Jury’s out of pocket
I received a notice for jury duty, and, doing my civic duty, I reported to the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City this past Monday. I arrived at 7:50 a.m. to be in the jury pool, and we weren’t dismissed until 6 p.m. It took more than 10 hours of my time.
It cost me $13 to park. Lunch cost $8 for a burger and water. That is $21, plus what I spent on gasoline for my car.
The state requires counties to pay a minimum of only $6 a day to serve in the jury pool. Jackson County provides a stipend of $6 for parking. If I had been selected for the jury, the county would have paid me $18 a day — a new rate instituted this week. (It’s still not enough.)
If officials want citizens to do their civic duty and participate, they need to at least pay for expenses. It currently costs residents of the state to participate in jury duty.
Our state legislators need to get off their collective rears and be fair to their constituents.
No more lifers
Several Democratic presidential candidates have suggested that Congress establish term limits for federal judges. This should be a topic for all candidates to debate.
Federal judges make unilateral decisions that affect us all, but we the people can neither select nor reject them, and they serve for the rest of their lifetimes.
The Constitution merely makes this statement in Article III, Section 1: “The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior.” Somehow, this has been interpreted as lifetime appointments.
Congress should offer an amendment adding “for a single term not to exceed 10 years.” This would clarify things and assure turnover.
Nobody is entitled to lifetime sinecure.
Listen, then work
I listened to a lot of questions in the aftermath of the weekend’s gun-violence tragedy in the Crossroads district. And I told the story of our daughter. She heard the gunshots and saw the crowd disperse to reveal a young woman, not running, but lying on the ground. My daughter dropped, covered and then ran with two friends, using parked cars as shields.
My simple takeaway is this: Talking with each other is so much better than shooting each other. People, use your words. Share your stories. Listen to each other. Struggle with the questions. Grapple with the issues. And then, maybe we can take action and do something together. Enough. We can do so much better.
Here’s another good question: What did you do to stop gun violence in Kansas City today?
Jennifer Hadley Miller
Who we really are
Two days before the massacre in El Paso, Texas, I was standing in a local thrift store, looking at a wheelbarrow on display and trying to decide whether to purchase it.
A man came into my space to make a comment: “You know what they call this? A Mexican taxi.”
I did not welcome this person, nor did I engage him. I simply gave him my best possible dirty look, then walked away and ignored him.
In retrospect, I am ashamed of myself for not responding verbally, as he must have seen my silence as tacit approval. But why did he think he had the right to make such a comment to me?
Who are these haters? Do they feel good with the outcomes of their hateful speech?
If I hear one more pundit or politician lament, “Oh, this is not who we are in America,” I will have a ready response: Yes, it is. America is this guy at the wheelbarrow display.
As Saturday’s events unfolded, I thought about Mr. Bigot and wondered whether his heart hurt at all. I think not.
Thank you, ICE
As an American citizen, I say this to the people at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Thank you for doing your job by enforcing immigration laws.
In regard to the recent arrest and deportation of Florencio Millan from Kansas City, the media coverage and outcry — especially Florencio’s girlfriend — have been horribly slanted. (July 26, 1A, “Man arrested by ICE in Kansas City deported to Mexico, girlfriend says”) It does not accurately represent you guys just doing your job.
Millan’s car window would not have been broken and his son and girlfriend would not have been supposedly “traumatized” had the man not been breaking immigration laws in the first place — and had he not resisted apprehension by ICE agents and police during this incident.
Many of us law-abiding citizens support your efforts. Do not be discouraged. We see right through the hype, but our voices are not as loud or paid attention to or covered by the media.
Please pass on my gratitude to all the members of the ICE agency as a representation of those many of us whose voices do not get heard.
Thank you many times over for the work you do in the face of what does not look like support from the American people. We are out here, and we do appreciate you keeping our country’s borders protected and secure.
Pamela D. Ray