Thank you for The Star’s series regarding secrecy in Kansas government. I am sure many readers were surprised to learn how many proceedings are handled with an extreme lack of transparency.
Previous efforts to address some of these issues have been blocked or voted down. My hope is that your reporting of these issues will put pressure on various parties to drive the change that is so desperately needed.
Several of us legislators have been keeping a list of areas where reform is needed. We desire to return our state to a more open, democratic process, and we will continue to address these issues.
I contend that the governor’s office set the tone for how business is conducted in our government. Seven years of Gov. Sam Brownback’s leadership, along with the impact of dark money, have hampered our system.
In an added insult to democracy, The Star reported that fees for assembling in the Kansas Capitol are rising dramatically from $20 to as much as $500. (Nov. 18, 4A, “Protesting at Kansas Capitol will soon cost as much as $500”)
This change, another made behind closed doors in the Brownback administration, greatly affects citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble.
We have a chance in 2018 to change the direction of our state government. Kansans deserve a leader who will listen to them and will return our state to open, democratic processes. My sincere hope is that we choose wisely.
Fix the system
More than 100 Kansas foster kids sleeping in offices, and almost as many lost in the system. Three year-old Evan Brewer, under the care of Kansas’ privatized Department for Children and Families found buried in concrete. Four-year-old Mekhi Boone dying under DCF’s contractor’s care. Little Adrian Jones being murdered and fed to pigs, and 10-month-old Kadillak Poe-Jones dying locked in a hot car.
Kansas’ privatization experiment, started in 1997, has saved money at the expense of 63,000 of our most vulnerable children. Gov. Sam Brownback continued to support his appointee, Secretary Phyllis Gilmore, who since 2001 had failed to act on recommendations from 12 blistering DCF audits. Finally, Gilmore has resigned and Rep. Jim Ward is asking questions.
Kansans, demand an overhaul of DCF:
▪ End privatization. Return the care of children and families to professionals rather than to high-profit-margin contractors (one CEO reportedly made $650,000 per year).
▪ Provide training and pay raises for caseworkers to reduce high turnover and maximize strong protections for children.
▪ Stop exceptions to the minimal controls for providers (98 percent of exceptions are approved).
▪ Institute a strong marketing program to recruit loving, competent foster parents, straight and gay.
L. Kathleen Whited
I read an article about someone having an inappropriate relationship, and I started wondering just what is inappropriate anymore. The example we all should be looking up to is the elected leader of our country, yet he lies continually in public.
He cusses, belittles and puts down anyone around him. He has no hesitation about throwing friends under the bus.
He gropes women and calls them liars if they protest. He has made friends of countries that would destroy our country and has turned longtime allies into enemies.
He said he would unite us and make America great again, yet I continually read that the rest of the world went ahead without America.
It seems to me that someone is setting the bar very, very low. I worry about the children who see the world through this man’s vision.
Richard C. Lumpkin
I just saw the movie “Wonder,” which was partially about bullying and name-calling. Too bad our president never learned that lesson: “Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco, Rocket Man, Al Frankenstein, Pocahontas, Jeff Flake(y)” and more.
Do your job
Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters’ good friend Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders sat out “The Star-Spangled Banner” but stood for the Mexican national anthem at Sunday’s game in Mexico City. How delicious then when Lynch and his teammates got their heads handed to them by a team called the Patriots.
Perhaps Lynch and Peters would better serve their teams and their customers if they paid a little more attention to what they get paid extremely well to do — play football.