Letters to the Editor

July 24, 2014

Readers share views on ‘right to farm,’ VA, independent voters

The “right to farm” Amendment 1 on the Aug. 5 ballot is very misleading. This would not benefit Missouri farmers.

No on ‘right to farm’

The “right to farm” Amendment 1 on the Aug. 5 ballot is very misleading. This would not benefit Missouri farmers.

What it would do is protect large agribusiness corporations, some of which are owned by foreign companies. It would take away local control to enforce zoning ordinances, which would affect the environment and basically give factory farms freedom to do what they want with no regard to human and animal welfare.

I disagree with some saying the amendment is for the small guy.

This amendment would leave family farmers in a bad situation because of property losses caused by Missourians not having the right to protect water, soil, air and food. Taxpayers would have to clean up the devastation, and neighboring farmers would suffer property losses with no recourse to change the situation.

This amendment would not benefit our local farmers because they have always had the right to farm. In the long run, this would be one huge mess.

The protection this amendment would provide would be for large agribusinesses like Monsanto and Cargill, not Missouri family farms.

Shelley Berman

Kirksville, Mo.

Romney as VA chief

The Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals are broken and need someone with proven business skills at the helm. Maybe it should be someone with a master’s degree in business or someone who has been the governor of a state or turned a failing business around.

Here is my suggestion for a start to fix the broken VA hospital system. Put a real business leader in charge.

Instead of nominating former Procter & Gamble chief Robert McDonald to head the VA, President Barack Obama should have put Mitt Romney in charge. What a novel idea.

Romney gets things done. Romney has a master’s in business from Harvard, turned around the 2002 Winter Olymipics and was governor of Massachusetts.

He was a consultant for Monsanto, Outboard Marine Corp., Burlington Industries and Corning Inc., among others. I really believe Mitt Romney could and would straighten out the VA problems.

But of course there is no chance that our president would appoint Mitt Romney.

Lowell Davis

Excelsior Springs

Independent voters

A recent Gallup poll shows 42 percent of Americans consider themselves politcally independent. Yet in most states, independents face restrictions on their voting rights in primary elections.

It seems participating in the electoral process has become a strain on the very duty that allows Americans to have a say in the way America is governed, and the American people are responding by staying home or by becoming independent.

Independents are getting organized in Missouri and elsewhere as part of the Voting Rights are Primary campaign being nationally coordinated by IndependentVoting.org. Its aim is to bring attention to the election practices that continue to play into the political parties’ agendas and make independents first-class taxpayers but second-class voters.

Missouri Independents Standing Together, the independent organization forming here in Kansas City, will make ourselves visible on primary day, Aug. 5, in hopes of bringing more attention to the independent movement in Missouri.

Standing up as an independent — with other independents — will not create another political party. We stand together in hopes of creating a nonpartisan environment that allows the electoral process to give voice back to the American people

Natesha Oliver

Kansas City

Secretary of state

It has been reported that state senator Will Kraus wants to be secretary of state in Missouri.

In the worst of all worlds, he would win and try to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Missourians. He would work to find ways to limit voting rights and would oppose extended early voting, something that Missouri citizens deserve to have.

We need only to look at states where Republican conservatives have been elected secretary of state to understand that this very partisan and extreme conservative should never have the power to limit voting rights in Missouri.

Kraus is my state senator from the 8th District. Believe me, we do not want to give him more power to impose American Legislative Exchange Council positions on the people of our great state.

He, like most other Missouri Republican legislators, already dances to ALEC’s tune.

Gene W. DeVaux


Sinquefield mysteries

Rex Sinquefield is a creation of our tax policies of the past 50 years (7-20, A1, “Despite few victories, Sinquefield gains clout”).

Most of us don’t even know what business he made his fortune in. The name of his company is not well known. Yet he has a fortune to spend trying to affect public policy.

How does this happen? In 1960, he would have been taxed at 90 percent on the upper portion of his income.

Today, that figure is down to 36 percent, and many wealthy individuals actually pay nothing. Through our tax policies, we have allowed him to amass his fortune.

And he is using that money to try to eliminate more of his tax responsibilities and to pursue policies that will harm public education.

He is unelected. He does not stand up to debate the issues of the day.

We might well ask, “Who is he and where does he want to lead us?” Those are good questions that we may never get answered.

It is possible that he is like the benevolent dictator who just wants what’s good for his subjects. Or not.

John Chapman


No on gun issue

On Aug. 5, Missourians will vote on a proposal to strengthen their inalienable right to own and bear firearms.

The Missouri Constitution states: “The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms … shall not be questioned.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed our Second Amendment rights are sacrosanct. As a private citizen, I can amass an arsenal with more firepower than Gen. George Washington’s army at the Battle of Yorktown.

So, what’s going on here? I suspect a giant conspiracy by Republicans to assist underemployed trial attorneys. It’s not far-fetched; the Republicans just gave Missouri’s wealthy a $650 million tax cut.

Passage of this proposal likely would lead to litigation and justice-related costs, says State Auditor Tom Schweich. Since Louisiana passed a similar measure two years ago, more than 200 legal challenges have been filed against local ordinances.

Litigation costs to Missouri taxpayers range as high as $244 million. That money would be better spent improving schools and building new roads and bridges.

Many Republican state legislators are lawyers. Some will be term-limited out in November. Can you see where I am headed?

Vote no on Aug. 5.

Jeffrey Bushman

Kansas City

Harmful sales tax

Don’t be fooled by Amendment 7, the proposed sales tax for transportation.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is using its usual bait-and-switch technique to squeeze funds out of Missourians. It hasn’t been able to deliver on its grandiose plans in years.

Officials tell us they want this new sales tax to maintain our roads and bridges. Then they develop plans to build all kinds of new roads and use funds on projects not related to our roads and bridges.

Apparently, transportation department engineers can’t help themselves and have to build instead of maintain.

We all know the trucking industry puts the most wear on our roads, but this proposal allows truckers to avoid paying almost any of the sales-tax increase. Nonresidents would also pay almost none of the sales tax.

The majority of the cost would be borne by Missourians, and it would hit lower-income people harder.

If more funds are needed to maintain our roads, we should consider increasing the user-based fuel tax. We should not build additional roads.

Amendment 7 should be defeated. Please vote no on Amendment 7.

Dennis Morrissey

Jefferson City

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