Archive for Opinions

KCK Chamber of Commerce focuses on immigration issue

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Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Monsignor Stuart Swetland was a Rhodes Scholar who studied economics at Oxford University in England during the 1980s. However, when commenting about immigration reform at a recent Legislative Committee meeting at the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce, he said he depends on his compassionate views as a Roman Catholic clergyman rather than a student of economics. Monsignor Swetland is the president of Donnelly College.

His comments came after a very spirited discussion among members of the Legislative Committee. Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a conservative member of the Kansas Senate, reminded committee members that there are laws on the books that are being violated by immigrants who have entered the United States illegally or those who are here with expired visas.

Another matter to the immigration issue concerns children who came here at a very young age with their undocumented parents and have been here for several years. Many of these persons are grown and are productive members of society.

Although I admire the comments from Monsignor Swetland in his plea for compassion, the cold, hard facts dictate that many industries would be hard-pressed to operate if all of the undocumented immigrants were forced to leave this country. So it does come down to a matter of economics. Those industries that are most vulnerable include restaurants, hotels, landscaping and construction, particularly homebuilding.

I recently had a conversation with a dry wall contractor who does extensive work in the single-family housing trade. He said most of his workers are first-generation Mexican immigrants; they are very good workers, he said.

In past years, the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce has made it quite clear that immigration is a federal problem. That is consistent with the Chamber’s Legislative Committee’s present proposed position on the immigration issue:

“Encourage federal resolution to immigration reform. Said federal resolution should compassionately address situations of individuals currently in the country. Oppose state legislation increasing penalties or threatening the business licenses of employers who have unintentionally hired illegal workers.”

The Chamber’s Board of Directors will consider this issue when it meets later this month.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

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Letter to the editor: Municipal ID

Dear editor,

Following is a letter I have sent to the Unified Government Commission and mayor regarding municipal identification cards.

To Mayor Holland: Re: Proposed Sanctuary City ID Cards

As a Wyandotte County resident, I am strongly opposed to the Unified Government establishing a municipal photo identification card program. Doing so would make the community far less safe by facilitating criminals living in our city. That ID would be a boon to identity thieves and all those who are not entitled to government issued ID.

A website, www.ACLUKansas.org, has a page supporting Unified Government ID and I found it to be very dishonest. First of all, the author of a letter to Mayor Holland, one might assume was written by an attorney. It turns out Weber is not an attorney, therefore legal conclusions in his letter should not be taken as a legal opinion. Weber makes unsubstantiated statements throughout his letter in matters of law and fact. For example, that 1 in 5 residents lack a government ID is clearly not correct.

His incorrect or misleading statements say that the card would allow holders to:
1. Open a bank account, (not true according to Academy Bank, Community America Credit Union, (under federal law a valid state ID is required to open a bank account).
2. Cash a check, (Walmart, banks I checked, gas stations, check cashing locations all require a state ID.) it would be foolish to cash a check without getting a secure ID.
3. Get a prescription filled, (controlled drugs may not be issued without a state ID).
4. Render identification to the police, (Police would expect a state issued ID).
5. Prove residency, (Cards are apparently not mailed, so homeless people get them).
6. Access health care, (ID is not required in an emergency re life-threatening issues).
7. Secure employment, (Employment laws requires state ID to confirm legal status).
8. Report crime to the police, (ID is not required simply to report a crime).
9. Reduce identity theft, (Easy ID is going to be used to commit ID theft).
10. Photo ID would be inexpensive, (To the end user or tax payers? See below).
11. Future state and federal government funds would not be withheld from the county, (this is likely false but would depend on other sanctuary city ordinances).

Our community might welcome hard-working legal residents who want to move to our city and contribute to our economy. However, those who can’t even obtain a lawful state of Kansas ID are far more likely to be supported financially by government services. This translates into them living on our tax money rather than contributing taxes to the community.

While the main claim to fame for the current UG administration is that county taxes are held low, this will be an expensive program in numerous ways. Issuing photo ID cards will require equipment for photographing people and printing ID cards (minimum $10,000 to $20,000 or more per location, plus about $1.20 per card). The program will require staff to process ID cards (figure $100,000 per employee minimum, twice that if sworn police do it. This smacks of typical government waste. Duplicating a government service and then not doing it very well is absolute foolishness. The required documentation to receive the proposed Wyandotte County ID would be what exactly?

ID currently costs $18 for minors and elderly to obtain an official state of Kansas card. Everyone else pays $22 for Kansas State ID. Present a valid, original birth certificate, valid U.S. Passport and a social security card and the Kansas ID or driver’s license will be deemed “Real ID” under federal law. What is wrong with that? The fictional notion that lawful elderly citizens of the county can’t easily obtain a Kansas ID or INS Green Card is not supported by anything but liberal conjecture.

Illegal aliens are excluded by design from obtaining real ID. Not being able to obtain Kansas State ID without proof of legal residency is not an accident or oversight. This is not something that ought to be fixed by using taxpayer funds.

I submit that the group having trouble getting an ID are those exactly precluded by law from getting the document. Official ID is only available to U.S. citizens and legal residents of the United States. Illegal aliens will be far and away the largest group wanting to obtain the new KCK fake ID card.

Due to pending federal “Real ID” standards, getting past TSA to fly on an airplane and entering federal facilities requires secure official ID. Wyandotte County fake ID card holders would get laughed out of line at airport security.

We live in dangerous times, state and federal laws are cracking down on insecure, easily forged or false ID. Why would Wyandotte County want to issue insecure IDs? This is absolutely wrong headed. Sanctuary cities are built with a collection of policies like this. This facilitates unlawfulness through lax enforcement of laws designed to protect American citizens.

I reached out to the Kansas Secretary of State regarding using the proposed Wyandotte County ID at the polls. He will certainly advise election officials that those cards would not be recognized at the polls. Not secure for photo identification, residency, home address, air travel, banking, voting, driving, entry to federal buildings, proof or age, name, buying alcohol, tobacco, opening a bank account, cashing a check and certainly not compliant with federal Real ID, what good are they? I am opposed to the UG getting into the fake ID business.

Greg Mills

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Guest column: Haley not endorsing anyone for mayor’s contest in general election Tuesday

Sen. David Haley

(Editor’s note: David Haley, a state senator who ran for mayor in the primary election, is not publicly endorsing anyone for the general election, and is not a write-in candidate. He wrote this column concerning his views on the subject.)

by David Haley

First, let’s acknowledge the genuine pride and appreciation I have for those who supported the Haley for UG Mayor 2017’s campaign efforts. It is the most humbling part. Against a backdrop of staggering odds, these are our neighbors who believe that Wyandotte County’s best hope this year was actually in having an executive leader who would deliver after the election on the commitment to uplift the ever overlooked, and taken advantage of, quadrants and people of our county; which each mayoral candidate pledged to do before the election.

Although that opportunity for all in our beloved county to grow may have best lain in proven, aggressive, immediate leadership which I intended to espouse as the only real choice from the then filed, and now remaining, alphabetically, Mr. Alvey’s and Mr. Holland’s, corporate-rewarding status quo.

Accordingly, with integrity and public expectation intact, and being skeptical of either’s true intent of:

A) Reinvesting our “Village West’s windfall” now in small business commercial and residential housing reoccupation along the main corridors of our county’s eastern half;

B) Bringing review and, wherever possible, diminishing some inequity from the BPU “PILOT” and other irresponsible “city”-related surcharges; while instilling transparency in our never-reviewed-since-1997 enabling Unified Government charter, which glaringly, allows a powerful Mayor (whether public servant or despot) to serve an unlimited number of terms, prevents half of the Commission from vying for Mayor without giving up their seat(s), and a host of other anti-democratic election-related anachronisms;

C) Paralleling Bonner Springs and Edwardsville’s UG tax contributions with greater parity of return by the UG to these cities’ necessary services;

D) Aligning our employee pool with more fiscally responsible intake and measured spending for greater public accountability; as well as

E) Restoring a more direct and personal relationship between our citizenry and our local leadership as well as other advancements.

I, David Haley, am not (as repeatedly flattered by having been asked) a write-in “candidate” for any office in 2017 and will only be voting for candidates printed on the General Election ballot for Mayor, Sheriff, Commissioner and the boards for the BPU, USD 500 and KCKCC. But I am not sharing those said choices publicly. Worst case scenario, as a public and responsible elected official, I wouldn’t want to be held responsible for influencing any vote for another Mayor who, if history sadly is any indication, will not meaningfully address between now and 2021 what has not been addressed heretofore.

But finally, optimistically, as we all collectively celebrate twenty years of this marginally successful experiment called “City-County Consolidation,” let us all prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the true progress (beyond all of the expensive “master plan” exercises, campus and neighborhood redevelopment studies; symbolic name-changes and ribbon-cuttings which energize, placate, targeted congregations and constituencies, etc. that comprises most of all we historically get from City Hall today) that, alphabetically, Mr. Alvey or Mr. Holland will as Mayor-CEO exercise and a “Unified Government” that reinvests in our history, our cultures, our entrepreneurship and newfound revisited charter integrity over these next four years.

Thank you again to all of those who supported optimism and real change in the primary by honoring me with your support, your voice and your vote. Please. Vote on (or before) Nov. 7, 2017.

As we have seen in so many examples, when we all don’t vote, we don’t count.

David Haley, J.D. – State Senator – Kansas from the 4th District, Wyandotte County
Primary candidate for Mayor – Unified Government of Wyandotte County – Kansas City, Kansas

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