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Archive for Sunday, July 29, 2001

Cavalier attitude

July 29, 2001

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To the editor:

Last week Gov. Graves was quoted as saying, "I have heard it said that 97 percent of their (the judicial system) budget is people..." He went on to say that the court should just cut positions or reduce salaries. One immediate response to this would be that the governor should lead by example and cut positions from his staff and reduce his and their salaries and see how well that goes over. Upon further reflection, the gross ignorance and cavalier spirit revealed through the governor's quote becomes more apparent.

If a person on the street had been asked about the state's judicial system, perhaps we could understand if they had replied, "I have heard it said..." but for the governor of the state to display such astonishing ignorance about the whole judicial branch of state government is beyond distressing, it is alarming.

The government, like all of us, must work within the confines of limited resources. When deciding how its resources are to be used, it is imperative that government set as its highest priorities those things that government alone can do. Over the past several months, the governor has been asking for taxes to be raised in order to increase funding to public education, which is already, at $2.4 billion, the highest funded agency in the state.

As noble a goal as public education is, each year there are thousands of Kansas children receiving an excellent education through private schools and home schools without a dime's worth of help from the government. The state is not the only vehicle for providing education. But no other institution or agency other than the state, through the courts, can declare a person a criminal or go into the home of a family and take away an abused child or decide contentious civil cases with the power to carry out their decisions.

Only the courts alone can provide certain essential services so that our communities can continue to function in a safe and orderly way, and so that individuals can live the kind of privileged lives we now enjoy. To display the kind of cavalier spirit toward a branch of government that is fundamental to our freedom and way of life is both outrageous and unacceptable. If ever there were a time the people could consider recalling a governor for basic ignorance and lack of caring, now would be the time.

Ron Stegall,

Michelle Roberts,

Lawrence.

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