Daily Archives: Sept. 8, 2013

Let CURB be heard in Westar case

It’s bad enough that the Kansas Corporation Commission so often discounts and even ignores the concerns of the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, a watchdog agency created by state law to represent residential and small-business utility customers. It will be worse if a KCC official’s ruling stands and CURB is not allowed to intervene in a $10.5 million Westar Energy rate case relating to energy-saving thermostats for homeowners and multimillion-dollar rebates for Wichita’s Occidental Chemical Corp. “If we’re not there, the only parties (in the case) will be Westar and the KCC staff,” said David Springe, CURB chief consumer counsel. The KCC prehearing officer, Brian Fedotin, ruled that CURB hadn’t shown that its participation was necessary to ensure small consumers’ interests would be adequately represented. CURB has appealed the ruling. Surely Westar’s 19 requested rate increases since 2009, for almost $470 million total, should be evidence enough of the need for residential and small-business ratepayers to be fully represented in every case.

Spike in traffic fatalities calls for caution

Any metropolitan area that is home to more than 600,000 people is bound to have traffic fatalities. But this year’s tally of such tragedies – 24 as of Friday, compared with 14 at the same point last year – should be a call to caution for all area drivers. Buckle up. Slow down. Don’t text or otherwise use the phone while behind the wheel. And recognize that the few minutes to be saved by excessive speed, tailgating and other kinds of aggressive driving are not worth the risk. While more Kansans are using seat belts than ever before, Sedgwick County can do better. It came in fifth among urban Kansas counties in a new Kansas Department of Transportation study of the use of seat belts and other restraints among children and teens, with 87 percent usage in Sedgwick County compared with first-place Douglas County’s nearly 96 percent.

So they said

“Kansans should prepare to man the barricades, to defend our Kansas Constitution, and to not allow partisan politics to change the way we select fair, independent and qualified justices on the Kansas Supreme Court.” – former Kansas Attorney General Steve Six (in photo), in a commentary criticizing the new selection method for the Kansas Court of Appeals

“LBJ made Truman the first Medicare enrollee. Why can’t Obama be the first to sign up for #ObamaCare exchanges?” – U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, on Twitter

“I kind of feel like Michael Corleone (from ‘The Godfather’). I keep trying to get out, and they keep pulling me back in.” – Rep. Bob Grant, D-Frontenac, who is resigning Dec. 10, on last week’s special session