Readers share thoughts on Kansas government, Ferguson and peace

08/19/2014 12:00 PM

08/19/2014 6:05 PM

Kansas overreach

Do you believe that your local elected officials know what’s important in your community better than state officials? In Kansas, home rule for local governments expresses that concept, and it is clearly under attack by the state.

Ironically, it is occurring at the same time the state is criticizing the federal government for telling the state what to do.

The most recent example of this attack took effect July 1.

Gun-control regulations in Kansas now apply to every square foot of the state whether plowed ground or urban.

It defies logic to apply the same gun-control regulations in urban areas such as Johnson and Wyandotte counties as in western Kansas counties.

Jack Manahan

Kansas City, Kan.

New name for team

A conservative Washington, D.C., columnist has suggested renaming that city’s football team the Reagans.

Aw, c’mon.

If we’re going to be renaming the team after a president, how did he overlook the most obvious one — the father of our country?

How ’bout them Washington Washingtons?

Talis Bergmanis


Brownback target

An Aug. 17 article, “Kansas governor race has national implications,” pointed out the stark contrast between the Kansas governor candidates as well as the importance of the outcome of this election.

One candidate is for big government and more taxation (Democrat Paul Davis) and one is for small government and less taxation (Republican Gov. Sam Brownback).

The election will have consequences across the nation and affect the direction of the country. If the election is close, it will be in no small part because of the criticisms that Gov. Brownback and his policies receive in The Star.

If we want our economy to get better and for Kansans to keep more of their hard-earned money, we need to give Gov. Brownback’s policies a chance to work. The daily pounding of Gov. Brownback is overkill.

The Star should at least try to keep its political leanings out of this race.

I wish I would have seen such zeal in reporting the Benghazi scandal and the scandal of the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups.

Clarice Dengel


Public servant sham

Recently, I have seen elected officials referred to as either “career politicians” or “public servants.”

There is no mystery about the meaning of the term career politicians. They have been at the public trough for years and years (think Pat Roberts and his 47 years).

However, I find the term public servant to be very misleading. It is painfully clear that most of our elected officials do not serve the public (their constituents) but rather corporations and organizations such as the National Rifle Association that buy their votes with contributions or threaten to withhold dollars if they fail to yield to corporate demands.

If elected officials were truly serving the public they would respect the 92 percent of American voters who support requiring background checks on all gun purchases according to a CBS News/New York Times poll (even 89 percent of Republicans support these checks).

Yet officeholders refuse to pass even this simple legislation, though research shows that gun deaths are dramatically reduced when background checks are the law.

This is proof that our public servants are not serving their public. This is an abject failure in both our state and federal legislatures and must be stopped.

Judy Sherry


Against Gun Violence

Kansas City

Search for peace

Although it often seems that reasonableness plays virtually no role in public affairs, any acts that might undermine the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program would be truly stupid.

We now have an on-site verified freeze on Iran’s enrichment of nuclear fuel while negotiations continue and a chance for a multiyear agreement.

And, who knows, maybe there is even an opening for a friendly relationship.

I hope our officials can seize this rare opportunity for peaceful security for the entire Middle East — and all of us.

Vic Burton

Kansas City

Ferguson leaders

The problems in the small town of Ferguson, Mo., are only the tip of the iceberg.

Throughout the South, towns and counties are predominantly governed by whites, even when those places have large black populations.

Changes are terribly slow in the South. But residents of the town of Ferguson can do something for themselves, by voting.

I believe the black citizenry of Ferguson should demand the immediate resignation of the mayor, all six City Council members and the chief of police.

The citizens have this great constitutional power to vote, and they should use it.

It appears that the citizens of Ferguson have not used their voting power in the past, allowing the mayor and council members to assemble an overarmed, combat-ready police force that is totally out of touch with its community.

One can only hope for a swift change in their city administration.

Victor Dewey

Kansas City

Boehner, Obama

House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican-controlled House Republicans are suing President Barack Obama because he has delayed implementation of part of the Affordable Care Act. It is the same law that the House tried to repeal more than 50 times.

Cue the “Twilight Zone” music.

Richard Johns

Kansas City

Classical TV loss

I’m certain I can’t be alone in mourning the reprogramming of Channel 17, replacing the Classic Arts Showcase with something called “Ted” and filling empty air with Hope and Crosby “Road” movies, which were B grade when they were made.

For more than a decade, this Time Warner channel provided the ultimate in classical music, ballet, plays, musicals and movies.

Nowhere else could you find singers from Josephine Baker to Maria Callas, Beverly Sills to Audra McDonald, Toscanini to the most well-known of today’s symphony conductors, an original German movie of the Threepenny Opera with Lottie Lenya, three versions of the Doll Song and all the very best artists performing the very best classical music ever composed.

What do we have now?

Unidentified speakers, unfunny comedians, pictures of the central office of the space center, small cuts of the Classic Arts Showcase, routinely shortened by commercials for the University of Missouri-Kansas City, those very old movies and whatever else is thrown in.

Classical music and the performing arts deserve a home in the TV world, and the loss of it is a loss to everyone.

Gail Roberts

Lee’s Summit

Parkinson’s disease

The media reports of Robin Williams’ diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease are distressing. They imply — perhaps unintentionally — that there was a direct cause-and-effect relationship between Parkinson’s and his suicide.

Williams struggled with his own personal demons for many years. His battle with depression apparently began well before the Parkinson’s diagnosis. His suicide appears to be the result of a complex combination of physical, medical and mental challenges.

In short, it was his inability to deal with life as he experienced it.

Although many people with Parkinson’s deal with depression at some point during their lives, most are able to lead productive and rewarding lives for many years.

I know, because I was diagnosed nine years ago.

In the Kansas City area, people with Parkinson’s have access to many knowledgeable and caring neurologists and mental-health professionals who can provide medications, treatment and counsel.

They can also turn to the National Parkinson Foundation Heartland for access to support groups, exercise programs and other services and information that will help improve their quality of life.

And they are just a phone call away at 913-341-8828.

Jan Parkinson

Prairie Village

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