Letters to the Editor

Kansas, same-sex marriage, birth control

God help Kansas

Stop spending my tax money to fight my own government. I love my country and my president.

We need background checks on gun purchases in the worst way. However, you carry a Bible in one hand and an AK-47 in the other.

I have never seen so much hypocrisy in Kansas government as there is now. You rant about pro-life, but if a baby catches a bullet, well that’s just the Republican way.

God help Kansas.

Gail Geller Kansas City, Kan. Kansas sales tax

Wading through dumb comments by Republicans gets more time-consuming each day. There’s so much to chose from.

But congratulations, Leawood voters. Your state senator, Jeff Melcher, is a winner. He voted against lowering the sales tax on groceries from 6.3 percent to 4.95 percent.

Why? Because it would cause people to buy more food in lieu of other products with higher sales taxes and cause people to eat more.

Yes, we have an obesity epidemic in this country, but only Melcher has suggested that it’s because our grocery taxes are too low.

Kansas is one few states that tax groceries at the same rate as everything else. Most other states realize taxing food disproportionately hits the poor. Those states either reduce or eliminate grocery taxes.

The states that don’t tax groceries include Colorado and Minnesota, which typically top lists of least-obese or most-fit states. And the states that fully tax food include (besides Kansas) Mississippi and Alabama, which typically are among the most-obese and least-fit states.

Mr. Melcher’s theory is that slightly lowering food taxes will cause Kansans to run out and start stuffing their faces. How is that possible?

Talis Bergmanis Fairway Same-sex marriage

Sometimes the issue is not the issue. There has never been a better example of this than the battle over same-sex marriage. The issue is: Does one group have a right to deny life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to another group just because it doesn’t like that other group?

The opponents have never given a sensible reason for not allowing same-sex marriage.

Joseph Butler Shawnee GOP hurts poor

Never has the Missouri Republican Party shown more blatant hypocrisy than in this past legislative session. For a political party that loves nothing more than proclaiming itself “pro-family,” the decision to throw low-income Missourians under the bus by not expanding Medicaid is beyond heartless.

GOP representatives and senators in our state legislature have been tripping over themselves in denouncing President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Well, apparently, nothing panders to a fringe base like leaving 870,000 Missourians uninsured.

Apparently, being seen as anti-Obama is more important than actually serving the most vulnerable Missourians.

Jennifer Gormley Kansas City Lobbyists’ gifts

Missouri is the only state that allows unlimited contributions and no constraints on gifts from lobbyists to legislators. Is there any thinking person who really believes that lobbyists don’t want anything in return for such gifts?

Our elected, salaried representatives are sent to Jefferson City to serve the public, not to greedily solicit expensive dinners, sports tickets and the like. It was distressing to read of a local legislator justifying and defending this graft.

In my opinion, any legislator who does so must be naive, stupid or on his way to becoming corrupt.

Harold Sherwood Lee’s Summit Kudos to The Star

The Kansas City Star and Matthew Schofield are deserving of congratulations and journalistic awards for the excellent three-part story on the decades-long search for the remains of the crew of Spooky 21 in Laos.

These three stories combined the best elements of human interest and investigative journalism.

It is reporting like this that reminds me why in this multimedia-outlet world that I keep my subscription to the local newspaper.

Joe Hughes Lenexa Gordon Parks school

I am dismayed at the decision to close Gordon Parks Elementary School after this school year. State Board of Education members should be strongly encouraged to visit this school to see firsthand the critical role Gordon Parks Elementary plays in these children’s lives.

The school is exemplary for giving hope and opportunity to high-risk children. The decision to close Gordon Parks Elementary was based on test scores.

Relying solely on test scores as “evidence of success” is shortsighted, especially for this population. These children are developing critical social, emotional and life skills.

Using a single metric — test scores — to evaluate school viability for high-risk children makes as much sense as using age as a metric for maturity.

With this limited thinking, Missouri will fall more deeply into the educational morass into which it seems headed.

I urge board members to get on a bus and take a field trip to Gordon Parks Elementary. Only then will they understand the value that that school brings to Kansas City and Missouri.

Charter schools that target the most-underserved children should be judged using valid and useful metrics. I encourage the board to re-evaluate its decision.

Karen B. Williams Kansas City Girls, birth control

I do not think that Plan B One Step should be available for girls as young as 15. The emergency contraceptive only encourages promiscuity.

I especially don’t think the pill should be available for anyone any younger, or for all girls. It should be available only to women of age 18 or older because they are legally able to do as they choose with their bodies.

The widened availability of the pill undermines other forces such as parenting, and it further separates families.

Girls need the support of families, not the fallback of an emergency contraceptive.

Jill Campbell Mission Hills NCAA violations

I have always been told that where there is smoke there is fire. When is the NCAA going to stand up and look into schools such as Alabama that have had football players come out and say they were paid money.

You can even look at basketball to see examples of the problems.

It is time that the NCAA starts following its own rules and treating the field fairly, not basing its actions on what it says on the front of the jersey.

Cameron Barnes Ottawa, Kan. Background checks

I keep reading how extended background checks would stop events such as the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School from occurring.

The shooter had his background checked, and it worked. He was denied. But he then killed his mother and took her guns.

How would extensive background checks have helped?

Richard Minear Kansas City Deadly weapons

People don’t kill people — guns, knives and pressure cookers kill people.

So, in addition to banning guns, we must now include those death-causing Xacto knives and pressure cookers. Also, we may need to take another look at nails and ball bearings.

We can’t trust our citizens with those deadly instruments of destruction, you know.

David Vogan Overland Park Beautiful trees

Wow. I just got back in town after several weeks.

But before I left I marveled at the beautiful Bradford pear trees blooming profusely in Johnson County. What a glorious sight — along with the beautiful redbuds and flowering dogwoods.

I’ll admit I’m not totally knowledgeable about all the environmental issues, but what’s wrong with Bradford pears? No sight on our trip to Ireland offered the beauty of these marvelous trees in bloom.

I’d like to know what flowering tree others might suggest.

Jodie Van Meter Overland Park