KC, petition drives
Kansas City’s government continues grinding down embattled petitions that challenge its leadership.
A recent petition surge reflects citizen disapproval over the government’s handling of issues, including transit, Kansas City International Airport, a downtown convention hotel and a dubious tax-abatement project.
We get that Mayor Sly James considers how best to move the city forward as his gated domain. However, the charter’s petition law empowers everyday citizens with the right to lead as well, via this direct mechanism of democracy.
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But the government and its wealthy parasites are threatened by public scrutiny and the spotlight that petitions cast on their backroom deals. To crack down, City Hall is branding petitions “illegal” or “unconstitutional” upon their submission (2015 hotel petition and 2011 light-rail petition).
Then, under the pretense of profound regret, the council uses this prejudiced legal opinion as cover to block a petition election. Straining against the law to cement over valid petitions from the people can only lunge this city toward a bad outcome.
Our community’s petition process is a political virtue amid these politically contaminated times. If anyone is going to reject a valid petition question from the people, let the voters do so, not the government.
The events last month in Paris have left us shocked, angry and threatened. We have every reason to feel that way. The Islamic State represents a force of such evil that it staggers our imagination.
However, the refugee bill passed by the House is nothing less than shameful. Comments by Republican presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Ben Carson are simply absurd.
Governors are refusing to accept refugees knowing their actions are unconstitutional. Have we forgotten the Japanese-American internment camps?
The Islamic State is depending on a xenophobic overreaction. When we repress innocents because of religion or origin, we drive them to radical groups.
Those groups want us to elect Trump to marginalize our Muslim population. They anticipated massive air strikes after the Paris attacks. They are counting on American boots on the ground to fight a war of attrition.
So, how can you fight such an enemy that has radicalized a religion to such an extent that mainstream Muslims cannot even recognize it?
If we eliminate their economic support, we can marginalize them. This means going after their banking networks. Hold the Middle Eastern kingdoms accountable.
Children in poverty
In the Nov. 25 article, “Denver shares lessons on universal pre-K,” about a Kansas City delegation visiting Denver to observe its preschool program, Gwen Grant with the Urban League said, “We know there are a number of factors that impact children in low-income areas, but we also know these factors have no impact on the brain’s ability to function.”
However, recent studies have shown a correlation between socioeconomic status and the development of the cerebral cortex. This is the part of the brain where most advanced cognitive processing takes place, including language, reading and executive functioning.
Children from families making $25,000 a year or less have cortical surfaces that are smaller than children from families with incomes of $150,000 or more. The studies found there was no link to race or ethnicity; it was strictly socioeconomic status and brain structure.
So I think it’s not entirely correct to say that low income has no impact on the brain’s ability to function.
Maybe instead of putting kids in school earlier, we should focus on children in poverty.
Annette S. Bright
I am so proud to be Scottish. Here’s what Scotland’s Nationalist News had on its cover recently. I only wish I’d see this in our Kansas City Star and newspapers across our nation.
“To the first refugees fleeing war-torn Syria who will arrive in Glasgow Airport today, we’d just like to say: Welcome to Scotland.” An editorial said the refugees deserved a warm welcome.
These people are capital-N Nationalists, and they recognize that welcoming Syrian refugees is their duty to themselves and to the human species.