Letters to the Editor

Readers share views on campaign financing, liberals and bullying

Campaign money

We are constantly assailed with cartoons and articles concerning the Koch brothers’ promise of almost $1 billion in campaign contributions for the congressional and presidential elections in 2016. Whether or not it is true, the majority will take the media at their word and condemn this.

If those uninformed followers of propaganda were to do a little research, they would find that the Democrats have outspent the Republicans in the last four elections. And the largest contributions come from the unions, which in some years have contributed more than $1 billion.

I think way too much money is spent on campaigning. It would be very easy to stop. Just put a cap on the money spent on a campaign. If Jeb Bush — or any other candidate — spent that total, no other contender in his party could spend any.

Fred Crosby


Liberal hypocrites

Hypocrisy: Webster defines it as the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. I find the hypocrisy within the Democrat Party amazing.

When the liberals had the majority in the U.S. Senate, they complained about the Republicans’ use of the filibuster. When Harry Reid was Senate majority leader, he even used the “nuclear option” to change the way the Senate did business.

All the while he was sitting on many bills from the House, some passed with bipartisan support, and claiming that the Republican Party was the party of “no.”

Now with the Republicans in the majority in the Senate, the liberals are using the filibuster while claiming the Republicans are, again, the party of “no.”

The whole idea of the filibuster is to give the minority party a little leverage. It is an idea whose time has run out, and I think Sen. Mitch McConnell should invoke his own nuclear option and run the Senate his way.

This hypocrisy is just the same as the liberals whining about the Koch brothers when the Clinton Foundation is being funded by overseas interests and when George Soros and other billionaires support the liberals.

Larry Dickstein

Lone Jack

Combating bullying

I went to Liberty Junior High many years ago. This story brought back some painful memories (2-25, A1, “Boy beaten at school lunchroom”).

I was tormented by a girl who was mad because I had an assigned seat by her boyfriend. She eventually cornered me in the bathroom and pushed me to the ground. I did not tell my parents or any other adults because I was terrified of the consequences. You can’t learn in a place where you are terrified.

I didn’t feel protected or safe. I knew that if she wanted to get to me, it would be easy for her to do.

I now work in an area middle school and co-sponsor a chapter of REbeL, an organization started in the Blue Valley School District in 2008.

It is a peer-to-peer organization that spreads positive messages that tell students their worth is based on who they are and not their appearance. At its core, REbeL works to eradicate an environment within the school walls where everyone looks the other way when someone is being bullied.

We need to work together to create schools where spreading kindness and empathy for others replaces fear and intimidation.

Kristie Hatfield

Overland Park

Reusable containers

I was born in the age of — get this — returnable soft-drink bottles. Yes, Coke and Pepsi were sold in glass, returnable bottles.

Bottles sold in vending machines and the big bottles of soft drinks we used to buy at the grocery store were taken back to the factories to be washed and refilled. Can you imagine the revolution we’d see if a governing body ruled today that soft drinks had to come in returnable bottles?

And (shudder) water? Yes, the ubiquitous bottled water would have to come in returnable bottles.

What about milk? I realize milk is available in returnable glass bottles, but what’s the market penetration? About 1 percent?

I believe the amount of plastic used in soft-drink bottles and water bottles — and the litter they create — dwarfs the problems caused by plastic grocery bags. Not only that, plastic grocery bags are reusable for many purposes.

Does anyone reuse plastic bottles for anything? I can’t think of anything.

We’re headed down a slippery slope, friends. Give up your plastic grocery bags today, and someone will be coming after your plastic drink bottles tomorrow.

Steve Grant

Kansas City

Backward Kansas

The Kansas House and Senate are again trying to remove the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards for Kansas kindergarten through 12th-grade students. SB 67 would take schools back to 2009 standards.

Why? Politics. Those standards are out of date and don’t represent the best thinking of Kansas scientists, community members, higher education and K-12 teachers from across the country.

Kansans have been hard at work for the past five years reviewing, commenting, revising and field testing the Kansas Career and College Readiness Standards to make sure they represent what business and engineering communities need and what is best practice for K-12 student learning. The new standards will better prepare our students for college and improve the connection to engineering standards.

I was on the committee of dozens of representatives from across the state who worked tirelessly to make these standards reflective of Kansas business, Kansas teachers and Kansas colleges and universities.

This is politics at its worst. There is no regard for what’s best for students or the accumulated expertise of the Kansans who spent years crafting the best standards possible.

This letter is a call to action. Speak to your legislators to defeat this bill.

Marsha Ratzel

Prairie Village

Schweich’s death

Recently I turned on the favorite TV channel and saw the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” about a young politician trying to find his way and do good by the people of his state, among the sometimes dirty side of politics. After that came another movie, “Meet John Doe,” another man trying to buck all that is wrong with the political system in this country, who contemplates suicide.

I find it ironic that a day later, Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich commits suicide in the midst, reportedly, of the dirty side of politics.

I hope the persons responsible for pushing this man over the edge, where death seemed to be the answer to end the harassment, will forever carry this on their conscience. People need to know that whether Republican or Democrat, Jew or Baptist, black or white, this man’s life mattered.

What has this country sunk to? Rest in peace, Mr. Schweich, and condolences to his family.

Karen Zentz


Living in peace

Code Pink, an organization with a peace agenda coupled with a social conscience and quality-of-life issues as a second course, made some news recently. Members do use in-your-face methods to get their message into the media.

World peace has been ridiculed by many who are deeply involved with the military industrial complex as a concept that is very bad for their business. Sen. John McCain believes people who desire world peace are “low-life scum” and bad for the business of his benefactors.

McCain appears to view world conflict more as a profit motive than as a threat to the continued existence of our planet.

Code Pink has a long way to go to convince the terrorists, thugs and bad actors who threaten our world that peace is a great concept. But its members are not “low-life scum.”

They are the voices in the background reminding us there is a better way to live.

Paul Comerford

Blue Springs

Don’t blame rich

The wealthy 1 percent can no longer help being wealthy. The return they earn from their billions of dollars keep them among the wealthy 1 percent.

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, the Waltons and the Koch brothers cannot give money away or spend it fast enough to keep up with the money they earn from their money. These people don’t make billions; their money makes money.

It’s merely an economic fact of life.

Steve Katz