Letters to the Editor

Readers share thoughts on green energy, the Missouri legislature and national security

Back green energy

The Koch brothers fund groups such as Americans for Prosperity with millions of dollars for ads to reach congressional representatives they fear might vote to extend the wind power Production Tax Credit. These ads explain that tax credits going to wind and solar companies amount to around $10 billion and must be stopped.

They don’t mention that the credit will help the continued amazing job growth in the wind industry, continue to lower electricity prices, clean the environment, bring hundreds of millions of dollars to farmers and ranchers, and increase our national security. They also don’t mention that the oil and gas industry receives about $70 billion in subsidies, as reported by the Center for American Progress.

If the United States cares about the future of our children, all of us must support the superior benefits that come from wind and solar power and tell our congressional representatives that the subsidies to the oil and gas industry are the ones that must end.

Joe Spease

Overland Park

Missouri legislature

The Dec. 14 front-page article, “Country Clout,” on Missouri’s urban areas’ lack of influence in Jefferson City makes a good case for adopting proportional representation for electing state legislators.

Rather than splitting the state into numerous districts, each of which elects a single representative, they could be elected by a system such as single transferable vote, in which each voter indicates his preferences for a list of candidates.

It could never make it past the current legislature. It would have to be adopted by referendum.

Robert O’Rourke


Benefits of security?

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the federal government has spent billions of dollars to protect us from multiple homeland dangers, including germ and chemical warfare. A handful of Ebola virus incidents in the United States has our medical institutions on their knees and our politicians in a semipanic.

What have we received from the billions we have paid for protection?

George J. McLiney Jr.

Kansas City

Morality challenged

We no longer exhibit shame. Morality is under attack from a culture that is locked onto pop culture and social media. People are ignorant of the slide America is taking from freedom to who knows what.

Then members of our ruling class no longer believe in constitutional law. They pick and choose laws they like and do not enforce the ones they don’t like, even after taking an oath to God and nation to enforce the laws that have been legislated and signed by the president to become law.

There is no larger example than immigration. We already have the laws that protect America and allow for lawful immigration.

With millions of people worldwide wanting to immigrate to America, how many more allowed in without permission will be enough to pacify the ruling class?

Maybe if we can keep football, baseball and basketball alive with a government-subsidized never-ending supply of drugs, we will not even notice when America is dissolved.

Jerry Jackson

Kansas City

To Gov. Brownback

Your disdain for equitable taxation is not only the equivalent of slavery for the least of us, but it will also take its toll on most Kansans.

In the near future, roads and bridges could be neglected and degraded to the point of catastrophic failure.

The poor could die for need of medical care. The death toll could eclipse that of abortion, your cause celebre.

Education’s funding decline will not just persuade but demand that forward-looking businesses go elsewhere.

The rejection of Medicaid expansion and federal tax dollars paid by Kansans could lead to hospitals and health providers, overwhelmed with pro bono services, becoming eager to relocate to more sophisticated environments.

The concept of smaller government is not all bad, but your brinksmanship will cause generational decline in Kansas families. Your tax policies are decidedly biased toward those who are already comfortable.

Cease being a minion of your corporate handlers and begin performing your job description, which is to benefit the good of not some, but all Kansans. It’s not too late to do the right thing, but time is growing short.

Steve Shaft

Prairie Village

Thing of beauty

The photograph in The Star on Dec. 15 of the cat on the pedestal is a thing of beauty and should be hanging in an art museum (C1, “Nessie is looking for a new perch”).

Dorothy Stoeger

Platte Woods

Safety when driving

With Daylight Savings Time in the rearview mirror, Kansas City commuters will spend more time driving in the dark. According to the National Safety Council, traffic-death rates are three times higher at night.

Fortunately, there are several ways drivers can reduce the risks on the road when the sun goes down.

Make sure all lights on your vehicle are functional and clean. If you are ever in doubt about turning your headlights on, turn them on. This will help other drivers see you better.

Avoid distracted and fatigued driving. Drowsiness can be amplified by darkness, so pull into a safe area to rest when overtired. Although driving while distracted is never safe, doing so at night increases the risks it poses.

Automakers, including Ford Motor Co., have introduced technologies to help with nighttime driving hurdles. For new drivers, Ford’s MyKey technology limits the car’s speed and can even block incoming calls or messages.

Ford also offers lane-keeping, blind-spot detection and accident-avoidance systems. Together these technologies assist with driver protection.

We can’t avoid dwindling daylight hours, but we can all do our part to make driving at night safer.

George O’Sullivan

Kansas City

Fixing Obamacare

People seem pretty happy with Medicare, and it’s too bad there weren’t the votes in Congress for expanding it for everyone. It would have been a lot cheaper.

The Affordable Care Act was based on proposals from the Heritage Foundation around 1980 and Republican leaders in the 1990s and implemented as Romneycare in Massachusetts.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, appears to have been designed by and for the insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital industries because they appear to benefit the most.

In the past year, comments from insurance industry officials indicated they were so giddy about the Affordable Care Act as to be wetting their pants. The MIT professor who was an adviser for Obamacare seems to have meant “ignorance” more than “stupidity” when he said “the stupidity of the American voter” allowed Obamacare to pass.

At any rate, there are much more effective and far less expensive natural strategies to build and maintain health than anything from the medical industry.

Where would our economy be without nearly 20 percent of GDP attributed to health-care expenses?

Lyndall Caldwell

Prairie Village

Shaky Kansas roads

I have worked for Kansas for 25 years. The last six years have been with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

I recall working for the University of Kansas back in the 1980s when we averaged one custodial worker for every 12,000 square feet. Now each custodial worker is responsible for about 45,000 square feet.

With the Transportation Department, I recall having three people to perform what we do. Now there are only two people to perform the same tasks. That means the remaining two employees had to absorb what the third person used to do.

This is just a microcosm of what it is like in the Department of Transportation. Some are absorbing one job and some are absorbing three jobs.

If Kansas residents want quality roads, they must be funded with quality people.

The saying around the Kansas Department of Transportation now is we build good roads in spite of what the Legislature does to us. That will not last forever.

Scott Getter

Ottawa, Kan.