Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off on water, Kansas, tea party

Fresh-water pipelines

If we were truly forward thinking, rather than worrying about getting sand tar oil to Texas by building the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, we would be building a network of desalination plants and a network of pipelines to carry ocean water as newly minted fresh water from the coasts to the nation’s breadbasket.

If we can lay the transatlantic cable, we can begin this long-term project before the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer.

Bill Doty

Overland Park

Questionable policies

As a proud Kansas small-business owner, I am not at all proud of our Kansas policymakers.

Actions taken by the governor and his band of political allies created a budget gap estimated to be in excess of $400 million.

This dramatic and unnecessary fiscal crisis was created through reductions of business and personal tax rates.

Until the Legislature passed other tax increases, it was estimated that Kansas would have received $3.7 billion less in revenue through 2018.

One of the stated reasons for the tax reductions was the desire to bring new small- and medium-sized businesses to Kansas.

This has proved to be a shortsighted policy decision as new businesses have not flocked to Kansas, nor have the expected number of new jobs been created.

This witch’s brew of revenue losses coupled with destructive state-sponsored reductions of individual freedoms through social-policy engineering may well ensure that our state economy will continue to grow at a slower rate than the national average.

Given this legislative and executive background, one has to wonder why any business would consider relocating to Kansas.

Indeed, one must wonder whether we are capable of governing ourselves.

Larry Rute

Topeka

Tea party fizzle

Once upon a time, there was a grassroots movement of people who thought taxes were too high and were getting out of control. It was a simple concept and a valid opinion, given the $18 trillion debt we are saddled with.

They called themselves the tea party, or taxed enough already. I subscribed to the group’s general point of view and in fact signed up for newsletters and contributed, early on.

But as with all things, if there is no focus or leadership, things can go awry.

The tea party is now this amorphous group that has nothing positive to say about much of anything.

I keep trying to stop the newsletters because they’ve become nothing but a litany of “look what the liberals have done now” or they grab onto whatever the conspiracy fringe is offering up.

It’s a shame. It was a good idea started by sincere people who wanted to counterbalance the progressive wave of problem-solving by spending.

It’s a good idea that is no longer good.

The tea party now is another group that splinters conservatives and reduces the viability of a conservative candidate. But, one upon a time ...

Rob Mikaloff

De Soto

Pro-birth GOP

The Republicans are once again on the wrong track as they try to defund Planned Parenthood. Mary Sanchez recently called their efforts a “phony war.” She is correct.

If members of the GOP were interested in protecting life, they would be praising organizations like Planned Parenthood for their efforts to educate about contraception and even sexuality itself.

Instead of ranting at women who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies, they should join the effort to increase appreciation among males as well as females for the precious life-giving ability our sexuality gives us and the awesome responsibility we have to use this gift wisely.

Planned Parenthood does not exist to provide abortions and, in fact, is a protective guardian of women’s reproductive health.

Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun and well-known Catholic columnist, wrote recently that people who vote regularly against programs that would provide needy pregnant women and children with nutrition aid, education, and mental and physical health care and then pretend to be “pro-life” are actually only “pro-birth” because once the child is born, they lose interest.

I agree. Hopefully, politicians will turn to matters that will really enhance lives, such as sustaining the planet and making available worthwhile employment to those who seek it.

Janelle Lazzo

Roeland Park

Helling column

Although I appreciate Dave Helling’s concern for the Kansas Democratic Party, I do not share his pessimism for two primary reasons (8-25, Commentary, “Meeker way won’t revive Democrats”).

An increasing number of Kansas voters are realizing that simply voting for everyone with an “R” after his or her name, as their parents may have comfortably done, now runs the risk of buying a pig in a poke.

The trickle-down economics of the governor’s acolytes as well as their views on education, health care and the poor would have placed them on the fringe of the Kansas Republican Party of Mom and Dad.

Second, as the bad news from Topeka continues rolling in, voters who sat out the 2014 election (close to 136,000 in Johnson County alone) are realizing that taking a pass helped ensure the disastrous consequences we are now reeling from.

Lesson learned.

Gerald K. Gentry

Member

Johnson County

Democrats

Executive Board

Olathe

Time Warner Cable

I have followed what has been written in the newspaper regarding JJ’s restaurant trial and verdict (8-28, A1, “Jury blames cable firm”). Am I the only one wondering, “What the heck?” with who was assigned blame?

Yes, Time Warner wanted the conduit installed. Time Warner hired the company that professionally locates underground utilities to mark them.

Yes, Time Warner hired the company that professionally bores and buries underground conduit. Yes, that company hit the gas line.

Yes, the Kansas City Fire Department responded, and according to the newspaper, firefighters were told by JJ’s employees that everything was under control so they left without turning off the pilot lights.

Yes, the gas company showed up and could not or did not shut off the gas supply or turn off the pilot lights.

Yes, the place blew up with devastating consequences.

So Time Warner was 98 percent at fault because it did not monitor all those companies doing the jobs they were professionally trained and paid to do?

What kind of logic is that? All I know is I want that lawyer on my team so when it rains he can convince the jury it was God’s fault the water was not wet enough.

And you wonder why your cable bill is so high?

Dan Norburg

Overland Park

Electricity bills

I appreciate the recent tentative agreement to increase the utility rates to a lesser amount, although recovering costs through a fixed-charge structure limits customers’ ability to control their energy bills.

My husband and I recently purchased a 600-square-foot home in Lawrence.

When we made the purchase, saving on electricity costs from powering such a small space was one of the driving factors in our decision.

The proposed increased fixed rate by Westar not only discourages less consumption of energy but punishes us for using less electricity.

If this proposal goes through, we will be paying the same high amount per month in fixed charges as homeowners whose houses are two to four times bigger than ours.

There are more fair ways of recovering costs than a higher fixed charge, such as integrating the cost into the price of energy. Charging customers for the energy they use would fairly distribute the cost and give consumers the freedom to control their energy bills.

As energy use decreases, we need utility models and rates that reflect choices for Westar customers, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy.

I sincerely hope the Kansas Corporation Commission will consider alternative structures for recovering costs.

Olga Khakova

Lawrence

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