Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss USDA’s KC move, irresponsible dog owners and papal wisdom

USDA brain drain

Sen. Roy Blunt’s guest commentary seeking to rationalize the relocation of two U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies to the Kansas City area employed questionable reasoning. (Aug. 4, 19A, “USDA is making the right move for agriculture”)

He buttresses his point by saying there are many land grant universities in the area. But the Kansas City region has no monopoly on these. There are 106 land grant universities throughout the United States.

The Missouri senator seems woefully ignorant of a major challenge facing our nation’s companies and institutions. We are in a never-ending global search for talent. Recruiting, attracting and especially retaining smart people is a constant concern for CEOs.

My partner and I started a company here that now employs 47 people. It took us three years to get funding. For this entire period, personnel from one of the affected USDA agencies and their data were essential. We didn’t care where they were; we cared that they had the years of experience to help us.

There seems to be little concern that two-thirds of the agencies’ employees have opted not to relocate. The staffers who helped us are among them.

If Apple or Google lost that much brainpower, the stock market would have something to say.

Theodore Prince


All too real

To Tucker Carlson’s contention that the threat of white supremacist domestic terror is a “hoax,” I have a two-word reply: Oklahoma City. (Aug 7, KansasCity.com, “Fox’s Carlson calls white supremacy ‘a hoax’”)

William Abram

Overland Park

Teachers left out

The Star’s editorial about the bulldozing of a Kansas City, Kansas, middle school’s learning garden brings to mind a few examples of such practices I experienced or learned about from colleagues during my career as a teacher. (July 31, 10A, “KCK schools bulldozed this middle school science teacher’s learning garden. But why?”)

An elementary teacher returned from a science convention only to find that her school’s perennial garden had been dug up (and she had paid for it). A principal at the same school experienced having a historic, student-created mural painted over.

In a nearby district, another student-generated mural, containing the middle school’s history, was also painted over.

I discovered that the ceiling model of a million stars had been removed from my classroom during one summer break. In the classroom across the hall, a DNA ceiling model had been torn down, and in the downstairs psychology room, an original wall display was gone.

All these examples were carried out while teachers were gone, and they were never consulted. It’s especially disappointing given there are myriad ways to contact teachers.

Is it any wonder that the average teacher remains in the profession for about five years (which has been the same statistic since I began teaching 50 years ago)?

Jan Alderson

Grain Valley

Dog owners’ fault

I strongly disagree with The Star’s Thursday editorial, “Two dogs have fallen to their deaths from KC rooftop park. Why wasn’t safety improved?” (10A) As it notes, there were signs clearly posted requiring pets to be leashed unless in the designated fenced off-leash area.

Moreover, a Kansas City ordinance prohibits dogs from roaming free in public spaces (which the rooftop space had become by use, even though it was not originally intended as a dog park — a different but nonetheless germane argument against your editorial’s message).

I am a pet owner, having had at least one dog for most of the last five decades. There is no excuse for any pet owner to think it is OK to allow a pet off its leash outside the fenced area — and no justification for a pet owner, or The Star, to argue that Power & Light developer Cordish Companies acted irresponsibly.

You should be ashamed. Yet again, you make the typical whining noises of sympathy for so-called “victims” whose own actions caused their distress.

Contrary to popular opinion, personal responsibility still matters.

Charles Black


Pope’s counsel

In a major new document titled “Rejoice and be Glad, on the Call to Holiness in Today’s World,” Pope Francis delivers a pointed rebuke to Catholic and anti-abortion activists who focus on the issue to the exclusion of all others.

The pope says that helping the poor and immigrants is as important as taking a stand against abortion:

“Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred, and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development” he wrote. “Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm.”

And, he said, one cannot claim that defending the life of a migrant is a “secondary issue” compared with abortion or other bioethical questions: “That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian.”

Sister Peter Parry

Sisters of Charity

of Leavenworth