduced a bill to block the rules. The IRS received so many negative comments, it scraped the idea altogether.
With the partnership of Kansans, and with common sense, we can prevail over the EPA, too. To weigh in, visit: www.regulations.gov.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts
Dodge City, Kan.
Stay out of Iraq
Iraq is illustrative of how dangerous a lack of historical knowledge is in foreign affairs.
Iraq is not a state with a national identify. Like most of the Middle East, the British and the French created it with the demise of the Ottoman Empire, paying no attention to tribes or religious sects.
Finding no weapons of mass destruction, we said the world was better off without Saddam Hussein. He was not a threat to the United States and was a counterbalance to Iran. Now we have terrorist Sunnis moving toward Baghdad.
American policy under Bush was to build democracy in Iraq, an absurd notion for a nation with no background in protecting civil liberties or appreciating the rule of law.
Now the same people who say the U.S. cannot afford medical care for its citizens, feed its hungry or repair its crumbling infrastructure want to save an Iranian-backed ruler whose Iraqi army deserts him.
Let the people in the Middle East make their own decisions rather than throwing away more American troops and treasure. We can protect nations from invasion; we cannot protect them from their own people.
Poor GOP leaders
I look with sadness on the remnants of a once-proud Republican Party.
I was born under President Dwight Eisenhower, matured under President Richard Nixon (there was a sign of problems) and was laid off from a good job under President Ronald Reagan.
Since then, it has been all downhill whenever Republicans run the country or the state. Republicans instituted the policies that led to the savings-and-loan collapse. They broke the unions (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization). They invaded a country without cause (Iraq) and have instituted torture as a policy of the United States.
They seem to believe that cutting taxes is the answer to every financial issue and that restricting personal freedom is a positive American value. Republicans were in charge during the two most devastating economic calamities, in 1929 and 2007, and yet educated, sensible Americans still vote for the GOP.
With the recent Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, there is every evidence that the majority of the Supreme Court, appointed by Republicans, is simply a subsidiary of corporate America.
We can do better, but not if we continue to elect Republicans. There must be a better choice.
Steve Rose column
Steve Rose says it bothers him that so many state legislators skipped college (6-15, Commentary, “Guess who skipped college? Lots of lawmakers”). Surely, all our U.S. congressmen have degrees. And a 12 percent approval rating. Would someone connect the dots for me?
I saw the June 18 editorial, “Put a fairly worded light-rail plan on KC ballot this fall,” about Clay Chastain’s light-rail plan. At the end, the piece stated that a more timely vote would have prevented having two rail-transit issues on the ballot at the same time.
More than once I have written to the mayor’s office and City Council members to suggest changing the initiative signature requirement from a single total citywide to a per-district basis. If that had been done, none of Mr. Chastain’s proposals would have qualified for the ballot because he would not have met district-level signature requirements in the Northland.
Making new allies
It now appears that we face the prospect of fighting alongside our newfound loyal allies, the terrorist Hezbollah organization and the terrorist regime of Iran, against the terrorist al-Qaida organization of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Swell. Just swell.
Thank you, former Vice President Dick Cheney and all your pelted-with-flowers neocon friends.
Richard L. Warrick
Carry-on luggage fees
I read recently that Spirit Airlines will be coming to Kansas City International Airport in August and will charge for carry-on baggage. I also just read that Frontier Airlines will start charging $25 for carry-on luggage.
On all my flights, I notice it takes 20 to 30 minutes to board and about the same to get off the plane. Carry-on luggage has gotten out of control, and I hope all airlines will follow the lead of Spirit and Frontier.
Several years ago, when I visited Washington, D.C., I stood on the steps of the Supreme Court building and read the words carved in granite above the door: “Equal Justice Under Law.” But lately it appears that millions of Americans aren’t getting “equal justice under law.”
There was the Supreme Court decision to change the Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice John Roberts said, “Our country has changed.” But immediately, states began blocking racial minorities and the poor from their right to vote. Daily, events in the news show our country has not changed.
One of the most callous decisions to come out of the Supreme Court was to allow states to opt out of expanding Medicaid, which denies millions of Americans access to health care.
In Citizens United, no legal explanation makes sense that says corporations are people. Unregulated money in our political system and greater access to politicians corrupts our democracy.
How does an ordinary individual’s voice get heard with a donation of $10 when someone can give millions? These decisions make a mockery of the words chiseled on the facade of the Supreme Court building.
After more than 200 years, are those words only a facade as well?
Gift of kindness
Thank you to the person who took my billfold to the customer service desk in the Price Chopper at Quivira Road and Shawnee Mission Parkway. When I discovered it was missing, my heart was in my throat all the way from downtown Mission back to the store.
What a relief when the clerk held it up. I will pass that kindness on.
Again, thank you.