Letters to the Editor

New EPA rules, Sunflower Electric, preventing child abuse

EPA rules welcomed

The Environmental Protection Agency released rules that will establish the first-ever carbon emissions standards for power plants. This is good news for entrepreneurs, the majority of whom support the EPA limiting carbon pollution.

But what do these EPA standards have to do with small businesses? A lot, in fact.

Small employers realize carbon pollution is linked to climate change and extreme weather. And more and more, extreme weather has been hitting small employers where it hurts the most.

Small Business Majority polled a random sample of small businesses and found that climate change and extreme-weather events are causing real financial hardships for small employers — so much so that most entrepreneurs affected by an extreme-weather event said they’ve experienced a significant financial impact to their companies, and some have even had to lay off employees.

With the start of hurricane season and with it the likelihood of more extreme weather events, these new EPA standards couldn’t come at a better time.

Mary Timmel


Outreach Manager

Small Business Majority

St. Louis

Sunflower Electric

Here we go again with an exercise in corporate arrogance and stupidity (5-31, A7, “Kansas again OKs coal plant”).

Sunflower Electric wants to charge ahead with a coal-fired generating plant near Holcomb, Kan. Why would anyone want to build a water-hogging power plant in a water-starved location? The Arkansas River isn’t a good source anymore and the Ogallala Aquifer, which the plant wants to use to get water, is in trouble with levels dropping significantly every year and threatening crop irrigation.

A worse location might be Death Valley. Let Sunflower use natural gas or better yet wind generators if it needs to sell more electricity.

And by the way, it would be really sporting if plant officials would pay back the millions in taxpayer dollars they received to bail them out financially from the Rural Utilities Service — another example of a corporate welfare burden borne on the backs of average citizens.

Someone needs to pull the Sunflower Electric plug.

Bob Burns


Prevent child abuse

Preventing child abuse should be important to everyone. If you care but think the issue is too big to tackle and there is nothing you personally can do, think again.

Child abuse is 100 percent preventable, but only with the support of strong families and communities. Here are three ways people can protect children:

Don’t ignore the signs. Keeping kids safe means you have a moral obligation to report any suspicions of abuse. You don’t need proof, only reasonable suspicion, to call the child-abuse hotline. It is the responsibility of child protective services and law enforcement to investigate and prove or disprove any abuse. But your call may be what protects a child and gets help for the family.

Lend a hand to a relative, friend or neighbor who may be struggling with his or her parenting responsibilities, especially a single parent who is isolated. Offer a sympathetic ear or respite child care to give him or her a break.

Support activities that raise public awareness to prevent child abuse. Or call Sunflower House to ask how you can help.

Michelle Herman


Closing Guantanamo

Good news. We will be able to close the prison for enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay in no time. Once the terrorists realize that all they have to do is kidnap Americans and trade for terrorists, it will close.

Look out, Americans overseas. You may be targets.

But think positive. It is for a good cause.

James Campbell

Kansas City

Obama, IRS scandal

When the story broke about the Internal Revenue Service targeting tea party and conservative groups over applications for tax-exempt status, President Barack Obama held a news conference to say he was outraged by these actions and pledged to hold an investigation to get to the bottom of the wrongdoing. Now, before the investigation has been completed, Obama claims it was a “phony scandal” and there “was not a smidgen of wrongdoing” within the IRS.

I have two simple questions: What evidence did he have to make him change his mind? And why will he not share this evidence with the rest of America?

Andy Fisher

Pleasant Hill

KC murder rate

Kansas City’s murder rate was 22.6 per 100,000 residents in 2012. And we’re beefing up our police force to nab traffic violators.

Does that make sense?

George J. McLiney Jr.

Kansas City

Offensive hate act

To the person who committed the act of hatred against the president of the United States in Grain Valley: You are an embarrassment to Missouri (6-3, A5, “Obama mannequin hung from bridge”).

Geri Ryan

St. Louis

Bike trails vs. food

I would like to see some agency such as the Mid-America Regional Council do a study on the average household incomes of those riding area bike trails.

People can’t get enough to eat. We have free and reduced lunch and milk programs. Prenatal care is limited. Vaccinations for childhood diseases don’t get to all the children who need them.

But we have bike routes.

Does anyone have any idea how many meals the money paid for street markings would buy at St. Mary’s Food Kitchen in downtown Kansas City, Kan.?

Nicholas J. Santoro

Kansas City

KCI taxicab costs

Yes, we have an airport problem. However, the terminal design is not it.

I was a road warrior for more than 20 years and for eight years boarded more than 500 flights a year.

I’ve flown on everything from a two-engine puddle jumper to the 747 and Airbus. In all those flights, I remember only two really good airports — Kansas City downtown and Dallas Love Field. Both were near where you wanted to go, and you could get in and out in a flash. You want to get in and out, not see which airport has the best hot dog.

Airports such as Love and downtown had to be scrapped.

Cab fare from Kansas City International Airport to downtown, Crown Center and the Plaza is in the $75 range. To the Sprint campus, Garmin and Honeywell, it’ll cost more than $100. The new Cerner complex will be $115.

Visit boardrooms across this country, mention Kansas City, and thoughts are on the taxi costs from KCI.

One terminal? Three? Who cares? Travelers want in and out.

Toy train and new terminal aren’t on their minds. Let’s solve the ground problem and then worry about terminals with bells and whistles.

Charles Melton

Kansas City

Limit Congress wealth

Term limitations for members of Congress do not appear to have traction. Maybe the better approach is net-worth limitations.

Once a newly elected member of Congress increases his or her personal net worth by, let’s say $5 million, that person should resign and make way for a new representative or senator. I estimate there would be a great deal of turnover.

That could only be an improvement.

Jim Cox

Louisburg, Kan.

GOP death panels

Because the Affordable Care Act has not resulted in any death panels, the Kansas and Missouri Republican legislators have assumed that role.

A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that in Massachusetts, mortality slowed significantly after that state’s health-care reform (after which the Affordable Care Act was modeled) went into effect. The greatest drop in early mortality was among lower-income residents who were underinsured or uninsured until MassHealth’s expansion in 2006.

By refusing to expand Medicaid coverage, Kansas and Missouri have denied low-income people health care, which will likely result in premature deaths for many. So unless there’s a change of heart about Medicaid expansion, the Republican death panels are hard at work to keep poor people’s death rates high.

Janice Grebe

Roeland Park