Attorney General asked to help guide Kansas City area after hate crime killings

Rabbi Mark H. Levin: “The murders unexpectedly attacked this intrinsic prejudice against the other because it exposed our mutual vulnerability. But we need you, Mr. Attorney General, to point us in the right direction, to instruct us that we cannot allow these innocent and righteous people to have died in vain and that we must now assume the responsibility to truly understand our neighbors.”

Stand up against hateful ideologies

“While Kansas City-area residents mourn those murdered in the shootings at Jewish centers, and while we pray that the living shall seek justice, we should also learn from these terrible events,” historian Leonard Zeskind writes.

From Kansas City to the Boston Marathon tragedy

“When the marathon bombing happened, like every other American I felt fear,” writes Yusufi Vali, the executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. “I was scared for my wife, who was driving home from downtown Boston. Then that fear turned into anger. How dare someone do this to our city?”

Rethinking teacher retirement plans

“These balkanized pension plans deter movement of educator talent to its best use, provide virtually no benefits for the typical new teacher recruited into a Kansas City public school and are absorbing a larger and larger share of school revenues,” writes Michael Podgursky, an economics professor at the University of Missouri.

Kansas City schools need to improve dramatically

“It’s time for another school board election in Kansas City,” writes Laura Lloyd. “Once again, candidates are advocating for a much-diminished public school system, aiming to improve the district schools so they can regain accreditation. But are they willing to push for whatever it takes to restore Kansas City schools, even to the level of excellence of a quarter-century ago?”

Education recalculation is bad math that will close virtual schools

“We agree that Kansas owes its public school students — regardless of their community’s economy — a high-quality education supported by fair and full funding,” write Natasha and Les Miller of Fredonia, Kan. “But our state’s educational promise extends to the approximately 6,000 full-time virtual public school students as well.”

Look to the past to understand income inequality

Harry Haskell writes: The U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations’ bipartisan consensus early last century testifies to a moment when Americans across the political spectrum recognized that workers had been denied their fair share of the wealth generated by the nation’s expanding economy.

Clean Water Act benefits Missouri, Kansas

Karl Brooks writes: Because of this diversity of water resources, previous interpretations of waters of the U.S. resulted in uncertainty. Clarifying Clean Water Act protections will add certainty and clarity for farmers, developers and others.

Right to work is wrong for Missouri workers and businesses

“So-called right to work is wrong for Missouri businesses and middle class families,” writes Timothy P. Green of IBEW Local No. 1 and the St. Louis NECA. “The best way to ensure economic security for Missouri’s working families is through quality jobs with family supporting wages and quality benefits.”

Sign up for affordable health coverage by March 31

“Today, here in Kansas City, it truly is a new day,” writes Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services and a former Kansas governor. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there is choice and competition. In fact, you can now choose from 16 qualified health plans. Before the Affordable Care Act, many consumers had few if any real choices.”

Kansas Legislature threatens judges’ independence

“In a recent legislative proposal, linking money to other court issues can no longer be denied. It is glaring,” writes Lawton R. Nuss, who has served on the Kansas Supreme Court since 2002 and as chief justice since 2010. “Instead of pay raises, this time legislative money is being offered to keep all Kansas courts open after July 1 — in direct exchange for some important judicial branch restructuring.”

The cost of Kansas’ Medicaid expansion

“Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will harm the Kansans it’s supposed to help, add billions of dollars to the state’s budget and force the state to cut valuable programs that serve our children,” writes Steve Anderson, a former Kansas budget director and the senior adjunct fiscal policy fellow at the Kansas Policy Institute.

Don’t poach Missouri’s citizen conservation commission

“To change things now would be a step backward — to the days when partisan politics led to exploitation and mismanagement of Missouri’s precious forest, fish and wildlife resources,” Anita Gorman and James Nutter Sr. write of a bill that would allow Missouri’s politicians to set and control hunting and fishing seasons and limits.

Recognize the value of higher education

“Higher education is the path to success for our young people, and investing in higher education has and will continue to serve our state well as we endeavor to create more jobs in Missouri,” writes Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri System. “… I encourage you to join me in raising your voice in support of higher education and the benefits it provides to individuals, communities and our state.”

Revise Missouri’s Criminal Code to protect public safety

On behalf of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Teresa Hensley, Jean Peters Baker, Lynn M. Stoppy, Daniel L. White and Eric Zahnd endorse a proposed revision to Missouri’s Criminal Code, saying it would modernize antiquated statutes, harmonize many duplicate provisions and gives prosecutors an important new tool in the form of a fifth felony class.

Tougher Kansas City ordinances fight crime

Kansas City Councilman John Sharp responds to a Star editorial, saying that “lambasting the City Council Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee for not appearing to care about the city’s high murder rates and not spending more time grilling police commanders about plans to reduce them reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of City Council committees.”

Kansas City Municipal Court’s costly ‘crisis’ cases

“Municipal courts are commonly viewed as ‘traffic courts,’ handing out fines for traffic and other minor violations as a way of encouraging compliance with the law. While this is true of all municipal courts in general, the Kansas City Municipal Court has evolved into a role that is far more complex,” writes Presiding Judge Joseph Locascio.

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