No on amendments
The League of Women Voters of Missouri has announced its opposition to three proposed amendments to the Missouri Constitution that will be on the ballot on Nov. 4. They are:
▪ The proposed Missouri Teacher Performance Evaluation (Amendment 3) would require local districts to use state-approved student-performance measures to evaluate teachers. In addition to the obvious flaw of promoting “teaching to the test,” it would prohibit teachers from organizing in any way to participate in the development of the standards against which they would be evaluated.
▪ The proposed early-voting amendment (Amendment 6) is a terrible proposal that needs to be voted down. It would allow limited early voting only if the Missouri Legislature chooses to fund it, and it would prohibit voting on weekends as well as voting at locations other then boards of elections. If passed, it would hinder the chance of establishing a true early voting system in the future.
▪ The proposed Missouri Gubernatorial Budgetary Recommendations (Amendment 10) would limit the governor’s powers to propose a state budget and to balance the budget. We need good government all of the time. This amendment would cause difficulties not only for the current governor but for future ones.
Linda Vogel Smith
League of Women Voters
Kansas City, Jackson
Clay, Platte counties
I recently attended an election rally, and I have questions.
Candidates proposed to improve education by spending more money. The literature shows that parental involvement in children’s education is the most important factor to improve outcomes, and the system needs to enable and support that. I heard nothing.
Yes, access to medical care is important, but the literature shows eating good vegetables and grains, having appropriate exercise and having employment and self-esteem are the inexpensive ways to improve health. Medicine does not produce health. Despite that, I only heard about the most expensive service, medical care.
Third, we need universal employment, and there are ways to achieve it. Why nothing about that?
Fourth, Kansas is among the nation’s windiest states and also ranks relatively high in hours of sunshine. It is as inexpensive to produce power through solar and wind energy as through coal. Why no comment?
Next, more informed voting and greater participation would occur if ballots were mailed to households. One advantage would be that voters could research ballot measures. Yet there were no comments.
Finally, both parties need to compromise to get effective legislation passed, but instead they are becoming more polemical. Yet no comments?
I feel nothing but sympathy for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts.
Here he is running a straw man President Barack Obama argument against independent candidate Greg Orman. After 34 years as an elected federal congressman or senator, he cannot cite one major accomplishment to justify his re-election. That is sad.
However, Roberts will be OK if he is defeated. He has become wealthy in his 40 or so years in Washington, D.C. He could retire to his Virginia home with an extraordinary pension and, if he so chooses, could make even more money lobbying his friends on Capitol Hill.
Let’s wish Pat well in his retirement. As George Will has said, “The Senate’s intellectual voltage would be increased by Orman’s election.”
I suspect Orman will actually be able to cite positive accomplishments as a U.S. senator.
I’d like to thank the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Lewis Diuguid (10-21, Blog Bit) for providing a voter guide that includes a list of candidates considered lap dogs of the National Rifle Association.
That’s the same NRA that has more than 80,000 certified gun-safety instructors, myself included, who have done more to prevent gun violence and gun accidents than all of the anti-firearms groups in the nation combined through NRA training and safety programs.
This includes the Eddie Eagle curriculum designed to teach young children the basics of gun safety. No doubt countless children’s lives have been saved by this program alone.
So thanks to the Brady Campaign, we all now know whom to vote for.
It is reported that many foreclosures in the United States have been adjudicated by the courts.
Many people believe the foreclosures are justified, figuring the people foreclosed on are deadbeats who don’t pay their bills.
People, through no fault of their own, lost their jobs and were unable to make mortgage payments. Some even regained employment and tried to make up back payments. The banks refused to negotiate and continued foreclosure.
Everywhere you look you see empty houses and homeless people on street corners begging for money to buy food. This, the United States of America — the richest nation in the world — allows this while sending millions of dollars to foreign countries to improve their lifestyles or fight more wars.
Millions of Americans have been affected by foreclosures. This means families, including children who are now homeless, live on the streets or depend on charity and more fortunate family members.
This says to me that politicians, lobbyists, banks, judges and attorneys are more effective at hurting Americans than all the wars fought by this country.
Michael A. Silvestri
End death penalty
Kansas City mourns the senseless killing of a beautiful child, and community leaders named our society’s “culture of violence” as party to that tragic death.
That culture extends to the state of Missouri, which will kill another person, Mark Christeson, on Wednesday.
As an opponent of the death penalty, I abhor the murders of which he was convicted and ache for the victims and families. I do not want murderers released and believe life imprisonment without parole is a just penalty.
My opposition is deeper and wider than this one person. My opposition is almost selfish, because I believe the death penalty makes me, a citizen of Missouri, guilty of murder myself.
Recently, Tobias Winright, who teaches theological ethics at Saint Louis University, wrote in The Christian Century that those who participate in an execution suffer a “moral injury” similar to what soldiers experience in war.
All of us in Missouri are participants in these executions, and we are thus morally wounded as we participate in our society’s culture of violence.
The classic saying rings profoundly true in our time: Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?
We must abolish the death penalty and take a step toward weakening the culture of violence.
Jane Fisler Hoffman
Cheers for The Star
As a fresh college graduate, I was a copy desk editor at the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal in 1971, when we won the Pulitzer Prize for public service. So I have waited eagerly each morning to retrieve the morning paper and read the massive lead headline.
I think The Star, and all local media, have been able to capture the mood of our area in words and photos. Being a summer resident with my family here before returning to my work in China, I have been captivated by this area, especially the quality of The Star.
It has been easy for me to see why the newspaper has been awarded so many Pulitzer Prizes. I find the Sunday in-depth reporting to be of worldwide quality, and I just hope area residents understand how blessed we are with such fine reporting.
I daily read newspapers from around the world, but I always save The Star to last because I know I will spend more time reading every article.
Again, thank you for capturing our emotions with words and photos.
It is not an easy task, as you well know. Congratulations to the entire staff for a job very well done.