Letters to the Editor

August 26, 2014

Readers share views on homelessness, immigrants and Ferguson

Anymore I am never surprised at the lack of compassion Americans have for poor people of color who are also constantly subjected to being victims of criminals on a regular basis.

Housing for homeless

Congress is proposing cuts in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, which would negatively affect 76,000 to 80,000 U.S. households. These cuts would cause serious harm to families and disrupt our communities.

Many of the affected people are workers. According to data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Missouri is $744 a month. To support this rent at an affordable level, a household would need an income of $14.31 an hour, or $29,755 annually. The mean wage for a renter in Missouri is $12.15 an hour.

The practical results would be people becoming homeless, moving to substandard housing or doubling up with other families. As families move, school performance suffers. Substandard housing increases the likelihood of diseases such as asthma.

There are 1,700 families on the Section 8 waiting list in Kansas City, so there is little or no chance that the newly homeless would be able to seek relief from current Section 8 vouchers.

The economy would also suffer. Families would have less disposable income, spending less on food, medicine and clothing.

For these reasons, we urge people to contact their congressmen to request full funding for this vital Section 8 funding.

Vickie L. Riddle

Paul Dribin

Housing Co-Chairs

Missouri Association

for Social Welfare

Kansas City

Immigrants welcome

Anymore I am never surprised at the lack of compassion Americans have for poor people of color who are also victims of criminals on a regular basis. These are immigrants who have left countries where the police and the federal governments are corrupt, making mothers and children easy prey for criminal enterprise.

But blocking the buses holding these people who are guilty only of what the majority of our ancestors wanted — a way out of poverty and at least a hope of freedom from their oppressors. I think Americans need to welcome them to this country.

A bunch of immigrants set forth on a war against Native Americans, who already lived here. We used every tactic at our disposal from outright murder of men, women and children, and even biological warfare, giving freezing tribes blankets infected with smallpox.

We have a dark and shameful history, and if we are not going to stand by the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, then tear it down because it is an empty promise to people seeking a better life.

Steven Addison

Kansas City

Rush to judgment

It has been unfortunate to watch the mainstream news accounts and the rush to judgment on the Ferguson, Mo., police officer involved in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

It is at least conceivable that the officer was being physically attacked by an individual almost twice his size, as some information has suggested.

The news media should let the facts unfold and stop this rush to judgment. It has been very irresponsible for the news outlets and politicians to pander this way.

We need to support our law-enforcement community. Imagine what life would be without the officers’ dedicated service to protecting us.

Tony Coble

Kansas City

Children of God

Unless we see that Israel and Palestine are both children of Abraham, children through his son Isaac and through his son Ishmael, peace in the Middle East has little chance.

The lives and property of civilians are sacred. This is the core of every sacred tradition. The Bible does not say 200 eyes for an eye — and even taking one eye for an eye in time leaves the whole world blind. Violence simply needs to stop, and healing must begin.

I propose that the two peoples begin with the foundation of respect for each other as monotheistic religious traditions in the lineage of Abraham and that both sides honor the ethical principles of that tradition in terms of life and property, as though the other were in truth an honored brother.

Amrita Burdick

Kansas City

Bridging the divides

Michael Brown and three other unarmed black men have died at the hands of police officers in the past few weeks. These wrongs go deeper than isolated incidents.

These wrongs appear societal in nature, of the great divide present, of fears, anger, distrust and frustrations that exist. Do we truly love our neighbors as ourselves?

If we did, then our relations with black, Asian, Native American, other minorities, gay, Jewish, Muslim and international peoples would truly be different. We would truly get to know them.

We would socialize with them. We would eat with them. We would welcome them into our homes. We would welcome them into our places of worship.

We would welcome them into our families. We would have meaningful dialogues and truly understand each other. We would come to each others’ defense and honor.

We need to practice the Golden Rule of love, and live nonviolently. We need to see through each others’ eyes, minds and hearts. We need to disarm ourselves of weapons of war, hatred and racism.

Henry M. Stoever


PeaceWorks, KC

Overland Park

Trust in doubt

The Missouri audit of the bidding process concerning the CEE-Trust plan to help the then-unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools brought out that the bidding process showed potential conflicts of interests (8-21, Editorial, “Audit indicts credibility of education agency”).

But the real issue involved the state keeping the Kansas City Public Schools unaccredited even though they had reached the provisional accreditation with enough points even with the new standards.

The reason was simple — the Missouri education commissioner needed a large school district to bring in CEE-Trust.

H. Lon Swearingen

Kansas City

KCI conveniences

I recently read that 36 percent of airline passengers are over 55 years old. I don’t know the percentage of passengers with physical disabilities, the number of parents with small children or the number with multiple bags and suitcases.

However, I know the most important consideration of these people (and probably many others) is ease and convenience and the time of getting from their cars or from taxicabs to boarding the plane when departing Kansas City International Airport and getting from their airplanes to their cars and cabs when returning to KCI.

Let’s not spend more than a billion dollars discriminating against these groups of people in favor of the small group of relatively young, healthy, leisure travelers with no heavy baggage and time on their hands with an interest in dining and shopping.

Tom Fisher


World War I hero

I’ve read with great interest your stories on World War I.

I grew up in Lexington, Mo., and knew many veterans of that war and remember seeing veterans who had been gassed, some who were dealing with “shell shock” and others who had happy and productive lives in spite of the terrors of trench warfare.

One of the heroes of that war was a beloved figure in Lexington who spent his postwar career at Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington. Col. James McBrayer Sellers was a friend to all.

During World War I, Col. Mac was a Marine company commander and, to quote from a Wentworth publication, “On June 6, 1918, he was seriously wounded in the engagement of the war at Belleau Woods. Later, he participated in major engagements at Saint-Mihiel, Mont Blanc and the Argonne Forest as a company commander.

“For his bravery in action, he was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the World War I Victory Medal with four battle stars and the French Croix de Guerre.”

I just wanted folks to know about this remarkable man. May he rest in peace.

Jim O’Malley

Warrensburg, Mo.

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