Anti-Semitism in Johnson County is not the norm

The murder spree that left three dead, as a man gone berserk thought he was mowing down Jews, has given Overland Park recognition for prejudice and violence, when that is the complete opposite of what Johnson County has stood for.

Kansas school funding bill is a huge win for Johnson County

Last week Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature made historic strides in bringing more local control to Kansas school districts, particularly to Johnson County and, specifically to the Shawnee Mission School District. They also made great strides for higher education, which has been lost in all the publicity about K-12 funding.

Johnson County sheriff’s deputies rack up huge overtime

Autonomy is sacrosanct, but so are checks and balances. With the Johnson County commissioners holding the Sheriff's Deparment's purse strings, taxpayers can be assured there will be every effort to get their money’s worth and to squeeze out unnecessary spending. As there should be.

Rosy Kansas revenue numbers just don’t add up

Understanding that this is a campaign year for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, it is easy to see why his administration would like to rush out numbers that paint a glowing picture of the tax cuts he pushed through the Legislature. But the numbers, at this point, are just plain half-baked, if not blatantly misleading.

We will not know the impact of the tax cuts until the 2014 fiscal year is taken into consideration.

Legalized pot is too risky to consider for now

Before we jump on the bandwagon to legalize marijuana, let’s watch the experiments in Colorado and Washington. Let’s learn whether there is something to fear or not. I have already lived through one pot revolution. I am not ready to leap into another one.

Kansas school funding decision spares Gov. Sam Brownback

Depending on your point of view, either the Kansas Supreme Court brought sanity to the issue with its decision that cuts in education funding since 2010 led to an unconstitutionally imbalanced playing field between rich and poor schools, or it dodged the issue. Either way, the question of the adequacy of funding Kansas schools has hit the reset button.

To protect the Plaza, tighten teen curfews all year

just because the Country Club Plaza streets and sidewalks are public does not give the right to individuals or groups to do as they like. The Plaza is a public heritage that must be inclusive, but that inclusiveness must not be trampled on when mobs effectively push out other patrons.

President Obama should move to the center on two key issues

Barack Obama would like to go down in history for more than Obamacare and ending two wars. The Keystone XL oil pipeline and illegal immigration are two ripe issues for his legacy that would not only expand his record but also demonstrate that he was a president capable of moving beyond lofty rhetoric to getting things done.

To reiterate, KCI remains a convenient favorite

The tsunami of emails I received from my column last week indicates Kansas City International Airport’s popularity runs wide, but it may not be enough to hear anecdotally about our citizens’ love affair with KCI. A reputable, objective, scientific study was done and reached the same conclusion. Let’s get this report into the record.

KCI’s convenience serves people who matter most

Come hell or high water, citizens of this metro area will fight to keep their uniquely convenient airport. They just love it. Let’s spruce up the current Kansas City International and hang out a sign on every gate: “Welcome to the most convenient airport in the world.”

Brownback-Davis race turns on Johnson County

Johnson County is bound to be the pivotal county in the race for Kansas governor this November. Paul Davis, the likely Democratic candidate, must peel away enough moderate Republican and independent voters in Johnson County to dent the large right-wing vote that incumbent Republican Gov. Sam Brownback will tally elsewhere.

A fiddledeedee attitude in Kansas on the budget

Poor Duane Goossen, who was Kansas budget director from 1998 to 2010, is trying — in his nonhysterical manner — to warn Kansans that the state is spending each year more than it is taking in, to the tune of about $100 million and growing. And the day of reckoning is coming.

Give Congress some credit for tough workdays

I’m thankful for Congress. And I don’t mean just the institution of Congress, but the actual living, breathing, despised souls who currently run it. These public servants — regardless of your political views — deserve recognition that they have one of the most grueling and thankless jobs in America.

Roasts and toasts suitable for the new year

For the eight years I was a panelist on KCPT’s “Ruckus” program, we would end the show with our “roasts and toasts.” I thought it would be fun to start the New Year with some of the roasts and toasts I’ve been saving up over time. Mayor Sly James of Kansas City gets both thumbs up and thumbs down.

R. Crosby Kemper Jr.: a one-of-a-kind leader

There is much to say about R. Crosby Kemper Jr., who died last week, but so much is private that I dare not delve too deeply for fear of disrupting the years of honesty we shared, while on trips, or horseback or dinners. I do, however, want to set the record straight on a few things.

Predictions on politics, Iran, sports and more

It’s prediction time for 2014. This year it’s somewhat weighted toward Kansas events because many of the boiling hot races are there. Let’s start with the big enchilada. Gov. Sam Brownback will be re-elected, but pundits will be astounded at how close the race will be.

Kansas City Council needs to keep its citywide members

With all-district representation, a reform recently recommended by the The Charter Review Commission, Kansas City runs the risk of becoming a “Tower of Babel,” without a cohesive single voice for major citywide issues. Kansas City needs a blend. The city needs district voices, and it needs all-city voices.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon annoys Kansans with border war talks

Whatever the motive of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s “border war” speech, in which he called for a moratorium within the region on offering generous tax incentives for businesses to move across the state line. it apparently backfired in Kansas, where work is going on quietly, behind the scenes.

Chris Christie pushes teacher tenure reform to the top

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie clearly is elevating the issue of reforming the teacher tenure system to become a key part of a presidential platform. And he can claim, rightfully, he accomplished it with bipartisan help. If Christie makes it to the Republican debates, you can be sure the issue will be front and center.

Health care rate hikes give a real Obamascare

A plan as radical as Obamacare is bound to make winners and losers. According to our insurance broker, the small business I co-own with 18 employees will become one of the big losers. It is doubtful we can become winners.

KanCare savings result in hardship for some

Whether KanCare can truly continue to provide adequate services and slash expenses at the same time remains to be seen. In the meantime, we hope Finn Bullers lives a long life with whatever care is reasonably required.

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