Letters (Week of Jan.16, 2008)


State’s needs require leadership priorities

The article last week (Jan. 9) giving Rep. Don Dahl’s take on the upcoming Kansas legislative session seems to be setting a low expectation for anything being accomplished other than the typical partisan sniping over taxes.

In the entire article I did not read a reference to any of the many issues that need to be addressed, such as:

  • Water policy. This paper reported a few weeks ago that Marion County cities that obtain water from the Marion Reservoir may face supply problems in the next five years and the loss of the source in 20 years.

    The quality of the water continues to be compromised by siltation from the watershed. This surface-water situation and lowering groundwater aquifers are common problems to many counties in Kansas, perhaps the legislature could look at revising water allocation and water quality regulations.

    I wonder how many Marion County Surface Water Advisory Board and WRAPS meetings Rep. Dahl has attended to stay informed of this vital issue?

  • Education. Rep. Dahl referred to the mandated increase in education funding but did not elaborate on the problems facing educators in Kansas. One of the more alarming is the worsening teacher shortage brought on by “baby-boom” teacher’s retirements and a shrinking pool of new graduates to take their place.

    Perhaps the legislature should look at teacher compensation compared to competing employers and make a plan to retain and recruit high-quality educators. Education is probably the best investment of public money to ensure a solid economic future for Kansas.

    I wonder how many school board budget hearings Rep. Dahl attended in the 70th District last year so as to become acquainted with the specific local education problems?

  • Energy. Rep. Dahl put his name on a letter to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment last fall pressuring them to permit the construction of two large coal-fired electrical generating plants. The secretary of KDHE denied the permit in October.

     

Since that decision, legislators have made threats to dissolve KDHE, and House Majority Leader Melvin Neufeld has said he will “shut down” the session until the KDHE decision is overturned by the legislature.

Does Rep. Dahl support these actions, and how does he feel about the issue of mercury and CO2 emissions being a health problem? Is there a chance that the Legislature could pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard law against the wishes of the powerful utility lobby, so that increased development of wind and solar generation could benefit Kansas communities?

There are several other areas of pressing need besides the three I refer to above and I realize there is never enough money to fully address all the problems. The expectation of leadership is to prioritize and plan with the best information to move from problem to solution.

Harry E. Bennett
Marion

Government has made us dependent

In regard to the budget crisis facing the state legislature, is responsible government one in which the members see who can spend the greatest amount of the people’s money in their districts?

To create the most dependency in order to ensure their continued control?

And then to turn around and blame the private sector for not contributing enough to provide for that dependency?

To justify raising taxes on those who are disciplined and provide for themselves?

Should government not rather reward people for their work?

Don Dahl, you and your fellow legislators and Gov. Sebelius, too, need to go to the people and tell them the truth. Tell them how you have deceived us when you made promises to meet our needs. Tell us that every penny government spends comes from us. To the extent that you have lied, so you must tell the truth.

One time I was contacted by a friend who has a special-needs daughter. He said without government help they would not have been able to provide the services she needs. I asked him if he would have been willing to go door-to-door to the people in his neighborhood to ask them for money for his daughter. He said, “No.”

That is an example of how government has deceived us into thinking the money comes from government and doesn’t affect people.

It bears repeating: Government is not a productive entity. It has no money of its own. It has to get it from the people. True or false.

The state budget problem is simple. It is what happens when you take away the right of people to be self-governing and take away their responsibility to provide for themselves. It shouldn’t be the government’s role to take away a man’s wealth, but to protect it.

A good example of misplaced government is Gov. Sebelius’ statement: “I consider all the children of Kansas to be my children.” Is this true or false? We as a people have sold our birthright in exchange for government security at our expense. And now the day of reckoning has come.

How many dollars have we spent on economic development? I mean, us, the people. And what is the return on our investment? Economic development as a public issue really is about getting more revenue for government programs. It is about more and bigger government for more control. The bigger government gets, the less self-governed we are.

As for us in Marion County where the ag industry is our major industry, how do we benefit? Doesn’t our prosperity come from the freedom of the individual to dream and to realize the fulfillment of his dream?

From our founding, our government, including state and local, in the name of the Constitution, has taken away by intimidation and laws our right to self-governance and personal responsibility. They have made us dependent, irresponsible and lawless, to legitimize their power over us. They have made us to feel vain in our own morality and humanity.

Jerry Plett
Lincolnville


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