Letters to the editor on teacher due-process rights, Hobby Lobby, Kochs

04/09/2014 12:00 AM

04/08/2014 5:19 PM

Legislature driving away teachers

I am very disappointed in the passage of House Bill 2506 (“House, Senate OK school funds bill,” April 7 Eagle). What does “due process” for teachers have to do with funding schools? Why did lawmakers think that needed to be included? It looks like teachers are being punished for the Legislature having to fund schools.

I don’t want to hear about how this will get bad teachers out of the system. That could still be accomplished with “due process.” This will get good teachers out of the system and state. I just have to shake my head in wonder at some of the decisions that are being made in Topeka by legislators who are supposed to be representing the people.

In order to attract businesses to our state, we need a well-educated community. State lawmakers are making that more and more difficult.

I don’t understand what drives the Legislature to hurt working people and reward the wealthy. Lawmakers need to stop and think about impacts to the working people before they vote.



Not proud

“I think we should be proud that we have addressed the Supreme Court’s equity demands in good order,” said Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park. Proud? This state has been shameful in the treatment it has given our schools.

Be thankful for the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision, which is forcing our state government to assume some of its responsibility. But don’t thank our governor or Legislature. They are moved by force, not decency.



Koch is wrong

Money talks, and the more money you have the more you get to talk.

I don’t have as much money as Charles Koch, but here’s my 2 cents’ worth: His funding of think tanks, his browbeating of other billionaires, his funding of attacks on local “collectivist” (come on, just say it – “communist”) efforts like mass transit, and his liberal funding of local and national politicians aren’t working. So he is now speaking for himself, for which I applaud him.

It takes courage to write a commentary for the Wall Street Journal and expose your ideas to the test of public debate. But he’s just wrong, and all the money and all the advertising and all the politicians saying it over again do not make it right.

The fundamental flaw in Koch’s theory of a free society is ignoring that freedom flows from checks and balances – not the absence of checks and balances. We need checks on big business as well as big government. Government in different forms often checks threats to freedom from big money and big business, such as child labor, oil monopoly, civil rights, public education and pollution.

Measured by the strength of the ideas, not by the amount of money, Koch is wrong.



Unfair to vilify

The vicious campaign to vilify the Koch brothers is unfair and unfounded. Supporting candidates whose views reflect theirs is protected by the First Amendment, which holds freedom of expression sacrosanct.

Being wealthy and conservative should not deny them that freedom. As columnist Robert Samuelson wrote in the Washington Post, “The super-rich are not a monolithic bloc. There are super-rich conservatives and super-rich liberals.” Nor should the manner in which they run their business and maintain its profitability justify demonizing them. Criticizing them for occasionally laying off a few workers to maintain continued employment for the rest ignores the fact that they employ tens of thousands of Americans and pay enormous amounts in taxes while free-spending liberals squander them.

Moreover, to disparage them for allegedly interfering in political campaigns outside their state is unjustified. Senators elected from a state are not senators for that state. They are U.S. senators from a state. They enact legislation that affects all Americans, which gives any American the right to voice his or her opinion and to back it financially.

It is a sad testament to our times when success becomes a sin and fodder for slander.



Contrary to beliefs

I was disappointed and saddened when I read the commentary by Leonard Pitts Jr. concerning the Hobby Lobby case (March 31 Opinion). Individuals and business owners cite religious conscience in order to avoid providing services that are contrary to their beliefs, such as contraception or abortion.

If a person believes a certain action is morally wrong and doesn’t want to pay for someone else to engage in it, he is not making the decision for everybody else. He just does not want to be a participant in providing that service.

Pitts used the inflammatory wording “faintly Talibanesque” to wrongly describe those individuals or companies that cite religious conscience when objecting to mandates they believe to be immoral, implying that they are imposing their values on thousands of others. “Talibanesque” would more accurately describe the actions of promoters of the Department of Health and Human Services mandate that is forcing employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs or face heavy fines. Pitts should be asking, “Whose values are being imposed upon whom?”

Even Pitts rightly admitted, “There is nothing wrong with religious conscience, with saying there are things that, as a matter of faith, you will not do.” For many individuals and business owners, this is indeed one of those things.



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