Letter writers share views on GM, social media, GOP

07/22/2014 7:00 AM

07/22/2014 5:25 PM

McCaskill’s grilling

In the recent grilling of General Motors CEO Mary Barra, regarding GM’s chief legal counsel, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill put it all out there: “How in the world, in the aftermath of this report, did Michael Millikin keep his job?” Ms. McCaskill asked. “This is either gross negligence or gross incompetence.” (7-18, A7, “Senators blast GM’s top lawyer at hearing”)

Wouldn’t it have been great if she had asked that question but substituted Kathleen Sebelius’ name when she had the chance during the Affordable Care Act debacle? It’s a great question.

We never got an answer from the administration on Sebelius, just a litany of daft excuses and a huge (and continuing) bill.

Good luck with GM.

Richard F. Thomas Jr.

Kansas City

Kansas, social media

Unfortunately, Kansas’ university system does not yet have the national reputation to override alarms to policies that bring harm to state institutions of higher education.

Thus, whether it’s old news or not, the Kansas Board of Regents’ social-media policy has led to national attention that is not positive in an age when national image matters deeply to everything from recruiting faculty to marketing directed at students from outside the state.

It’s pretty clear from an account of a university faculty member that the Board of Regents is not primarily and deeply interested in social media or its use because to be interested in those would require a different policy — one fully aware of how much of academia has gone digital.

Instead, the policy seems to be based on the following: a University of Kansas journalism professor tweeted something that the Board of Regents didn’t like. The regents wanted to be able to fire him but couldn’t because there was no policy in place.

Thus, the Board of Regents created one. The policy is about the regents being able to fire someone when they decide they want to.

Unfortunately, this social-media policy is about power and its exercise.

Deborah Gordon


2016 GOP convention

Although I disagree with Republicans’ policies and principles, unlike some, I was excited that their party had considered until recently holding its 2016 convention in Kansas City (7-9, A2, “Cleveland gets nod for GOP’s big event”).

The huge financial windfall our city would have reaped from such an event would certainly have offset the gun-toting, gay-bashing, anti-everything rhetoric that would have highlighted the GOP’s presence.

Sadly, the GOP has yet to learn that although it might change its leaders every four years, unless those Republicans change their policies, it’s like putting clean clothes over a dirty body.

It just won’t work.

Eddie L. Clay


Register and vote

Thanks to The Star’s July 14 editorial, “Advice to the ‘suspended status’ voters of Kansas,” for the wise advice to suspended voters” in Kansas, urging them to complete their voter registration by providing citizenship proof to the Johnson County Election Office.

However, it behooves everyone intending to vote to make sure he or she has received that card from the election office certifying eligibility with voting site information. (This election cycle, it’s orange.)

No card, likely no official registration.

Too often someone shows up at the polls to learn there has been some glitch in registration along the way through bureaucracy.

According to Johnson County election records, only 17 percent of registered voters voted in the August 2012 election. Of course, not all eligible citizens even registered. That means less than 15 percent of Johnson County residents determined the election’s outcome; 85 percent relinquished their power to ensure our democracy’s success.

However, for a democracy to flourish, the electorate must be informed. The League of Women Voters encourages everyone to be informed about positions of candidates on the ballots.

Check its websites and other community websites, which have posted questions and answers relevant to the contested race. Read the newspapers. Attend candidate forums.

The league challenges all eligible voters to join us in making democracy work.

Diane Kuhn

Ann Norbury


Johnson County League

of Women Voters


Morgan over Kobach

Kansas Republicans have an alternative to part-time Secretary of State Kris Kobach this primary season. His name is Scott Morgan.

Unlike his primary opponent, Scott Morgan believes the secretary of state office is a full-time job that requires a total focus on Kansas not part time where your attention is divided between different states, as Mr. Kobach views it.

Scott Morgan believes that voting is the right of every Kansan, a view Mr. Kobach seems to differ with. Scott Morgan also views 18,000 Kansas residents, including many fellow Republicans, being unable to exercise their constitutional right to vote as a major issue, while Mr. Kobach views this number as insignificant.

Among Scott Morgan’s many qualifications, he has served on the staffs of both Sens. Nancy Kassebaum and Bob Dole, served as chief counsel to Bob Dole’s 1988 presidential campaign and has also served on the Federal Election Commission.

Scott has a keen understanding of our voting system and how it can be repaired from the damage Mr. Kobach has inflicted upon it.

It’s time for Kansas to hire a full-time secretary of state and choose Scott Morgan on Aug. 5.

Nick Hoheisel


‘Right to farm’ wrong

I don’t think there has been enough open debate on the so-called “right to farm” amendment.

Any constitutional amendment is a big deal, and we really ought to learn everything we can about the effect an amendment would have before we vote on it.

I learned that the bill’s sponsor (Rep. Bill Reiboldt) backed out of a debate at Missouri Southern State University. I think it says a lot when someone is running away from an opportunity to answer questions about his own policy.

The Joplin Globe even wrote an editorial about it.

If Monsanto and the other corporations that are backing Missouri Farmers Care were really on our side, they’d be happy to talk about the amendment in a public forum.

Instead, they’re hoping they can get one by all of us by sticking a happy name like “right to farm” on an amendment that is really only going to help out Monsanto’s shareholders.

Bill Banks


Back-burner KCI

I’d imagine the July 18 letter writer on first impressions of Kansas City International Airport has never spent the night at Comfort Inn or any other ordinary hotel.

Most important to the majority of people flying are safety and reasonable costs. Convenience is right up there also.

Let’s fix the guts of the city first, then go for the amenities.

Margaret Kensinger


Cease-fire needed

As the mother of an American who lives in Israel, I am concerned. My daughter must take cover from rockets fired by Hamas.

Thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel in the five years she has studied and lived there.

Israel built bomb shelters, reinforced homes and the Iron Dome to protect her citizens. And still more rockets.

When Israel retaliates, who gets hurt? Women and children in Gaza, because Hamas does nothing to protect people. It instigates terror in order to make Israel respond.

Israel sends notice before it bombs to protect civilians, even though its targets could also leave.

The wicked ones are those in Hamas, who refuse a cease-fire. They rearm through tunnels, and they tell their people to stay even when warned of bombings.

Israel has the right to protect its people and its boundaries.

Hamas needs to make a true and lasting peace. Then the borders of Gaza could be open.

People could live freely.

But as long as rockets are fired into Israel, this cannot happen.

Ellen Portnoy

Overland Park

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