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Archive for Monday, March 22, 1999

BONDS FAVORED

March 22, 1999

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To the editor:

On April 6 a very important election will be held for the Perry-Lecompton school district. A bond issue would provide additional space at the elementary, middle and high schools.

Our district is currently experiencing overcrowding conditions, and the numerous growth projects that will occur in this district will only make the problem worse. The school district has been planning for several years and has sought information from the district's patrons on solutions to our needs.

The number one option at the original forum talking about growth is the current bond issue before the voters. The number one preference on the survey that went to district patrons is also the current bond issue before the voters. I realize that this bond issue is going to raise taxes and some have suggested waiting three years or more before seeking solutions to our district's growth needs. This problem needs to be addressed now and not be put off any longer. Delaying the bond issue will cost more money later and overcrowding is going to continue to occur.

I encourage all patrons to attend the school district forums that will be held Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the high school. Be informed and educated on the bond issue before you go to the polls on April 6. It is so very important to invest in our children's education and to provide them the facilities that are needed for them to be successful. Together we can make a difference in our children's lives and in their futures. I encourage you to vote yes for kids and make this investment in our children's education.

Greg L. Howard,

Lecompton.

Homeowner speaks

To the editor:

The residents of Lawrence should be very concerned with the recent happenings affecting mobile home owners in this city. While it may seem a simple matter to move "trailers" out of Gaslight Village, or that there is little threat in one feudalistic company purchasing parks around town, at stake are the rights of all Lawrence homeowners. Can the owner of a home be forced to move without due legal process and/or financial compensation? Can the right to have a home be suspended because that home is not valued at a certain amount? If so, then any homeowner in Lawrence can be so threatened.

I, like most mobile home residents, own my home. I must rent the lot, but I am still a home owner and I pay taxes accordingly. Yet, the rights of people who own their homes but who do not happen (or are not allowed) to own their lot spaces are being ignored. We are not transients who come and go each month. Most of us have lived in our homes for years (for me, 10) and many residents include families with children, and the retired.

Mobile homeowners cannot simply pack up and leave. As with any homeowner, moving entails a great deal of expense and personal upset. If we are to move our homes, there must be space to move them to. If we cannot move our homes and our homes can no longer remain where they are, we do not have the option of selling our homes, as homes, to recover our financial investments.

Further, it seems that we can be forced to supply improvements to the lots we do not own or face eviction -- which brings the problems mentioned above. The city would not allow "fixed" homeowners to be treated this way. Even apartment dwellers are protected from such activities. Why are mobile home owners left out?

We, the residents of "manufactured homes," are just as much a part of the Lawrence community as anyone else. The fact that our homes are not valued at $250,000 does not lessen our worth. Threatening our homes threatens all. If my home is not worthy of legal protection because it is not "valuable" enough, what will protect those of you who live in homes worth a piddly $100,000?

Peter A. Miller,

3323 Iowa.

Theory falls

To the editor:

When I started reading Leonard Krishtalka's column "Evolution theory explains fact" I expected to see a discussion of the facts behind evolutionary theory. Instead I got a bashing of another theory, creationism. As I recall from my science classes, bashing theory B does not prove theory A. He quotes one definition of "theory" neglecting to mention that the definition includes "a speculative plan" and "a guess" as well as "a formulation of underlying principles of certain observed phenomena which has been verified to some degree." He then states, "it comprises an enormous body of fact, built, honed and corroborated by 150 years of observation and experiment."

What he does not mention is that the 150 years of observation have led to the conclusion that Darwin's theory was incorrect in its basic theorems. Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History which houses some 60 million fossil specimens has been quoted as saying, "If I knew of any evolutionary transitions, fossil or living, I would have certainly included them in my book `Evolution.'" In addition we have Nebraska man -- mistake, Java man -- nope, Piltdown man -- fraud, Archaeopteryx -- a bird, not a link. Recapitulation was shown to be a fraud in 1911 but is still apparently taught as late as 1995 in Lawrence schools. The fervor with which people cling to the evolutionary theory has led me to suspect that it is yet another religious belief as it seems the basis for the theory must be accepted on faith. Perhaps this is at least part of the reason why the debate continues.

Larry Miller,

1325 E. 16th.

Forum coverage

To the editor:

The J-W's coverage (Tuesday, 3/16) of the Centennial Neighborhood Assn.'s campaign forum was misleading, sensational and inaccurate.

The neighborhood put together a list of questions to ask city commission candidates about a range of issues important to our group and the larger community. The article failed to mention even one of these questions. The candidates' hourlong thoughtful and informative answers did not rate a single line in the newspaper.

Instead, the reporter chose to write on a question asked by an audience member who is not even a Centennial neighborhood resident. His question asking for a yes-or-no answer to whether candidates would support a tax increase to pay for public transportation, allowed no opportunity for discussion of possible funding sources, spending priorities or other aspects of the issue. And even so the reporter misrepresented two candidates' responses.

"Taxation" was emphasized in the headline, then, in bold, large type, the reporter's misleading statement was repeated.

To focus on such a narrow aspect of a single issue does a disservice to all the candidates, to the organizers of the forum, and especially to Lawrence voters. The editor often urges Lawrencians to become responsible, informed voters. We voters urge the J-W to become more responsible about informing us.

Marilyn Gridley,

610 Greever Ter.

`Oz' options

To the editor:

I write as a former 20-year Douglas County resident who plans to move back soon to Douglas County. There will be a Kansas Senate vote within the next two weeks on the sales tax rebate which makes the proposed "Land of Oz" development possible (H.B. 2166).

The Sunflower site is very close to the Douglas County border. If 4,000 to 5,000 acres of the 9,000-acre Sunflower site go to economic development, including the "Land of Oz," the quality of life for Douglas County residents would be lowered in the following ways:

1. It encourages leapfrog development in Douglas County which endangers the now beautiful and serene countryside.

2. The drive between Lawrence and Kansas City would become much more stressful for the many commuters and everyone traveling due to the much higher volume of traffic such development would bring. "Oz" alone would employ 7,500, and it would take only a minority portion of the proposed economic development land.

3. An unusual opportunity for a 9,000-acre park would be lost. If this land were not mowed, it would transform into a beautiful landscape of grasses, cedars and deciduous trees. Kansas has the smallest amount of land of any state preserved for parks and wilderness (0.2 percent). Johnson County is requesting 3,500 acres for a park.

It is the Army's legal obligation to clean up the site. Public uses take priority over private uses when disposing of federal government land, but neither the State of Kansas nor Johnson County held hearings on what were alternatives for this land. Economic development of 4,000 to 5,000 acres of this land, including "Oz" has just barreled through the state's and county's endorsements. The state Legislature is the body that is actually taking the actions which will allow much of the land to go for "Oz" and for other economic development.

There are only 180 acres of contaminated land, although it is not contiguous. Still, many thousands of acres could be turned over immediately for park use with a plan endorsed by the state and county for the remainder to go to park and preserve land when cleaned up. It might take 10 to 20 years for clean-up due to low federal funding, but the land is not used now anyway.

One public discussion by Johnson County commissioners on "Oz" was held Wednesday at DeSoto and a second session is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at 18200 W. 87th in Lenexa.

Patricia S. Ireland,

Overland Park.

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