Luring young voters
In Kansas, after taking one year of high school U.S. history and another year of government courses, only 36 percent of students who are citizens sign up to vote. Further, only 14 percent of them voted in the 2014 election. This data lags the national averages.
Do our school systems and the teachers have any responsibility for this under-achievement? If not, who and what are responsible? What are they doing to improve the participation of young Kansans in our system of government and how effective is it?
My answers to the preceding questions are that our laws and the secretary of state are the main problems. Some states with different laws and different secretaries of state have far better voter registration and participation rates. Secondarily, yes, our school systems bear some responsibility.
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I have tested what can be done by talking with anyone I meet who appears to be about 18 years old. I have continually found that I can persuade young Kansans to register and vote in about three minutes. Government teachers have 186 school days with 50-minute classes each day. What is their problem?
More gun controls
When I heard about the president’s action to extend requirements for background checks to sellers at gun shows and online and private sellers, I was shocked (1-5, A1, “Gun control speech hits close to home”). Shocked because I thought, “Why aren’t these requirements already in place?”
Why would anyone object to tightening background checks to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, criminals and underage buyers? Not to mention people on the terrorist no-fly list.
Why should any gun sales be unregulated?
Why do people say that the president is a tyrant and that he is trying to disarm Americans, when he is trying to protect us?
Let’s be reasonable and make our wishes for gun safety known to our elected representatives. Let’s urge them to work with the president to at least make some attempt to curb the insane level of gun violence in our country.
Members of Congress can make pronouncements, travel to foreign lands and decry the acts of certain countries and leaders. But it is the president who is the “voice of the nation” to the rest of the world.
Most have been at best mediocre or worse, but some have risen to present to the world our views and, at times demands, and have been heeded and respected: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and James Monroe are examples.
Which of today’s candidates stand forth in the mold of these presidents, as we watch the vitriolic rantings and “muggings” that are before our allies and enemies alike?
Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick continues to blame President Barack Obama for Kansas’ fiscal woes (1-5, A4, “Kansas tax revenue falls short again”). An acolyte of P.T. Barnum, he wants to fool some of the people all of the time by insisting that the same promised result of the state tax cut that hasn’t worked would work but for Obama’s “struggling national economy.”
Let’s see: The stock market has doubled since January 2009; 7 million jobs have been added under Obama vs. 2 million under President George W. Bush; the unemployment rate is below 5 percent for the first time since 2007; retail sales for the holiday season increased; and Kansas tax revenues have continued to decline.
Merrick fits Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
With the great news that Sheriff Frank Denning won’t be seeking another term in 2016, perhaps now Johnson County citizens can elect a true conservative law enforcement professional who will cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on detention requests to hold illegal immigrants for potential deportation instead of turning them loose to appease the American Civil Liberties Union (1-6, 913, “Sheriff Denning won’t run again”).
Hopefully, the new sheriff will consider the safety of Johnson County citizens and visitors above threats of dubious lawsuits and establish a clear policy to remove, not release, potentially violent criminals.
This fall, as I was driving my daughter from 57th Street to 135th Street for a soccer game, a crazy thought struck me. Wouldn’t a soccer complex on the site of the old Mission Mall be fantastic?
Combined with the new retail on Johnson Drive, a soccer complex could be a powerful draw to keep young families in the area. What if a collaborative effort were proposed to Mission, Roeland Park and Fairway residents?
Roeland Park would probably love to keep its Wal-Mart revenue, and the Shawnee Mission East feeders may desire a soccer complex that would rival, on a smaller scale, those down south. Community volunteers would surely step up, as they are in developing the small R Park nearby.
The developer with the rights to the property could design some mixed-use buildings on the west side (sporting goods, coffee shop, fitness centers, apartments with views of a fantastic jogging trail and green spaces).
Start small with the jogging trail and a few natural grass fields, and then go from there. This is outside the box, admittedly, but it may be better than the box we’ve been in for the past decade.
To send letters
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