Letter writers sound off on KC’s streetcar plans, nursing homes, Missouri roads

07/23/2014 5:52 PM

07/23/2014 5:52 PM

Streetcar unnecessary

And around and around we go.

I hate to think how many billions of dollars this streetcar is going to cost the voters. When this ordinance gets written, we need to contact our councilpersons and tell them no.

Use our money to lower water rates and fix the lines, not to build an unnecessary streetcar.

Dan Coffey

Citizens for

Responsible Government

Kansas City

Nursing-home care

There are a lot of disadvantages for an elderly person being in a nursing home.

Families might feel that their loved ones are a burden to them. Therefore, a nursing home would be the best advantage for them.

They do not realize that nursing homes are places where elders become helpless and lonely because everything is taken from them.

This can also make their mental state worse. They can become more depressed and irritated. Their communication skills will also decline.

The state should require a daily routine for the elderly. There should be a requirement to have outdoor sessions, as in walking or picnics, as well as physical therapy, games, guest speakers and a movie night.

Sadie Sharp

Overland Park

Fuel tax for roads

I recently drove to Minneapolis and noticed not only the better quality of the roads in Iowa and Minnesota despite a harsher climate but that they were also well on their way to adding a third lane to Interstate 35.

When you head south and cross into Missouri, you are immediately assailed with a ground-up freeway, which was once concrete, being overlaid with asphalt.

This is what a state gas tax that’s 14 cents below the national state average gets you.

Now we want to fix it with a sales tax levied on everyone, including those who don’t even own cars.

A fuel tax is most equitable because those using more fuel are using the roads the most and should pay more for their use. A fuel tax is also levied on those transiting our state and using our roads.

If cars and trucks are using less fuel, then the tax should be adjusted to compensate for that. There is no free lunch.

We need X amount of dollars to maintain and improve our roads, and it should come from a higher fuel tax. Let’s do it, people.

Stephen Montgomery

Parkville

Medicare Part D

No doubt Medicare Part D benefits most seniors with prescription drug costs. But whom did Congress work hardest to benefit with the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act?

Not seniors. Not taxpayers.

Part D represents an ongoing bonanza for pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

Veterans Affairs serves millions of veterans and because of volume negotiates the lowest prices on medication in the U.S. Imagine how much cheaper prescriptions for seniors and the disabled would be if Medicare negotiated directly with pharmaceutical companies.

Congress prohibited Medicare from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies. Instead, insurance companies negotiate with drug companies, and they lack the volume to cut the best deals.

There is no good reason Part D is a labyrinth in which seniors must select among dozens of plans. Insurance companies add no value — only needless complication and greater expense. Drug companies profit by bargaining with insurers rather than with the immense Medicare.

Simply put, a majority of Congress placed the interests of their corporate funders ahead of the interests of the constituents they were elected to represent.

Mary Lindsay

Kansas City

Hypocrisy of church

Here we go again. The Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese is involved in yet another lawsuit (7-18, A4, “Ex-worker sues diocese”).

A lay employee, Colleen Simon, is suing to get her job back after being fired because of her “unacceptable” lifestyle. Really?

She was fired by the same organization that has historically protected the sick lifestyles of pedophiles by allowing them to remain in their roles as priests. And now the diocese is being led by a bishop found guilty of trying to protect a convicted pedophile.

Does anyone else see the hypocrisy here? Why

weren’t these priests fired for their unacceptable lifestyles rather than allowing them to continue harming children?

Why hasn’t Bishop Robert Finn been fired? Yet the diocese continues to defend its constitutional freedom to protect and uphold the integrity of its mission? Seriously?

Its integrity is shrinking with the filing of each lawsuit. If it weren’t for the seriousness of the diocese’s actions, the hypocrisy would almost be laughable. Instead it is disturbing and tragic.

Good luck, Colleen.

Karen Swierczk

Blue Springs

U.S. space program

July 20 was the 45th anniversary of what, at that time, was expected to be one of the great moments in the history of mankind. But few of us now remember.

That was the day we heard a crackling radio transmission: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

We had put a man on the moon.

Who, on that day, could have known that the dreamed-of space age would prove to be so distant? That after more than a half-century of pursuing the dream, we can barely maintain one obsolete space station parked in near orbit, and even that only with the assistance of Russia and China?

To be sure, many important scientific advancements and our knowledge of the universe have grown out of the space programs.

But any claim to have moved importantly toward the mastery of space is essentially lost.

So, when the space station is abandoned soon, and with the space telescope probably soon to follow, we will be as Earth-bound as all of our ancestors, looking up at the heavens with wonder and a bit of apprehension.

Ron McGee

Overland Park

‘Right to farm’

It is critical that the voting public be informed on Amendment 1 to the Missouri Constitution. It has commonly been mischaracterized as the “Right to Farm Act.”

The proposal would undermine, and over the long term, destroy family farmers’ right to farm. If approved, it would allow them to be squeezed out by corporate factory farms, also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

They use inhumane and unscrupulous animal-management and agricultural methodologies. Family farms would be unable to compete with large operations, which degrade the quality of the land and the health of the animals and decay the economic viability of rural communities.

Also, because of the nebulous language of Amendment 1, the puppy-mill legislation that Missouri voters voted for would be devastated and the courts would decide whether Amendment 1 covers the raising of dogs, cats, horses or other animals for food.

If Amendment 1 passes, costly lawsuits would be necessary to challenge the dangerous consequences that this amendment would generate. Unfortunately, only those with the deepest pockets would be able to pursue this method of redress.

Vote no to protect Missouri farmers.

Lynne Rees

Kansas City

Building U.S. better

Those who are well known in Washington, D.C., say there is one unbreakable rule: “Insiders don’t criticize other insiders.” Although I am not an insider but a U.S. voter, I will not criticize those elected officials in Washington.

I will not criticize our president because he is doing a very poor job and has no policies. I will not criticize members of Congress because they also do nothing but worry about how they look to the public.

Now America is composed of three classes of people — those who live at the poverty level, a few who are very rich and Washington’s elected multimillionaires.

I ask voters to study what candidates say and do before electing them. Remember, if they talk well they may be snake-oil salesmen.

Do the voters want snake oil or do they want elected officials who help citizens and help build a better America?

Carl Antrim

Independence

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