Hefty price tag
The more I heard about the National White Privilege Conference coming to Kansas City, the more I thought, “What a good idea.” (April 24, 1A, “KC forum on White Privilege making all ‘uneasy’”)
I thought I would like to attend. Then I looked at the sidebar for particulars of where, when and how much. The answer to the last question: $200 for students and $400 for individuals.
What? How many students do you know with an extra 200 bucks lying around? And $400 for non-students?
With prices like these it’s doubtful the conference can draw a representative cross section of the Kansas City community.
So, is the goal to limit the conference to the universally privileged, or is the main objective a fat profit for the organizers?
Albert de Zutter
Within the last week or so, Missouri’s lawmakers again refused to address the issue of our state’s crumbling roads and bridges.
For some, a no-new-taxes pledge is their excuse, and they refuse to recognize that times have changed and so must our solutions. But these issues are like a cavity in a tooth — the problem will not go away, and delaying getting it fixed means greater pain and larger costs in the future.
Considering our state tax on gasoline is among the lowest in the nation at 17 cents per gallon, the solution is obvious.
If a person drives 15,000 miles a year with a vehicle that averages 25 miles per gallon, an additional tax of 5 cents per gallon would cost this driver $30 more per year. When you consider that this is a user tax, plus the fact that out-of-state drivers would also be paying into Missouri’s coffers, surely this isn’t too much to ask.
Yet our legislators insist this is not an option, despite the fact they have no meaningful alternatives.
Politicians break promises on a daily basis when it is convenient for them or their lobbyists, so these sacred pledges shouldn’t be exactly binding.
In Jonah Goldberg’s April 23 column “Death penalty opponents’ sleight-of-hand arguments” (A23), he uses the example of Steve Stephens’ certain guilt to argue for the death penalty while accusing opponents of using “sleight-of-hand rhetoric.”
What he didn’t acknowledge is the number of people sentenced to death on nothing more than circumstantial evidence, the testimony of witnesses of questionable truthfulness, or with something to gain out of that testimony. So Goldberg is using slight of hand to argue against sleight of hand.
Elwin McKenzie, Jr.
Town hall time
I have questions for Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt. As a past recipient of federal work-study financial aid, I want to know if he will fight to protect this program. As a person with a preexisting condition, I want to know if he believes health care is a human right. As a host parent of eight foreign-exchange students, I want to know if he will vote to fully fund exchange programs.
I have not been able to ask Blunt these questions because he has not held any public town hall events since being reelected last year. In fact, during the April congressional recess, Blunt attended a fundraiser in Knoxville, Tenn., more than 700 miles from Kansas City.
I worked with Indivisible KC to collect constituent messages requesting a town hall. We coordinated with Indivisible East Tennessee to deliver our notes to Blunt at the fundraiser. It was inspiring working with people across two states to get our message out. Yet it bothers me that constituents must go to this much trouble to ask their own senator for a public meeting.
So I say to Sen. Roy Blunt: Do your job. Hold a town hall.
Tend to nature
It’s true — nature can heal herself if left to her own ways. The issue now, however, is that nature cannot keep up with the overload of carbon emissions dumped into the atmosphere by industrialized countries.
U.S. contributions of CO2 are second only to China’s. And yet, the Trump administration wants to cut funding to programs that help non-industrial countries deal with the effects of the resulting climate change we help cause.
Now is the time to let elected officials know that climate comes first. Tell them we want renewable forms of energy. Tell them we want carbon-fee and dividend-legislation passed.
President Donald Trump says we are “putting America first” by cutting funds related to climate change. We ignore what nature is telling us at our peril. This is not a partisan issue. It is a crisis.