Letters to the Editor

Readers react to bicycle paths, payday lending and guns

Bike path cheers

I applaud the efforts of Kansas City area governments to grow their bicycle path networks. I urge them to create, whenever possible, lanes or paths that are physically separated from motorized traffic.

Bicycle owners are less likely to get out their bikes, especially for riding to work during rush hour, if there are going to be cars flying by just a few feet away.

Paths such as the Line Creek Trail in the Northland are ideal. It is built on the abandoned bed of the Kansas City-St. Joseph interurban railway and therefore is entirely separate from streets.

Even where that is not possible, New Jersey-type barriers, or bollards, give cyclists more confidence and keep drivers from straying into a bike lane without realizing it.

David Johnson


Payday lending bust

The Federal Trade Commission made a large settlement ($54 million) with fraudulent payday lenders in Kansas City (7-8, A1, “Payday lending business banned”). This fraudulent operation involved a criminal organization with many victims.

The story shows that this operation involved many counts of felony theft, fraud and interstate wire fraud. Surely this crime should be prosecuted under federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act as a form of organized crime.

Victims should be compensated and the perpetrators should be doing hard time. Somehow big money is never accused of organized crime.

The company owners and other members of this new version of the mob should be in front of a federal jury, not making settlements. Where is the U.S. Department of Justice?

John Dunn


Guns, need for noise

As mourning continued for South Carolina church-attack victims, Kansas eliminated safety training for people wanting to carry concealed weaponry.

The timing of a new law’s implementation underscored again the extreme nature of Kansas and Missouri gun policies.

If more gun carrying counters gun violence, why do U.S. gun deaths remain at 30,000-plus year after year despite concealed carry now in every state?

We need smarter policies supported by large majorities of Americans, including gun owners.

Many sensible, effective ideas have been endorsed by the likes of the American Academy of Pediatricians, the American Bar Association and the National PTA. Yet, Kansas and Missouri legislators only consider gun-lobby proposals.

That’s like limiting lung-cancer research to the tobacco industry.

Three words from President Barack Obama’s eulogy in Charleston, S.C., identified why we aren’t doing better on this issue.

He spoke of “a comfortable silence” that returns too soon after high-profile gun massacres. In this silence, political leaders stop hearing public demands for responsible action, and on Election Day candidates feel no sting for wrong-headed views.

Rather than falling silent once again until the next massacre, we should raise and sustain an uncomfortable noise in the aftermath of the Charleston tragedy.

Loren Stanton


Kansas Chapter

Brady Campaign to

Prevent Gun Violence

Prairie Village

Electric bullying

I received a call at work from Kansas City Power & Light Co. telling me to make electrical changes to the home I’ve owned for more than 10 years so KCP&L could install some new electrical meter device.

Although unsure what this new device will do beyond what the current meter does, I am sure it will benefit KCP&L at my expense.

KCP&L threatened that if I do not make the changes it wants within 30 days, the company would shut off service to the residence under the auspices that a safety issue forced it to do so.

This service was in place when I purchased the house and has caused no issues, safety or otherwise, since.

Not once did KCP&L contact me in that 10-plus years about any electrical-safety issue. But, now that the company wants to improve its bottom line, it starts by threatening service cut-off and legal action.

Although the change would be a relatively minor one, it requires the services of an electrician, incurring a cost of $1,500 to $2,000.

Did KCP&L offer assistance with those changes? What do you think?

It’s much easier to threaten the homeowner with power shut-off.

It sure is easy being a bully to a captive audience.

Chris Bouchard

Kansas City

Judge cartoons

A critic of Lee Judge’s political cartoons feels offended that they are biased and not amusing (6-30, Letters).

Let me remind her, political cartoons are not meant to be amusing. They are intended to call our attention to a current political issue.

If the writer wants to be amused, I suggest she turn to the comics. Other possibilities are Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Their rants are pretty amusing sometimes.

Judge’s opinion is a favorite feature for many readers. It’s the first thing I turn to every morning and is one reason I subscribe to The Kansas City Star.

Anna Slemmer


Royals management

Dayton Moore, you’ve made a nice run with a great defensive team and outstanding bullpen, but your starting pitching stinks. If you think your starting five pitchers currently will get you to the World Series, you’re smoking the funny weed.

Jason Vargas, Yordano Ventura, Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy, Chris Young and Edinson Volquez are nice guys, but even when healthy they are just average major league starters.

Offensively, the Royals have no big bats, no 30-home run hitters, and under Mr. Moore’s helm we’ve seen a view that until our drafted players turn 26 or 27 years old they won’t be ready to help the major league club.

If Moore is right, what does that say about our ability to find talent? When we do trade for pitchers or purchase contracts, team officials don’t give them a chance to prove themselves.

Let’s look at Jimmy Paredes, who now plays for Baltimore and is having a great year.

Baseball is a tough sport to play, and even though we’re doing well I believe Dayton’s smoke-and-mirrors approach is about to end.

I hope I’m wrong, but that recent Houston series made me a believer in great pitching and how teams with it rise to the top.

John Koehler

Kansas City

Minimum wage

I understand workers in the service industry can’t raise a family on minimum wage, but I also remember that when I was a teenager those were the types of jobs we were qualified for because we had no work experience.

Usually cashiers, waitresses and hotel housekeepers were considered entry-level workers. These jobs were for the young and second-income workers. They were not meant to support a family.

I don’t agree that the minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour for these types of jobs.

Employers could implement other ways to reward employees in the way of benefits such as insurance, bonuses and raises for loyal, long-term workers.

Also, better programs are needed in these jobs for advancement with better pay.

I don’t really want to pay $15 an hour to a Wal-Mart employee whom I have seen run a register for the last five years to barely greet me with a scowl.

Jennie Sindak

Overland Park

Boosting skills, pay

The claim that low-skilled workers are entitled to $15 per hour is not sound logic.

It is common for one to start a career as a limited skill worker. These jobs usually pay in the minimum wage range because the required skill level is relatively low.

As the individual adds skills, and therefore becomes a more valuable employee, he or she can move to a higher paying position.

Every person should ask himself, “What do I need to do to make myself more valuable?”

It is up to the individual to increase his or her skills to take advantage of all that our country has to offer. The bottom line: More Skills = More Earning Power.

Jim McGraw

Kansas City